FREE | ISSUE 20 | OCT-NOV
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
Under Her Skin
Emo Rock Pioneers Return
TOUCHÉ AMORÉ INTIMATE, BRUTALLY HONEST & DEEPLY CATHARTIC!
Another Huge Leap Forward
Striking & Uniquely Affecting
Dark, Groovy & Chilling
TAKING BACK SUNDAY An Exciting New Chapter
THE WHIGS MUMRUNNER NORMA JEAN OR BOSTON MAN D N A H N E WOV EAN B R E W LO SUNF S. WHORE S YOUNG GUN ... E R O M H & MUC
Unfiltered Memories Of A Life
FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE Uplifiting & Inspiring
OATHBREAKER Unpredictable & Audacious JENNY HVAL
Intelligent & Unsettling Complex 1
music&riots magazine musicandriots.com
FREE | ISSUE 20 | OCT-NOV
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Fausto Casais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Andreia Alves (email@example.com) Tiago Moreira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ART EDITOR // DESIGNER Fausto Casais
70 // TOUCHÉ AMORÉ - We talked with vocalist/songwriter Jeremy Bolm about Touché’s brand new album, Stage Four, and all the misfortunes that made the album what it is.
Nuno Babo, Nuno Teixeira, Ricardo Almeida, Sergio Kilmore, Dave Bowes, Rui Correia, Teddie Taylor, Euan Andrews, Luis Alves, Fabio Filipe, Joe Doyle, Miljan Milekić, Steven Loftin, Andi Chamberlain, Justin Kuntz, Eliza Britney, Mark McConville, Anastasia Psarra
08 // UPCOMING RELEASES 12 // YOU BLEW IT! 18 // SUPERJOINT 18 // AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO KORN 22 // 5 ALBUMS YOU PROBABLY MISSED AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO 26 // MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE: 10 YEARS OF BLACK PARADE + Q&A 32 // SPLASH YOUR CASH
WELCOME BACK 10 // WOVENHAND 24 // NORMA JEAN 28 // THE WHIGS
16 // YOUNG GUNS 20 // WHORES. 22 // GOD DAMN 30 // TWELVE FOOT NINJA
HOT NEW BAND
08 // BOSTON MANOR 14 // SUNFLOWER BEAN
Andreia Alves, Ricardo Almeida, Fabio Filipe, Teddie Taylor
34 // DOE 36 // MUMRUNNER + Q&A 38 // KAG 39 // JAPANESE BREAKFAST 40 // BURN AFTER ME + Q&A 41 // NEAUX 42 // BIG JESUS
SEND YOUR PROMOS TO:
44 // FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE 48 // TAKING BACK SUNDAY 52 // JENNY HVAL 56 // EMMA RUTH RUNDLE 62 // NEUROSIS 66 // S U R V I V E 78 // AMERICAN FOOTBALL 82 // OATHBREAKER 88 // RED FANG 92 // KING 810
102 // ALBUMS 132 // LIVE REPORTS 140 // CINEMA & TV
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR Hey y’all! The summer is over (unfortunately for us) and we’re back with a brand new issue to start off well this new season. This time around we have Touché Amoré in our cover story and it’s with great privilege that we share with you our brutally candid interview with the band’s vocalist/songwriter, Jeremy Bolm. The California-based post-hardcore/screamo outfit delivers another majestic artistic statement with their new album, Stage Four, an album that comes along with a peerless in-depth approach. Bolm talked to us about it and all the misfortunes that made the album what it is. Besides that, we got a bunch more inspiring interviews, a wide range of album reviews, live shows we’ve been to lately and our take on some quite enthralling films. Cheers!
HUGE FUCKING THANKS
Lauren Barley, Frank van Liempdt, Deathwish Inc, Thrill Jockey, Amelia Trask, Richard S.Jones, Brid Walpole, Sub Pop, Sargent House, Lucy Hurst, Stephanie Marlow, Amplificasom, Earsplit, Jessi Frick, UNFD, Matador, Spinefarm, Southern Lord, Riot Act Media, Team Clermont, Eros Pasi, Rude Records, Walter Mazzeo, Pure Noise Records, Memorial Records, Hopeless Records, Nathan Walker, Bella Union, Napalm Records, Canvas Media, Sarah Maynard, Catalyst PR, Don Giovanni Records, UNFD, Wichita, Domino, Nuclear Blast, PIAS, Brixton Agency
musicandriots.com All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without our permission. The views expressed in MUSIC&RIOTS Magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff.
Your Editor, Fausto Casais
HOT NEW BAND
14.10 THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Dissociation MONO Requiem For Hell CONOR OBERST Ruminations RED FANG Only Ghosts DANGERS The Band In The Break DARKTHRONE Arctic Thunder DOUGLAS DARE Aforger GURR In My Head LUKE ROBERTS Sunlit Cross OOZING WOUND Whatever Forever MOBY AND THE PACIFIC CHOIR The Systems Are Failing 21.10 AGNES OBEL Citizen Of Glass AMERICAN FOOTBALL American Football KORN The Serenity Of Suffering KEVIN DEVINE Instigator PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS Prey JIMMY EAT WORLD Integrrity Blues 28.10 SUPER UNISON Auto ANAAL NATHRAKH The Whole Of The Law WHORES. Gold CROWBAR The Serpent Only Lies ULCERATE Shrines Of Paralysis MARCHING CHURCH Telling Like It Is FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE Parachutes KING DUDE Sex 04.11 BALANCE AND COMPOSURE Light We Made 11.11 SLEIGH BELLS Jessica Rabbit VANISHING LIFE Surveillance SUPERJOINT Caught Up In The Gears Of Application 18.11 METALLICA Hardwired... To Self Destruct
BRIGHT, AMBITIOUS & EMOTIO
Blackpool rock band Boston Manor talk about their meteoric rise an album Be Nothing as well as signing to pop punk label Pure Noise R Wilson to get to know more about one of the most exciting new act Words: Mark McConville // Photo: Kennerdeigh Scott
our new record Be Nothing was produced by a revered producer in Neil Kennedy who has helped to create records for the likes of Creeper and Milk Teeth. What’s it like to work with a producer who has worked with those type of bands? Neil is the absolute man and a good friend. Working with someone who’s produced those bands is great because he delivers a unique sound to the music and always has some out of the box ideas. We really pride ourselves on taking a different approach to the norm, and he’s a great producer to bring that out of us. The debut record is dark, but arresting, it never loses that compelling stride. It’s massive in its direction too. What was it like recording such a colossal record? Wow. Thank you, that’s really humbling to read. [laughs] We didn’t set out to purposely write a record like this, we just want to write these big songs with some interesting hooks, so it’s cool
that’s what comes across. It was hard work, it’s never easy writing your first album and you can only do it once. We wanted everything to be as good as it could be, so we spent a lot of time on every detail, how we play certain sections, how Henry should sing a line, even down to the artwork. It’s really important. You’ve only been a band since 2013, and it has been a meteoric rise. Has the spotlight scared the band or have you embraced it? I think compared to a lot of bands we’ve had quite a slow incline. It’s just really rewarding knowing all the hard work we’ve put in is coming to fruition. We’re definitely embracing it, as scary as it can be sometimes. There are many rock bands out there. As a band you do so well at keeping the music fresh and interesting. What is the secret? Thanks! We don’t really have any secret. We’re influenced by a lot of different genres of music so maybe
nd their emotionally engaging debut Records. We caught up with guitarist Ash ts around.
subconsciously it comes from that. I honestly don’t know though! The band’s last record was an EP called Saudade. It was a softer contribution with flair and great instrumentals, as well as heaps of emotion. But what is like to go from creating a few songs to a list of tracks? It’s really cool. When you write an EP it’s just a selection of songs, but I feel like an album is more than that. We kinda wanted this album to be one body of music, so in a way the record flows through different emotions & vibes from start to finish. We had a chance to pull back on certain songs and push parts in others, whereas on an EP you can’t do that. With EPs you have to portray your message in a short space of time, but in an album you can elaborate on certain parts. I enjoy it a lot more. You’ve toured with bands such as Knuckle Puck and Moose Blood. What is like on the road for Boston Manor?
It’s really long and uncomfortable, you sleep rough most nights on people’s floors and get showers if you’re lucky. It’s mad. I wouldn’t change it for the world. On the other side of touring, we get to play cool venues, get to know and play with bands we’ve looked up to. We get to be tourists every day and meet new people. More people should get in bands and tour, it’s a whole new experience and it really strengthens you as a person. I miss my family, my cats and my girlfriend when I’m away, but I’m on the road with my best friends and I love every second of it. You’re embarking on a UK and European tour with Can’t Swim. It’s your first full length trip. How will you prepare for such a massive span of dates? We’ve done similar length tours before, you get used to it after a while. We’ll have just been back from a month long US / Canada tour with Like Pacific so I think we’ll be okay! It’s gonna be fun playing to people
as a headline band. We’ve never had this opportunity so we can’t wait. The songs are always infectious and the subject matter emotive. You do pack such sentiment into the tracks. Are the lyrics reflecting anything personal? I don’t want to give anything away. I think people should make their own mind up about what the song means to them. The story behind each song is pretty personal, but if people can apply their own experiences to certain songs that’s cool with me. You’re now signed under the Pure Noise moniker. How does it feel to be amongst some the biggest names in rock? It’s honestly mind blowing. We love this label and have done for such a long time. We truly are humbled to be a part of such a cool and dedicated record label.
BE NOTHING IS OUT NOW VIA PURE NOISE RECORDS
DARK, SOULFUL & TIMELESS
David Eugene Edwards has been a unique voice in this humongous world of music. First with 16 Hor Wovenhand. A rhythm-based rock sound that incorporates a myriad of elements ranging from coun Americana, etc. We talked with David to know more about his course as a musician and Wovenhan Words: Tiago Moreira // Photo: Joni Hietanen
s with almost everything in life our relation with something and someone changes through time, and sometimes we can even say it evolves. How did your relationship with music start and how it has changed throughout the years? It started basically in the home with my mother. My mother who basically was a really good singer and she played guitar and then with the music of the Church, which was the next thing. And then just at home just with my family with whatever my grandparents were listening to, which was country basically. Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and... mostly Johnny Cash. The typical American stuff. Did you end up singing in the choir of the Church? Was it any helpful for what you’re doing now with Wovenhand? Yeah, I did sing in the choir. I’m sure it helped me to figure out what my
voice was. I remember it fairly well and I enjoyed it. I didn’t do it very long, only for a short period of time, but I really liked it. I also started playing drums. I played the drums, for eight years or something like that, while I was in the school marching band. Drums was what I wanted to do, but then someone just ended up giving me a guitar or something – I don’t remember exactly how it happened. I just started teaching myself how to play the guitar and I kind of left the drums behind after that. All the instruments that I play, I play them in a rhythmical fashion. Yeah, that’s very transparent listening to your playing guitar. Yeah, exactly. Still very rhythm-oriented rather than melody per se. The rhythm was the motivation to do all the different instruments. How it has evolved, your relation with music throughout the years? Well, music is very elusive to me.
[laughs] It’s hard for me to create what I want to just because of my lack of ability, but I do it at the best of my abilities to create the music that comes out of me. I’m fairly limited in it, but I’ve gotten comfortable with this limitation. It’s something I learned to live with and I’ve managed to work within this framework that I have that I can be somewhat happy with. You’ve once said that “The longer I make music, the more I realize that music is not sacred.” What did you mean by that? I’m not sure what I was saying at the time [laughs] but... there’s different things people think about music. When people think about sacred music they think about maybe the music in the big church with the choir, the specific words, and this kind of solemn experience. I don’t believe it to be sacred in that way. It’s between you and God and doesn’t matter what it sounds like.
them. But I do sit down at a certain point when I know we want to make some new music. I take some time to play guitar, or banjo, or piano, or whatever it is that I’m interested in at the moment. The words... it’s always the same. They just come very slowly and overtime. I just collect them and piece them together, a bit like a puzzle. You were saying that you record those first ideas on your phone. Can we assume that you have a lot of unreleased ideas/songs? Not so many, to be honest with you. I use pretty much everything that I have. I don’t have a lot of extra material. This is the first album, in a long time, where we had more music than we actually put on the album. So there’s maybe three or four songs that I just didn’t feel ready to use or whatever. That’s a rare thing for me. Usually I use everything. Once again you worked with Sanford Parker (engineer). How has that relationship evolved throughout the years and what does he bring to the table? He’s just really good at what he does. He’s a good engineer, he’s good at all the machines, and he also has a good musical sense being a musician himself. He knows how to bring out the best of our sound.
rsepower and more recently with ntry to old-time music, folk, nd’s latest album, Star Treatment. What’s behind the title Star Treatment and what were you hoping to convey with it? There’s a lot of different things going on. I’m speaking a lot about religion, basically, and when people think of religion they think of it as something that’s in one corner of the world or life, or not even in their life at all, but in reality religion is everywhere and for me it’s everything whether you believe in it or care about it or not, it’s still a part of your life in the sense that all men are the same and the religions are based on the stars. Everything is based on the movement of the starts, the celestial bodies in the heavens, and man’s relation to God or his supposed relation to that in his thinking and making decisions accordingly to where the stars are or what’s happening in the sky. All of these things are just kind of the bases for religion as we know it, and I mean all religions. That’s one element to it.
On Wovenhand’s last album, Chuck French wrote two songs and you did write everything else. How was the creative process this time around? It was pretty much exactly the same. Chuck brought two songs of his to what I had and we put them together again. Basically the same way as last time. It was a good continuation of what we have started. I’m curious to know how you approach the writing process and how it has evolved throughout all these years. Well, it starts usually on tour when we’re playing music live, when we’re doing sound check or whatever, we just start doing other things and mess around with other ideas and then I come home and continue to work on those ideas – some small melody or some small rhythm that I record on my phone, since I use a lot of different tunings and if I don’t record them I end up forgetting about
I was fortunate enough to see you live at Amplifest, two years ago. It was incredible not only hear you playing the music but watching you being truly affected by it. I remember thinking that it was more a spiritual expression than a musical expression. Is that a fair assessment of how you see and experience your live performances? That’s for sure. I don’t even really think of it as music, to be honest with you. I don’t even consider what I do to be music. I use music to the best of my ability to do another thing. Musically is my way to get to another place to talk about something other and... it’s just the way that I do it. But yeah, it’s much more something different for me when I’m playing up there. Not that it’s better than someone else, but it is just different. It’s just the way it comes out and the songs just kind of take over and have their own intentions to me and to those experiencing it.
STAR TREATMENT IS OUT NOW VIA GLITTERHOUSE/SARGENT HOUSE
YOU BLEW IT! RETURN WITH “ABENDROT” Orlando, Florida’s You Blew It announced a new record, titled Abendrot, is slated to be released on Big Scary Monsters/Triple Crown on November 11, 2016. You Blew It! frontman Tanner Jones describes the influence of the band’s Orlando, Florida hometown, he notes “that everything feels like osmosis, a process that sees a solvent moving through a semipermeable membrane from a lower concentration into a higher concentration”. Orlando is a thriving cultural mecca with a vibrant international scene, which allows the city’s sights and sounds to seemingly shift entirely from one night to the next. This atmosphere slipped through the You Blew It!’s somewhat semipermeable writing process for Abendrot, the band’s first effort for Triple Crown Records. The osmosis of varied cultural influences surrounding the band in Orlando allowed them to focus on the intricacies of their songwriting and step into unfamiliar territory, bringing out a darker side both lyrically and sonically. Abendrot was written in roughly four days after the band’s five members – Jones, guitarists Andy Anaya and Trevor O’Hare, bassist Andy Vila, and drummer Matthew Nissley – spent months apart, each having moved away from Orlando for various reasons. Despite the quick turnaround on the majority of the writing process, the band spent the majority of nearly six months tinkering with song structures before they felt they had the material was ready for the studio, which allowed the record’s twelve songs cover a lot of ground thematically, with an unintentional shift inward. With Into It. Over It’s Evan Weiss at the production helm, Abendrot was recorded over a month at Atlas Studios in Chicago, the longest the band has ever spent recording. This allowed them to experiment more with different recording techniques that included switching up the mic placement for each song, as well as playing with echoes and tape delay. Additionally, they placed an emphasis on making sure the production’s use of digital manipulation was used as sparingly as possible.
ABENDROT ARRIVES ON NOVEMBER 11 VIA BIG SCARY MONSTERS/TRIPLE CROWN RECORDS
SLØTFACE have announced the release of a new EP, titled Empire Records, which will be released on November 18 via Propeller Recordings. The band have also shared the first single off the new EP. “Bright Lights is about escaping from things that are going on in your own head and in society in general by distracting yourself, especially from the minor and major personal issues we all have,” explains vocalist Haley Shea. “It’s about a desire for escape, and a break from dealing with things that might seem too hard. We recorded it at Ocean Sounds in Norway – the most beautiful studio in the world – with our awesome producer, Dan Austin, late last year. The environment and stormy weather when we were recording really helped
ROUND UP 12
set the mood for what is a quite melancholy, emo track,” she says. Capping off an incredibly successful year, marked by the release of a new double LP and non-stop touring, Teen Suicide have announced that they will release a new 12” EP, titled Bonus EP, on November 11, 2016 via Run For Cover Records. Menace Beach have announced the release of their second album, Lemon Memory, and it will be out January 20th via Memphis Industries. Written in Ibiza and recorded in Sheffield with Ross Orton, this is the follow up to the band’s debut,
Ratworld. “The one ‘rule’ we went into the album session with was to keep in mind that sometimes doing The Opposite is much more interesting,” says Liza Violet. Brooklyn’s Cindy Lou Gooden aka Very Fresh has announced the release of a new EP titled Hey, It’s Me! and it will be out November 4 via New Professor Music and Inflated Records. Hey, It’s Me! is a 5 song collection of clever, confessional, melodic indie rock in the spirit of the 90s Matador Records classics. Much like Very Fresh’s debut single, the EP pays homage to Gooden’s alternative rock predecessors with
its muscular drumming and driving guitars, while incorporating inspiration from her contemporary favorites like Courtney Barnett, Pile, and Speedy Ortiz. Engineered by Jeff Berner (Psychic TV) at Greenpoint’s Studio G, Hey, It’s Me! represents a transition to higher fidelity for Gooden and her band, which includes Julian Fader (Ava Luna) on drums, and Andy Moholt (Laser Background) and Ben Scherer (ex-Palehound) on guitars. Hellrazor have announced the release of their debut album, Satan Smile, out November 4th via New Professor Music. The long time project of
Speedy Ortiz’s Mike Falcone, Hellrazor has existed in one form or another for a number of years. Falcone has long been inspired by the lo-fi likes of Sebadoh and Guided By Voices, recording demos on a Tascam 4-Track Portastudio and releasing cassettes and EPs under aliases like Lip Keebler and Dead Wives. Hellrazor’s origins can be pinpointed to 2008, when Falcone joined drummer Jon Hartlett (Ovlov) and bassist Julian Wahlberg to play a set of Rancid covers. Falcone and Wahlberg met that night; Hartlett, whose time in the storied Connecticut band Ovlov overlapped with Falcone’s for two years, joined Hellrazor full-time in 2015.
HOT NEW BAND
THE KIDS ARE FUCKING ALRIGHT!
Sunflower Bean are one of the most exciting new faces in rock ‘n’ roll right now. The power-trio has covers EP, which is the follow-up to their excellent debut LP released earlier this year. It was about Human Ceremony, that we talked with Julia Cumming (vox/bass), Nick Kivlen (vox/guitar), and Jaco Words: Tiago Moreira // Photo: Crista Simiriglia
heard that you actually tried to make your debut album before, but you thought it wasn’t quite right. Is that correct? Jacob Faber: Yeah! We used to record, like for the EP [Show Me Your Seven Secrets]... we would have some new songs and we would decide to just go into our friend’s studio and just see what happens, you know? I think we tried to do that a couple of times for the album, but it was never the right time. Because we’re still playing live a lot, like two or three times a week. For Human Ceremony we just put aside the time to write it, demo it, and just really focus on it. The album is a little bit less heavy
than previous efforts. Was that something you set out to do when you started working on Human Ceremony? Jacob Faber: Yeah, I think that evolution kind of came naturally. We definitely for this album wanted to make the decision to focus on the songwriting and the production process. We just wanted to keep the evolution going. The 7” that we did with Fat Possum, I Hear Voices / The Stalker, I think it was really barebones and raw, like no overdubs really. That was kind of the opposite direction and then after we got that out of our systems I think we really knew what we wanted to do and kind of how to do it. There seems to exist an overall melancholic feel throughout the
entire album. Would it be fair to say so? Jacob Faber: Yeah, I think a lot of it is just this feeling of being a human living in 2016 and just living in the present age. Just the feeling of everything moving so quickly and the weight of being alive... you can feel, even though we are all so connected now with technology, very alone. I think the album grapples to that a lot. What can you tell me about the track “2013”? Jacob Faber: That was kind of an old song that we wrote like a year and half ago. We finished it on the last day of 2013 and it’s actually a song... the idea of it is like, one of our friends from high school was really drunk one night
that’s the only moment on the album that’s really properly heavy and evil sounding, and it comes pretty abruptly in the middle of one song that is in the middle of the record. I heard that you used to open your shows with that song and it used to be a really long song. Nick Kivlen: Yeah, that’s true. Back then we used to open our shows with that song and it used to be... we made a 20-minute recording of it where it was 16 minutes of just the noise section – the doomy part and then just feedback for like 15 minutes, it’s a demo that I haven’t heard in a really long time. Beside the melancholic aspect, is there a common theme to the album? Nick Kivlen: I don’t think lyrically, but I think the tone and mood is kind of thematic on the album. I think the lyrics could be up to interpretation, but I think the theme and mood of the album is pretty much consistent throughout the entire thing. I know the album was recorded in just seven days. Did you demo everything before going into the studio? Nick Kivlen: Yeah, we really extensively demoed every single track and even after we recorded it... we recorded the core tracks for the album – just the drums, bass, and guitar, like the live takes. We spent about two weeks after that demoing over them before we went back into the studio to finish up the proper takes.
just released a their debut, ob Faber (drums). and said, “Man, what if you could live to be a 100 or what if you could live to be 1000?” Julia Cumming: Yeah, that was a really cool song for us because it was like one of the first that kind of came together in a way that we were super excited about. I think it was a pivotal moment for the band, it just felt really good. The song is kind of about the future. Sort of where we are and where we are going with all these sort of medical advancements, and the fact that we’ll probably live longer than we were expecting. It’s just this sort of sci-fi kind of song. Halfway through the album there’s a track that contains a pretty big release of energy. At the end of
“Creation Myth” you guys go proper doom. Nick Kivlen: Yeah, it’s sort of the noise section at the end of the song came from the idea of how like the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd used to blast noise and feedback for 20 minutes just to make the more serene parts sound more beautiful after the noise. So, the noise is there to make the rest of the song sound prettier in contrast. And maybe that has an effect on the whole album as well. Nick Kivlen: Yeah, the whole album. I think the album is kind of a melancholic album, like you were saying at the beginning, and there’s always sort of hints of like darkness and hints of something a little bit below the surface and
How was it to work with producer Matthew Molnar? Nick Kivlen: Matt is a close friend of mine. We started becoming good friends over the summer of 2014 and at first he was just a very respected and trusted set of ears that we would send things to and then eventually it became more like an official working with him, him helping us, and him ending up being a pretty guiding force on the record. Did he help shaping the songs? Nick Kivlen: It would be more like he would help us format them, like for example “Come On” and “Human Ceremony” used to be just one song and he kind of helped us take them apart and sort of format how they were going to play out – the verse, the chorus, the bridge, etc. He helped us arrange the different parts of the songs, etc.
FROM THE BASEMENT IS OUT NOW VIA THE BAND’S BANDCAMP
LISTENING POST THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Dissociation Party Smasher Inc. Available on October 14
BALANCE AND COMPOSURE Light We Made Big Scary Monsters Available on November 4
ULCERATE Shrines Of Paralysis Relapse Records Available on October 28
SUPER UNISON Auto Deathwish Inc. Available on October 28
SLEIGH BELLS Jessica Rabbit Torn Clean Available on November 11
WHORES. Gold. Eone Music Available on October 28
VANISHING LIFE Surveillence Dine Alone Records Available on November 11
KORN The Serenity Of Suffering Roadrunner Records Available on October 21
AGNES OBEL Citizen Of Glass PIAS Available on October 21
FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE Parachutes Vagrant Available on October 28
A NEW AND EXCITING
Things change and eventually new exciting things c Echoes is their new chapter as a band and they ap Wood took some time to guide us through this new Words: Andreia Alves
he new album is out now, Echoes. Looking back to all your other albums, what stands out the most about this new one? Well, it really feels like a line in the sand moment for us. We were one band before this and we are another now. So much changed for us, moving labels, changing lineup etc... it feels like it marks the end of a chapter. Sonically I think it’s the album that was the most spontaneous and least ‘laboured over’. Not to say that we didn’t think carefully and work hard because we did but we didn’t over think and I think that makes it feel like it represents us in this moment in time very well. This album was the first to be recorded without Ben Jolliffe. Did you see his departure as a new challenge to gain a new energy towards your music and yourselves as musicians? Precisely. The idea was that we could use what, for us, was a dramatic change, as a positive and could kick on excited to explore the new dynamic. It made things fresh and interesting again. Which was really important and actually very needed, now that I look back on it. It’s filled me with enthusiasm and excitement again. What were the main inspirations/references while writing this new album? It’s a reflection on what was a real time of change for me and us. I had been in a long term relationship that ended, we’d had a really turbulent album campaign with ones and zeros, had a lineup change, and a lot of other things in my personal life. Everything felt like it was
come along the way. That’s exactly what happened to Young Guns. pproached it in a much more spontaneous way. Vocalist Gustav and thrilling step in the band’s career.
ending and so all of my writing came from that place. I had to face up to and then process a lot of truths that were had to deal with so that I could move on. This album was my way of trying to do that. What did you do differently for this new album? Everything. Not least that we wrote it in such a short space of time - two months, and recorded it in even less - five weeks. Having a new dynamic due to the lineup change freshened up the whole process and we all listened to each other more. We also weren’t trying for perfect takes in the studio but rather takes that had emotion and felt real. What’s the story behind the album’s title, Echoes? It’s the name of one of the tracks where I was happiest with how I felt I was talking about the feelings that influenced my writing of the whole album. It’s about the idea of not being trapped by memories of times and situations that are over. It’s hard to let go of things that mean a lot to you but you can’t move forwards if
you’re content to live looking backwards. It was between that and living in a dream is so easy. What does this new album represent to you guys at this stage of your career? It’s in some ways a second chance. It felt like the natural process of the band had ended after ones and zeroes and this is the start of the second part of our lives and our careers. You recorded the album with producer David Bendeth in New Jersey. What did he bring to the band’s dynamic and recording sessions? He brought out the best in us by challenging us and not accepting anything other than what he thought was the best we could do. It was difficult but he pushed us to be better and more interesting and I’m glad he did. He also helped us to sit back and not clutter the music, and brought rhythm more to the fore which was great. The video for “Mad World” is sharp, strong and very straight-forward. Can you tell us a bit more about
the whole concept/message of the video? We just wanted something that felt a bit nihilistic and chaotic like the song. It’s easy to feel like the world is spinning out of control sometimes and it ties into that. You guys will be touring Europe with Billy Talent in October. What can the European crowd expect from that tour and what are you most excited about it? We’ve not had the chance to return to Europe in a few years so we’re so excited to get back out there. Again, it feels like a fresh start and a chance to show people what we’re about. I’m excited to see all of the beautiful cities we’ve not seen for a while and play to those crowds. Billy talent are a brilliant band and I look forward to seeing them. What are your thoughts about the whole Brexit thing? I think it’s heart breaking and that a tremendous mistake was made.
ECHOES IS OUT NOW VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO KORN When Korn broke through in 1994, few could have predicted that the Bakersfield gang would still be together and more strong than ever in 2016. They have changed everything, created trends and new musical genres. We felt that was time to get our hands dirty and dive into their awesome and quite big catalogue. Hereâ€™s our essential guide to Korn. 18
SUPERJOINT ARE BACK! Their first album in 13 years arrives on November 11 via Housecore Records The newly reactived Superjoint, formerly Superjoint Ritual, consists of original guitarists Kevin Bond (Christ Inversion) and Jimmy Bower (Down, Eyehategod), original vocalist Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down), as well as welcoming drummer José Manuel Gonzalez (Warbeast, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals) and bassist Stephen Taylor (Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Wovenhand). The band will release Caught Up In The Gears Of Application on November 11 via Phil’s own Housecore Records, this is the band’s first in 13 years. “The minute we started writing, I knew this record would be brutal,” reflects Bower, “Sticking to our true hardcore roots and signature Superjoint sound, we accomplished a record that needed to happen in today’s underground. It’s pissed off! After being on hiatus for eleven-plus years, the chance at a new Superjoint record wasn’t something we took lightly. With newcomers Steven and Joey, we were psyched and eager to get in the Lair and start writing and after two tours with the new lineup, we were able to hit the writing hard! Didn’t take long to accomplish, and we stood and smirked at the playback of what would be the new Superjoint record. This record brings our viscous style of hardcore back to life. Pissed off with everything to prove, Superjoint is back!” Adds Anselmo of the offering, “The overall theme means many things, or no things, but there is an underlying message regardless, about how modern technology — computers and all that comes with them, mainly — has affected our lives. As a musician, it has affected my life both negatively (music being stolen) and positively (being in touch with fellow musicians around the world and staying visible). But when looking at the broader spectrum, computer-land has given everyday people a platform in which to bellow like carnival barkers about anything and everything, humdrum or political, whether qualified or not, some with good intentions, some with disingenuous intentions, and some with ideas that lay somewhere in the middle, creating a mishmash of results.”
CAUGHT UP IN THE GEARS OF APPLICATION ARRIVES ON NOVEMBER 11 VIA HOUSECORE RECORDS
FOLLOW THE LEADER (1998)
TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR (2003)
SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE (2005)
The LP that gave mainstream attention to the Bakersfield gang. 15 millions of records sold and after this, Korn was the biggest band in the world.Effective and stylish, the soundtrack of a generation.
A conceptual album about Jonathan Davis’ panic attacks, anxiety disorders and his own crazy personal shit. Less adventurous but it was a bleak, intriguing and tormented effort. Enough said!
Aggressive, politically charged and more raw than ever. Take A Look In The Mirror was a step back to push forward, an effective way to refining their sound and breaking into new exciting grounds.
It’s a wild card in Korn’s legacy. Sounds harsh, it’s strikingly addictive and full of hooks. The first sign of the band’s search for a new path and sound. It was also the first album without Head’s creative input.
2 years in the making, 4 million of dollars spent, it’s perhaps Korn’s tickest and sharpest album ever. It’s heavy, production is over the top, sounds big & ballzy. Still innovating, once again leaders not followers.
The album that changed everything, game changing in every single way. It’s undeniable influential, 20 years later their explosive blend of funk-metalrap still sounds timeless and flawless.
CONFRONTATIONAL, RELENTLESS & AUTHENTIC
Atlanta’s Whores. are a formidable force for heavy music with equally intense lyrics. Since their beg they’ve released two brilliant EPs and, now, an LP that is knock-down-drag-out Gold. They have some you’re going to hear it. We talked to vocalist/guitarist Christian Lembach about the new album, Gold Words: Teddie Taylor
ower” is the first word I thought of when I listened to Gold. How do you always seem to sustain that intensity? Thanks! Well it’s sort of difficult, but it wouldn’t work any other way. I try to stay grateful. I could be wielding a scalpel or swinging a shovel. I guess it also comes down to a lot of pent-up frustration. Which is also incidentally why I get caught smiling during our shows. It really feels like spitting out the poison sometimes. I love it. This record sounds even fuzzier and heavier, especially the vocals, than Clean. Did lyrics or anything in specific lead you toward a more sludgy feel? Or was it just natural progress? Being so close to it, I have a hard time seeing things that clearly. It
definitely wasn’t intentional. We wrote a bunch of songs that didn’t make the cut. I feel like this record is faster and less sludgy. Shows what I know! [laughs] We definitely did a lot of layering with feedback and noise parts, but that’s also kind of my thing. My main, overriding concern or directive or whatever was that it didn’t come off as soft or phoning it in in any way. Were you purposely waiting to record a full LP or did touring make shorter EPs more logical over the past few years? The first EP was only five songs because that’s all we had at the time. The second one was supposed to be longer, but it was hard getting it together for various reasons. Now that we’re firing super hard as far as practice schedule and 100% dedication from everyone in the band,
it’s much easier to make moves quickly. I’m already working on the next one. Your words and instrumentals always mirror one another perfectly. Which comes first? Thanks again! We always write the music first. I keep a little notebook in my bag to write down phrases or lines that pop up out of nowhere, and then refer back to that when it’s time to write words. The arrangements usually get tweaked a little from there. I seem to work better lyrically when we give songs ridiculous titles. I like to work within parameters. The songs “Playing Poor,” “Participation Trophy,” “Mental Illness as Mating Ritual” and “I See You Are Also Wearing a Black T-Shirt” seem to connect in the lyrics about people putting on facades and
ginnings in 2010 ething to say and d., and the new year.
living a life just to appear well-off. You guys seem straightforward and genuine - is society’s plasticity sort of a pet peeve of yours? Well, all of those songs are about different things, but I can see the continuity as far as perspective or worldview or whatever. I end to see things in a sort of Marxist, us-vs-them way. I mean that’s the impetus for our band name, though that gets lost on most people. “Playing Poor” is sort of about the music and entertainment business, but in a larger sense it’s also about the frustration with the cult of personality that seems to be dominating culture lately. It’s like people are afraid that they’re not going to leave a mark or be thought of in an elevated way, so they put on these facades. It’s sort of the worst thing for our happiness and longevity as a species, yet it’s
everywhere. Our priorities are so far out of whack that’s it’s hard to imagine coming back. “Participation Trophy” is sort of about my sobriety. It’s also sort of about growing up. I don’t usually talk about it publicly, but anyone who knows me personally knows that I don’t drink or anything. When I got sober, I felt this weird pushback from people who knew the irresponsible and self-absorbed version of me. It was crazy. I love that song. It’s a giant middle finger to people who used to see me in a certain light. Like, I see how laser focus and determination could feel threatening to people who used to feel better about their own crummy life by comparing themselves to me. It’s been over a decade now, but it’s still very easy to tap into those feelings. “Mental Illness As Mating Ritual” is about my struggles to maintain a healthy relationship. I can clearly see how nuts I am. I’m working on it though. It’s a daily struggle to smash my ego and put others before me. I feel so conflicted most of the time. Feeling like damaged goods sucks, and I know a lot of people can relate to that. “I See You Are Also Wearing A Black T-Shirt” started as a feeling I got when I realized that so many of the people wearing a certain kind of counterculture uniform were doing just that, and they were sort of secretly these right-wing, joiner assholes. I sort of expanded that idea into suburbia and the absurdity that comes from messed up priorities. I feel like something very, very bad is coming for America, and no one wants to address things. Let’s just keep buying stuff and watching reality TV and posting selfies, and it will all go away. It was really shocking to find out that all these people into a certain kind of music who are like covered in tattoos or whatever are actually racist, sexist, homophobic rednecks. Cognitive dissonance, for sure.
You reworked “Bloody Like the Day You Were Born” for this album. Why did you decide to include it on the LP? Well, I know, I know a lot of people who are sort of vaguely familiar with the band probably haven’t heard that song, and it’s one of my favorite parts of our set.
“Charlie Chaplin Routine” is pretty dark, as is “Ghost Trash.” Would you consider them to be more personal songs or just stories? Definitely personal. Both of those songs are about the frustration of being completely fed up with the world at large, and not seeing a way out. The funny thing is that talking, or I guess in this case singing, about this stuff actually makes it better. I don’t need it solved. I just need to get it out, you know?
You’ve got dates lined up through the end of the year in the US. What does next year look like? We are planning a European tour with a band that we all love. I can’t wait to announce. After that, we’re looking at a headline tour in the US in the spring, and hopefully more package tours and festival stuff in the summer.
Your live shows have a reputation for being amazing, and that word doesn’t even do justice. Did you record them live in the studio or go the more “traditional” route? Ha! thanks, man. We push super hard, that’s for sure. We tracked all of the drums with Casey (bass) and I in the same room as Donnie (drums), playing along. We thought it was important to get the right, reckless sort of vibe so Donnie could play his heart out, which he definitely did. Casey and I then went back and recorded our parts with a little more precision. You’ve toured over the past few years with a long list of bands so far, one of which was the incomparable Melvins. Has there been a favorite show so far? Well, we only played a festival with Melvins, we haven’t been on the road with them yet. As far as a favorite, that has got to be Red Fang. We love those guys. Such an incredible band, and they couldn’t be more gracious. Super fun to hang out with, too. Speaking of being on the road so often, where did you find time to record Gold? We haven’t done any heavy touring yet this year. Just a few fly-in shows. We made a conscious effort to buckle down and write and record. That being said, we’ll be on the road for the rest of 2016. [laughs] I love being on tour though. Every night is Saturday night. It rules.
GOLD. ARRIVES ON OCTOBER 28 VIA EONE MUSIC
LOUD, VISCIOUS & CREATIVELY SHARP
Everything Ever is God Damn’s sophomore effort, another collection of energetic, noisy & riveting sh Ash and Tom to get know more about their new effort, the whole creative process, Tom Waits, Melv Words: Fausto Casais // Photo: Tom Rowland
etween the release of Vultures and this new effort, what changed for you guys? Do you feel you have grown as artists and songwriters since the debut? Ash: Absolutely, one of the main things we have learned is when to cut the bullshit and do what works for the song. It’s all well and good showing off your chops or your licks or whatever, but only if it works with what you’re trying to create. As a band, we have developed a bigger profile and fan base, which is amazing, but as far as how we write songs, it’s still pretty much the same. Everything Ever is quite strong,
everything seems organic and naturally made, perhaps this was some kind of a natural next step after your previous effort. Do you guys agree with that? Ash: Definitely. I feel that the songs are a lot more direct and to the point and the way it sounds on record is much more of a live, raw feel, which is what we wanted to do with this album. Thom: We didn’t go all kitchen sink, I agree everything feels more raw and live which is something I dig. You’re about to release your sophomore album, Everything Ever. There’s this kind of a heavy non-stop in your face energy & attitude,
ALBUMS YOU PROBABLY MISSED AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO... 22
PURE DISGUST Pure Disgust Self-Released
everything sounds so immediate and raw. How was the whole process of putting it together? Ash: This time around, we wrote the songs in a much shorter timescale so I feel they all slot in better together, it’s more of a natural sequence. Whereas with Vultures, it was written over a Ionger period of time so it was a bit more sporadic. We didn’t really plan to make an album with this one, it just came together, so we got it demoed quickly and nagged the label to let us go and record, and fortunately, they agreed. We had a very busy year with touring and festivals last year, so maybe that brought out another side to us. We just had to get stuff done and get some new sounds out there, and here we are.
Minor Threat, Bad Brains & Black Flag
The Promise Ring, Modern Baseball
Why You Should Give A Fuck About It:
Why You Should Give A Fuck About It:
Pure Disgust are part of this new wave of D.C. hardcore. Their oldschool foundations are loud and clear, it’s easy to think about Minor Threat or Bad Brains and their explosive rage is just the fuel to ignite their caustic and minimalist approach.
BLOWOUT No Beer, No Dad Self-Released
Portland band Blowout’s excellent debut sounds ambitious and strongly effective. The album’s sunny emo-punk is a collection of 12 near-perfect emo-punk catchy songs, full of hooks and compelling songwriting.
come to life. He has a great studio with cool gear, and he really makes you feel welcome. Thee Oh Sees or Pissed Jeans? Thom: Arrrgghh, too difficult! Thee Oh sees have it for me live, Pissed Jeans on record, depending on my mood. I just have to ask your opinion about the whole messy thing that we all call Brexit... What’s your opinion about the whole thing? Thom: The whole thing was a national shame and embarrassment. At the moment it still feels like a bunch of hot air so that we could be distracted from Pig Gate and Cameron could slip out the back door. Ash: I’m not much of a political person, and I would no doubt be eaten alive by someone who is, so I tend to avoid those questions. I’m just here for the music really, and I leave politics to the politicians.
harp anthems. We caught up with vins, Brexit and much more…
I love your lyrical approach, there’s this kind of refined dark humour, sometimes it reminds me of Tom Waits’ amazing way of connecting the dots. What inspires you guys the most while writing your lyrics, especially for Everything Ever? Thom: Tom Waits indeed! I think when we were doing our earlier stuff I was into his lyrical approach, now it’s just part of who I am. I feel it’s important to be creative when creativity hits you and not force it, sometimes you figure out what you were on about ages after writing it, I buzz off that. There’s a Melvins vibe all over the album, but also some great and detailed indie rock tunes... What were your
main music inspirations for this new effort? Thom: I fucking love Melvins. We live in a really cool time where it’s okay to be into Slayer or Slade. It’s important for us not to get stale and not just listen to bands that sound like us. You guys teamed up with producer Ross Orton and recorded at McCall Sound Studio in Sheffield. How was it like working with Ross for Everything Ever? Ash: The bloke is a legend, he’s the king of Yorkshire! Joking aside, we really learned a lot from working with Ross, it’s the first time we’ve really had someone help produce our music in the studio, and he really made the songs
FUCKED UP This Mother Forever EP Self-Released
What’s next for God Damn? Ash: As you now know, the second album is now out. So next up we head out in the UK with Red Fang and Torche, followed by a European tour with Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes. You will be hearing plenty more from us. What have you guys been listening to lately? Thom: Pile, Wand, Car seat Headrest, Tom Waits’ Mule Variations, Kong, Death Grips, 999, Pontiak. Ash: I’ve gone back to the late noughties recently. I’ve been listening to Them Crooked Vultures quite a bit, and Biffy Clyro’s Puzzle, I’m loving their new album too. I’ve also had T Rex playing in the car for the last week or so. Out of the new wave of music, I’m really enjoying Black Honey, along with our fellow West Midlanders Youth Man, and Clever Thing from Brighton.
EVERYTHING EVER IS OUT NOW VIA ONE LITTLE INDIAN
Fucked Up, Fucked Up, Fucked Up
Sad but dreamy synth pop tunes.
Weezer, Alice In Chains, Iron Maiden
Why You Should Give A Fuck About It:
Why You Should Give A Fuck About It:
Why You Should Give A Fuck About It:
And they did it again... Toronto’s experimental hardcore masters return with another noisy, ambient and challenging 2 track, 45 minutes EP. Truly uncompromising and completely, utterly amazing.
JAPANESE BREAKFAST Psychopomp Dead Oceans
It’s a record from a brilliant artist that deals with her grief in a brave way. Michelle Zauner deals with the death of her mother on this album, delivering an exemplary debut full of colorful and intimate pop tunes.
PUPPY Vol. 2
London-based trio sound like a strange yet stylistic blend between 90’s alternative rock, grunge and classic metal. Weird at first but infectiously addictive, full of fuzzy/heavy riffs, hooks and crazy melodic.
ROUGH, HEAVY & UNSETTLING
Douglasville, Georgia-based Norma Jean have been a leading force on the metalcore genre for ov two decades now, always finding ways to reinvent themselves at each recording. Frontman Cory Bra Putman was kind enough to share some details about the band’s latest full-length album, Polar Simila Words: Tiago Moreira // Photo: Rachel Putman
ccording to the press release, the record is inspired by a tumultuous relationship that you’ve experienced many years ago. What made it appropriate to talk about those experiences now? A few of the songs really touch on it and basically the theme was... What I really wanted to do was to write about abusive situations and relations. I just wrote about that from different perspectives and really I’m pretty disconnected from it, so I can kind of feel like something to talk about and get out there and try to use it in a positive way. It’s not something that’s negative in my life at all anymore. Trying to find things for people to relate to and being a musician is really important to me. It’s important for me to be open and honest about those things. It came out really cool, I think. I was checking the National statistics on the National Coalition Against
Domestic Violence website and... one thing is to know that there are cases of domestic violence happening every day, and another thing is to be presented with the hard and cold truth of it all. Were you surprised by the statistics? I was. When I looked them up, I went to nomore.org and I recommend it to anybody that’s in an abusive relationship, if you might be the abuser, or maybe someone outside just looking in, go check this website because it’s amazing. They don’t request money or anything, is just a great organization. The statistics are all there and it’s pretty insane. I look them up when I was kind of writing about it and it really blew my mind. Like, every minute 24 people are stalked, abused, or controlled... that’s a crazy statistic. It’s 1 in 4 men and 1 in 3 women. It does really hold true to... being a man it’s not something you hear a lot of people talking about, but there are men out there in abusive relationships being controlled, being mentally, emotionally and physically abused... and women as well, of course.
There’s even people who are economically controlled and abused. Absolutely! The control is a big part of it. That’s one the biggest things that I think is good for people to know. People that are in an abusive relationship, for lack of being able to explain it better, are in love and they don’t know, necessarily, that they’re kind of this dark place because they get kind of drugged there against their will. And they don’t know that’s happening slowly over time. They think that things can change and things can get better if they do this or that. I think it’s really important for people to know that sometimes you might not know you’re there. One of the songs on the record deals with me getting out of that situation and realizing that I was with an abusive person. Once I was out of that it’s kind of like seeing the light, coming out of a cave that you’ve been in for a few years. You get out and it’s like, “Wow, what was I doing in there?” That’s one of the most important things that I think
ver andan ar. people can take away from it. Does the album’s title, Polar Similar, comes from “polar opposites”? Yeah, pretty much. It comes from that idea. It’s something that you hear every day, it’s cliché, and everyone says it about everything. I kind had this idea, when I was thinking of that I imagined two poles and I thought, “Why there are two poles?” If you have this planetary figure and two poles coming out of each side, meaning polar opposites... I kind of thought, “Where’s the rest of the pole? Where does it go? They probably meet in the middle.” And if don’t meet in the middle, they’re not exacting the same pole they are at least similar, they’re close, and even being opposite sides of this planet makes them similar in a way that there are both on either side of the planet. You can find so many similarities, I think it’s actually a truer form is that polar meaning different but similar. And I like the idea of finding that, especially
in this climate where everybody is pointing fingers at everybody else and nobody wants to look at themself. I think that’s a really important thing. I wanted to make that kind of connection visually and really from there can just be kind of interpreted anyway people want.
we apply meaning to it instead of the other way around. I find that to work a lot better. I think it’s cool that you get that from that. That’s why I often don’t like to explain what songs are about or what titles mean because people will find better meanings that I had for them.
On the track, “II. The People”, you’re using an old broadcast from The Lincolnshire Poacher, a shortwave numbers station believed to be operated by the British Secret Intelligence Service. What message were you trying to pass with that message? There wasn’t really a message except that... that kind of goes more into an artistic thing. In the studio there was this very creepy kind of old vibe about it and we really changed the record once we got there. It’s called Pachyderm Studio, it’s where Nirvana made In Utero, Failure made Comfort there, Live made Throwing Copper there... so, all these really cool records came from out of this place. The house that’s on the property we stayed in has a pool room in it, and it’s every echoy, big chamber. We loved the sound of it so we pulled amps in there, and we tracked there any kind of reverby guitars on the record you can hear that room because we recorded in there. Anyway, one of the guitar parts on that track was recorded in there and it has this tone that happens at the end [starts singing] that goes kind of back and forth and it reminded Goose [guitarist Clayton “Goose” Holyoak] of the numbers station somehow. So he pulled it up on his phone, ‘cause he had heard it before, and he send it to the assistant engineer. He pulled the file up and just dragged it to the front. Didn’t edit anything and it matched perfectly. It’s the exact same notes that the guitar was playing and it was completely accidental. We kind of saw it as a sign and we decided that it had to be there. That’s really where that story comes from and why we used it.
I guess we can say that Polar Similar is divided in four chapters – “I. The Planet”, “II. The People”, “III. The Nebula”, and “IV. The Nexus”. Why did you decide to divide it in four different chapters? Could you please break it down? I wanted to tell a big common story, but I didn’t want it to be just one story. The abuse part of it is a part of it, but it’s not really the whole record. There are so many bigger things that I wanted to talk about, so dividing that up to me made sense to kind of show that there’s different things happening, and it fits with in the polar similar things like these are all different parts of a record but they are all on the same record. Again, people can kind of take that and interpret it however they want.
Funny that it has just a sonic connection. I actually interpreted it as a “secret” message from you to everyone that has been abused. See, that’s why music is so cool. Because it’s meant to be interpreted differently by everyone and it always happen. I hear stories just like you just told me from all of our fans. It’s a cool thing because... you know, it was like meant to be. A lot of time what Norma Jean do is we will do something because we feel like we’re supposed to or it happens like that story I just told you with the shortwave radio, and
After writing the album and getting all out, how did you feel? I was... pretty angry for a lot of years. I found that I was angry at a lot of people that I shouldn’t been to. I was never violent or anything, but I saw the effects of abuse through me. When someone is abused they typically will abuse themselves or others around them. So, I kind of found that I was more or less abusing myself – drinking, sleeping around, and just not being good to myself. It really took a little time to heal but... that’s the thing, it really is just making a mental decision. Obviously your heart wants to do something, but if you don’t follow that with your mind and actual make the decision and change nothing is going to change. And I think people can think that they will do something into existence and they can feel things into existence... it’s just not true. That was a big revelation for me realizing that and wanting to change... being able to admit that to you know even, without having to think about it. It’s not something I ever wanted to talk about before. I think it’s important for me to talk about it now. It can be used for good. Otherwise it’s just sitting there and nothing is being done with it. That’s kind of annoying to me. [laughs] I want something to happen. I want there to be a kind of reaction, something hopefully good to come out of it.
POLAR SIMILAR IS OUT NOW VIA SOLID STATE RECORDS
Trent Reznor has shared the full version of his new song “A Minute to Breathe,” written with his long-time collaborator Atticus Ross. This new track was made for Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming climate change documentary Before the Flood. Before the Flood starts airing on National Geographic on October 30. In addition to Reznor and Ross, Mogwai and Argentine film composer Gustavo Santaolalla composed the film’s score. South London’s Goat Girl have shared new track, the politically charged “Scum“, which is the b side to their upcoming debut single “Country Sleaze” and it will be released on Rough Trade Records on October 7th 2016. The band has also confirmed support slots with Dublin’s Girl Band in December & January 2016. Both tracks
MORE ROUND UP 26
were recorded purposefully quickly in a nonsense north London studio a few weeks ago with fast rising producer Margo Broom. Goat Girl head up an emerging set of groups from South London who have been inspired by the burgeoning local circuit there. Fierce, feminist pioneers of American grunge punk, the L7: Pretend We’re Dead documentary, directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Sarah Price (American Movie, The Yes Men, Summercamp), is coming this fall with select screening opportunities to be announced very soon. Offering particularly revelatory insight into the
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY UPCOMING // LETLIVE.
10 YEARS OF THE BLACK PARADE We caught up with Frank Iero to talk about one of the most influential and seminal albums of the last decade. My Chemical Romance celebrate 10 years of The Black Parade and you guys released a reissue of it with unreleased demos. How crazy is it for you to look back to that album and the whole overwhelming acclaim it had? It’s insane! First of all, it’s hard for me to even believe that’s been 10 years, and secondly to go back and to see how many people still care and fascinated with that band is overwhelming, it really is. It’s funny to be playing shows and to see young people come up to you that were maybe 3 years old when that record came out. They say stuff like they’re huge fans of that band and it’s incredible.
What’s the dearest memory you hold from The Black Parade times? Honestly, a lot of those times on that time period was a blur and the ones that weren’t were really hard. [laughs] There weren’t a lot of fun memories, sometimes the most torturous stuff sticks out in hindsight, but I feel like there was definitely a sense of accomplishment and there was a sense of that we were doing something important and special while we were making that record. It wasn’t about success or record sales or anything like that... It felt like we were making something important and I didn’t know how important it was until it was done and started to get out to the world. I’ll never forget that sense of accomplishment and feeling like you’re part of something that was bigger than yourself. To be honest, the only other time that I felt that strongly sense of “this is something really important” was when I was working on Parachutes [Frank’s new album]. It’s kind of funny that those two things are 10 years apart, maybe I’ll get something really special every 10 years. Maybe it’s a cycle. [laughs] Maybe I just have to hold for another 10 years. [laughs] Chapman Baehler
THE BLACK PARADE/LIVING WITH GHOSTS 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION IS OUT NOW VIA REPRISE Words: Andreia Alves
band’s 16-year career and eventual dissolution in 2001, the film features exclusive interviews with Exene Cervenka (X), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Joan Jett and more. Archive have revealed the details of their tenth studio album The False Foundation, which will be released worldwide on the band’s own Dangervisit label via [PIAS], and European tour dates to follow in November. Speaking about the new album, founding member Darius Keeler said “I think just knowing that we were working on our tenth album made this one feel like
a landmark record. Our history as a collective has been a mad journey, we’ve trodden such a strange path to arrive at where we are today, and I think in a way that informed the new record and emboldened us to make what is probably the Archive album that I’m most proud of to date”. Talking about the genesis of the album title Keeler says: “People are going to read in to who or what The False Foundation is I guess, but they’re going to have to draw their own conclusions. I have my own take on it, let’s just say there are a lot of potential candidates out there in the world today.”
Depeche Mode have announced the release of a new album and an European stadium tour. Titled Spirit, the album will be released sometime in the spring of 2017. The new album is produced by The Last Shadow Puppets’ James Ford and will mark Depeche Mode’s 14th studio album, and their first since 2013’s Delta Machine. The Summer 2017 European stadium tour will see the band play to more than 1.5 million fans in 32 cities in 21 countries across Europe. The tour starts at Stockholm’s Friends Arena on May 5, 2017 and ends July 23 with a final stadium show in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
THE LIVE ROCK: WORDS WITH THE WHIGS
After five albums and 15 years together, Georgia rock trio The Whigs are preparing to release the first live record, Live In Little Five, in November. We sat down with vocalist/guitarist Parker Gispert a drummer Julian Dorio and talked about the upcoming album, chickens and pizza babes. Words & Photo by Teddie Taylor
hat made you guys want to finally do a live album? Julian: The band, when we started, was always excited about playing shows and then when we first wrote songs together we would just try to envision them on stage and that just seemed like that was the dream, you know? As much as we like making records, and we’ve had a lot of fun doing that, I think that came second. We spent so much time on the road - ourselves and other people were like, “Why don’t y’all do a live record?” It’s kind of been bouncing around for years. So, finally, last December we had two nights in Atlanta at a venue in Little Five Points and we recorded it and that’s that. We finally captured the rock. The live rock. How did you pick the songs that you
were going to put on it [Live in Little Five]? Parker: We wanted to put two new songs on it and we also wanted to make it something that people would want to listen to over and over again, as opposed to an exhaustive four disc live set or something. Once we knew those parameters, then we were working within a 45-minute window and that helped us dictate, like, “Staying Alive” we were definitely going to have on there. There were a couple of songs that were definitely going to be on there like “Right Hand On My Heart” or “Staying Alive.” Julian: Yeah, I mean you’re hoping to find what you think are the best songs that you have - which is debatable of course. But then on top of that, which ones were the best performance? So, you hope it coincides - the best songs, did they have the most special performances? You might have a killer
performance of a song that you don’t feel is essential on a ten song live record, but it worked out, I think, where everyone felt. I read you were working on another new album. Are y’all done with number 7? Parker: We’re not. Where would you say we are, Julian? Julian: Rounding second. Like, it’s definitely exciting. And you’re like, are they gonna stop at third? But we’re gonna go home. Comfortable with the ten. So, the two new songs on the live album, are those going to be on the new one? Or are they just on the live album? Julian: You know, what I say is: I don’t know. And I’m not going to tell you. [Laughs] I mean they’re there, you have them and they might be on it.
helping out bands that haven’t quite reached his level of success. We have a lot of respect for him - not just a great guy, but just a real lover of music and I think it’s great for the Nashville music community. On the Pledge page... my favorite thing so far. These chicken modelling pictures on the camera [Julian’s Chickens On Disposable Camera]... How did that happen? Julian: Well, I have five chickens and I guess the idea, I should probably read it, is that you will get a very select group of photos of the chickens and me. Is that what it’s supposed to be? Parker: Yeah, I just thought it would be... I was trying to think of things that might be unique. Yeah, I was reading and I was like, what? It was funny and weird and cool. [Laughs] Julian: Three of my favorite adjectives. Parker: Yeah, they’re definitely unique items and maybe it just shows a side of you that somebody might not expect. Like, “Ooh, I wouldn’t think Julian would have chickens.” The question everyone is asking. [Laughs] Parker: How many does he have? Julian: Yeah, even I am interested to see how that one turns out. But I’ll make sure it’s good. [Laughs]
You might get that plus eight or nine more. You might get 10 or 11 spankin’ new ones. You’ve been recording with Patrick Carney [of The Black Keys]. Is that pretty cool since y’all have known him for a while now? I know you recorded in LA last time, so is it more comfortable being at home [in Nashville]? Julian: It’s convenient obviously. Patrick’s great. We were actually talking about him when I ran out of gas today. I think he’s so enchanting (and I’m not being sarcastic) that I just ran out of gas. We were just talking about how, not in spite of, not despite his success, but just I think as a guy I’ve always respected how much he loves music and loves working as a drummer or working as a producer and being involved in, now that he’s been quite successful,
How do I move on from there? Okay, another weird question. The pizza posters. How did those start? Parker: [Laughs] Julian: A friend [Jordan Noel] who has done a lot of... a designer I should say... he is a friend, but give him more credit than that. He’s a really good band designer and makes films. He has done a lot of artwork and t-shirts and so forth for us. A lot of posters. A few years ago, did he just do one? Is that how it was? Or did somebody prompt it? I don’t think so, but... Parker: No, I just think it just came in a series of, you know, maybe one’s a monster truck and one’s like a babe and pizza. And we were all like, “Woah! More of that! That’s great!” Julian: And I think, you know, he thought, “Well, I guess they seem to like this.” So then every time we’d say, “Hey, we need a poster,” he’d send over another, like, what looks like sort of a vintage film poster or something and then incorporate pepperoni pizza. Or usually pepperoni pizza. America’s favorite food. But sometimes a hot dog. Sometimes more toppings. And if he had a few extra dollars and wanted to splurge on some toppings. And so we always were like, “Great! That’s fine!”
So currently, well it’s not pepperoni pizza you know, but we have a shirt in the works that will be a food woman shirt. It’s gonna be good. So, you’ve all been doing other things, like solo stuff and other bands. Is it ever hard to come back to this band at all? Or does it take you a while to get back into the groove or is this always at the forefront? Julian: I don’t find it hard. I think these songs are so ingrained in all of us that I can’t imagine... I mean we rehearse and that’s good. If I’m doing something else I have to learn this stuff that I don’t know [laughs] and I’m like, “What am I doing?” This stuff is like the back of our hand, you know? So, we of course rehearse, but it’s very comfortable and fun. I think it’s much more our identity since it’s a band we started. You’ve played all over the world, but is there a certain city/venue that’s your favorite? Julian: I think the Georgia shows are where we... I think we anticipate these shows more than any show. It’s home and relationships like Coco [owner of Sky City and The Soul Bar in Augusta, GA] who you just met and in Atlanta tomorrow and Athens on Saturday. Those are people that have seen us and supported us from the beginning and we want nothing more than to make them proud and we have a lot of peers who have bands. We’ve been fortunate. A lot of them have gone on the road and toured everywhere and we’ve been lucky to do so and we just hope that we’re making our community back home proud. Through y’all, I found a ton of music. Are there any groups that aren’t so well-known that you think should be well-known? Julian: Parker has the perfect answer for you. Parker: Totally. Right before we came to sound check here we visited one of our old friends, this guy Ross Shapiro. He was in this band The Glands, who are probably kind of our all-time favorite Athens rock band. And they made two albums. One’s called Double Thriller and one’s a self-titled [2000’s The Glands]. And I think we all feel they’re the ones. They’re the best kept secret. And we lost Ross earlier this year and he just had the right ethos. His outlook on the art he made and what he wanted to accomplish with the group was just so pure and I always really respected him for that.
LIVE IN LITTLE FIVE ARRIVES ON NOVEMBER 11 VIA NEW WEST
MIXTAPE THE VERY BEST NEW TRACKS
1. WARPAINT “Whiteout” 2. AMERICAN FOOTBALL “Desire Gets In The Way” 3. EVERY TIME I DIE “It Remembers” 4. THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN “Symptom Of Terminal Illness 5. TOUCHÉ AMORÉ “Skyscraper” 6. EMMA RUTH RUNDLE “Real Big Sky” 7. VANISHING LIFE “Realist” 8. NEAUX “Deep Dive” 9. FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE “I’m A Mess”
HAVE YOU EVER MET A TWELV
Being a ninja takes huge amount of training, years of learning and back on him, especially if he’s twelve foot tall and comes from Aus the leading new forces of Australian scene, and progressive machi
10. TAKING BACK SUNDAY “You Can’t Look Back” 11. OATHBREAKER “Second Son Of R.”
Words: Miljan Milekic
12. KEVIN DEVINE “Instigator” 13. AGAINST ME! “Crash” 14. BALANCE AND COMPOSURE “Postcard” 15. GURR “Moby Dick” 16. JOYCE MANOR “Last You Heard Of Me” 17. MUMRUNNER “Sputnik” 18. PIXIES “Um Chagga Lagga” 19. PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS “Clean Up Mean” 20. SLAUGHTER BEACH, DOG “Monsters” 21. SLEIGH BELLS “I Can Only Stare”
ow busy were the last few months for you? Very busy as we’ve been
getting ready to launch our second album Outlier and prepare ourselves for some shows in Australia and US. As a short and clumsy person, I found your name quite offensive. So, how did you end up with it? The name Twelve Foot Ninja came about from a game called “would you rather” between Stevic and a friend on a road trip. The question was something like “Would you rather be a giant mechanised warrior with machine gun arms in the Middle Ages OR a Twelve Foot Ninja?” Stevic then decided it was a good name for a band.
24. BOSTON MANOR “Fossa”
What does it take to be a ninja, and more important, how to get 12 foot tall? Focus, dedication and the art of surprise! You get 12 foot tall by eating Weetbix and Vegemite on toast (Australian staple diet).
25. WHORES. “Baby Teeth”
When you first appeared on the
22. SUPER UNISON “Broken” 23. NEWMOON “Helium”
scene, you were something like a tornado crashing everything in front of you. Where did you get your sound from? We draw our sound from a myriad of different styles of music because we all listen to a wide variety of music. I don’t think we’re chasing a particular sound. It’s just what comes out when we make the music that we like! Your first record got you a lot of positive reviews. Also, a lot of other musicians declared themselves as your fans. How important was that for you guys? How much does it mean to you? It means a lot to be recognised by musicians we look up to. It means the world to us. So, Outlier is almost out. What can fans expect from it? Fans can expect a more refined version of our sound than Silent Machine, but with a little more experimentation on the non-heavy side of things. Lyrically, Outlier is more personal than Silent Machine.
VE FOOT NINJA?
d great great skill. Never look at a ninja in the eyes. Never turn stralia. We caught up with Kin Etik of Twelve Foot Ninja, one of ine you just need to hear!
What is new about this record? Is there something you haven’t done before? We introduced horns for the first time on a track called “Point of You”. It’s the first time we’ve ever had a horn section on a song which we’ve wanted to do for a long time. Stevic also played a traditional Indian instrument called the Tumbi on the track “Monsoon”. It’s a string instrument kind of like a sitar or akin to a banjo and it plays the main motif of the song. You have won a lot of awards in the past. I guess you are very proud of them? Do you feel any pressure for your new record because of them? No, we don’t feel any pressure because of any awards we’ve won. Whatever pressure we feel comes from within because we’re perfectionists to a fault. You have a strongly committed fan base. You even hold a record for the most amount crowdfunded for a music video. How important is that connection for you, and does it give you some kind of security on the
wake of the release of a new LP? The connection we have with our fan base is paramount to our band as without that core fan base we wouldn’t exist. Their response to our music and our live shows inspires us to keep doing what we do and it’s a symbiotic relationship – they get enjoyment from rocking out to our music and we get to keep making music that inspires us because they value it enough to buy it. You are ready for a tour with Disturbed later this year. What can fans expect there? What are your thoughts about it? A laser light spectacle complete with Stevic rendered as a 3 dimensional hologram that shoots lasers out of his eyeballs and sets the audience on fire... or maybe that was a dream I had? They can expect the best of Twelve Foot Ninja’s song catalogue, a dynamic show that only an Arena tour can deliver. It’s an honour to perform with Disturbed and it will be a lot of fun. I think we will probably learn a lot from how they run their touring operation.
Who would be the craziest band you toured with? Also, what is the most insane tour experience you remember? Probably the craziest band we’ve ever toured with is Canadian band Born of Osiris. Due to the fact that they ran purely on rocket fuel fumes the entire tour. My craziest tour experience was going to a strip club in Perth, Australia with Dino Cazares from Fear Factory and his wife, that was surreal. The last few years were crazy for the Australian scene. There are many bands who are coming up with unique, crazy styles and sounds. How do you explain that? Do you see yourselves as pioneers? They put a lot more fluoride in the water in Australia. Fluoride’s a neurotoxin and somehow all Australians have been affected by it in incredibly creative ways. Do I see us as pioneers? No, but it’s a lovely thought!
OUTLIER IS OUT NOW VIA VOLKANIK MUSIC
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NEW NOISE HEY! WEâ€™RE NEW HERE, PLEASED TO MEET YOU...
aving released recently their freaking awesome debut album, entitled Some Things Last Longer Than You, Londonâ€™s trio Doe have shown an incredible endeavor towards the band since their formation in 2013. The last three years, Nicola Leel (guitar, vocals) and Jake Popyura (drums, vocals) have created this punk-tinged indie rock with infectious riffs and girl-boy vocals
WHERE? London (UK) WHO? Nicola Leel, Jake Popyura, Dean Smitten RELEASE: Some Things Last Longer Than You (Out now via Specialist Subject Records/ Old Flame Records) FILE UNDER: Sleater-Kinney, Dilly Dally, Superchunk dynamic. Their mutual love for horror films and hatred of sport got them together to form Doe and they had great influences from Weezer, Sleater-Kinney, Helium and Breeders. After releasing a string of EPs and singles, a lineup change and the addition of Dean Smitten (guitar) in September last year, the band started working on their debut album. Some Things Last
Longer Than You is the culmination of their work throughout these years, showing a remarkable progression as a band, but keeping their essence when they first started. The trio headed to Greenmount Studios in Leeds with producer Matthew Johnson (Hookworms/Suburban Home) to record the album.
WHERE? Tampere (FINLAND) WHO? Kati, Sauli, Juuso, Jukka RELEASE: Gentle Slopes EP (Out now via Soliti/Wolves & Vibrancy) FILE UNDER: Nothing, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Slowdive
ABRASIVE, LOUD & DREAMY
Finnish foursome Mumrunner blend the best of dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz rock into a sonic exp vide. In the year since their first release, the band has toured and found time to put together a seco sound. We talked to Sauli and Jukka about the EP, Gentle Slopes, their musical inspirations and bein Words: Teddie Taylor// Photo: Heidi Soikkeli
o me, Gentle Slopes seems clearer and slightly less altrock than Full Blossom; the sounds from one track to the next make me picture still water, night time starry skies, etc. How do you think the sounds have progressed since your first release? Sauli: Thanks for the nice description. The sound of it might be a bit more dream pop than our previous EP. That’s because of Finland’s shitty economic situation. We had to sell some old boutique distortion pedals to get more
money for rent. “Cascais” is a pretty fast paced fuzzy rock though. I still have my Big Muff but I use it more sparingly.
worth grabbing and which of them get you in to trouble. The irony is that if you end up not choosing to take any of them, you choose to miss out on life.
Full Blossom is a bit over a year old. With Gentle Slope released not too long after, could an LP be next? Sauli: It could. Depends on how creative these coming autumn nights will be.
You included the gorgeous instrumental track, “Turn,” on this EP. Is that something we can expect more of in the future? Sauli: I see “Turn” more like an outro for “Cascais” than an actual song. We just wanted to cut it off of “Cascais”, so it’d be easier to make a music video for it. We are going to shoot it in a couple of weeks from now. We’ve actually written a couple of rad psychedelic instrumental space surf anthems that we’ve never played live anywhere. Maybe we’ll do that someday. Maybe next year when
I assume The Shawshank Redemption inspired “Shawshank.” Is there a story behind that? Jukka: You are correct about the reference. Although the lyrics are more about how life throws a bundle of opportunities at you, and you never know beforehand which of them are
perience that only they can proond record of genre-defying ng Finnish hillbillies. we’ll tour with Germany’s finest instrumental band. Gentle Slopes is the album name and the title of the last track. What do those words mean? Sauli: It basically means that we all have a need to feel secure. Will there be any European dates once the album is out? Sauli: We and some German dudes are (hopefully) working on it for the first half of 2017. If you can help with shows, contact us mumrunnerband@ gmail.com. All the help is needed! Who are some artists you were inspired by when discovering your sound and beginning to write music?
Sauli: It was pretty much everything from Joy Division to Nirvana to DIIV. I think we just started jamming with Jukka and our old drummer from my other band, Revival Hymns, which is a more post-rock-ish band, so we wanted this to be a bit more straight forward kind of stuff. Jukka: I always wanted to play in a straightforward post-punk influenced indie rock band, so bands like Placebo, Interpol and The National were big inspirations for myself personally and I have tried to bring some of those vibes in to the mix. Are there any certain effects and pedals that you regularly use? Sauli: Quite basic stuff from Line9, Big Muff, RAT, Holy Grail, different kind of
Boost pedals and choruses etc. And all of us have some Joyo’s on board. Those are really great! This EP was released very close to the first - it’s really impressive. What is the process of creating an album like with Mumrunner? Sauli: I do most of the demoing and after that, the whole band will arrange it and squeeze all the useless shit out of it. When the song is supposed to be ready, then there’s usually still a lot of articulation training ahead for Jukka and Kati cause we are Finnish hillbillies.
GENTLE SLOPES EP IS OUT NOW VIA SOLITI/WOLVES AND VIBRANCY
WHERE? Washington (USA) WHO? Katie Alice Greer RELEASE: EP A (Out now via Cassette via Sister Polygon Records) FILE UNDER: Fever Ray, Cocteau Twins, Zola Jesus
s frontwoman for D.C. chaotic post-punk outfit Priests, Katie Alice Greer has focused a fine light on ranting about Bodies and Control and Money and Power. Her approach was always totally full of DIY ethos, always outspoken and straight to the point, for some she might be a big mouth, for those with brains she’s an inspirational being, always thinking ahead of our
time. Now she’s back with her new four-song EP as KAG, simply titled EP A. The context is intriguing, fresh and raw, it sounds explosive and dreamy, but at the same time she’s the ability to go further and deeper, exploring everything from minimal melodic textures to atmospheric and melancholic vistas. Inspired by weird suburbia, formidable famous women, and the 1947 film Black Narcissus, Katie’s lyrics are like pieces of a big and gigantic puzzle, everything seems loose, but at the same time so close, actual and immediate.
WHERE? Philadelphia (USA) WHO? Michelle Zauner RELEASE: Psychopomp LP (Out now via Yellow K Records & Dead Oceans) FILE UNDER: Frankie Cosmos, Mitski, Fear Of Men
reamy and cheerful, but sharp and intense. That’s how Japanese Breakfast sounds like, Michelle Zauner’s moniker. Her easy way of putting together deep lyrics with dreamy synth pop tunes is quite mesmerizing. Her voice just flows perfectly on such well-crafted pop songs.
Michelle played with Little Big League and then in 2013 released her first tape titled June. Right after that she released Where is My Great Big Feeling and American Sound, all of which she released to Bandcamp in summer 2014. By that time she started working on her stunning debut album Psychopomp. It’s with Psychopomp that Michelle standsout her striking and vibrant songwriting, finding comfort and strength in her own music.
WHERE? Arona (ITALY) WHO? Rob Jacopo Scopel, Luca Peruzzotti REL FILE UNDER: Meshug
DETAILED, CRUSHING & AMBITIOUS
AEON is Burn After Me ambitious new effort. In order to get know more about their powerful and artistic statement, we caught up with the Italian mob, here’s the result... Words: Fausto Casais
EON is a conceptual effort inspired and based on “La Divina Commedia” by Dante Alighieri. Where did that come from? First of all, it’s a pleasure for us to have an interview with you guys, so welcome to the behind the scenes of AEON! Let’s start with the concept’s idea. Initially, we were thinking of other themes as well, all dealing with human behavior and man’s choices for himself, his kin and the whole planet. Then eventually we opted for the Divine Comedy, as we felt it was the only theme that could really sum up the entirety of humankind’s actions, and that could be easily proposed in a modern day setting, as if in 700 years almost nothing has changed in human consciousness. It’s incredible how such an ancient book can still be so relevant, showing us how time goes on and changes, just like places, friends and enemies, customs... yet thought and actions that originate from it, remain intrinsic and constant, as if humanity never learns. So, the AEON’s meaning is: The human being doesn’t change and will never change until every person will not make a self-revision to improve himself. When you’re writing songs together, do you talk about the deeper ideas and themes behind it or do you write the songs first and then get into what they mean? We think that an album should tell
something, be about a story, a trip or some kind of experience. This has always been our thinking since the beginning but if the ASCENT’s theme idea could be veiled and quite personal, in AEON the idea is clearly strengthened and structured. We set up all the main journey to have a clear basis on which work in and then we went more and more into the specifics of each song starting from the instrumental parts and then get to the lyrics. How was the creative path for you guys regarding the whole songwriting process? As already mentioned, with AEON we gave ourselves precise rules since the beginning. As you know, Divina Commedia has its own metric rules, so we tried to do the same: in the “inferno/hell” section we used demisemiquavers, sixtuplets, eightuplets, quintuplets. In the “purgatory” eighths, quarters, triplets; in the “paradise” 2/4,3/4,4/4 chords. It was very, very hard to find the right riffs and sound for the songs, because creativity was blocked by the fact that we couldn’t keep a certain chord in 2/4 instead of 1/4, even if we all felt that would have been the best way to end it. This created the necessity to think of something else, so we ended up with 3 different versions, creating something that’s not as predictable, but at the same time is functional and cool from our point of view. This happened
just for the rhythmic section, the lead parts and the voice are totally free. It has been a tough challenge, but also gave us a sense of “freedom” when the right “move” came. AEON was composed with specific rhythmic patterns; full of subdivisions and multilayered, hyper detailed and even the voice type is quite specific, all different for each realm. Was the album always conceived that way? We can say that only the vocal parts aspect has been left for last just to allow a better characterization according to the instrumental basis already well defined, but they have been designed in conjunction with the rest even though they aren’t as subject to limitations as the rhythmic/melodic structure. So, yes AEON has always been conceived this way. Was it hard to achieve the perfect balance of technical playing, transitions and the powerful vocals for AEON? Like all things on this album, absolutely. During the writing of the songs occasionally we had to refine a few parts to shape and make it consistent with the album’s journey, but there is no comparison with the much higher difficulty of respecting the self-imposed rhythm rules. [laughs] The operatic diversity is quite impressive, everything seems perfectly connected and there are no
berto Frigo, Niccolò Dagradi, Simone Folino, LEASE: AEON LP (Out Now via Nuvi Records) ggah, At The Gates, Tesseract
loose ends whatsoever. How hard was for you guys to connect all the dots and to create exactly what you guys wanted? Great! It means that we reached one of our goals! [laughs] Rules aside, the development process has been very mental - and believe us it was a mess to keep all in mind - especially in the early development stages. There were times where we didn’t know where to turn. Once we reached the “dots” situation we felt already in heaven. [laughs] “No tag, no clichés and no dogmas imposed by genres and subgenres.” This was a bold statement for sure, but AEON sounds distinct and really different from their peers. Was this approach conscious, or did it just happen? It happened quite naturally because we knew we had to give a particular mood to represent this work and the rhythmic rules have helped us a lot in this case. Is it going to be challenging bring AEON to the live shows? To play will be the easiest part of the whole process. The hard part will be to select the songs for a show when we haven’t the chance to play them all since it is a concept. It will be annoying to have to discard songs that you wouldn’t want to discard.
NEAUX WHERE? New Jersey (USA) WHO? Sierra Kay, Nick Fit, Ryan Briggs, Chris Peters RELEASE: Feel Off The Deep End (Out now via Iron Pier) FILE UNDER: PJ Harvey, Slowdive, Sonic Youth
rooklyn-based outfit Neaux is the new project of Sierra Kay of VersaEmerge and Nick Fit of Trash Talk. Somewhere between Slowdive and Sonic Youth, their palette of sounds is crazily rich and expansive, that goes from dream to synth pop, from hardcore to shoegaze. Feel Off The Deep End
is dreamy and nostalgic, heavy and fuzzy, delicate and at times uplifting, and Sierra Kay expressive voice is charming and daring, bringing some light and depth into their emotional bleak and slacker approach. Neaux is a new band, they even say that they are “old friends making new noise”, but even if they all came from different backgrounds and paths, everything sounds organic, raw and perfectly well-crafted.
AEON IS OUT NOW VIA NUVI RECORDS 41
WHERE? Atlanta (USA) WHO? C.J. Ridings, Thomas Gonzalez, Spencer Ussery, Joe Sweat RELEASE: Oneiric (Out now via Mascot Label Group) FILE UNDER: My Bloody Valentine, Nothing, Turnover, Deftones
tlanta quartet Big Jesus have been causing quite a fuzz these days. Their sound is ambitious, bold and fresh in every way. It’s fair to say that the 90’s sound is still a huge influence for a bunch of new bands, so, with that in mind, it’s not weird at all to see bands blending shoegaze
with indie rock guitars, hardcore with grunge nowadays. My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, are just a few of the direct influences of the Atlanta’s quartet, but their new album is way more expansive and crazily detailed that could easily be one life changing effort. Oneiric, their debut album, is easily getting everything to a whole new level, full of big riffs and melodic driven, it’s not hard to fall in love with Big Jesus.
Frank Iero is one of those artists that will always surprise you with his way of creating such outstanding art out of his own personal experiences. After releasing his first solo album Stomachaches under the name of frnkiero andthe cellabration, now he returns as Frank Iero and the Patience and with another remarkable album, Parachutes. We caught up with Frank to know all about it and so much more. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Justin Borucki
INTERVIEW // 65DAYSOFSTATIC
G & INSPIRING
ast time we talked was back in 2014 when you released your first solo album, Stomachaches. What have you been up to since then? Good question! [laughs] I’ve been up to a lot, to be honest. Since I released Stomachaches, I’ve been touring on that almost non-stop until January of this year and then when January came around I started to work on a project that I’ve been working on for three and half years, a band called Death Spells with my friend James Dewees (The Get Up Kids, Reggie and the Full Effect). We finished that record and we released it on July, I did some touring with that and now it brings us to the present where I’m now releasing the follow-up to Stomachaches, the record by the name Parachutes. Like you mentioned, you and James released Death Spells’ debut album Nothing Above, Nothing Below this summer. How has been the feedback so far and how did go the touring? It’s been amazing! To be honest, it’s kind of crazy. When we first started the project,
we released a demo and it was the total opposite of the reaction to when we released the debut album. I think people sort of took it as a back fight and didn’t understand it and it made them really angry, which was crazy. It was such a fun reaction to have, it was combative, but at least people had a reaction, you know? There was an intensity there and that’s how the shows worked too. And now years later, we release this record and it’s crazy the amount of people that connected to it and love the band and love those songs. Now when we play shows, there’s such a connection. It used to be very far and remote, we were kind of separated from the crowd because I felt like I wanted the band to kind of be happening and I wanted the crowd to be just a witness to it, and now it’s all over it. It feels more like a show, more like a connection and that’s an amazing experience to have. When did you start to dwell on your new album, Parachutes? There’s a part of me that’s been working on it my entire life, but as far as sitting down to consciously collect my thoughts and reflect all the different melodies are the things that I had in my head. I guess the beginning of this year was really the inception of it. There
are songs that made the record like a song like “Remedy” that has been around for many months before that. There are ideas like “The Resurrectionist, or An Existential Crisis in C#” and that song started maybe four years ago, but I feel like when you make art for living, you make songs for living. Everything around you inspires you and every experience that you have finds its way into the artist that you become. For me, I feel these songs sometimes they happen early on your life but you’re not just ready to formulate them. Sometimes your path has to kind of separate and cross again at some point. Naming the album as Parachutes has a special meaning for you. Can you elaborate more on that? I started to think about how life is a lot like kind of being pushed out of a plane and we’re all kind of hurtling through space. We don’t necessarily have to be born, but we find ourselves in this free fall. Some people just go through life at high velocity and hit the ground and then it’s over. Some of us if we’re lucky, we find love along the way and find things that bring us joy, and although those things won’t save us from eventually touching down, they do kind of allow us to hover a bit and appreciate the fall. These things could be anything. It could be relationships, passionate projects, just things that you do for a purpose and those things end up being our parachutes. For me, my parachutes have been my family and the art that I create. The last record stand from feeling sick and I had basically 12 songs on that record that I could trace back to a stomachache. Now these 12 songs from Parachutes I can trace back to a live change events that save my life a little bit. You released Stomachaches under the name frnkiero andthe cellabration and now you’re back with your second album under the name Frank Iero and the Patience. Why the change? I’ve always felt like when a band goes into a studio to write a record and to record, they have to reinvent themselves and change the sound of the band. You have to kind of rethink the way that you approach music and what music is. The pitfall is when you come out of the studio, you’re an entirely different band and it sounds different. People usually say “They don’t sound the same anymore.” For me, I was like “It’s gonna sound different, we’re gonna be different people coming out of this process, then the band’s name needs to change.” The first time around I named the band after something that
I felt like I really needed to bring with me. I was concerned that my comings as a frontman or my misgivings as being a focal point in the band would detract from the audience and I thought “If I bring along a celebration or a party, people probably wouldn’t notice that I feel uncomfortable being here.” [laughs] This time around I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel more confident and more comfortable in my own skin, so I didn’t need a celebration anymore, what I needed this time around was some patience. I needed the ability to take a step back and appreciate the moment. It felt just the perfect name for the band. The name will change with every record, so be prepared to have this conversation again. [laughs] On Stomachaches, you played every instrument except for the drums, which were handled by Jarrod Alexander (former My Chemical Romance drummer). How was it like this time around? This time around I didn’t need to do that. I felt like that’s the way Stomachaches had to sound. It was a conscious decision for me to make a record that you felt like you were listening in all as opposed to listening to, you know? I feel like every time I write, I write a piece. It tells me what it needs to sound like and I think that helps if I really pay attention to what the songs need and listen to that. This time around, I needed a lot more. The songs that I was writing needed more of everything and I needed partners in that. It was a very lonely process the first time around. I was in my basement writing songs, playing them into a computer, listening back, replaying things... This time around I was in a room with my friends playing these songs and flashing them out and just
"I feel more confident and more comfortable in my own skin, so I didn't need a celebration anymore, what I needed this time around was some patience. I needed the ability to take a step back and appreciate the moment."
writing. I would record that and listen back and it had a life to it. I wanted that for the record. Matt Olsson played drums, my brother Evan Nestor played guitar and sang, and Steve Evetts actually played bass on the record. Which song off the album was more elaborated and harder to work on? Definitely the hardest song for me to perform on that record was the last song of the record, “9-6-15”. That song is about my grandfather and I knew it was a very important song of the record. It had to be on there, but it was one of those songs where I tried many nights to write the lyrics for that song and it was harsh for me to come to a finality with it and to not be a total mess and breakdown while performing it or writing it. It’s a miracle I got through it. [laughs] I’m very happy that I did, but I guess now the challenge is if I will ever be able to do it again. I just love how you name your songs. How do you usually come up with them? [laughs] I think a lot in titles sometimes and like I said I draw inspiration from everything and anything. I like to pride myself on seeing beauty in the mundane. I always have like a notebook or a cell phone where I can type in some notes or things for myself. Some of the song titles have come immediately and I didn’t know exactly what they were until I ended up writing the song. Sometimes the song title came first and I have a list of different things and ideas here and there. Sometimes they link up perfectly, sometimes they need to be worked on a little bit. I tend to think of the song title as book titles or movie titles or something that kind of draws your attention and tells you just a little bit about what that song is going to be. My feeling on it is that you get one shot on the first impression and, if I can, I drop it on the first impression. I found out early on in being on bands that when you write a song and if you name it with something just dumb, that song will never make it. [laughs] It’s true, I don’t know why that is, but it means a lot to do that. The album’s bluish painting artwork has these two painted ghosts holding a little baby, which is a cropped photo. What’s the meaning behind this image? When writing the record, between deciding what it was about and naming it, I named the record first and then I had to think about like “What would I put there visually?” I started to think about life in general. I came across this artist, her name is Angela Dean and she works in Florida. She does
INTERVIEW // FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE
a lot of painting on photography. I started to think about parachutes and about our lives and for the first time we have an encounter with safety and love. At least for me - and for a lot of us - the first time we feel that first parachute is when we meet our parents. I knew I needed my parents included on the cover and then I saw Angela’s work. I thought about the sheets and the core idea of life and death, the idea of the ghosts and how the sheets are not sheets but parachutes and maybe our parents don’t save us once. Maybe at the end of it they kind of save us again when inevitably they pass on and release us into the world. I started to think about art as well and how it’s never truly done until we kind of relinquish control and release it into the world. All those things are why I chose to send a picture of me and my parents to Angela and asked her to paint it as you see now on the record. You worked with Ross Robinson and
Steve Evetts and it must have been a unique experience. What can you tell me about that? It was a dream come true! I heard so many stories that go along with those guys and the records that they make. For a long time I’ve been a fan from afar, but always too scared to inquire about making a record with them because I wasn’t sure if I could handle that. And then I started to write this record and I started to listen to the demos and I needed to take this next step. I needed to push myself to the brink and push myself over the edge. I knew that if I was going to be scared than the songs would never come out the way I needed. Immediately earlier this year I got to work with one of my heroes, Steve Albini, and it was such an amazing experience. It was definitely a bucket list experience and I said to myself “This is the other person on my list that I’ve always wanted to work with but I was too scared to inquire about” and I said “Fuck it! I’m gonna call him
up.” [laughs] It was one of the most incredible experiences in my entire life. I feel forever changed by it and I’m so happy that I took that plunge. It was a very hard journey, but I feel better because of it. No story that I’ve ever heard did any justice. [laughs] It was very unique and very fulfilling, yet amazingly depleting at the same time. [laughs] I’m just glad we survived. [laughs] You will do a UK/European tour with Taking Back Sunday on February 2017, which is just awesome. Yeah! I love Taking Back Sunday so much and they’re new record is fantastic, it’s so good! Every time we’ve played with them it’s been just a fun time. They’re just great guys and it’s nice to share the road with a band that you love and respect. I’m really looking forward for those dates next year.
PARACHUTES ARRIVES ON OCTOBER 28 VIA VAGRANT
On their seventh album, Taking Back Sunday are more fearless and ambitious than ever. Tidal Wave is the damn proof that they're a band of with their own sound, own standards and own attitude. Adam Lazzara told to us all about it and there was still time to go back in time and talk about their turning-point 2006's album, Louder Now.
AN EXCITING N 48
NEW CHAPTER Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Greg Hunter
efore getting deeper about your new album, Tidal Wave, I want to mention your album Louder Now, which was released 10 years ago and it was definitely a milestone in your music career. How do you look back to that album and what do you take from that now that’s been so long and you are still going strong as a band? First of it, it’s hard to believe that’s been so long since we released Louder Now. I think during that process, it was the first time we worked with Eric Valentine and then for us I think we were at a point where we wanted to try to set ourselves aside as a rock’n’roll band and that’s something that we’ve kept with us throughout the whole rest of the journey so far. “MakeDamnSure” is probably one of my favorite songs by you guys and it was the first single of Louder Now. Do you still remember how was it like to write that song? I remember that we had a starter kind of a much faster when we first wrote it and then it wasn’t so fast when we demo it a few times. We just kind of decided to slow it down a bit, which is still up-tempo, but it’s not that fast, and that’s when everything started to fall together as far as the melodies and other things coming out for it. What was your favorite track off that album? It’s hard for me to pick one. I think there’s something very special, exciting and unique about each one and that’s why I like the record as a whole. So, back to Tidal Wave. It’s your seventh record and it’s quite impressive how you guys keep on innovating and expanding your sound and approaching new ways of exploring it. This album is so energetic, dynamic, diverse and ambitious. What was your mindset while going into work on it? For us, with Tidal Wave being our seventh record, we understood that we were kind of fork in the road... Normally with other bands or artists, by the time they reach their seventh record, they’re very set in what they do and we’ve just never wanted that for ourselves. We wanted to try the best we could to keep evolving, to keep moving forward and just kind of take it through snapshot of the people that we are right now. I think that we’ve accomplished that with Tidal
Wave. It’s always scary going to any recording process, both because you want to impress your bandmates, but also you want to impress the listeners. I couldn’t be happier with the way this came out. I read that this was the first time that you guys wrote in the studio as you recorded. How was that experience and what benefits did it bring to the band’s dynamic? It actually works out great for us and then after this process we kind of realized that’s just the way we’re gonna write for a while. The thing is typically it’s the same when we wrote for any other record, the only difference is right after we were done like of working on a part or learning something new, we could put our instruments down and immediately walk into the other room and listen to what was there. When you do that, you can automatically hear what it is working and what it isn’t working, so it’s safer a lot of times of arguing basically because you can just go in and hear it right there in real time. It kind of gave us a new perspective, not only as a song as a whole, but also the digital part and being able to develop that as well. The title track has this vivid Ramones vibe and it’s just awesome. How did that song come about? Yeah! [laughs] Well, John [Nolan, guitarist] had this idea on an acoustic guitar and it was very folky and he basically just had that first line for the song that is “So what’s gonna happen when the old man goes”. We were all sitting around and he played it for us and then our drummer Mark [O’Connell] said to John “We should make a song out of that, that could be great”. Then about a month later, John came back with that and said “I made a song out of that part, let’s try it out”. At first it was very folky kind of singer-songwriter stuff and then once the band got a hold with it that’s when it kind of turned into this Ramones kind of Clash inspired song, which was also one of the first songs that really got the ball rolling for the recording and writing process. I think it’s the first time we realized that it’s ok for us at this point to wear influences right under our sleeves, you know? I guess in the past we were worried about that, but through realizing that it was something that was really freeing for us. It opened a bunch of doors. Musical wise, were there specific records or bands that highly inspired you guys? We all have very different tastes in music and I think that’s one of the things
“We wanted to try the best we could to keep evolving, to keep moving forward and just kind of take it through snapshot of the people that we are right now.”
INTERVIEW // TAKING BACK SUNDAY
that makes our band work, but also there’s certain common threads. With this record, I think everyone was bringing in their individual things and their individual influences, which kind of made up for this grand collaboration of all the music that we listen to now and what we listen to since we were kids. There’s this sense of home in some of the songs, like the tracks “Call Come Running” and “Homecoming”. Was your hometown in some way an important reference to your writing process? It was! For this record when we started writing, John was expecting a second baby - he’s born now - and so we were looking for a place to write that was close to our homes. John and I live in the same city, and so that way he could be home to help. Once we got into the studio and started writing, we just liked that place so much that we decided to record the whole record there. We all live in different places - two of us are in New York, two of us are in North Carolina and
one of us is in Ohio - and so normally when we get together a lot of us are staying in hotels or unfamiliar places, but with this record the guys either stayed at my house or at John’s house. There was a big sense of home and community during the process, which insert its way into the record. The new album was produced by Mike Sapone (O’Brother, Mansions) in Charlotte, NC and mixed by Claudius Mittendorpher (Weezer, Drowners, Ra Ra Riot). What did they bring to the recording sessions? It was great! We’ve known Mike Sapone for a long time and he has this ever expanding and growing musical taste, so there’s a lot of examples and things that he brought up to studio that just got our brains think differently than just how they typically do, which was a big help because then if you got stuck on a part or on a song, he would suggest something that was way out of that field and that got everybody thinking differently. All of the sudden we realized that the possibilities are endless and we’re no longer stuck. That was one
of the things I like about working with Mike. And then Claudius was just great. He has his way of making things sound quite larger than life. He mixed Happiness Is (2014) and that’s why we wanted him mixing this record as well. Regarding tour plans, you guys have just announced a UK/European tour for February 2017 with Frank Iero And The Patience. What can we look forward from these live shows? Frank is always great to watch! For us we’ve been so wrapped up in this record that we just worked so hard that we’re really excited to get out there and play it for people. The idea that we can travel that far from home and still have that connection with people is something that just blows my mind anytime we’re able to visit and play over UK and Europe. I think for anyone who’s going to the show, you can expect 100% from us because that’s not the kind of thing you can take for granted.
TIDAL WAVE IS OUT NOW ON HOPELESS RECORDS
INTELLIGENT & UNSETTLING COMPLEX 52
Norwegian artist and songwriter Jenny Hval has been mesmerizing an entire world of people who are willing to hear her out for quite some time now. In what’s her most creatively enthralling phase – we can say it started with last year’s excellent Apocalypse, girl album – Hval has just released her most focused and perhaps gripping album. It was about Blood Bitch and a myriad of subjects associated with its existence and creation that we talked with Jenny Hval. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Jenny Berger Myhre
ou talk about menstruation in the album... Do I? Not so much. I mean, I do but the thing is, I didn’t actually think about it as that when I was writing and recording it. I was thinking more about horror stuff and then later I realized that. Yeah, you’re absolutely right but I did place menstruation in a sort of horror/ exploitation film context, I think. I always wanted to ask this, so I’m going try to ask as many people as possible. Have you ever felt that you’re missing out, not having menstruation? Have you ever thought about that at all or wonder what is like? I wondered what is like and I’m fucking scared every time I listen to women talk about the excruciating pains that comes with it – even though it’s different from woman to woman - and when I see their faces going through it and you can sense they’re in a lot of pain. [laughs] Yeah it’s very different from person to person. It’s very different, it’s not like an unifying experience necessarily. It’s something that is an individual thing and also the shame factor of it is also quite... some people are brought up in these wonderful liberated families and other are not, so there’s a whole like misology around menstruation that’s also very different according to who you talk to. I somehow wish that it wasn’t considered so much something that women have to have. There is actually now more acceptance of trans people. There are now menstruating bodies of both genders, which is something that I find amazing. It doesn’t have to be so exclusive and it doesn’t have to be presented, certainly not, as it has been in commercials and in the Hollywood industry. The thing that I was sort of attracted to was the sort of link between the blood and the horror film, and the blood in menstruation. Unfortunately in the horror films is very much the virgin blood [laughs] that’s being sort of seen as maybe the highest form of blood or the purest blood. There’s so much nuance in terms of what blood is in the films that I was watching. Because I was watching so many films when I was making the album, and so many of them were horror films. And it was really nuanced, because in some films the blood would look so real – the more high-budget ones – but there were some films that I was watching that had no budget pretty much and so all the locations would be hotel rooms, or
corridors, or just random spots outside, and a lot of the blood would look really fake. That’s also really interesting, this kind of not-believable blood. It’s almost like fake menstruation. There was so much blood that I was seeing in this period when I was recording Blood Bitch... I guess it was sort of very natural for me to sort of become a blood bitch at that point. I decided to record an album and watch a lot of movies, so I was recording during the day and watching movies at night as part of the album recording. I think I was drawn to that because I really wanted to make an album that was a narrative... It didn’t have to be a narrative like a conceptual album or something that you have to sort of read up on to understand, but just to give the listener a feel of urgency, I guess. Like there’s something driving one track into the other, as if you’re seeing a movie. On your statement about the new album you say, “Blood Bitch is also a fictitious story, fed by characters and images from horror and exploitation films of the ‘70s.” Was with the ‘70’s films that everything started for Blood Bitch or was just a new way to approach something you already wanted to express? I think it was already there. I think it was there from recording Apocalypse, girl, the previous album. These ideas that I wanted to explore and recording... Like writing and improvising as recording process, and making things that were more visceral, simpler, and recording without so many people. Recording pretty much everything on my own, or playing everything myself and making something extremely personal that would sound more personal. Not as in my diary... well, maybe but mostly the sounds that I would find and like myself rather than me bringing in other people who have their own history with what kind of sounds they like and which instruments they have. I wanted to make something that was very focused, so I guess that was my starting point for the recording. This sort of need to do something that I wasn’t really exploring with the Apocalypse, girl album of last year. I started watching all these films and it became really important for the writing. I came in to the recording space, like the time and space of the recording, and sort of just let... a lot of things just happened. I didn’t come with lyrics I was confident about. I came with snippets and I came with maybe like a couple of pages of writing, I came with sketches that were extremely unfinished, I came with ideas that I
didn’t even have words to express what I wanted to [laughs], like very vague feelings, and then I kept writing all the way through the recording process. I think because I wanted I felt very drawn to these movies and the sexuality of them, like this kind of like very oppositional erotics of a lot of these films. Because they were underground films they didn’t have to stick to the same rules as mainstream movies, probably made without too many voices coming in saying, “Do this more professional.” There are a lot of different connections of like lo-fi expressions that probably I got interested because that’s I wanted to do. The fictitious story seems to be heavily rooted in extremely personal and intimate thoughts. Would it be fair to say so? I think the lyrics... If I’ve managed to make them sound very personal that’s great. I definitely want that feeling and I know that whatever I write, however fictional I make it, is always going to be me but I don’t think people will find... maybe I will find in two years that it was very personal in this sort of storytelling narrative about myself level. I think I’ve never written anything that’s been more sort of influenced by a drive to steal from the movies I was watching and make it my own, make it extremely personal. I think the idea of music that’s very personal is more to do with making things personal than whether they’re your actual reality or not because it needs to be specific and sometimes I find that if I combine the way I’m feeling about something with a very specific like a scene from a movie or a thought that I have that’s inspired by anything from a friend’s experience to a word of art, then that to me is, most of the times, more personal than me telling the listener what I’ve been experiencing in my life. Because that sometimes is more generic. When you read people’s personal stories, like celebrity stories about what’s happening in their lives, is very superficial most of the times. So, you need think deeper than that to say something that’s personal and intimate. On your previous album at one point you sing “Self-doubt – it’s what I do,” and on this album, with the song “The Plague”, you kind of shout “I don’t know who I am?” That’s what makes me say that it sounds personal and intimate, although there’s also that fictional side to it. I think there’s definitely a good mix there and that’s what I mean by saying like combining strong feelings of something with strong memories from the associations that you have to other
works. Yeah, those two observations are good. I think “self-doubt – it’s what I do”, that’s the very personal part of me actually talking about making art is. And maybe when I’m saying “I don’t know who I am?”... It’s from some other sound world that never got to be on the album. It has more of a context that you’ll never be able... and I will forget in two minutes and no one will know about, which is also something that I really love. Taking like short pieces from something that made more sense originally in a longer, like a song that I cut up and then I just use five seconds of it. Those sorts of things I really love doing because then you’ll have the intense motivation and maybe a line like “I don’t know who I am?” and they’ll exist in a world where you really hear the motivation of it. When I say it, I do say it in a very specific way, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll know exactly what happened before or after in that sound clip that I then cut. “I don’t know who I am, but I’m working on it.” (“Conceptual Romance”) Would it be fair to assume that to be the goal of your artistic expression? Maybe right now, maybe not always. I think that’s the sort of thing that always changes. It kind of grows with your experience, I think. Also, when I’m in a song I’m not really me. I exist for the listener as a song in the here and now when that song is on an album, so the “I” I’m talking about is sometimes the self of music. I like to think of it as this kind of fluid identity that’s not always the person, it can also be a sound. Because that’s more of an emotional side of humans, I think, when you don’t always try to sort of reconfirm that you’re a normal person doing this or that... it’s more like, “In this moment I feel something so intense that I don’t feel human.” or “I’m really wondering right now what’s happening because I’m having this experience What am I now?” A good experience of music or visual art can sometimes, for me at least, be like that. You can sort of feel your body, or your soul, or whatever, sort of extending a little bit, changing a little bit. Unlike most singers, you experiment a lot with your voice looking for new approaches. How the process of creating vocal lines and melodies usually goes for you? Is there a borderline-unhealthy amount of demos piling up? I never rehearse and I never experiment. I just write. I think that when I try to sing without having a writing plan I suck. I don’t understand... I mean, I have no motivation. I sort of need to be in a writing mode. Maybe that’s why I
INTERVIEW // JENNY HVAL
“It didn’t have to be a narrative like a conceptual album or something that you have to sort of read up on to understand, but just to give the listener a feel of urgency, I guess. Like there’s something driving one track into the other, as if you’re seeing a movie.” never got very good at any instrument. I can never get the motivation to practice. I have to write. With Blood Bitch, I actually feel like I’m doing almost nothing with the vocals. Everything is very soft, with a couple of exceptions, everything is very straightforward. But then is nice to hear that others don’t find it to be that way because this is how I remember it at the time... this sort of giving up of experimenting with vocals. But what matters is how it feels listening to, so maybe that’s more to do with my experience with making the album and the sort of hypnotic state of being in these weird horror films and then performing or writing something that’s feeling like it is in that world too. The conversation that opens “The Great Undressing”... where does that come from and why did you decide to include it? It’s a truly wonderful moment on the album. I love it! I love it because it’s this moment of a completely different sort of reality peeking through, like
breaking an illusion in a really nice way. I ask two of my friends, who have been with me on stage a lot, to talk and send me the file of them talking. Me and my co-producer Lasse [Marhaug], we just chooe a part that we liked and it was a part that was about... it was a bit about cake and then it was a bit about these two people talking about what the album was. So, it was extremely casual and just really them not really knowing what to do in this recording situation. I just found it really lovely. I find it this to be a moment where I acknowledge the listener’s world also, like this stepping away into the world of whatever’s listening maybe, or a step closer to something that’s in the real world or in a different place. I went backpacking for the first and only time in the year 2000 and I’d picked up a cassette and it was Thurston Moore’s Psychic Hearts album, which starts with a recording of a voicemail message from a woman. It’s very sweet and I’ve always really loved these albums of an album having like skits or conversations or... humans doing human things.
You’ve included on the album that conversation between filmmaker Zia Anger and performer Annie Bielski, who you worked with in concert as well as in film and images. How impactful has been for your art the presence of these two women in displaying your art? I think they had an enormous impact. They’ve sort of been allowed to create a world I would never have come up with. Zia with her videos and then both of them on stage, and I think it’s not my world but it’s a world I very much admire and it’s really crept to the way I’ve been thinking about what I do. I don’t even know how to express my gratitude for it because it’s a true sort of collaboration that’s also a very strong artistic bond and friendship. Part of the reason I wanted their voices on my album was to just have that element of that bond on there, in the sound. I also really love their voices and they’ve meant so much to me.
BLOOD BITCH IS OUT NOW ON SACRED BONES
UNDER HER SKIN It's no longer a surprise that Emma Ruth Rundle has an enchantment and bravery in all her art. On her second solo album, entitled Marked For Death, Emma goes way more personal and raw in her songs resulting in a neat and bold effort. In a truly frank and inspiring chat, Emma told us all about the process she went through while making her new album and how that endeavour took her to a better place in her life. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Emma Ruth Rundle
Last year you released Marriages’ amazing debut album, Salome, and now you’re back with your solo album number two. When did you start working on Marked For Death? I think the song “Marked For Death” was the first song I had finished for the record. I was writing this record in pieces. I guess I had written that song maybe even before Salome came out. There are some B-sides to the record that I had written also in between all the touring with Marriages last year and I’ve kind of finished writing the record when I was living out in the desert at The Farm. I was out there for a couple of months after I got back from the Alcest tour and I just stayed there out in the desert and wrote a lot of the record there. Some of it was pieces, some of it wasn’t pieces and the last part was “Real Big Sky” that I wrote in the desert...
ack in March you revealed on your Facebook page that you had to cancel shows with Boris because of an ongoing health issue and you really needed to take some time off. How are you feeling now? Did you fully recover? I’ve made a full recovery... I had a surgery in March. I have some ongoing health issues... I have Adenomyosis, so that’s a sort of ongoing saga of just living in a human body, but it’s certainly not life threatening and the quality of my life has been very good in the last 6 months. I’m feeling much better. Are those health issues permanent or you can heal over time? As far as science knows, it’s a permanent condition that women have in their reproductive years, but there are things that one can do to treat it. I’ve been doing those things and I haven’t really been in too much pain lately, so it’s good. You went through those health issues earlier this year, so did that have any effect on the new album? The pain has affected me... I mean, I was having a hard time around the time we were recording the album. I think that having these health problems has definitely played a part in some of the emotions that I’ve expressed in the music.
Your songwriting has always been very honest and personal, but with Marked For Death you go into a much deeper level. It just feels like there’s no walls between you and your music. You really go under your skin with this one. What were the elements or inspirations behind this approach? I think making Marked For Death to me had to really be the end of this time of very basic human sadness and what I wanted to do with the music and with the record was make something that was just a completely raw sort of expression of my experiences and feelings in the most basic human way. There’s nothing necessarily intellectual about the music, but as I was writing it, I was checking in always to make sure that I wasn’t writing any songs that were about... everything is autobiographical. The emotion was the most important thing for me, it was like if it wasn’t honest, it wouldn’t go on the record. That was something that I didn’t wanted to do. I guess what I’m trying to say is the idea behind writing this record was that I was going to be very brutally honest about things that I was experiencing like health issues, issues about being a woman, very basic human things... There’s no grand philosophical or intellectual piece or concept behind this, it’s just a very simple expression of me. The cover artwork for Marked For Death is a portrait of you and it just reflects the whole feeling and rawness of the album. Can you tell me when did you took that photo and who did it? I’m glad that comes across because that’s very much what I wanted to accomplish with this record. I wanted to really put these things down and I wanted this to be the end for me. I really need this to be the end of the suffering. All of the things that I was touching on that happened since Some Heavy Ocean and while I was making Some Heavy Ocean isn’t forming all the things that are on Marked For Death, but the artwork is a self-portrait. I took this photo when I was living out in the desert. All the photos in the record are self-portraits. I started doing photography and being working a lot with this very simple and basic camera that was a gift. I’ve been doing a lot of filming and I started doing a lot of self-portraits during that time. That particular photo was while I was doing the sort of pre-production/recording
demos out in the desert where I had been living. By the time I got into the actual recording process of making that record, that photo is where I was... I guess that’s what the music in the photo is for, it’s a card for me to sing words, but I just wanted to capture the space that I was in. I was taking a lot of self-portraits during that whole time, trying to just document the experience and it’s weird to look back to that photo. I don’t really identify with that person anymore. I think with the artwork was also important for me later when I had the choice to rebrand the music, I could add like a prettier photograph but I didn’t want to do that. I did not want to make images that were false or not connected so directly with the time and the experience that the music is. I wanted to tell an honest story, I didn’t want to do the make-up and all that shit. There are few references to heaven on tracks like “Medusa” and “Protection”, even in the name of the tracks such as “Heaven”, Hand of God” and “Furious Angel”. Can you elaborate on that? I’m not a religious person. I think that religious imagery has really affected me. I would say that my parents are sort of ideological or religious tourists. Separately, they both have these very intense journeys and connections with theology, spirituality, traditional new age and also some adventures into the world of cults... I was never raised or really brought deeply into any form of Christianity. I was baptized as a child and I do remember that happening, but there’s something moving and powerful to me about these ideas and images. I think I have a lot of nostalgic connections to the classic concept of heaven, discussions maybe with my grandmother... I think I have been very affected by her death and being very closed to my grandmother. Her name was Ruth. I think just watching people transitioning from life to death is just this idea of blissful possibility that exists a place to a transcendental idea, you know? I like the idea of it. My personal beliefs are not necessarily aligned with the concept. In the fantasy of my mind, I like this idea. I did realize later after the record was finished how many sort of Christian type references are in the music and in the lyrics, and I had to kind of question that... It wasn’t necessarily intentional, but there’s clearly something that moves me about that particular set of ideas and the mythology of Christianity. The song “Heaven” is also talking about revelation at the end and this idea of
a very apocalyptic experience that happens to a person as an individual and on the other side of it there’s a personal apocalypse that can happen whether that’s the actual physical definition of the body and then transcending it into a sort of God’s headspace or heaven of blissfulness with something that’s more divine. I think I’m very fascinated by that idea. I enjoy playing that song the most of the songs off of the record because it’s sort of a narrative of these kind of basic human suffering, the idea of losing loved ones, losing children, losing partners, losing family members, losing all the things in the physical world to get to a transcendent place where you can see beyond that, through the fire of purification. I guess it’s like an alchemy. Sometimes it feels like our body is just a vessel for us to go through this world and to our mind just transcend through that. Yeah! And having to lose all the things in the physical world... I think this is a theme for me like losing the ability to be a mother, losing loved ones, loving my grandmother, losing hope, losing self-respect, losing sobriety... Those are the things that I’ve struggled with... Losing my health has been a big thing for me in the last couple of years. Losing the things in the physical world and what comes after that once you giving all of these things up. You worked at The Farm, Sargent House’s recording studio outside Los Angeles. How was it like to work in there for this record? The place was very bleak, very isolated and not luxurious at all. I think people have this idea that it is like “Oh, this luxurious desert oasis” and it was not... I mean, there was natural beauty. I was there in the winter and it was below freezing. It’s in the high desert, you can see a mountain there, you can see the Joshua Trees, you can walk out on these dirty roads, but it’s the kind of desert that’s full of garbage and it’s also full of beauty... But it was very bleak, isolated, cold... I was using a wood burning stove while I was out there. It’s a harsh landscape, very harsh, and it’s far enough away from the main city. People don’t really come out there to visit you, you know? It’s far enough away, it’s not an easy day trip to just go and head back. I think what you get there is just this extreme loneliness. There is this space to make noise and not being disturbing anybody, but that’s what I took away from there, which I was grateful to have a place to stay and to have a place to be completely isolated. I don’t think it would be healthy for me to stay out there anymore than I did...
How long did you stay there? Were you by yourself? I was by myself and then the other musicians and Sonny (DiPerri, producer) joined me, and he brought all of his gear out there and set it up, because it was basically just an empty house, like a big empty living room with nothing in it, no furniture. [laughs] Was it peaceful and healthy for you to work there? I think it’s unhealthy to be there for too long. I think that I would have lost my mind completely, I think that’s me, you know? When you go into an empty space, the desert is just known for its void and so maybe you receive back
INTERVIEW // EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
“The emotion was the most important thing for me, it was like if it wasn’t honest, it wouldn’t go on the record.”
what you’ve put into it and I think that I couldn’t have stayed there any longer. I know that other bands were going there to work on demos, because it is a good place and it’s close enough to the city where you can get there and stay for a weekend or stay for a few days or a week or whatever it is to go there and write, because you can sleep there obviously and so it’s convenient for bands to write music there. But again, I’m very grateful to have been able to be there and it was a very cool concept that Sargent House is still always working on this idea of these multiple purposed spaces, making these communal endeavors and I think
that’s a very cool idea. This particular location was bleak, but I was also in a bleak space myself, so maybe that’s just reflecting where I was. For some people the desert is very energizing, for me I had some experiences with having lived in the desert and maybe situations that I wouldn’t necessarily categorize as being positive. Like you mentioned early, you worked with engineer/producer Sonny DiPerri for this album. What did he bring to your sound and recording dynamics? I love Sonny! He has been working with Henry who’s my friend and I really liked what he was bringing to the table with Henry. Sonny loves to do records on
location, he enjoys going to places to make records and so it’s this concept of we were going to live in the space and make the record where I have been writing it and everybody was going to come out there and live there for ten days. He brought all of his gear out there, set it up like a spaceship and it was just a completely immersive process. In us doing that, I think we were able to access some things that we would not have been able to in a regular studio if we stayed in Los Angeles where everybody goes home in the end of the day. We really kept the energy of The Farm and contained in that record, you know? The writing of the record, the artwork, the recording...
There’s a big empty metal barn up there on the property and all of the reverb on Marked For Death is that barn. He and Jason would take out to that barn and revamp it through the barn so it captured the sound of the reverb on that space... So, even the reverb that’s on the record is from The Farm and it’s a unique sound that could only be made in that barn. We were really excited and Sonny was really good at incorporating the energy of that space into the record. I think by the end of the record we developed a really good rapport working with one another. You can be friends with somebody, but once you enter in the space of working on something together, the dynamic changes and you have to kind of rediscover the relationship, so I think by the end of it we got into a really matter of fact smooth work space. “Real Big Sky” is like the centerpiece of this album, even though is the ending track. What can you tell me about this one in particular? I had recorded and written “Real Big Sky” out at The Farm. I recorded it on an acoustic guitar, played it through this little amp with some distortion and just sang it. It’s just an iPhone demo and then when we came to making the record, there’s a lot of the record actually recording it and making the arrangements with the drums and the band that was exploratory. The song “Hand of God” with the band version we ended up cutting a huge junk of the middle of it out. Sonny was involved and he was very much like a sounding board for me. I would say “Sonny, do you think this part goes on too long?” and Sonny was right there with me in those kind of production calls. But with “Real Big Sky”, we recorded several versions of that song. There’s a version of it where Andrew is playing full drums and it was more like a rock song. Then we did a version of it where it was like an ambient song, like the guitar was used as almost a synthesizer, I was doing all my petals and it was like almost a textural thing and Sonny was very interested in exploring that version of it. I think we dedicated a few entire days to explore that song and in the end of it I decided that none of these things were going to work and I had to go back to the demo version. We got a bass sampler and we plugged the acoustic guitar through that and there’s the version that’s on the record, which I think it’s the most honest version that had to be that way. Sonny made things very easy in the recording process I think the way that he was miking my vocals
and we came to an understanding about vocal’s sounds. I really trusted him with my vocal. He understood how I wanted my voice to translate on the record. We had a lot of discussions about other records that we both like, the production ideas and who we were influenced for production and it was a lot of Daniel Lanois. We were really both very interested in Daniel Lanois production on Emmylou Harris’s record Wrecking Ball... Sonny was really great to work with. He was very open to listening to and working together on these production ideas. I think we both come from a similar listening background. We like a lot of the same kind of music and I think we both had the same sort of references in mind. You recorded other versions of “Real Big Sky”, are you planning on release them or not all? Oh no. They were never finished versions and so it was like we were getting into recording it and then I would have a nervous breakdown and I started crying. [laughs] You know, none of those versions were ever finished because they were wrong... We would go half through it and I would be like “No, no, no...” and I would sit there with my head in my hands and saying this isn’t right, so those versions will never be even finished. There are two versions of “Hand of God”, there’s an acoustic version of that song. What can we expect from your solo live shows this time around? For this tour with Wovenhand is going to be really solo, there’s no band. It’s going to be reinterpreting the songs to make them appropriate for solo performance, because I’m not able to bring a band with me right now. I think people can expect to see... If you could imagine versions of the songs that are like “Real Big Sky”, it’s gonna be just guitar and vocals for this tour. I won’t be able to reinterpret the sounds, I don’t think I would be able to bring that reverb necessarily, but I think what you can expect to see at the shows is something that’s maybe more emotionally intense but production wise is very different. It’s going to be way more stripped down and intimate. I’ve noticed that you did some guitar recording with Dylan Carlson and Kurt Ballou at GodCity. What are you guys up to? Dylan is going to release another record and so that’s his project. He invited me to be a guest on that record. It was with such an honor and I was so terrified, and we recorded with Kurt Ballou. I really wanted Marriages to work with him. I’ve been a huge fan of Kurt’s recordings
and everything that he does and it turned out he’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I’m like such a big fan! If you could make a t-shirt that just had Kurt Ballou’s face on it, I would wear it all the time. [laughs] Dylan inviting me to play with him, I mean, my guitar playing is very influenced by him and by Earth. It’s his record and I appear as a guest working with him and Kurt. It was a very interesting process, it was very different and a very unique thing. Dylan has his way of working and coming into a studio with no idea what I was going to be doing, it was an adventure and it was an honor. I kind of can’t believe that it was real and so I’m excited to people to hear it. It was a lot of exploratory and fun to do it. If we could do another one, I would be thrilled. He’s just got his own unique way of being. He has this landscape in his mind and the music is telling us a story that’s taking you through it, so getting to walk along beside him and watch that and try to be part of it, it was really interesting. You do a lot of photoshoots with Kristin Cofer, and they’re all so expressive and stunning. She’s so brilliant! I’m in love with her. [laughs] She’s the one of the most sensitive, brilliant, special people that I’ve ever met. I wish that you could know her, her personality... I mean, her artwork is obviously incredible. She has such a strong style. You can see one of her photos and there’s no mistaking it for someone else’s work. I think she’s doing something really important right now, which she’s documenting a lot of artists in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. I’m excited to see what Kristin does, I think she’s an important person and artist and I’m very grateful to have been so close to her and been working with her. You are exploring more photography as well. Are you going to expose some of your photographic work? I think we’ll see. [laughs] It was mostly like I wanted to have an art hobby that never touched money, so I wanted it to be just something for me. But I’ve been doing videos. I have Electric Guitar Two that I’ve been working on and each piece is going with a video. I’ve been collecting footage from my travels around tours and off tours, I’ve been filming a lot of nature and that’s kind of where I want to go with it. I do love portraits, but I want to release some of the visuals that I’ve been doing to accompany Electric Guitar Two.
MARKED FOR DEATH IS OUT NOW ON SARGENT HOUSE
INTERVIEW // EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
"The idea behind writing this record was that I was going to be very brutally honest about things that I was experiencing like health issues, issues about being a woman, very basic human things..."
Striking & Uniqu There is little to be said about Neurosis that hasn’t already been said in a thousand ways and a dozen languages. Depending on who you ask, they are either one of the most important bands in heavy music or the most important and even after three decades, their spirit of sonic evolution shows no sign of abatement. With their 11th studio album Fires Within Fires proving to be as striking and uniquely affecting as anything they have ever produced, we spoke to vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till about the spiritual blaze that burns within this most singular entity.
ou’ve been working on the 30th anniversary shows lately. How do you feel about the band, looking back over those three decades? The overwhelming feeling I have of all of it is just having a sense of gratitude that I’ve been able to spend my entire adult life in this band, with these guys, finding such an individual sound that has meant so much to our lives and our psychological wellbeing; finding such a positive way to express those types of emotions and to be a part of something that feels so essential to who we are, so important to our view of the world; to be a part of this music.
Both your live performances and your recorded works seem very immersive, all-consuming – how much of a physical toll does this take on you? The live shows definitely take a toll. We’re not young anymore and we always wanted to make sure that we physically embody the spirit of the music and sometimes that’s pretty intense. It is definitely hard on the body that way, but I don’t really see any way around that. That’s what the music demands and that’s what we have to do to make sure that it’s purely flowing through us in an honest manner - to just surrender to it and become the music. What about emotionally? Does it take a lot out of you or do you find that it gives more back? Well, for sure it gives back. That
energy is around us and inside of us and if you didn’t have a positive expression for it, what other ways would that energy manifest? Probably not good. I think for sure it saves our lives over and over again. You’ve announced that your London shows are to be with Earth, Discharge and Subhumans supporting over the two days. What do those bands mean to Neurosis? We’ve been talking about it and the 15 and 16-year old selves of us would never have imagined that we’d be playing with Discharge and Subhumans, let alone asking them to support us at a London show. That was beyond our wildest imaginations at that point, being able to play with people that were important to us as a band in the beginning, that were an inspiration. The sound of Discharge
Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: John Sturdy
difficult. We’re just not in the same physical space or headspace that some of that was and we’ve evolved so far past it that even though we have respect for every step that we’ve taken, because everything we’ve done has made it who we are, some of it, to be honest with you, was like, “Oh, we can’t even play it; that’s too stupid, we don’t want to play it!” [laughs] We would never make those same decisions without knowing how we’ve evolved so it was educational in a way, but I’m glad we only had to do that for those 30th anniversary gigs in San Francisco and Roadburn, and now we get to bury those dead songs and move on. Some of those songs have life but definitely nothing off the first two records. There’s some moments off Enemy Of The Sun, Souls At Zero and Through Silver In Blood that can still rear their heads once in a while and have a little bit of life. but the really old shit? That belongs in its time and place.
and Subhumans albums were fucking mindblowing at the time, and I think still are - they have their certain way that they changed music forever for us. Earth is a more contemporary band for us but still, the idea of bringing drone to heavy music, which we know now has had a huge reverberations through lots of different bands and artists, was hugely important and we’ve always had a lot of respect for the music that Dylan has made in all the various incarnations of Earth. We’re just really proud that they’re willing to share the stage with us in London for the other night.
because it’s something other people tell us. I don’t think that we would necessarily say so on our own, that would be extremely egocentric or some kind of bullshit so I think we just take it in our stride and are grateful that people find our music to be important to them and that other people get similar things out of it that we get out of it. It’s awesome and if we have an influence on anyone I would hope that it would be like how other bands influenced us to be passionate, to never give up and to find your own, original self-expression.
Mike Sheidt from YOB once stated of your importance and influence that “there is before Neurosis and there is after Neurosis”. How do you feel taking on the same role that the likes of Discharge once took on for you? It’s hard to be objective about that
You tried with those shows to bring in as much from your entire career as possible. You don’t typically go back to those first two albums so how was it revisiting that material and trying to rehearse those songs? The very old stuff was definitely
What was it that you felt clicked with Souls At Zero as it really did mark a transition point for Neurosis? I think it was when we blew the door open. We had these ideas in our heads earlier on. Even though it’s considered just a hardcore album, Pain Of Mind – I hadn’t joined yet but I spent a lot of time listening to it – I always felt had these hints towards something more psychedelic and more sinister. Then, when we did Word As Law, it just felt like growing pains in a lot of ways – we’re hearing these things but we didn’t know how to find them. We had no idea how to find it and then I think we just found a way to distil the energy we were longing for, to distil the emotions and to really get closer in there and that, with the addition of keyboards and samples – especially with the sampler; it made any sound in the universe possible to be turned into an instrument – was the gateway we needed to push through that door, sonically.
Did you find a difference in atmosphere or meaning with the retrospective shows in comparison with those which would usually be meant to promote an album? I don’t think we ever necessarily feel that our concerts are to promote an album, as far as that goes. A concert is a unique experience every time and it is just to take whatever is inspiring us out into the live environment, but the 30th anniversary shows were different in the sense that the amount of respect and gratitude from us, and from the audience, just mutually looking at this time period and going, “Holy shit.” At least from our perspective, saying “How lucky are we to be here right now doing this and to have found all of these sounds, and to have other people give a shit about our strange music.” Our strange music, that saves our lives, has also helped other people out and has meaning for them. It was a pretty special and profound experience and I think in our guts we knew it would be that way and that’s why we decided to do it and do a rare look back. It was in gratitude and thanks to the audience because we don’t really do that. We’re very self-centred in Neurosis’ music, we just do it the way we want to do it and don’t give a shit, but it was a time when we really just wanted to be thankful and appreciative. There often seems, in your music, a battle between the cerebral and the instinctive. Is there a struggle to maintain that balance? I think we’ve been leaning more and more toward the instinctual. What we’ve learned slowly, and what I can say in hindsight, is the cerebral side is extremely weak and any idea you can come up with in your mind is actually completely inferior and pathetic – and I’m only talking with regards to Neurosis’s music, not anyone else’s art – but with our sound, it really has to be instinctual. It’s all about flow, it’s all about energy. It’s not about concepts, or the intellect; get the ego out, get the brain out of the way and let the heart and the soul flow. Every time we get together we learn to get more of our own way. You can hear it – Souls At Zero, you can hear the brain ticking and that’s why there’s all these things that stop the flow. You have more ideas than need to be in there whereas with the new record, it starts and it flows through in a very seamless way. There are times when a hammer has to come down and crush everything but it’s all within this flow. It never feels glued in or stuck on.
Moving on to Fires Within Fires, which is an absolutely staggering record, how did the writing and recording of this come on? You guys have a reputation for working very quickly in the studio. It was a pretty natural record to make. We had nothing we were working on and we just decided to put a weekend aside in February 2015. A couple of us got together the weekend before, just to get some basic ideas, create some basic seeds just to have some things to jam on to see what would happen, and by the end of the weekend that we all spent together – it was really only a matter of hours – the entire skeleton of the album seemed to take shape. We put it on the shelf until November because we had studio time booked for December; we just knew it would be fine. We trust the process. We knew that if we had a few days in November and a few in December, by the time we got in the studio we would be ready and that’s the fastest it’s ever happened for us. It really just showed itself to us. Have things changed much over the years in your ways of working with Steve (Albini)? No, we really learned from him in the first couple of records we made that all we need to do is show up in Chicago with our equipment, set it up and start playing; he’ll start rolling tape and in a few days we’re done. Was there any conscious direction for the album? No, again going back to that idea of getting out of the head, not letting the intellect influence that. Our only conscious desire is to constantly evolve and constantly move to new place that is inspiring for us to play and explore
“It’s not about concepts, or the intellect; get the ego out, get the brain out of the way and let the heart and the soul flow. Every time we get together we learn to get more of our own way.”
sonically. I think we achieved a lot of sonic territory with this record and a lot of new places we were able to take some of what we do. Given your intuitive approach, how do you marry that musically and lyrically? Does one come more readily? I think words are harder because words are always the last thing we come up with. The music comes first, finding the natural flow of the music, and then we spend a lot of time trying to decipher what the voices are that we hear hiding inside the music. The artwork for Fires Within Fires is very striking – there’s a strong symbolist presence in there. How did that come about and what exactly is its meaning? I’m not going to give you a meaning because we didn’t discuss one. It was definitely a collaborative effort with Thomas Hooper, the artist, who is fucking incredible. Basically, we gave him the energy of the album, what it would be, and he’s been aware of us and been a fan of us for a long time so he knows what our previous artwork was. We both just knew that we wanted to take it somewhere new, and that it was going to be a hand-painted piece of art – it wasn’t going to be a digital layout. He started sketching and drawing things, and we would react, and it would go back and forth, fine-tuning different things. The images that came across in the beginning were the sphere, the planetary red sphere, and the key and solar mandalas, the human heart and the tree – a lot of these things took a lot of different forms and shapes until they finally came to the point where we could see what the package would look like and then he just dove in and hand-painted every single panel – even the logos and record label logos. It was just a really rewarding experience. Although it’s been around for a while now, just how much freedom has self-releasing on Neurot given you? It’s what we’ve always wanted, or at least I wanted. When I was a kid, I always liked the model of SST, Dischord, Touch And Go – having a community of independent artists that treat each other with respect and are outside of the music industry as a whole and not trying to mimic the music industry, so for us it’s important. It kind of goes back to those old-world values of honour and respect – buying the art from the artist and buying the craft from the craftsman. Given the vast sonic spectrum they cover, what do you look for in the
INTERVIEW // NEUROSIS
bands that you sign to Neurot? It really just comes down to a couple of things and that is, do we feel some sort of kinship with them as people; do we feel a kinship with the music, with regards to being original, honest and emotionally intense in some sort of way. That’s about it. We want to release emotional, original music that moves us with people that are decent human beings. Going back a bit, but are there any plans for the reinstatement of Tribes Of Neurot? What are your memories of the experiments you did with that project? That was a really great time that we had, experimenting with that. That’s just taken a back seat mostly because we don’t live near each other and that stuff is most rewarding when you have time to sit around and create these abstract soundscapes live, together and in the moment, whereas all of the time that we see each other now is spent mostly playing Neurosis concerts and then, once every few years, making new music. We barely even find time to rehearse – we barely rehearse for tours or anything. I wouldn’t say that it won’t happen again, it just hasn’t been at the top of our list of things to do in a few years but definitely, that kind of exploration of sonic
territory had positive influences on Neurosis because, as you explore your instruments and electronics in different ways, you find new and interesting methods of manufacturing sounds. We’ve definitely utilised those methods in Neurosis for sure. In terms of self-exploration, you have always had a steady output with your solo material, as has other members of the band. How much have you been able to take away from that process and put into Neurosis? Tons. Right off the bat, just as far as using melody and having confidence in my voice with something besides just yelling all the time I think has been huge and I think Scott would say the same thing. I think we both found a lot more confidence in our voices and therefore we have a much wider range of expression, which is actually more appropriate to the range and different landscapes that Neurosis creates sonically. In the past, we would really struggle with what to do with quiet parts and the beautiful parts and now I think we have a wider depth of field, vocally, with how to approach those things. Given that I’ve recently undertaken the same change, has moving from the city to a more rural locale
changed your perspective? I’ve found it can be quite isolating. Definitely do not feel isolation, I feel much more connected to the earth. In the cities, I always felt isolated from nature and the cities are so full of busybusybusy. Sometimes it’s very creative and interesting and a large percentage of the time it’s just people being busy. To be able to stop and breathe and to be with the seasons and the weather to me is more important. In the city, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, but out in the mountains if two feet of snow comes, that changes how your day is gonna go and you just have to be a part of that. For me, it’s been priceless – for my peace of mind and my state of mind - to have space. What’s most important in life? You fucking die in minutes without air so having good air should be important; you die within days without water so having clean water should be important, and then you move on from there. For me, it’s all about that – the clean mountain air and water, the solitude of the trees. There’s plenty of city around if I need to get to it. Within a matter of hours I can be right in the middle of all the bullshit if I want to but it helps me a lot.
FIRES WITHIN FIRES IS OUT NOW VIA NEUROT RECORDINGS
Let’s get this out of the way – half of S U R V I V E composed the soundtrack for Stranger Things, the show that everyone and their cats love (especially the cats) - yes, that includes that mean-ass theme tune. Now that’s out of the way, we can get on to the fact that the Austin quartet’s second full-length RR7349 is on the way and it is the darkest, grooviest and most chilling synth trip you’ve never heard. After a few technical issues on our end, we nabbed the time of the never-busier Kyle Dixon to discuss the finer points of synth mastery and just how he’s handling being involved in the biggest show in the world right now. 66
ealing with technologyas much as you do these kinds of technical hitches happen a lot when you’re on tour or recording? Not a lot but sometimes. Luckily, Michael (Stein) knows how to fix synthesisers; he knows how to build them and stuff, so in the past when we have had some of the older gear go bad, he always brings a soldering iron and random stuff just in case we need to fix anything. That’s really handy and yeah, there a lot of troubleshooting;
VY & CHILLING Words: Dave Bowes
for instance, when we practice to play live, we’re not really practicing how to play the songs, the notes, so much as practicing to make sure we have all the gear hooked up correctly. We know what the flow of the set is so we can set up. A lot of our synths don’t have presets on them because they’re analogue, so we have to make the sound for the next song while the previous song is playing. We’ve got stacks so one of them will be playing and in the time that we’re not playing, we’ll be setting up the sound for the next song. That’s at least half of practicing for us – running through it and making sure we know what we have to do so there’s not so much dead space, because we try to have sound going the whole time – we don’t really do the whole ‘play a song,
talk to the crowd’ kind of thing. Technology’s awesome and terrible. So are you guys analogue purists? No, no, I wouldn’t say that. We definitely have a lot on analogue synths, but not purists by any means. We use anything, we use digital synths too. A lot of people get a newer synth and try to make it sound like an analogue synth, which we don’t do – if we’re using a digital synth it’s because we want it to sound like a digital synth, because there’s a lot of sounds like weird, crystally high-end bell stuff that you hear in a lot of rap music and even John Carpenter stuff – those are very digital sounds that are difficult, or just impossible, to make on analogue synths. We use the digital synths for
that stuff or vocal pads. We use anything we can to play up its advantages. We’re not going to try to make it something that it’s not. How did you get started with synths? Is that your musical training or do you play anything else? Training?! [laughs] I’m not musically trained – I got kicked out of musical theory class when I tried to take it in high school because I was a brat and didn’t play any instruments; I just liked music and wanted to make music, but I was using a laptop and just sampling stuff. Mark (Donica) took piano lessons so he’s probably the closest to classically trained but I wouldn’t even say that much. We kind of learned just through experimenting, recording,
sounds sampling them, fucking them up with plug-ins or pedals, doing that kind of stuff. Michael and I grew up together – I’ve known him for about 15 years, since before our music was even a thing. We kind of lost touch for a while and then I went to school with Adam (Jones) and met Mark, we started making music – not like S U R VI V E, so much, just music in general. I got back in touch with Michael after not speaking to him for a couple of years and found out he’d been doing music as well; he’d started buying old synths and building a new modulator, so shit, let’s make some music, dude! Once we started talking I realised I’d been trying to do all this shit with computers and I need to get some synthesisers. At the time, I was living with Adam and Mark in Austin and Michael came down one weekend to jam. “Hey, bring some stuff and set up in our living room. Bring a couple of synths, see what we can do.” We ended up writing what was eventually the first S U R V I V E song that weekend. We decided that this was pretty cool and maybe we should make a band. We made a MySpace page or something and put the song up then boom, it was official. S U R V I V E is a thing now. We didn’t really start playing or really being a band for another year. Michael was living in Dallas and we were all living in Austin so he would come down on weekends. He was pretty much here every other weekend and we just said, “Dude, you live in Dallas. Dallas isn’t that cool. You come down here, you have fun, play music that you like – you should just live here. By the way, there’s this vintage synthesiser store that just opened up – maybe you could work there.” He thought that sounded pretty good – it’s called Switched On and it’s run by our friends, it’s a great place – so he moved on, started working there... that was a pretty long fucking tangent! That’s the back-story, I guess! It’s cool, I like talking synths too! When you’re buying new equipment, do you buy for a need, like a specific tone, or would you rather pick something up and play about to find out what it can do? It’s a little of both. A lot of times, I think “I need this to do this,” especially with modules because you’ll try to make a patch and you can’t do it because you don’t have the piece that you need. I think it can go either way but generally I’ll hear something or see somebody playing with a demo and think it sounds cool and I want to play with it. Then, hopefully Switched On has it so I can go play
with it and decide if I actually like it, and then other times I’ll have to buy stuff off eBay or Facebook groups. Were there any albums or soundtracks that hooked you early on and made you decide that this was the kind of music you wanted to make? Not so much soundtracks but albums, yeah, totally. We grew up listening to Aphex Twin and the old Reflex Records stuff, which isn’t really that similar but it’s at least where a few of us were coming from pretty heavily. That’s always there, the way they do their sound design and interesting sounds. A while later, I heard the album BGM by Yellow Magic Orchestra and to me; there’s a song on there called “Mast” that was a big part of what I wanted to do with S U R V I V E at least. There’re quite a few Tangerine Dream scores we all like, like The Keep has a really good score; Jean-Michel Jarre is a really obvious legend, Giorgio Moroder... all those dudes. 70s synth cosmic stuff and then also minimal wave stuff is an influence. Pretty much, if it’s music it’s going to influence us in some way. It comes out sounding how it sounds but we listen to everything. What is your approach to composition, especially with the new work? Approach to composition? You see the synths sitting around, right? They’re all hooked up to this PC, which is the main sequencer. We usually just start writing on that, or just play around with something like that. Usually record MIDI into there, if I can; some of the units don’t have MIDI but generally, we’ll just write the parts out on PC as MIDI and then build it up from there so I can play along. That’s an easy way to write quickly, but you can also get stuck in ‘the loop’ aspect if you do that too much before you have enough parts. Then you just have one really good section that you can’t really do anything with. There’s some saying that one of my teachers told me that’s like, “If you’re doing a realistic portrait you have to paint broad and wide.” You have to paint the whole thing first and then go back and add detail, you’re not gonna paint the perfect nose and then move on to the next part. I always try to remember that when I’m writing because it’s totally true – you have to get the skeleton down and then fill the detail in, because if you spend too much time on the nose, once you get to the other shit it’s gonna look weird. There’s no way it’s going to work. It’s the details that really work on the album, especially on a track like “Dirt”where it’s the little snippets dotted throughout that sell the effect.
Yeah, that one has a good amount of texture. That was a fun one. That main choppy percussion thing was a modular patch that I had made and I knew I had to record something with it before I lost it, because the way it was working was very specific to the way it was hooked up; it was important to get something recorded out of that session if we wanted to use that sound. I’m glad that happened because we like that song. There’s a lot of subtlety and textures on there. There’re probably less layers on this album than on the last one. It’s still there, we just tried to tone it down to make it a little more focused. I don’t know if anybody else will be able to tell the difference. No, it does seem a lot more concise. Yeah, that was the goal. With the new album, did you write with any narrative in mind? In a lot of cases, we’ll write something and there will be a very visual aspect to it. It’ll bring to mind some sort of image, and a lot of times that’s how we’ll start referring to certain parts of the song or sounds in the song. If it sounds like a hammer, we’ll say, “We need the hammer to smash the rock open!” or whatever it is. In “Dirt”, we had this image of killing a demon or something, hammering this stake into some monster. Other times, it’ll be like when a helicopter’s flying over the city and you see the fire that’s going on over in the distance. What about videos? You had a great one with “Hourglass”, so are you planning anything for the new material? We’re trying to figure that out right now – I probably have about ten emails in my inbox of pitches for videos. The label wants us to do one, we want to, but the original person we wanted to do it isn’t available, unfortunately, so we’re trying to look for alternatives. That “Hourglass” video was a fan video – some college students made it and sent it over to us, and it was pretty good! We asked them to take it down and make it an official video but it was about three years after the album was out. Sure, why not? It’s good, it’s high enough quality that we can put it out. We don’t want to just make a video to have a video anymore. We want to do something we are happy with, so that’s why we don’t have anything for the new album yet, but that’s not to say it’s not going to happen. Hopefully I open my email later on and there’s the perfect idea sitting there waiting. Are you happy with the fan input? I’ve already started seeing the covers
INTERVIEW // S U R V I V E
“We’ve been doing this for almost 8 years now, pretty much doing the same thing and hopefully getting a little better at it, and now people all of a sudden care because it’s paired up with this show [Stranger Things] that’s doing really well. That’s great, but it’s weird.” of the Stranger Things theme coming in. Yeah, those are so fucking funny, dude. Have you seen the metal version? My god, it’s ridiculous – it’s pretty awesome but it’s ridiculous. It’s one dude playing all the parts, and he’s super into it. It’s rich. Then there’s club remixes, and there’s all the covers on YouTube, like the accordion version. We’ll just send each other text messages, saying, “Have you seen this?” So bizarre. I never would have imagined any of this stuff happening. The Stranger Things phenomena, though! When did it start sinking in? It hasn’t. I was at a bar last night and I hear, “Stranger Things! Stranger Things!” Arghh! Stop! I kind of want to say, “Can you just not talk about that?” No, I’d never do something a text saying, “Hey dude, I don’t know if you realise this but Stranger Things soundtrack is number three on iTunes, right behind PARTYNEXTDOOR.” Whaaat? “Oh wait, it’s number two...
nope, it’s the number one album on iTunes.” Wait a minute, I have... I have a number... I have a number one album?! And it’s a fucking score? There’s not even any like that but it’s fucking bizarre. People are coming out of the woodwork that you don’t know, just trying to be around you for whatever reason. I went camping the day the show came out so I didn’t have cell phone service for three days, then I got back into town and my phone blew up as soon as I turned it back on. It didn’t really stop since then, it’s been a constant. Then you get lyrics and the songs are two minutes long, max... what the fuck is that? How does that happen? I was talking to a friend the other day, and she said she doesn’t really like pop music. Well I do, whatever, and she says, “Well, you are pop music.” By definition you are right! It hasn’t sunk in, and it happens every day, but you can’t help but laugh about it. We’ve been doing this for almost 8 years now, pretty much doing the same thing and hopefully getting a little better at it, and now people all of a sudden care because it’s paired up
with this show that’s doing really well. That’s great, but it’s weird. Are you nervous about the shows? That deluge of soundtrack requests... That’s going to suck. We were debating whether we’d play the theme song or not. I think we might just reserve that for special occasions, plus we just don’t have time to prep what with all the other shit we have going on. It’s going to be weird if we don’t play the theme song, because people are going to leave, like “Eh, they didn’t play Stranger Things!” It isn’t a Stranger Things show, it’s a S U R V I V E show. I know the shows are selling better than they would otherwise so maybe we owe them it. We’ll see, but I don’t see us playing it any time soon. That said, Michael and I are going to do a oneoff show doing Stranger Things stuff in Krakow for Unsound, right in the middle of our other tour, which hurts my head just thinking about it. We still need to prep for that.
RR7349 IS OUT NOW VIA RELAPSE RECORDS
Burbank, California-based post-hardcore/screamo outfit Touché Amoré have become one of the most interesting, refreshing, and exciting bands in the entire punk spectrum. Most people would agree that their 2013’s album Is Survived By was, at that point, their biggest artistic statement, an album that thousands of people simply couldn’t forget. What follows such brilliant piece? We talked with vocalist/songwriter Jeremy Bolm about Touché’s brand new album, Stage Four, and all the misfortunes that made the album what it is.
INTIMATE, BRU AND DEEPLY 70
UTALLY HONEST CATHARTIC! Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Christian Cordon
know that West Virginia was the only state that Touché Amoré hadn’t played yet a couple of years ago. Have you managed to play there yet? No. [laughs] It’s so frustrating. It’s funny... I think we’ve played around 840 shows and if we could make it work to that be our 1000th show then it would fantastic, I would love it. Maybe on this album cycle we can make it work. [laughs] Even if there’s only 10 people there. I don’t care. [laughs] I will play in a parking lot or in someone’s living room. It doesn’t matter. I just want to know that our songs are being played in West Virginia at least once. Is Survived By seemed to be, at the time and to this day, such an important moment for Touché Amoré. Would you say its creation and existence change, in some ways, the band? Not that I can really pinpoint, to be honest with you. I think we were following such a steady path of just album-touring-album-touring-album that it sort of felt very routine... Not in a bad way, just in a way we felt we were working very steadily. I just think that every year that we’re together and working we are just sort of building a stronger foundation. I feel that all of that sort of culminated for making this album now where, since there’s so much personal things on the line, I think everybody worked extra hard to sort of get to where we are now. It’s the first Touché Amoré album where you sing. How did it feel to expand your sort of vocabulary as a vocalist for this new album? Huh... scary! [laughs] For a lot of reasons. I never considered myself much of a singer and I toyed with the idea... Touché Amoré did a couple of cover songs in-between Is Survived By and now where I sing. I sing on a cover of a The National song [“Available” for 2014’s compilation A Comp For Mom] and we did a cover of a Nirvana song [“Lounge Act” for 2015’s compilation Whatever Nevermind] where I’m singing throughout most of it. I think that was a good transition for people who liked the band, so they could be prepared and maybe it wouldn’t be such a surprise. But that’s also hoping
that people pay closer attention to our band, since these songs are not on an album. When it came the time to write this album, we were writing music that I feel didn’t make sense for me to be screaming over all the time. It was a lot more expansive, melancholic, big, and all of that where if I would be screaming over it I wouldn’t be doing the song any justice. I feel like it’s an appropriate amount on the album where it’s not in every song, it’s only in a few songs. That being said, if we were to make another album I feel I could do it more so and it wouldn’t be a shock. I feel like that’s just continuing the growth of the band. Sonically there are some changes. Did the writing process change for this album? No, honestly. We have such a strong foundation when it comes to writing music, where we are a band that’s very lucky of being in a position where we are where all five of us can play guitar, all five of us know how to explain parts to each other really well without causing too much drama... of course every band will argue and bicker and things like that, but we do it in a way that’s very... well, we’re from Los Angeles, so admittedly we’re very passive-aggressive. [laughs] But we figured out a way to handle it. The writing process goes very smoothly, but I will say that this album we worked on much longer than any other album. I think writing the record we did it in about a year, where in the past... I think we wrote Is Survived By in four months. That’s definitely the big change but there’s reasons for that. My mother passed in October 2014 and there’s a lot of time of grieving and things like that. We did minimal touring, but then we got home – I believe from Australia, a little run that we did with Every Time I Die - it was when we really tried to start writing more often. We would write a song or two and then take a month or two off and we would start again. Then we decided to write an album and that’s where we started practicing more often, and then we played a few shows in-between... We spread it out so that we never got writer’s block whereas I feel in the past we hit those moments, where we came to practice and we would just stare at each other and try to come up with ideas. For anyone who’s ever played in a band before and has experienced that... it’s the worst thing. You wrote Is Survived By in such a good moment in your life, while Stage Four was written in a very hard one. How was to face that shift in regarding to writing the album? After everything happened I knew that...
it became very clear that this album was going to be about my mother and her disease, ‘cause I had nothing else to write about. That was it. It still is such a huge impactful thing in my life that when it came time to really write the record, I didn’t want to start writing lyrics until we had a lot of music written. Because I didn’t want to open those floodgates, start thinking about it, and whatever. To be honest, I don’t write lyrics or words unless there’s music. I’m not one of those writers that’s just constantly writing in a notebook. I waited until we had about five or six songs written musically before I sat down and put pen to paper to get some of these feelings out, because there’s just so much an endless supply of things to write about. I don’t know if you ever lost anybody in your life before but there’s so much you can say, so much you can think about, and so much different aspects to that story that you can tell. The hardest part was
INTERVIEW // TOUCHÉ AMORÉ
figuring out what the first song was going to be about like, “Where I even begin with this?” The first song that I wrote for it was “Benediction” and then the second song was “New Halloween”... I just started there. I had recently driven across country to bury my mother’s ashes with my brother so that was very in my head, that whole experience. Writing the words for this album was definitely... as much as it was hard it also, once I started going, came pretty quickly. I just wanted to make sure that I got everything out just right. I rewrote a lot of songs pretty often and all of that just because I wanted the details specifically correct. One of the things that really impressed me with this album is that you seem to change your style of writing throughout the album. I don’t know if you would agree or even if you have noticed it.
It would be interesting to hear someone’s take on that. In my mind, I have to imagine that it just comes with the maturity of something like that. I would be curious to hear someone explain like that they feel the differences are. In the beginning it was very angsty. Our demo and our first album are very, you know... I mean, ok, our first album, ...To the Beat of a Dead Horse, was titled that because it’s me sort of singing about problems that everybody has and goes through and I’m not doing anything to make it better. I’m just... beating a dead horse by just singing about it. I’m not helping myself, I’m just going through what everybody else goes through. I didn’t even know if anyone would even hear that album, and people did and that felt very lucky. I definitely have been pouring my heart and soul. I took writing a lot more seriously after that album, and I challenge myself a lot more. I will say that I feel the difference could be that I write
“I think that everything we do is such a personal outlet that I just try to get out as much as I can about the subjects whatever the album is based on or what I’m going through at that moment.”
“As I got older my faith and all of that started to dissipate, but I never felt like an anger or anything like that with religion. In a way I almost feel... I’m kind of thankful I was raised in it, because I think it has set a good sense of values, morals, and things like that.” more words now, compared with the other material. [laughs] I think with every album the songs become a lot more detailed, and that’s because I feel I have more to say now, if that makes sense. In the midst of all the madness, you were also involved in four-car accident. Did it get to the point where you were asking yourself, “What’s next?” [laughs] Yeah! That came at the end of a series of other tragedies. A good friend of our band passed away from a drug overdose a couple months before that. Two of my pets died, a dog and a cat that died, and then I got in that car accident where it just felt like [nervous laughter] nothing was getting
better. Thankfully that car accident was the last thing for a really long time that was terrible, but yeah... From my mother’s passing away up until that point everything felt so relentless and I just had a dark cloud above me that didn’t want to let me go. The silver lining is that it gave me a lot to write and think about. [laughs] Normally songwriters agree that most songs ask more questions than give answers. Stage Four seems to be the kind of record that works the other way around. Does it feel that way? I think that everything we do is such a personal outlet that I just try to get out as much as I can about the subjects whatever the album is based on or what I’m going through at that moment. I just
try to get out as much as I can. I think I’ll know more once we start playing it live. Lyrically speaking, these songs are not in chronological order. Was there a discussion to decide if whether the musical side or the lyrical side would decide the final running order? Not necessarily because I feel to tell the whole story in chronological order to how it happened I don’t think the record would flow very well. It would sound a little chaotic and confused, but I feel that in the order it is in you sort of understand everything that happened. I feel like the opening track, “Flowers and You”, is a pretty good introduction to the idea of grappling with the guilt of things that you may have
INTERVIEW // TOUCHÉ AMORÉ
been reflecting on with how you handle certain situations and then how you’re sort of process grief... I think that also ties in with that first song and then from there the story sort of develops with all the different aspects to what happened and what I’ve been through. It seems, reading the lyrics, to exist a huge conflict within you with faith and religion. Would it be fair to say so? Definitely. I was raised Christian, I went to a Christian elementary school, I went to church with my mom basically... kind of when I was a teenager and then I just slowly stopped going as much, and then once I moved out of my mom’s house I went even
less and less. As you get older you meet people that were not raised in it and you hear other sides, or you get into different kinds of music and movies that sort of expose you to the other side and all that sort of stuff. As I got older my faith and all of that started to dissipate, but I never felt like an anger or anything like that with religion. In a way I almost feel... I’m kind of thankful I was raised in it, because I think it has set a good sense of values, morals, and things like that. What’s so hard for me is that my mom was always so devote, such a Christian, and was never mad at God for anything whereas I’m looking at it like, “You’re the least deserving person of everything you’re going through right now but yet you can still praise God.” I can’t understand
that. It’s just absurd to me. So, her and I... I would try to avoid it as much as possible talking about it because I knew it would just upset her whenever she tried to talk to me where I was in my faith and throughout the years I would avoid the question and I would go the church with her on Easter and on Christmas’s Eve just to appease her and make her happy. That would just avoid the actual discussion as much as possible and then we would have those discussions it would get pretty negative pretty quickly because I didn’t want to lie to her and say, “No mom, I still totally believe in God”. And also I feel if you’re raised in that there’s always that sort of religious guilt too. I know the bible but when I say it out loud, “I don’t believe in God,” in the
back of my mind there’s always that little sense of feeling bad even saying that. But then you see how horrible the world is and how terrible things happen every single goddamn day and you’re like, “How can I believe that exists?” Do you still have a hard time listening to Sun Kil Moon’s “I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love”? Yeah. I mean, it’s a great song, it’s a beautiful song but it’s not the easiest song to listen to but, you know... It’s pretty straightforward. It says a lot of things that I’ve been through and wherever he’s singing about his fear about experience that and I’m listening to it as I have experienced that. Talking about Mark Kozelek and the way he approaches his lyric... “Benediction” seems to be a track where we can feel some of that biographical, rich-in-little-details approach that Mark uses in his lyrics. Is it fair to say so? Yeah, I will completely say that. I got very, very, very influenced by Sun Kil Moon. I probably... Benji was the record that really got me into him and then I became obsessed with everything he had done, and then Universal Themes came out and that was all I listen to while we were on tour in Europe. His writing, confessional style, and all of that, was a huge influence. I wouldn’t say I want to be like Mark Kozelek, but I appreciate his honesty and directness, and the way he tells stories that it definitely would play a part in what I was writing. That completely makes sense. There’s an extremely memorable and remarkable moment on the album – because you can’t forget about it after you heard the album – which occurs on the song “Palm Dreams” with the singing of “on my own”. It seems to be such a pivotal moment, not only because that’s maybe how you felt during this process, but also a great point of connectivity between you and whoever is listening to you and maybe is going through some of the same problems. What do you make of that specific moment? I don’t know. I understand what you’re saying and it’s funny, because our manager once pointed out kind of saying a similar thing. That he feels that part and understands the emotion behind. I think for me I was just trying to write a really nice... [laughs] To be honest with you, I had all the words written, but I think I became so focused on trying to get that part right that when it
came to the singing... for me was about trying to convey the singing and have emotion behind it, when it comes through the second time around and it’s like the louder harmony, I wanted to have it sound impactful. As for the “on my own”, I’m sort of just talking about how I was forced to go through my mom’s things and clean out from the house I was raised in, and I had to do it by myself. To me, it’s just another line on the album. On “Softer Spoken” you say, “A city named catharsis and the other called empty / In one I feel so common and the other I am royalty”. Which is which? I think it depends on the day. That’s one of those lines that I wrote with the idea that I feel differently very often, so for me that would depend just on the day that song is being sung. The final track, “Skyscraper”, features Julien Baker. How did that collaboration happen? We’ve known Julien for a very long time. She is one of... we toured with a band called Dads and their bass player Ryan is one of her best friends. And Ryan gave us the album that is now Sprained Ankle, like probably two years now. Some of us became very obsessive with it, we loved it so much. We gave the album to Joey [Cahill] who runs the label 6131 Records and he fell in love with it and so he find her and put the album out. So, she’s been our pal for a while now. With that song in particular, going into it knowing that it would be primarily singing I wanted to take a page from Leonard Cohen where... Leonard Cohen operates in a way where he has a very deep sort of a grey-area-sort-of-voice where he doesn’t have a lot of range, but he makes the song so impactful because often times he has a gorgeous female voice singing over or behind him. It sort of amplifies the melody in the song. I wanted to take a page from Leonard Cohen’s book and be like, “If I’m going to sing this one I want to have a beautiful, angelic female voice behind me or on top of it.” I couldn’t think of anyone better than Julien. I’m so proud of her and the success she’s been having that it felt awesome to involve her. I sent her the song and she recorded it in two hours and sent it back to us. [laughs] She did a great job and I’m so thankful. We’re all unbelievably proud of her. She’s doing really great things. Did you have any doubts about including the voicemail message that you mother left on the album? Yeah. I went back and forth with it. I didn’t know if it was the right thing to
“From my mother’s passing away up until that point everything felt so relentless and I just had a dark cloud above me that didn’t want to let me go. The silver lining is that it gave me a lot to write and think about.”
INTERVIEW // TOUCHÉ AMORÉ
do. It felt I was just giving away this personal thing and all of that but... I also didn’t even look into the voicemail until we were done with the album. I had it on my phone, but I waited we were done with it to actually listen to it to see if it made sense to have it there. Because I obviously reference it in the second song and I think that in a way it kind of ties the album together. The way I convinced myself was that the album in a way is sort of... it’s a bunch of songs that are basically a grieving process and in a way it’s like an acceptance, so at the end of the album it shows that I did get the courage to finally listen to it. It’s sort of tying that all together and that’s what made me feel it was the right thing to do. And it also wasn’t... it is a very casual message too. She didn’t say anything too personal that I would hate myself for sharing with
the world. That voicemail was from like about two months before she passed away. It just happened to be the last voicemail I had from her on my phone that I just never ended up listening until that moment. I mean, I feel like parents are the only people on Earth that can leave voicemails. [laughs] She would call me and leave me a voicemail and I would just roll my eyes and call her right back. [laughs] Can you please talk about the concept behind the cover? I know it was created by collage artist Anthony Gerace. We have a photographer friend name Ryan who has done all of the photos on all of our albums – he’s a good friend of the band. The photo is taken from my mom’s house where... He came to my mom’s house and took photos all around the house before it was emptied and cleaned out, and then he took the same exact photos in the same exact
positions after it was cleaned out. So it is the before and after photo and then the collage artist just did the mix of the two of them. We have a deluxe version of the album coming out with it and in that book it will be photos from all around the house. All the different images of the before and after. And that photo in particular is right by the front door. It was... looking through all of the photos and deciding what the album art would be was definitely a pretty heavy experience. Just looking at them in that way, but that photo in particular really felt the strongest. It stood out really well and Nick [Steinhardt] who plays guitar in Touché and does all of our album arts, he was most impressed with that one and agreed that should definitely be the cover.
STAGE FOUR IS OUT NOW VIA EPITAPH RECORDS
Illinois' emo rock pioneers American Football are back with their first album in 17 years. Like their 1999 debut, their new album is also titled American Football and it's a brilliant comeback. We couldn't miss the opportunity to catch up with the guys and the drummer Steve Lamos was the one who told us all about how's been like to be back with the band and much more.
irst of all, it’s great to have a new American Football album and it’s a damn good one. How does it feel for you guys to come back 17 years later after you released your first album? This whole experience has been fun. The reunion stuff was a tremendous surprise, none of us saw that coming. I think we didn’t know what to make of it two years ago when all started.
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We thought that maybe there would be one or two shows and then it would be that, but here we are two years later with the opportunity to make this new record and I think we’re all proud of it and pretty excited to see what people think of it. Why did you decide to get back together and play again with American Football? Steve Holmes (vocalist) found this box of tapes in his basement. He sent them to Polyvinyl Records and they said “This would be a good opportunity to reissue the album.” We didn’t really realize it was the 15th anniversary of that record
and when that reissue was announced people started contacting us through Mike [Kinsella]. Mike plays in Owen and so he had management and things like that, but people started contacting us and saying “Hey, we would like to invite you guys to come play” and it were offers to play on big places. We were surprised by it, but we thought “If Steve really want us to do it, we’ll might just give it a try” and so that was the initial motivation, but as I said, it’s been quite more fun than we thought it would be and I think now the motivation is that we’re enjoying play music and hanging out and we would love some more of it.
This comeback and new album is a rebirth of the band in every way. How was the process to get back together and go through what the band wanted to do? We were talking about this not too long ago and I think we just wanted to make an album that we were happy with. There’s this notion that we did this thing many years ago and it has this certain status - and we’re surprised by the status and maybe not entirely sure why [laughs] - and what we wanted to do this time around was just make an album that reflects who we are at this point of our lives. We are considerably older, we have families, we all have
emo rock pioneers return Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Shervin Lainez
other things going on and I think a bit of the challenge was to make a record that we were proud of and to not to get hang up on whatever people may associate with things that we did many years ago. Back in 2014 you guys announced that you would play live for the first time in 15 years and those live shows at Webster Hall in New York City sold out in a matter of hours. How was it like to go into playing those songs for those shows? We basically had to relearn the music, but we’ve never played it live and so it was like preparing to do concerts for the first time. I think that kept refresh for me and I was terrified because I haven’t played these songs in a long time. I would say that now that we’ve done like 40 reunion shows we’re excited to play new material. I think we’ve played as many reunion shows as we could play and now we’re trying to imagine that music plus the new music as kind of a living and breathing thing. What about those shows that really had an impact on you to go forward to work on your sophomore album? Yeah. Playing those songs for people that seemed to know them and care about them, we all said it was really surreal to hear people singing along with these songs and sometimes their singing seemed louder. [laughs] That’s a kind of inspiration that none of us in our wildest dreams would ever imagined when we made this album that so many people would listen to it around the world. Going to all these places and knowing people who sing along and sometimes in a language that’s not their first or second, that’s inspiring and that made us all think “Maybe it would be fun to try some new music, clearly there’s an audience for it.” We’re all on our late 30s and early 40s and I think we wouldn’t have made new music if that was the only motivation, I think at the end of the day it seemed to us there was a chance at least of make some new music that we’re proud of and that other people might connect with other people. I don’t think we would do it at this point unless we all felt it was a worthwhile thing to do. Do you still have the same musical and non-musical inspirations from back in the day or do you have other that you think are important to mention? I’ll just speak for me personally. All the other guys of the band have different references. I have always listened to a lot of jazz music and
that’s still very important to me. It was 20 years ago and it is now. I will say that when we were thinking about making this album for whatever reason I was listening to all my old The Police records again and again. There’s something about that band and somebody told me unsolicited that they thought they heard The Police in this record and that made me happy, because that’s the band that I think a lot of. I’m a big fan of St. Vincent, I like her stuff a lot. There’s a woman here called Gillian Welch and she does kind of old country music and I like her quite a lot. I still listen to some of the same things that I used to listen to many years ago, but I’ve certainly tried to keep up with more contemporary music too. You mention earlier that you’re into jazz music and one thing that I thought was missing in this new record was the trumpet, but when the ending track “Everyone Is Dressed Up” hits, there it is. The trumpet just adds this amazing vibe to your music. What’s so special about the trumpet for you and for the band? I still hate that instrument. [laughs] I hated it ever since I first played it. [laughs] I started playing that instrument when I was probably 6 years old. My father had a dance band and even when I was a little kid he sort of invited me upstage and so I’ve been performing on that thing since I was small. I studied jazz music a little bit and I’ve never really been very good at it though. I studied a little bit in college, put it away and then took up to drums. When it came the time to make that first album, I couldn’t sing and I still can’t sing, but I would hear certain kind of melodies and the guys said “Why don’t you just try it if you can make it work?” All these years later, it seems like it’s something that people enjoy. I didn’t want to play it at all on this new album. I can say at this point after 2 years of doing it at least I feel comfortable having it on my face and playing it in front of people. I didn’t play much in those 15 years, maybe every couple of week or something, but you can’t do that. The trumpet does not allow such laziness. You have to play it regularly for those muscles to develop properly and maybe after two years I don’t feel at least embarrassed to play it in public anymore, but the reason I was attracted to the drums was for a very specific reason and now I remember what it is because I hate that awful trumpet and all it stands for. [laughs] But with that said, when I get the chance to play, there’s a melody or something that maybe I feel a little bit nostalgic because I did play a lot with father and he’s no longer alive. So, maybe once in a while that’s the closer
thing I get nostalgic on stage and I remember that “My dad would like this song...” I suppose it has that meaning for me. That’s really amazing. I love the trumpet part on that song, it just gives a distinct vibe to your music. I appreciate it and I will say too that we’ve been playing a lot of festivals lately and there’s not too many trumpets that pop up, so it’s a way to say there’s something a little different with this music, for better or for worse. [laughs] How was it like your approach for the writing of the new album? In some ways, it was a lot different. I think 20 years ago we all lived in the same town within a mile of each other, we rehearsed pretty regularly and we were able to work on ideas that way. This time around it was totally different. We were in different parts of the country and we have some other commitments, so there was much more sharing of ideas over the computer and sending MP3 files back and forth. Mike or Steve would send something to the next person and then he would send it over to me and I would try to put on some drums. We did some really raw demos and worked that way. We would also get together for these kind of practice sessions on the weekend. I think one day we spent 14 hours together in these hot and terrible room trying to work out ideas for the album and then we wrote quite a bit in the studio too. With the first record we had the instrumental down pretty well, we knocked that whole album out in less than two days and then Mike added vocals later. The vocals respond to the music and they did this time too, but we spent a lot more time tracking. We were in there for four or five days just kind of getting drums and bass stuff. The technology is different now, the way that things get recorded is different than it used to be. We did some live stuff definitely, but it was quick tracking and it was a little more precision based this time around, which I think it’s good in some ways. This record is more well produced, but also maybe slightly less spontaneous sounding than the first one, so there’s good and bad in everything. So, your second album is self-titled just like the first one and the house on the cover is the same one as on your first album cover art as well. What does that mean for you guys? I think naming the album as American Football again was kind of lazy and impulsive as the first one. [laughs] But also, the one quoted emo band that I
INTERVIEW // AMERICAN FOOTBALL INTERVIEW // 65DAYSOFSTATIC
"...what we wanted to do this time around was just make an album that reflects who we are at this point on our lives." still listen to without embarrassment in any way is Sunny Day Real Estate and I really do like their records. To me, they stood the test of time. They did the same thing with naming their album and so we thought “We’ll just rip them off, that’s fun.” [laughs] The house thing... I don’t know the genesis of it. The cover for that record I thought the first time around it was just the picture that we liked the best and with that said it obviously resonated with people. This time around Chris [Strong] went back to that house and took more pictures and we decided as we were looking at them that interior shot made the best job as capturing what’s going on lyrically in this album. This album has a lot to with... not so much longing from the outside but to be in this house like “Now you’re inside this place and you’ve got relationships, family and some stuff going on and what are you going to do?” We were joking that the cover has the stairs on one side and
the front door on the other side, and you could go upstairs or you could get out of the house. [laughs] I’m not so sure this has been a deliberated theme so much as time has developed as we thought about what the record was. It could be that Mike had some of these ideas in mind, but I’m not sure. It could also be that he was just writing what was on his mind and when we thought about it as a whole we were like “Oh, this makes sense and it’s kind of an extension idea from the last time.” What’s the biggest difference about being a band back in 1999 and being a band nowadays for you guys? Personally, I think I’ve worked really hard to not be so uptight... I was borderline obsessed with a certain less stylish associated and not even so much with music, I don’t think it was healthy. I was quick-tempered at the time and honestly a pain to be with. [laughs] I worked hard to try to be less of a pain to be around, so for me personally I
tried to grow up a little bit. But I will say that there’s this pressure-free... We’ve joked a multiple times that none of this should be happening anyway, so why stress out about it? It’s a truly sort of relaxation and a chance to get away for these long weekends when we were in Barcelona sitting on the beach and we were like “Who gets the chance to do this and be paid a little bit of money to come out and play music?” I would say the biggest difference is we’ve all got pretty important priorities with family and work commitments and understanding this for what it is and being grateful to be able to do it. On those terms, to me that’s the biggest difference and it’s been a pleasant surprise. We all enjoy being around each other. So, this is better, this happened at the right time. This is the right time for us.
AMERICAN FOOTBALL ARRIVES ON OCTOBER 21 VIA WICHITA
When a band achieves the perfect balance in every way on their music, only great things come out of it. Rheia is Oathbreaker's third album and it's their most ambitious, in-depth effort to date. Just before they released this outstanding album, we caught up with Caro and Gilles to know deeper how was it like to work on Rheia.
PREDICTABLE AUDACIOUS Words: Andreia Alves
t’s been three years since you released your brutally amazing album, Eros|Anteros (2013), and now you’re going to release your third full-length. Each album showcased your growth as a band and as musicians. With Rheia, it feels like you achieved the perfect balance between heavy and soft music. What was your mindset while going into writing it? Gilles: I know that with Eros|Anteros it was the first time we tried clean vocals and after we recorded it, it was stuck in my mind like “Do something with clean vocals and do more of this combination.” It had been two years of just thinking about how to approach this and not sound like a Nightwish cover band, you know? [laughs] It basically took us so long to figure out a way to do it. I knew I liked the combination, but didn’t know how to make it sound like Oathbreaker, like us and not like anyone else. I didn’t want to try to sound like something that already existed, so we just did so much demos and wrote a lot of stuff. It took us a while, but we got there and I think it’s
an interesting combination. I feel like this is where Oathbreaker needs to be... Since the start that it has been something missing. After every record, I was kind of bummed out [laughs] like “Oh fuck, we could have done this a lot better” and this is the first time ever in 15 years of making music that I’m like “Yes! Yes! I’m fucking excited about everything on this record.” Caro: Yeah, this is basically the same to me. We tried out so many things and it took us so long to figure out how to make that work, and now that it did, I’m just super excited to hear that people are also excited about what we’ve worked on for so long. What records or artists were you listening to during the creative process of this album? Caro: That’s so hard because we listen to so many bands. What I feel that is more important to this record is that our influences or for some reason we’ve succeed it to translate what we were listening to at the time more than we did before... I would be listening to some bands and Gilles would be listening to some other bands and I’m pretty sure that Lennart listened to other bands and Ivo as well. To me, what was really important creatively was that I was listening to a lot more electronic bands, for example Gazelle Twin to older bands like Angels of Light... There’s so many things and it’s so hard. [laughs] Gilles: Lyrical wise, it was kind of inspiring to me. I didn’t write the lyrics, but everything like Mark Kozelek - like Sun Kill Moon related - basically what’s really interesting is that it’s so honest. Lyrical wise, Eros|Anteros and Mælstrøm (debut album, 2011) are beating around the bush a lot. Caro: It’s like the feelings that I had when I wrote Eros|Anteros or Mælstrøm, I wouldn’t say they were the same as with this record. It’s very similar, but it’s a whole different to write the lyrics. It wasn’t hard to be honest, but just writing down what you feel can be very straightforward and I think I was really scared about doing that because you expose yourself and it’s really hard to do that just like that. I think it asked for a lot of courage to try and be as honest as possible, and I think writing lyrics for Rheia... If you read the lyrics, they’re very straightforward and honest. I put myself out there, which was the first time to me and so I’m very excited that it worked out. Like Gilles said, Mark Kozelek is one of the persons that succeeds doing that and I’m very humbled by how he writes his lyrics.
The mindset to write the lyrics on this record was just that I felt like in my entire life I kept looking around in circles and always arriving in the same point in the time where I’m like “How the fuck did I end up being here again? It’s the same as it was a year ago and two years ago...” I think that was kind of a breakthrough to me right before we started writing Rheia. I talked a lot about things, which is also very new to me. I usually tend to keep things to myself. I lost my grandmother in that year and that was the first time ever I lost someone really close to me. Some of my relationships ended really badly and these are things that I just wondered like “What am I doing wrong? What is going on that I keep ending up the same way as I did before?” Me and Gilles actually talked a lot about this for almost a year, talking and talking about my childhood, how I was raised, how my relationship with my parents is, how this influenced me and being who I am... This record is so self-reflective because for the first time ever I thought about all these things and I actually talked about them to someone that is really close to me - Gilles for example. He pushed me kind of into like “Hey, all these things that you’re being so honest about right now, you can write this down. If you stop trying to write down nice words and just make this a very self-reflective kind of ‘this is who I am’ record, then this is going to be amazing.” I tried to do that and it’s not easy, but it’s how Rheia ended up being. Gilles: It’s makes people really uncomfortable if you tell the truth. It’s so easy to be in a band and just talk about real stuff, it’s easy to like “Hey, this song is about blablabla” but not in those words and it’s a lot harder and people get really weird if you tell them the truth, like “You know, this happened and I felt this way.” The stuff that Caro wrote down is the stuff that she told me. I’ve known Caro for 16 years or more and that’s stuff that I’ve never known about her and I’m pretty sure that people close to her will read her lyrics of this new record that they don’t even know about Caro. In a way, it will be like a really eye opening record for people who know her. Caro: This record feels much more personal than Eros|Anteros and Mælstrøm did, that’s why I think in a way it’s personal to each and every one of us of course because we made it, but writing down what you feel it has made it really close to my heart. Caro, I must say that your vocal approach for this album is beautifully sharp, you balance perfectly your melodic and scream parts with such strength and elegance. How was the
process for you to create these vocal dynamics so well? Caro: I think most of all it was really hard and tough. [laughs] I’ve been just screaming in bands since I was 13 years old, and so it’s like your comfort zone and it’s something that you’re so comfortable with that there’s nothing that really can go wrong, you know? It’s just what you do with what you do and then you feel comfortable doing that. So, pushing out of that zone was really challenging. We tried really hard and long, I even took some singing classes just to make sure that I knew I could do that, but I didn’t know how to be able to combine it with screaming. It was very hard. [laughs] But I think it worked out really well. Gilles: Yeah! The live shows will be challenging. [laughs] Can you tell me the meaning behind the word Rheia and its connection to the album? Caro: Actually it has a Greek methodology reference to it, but it doesn’t have to mean that we’re obsessed with Greek methodology because Eros|Anteros is obviously also in that same vibe. Rheia is basically the mother of Gods, but she didn’t get any credits for it for being that. Basically what it has to do with the record is that when I wrote all the lyrics and the whole vibe of the record, the main theme around the whole record was that my conclusion that from my entire life I kind of took care of people a lot and everyone that is close to me knows that I always take care of everyone, but no one has ever really taken care of me... Gilles: Like you’re always on your own. Caro: Yeah, that’s basically it and so Rheia is the same thing in her story. It fit on the record really well, so why not go with that, you know? Gilles: I was just looking for stuff and suddenly Rheia was in the corner of my eye, “Hey, this is really nice” and then I read it and it was like “Holy shit, this makes so much sense.” It wasn’t even supposed to be the title or anything, but it made so much sense after everything that we went with that. Caro: It had to be that. Rheia has dense atmosphere sounds, but there’s always room to breathe between songs, like in the acoustic track “Stay Here / Accroche-Moi”. How did you come up with that song? Caro: Gilles wrote this song completely acoustically and honestly in the recording process it was one of the most beautiful things that we’ve ever done, but we recorded it in the same room. He recorded his acoustic guitar live in the same room and so we were
INTERVIEW // OATHBREAKER
“The main theme around the whole record was that my conclusion that from my entire life I kind of took care of people a lot and everyone that is close to me knows that I always take care of everyone, but no one has ever really taken care of me...” Caro facing each other doing this with one mic in the middle, one with me and one with him. Me and Gilles have been together for a very long time and this song is kind of about that. When I wrote the lyrics I felt like “This is me and him doing this song and it’s probably just going to be me and him performing the song live as well, if we can do that.” The lyrics are about that he can hang on to me and I’ll just carry him around whenever he wants it or needs it, I’ll just take care of his burdens and I’ll take it with me. How down I am at the time it doesn’t really matter, I’ll just take care of him for always. Gilles: And because we were the only ones left, it was one of the last things we did in the recording process and even Lennart had to go home because he had to play with Amenra and Ivo had to work. They had to leave early and so it was basically just us in the studio, in one room with one mic in the middle without any other pedals
and stuff. It was just us as honest as we could be. There are little mistakes in the guitar parts and it’s not all good. It’s like this is just as naked as Oathbreaker can get. Caro: Also in the recording process, I think this is the second take or something. I think we tried it three times and we didn’t go for the perfectness of playing the guitar parts or singing, that atmosphere was so important. We went with the take that when we listen to it there’s an actual feeling and that’s basically the thread through the whole record. Every take that we did, every song that we recorded is different from Eros|Anteros in a way that we didn’t want to perform perfectly, but we concentrated on how the music felt - the ambience and atmosphere - instead of trying to nail every hit, every pitch and every note. Gilles: And that’s basically Jack’s [Shirley, producer]. We recorded with Jack, who worked with Deafheaven
and Loma Prieta, and he has such a different approach to recording than we’re used to. Instead of doing everything perfectly, he was like “Yeah, whatever, this feels good, just learn to love it. This is the take and you shouldn’t do 10 more, because all the feelings get bumped out if you play that a million times.” It was like “This is the take, let’s do this and every little scratch just leave it there.” I’m really glad that we did that because we just started recording with my other band and this is the way I like to do it. It’s a lot less stressful and it’s honest. That’s basically in all parts of this record, we wanted it to be clear and honest instead of just covering everything up, you know? The tracks “I’m Sorry, This Is”, “Where I Live”, and “Where I Leave” seem in a way connect as a sequence. What can you tell me about that? Gilles: Music wise, “Where I Live” was the first song of those three songs
that we wrote for Rheia and so we were still kind of searching for what we wanted and where we wanted to go. The first idea for this record was doing a three-piece song. I didn’t know how or what we would do, but the basic idea was having an electronic song that goes into a fast song that goes into a slower song and everything is based around one chord. I don’t know if that makes sense, but you can basically pick that one chord through a 15-minute of music or I don’t know how long a three-piece thing is, and that was just kind of a thing that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It took a while because you’re stuck in that one chord and so I asked Dehn Sora from Treha Sektori to help me out with all the electronic stuff. I showed him what we play and he came up with this amazing Haxan Cloak folk style thing and that’s the first song and all the intermezzo in between. Caro: Because it was such an idea to do the three-piece, when writing the entire lyrics of this record. I always have to have a whole done to something like a basic ID for the whole record, not just writing down and we’ll see where it gets you. I need to have themes, otherwise I can’t construct a good atmosphere, you know? I basically wrote down for the first three songs things that are very self-reflected like where did I come from, what happened in my childhood, what’s going on that got me to this point... and then what other things that people know of me and that I know of myself that’s basically the first part. The second part is more what people don’t know about me and I know but I can’t share to them or I don’t know how to share to them, so it’s basically like more secrets. The last part is like this thread of three songs that are one piece, which are the things that people know about me but I don’t really see for myself, things that a lot of people around me have known for a long time but I’ve never realized and I didn’t dig deep enough to figure them out. That’s most of the lyrics on these two songs, because on the first song there’s not really lyrics, there’s just a sample on it. But the sample is very important! We figured out that it would be cool to have me just talking on this sampler and so it’s basically me and Gilles sitting in living room and I just told him two stories - one of my dad and one of my mother, who are separated and so two memories that I have of them, very harsh memories. We blended those two stories and so it becomes one story, but it’s actually two separated stories and that’s the sampler. Gilles: I think the main thing is that...
"It wasn't hard to be honest, but just writing down what you feel can be very straightforward and I think I was really scared about doing that because you expose yourself and it's really hard to do that just like that" Caro
The second song is about Caro’s extreme expectations on life and then the third song is where all those expectations collapse, where they can’t be reached, and all that stuff is like rooted in her youth and so that’s why the first song has the story about her mom and the story about her dad... and the sampler underneath it we went to this local kindergarten school just to record children playing and so it’s basically the announcement of like this is the childhood part. The album ends with the mesmerizing track “Begeerte”. Was it a conscious decision to end it in such ethereal way? Gilles: Music wise, it was definitely intentional. We kind of wanted to end the record with a mix of electronic and non-electronic, because the original idea was to have that on an electronic song too, but then working with Jack we were like “Hey, we can try and make beats with acoustic instruments.” Because we tried to do our record as a whole, we put a lot of effort in intros, outros, intermezzos... People want to listen to records like “We’re gonna listen to it from the first song to the last song and not just separated stuff” and so that’s why I felt like it needed to end with something that is an ender, like the final chapter in the book. Caro: Lyrical wise, I started thinking about how to end this and what is the conclusion, you know? It has to be an ender... The lyrics itself are really private, it’s hard to explain to you what they’re about, but the mindset in the beginning was “Where am I going with this? Where do I go?” and that’s the mindset for this song. After being so selfish in the whole record, you need to have a certain conclusion. [laughs] That’s what this song is about.
The album’s cover art has this striking visual. What’s the concept behind that image? Caro: The concept behind it is basically the entire thing of being honest and self-reflective. It got us thinking about working with some kind of outer layer on top of skin that you can break out of it or you can stay in it. We had this huge water tank filled with a thousand liters of water. Gilles: Fucking ice cold water. [laughs] Caro: We hang myself to a crane and then we dipped my body in the water, and while putting myself in the water, we poured hot candle wax on top of the surface. When the candle wax touches the surface of the water, it stays liquid but the outer shell hardens and so if it stays liquid in the middle and you dip body parts in it or skin in it, the hot wax will stick to your skin and makes crazy shapes... That’s basically what we did with putting myself in hot candle wax on a crane with a thousand liters of cold water. Gilles: We did it twice because the first time Caro had all these burden wounds just because it was extremely hot. It’s just like putting your hand in a lit candle. Caro: It’s really hot! [laughs] And I think the problem was that when you’re in the water you feel like “Ok, there’s some cold” and that’s a good idea and you don’t want to get out of that water, but when you pull out it starts burning again because the inside is not hot yet and so you can’t pull it off because it’s liquid, so you just have to stay in the water and hold on to it until it’s completely hard. But the shapes were really interesting, it was so beautiful and that’s how we got the whole album’s artwork. Gilles: The interesting thing about that is we talked about “It should look like you’re tearing off skin or layers” and it did. The cover is mine and Caro’s hands together, so I had a taste of how that felt. [laughs] It’s literally like tearing off skin, it hurts so much just like tearing off all candle wax off your skin. Half of my body hair was gone. [laughs] Lyrical and musical wise, listening to the record it hurts and I wanted it to hurt, you know? Caro: There’s a lot of almost awkward painful moments in the record and that’s exactly how that felt. Gilles: Caro was half naked in a fucking box of thousand liters of cold water and that’s awkward and painful at the same time. Caro: It fit the vibe of the record so well.
RHEIA IS OUT NOW VIA DEATHWISH INC.
INTERVIEW // OATHBREAKER
For those not ‘in the know’, Red Fang were just that band with the awesome, damn funny videos. Beer zombies? LARPing? Those are the ones. By now, though, they’re rightly known by all and sundry for the size of their riffs and for their alarmingly catchy popsludge, songs like “Blood Like Cream” rivalling any chart-bothering hit, but with added volume. Now, they’re back with Only Ghosts, a more gritty and inward-looking record that still knows its way around a good hook, and we caught up with bassist and vocalist Aaron Beam to discuss this huge leap forward for the Portland quartet.
hanks for taking the time to talk to us. How are things at the moment? They’re great. We’re leaving today for a little mini-tour of some of the cities in our neighbourhood, trying out some of the new material a little bit more, so it’s exciting. How has it gone down so far? Have you had long to try them out? We just did a short tour in Europe. We did four shows over there a week and a half ago and have been playing a number of the songs here and there, and they fit really well into the set. People, even not having heard the record, are responding really well. It’s fun. There’s a real immediacy with some of the new songs, though that’s not really new territory for you. You
hear them once and then you’re singing along. That’s awesome, and I guess the weirdest thing that ever happened in that regard was when we first started playing “Blood Like Cream” from the last record, but before the record was out. People started singing along by the end of the song, but they were singing words that weren’t even close! I mean, the chorus is pretty repetitive so they’re singing along with the chorus, but just making up nonsense words. What I like is that that record’s been out for three years and I watch people at shows and that exact same thing is still happening – people are saying things that are clearly not even close to what we’re actually saying. I love that. You recorded Only Ghosts with Ross Robinson and Joe Barresi. How did you find the experience after working for so long with Chris Funk? Chris is great and we love working with him, but we wanted to get out of Portland to do this record so that we could be more focused on the creation of this music and be more immersed
ANOTHER H LEAP FORW Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: James Rexroad
in it. That required being in a different city because it’s easy to be distracted by your day to day life when you’re still in Portland working on an album. As far as working with Ross, it was a completely different studio experience from anything I’d ever experienced before and I can’t say enough positive things about it. He works you really hard and gets really deep on an emotional level, but he gives so much of himself that you really have no choice but to give back. He’s very effective at motivating you to do the very best that you can possibly do and focus on making the song as good as it can possibly be. It was physically and mentally hard but well worth it, in my opinion. We spent a month with Ross and we weren’t in the studio with Joe, but doing stuff over email, but right from the get-go it was clear that we were on the same page about sounds and the feeling of the record, the emotional impact that we were trying to make with it. It was super-smooth and easy working with him; he’s very good at what he does and we’re looking forward to hanging out with him when we’re in L.A., sharing a beer and
getting to know him a little better on a personal level. Did being in California affect the album, or did you just try to close yourselves off in the studio as much as possible? I think it’s hard to avoid the effect of the environment on the work you’re doing. While we were doing the drum tracking, which took 10 or 11 days, it was beautiful. We were in this house that was right on the beach, it was beautiful the entire time except for one day when there were these crazy storms that started flooding the floor that I was staying in - I think I used about 15 towels to mop up the water that was coming in - but aside from that it was just this gorgeous environment outside. We were all trapped inside this little windowless box and it was super-hot; we’d be in for four or five hours at a stretch, all in our swimming trunks just because it was so warm. I think there’s something about the physical challenge of that that affected things. We were fighting the elements and I think you can feel that a little bit in the music. As far as the weather, it’s nice to feel relaxed when you’re not
in the studio pounding away at whatever song you’re working on, so I think there was an advantage to being in California in that the down-time was a really good release. How much preparation was there going into this? Was there much written already or did a lot come out in the studio? Probably half the songs were pretty well finished. We’d actually been doing a little tour heading down to the studio where we played five or six of the songs that ended up on the record, and those songs were way more finished than we’ve had probably any song going into the studio ever, because Ross had prepared us ahead of time by telling Brian (Giles, guitar/vocals) and I that we had to have our vocals pretty much done before heading into the studio, and we’ve never had that before. We had songs totally written – vocals, lyrics, everything – and those songs got some tweaks done to them by Ross and us while we were tracking them, but then there was four or five songs that were maybe just skeletons, one or two riffs that weren’t really songs at all, and we basically created them in the studio, which was a brand new experience for us. It was challenging and very rewarding; it actually ended up being a little less challenging than I thought it would have been because once we got into the rhythm of working in the studio with Ross ideas started flowing very easily. How would you describe the tone of Only Ghosts? Based on a few listens, it sounds a lot more open, more confessional. Yeah, there was a lot more cohesion in the message of the lyrics and the music. On past records, we’ve just recorded a bunch of instrumentals and then added vocals after the fact. The music and lyrics and the meanings of the songs weren’t necessarily tied together. This one is more directly personal from a lyrical standpoint – there’s less metaphor involved – and I think that being bolstered by the music makes the album feel that little bit darker, more open and adventurous musically, and more raw to me. There are fewer overdubs than there have been in the past and the tone feels a little bit darker, but there is optimism there. That seems very close to the impression that I got, though there is a good balance – having something like “Not For You’”and then “The Smell Of The Sound” makes for a good clash in tone. Yeah, it’s a progressive narrative and I’m not going to talk too much about what the progression is, but it turns out that once we’d settled on a final sequence, all of the songs that I sing on coincidentally ended up chronological, because
they’re basically autobiographical. There’s a story there but it’s not easy to figure out; I think it’s more fun for people to take what is meaningful to them from the lyrics and not be told what it means to the person who wrote them. I think it cheapens stuff sometimes, and limits interpretation by telling people what the lyrics “mean” because they can mean all kinds of different things. Both your vocal work and your bass parts are incredibly strong on this album. Were there any changes you made in terms of technique? The approach to the vocals was inspired by Ross and it was definitely a new one. Before tracking, we spent a good half-hour to an hour talking about what the song meant and what it was we were trying to say with it. He pushed me a lot harder to push more air and sing as powerfully and loud as possible, with the idea that we weren’t going to double the vocal tracks at all. In the past, I’ve always tried to sing powerfully but concentrating a lot on pitch, creating a rhythmically even vocal take so that I can then go back and double it. This time, he just wanted to get a good vocal track on its own so he kept pushing me to go harder and deeper every single time I did another take until he felt we had something that worked. Then there are spots where he would layer the vocals or go back and double, if I did one take where there was a natural harmony he would go back and put the harmonies together, but we didn’t plan any of that stuff out. As far as the bass goes the mood of the session was about not holding anything back, so similarly I think that I was just focused on giving the maximum energy that I could to the bass playing. The other big difference was that in the past we’ve always just tracked rhythm guitar, bass and drums live and so whichever bass take matched up best with the drums, whichever compromise between drums and bass worked, was the one that we would go with but this time we did everything separate so I could focus on doing the best bass take that we could along with the best drum take. Just the style of how we tracked it affected how I played. In the past, you’ve gotten a lot of love for your videos. Do you have anything similar planned for this album, even though it might be a bit more difficult to marry zombies with the kind of topics you’re covering here? It’s true, although we’ve already finished shooting the first video. It
“This one is more directly personal from a lyrical standpoint – there’s less metaphor involved – and I think that being bolstered by the music makes the album feel that little bit darker, more open and adventurous musically, and more raw to me.” was going to be done with editing yesterday with Whitey (McConaughy), the guy who’s done most of our videos, but his editing software went wrong but it is completely done. It is in the same vein as other videos, which I had some reservations about at first because this album feels more serious but really, all of the videos we’ve done (except for “Prehistoric Dog”) are pretty serious songs lyrically, but the video doesn’t really have any relation to the lyrical content, which I think is fine. We’re known for this pretty entertaining style of video, which I am still pretty entertained by, and so to me there’s not really a conflict between the content of the videos and the lyrics being unrelated. Maybe some of the other songs we make videos for might have a bit of a mood shift to match the songs more but this video matches the mood of the music perfectly well, like the last ones have. It’s pretty crazy and I’m pretty excited about seeing the final version of it. So am I, man. There seemed to be a common link in a lot of those videos with beer, but you can’t drink beer anymore. Do you have an alternative or are you more clean-living these days? I’ve kind of gotten over the thing I was suffering with that prevented me from drinking beer but I still prefer cocktails. My preference depends on the day but I prefer more bitter cocktails, more ‘adult-tasting’ ones like a Sazerac or an Old-fashioned, without too much sweetness in them and a bit more of a herbal feel, or the other one that’s the standby is a tall tequila soda. So, not the sweet cocktails or super-burly ones but the ones that have a touch of bitterness. How did the artwork for Only Ghosts come about? I feel that the more I stare at it, the further I lose my grasp on what it is.
[laughs] That’s great! Hopefully, it’s having the right effect, then. We had a meeting with Orion (Landau), who’s done the artwork for all our previous albums and is super-talented, can whip stuff up really fast. We had a meeting about wanting to be way more graphic with the artwork because the first two records were very busy visually and this album feels a lot more stripped-down musically, which we felt before we’d even gone into the studio. We wanted to get back to the spirit of the very first album cover, just the skull and the logo, without necessarily trying to recreate it – something more graphic, simple and bold. He came up with that and a bunch of other variations that are hopefully all going to be released as digital single artwork. We all felt immediately that it was perfect. We didn’t have an album title when we came up with that artwork but we were messing around with a few other titles and then Only Ghosts seemed to fit the lyrical themes throughout the record and that artwork evokes ghosts. I love it – it makes me a little dizzy to look at it. Though it’s been a few years since the last album, you’ve released a few EPs, including an Elvis cover 7”. How was that experience for you and do you have anything similar planned for the future? The backside of that one was a cover of a song from Fraggle Rock for their 30th anniversary a few years back, where they had a compilation of 30 bands covering 30 songs from the show. Both of those, we had the same approach. There wasn’t too much from Fraggle Rock where we thought, “This song is awesome, let’s do that.” Similarly, none of us are really fans of Elvis’s music and that song in particular isn’t one that any of us think is particularly amazing. It has pretty interesting lyrics, but on both of those songs we just threw away the music and basically wrote a new song using the lyrics. That’s a pretty fun process, to keep the same spirit of the song but musically not even the same chord progressions. We were approached about that Elvis cover at first and we were quite, “Eh, none of us really like Elvis, maybe let’s not do this.” Then, we started thinking about it more and decided to do an Elvis song the way we would want to hear it. I had a great time doing that and it went pretty quick. It was one of those cases where the song was pretty much done but not the vocals. Obviously I knew the lyrics but Adam, our front-of-house engineer, said “Just start singing and see what happens.” I made up the melody kind of one the spot for the chorus and I’m happy with how it turned out. We don’t have any plans to do another one but if we’re
INTERVIEW // RED FANG
asked, I think we’d be up for the challenge. Between touring and releases, you’ve basically been running without a break for a few years now. Do you feel that you have to keep working and moving or else you’ll lose momentum? It’s partly that as far as touring goes but it’s also that this is what we do for a living now, so we have to tour to make money. There’s never been a show we didn’t want to do but sometimes we end up filling our schedule a bit more. If I could stay home, have longer breaks, sometimes I would but we have to be on the road to make a living. As far as writing and being in the studio, that’s just something that comes from within. There are no external factors that make us feel pressured to do that, it’s just something that happens naturally. We all love touring but the frequency of the tours also has something to do with our income. Are there any venues that stand out for you for whatever reason, be they positive or negative? There’s not a lot that have stood out for negative reasons. None pop to mind which I guess is a good sign. The short tour we just did, there was a
place called Tivoli in Utrecht is about two years old and has maybe five different concert halls of various sizes, and has a super-nice backstage. It has an actual restaurant and bar downstairs where you’re fed, and places like that tend to stand out – where it’s clean, nice and comfortable and the wi-fi is always raging, because that’s always important when you’re communicating with home. The one in England that stands out to me is the Electric Ballroom. That is one of the biggest places we’ve ever played but it has a very intimate feel to it. I really like that kind of place. There’s one In Denver called the Ogden Theatre and the Bluebird is a smaller version of that. Both are great, big-ish but the way they’re laid out, they feel intimate. Brixton Academy is like that too, where you know there are 5000 people there but it feels cosy. Are there any things you do on tour that help to settle you? It’s pretty important when I’m on tour to get some sort of exercise. I really like to go for walks when I have the time between soundchecks, explore the surroundings and get my blood going a little bit. You’re cooped up in a van all day long and not really moving your body, so that starts to make me feel a little stir crazy. Just getting out and getting some fresh air, or even doing a
little exercise at the club, really helps my mental state a lot. Do you get to sample the local cuisine much? Oh, sure! I love regional delights. I’m all about trying anything once. I’ve tried all kinds of things that some people would probably be pretty upset to hear that I’ve eaten, but generally if it’s being eaten regionally I feel that me having eaten it one time isn’t going to tip the scales one way or another. I’m just interested in finding out about regional cuisine so I’ve tried a lot of weird things and enjoyed most of them. How often does it come back to bite you on the ass? So far, not really anything. There’s one thing I’d heard about ahead of time in Iceland called hákarl, that Greenland fermented shark meat, and I was ready and willing to try it if it was presented to me but I wasn’t going to seek it out. David actually did try it and he put it in his mouth, had a bite or two but had to spit it out and he said his beard smelled like it for two or three days afterwards, so I’m not super-sad about not trying that.
ONLY GHOSTS ARRIVES ON OCTOBER 14 VIA RELAPSE RECORDS
Talking about Flint, Michigan band King 810 is undoubtedly opening of a very complex door that put us in a place where heavy music is accompanied with even heavier subjects. After a staggering and earthshaking debut, Memoirs of A Murder, the band is back with a brand new statement. We talked with vocalist David Gunn about the bandâ€™s new album, la petite mort or a conversation with god, and a myriad of subjects that surround the band itself: from the influence of Dr. Kingâ€™s work to the their own reality in Flint. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Jimmy Fontaine
Unfiltered Mem 92
INTERVIEW // BAYSIDE
mories Of A Life musicandriots.com
our band’s name is a reference to a true hero that is Dr. King. As Dr. Cornel West and Nina Turner point out, Dr. King was a man that did pursue social justice and in doing that he organized the 1968’s Poor People’s Campaign that, arguably, sealed his destiny that ended on April 4th of 1968 after being fatally shot in Memphis, Tennessee. That campaign – which many people don’t mention when they talk about Dr. King’s work - demanded economic and human rights for poor Americans of diverse backgrounds. It was more than segregation, race, and nonviolence – Dr. King even once said, in a report titled “The Crisis in America’s Cities”, “Mass civil disobedience can use rage as a constructive and creative force.” You’re living in a poor city, with people of diverse backgrounds where rage is inevitable. Is there where you find a kinship with Dr. King’s work? That’s one of many reasons, without diving into specifically what I believe. It was kind of all an understanding amongst all of us ‘cause that’s what the name means to me and then the 810 is where we come from. Some of the other guys might say that we call ourselves King because that’s the fitting word to call because musical things like Prince, or Queen, or things like that. Some of them say we just call it King because that’s what we believe we are but to me the most accurate answer is the kinship in the work of Dr. King, which to a layman or ignorant person it... a lot of people say, “You come from this violent place and you have this thing with violence, obviously not anti-violence or anything like that, yet you have a non-violent person here as the origin of your name.” I think it’s just kind of ignorant because, like you already cited, Dr. King associations were so numerous. He was a big member of the church, and things like that, but he also had friends that were radicals, or were violent, or did not do the pacifist kind of protest that he advocated, and yet they were still friends, part of his movement, and still after the same thing. So, there’s a real kinship, I think. What we are doing and what we did to me... it’s maybe an artistic counterpart because he, arguably, was not an artist in the traditional sense as far as a creator in the field of
the arts. He did write, speak, and do a bunch of these things that are considered today artistic, but I think it’s important to know that back in his day that stuff was not considered art. Nowadays people look at anything as artistic but I think if you ask people if he was an artist they would probably say he wasn’t. He was a man, a religious man, an activist, a speaker, an idealist, and things like these. I just like to imagine that this is a kind of a counterpart of all of that stuff. On “A Conversation with God” you say, “you know they keep us locked in these cages / they wanna keep us fighting over races”. Those words also reminded me of Dr. King because... well, the 1968’s Poor People’s Campaign and his belief that the issue was bigger than race. Yeah. [sighs] It is much bigger. It’s classism and racism, and all the types of xenophobia that are kind of all-encompassing and... the messed up part about it is that nothing has changed. People still believe that one side is to fight another and if one wins then that prevails. Like right now with Black Lives Matter. People are actually believing that if this movement of BLM fights the powers that be, or whatever you might want to call them... they believe that bashing their heads together and creating a victor or some type of winner of the conflict is going to create change and... it’s common sense that doesn’t work, it’s never worked at any point of time. In the past, for example the Civil War in the U.S. when the North fought the South – since we’re on the topic of slavery. The South still has this bitter thing where they ride around with the Confederate flag. It’s still present today. Racism and things like that still exist because wars don’t solve these type of issues. Since we’re on the subject of Dr. King, he said, and this is paraphrased not verbatim, “Those who stand idly by evil is done, not by those who are against us but when great men stand idly by.” That’s basically what I believe. I don’t think that the BLM uprising and fighting against these wrongful killings, or whatever it may be, to be the answer or the solution that’s going to create the desired outcome. That’s not how things work. I don’t think that I have any grounds to sit and say that we shouldn’t do anything but I believe that racism is a white problem. I believe white people created it and white have to solve it. It’s not going to end through conflict of races. Conflict doesn’t end the problem. What has to happen is that white people have to ostracize one another for racism. These white people know that. They know that when the news is filled with this conflict and when there’s clash and all this turmoil, they know that’s a good place to have
it because then you have a pigeonhole that you can control and it’s very primitive kind of bullshit that actually will never be solved. So, it’s good to keep it in this state of flux, and it’s good to have in this kind of facility to where is very controllable – and it is in control whether people believe it or not – and very compartmentalized. And it’s definitely in a desired state for all the rich white people that control it. This is exactly where they want it because it’s not ever going to be fixed in this way but if white ostracize one another for the way that they act then things will start changing. You know, there’s an obvious vendetta against white people from the black community because... well, for so many reasons. I just can’t find the reason for – to me is all a reactionary retaliation – whites to be racists against blacks. I still remember listening for the first time Memoirs of a Murderer. When in the opening track “Killem All” you scream repeatedly “Kill em’ all! Kill em’ all! Kill em’ all!”, it seems to come from the most pure and genuine state of despair. It feels like you knew that it was the only way and there was no backing off at that point. Is that a fair assessment? That’s basically what it is. Exactly what it is. It’s hard to talk about it in a way that doesn’t kind of magnify because I always like to speak in terms of kind of a duality or the juxtaposing kind of manner. There’s a whole sphere and this is only a little bit of the story. This is just a magnified quarter or third of the whole thing that has happening. That’s how I usually like to imagine things. This is just a very specific kind of first account experience that I personally had growing up and it’s not really up for debate. A lot of people have a lot of things to say about it but everything I’m talking about I’ve seen and I understand firsthand how it works, so I feel I’m qualified to talk about it. I don’t think anyone can say or have an opinion about it if they didn’t have those kind of experiences or are not from those kind of places. Anyone with a half-brain doesn’t come at it from that angle where they say, “Oh, this is a glorification of violence. This is a glamorization. This is a sensationalism of a story or experience.” That’s not about what it is. This is actual, exact, factual account of what exactly is going on, what I grew up seeing, and is for the people that I know and have interacted with throughout my life. Even in the bridge of the song it talks about almost that third-party perspective where you are acknowledging an audience of some kind when it says, “I tried talking to you about
INTERVIEW // KING 810
“I don’t think that I have any grounds to sit and say that we shouldn’t do anything but I believe that racism is a white problem. I believe white people created it and white have to solve it. It’s not going to end through conflict of races. Conflict doesn’t end the problem.” musicandriots.com
peace / They only wanna hear about the beast.” That’s even taking quite literally on besides the fact every news broadcasting channel has a guy with a gun, a guy robbing a liquor store with a gun, someone that shot this person or that person, but doesn’t talk about the actual things that are ruining the world. Look at “Killem All”: a couple of million views on YouTube, the downloads, the streams, and all of that. But when you make a song called “State of Nature” about David Hume and John Locke’s philosophical debate about the state of things it’s just overlooked and kind of swept under the rug. “I tried talking to you about peace” – no one is interested in those ideas. They want to see someone’s head cut off, the guy with the gun, the bombings in Afghanistan today... it is just this propensity towards this kind of stimulation where they want – from the isolation of their own westernized home with their iPhones, wi-fi, Starbucks, etc. – to be entertained like some kind of fucking joke or some kind of movie. You can listen to our albums, you can see us perform live, but first and foremost we’re these people from these places, so we’re not really participating in all these things that you may expect from other musicians or groups. You’re not going to get the same kind of thing from us. It might sound like it because it’s songs on a CD and we play live shows on the stage like other bands. You might think it appears to be the same thing but it’s far from what you think is going on. It’s not for your entertainment. We are not trying to humor you. These are all real life songs with real people. The names of the people in these songs are their real names. These are real things that happened. In a sense is insulting to say it is artistic because that suggests that is metaphorical and poetic in a way that is not literal and factual... and it is. It’s verbatim. It’s not for you. Basically I’m writing some kind of journal, some kind of little thing to basically immortalize a place or a group of people. I couldn’t care less if someone thought it was good. You don’t have to think it’s good because it’s not about you. The few thousand people in city that is about... they think is great. But your music is more than Flint. You’re talking about Flint but there are a lot of other places where the same things happen. Listening to your music and you talking about Flint, I always saw it as you trying to create awareness for all those problems that exist in Flint and, unfortunately, in many other places.
“9 out of 10 people don’t think the same way we not be this way. This is minority belief, this is mino That’s misunderstanding. I never said I was only talking about Flint. I’m talking about people that try to assess this as if it’s not a very literal and factual thing. I know people that don’t live in Flint and know this story because they live it every day. Yeah, it’s not a centralized geographical place, 99000 people, called Flint, Michigan, in the United States of America and that’s only who’s for. But when you try to assess it without any kind of understanding… tell someone in the Southside of Chicago, or tell someone in Kiev, or tell someone in Calcutta... these people are not the people that are commenting on this stuff. You have some kind of white suburban square from some town in Omaha who’s bored on the internet, in his parents’ house, participating in some
kind of publication for critiquing records and that’s basically what I’m talking about. All the things that you talked about of not being just Flint and that it happens all around the world... yeah, those people don’t have a problem with any of this. They fully understand it, it resonates with them, and they understand it because they live it just the same. The problem with the community is that you don’t have those people in any real positions. Those people are not the gatekeepers. Those people are not running the show. If you and I understand what’s going on here, just like this whole conversation and everything we’ve talked about has been a minority belief. This is not the everyman’s belief. 9 out of 10 people don’t think the same way we are here
INTERVIEW // KING 810 and it has a few songs that really dive into that type of stuff. There’s one there called “I’d Love To Change The World” and that deals with the same thing. It says, “The magazines the world tours the traveling the shows / I go home I still carry fuckin guns in my clothes”. There’s no silver lining. I still come home here. I didn’t move out of this place. I still come home, put my gun in my pants and walk around town. I still live in the same house. I still do the same things. It wasn’t exactly like what thought it was and “I Ain’t Goin Back Again”, that’s what it is about. It’s talking about not going back to believing that, I ain’t going back again into thinking in this kind of way that all that has to be done is this one thing and all of us will be kind of set free.
are here sitting thinking or else the world would ority thoughts. It’s the same way with this music.” sitting thinking or else the world would not be this way. This is minority belief, this is minority thoughts. It’s the same way with this music. When you listen to most music it is fine. If you listen to pop music and you say, “Oh, I really like that melody”... it’s not dealing with any complex situations that make you appreciate that melody. They’re not dealing with heavy political issues that make you understand what it is they’re talking about and you don’t have to have that understanding to be able to understand what it is that this music is saying. When did you start understand that writing “the right line” wouldn’t save you – financially or otherwise?
“And I thought I could save all of us if I wrote one line, you know, the right line” (“I Ain’t Goin Back Again”). I realized that when this whole thing happened with the record deal, releasing the first album, and going on world tours... almost like, “Uau, this is nothing like I thought it would be.” Because we used to have these fantasies and all this shit when we were kids before we knew better – I’ve been writing since I was 7 years old and we’ve been playing together since we were 13/14 years old. In the 90s when we were coming up with these ideas – before the Internet and Napster – you could have just a hit song and you go on a tour with all these bands. One of my favorite things that we’ve ever done is a mixtape called Midwest Monsters 2
I know that for Memoirs of a Murderer you had to memorize the lyrics since you didn’t have paper and pen... and it made me remind of Nick Cave. I once saw an interview where he said that he would go to an office from 9 to 5 to write music in a room where there was only a piano and a couple of books, and during those writing sessions he would not record a damn thing. He said that if it wasn’t good enough to remember then it wasn’t good enough to record. Thinking about it... it’s kind of a natural selection. Did it feel that way for you? Yeah. I mean, when King first started I was in jail, so I didn’t have a pencil and a paper since I was in solitary confinement. I memorized really complex passages and then when I got out – I was only there for a week or something – I went to write them on paper and I realize, “Well, I really didn’t have to do it a few days ago. I probably don’t have to do it now. I will do just fine memorizing these things.” When I think of things and I remember them, I just basically practice and work on that. Now, at this point, it’s not even about coming up with words and deciding if they’re good or not. At this point when something starts coming I just know that it’s good coming out the pipeline and I get that feeling that that something is coming and I know that’s to pay attention and to remember what’s coming down the pipeline. Like these spoken word “Anatomy” tracks that are on the first album, and there’s a few more on video form... Those are just turning the microphone on and that’s it. On “Alpha & Omega” you talk about child abuse made by Catholic priests, but it isn’t the first time such subject finds way in your lyrics. I remember that on your previous album, on a
track called “Best Nite Of My Life”, you say “I’m still that defensive child that can be touched by no man / Not even the preacher, I’ll saw off his fucking hands,” and you often mention the institution that’s the Church on your lyrics. I’m curious about the Church’s role in a city like Flint, that has suffered immensely, and your relationship with that institution throughout the years. It’s kind of a complex relationship. My grandma was a minister in the Church. If you remember on “Fat Around The Heart” it says, “I grew up in the church on Sunday”. That’s basically it. I grew up being exposed to all the singing songs on the Wednesday church, Saturday church, and Sunday service. I grew up in that kind of environment for a handful of years. Once I turned 10 or 12 I kind of started making my own choices but... It’s just one of those things. It’s touched down in “Alpha & Omega” in the video a bit... it goes back to what we first started talking about where the confusion of what exactly we’re talking about. If we’re talking about religion and the church then that has nothing to do with God. Being a theist of any kind is the belief in God and that has nothing to do with religion. Religion is a whole separate thing doctrine, kind of. To me you have to make a few things clear when you talk about what exactly it is people are talking about. It gets very confusing because they’re dangerous things. They have shed more blood in the world than anything I can think off – pretty sure than anything in history. With me it was just... I have a bunch of problems with it, I guess. But a lot it is just... the same way that we grew up, even outside of the church, where you don’t have a solid male role model in your life or something and you have this foolish pride, you’re foolhardy even, and you’re the guy and it’s just how you live. I touch on being a kid in a lot of songs. Nostalgia is in all of the songs, even where it doesn’t seem like it. It just goes back to life, I guess, on a couple of different levels. When I address the Church it’s just me addressing the Church as the person I am. The person I am is not always... doesn’t always have to do with the preacher. I also talk about the father figure or maybe not having one, or something like that. It’s touched down in a bunch of different outlooks, I guess. I can tell you what I was like as a kid and how life was but basically I can through also and say, “This is what the Church was to me. This is what politics were to me. This is what family was to me.
This is what friends were to me.” That’s basically what it is doing. Since we’re talking about the Church... what did you want to convey with the title of this new album, a petite mort or a conversation with god? That’s a lot of things. The layman can think is just the literal “little death”, “small death”, or whatever. Continuing on with the French theme of “memoirs” being obviously a French word. They believe it’s the sexual precipice, kind of, or the orgasm itself, or being in touch with some kind of deeper God or consciousness. This subtext of a conversation with God is exactly what’s going on on the record when it starts and it kind of comes out of the gate all crazy, it has settling in the middle with the title-track, and comes out on the other side and there’s a lot of female voices introduced. The record is almost a kind of a prayer and that’s why it’s called that. And then it parallels itself with sexual communion being some kind of conversation with God. There’s a hundred different meanings that it takes on. Every song, I can tell you a hundred different things that it means. It’s thoroughly vetted and thoroughly worked. There’s no accidents, basically. We were never in the studio and went, “Oh, that was a cool noise. Let’s put that in there.” Everything is by design and it is well thought out and if everyone has any kind of issue, question, or problem, I can always break it down and defend it because there’s definitely a thought behind it. And if you don’t think there is I can enlighten you whereas many other groups... they don’t have the same thing. They’re basically... [laughs] they make cool sounds and they call them songs. I couldn’t help noticing that in both your records there are recordings of you breathing heavily. I wouldn’t believe it to be a mere coincidence. Can we also see it as a point of connectivity? What do you want to translate with it? Yeah. I mean, it’s just basically turning on the tape recorder. It’s connectivity between the two records because... you’ll learn as we make more pieces that they’re all connected, but on top of that is an intimacy kind of thing where there’s a person on the other end of the line. When we are here talking you can hear me starting my car, putting the alarm on, going to the store, etc. When you hear the breathing, which is mostly cut out of people’s recordings making them seem kind of this don’t-make-mistakes/”perfect” kind of thing. When you hear the breathing you hear a human and there’s a connection. A lot of the songs are done one take and we keep errors in, and I keep some
“We are not trying to of the people in these of the swear words... I’m just talking in there. It’s because it’s not written down. I’m not reading a script. I’m just saying it into the microphone. Every take is going to be different. When you hear these breaths and these things in there, most of the times is because I did the song in one run through. For this album, which I think is an hour long, it probably took me about an hour to record the vocals for. It’s just me on there and that’s what I wanted to convey. You’ve said, numerous times, that you don’t want to leave Flint. You could have in the past but you decided to stay. And on “Vendettas” you say, “But I promised my whole city I wouldn’t let the world forget us”. Doyou feel there’s a sort of mission for you in Flint? I guess just intrinsically. It’s inherent. It’s nothing I ever thought about. I
humor you. These are all real life songs with real people. The names e songs are their real names. These are real things that happened.” only just realize it after people told me it was. I never made it my business to have that as a goal, to try make it my purpose with this. I mean, with my group yeah, I was always the person that told stories, I was always kind of the bookkeeper, if you will, and that was just who I was. But it wasn’t until it was revealed to me, basically... we always just thought it was for us. Once we seen other people that were into it as much as we were we were like, “Oh, I guess this is everyone’s thing.” On the title track you say, “I was born to die here in Flint and I haven’t done that yet so in turn I ain’t done shit.” I’m sure some people in Flint can and do feel that way, but it seems that you’ve worked to change the fatality of your destiny, or at least you’re trying to. Would it be fair to assume that?
I don’t know. It goes back to the idea kind of that you’re nobody until someone kills you or something like that, which I also touch upon on the mixtape with “I’d Love To Change The World” and even with “Devil Don’t Cry”. I got shot a couple times in life but the last time was when I was 27 and I always thought that maybe I was supposed to die in that time and it was supposed to be it, this one record and this one thing. I always had this affinity for death because half my friends are dead. I have more dead friends than the ones that are alive, so it goes back to what we were talking about where people think that this is one thing or the other when really, like I said in the last King TV episode, these albums are just things we are making while waiting to die. I’m not better than anyone out here. I’m still, like I said, riding around in the same car, in the same house, and I’ve been shot twice... and I can get
shot a third time in head and die. To me it’s just part of it, that’s why I say that “I was born to die here in Flint and I haven’t done that yet so in turn I ain’t done shit.” Because that’s what this all means to us. I mean, there’s a purging and redemptive quality in the songs, yeah it’s there but that’s something we do first and foremost. The band is called King 810... our home is in the name of the band and this is what we are though. The music is piece of who we are. The music doesn’t encompass... I have friends that I know for 15 years and they don’t even know I’m in fucking King. They don’t even know anything about music. It’s just one of those things, you don’t feel like your work is done because you out survived. It’s almost like survivor’s guilt.
LA PETITE MORT OR A CONVERSATION WITH GOD IS OUT NOW VIA ROADRUNNER RECORDS
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
10 NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS
Skeleton Tree Bad Seed Ltd. (2016)
“All the things we love, we love, we love, we lose.”
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Skeleton Tree has taught us that the sting of the grim reaper’s scythe never dulls. Heavy with the overbearing weight of grief, these are songs that provoke the temporal lobe and refuse to be taken lightly. Lyrically, Cave has surpassed anything written by himself, or anyone else for that matter, in recent years. Each syllable he wrenches from his soul is poignant and essential. His words are at the forefront of every song; The Bad Seeds linger in the shadows. Soft pianos and shifting synths
provide a kaleidoscopic atmosphere that grounds every sentiment, whether dark, accepting, hopeful or desolate. There are darkwave drones, there are jazz-inspired drum patterns and there are moments so simple they evade categorization. Nothing, from the organ accompanying “I Need You” to Else Torp’s pure voice on “Distant Sky,” is pretentious or extraneous. Arrogance is never a thought throughout the eight tracks. The album as a whole, from “Jesus Alone” to “Skeleton Tree,” feels as if Cave is guiding you through the process of accepting his tragedy. Your tragedy. An occurrence everybody has experienced which threatens to
FLE UNDER: Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Neil Young
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Skeleton Tree, I Need You, Distant Sky
carve the still-beating heart from your chest. Yet, Skeleton Tree assures that there is life after pain and sorrow. Whether or not there truly is, well, that is for each listener to decide for themselves. It seems nearly intrusive to be a part of something so painfully personal. It’s also testament that the most extreme life events yield the most beautiful art. Absorb every waver in Cave’s deep voice and understand his carefully chosen vocabulary. Skeleton Tree is an album that should never have been made, but it is the utmost humbling honor to be entrusted with such an intimate work. “And it’s alright now.” TEDDIE TAYLOR
8 AGNES OBEL Citizen Of Glass PIAS (2016)
Haunting, powerful and intimate. These are just a few of the words that cross the mind of this humble writer. Citizen of Glass is bright and bold, perhaps Agnes Obel most revealing and transparent effort, almost naked revealing with all her frailties exposed. It’s like an emotional and cathartic experience, but at the same time sounds quite normal and brutally honest, “It’s just like we are”, she explains. Exploratory in every single way, both lyrically and musically, Citizen of Glass is also an intense and melancholic journey, a stunning blend of sounds and styles that invade your heart and penetrate your soul in the most effective stripped down way. It’s also a challenging experience for the listener, because it makes us think about how we see ourselves, and how we see other people, and how love and emotions work in this FAUSTO CASAIS strange new world.
7 40 WATT SUN Wider Than The Sky
Noticeably less heavy than their 2011 EP The Inside, Wider Than the Sky presents a sprawling landscape of emotive, doom-infused ballads. Patrick Walker’s voice is as marvelously distinct as ever as his guitar stings with simplicity. With Christian Leitch’s creeping, intuitive drums and William Spong’s conscientious bass, the songs pace themselves carefully to allow each word to be absorbed and processed. There is a feeling of swimming unsuccessfully through waves at twilight while pondering the decisions that led you there. There are occasional feelings of monotony, but even they are illuminated by beautiful thematic melancholy and lyrical prowess. On Wider Than the Sky, 40 Watt Sun are not arrogant or over complicated; they are delicate and aware of the message they convey. TEDDIE TAYLOR
FILE UNDER: Pallbearer, YOB, Michael Gira
Radiance Records (2016)
Recorded on their 2010 tour and subsequently surrendered to the sublime mind of Daniel O’Sullivan, Hazel is a testament to the synchronicity of four creative psyches operating as one. The collective of O’Sullivan, Stephen O’Malley, Kristoffer Rygg and Steve Noble don’t so much build on Noble’s scattershot percussion as they do launch sneak attacks on it, laying minefields of ethereal drone and subspace ambience while O’Sullivan fires off salvoes of off-kilter jazz-Rhodes when defences are down. Like all good improvisation it’s a delicate game of push-and-pull, energies rising and falling to create forms that are gut-wrenchingly chilling one moment and full of krauty kineticism the next, but the cohesion lies in how all these forms seem to originate from a single universe, a collective locus inferni as bewildering as it is inescapable. DAVE BOWES
AGAINST ME! Shape Shift With Me
Xtra Mile Recordings (2016)
Against Me! are a band situated between the rush of fire and the refreshing clean air. That’s the contrast that unfolds on the band’s new record Shape Shift With Me, a contrast of love and war, of dreams and doubts. Lead singer Laura Jane Grace batters her voice, screaming out, overlapping the tension. She also bellows out words that describe the pollution of the world, a world falling down, crumbling piece by piece. And on the new album, politics is examined and truly unpacked, thrown to the vultures. And Grace doesn’t powder over the cracks on songs such as “Crash” and “333”. They’re both highly tuned to provoke a response, they’re truly engineered with creative guitar lines and bubbling energy. The tones are there and as well the lyrical decisiveness.
WELCOME BACK Brandon English
8 AMERICAN FOOTBALL American Football Polyvinyl/Wichita (2016) FILE UNDER:
Braid, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Hotelier
17 years have passed since the pioneering Illinois emo band American Football released their debut album. It was such a long time ago and it’s interesting to see how the only album they released has become a classic. When they announced their comeback, it was such a thrill. How could we imagine that American Football would actually return? Besides the overwhelming excitement of their return and live shows, it was announced the sophomore album, entitled simply as American Football. It’s an amazing and exciting record, with a much more mature and focused band that knew exactly what they wanted to achieve at this moment of their lives, but their essence as the band we knew years ago is totally there, they’re just a bit older. The melodies are right on point with well-crafted guitar parts and the lyrics are much more introspective. Well, it’s still weird for them to have such a huge and loyal fan base, but for us it’s really amazing to have them back and with such compelling album. Let’s keep ANDREIA ALVES it that way.
8 ALL GET OUT Nobody Likes A Quitter Bad Timing Records (2016)
Nobody Likes A Quitter is All Get Out’s second full-length and the follow up to cult classic and highly influential 2011’s The Season. Produced by and co-written with Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Robert McDowell, Nobody Likes A Quitter is an album of articulate and poetic beauty, full of rip-roaring emotive vocal lines and bursting creativity. Introspective and mature, almost an auto-discovery journey and let’s say that it’s quite cool to see Nathan Hussey’s coming to terms with himself and discovering his own persona. Nobody Likes A Quitter is full of colours and textures, it’s strong, passionate and way too good. It’s a winner and utterly essential. FAUSTO CASAIS
ANAAL NATHRAKH The Whole Of The Law
Metal Blade (2016)
Just think about everything that you fucking hate the most in this sad and bullshit world. Now, it’s time to add all your aggression, frustrations, some perspective and perhaps a bit of your intelligence - if, you have all of this, fucking perfect! You will need it. The Whole of the Law is intense, violent and a sure-to-be classic, the songwriting is top notch and their ferocity has no boundaries. With their intimidating and mind-blowing explosive blend of whatever sounds more brutal and extreme is the law, Anaal Nathrakh simply delivered their opus and another big fuck you to mankind. The Whole of the Law is the perfect soundtrack for the world we’re living in, with no such thing as bullshit or even politically correctness attached. One of this year’s best albums! FAUSTO CASAIS
APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE Pharmacie Holy Roar Records (2016)
Call it punk rock. Call it post-punk, or call it emo. Call it whatever you want, just listen to it. It’s remarkable how Apologies, I Have None manages to progress from record to record, being better and better while not losing anything that made them who they are. Even more surprising is that the band lost two of its members and managed to continue with their own unique style and sound. They are still dark and gloomy, depressing on a verge of suicidal, and yet, the energy they possess is just crazy. Pharmacie cuts through skin like a thousand razor blades, but letting just a glimpse of sunshine in the wounds. Just let it burn.
FILE UNDER: SILVER SNAKES RADIOHEAD NOTHING
7 ASTEROID III
8 BALANCE AND COMPOSURE Light We Made Big Scary Monsters (2016)
Fuzzorama Records (2016)
III is Asteroid’s third full-length and an unstoppable psychedelic prog southern stripped-back blues cosmic journey. Between this kind of celebration of old school Pink Floyd’s weirdness, there’s this unique and raw vibe that makes this colourful trip even more powerful and uplifting. III is progressive without ever being overblow, they somehow manage to keep your attention and engage the listener by not following regular conventions. For sure that there’s a bit of Zeppelin, Floyd, Kyuss and even ZZ Top there, but overall, this is a rewarding effort that doesn’t give its secrets without a fight.
Light We Made is thrilling ambitious and surprisingly inventive, sounds clean and more polished but at the same time is able to be efficiently raw and hypnotic. The 90’s alternative rock is once again their beach, from The Cure to Radiohead, from Nirvana to Brand New, their palette of influences is vast and they show no signs of hiding that. Sometimes it sounds all familiar, but Light We Made is truly unique, exquisitely dark, sounds elegantly organic, transcending any kind of genre and brave enough to explore new grounds. Produced by the great Will Yip, Light We Made sheers audacity and creativity, it’s great to see that Balance And Composure took their artistic statement to a whole new level. FAUSTO CASAIS
8 BON IVER 22, A Million
BOSTON MANOR Be Nothing
BEACH SLANG The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us Rude Records (2016) Soaring melodies reigns and it’s hard not to admire the kind of attention to detail that Phily rock Beach Slang utilize on this. Somewhere between the sonic raw energy of The Bronx or The Replacements and the soulful punk sound of The Gaslight Anthem, Beach Slang’s sophomore album is an honest and cathartically sincere, everything you could hope for in a well-written rock album. Singer James Alex way of singing brings that feeling of youth and vulnerability, creating an instant and real connection with the listener. Teenage feelings, pains of growth, the very first love, sad and funny memories, everything has its own place in here and it’s quite easy to relate with. FAUSTO CASAIS
7 BRAIN TENTACLES Brain Tentacles
Relapse Records (2016)
Pure Noise Records (2016)
Bon Iver are an immersive band and their third studio album could not fail to be what characterizes them: melancholia, introspection and intimacy. A strange intimacy that goes beyond the life of the band members and spreads to all Wisconsin, as so many times referenced in this effort. There is a mysterious energy that runs throughout all record, a kind of happiness that grows between the different instruments and rhythms. 22, A Million is a sublime album of rare beauty, which automatically tunes the listener and frees him to a thousand mind travels. Relaxing enough, the songs are characterized by a mixture of mysticism and folk that if it not dazzles, it is near there.
Boston Manor are one of the most exciting bands you’ll hear for some time. With one foot firmly rooted in late 90’s emo and another in melodic punk, Blackpool’s Boston Manor managed to craft a near perfect debut album. Be Nothing is intelligent, melancholic and explosive, that reflects on personal yet relatable experiences. Nothing is bad on this record and overall it’s impressively strong. Vocalist Henry Cox distinct voice finds the perfect balance between their raw energy and some emotionally charged moments, adding some depth, new dynamics and some perspective to the whole album. Be Nothing is an ambitious effort and demands your attention. FAUSTO CASAIS
It’s no secret that many metal musicians have a fascination with Jazz, probably because like heavy music Jazz is one of the most complex and technically challenging genres in music. This trio consisting members of Municipal Waste, Yakuza and Keelhaul, among other projects and collaborations creates an interesting fusion between each member’s influences to weave a tapestry of jazz and Raga infused avant-garde tinged experimental rock. They utilize the onslaught of saxophone, bass and drums to create a monolithic doom jazz sound that will certainly appeal to the more open minded heavy metal aficionado and will probably serve as an introduction to some Jazz fans wanting to discover the heavier side of music. NUNO BABO
BURN AFTER ME Aeon
CANDIRIA While They Were Sleeping
CASEY Love Is Not Enough
AEON is a Burn After Me conceptual album inspired and based on “La Divina Commedia” by Dante Alighieri, the most famous Italian opera of all time. It’s an ambitious and challenging effort, that needs some time to get used to and demands your full attention. Fully detailed and textured, AEON is also a bleak and arse-splittingly heavy effort, entirely composed drawing inspiration from the rules and guidelines of opera, especially regarding the rhythmic subdivisions, music mood, lyrics language and voice types. Experimental and taking their own risks, this is a band pushing themselves to find new ways to progress. Well done!
While They Were Sleeping is a conceptual masterpiece, telling the tale of a failed musician who rises up against a monarchy in New York City, portraying a sharp vision of the contemporary world and all its complexity. Everything flows and sounds natural, Candiria’s trademark signature is still hot as hell, again pushing the boundaries of experimentation over and over again with their explosive blend of hip-hop, free jazz, dub and hardcore. The band has gone through many issues in their career, but despite these huge setbacks they keep showing their perseverance and relentless, showing no signs of ever slowing down. Ambitious, challenging, defying expectations and remarkably good!
Casey’s debut album is an impressive burst of aggressive brevity, crushing emotional and creative atmospheric. Love Is Not Enough is brilliantly intense, vocalist Tom Weaver successfully channels all his frustration and pours is heart out, bringing a whole new dimension into their post-hardcore and almost everything groundbreaking effort. Somewhere between While She Sleeps heaviness, La Dispute’s frantic spoken word-esque and Being As An Ocean rawness, it’s fair to say that Casey are far from your “typical” post-hardcore band, they’re creatively intelligent, their sound is cathartic in every single way and their debut album is strongly good.
Nuvi Records (2016)
Metal Blade Records (2016)
Hassle Records (2016)
CONOR OBERST Ruminations
CROWBAR The Serpent Only Lies
CRYING Beyond the Fleeting Gales
Well, now it’s a fact! Conor Oberst never sleeps. Again, he shows how a prolific genius works and where creativity never seems to slowdown. Minimal and raw, Ruminations sees Oberst more stripped down than ever, everything seems intimate, dark and perhaps his most personal effort ever. Recorded during a depressing Nebraska winter in the aftermath of a serious health scare, Ruminations takes things in a slighter direction. From the deeply personal lyrics to his acoustic guitar, piano and the occasional harmonica, Oberst once again shows that unlike most of the artists who plumb the soul’s depths, he managed to bring cathartic joy of making a great record, ending another great chapter in Oberst life.
One of the pioneers of sludge metal, Crowbar are one of those bands that don’t really know how to disappoint, even after 25 years. It can sound disappointing when we affirm that not much has changed with Crowbar’s new album. Yeah, The Serpent Only Lies keeps the tradition alive and it’s yet another great album by the band led by Kirk Windstein. Reaching to an old-school tradition “where songs have less lyrics to let the riffs breathe a little more”, Crowbar create an album that thrives in an endless parade of crushing and addictive riffs, beautifully desperate howls, an exciting weird sense of melody, and an overall bleakness that we gladly embrace. Thank you!
Beyond the Fleeting Gales is weird and nerdy, their approach is not sophisticated at all and sounds like a 90’s Nintendo nostalgic soundtrack affair. But what really intrigues us, is their crazy blend of sounds, everything sounds messy but insanely addictive and groovy, every track is like this new and bold adventure full of mystery. Crying are shaping their sound at their own terms, from the “80s era Rush, when they embraced more pop,” according to the band - to the classic Motown-esque, their catchy melodies and beats are quite a challenge at first but the saccharine sweet harmonized voice of Elaiza is refreshing and love at first listen.
Nonesuch Records (2016)
Eone Music (2016)
Run For Cover Records (2016)
YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY
8 DANGERS The Bend In The Break Topshelf Records (2016)
6 CRYSTAL CASTLES Amnesty (I)
To be honest, I have a problem in accepting Crystal Castles without Alice Glass. Especially keeping the name after the departure of such influential member, and considering they were a duo. That being said, this record is to be listened as a new project as much as new Crystal Castles music. Compared to older stuff, this just doesn’t do any kind of justice. It is experimental, it is alternative, but the feel just isn’t right. Pretty much everything sounds somehow familiar, and played before, mostly of it by the duo itself. Amnesty misses edge, and it’s mostly by the absence of Alice Glass, her energy and charisma. As a new project, Amnesty has some high points, but still, it’s not as interesting and fresh to gain bigger attention. MILJAN MILEKIC
Has hardcore felt a little safe recently? A little too predictable perhaps? Well this might be the album to conquer back your faith in the genre. The Bend In The Break is raw and brutal, sounds old-fashion, but it’s terribly incisive and sharp, and that’s perhaps their big win. Dangers have certainly not created something experimental, expansive or game changing like Refused’s The Shape Of Punk To Come or Converge’s Jane Doe, but they know what they’re doing and they know what they’re good at. Embracing different influences within their sound, they don’t even know how far they went by simply pushing their own boundaries and walked directly into uncharted territories.
7 DOUGLAS DARE Aforger
Erased Tapes Records (2016) 14.10
DARKTHRONE Arctic Thunder
What’s more impressive - the steadiness of Darkthrone’s output or the fact that every time they resurface, they sound as fired-up as they did 20 years ago? Arctic Thunder is a natural progression from Circle The Wagons, still a spiked-fist salute to NWOBHM and speed metal that rekindles the fires of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto but also one that dares to take things a step further – sometimes it works, like the cowbell and frazzled soloing on “Boreal Fiend”, and other times it feels like you’d be better off digging out your old Sodom records. Still, it’s one of the most musically accomplished things they’ve ever put out, it’s undeniably catchy and, most importantly, it perfectly captures the spirit of heavy fucking metal they’ve championed since day one. DAVE BOWES
London-based singer-songwriter and pianist Douglas Dare delivers with his second fulllength album a work that finds its purpose with the challenges of life and the doubts that often surface in one’s mind regarding identity and reality. Aforger is emotionally available and vulnerable, often very simplistic and direct in its sonic approach, giving room for Dare’s words to sink in. Its atmosphere refuses colors that aren’t black and white to make a presence or even show up briefly, making the experience as cohesive as coherent. Aforger is a beautiful and painful soundtrack to that parallel world that we love to forget that even exists and where pain is like a lesson to move forward. TIAGO MOREIRA
DYSRHYTHMIA The Veil Of Control
EVERY TIME I DIE Low Teens
EXPIRE With Regret
Sometimes we get that strange feeling that post-rock/metal bands always end up become tiresome or even boring, without fully engaging the listener, perhaps that happens because of the lack of voice and lyricism, for some the main element to push and engage the listener. Fortunately, Dysrhythmia are not one of those bands, their power and noisy approach is indeed pure satisfaction. Able to fry your brain with strange compositions, somehow perplex your thoughts and turn your attention to each sequel and detailed sonic attack. From the start till the end, we can feel the brutal and heavy rooting of every track. A powerful and strong effort.
A band’s new album should always challenge and push beyond past accomplishments, and for Every Time I Die that’s always mandatory. Low Teens is intense, the Buffalo mob unleashed a monster, perhaps their most accomplished effort ever and this time around they’ve pushed the band into inexplicably heavier territories. Killer riffs and fully dynamic, where Keith’s screaming meets melodic vocals are sharper than ever, Low Teens have this menacing and raging attitude that really makes us feel that this album is a hardcore driven explosive cocktail of that which will explode in our hands at any time. It’s an exhausting and relentless experience, but this is a brilliant effort in any way.
There’s nothing unknown when it comes to Expire. The hardcore mob are one the best representatives of the genre in the last few years, and there’s no mistake about that. First two records gave them a big following inside the underground world, and With Regret is just for them. It’s a logical and expected next step for the band. Energy, aggression and blending old and new school branded them as one of the best hardcore bands of the new generation, and the new album confirms that, with all the elements still present. 13 new songs, only two of them longer than 2 minutes give just the right taste, and even better, they got a few more songs for their memorable live shows.
Profound Lore (2016)
Bridge Nine (2016)
FLOCK OF DIMES If You See Me, Say Yes
FOSSIL YOUTH A Glimpse Of Self Joy
Flock Of Dimes is Jenn Wasner solo project. She’s best known for her work with Wye Oak. Going solo gave her an extra freedom to explore and to dive into new waters, but never letting go her roots. If You See Me, Say Yes is her debut record and is quite compelling and refreshing. Blending dreamy indie rock with experimental synth-pop, her songwriting is passionate and stylistically intelligent, creating soaring and distinct pop melodies with Jenn’s silky voice. This is the first record where Wasner has done the writing, playing, producing by herself, and that makes it a much more likeable and impressive record.
Sophie Lam out, John Also Bennett in. And there Forma go to a new album called Physicalist, a weird mix between synth music and acoustic sounds. A beautiful paranoia, bipolar as it gets. Physicalist is their third album, and gets his name from one of the most prominent schools of Philosophy, bringing the notion of physical necessities to create, expand and listen to music. The experience brought by this effort is a great and simple vibe, floating between piano, synthesizer, percussion and a lot of creativity. Nice to listen to in almost every place, it’s the perfect opportunity to pump the volume and let it go. Really good vibes.
Here’s an album that slips down easily, which is quite strange because it’s emotionally heavy and sometimes really intoxicating. Perhaps the really standout of this effort is the consistent storytelling mode, where the songs sequential order adds a detailed and real perception of Scottie Noonan (singer/guitarist) cohesive story. Recorded with producer Jay Maas (Citizen, The Menzingers, Somos), the Enid, Oklahoma quartet list plenty of influences, there’s a bit of Citizen and Turnover all over the place and Taking Back Sunday is clearly their closest reference point. A Glimpse Of Self Joy is a strong and genuine honest effort. Well done, guys!
Partisan Records (2016)
Take This To Your Heart Records (2016)
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE Marked For Death
Sargent House (2016)
hether it’s a song, a painting or a photograph, Emma Ruth Rundle always conveys into her art her deepest thoughts and feelings. Whether she’s inspired by her personal experiences or what goes around her, she has deliberately exposed what’s really important to her. In 2014 Emma released her first solo album, the outstanding Some Heavy Ocean, an album that showcased
Emma’s amazing songwriting, excellently diverse guitar work, and of course, her beautiful and outstanding voice. All those ingredients turned that album into something quite special. Not long afterwards, in 2015 her band Marriages released their debut album, Salome, which was a new and neat approach, delivering a terrific album as well. But it’s now with Marked For Death that Emma goes into something much more raw and brutally honest. On her second solo album, Emma is expressing everything in the deepest way possible and she clearly wanted to deal with everything that has happened
FLE UNDER: Marissa Nadler, Noveller, Chelsea Wolfe
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Protection, Medusa, Real Big Sky
to her through the music. With ongoing health and personal issues, this album is a culmination of all of her experiences. Each song has its meaning and its feeling, all autobiographical. Even the album’s artwork is a self-portrait of hers, reflecting how much this is raw and straight to the point. With a season of change, Marked For Death is the perfect record to listen to through a gloomy autumn day. Nature is changing with the weather as Emma is evolving with her experiences and her ability to create something beautiful from painful events. ANDREIA ALVES
9 FRANK IERO AND THE PATIENCE Parachutes BMG/Vagrant Records (2016)
A new album, a new band name. That’s how Frank Iero approached this new effort and, actually, it makes totally sense. In 2014, his first solo album, Stomachaches, was released under the name frnkiero andthe cellabration, because the celebration was a way for Frank to kind of hide his inner struggles that he was going through. Now, with a much confident and uplifting attitude, he wants to take a step back and appreciate the moment. And with that mindset, he delivers another exceptional and strong album. Edgy and energetic, but vulnerable and honest as fuck when it needs to be, Frank and his bandmates are extraordinary on each riff, each beat and each lyric. Parachutes probably means to you an object that prevents you from smashing on the floor when you jump off a plane, but for Frank Iero is more than that, it’s his family and his ANDREIA ALVES art, and that’s what this album stands for. Bravo! STAFF PICK
GATECREEPER Sonoran Depravation
GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA Broken Lines
We can safely say that the United States cast upon us some of the bloodiest, goriest, most violent death metal bands ever to spew out decibels. The likes of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and Obituary just to name a few and so it’s unusual to hear a band from Texas that sounds like the unholy child of Grave and Dismember, two of the most revered European bastions of death metal. It almost sounds like it’s the early nineties again and you can hear Dismembers buzz saw guitars and the guttural vociferations of bands like Grave and Bolt Thrower. As you can easily perceive it is nothing new, but sometimes you need a kick of the old stuff in your veins to understand where it all came from.
Comprised of William DuVall of Alice In Chains, Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Pete Griffin of Dethklok and Thomas Pridgen of The Mars Volta, so with that in mind is fair to say that Giraffe Tongue Orchestra is another super-group, and for that reason should our expectations be high? It’s a solid YES! And do they live up to those expectations? For sure! Broken Lines is a strong and well-crafted effort, sounds big and is totally unpredictable. It’s quite strange and intriguing to observe how the mood shifts rapidly and drastically within a song. Giraffe Tongue Orchestra rock formula is not revolutionary at all, but overall it’s a pleasant, intelligent and unconventional creative experience.
Relapse Records (2016)
Party Smasher Inc / Cooking Vinyl (2016)
GOD DAMN Everything Ever
One Little Indian (2016)
Boasting unrivalled energy and a fiercely in your face attitude, God Damn’s sophomore effort is a sharp creative streak, perhaps one of the most addictive albums of 2016. Everything Ever is consistently awesome and noisy good. Sounding like a crazy blend between Nirvana’s Nevermind grungy raw pop tunes and Melvins hulkingly upbeat battle of riffs, everything sounds organic and almost every track marks a step forward for the band, showing their natural progression and their increasing pop sensibility in their work. God Damn shows no signs that they want to slow down or whatever and they will kick your stage diving ass with their vicious, corrosive and strangely melodic mellifluous anthems. FAUSTO CASAIS FILE UNDER:
Pissed Jeans, Melvins, Nirvana
8 GRUMBLING FUR Furfour
Thrill Jockey (2016)
Perhaps it’s a reflection of Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan’s decades-old friendship that every time they collaborate, the results radiate such warmth that their tales of shamanic transportation and domestic hauntings become strangely relatable. Intuitively constructed and blessed with an ear for a great hook (or 12), they keep their psychedelic leanings somewhat in line by focussing on streamlined pop perfection, a gently buzzing drone or mournful violin passage among the reminders that you’re not currently dipping into some long-lost Erasure gem. It’s all rather lovely, and whether they’re stirring up a low-key danceathon on “Acid Ali Khan” or resurrecting George Harrison’s world-travelling spirit on “Golden Simon”, this idiosyncratically British duo prove to be a pairing who can make magic happen when they’re together. DAVE BOWES
7 HELMS ALEE Stillicide
Sargent House (2016)
“Weird, for lack of a better word, is good. Weird is right. Weird works. Weird clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” Such is the mantra of Helms Alee, whose fourth album might bear all the hallmarks of a sludge album – bass that rattles the teeth, titanic kit work and all the fuzz – but assembled in such a way that it’s clear that normalcy was never part of the deal. Drums rattle off a desperate stampede as guitars weave intricate paths through trampled undergrowth; melodies stagger, shifting gears just as you’re getting your footing; gorgeous pop harmonising sits haughtily above percussive devastation – it’s either the heaviest left-field-indie release in years, or a mighty metal fist slamming down on the charred remains of alt-rock. Actually, bugger that – it’s weird, and that’s reason enough to listen. DAVE BOWES
YOU CAN ALSO TRY
Sleepwalking Sailors (2014)
Rocket Recordings (2016)
n World Music, Goat created one of the most exultant debuts of the decade, a dervish-like rush of colour and sound that you couldn’t help but shake your ass to - in comparison, Requiem is a kick-back-and-contemplate-existence kind of effort, based more in the realm of the spirits than of the senses. This isn’t a complete overhaul in terms of the core of the collective’s essence – indeed, they remain one of the finest rhythmically-driven musical conquistadors, able to sample from around the globe and seamlessly absorb what they find into their own Scando-primitivist soundscapes – but the dynamics have shifted towards subtlety; “Trouble In The Streets” is a close sibling to Goat’s early works, a balmy jam that fuses West Indian charm and Haight-Ashbury sensibility, yet it never attempts to mimic those fevered heights. Elsewhere, opener “Union Of Sun And Moon” takes the album’s title literally, the wailing vocals now imbued with a reverential air, and “Goatband” is a deeply groovy cut, growing more restless and unpredictable with time, but always keeping a tight grasp on the long, undulating rhythm that keeps it centred. It’s a smooth album that picks up on the braver stabs of Commune and develops them fully, experimenting with texture and tone in a way that they had hitherto not dared; if World Music harnessed the chaotic power of fire and Commune the steady, sometimes wavering flow of water, this is air – moving imperceptibly and effortlessly, blessed with the strength that only comes with perfect focus.
World Music, Psychedelia, Desert Blues
“Green Day are back. And Revolution Radio is a sophisticated statement.”
Revolution Radio Reprise Records (2016)
n a thrill ride we go, as music pioneers Green Day get into our ears yet again with their unique brand of rock. But does it have enough to live in the mind for long enough? There are songs on the band’s new album Revolution Radio that are truly entertaining and spontaneous, created to spook the brain into abiding by the record, like a fanatical, impulsive, rebel. Political angst yet again towers over as a pivotal theme on the record. It bubbles over and covers every angle, but it doesn’t wreck the opus in anyway, it adds that flair that the band have perfected over their illustrious careers. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong
has penned the lyrics with intent. They’re harsh at times, overblown maybe, but they have a purpose. They’re truly ingrained in the record, like dirt on the harsh-lands. He also bellows out his grievances that situate around American Culture. He can’t stand the way his Country is run and how guns are in the holsters of many. And with Revolution Radio being a battle cry from a band that brought us the remarkable American Idiot opus, it just adds fuel to the flame. But, Green Day are a political act that write songs to tell their tales of unrest. They’re ambitious and fearless, commanding and ruthless. Revolution Radio could be perceived as Green Day’s most audacious effort. But it works and it will empower many old fans to replenish their interest. The album opens gloriously with “Somewhere Now”, a song that begins
FLE UNDER: Green Day, Green Day, Green Day
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Somewhere Now, Bang Bang, Outlaw
with an acoustic tinge. Armstrong sings with subtlety until the barge of guitars power through. The track has heaps of energy and is driven with lyrics of desire. And then the political angst comes into the frame, as first single “Bang Bang” explodes into action. It is a guitar frenzy, programmed to alert the senses. Armstrong sings with venom and his lyrical qualities shine through. “Outlaws” opens with sombre intro that falls into the clutches of a simple guitar riff. The melancholic feeling rings true. “Forever Now” opens with a stern swoop of guitar. Armstrong sings about standing at the edge of the world, it gives him the chills. It goes in so many directions, which adds a sense of diversity to the record. Green Day are back. And Revolution Radio is a sophisticated statement. MARK MCCONVILLE
HOT NEW BAND
8 GURR In My Head
Duchess Box Records (2016)
Berlin duo Gurr Andreya Casablanca and Laura Lee place themselves in the genre of First Wave Gurrlcore, and that might be totally correct… In My Head is a dynamic and exhilarating rock n’roll energy bowl, sounds ambitious and so damn good and natural. Fresh and joyful in every single way, Gurr’s youthful sound is straight-forward and immediate, their simplistic composition is exact and disarming lyrics are infectious and works well like an addiction. Somewhere between Chastity Belt, Bratmobile and Those Dancing Days, Gurr’s stylish debut album cannot fail to please. With anthems like “Moby Dick”, “Free”, “Walnuss” or even “Rollerskate”, there’s no such thing as compromise, just gleeful reinvention. FAUSTO CASAIS
INFINITY CRUSH Warmth Equation
JOYCE MANOR Cody
Infinite Crush is the bedroom pop project of Caroline White and Warmth Equation is her latest effort, a beautiful and charming record that will for sure crush you heart into a million tiny pieces. Strangely intimate and emotionally powerful, one of those records that you need to be in the right mood to achieve or understand the whole and cathartic experience of it. White’s fascinating and ethereal voice brings to the album a pure and expressive motion, a charming simplicity to Infinity Crush’s winning combination of gorgeous melodies and feelings. From happiness to loss, from grief to love, it’s easy to put everything in perspective and be realistic about it.
From the opening track “Fake ID”, it is clear that Cody is not going to disappoint. Not in the slightest! Singer Barry Johnson seems like the second coming of Morrissey and there’s this new sense of clarity in his lyrics, everything seems more direct, mature and straight-forward. Cody is an evolution, perhaps their most ambitious and diverse album, all the songs are tender, sound big and ballzy, but at the same time are raw and intimate. From Morrissey to Elliot Smith, from Rancid to Sun Kil Moon, this is a band that’s not stuck in the same old formula, they are creative minds and they’re always renewing their own sonic influences. Simply magnificent.
Joy Void Recordings (2016)
JULIA JACKLIN Don’t Let The Kids Win
Julia Jacklin’s debut album, Don’t Let The Kids Win, is a lovely and distinct effort, impressive both in scope and sound. Bracing alt-country and indie-folk, Jacklin’s voice is soulful and deeply enthralling, possibly one of the most fresh and exciting new acts around. Full of beautiful melodies, heartfelt lyrics and flawless vocals, Don’t Let The Kids Win is unfashionable and emotional honest. It’s easy to see Angel Olsen’s influence - cited by Jacklin as an influence - , but also a bit of Fleetwood Mac and Anna Calvi now and then. A massive and challenging debut, that sounds daring and defiant from the start to finish.
FILE UNDER: Angel Olsen, PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi
JENNY HVAL // Q&A
9 JENNY HVAL Blood Bitch
Sacred Bones Records (2016)
“What’s this album about, Jenny?” “It’s about vampires.” Blood, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter - these are Jenny Hval’s Blood Bitch inspirations. Black metal undertones are masked by her hauntingly pure voice and dreamy synths, but certainly exist somewhere beneath. As spoken recordings move to echoing vocals, Hval is like Poe or Lovecraft; her beautiful language and story are punctuated with an ever-present lurking darkness. In a masterful way, Blood Bitch links her personal tale with a landscape of sounds that allude to 70s horror. At any moment, a transcendent image could suddenly collapse into a realm of John Carpenter’s creation. Hval’s Nordic roots are evident as this edifice of sincere beauty sways upon its uncertain, shifting foundation. TEDDIE TAYLOR
FILE UNDER: St. Vincent, Marissa Nadler, Bat For Lashes
et’s start with the title of the album. What did you want to convey with the title Blood Bitch? Two Bs, two good words that felt really good to speak. I couldn’t actually remember the Cocteau Twins reference at the time – they have a song called “Blood Bitch”. I struggled with the title. I had no idea what to call the album and the album was finished, so I decided on Blood Bitch. It just jumped out of my mouth. I think I always need a title that’s not trying to convey what the album is about but rather just give like a stimulant of something, and I think Blood Bitch gave me this image that was partly like a horror movie villain and partly someone like the carry figure of the movie, and partly this lonesome solo artist on tour sleeping on top of an old synthesizer. It seems to me that Blood Bitch sounds the more focused you have ever been musically. Did you approach it differently this time around? I think I had more self-confidence. I had people that believed in my work, I had collaborators that I’d worked with like Annie, Zia, and Lasse who’s been my
most important collaborator now for the past two years. He’s an extremely clear and confident person and also extremely creative, and working with him, as well Annie, Zia, and musicians I’ve worked with, it has created this kind of coven or pack around me that has allowed me to have greater confidence. Also having things like managers and people on the practical side of things, working for me and believing in my music, has been good for me because when I started out I wasn’t really working with people. So, the last three years have been my only years with a team and for me that has been quite important. I never thought it would be like that because I had these more judgmental ideas like, “Oh managers, that’s what you have when you’re famous. They’re just telling you to make money and things like that.” But it’s been important for me to have people that understand what I do. I need people, I have them, and I’m extremely grateful, and it motivates me to say very focused things. These people have given me so much, I need to give something back definite. That’s not just testing out this thing. That is very, very strong. TIAGO MOREIRA
FILE UNDER: NIRVANA BRAND NEW BAD BOOKS
STAFF PICK Shervin Lainez
9 KEVIN DEVINE Instigator
Procrastinate! Music Traitors (2016)
There are many that do what Kevin Devine does, but Instigator is yet the proof that few do it anywhere near as well. Produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) and released via Brand New’s Procrastinate! Music Traitors label, Instigator is Devine’s ninth full-length album and is undoubtedly his most raw and artistically revealing work to date. Personal in every single way, Instigator is also a sharp and enlightening look about the whole messy direction the world is going to. From the current US Presidential election to climate change, from the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police officers back in 2015 to the global social injustice, Instigator is exactly that, an album that totally instigates to push forward the listener and to dig deeper into several and serious issues. Extraordinarily sane and deeply intelligent. Simply magnificent! FAUSTO CASAIS
9 6 KESTRELS Kestrels
Sonic Unyon Records (2016)
Regrouping following a devastating van and gear theft that saw the band lose key boutique, modded, and vintage equipment, Kestrels are back with their third and self-titled album. Naming the album with their band’s name one can expect that this an effort that defines the band as whole at this point of their lives. But listening to it, it just feels like things didn’t change or even evolved that much. With two years in the making, this album doesn’t showcase Kestrels’ full potential, which the band went with the same approach from their previous albums. Their fuzzy guitars and astonishing melodies are there, but we were hoping for more.
KHOMPA The Shape Of Drums To Come
Monotreme Records (2016)
Though the title of Khompa’s debut album seems to carry with it an air of arrogance, if anything it’s being humble. The project of Davide Compagnoni, a drummer whose technical abilities have developed in step with his lofty ambition, it pairs tight hip-hop beats to a kit and an intricately-assembled array of triggers and sequencers to create melodies that are both atavistic and futuristic, dreamlike bursts of synth exploding and shrinking with each unerringly precise strike. It’s a unique method of construction but Khompa’s appeal lies beyond gimmickry; it’s biomechanical psychedelia at its most invasively catchy and if this is what fate holds for drummers, then we’ve got an exciting future ahead of all of us. DAVE BOWES
8 KING DUDE Sex Ván (2016)
King Dude returns with his latest spiritual meditation or invocation, entitled Sex. Brutally honest and refreshingly detailed, Sex is dark humored, undeniable sexy and the perfect “whiskey soaked joyride”. TJ Cowgill is again not applying genres to his music, we can say that his music is neofolk, country, punk, metal or rock n’ roll, but they all seem to be in constant conflict and apart from each other, which makes everything even more interesting, the whole bullshit of labeling an artist is always an exercise of pure laziness. Elegantly build, TJ Cowgill works best when he sticks to his own style and guts, exploring society’s constriction of our minds and personalities through this simplistic way of story-detailing life, thoughts and whatever. Straight forward and real, this is just another King Dude’s artistic manifestation or statement.
ALSO TRY: MEMORIES OF A MURDER (2014)
La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God Roadrunner Records (2016)
ing 810’s mere existence requires a more complex conversation and to start that conversation there needs to be a certain degree of understatement regarding where it does come from and what they’re trying to convey with it. As with any form of artistic expression, having the right mindset and perspective will dictate the existence or, inexistence, of appreciation. Sure, violence is very much present in the band’s manifestations, but it is never gratuitous, nor its existence apart of a calculated strategy, but rather a consequence of their environment. King 810 are based in Flint, Michigan – a town known as Murdertown (self-explanatory if you ask me) – and, going back to the beginning, that’s an important piece of the puzzle. They’ve always had this immense talent to craft musical pieces that not only translate those conditions –
Memoirs of a Murderer is still one of the most staggering debuts of recent memory – but also reach further, seeking some sort of light in what seems to be a irredeemably bleak condition. La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God, their sophomore album, is an impressive step forward in the way they convey those ideas and how they go about it executing them. For this is an extremely cohesive piece of work that was puzzled together in such manner that its flow ends up being almost ridiculous. We’re talking about a band that was able to put together a record that has more social consciousness and awareness than you’re probably used to – up there with the likes of What’s Going On – and make use of such diverse musical ideas – metalcore, an orchestra (in the brilliant “Black Swan”), hip hop, blues, dark wave, are just some of the worlds that coexist brilliantly in King 810’s universe. More than a brilliant musical album, this album is a relevant piece of art. TIAGO MOREIRA
FLE UNDER: Nick Cave, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Alpha & Omega, I Ain’t Goin Back Again
6 KNOCKED LOOSE Laugh Tracks
Pure Noise Records (2016)
The songs that make up Knocked Loose’s debut album Laugh Tracks, are venomous and frantic. The Kentucky band, scream and shout, crushing the norm, breaking the cycle. But, is this the type of sound that will win the band accolades, or get the band to the forefront? It’s a hard question to answer, as the music is extremely volatile and utterly raw. And some people love their music to be rawer than a deep cut battered with frost and salt. Laugh Tracks is an album for the head-bangers, the force that choose to communicate through harshness. It’s not a bad first outing for the act though, as it does hold some guitar driven moments including “Deadringer” and “My Heroes”. These contributions showcase useful and competent instrumentals. MARK MCCONVILLE
DIG IT? DIG DEEPER! UNTOUCHABLES (2002) STAFF PICK
The Serenity Of Suffering Roadrunner Records (2016)
he Serenity of Suffering is Korn’s 12th studio album, it also represents their return to a label well known for them, Roadrunner Records. Well, they grow up so fast... Cast your mind or lost memories to 1994, Korn had just released their game changing self-titled debut album, since then nothing was the same, they changed everything, literally everything... Now, that we’re in 2016, 22 years have passed, we’re older, they’re older and listening to Korn’s new album, the feeling is exactly the same, mind-blowing game changing over and over again, it seems hard to do, but these dudes are always reinventing their sound, innovating and with same excitement and balls to create whatever the fuck they want. ESSENTIAL TRACKS: The Hating, Insane, A Different World
9 The Serenity Of Suffering sounds like a blend between 2002’s Untouchables and 2010’s KORN III – Remember Who You Are, but with a new twist, Jonathan sounds angry and fucked up, his vocals are more powerful than ever, Nick Raskulinecz production is top notch, everything sounds massive and heavy. Packed with heavy riffs, the dynamic duo Head and Munky are the ones to blame for that, Fieldy’s bass is finally back and tracks like “Insane”, “Rotting in Vain”, “The Hating” or “A Different World” (featuring the guest appearance by Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor) are simply put old-school feels like Korn anthems. The Serenity Of Suffering is a comeback to form, Head’s return was the key element in Korn’s new set of dynamics influencing the whole creative process. It still sounds impressive, refreshing and over the top, these dudes still sound unique and more organic than ever. FAUSTO CASAIS
8 LUKE ROBERTS Sunlit Cross
Thrill Jockey (2016)
Luke Roberts is a traveler. From Nashville to Montana to Cambodia and Kenya, he has spent his life accumulating the light and dark that exist in his music. Inspired by his time in Africa, Sunlit Cross is a minimalistic lullaby that, in the words of Roberts, pits darkness, disenchantment and the ugly side of life against levity, love and childhood. Roberts’ simplicity is divine in its balance of melancholy and sublime beauty; he is a singer-songwriter cut from the cloth of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Joined by Kurt Vile, John Neff and Creston Spiers, a sense of sincerity and innate devotion to honest storytelling is present throughout every song. Just as a Southern sunset peeks through the fall hues of a blackjack oak, Sunlit Cross intertwines emotions to create nostalgic bliss. TEDDIE TAYLOR
FLE UNDER: Kurt Vile, Townes Van Zandt, Drive-By Truckers
8 MONO Requiem For Hell
Pelagic Records (2016)
Once again nimbly sidestepping repetition while retaining a foothold for the devoted, the Tokyo quartet’s ninth full-length strikes plenty of familiar emotional beats, the gentle twinkle of glockenspiel and the dissonant beauty of Taka Goto and Yoda evoking an air of still contemplation while Yasunori Takada’s full-pelt percussion firmly wrenches the heart into the throat, but crafts its own identity by being their most fevered and chaotic album to date. “Death In Rebirth” pairs tremolo rushes with violent, noise-rock insouciance, while the relentless post-punk surge of the title track’s core demonstrates once again how vital Tamaki Kunishi’s deft basswork is to the band’s momentum. Given that Requiem For Hell was inspired in part by Dante’s searing visions of the Underworld, this has just the right balance of bliss and acerbic passion to bring his words and sights to life. DAVE BOWES
9 MARCHING CHURCH Telling Like It Is
Sacred Bones (2016)
MESHUGGAH The Violent Sleep Of Reason
MOBY & THE VOID PACIFIC CHOIR These Systems Are Falling
There seems to exist a couple of pivotal facts surrounding Elias Bender Rønnenfel’s creative output (Iceage, Vår, and Marching Church). The first is the ability that Elias has in surrounding himself with amazing musicians that never fail to deliver beautiful, challenging, and awe-inspiring compositions. The other one is how he uses his limited voice – both first MC album and Iceage’s Plowing Into the Field of Love suffered from Elias’ bad approach. Telling It Like It Is is a very anticipated return to form from the Danish singer that once again found his place in an absolutely amazing, daring and complex rock album that thrives in soulful, sometimes ethereal, and always energetic moments.
The Violent Sleep Of Reason, the band’s eighth full-length studio album and another incredible example of scope and vision. Saying that their inhuman display of technical skills and complexity is quite random nowadays. Their ability to move forward is pure seduction to every single fan, the way they deconstruct their own structures, multi layered rhythms and patterns is still damn exciting, having those “What the fuck?” or “How the fuck they did that?” moments over and over again are priceless and quite rewarding for this writer. Intelligent and challenging, full of groove and crushing riffs, their trademark has once again evolved, becoming heavier, bolder and infinitely more ambitious.
Only if you are new to Moby and his music, you’re not familiar with his love for guitar and punk rock. This is far from his first guitar work, but it’s been two decades since Animal Rights, his last and only record with punk rock as dominating component. Released by Moby & The Void Pacific Choir, and not just by his name, he made a statement that this is his new beginning, a new band and new music. Speaking of music, it’s a blend of pretty much everything he ever wrote – rock, punk, post-punk, electronica, rave... (Un) surprisingly it works. More important than the sound, this record has strong statements. You may or may not agree with them, but you need to hear them.
Nuclear Blast (2016)
Little Idiot (2016)
7 NEUROSIS Fires Within Fires
Neurot Recordings (2016)
There are countless ways to describe Neurosis’ art and impact. Saying they’re one of the best to ever do it and that they’ve changed the “underground” game would just be the tip of the iceberg in an endless discussion. Celebrating 30 years of a mind-blowing career, the Oakland-based quintet follows-up a brilliant Honor Found In Decay – the 2012’s album that took the band’s sound to a whole new level with Noah Landis’s atmospheric level carrying it to unspeakable new heights – with Fires Within Fires, an album that makes use of a more conservative and direct approach that sounds all too safe at times. “Failing” in providing a more challenging work, Neurosis leave in the room a solid enough of an album that has more soul and heart than most. TIAGO MOREIIRA HOT NEW BAND 14.10
7 MUMRUNNER Gentle Slopes EP
9 MYRKUR Mausoleum EP
Relapse Records (2016)
Wolves and Vibrancy (2016)
Finnish foursome Mumrunner have concocted a brand of dreamy, psych-pop infused shoegaze that is positively celestial. A short 15 months following the release of their first EP, Full Blossom, they have already returned with the five new tracks of Gentle Slopes. Where the former body of work had a slightly quicker paced, alternative sound, the latest record possesses a refreshing clarity that, as the title could suggest, is softer and impressively refined. Mumrunner float from instrumental work to the crystallinity of “Gentle Slopes” and on to the more upbeat “Sputnik” with thematic devotion. Drawing memories of winter sunsets and of clear night skies, Gentle Slopes delivers another enchanting experience that is as exploratory and shining as the Soviet satellite itself.
When Emanuel Vigeland frescoed the walls of his mausoleum in Oslo, he painted the story of human life, death and love. A half-century later, solo Danish black metal outfit Myrkur has recorded a live album that is reminiscent of the surrounding Vigeland creations. Mausoleum consists of eight acoustic versions of previously released pieces and a cover of “Song To Hall Up High” to rival the Hammerheart original. Amalie Bruun lays bare what she has built under her Myrkur moniker with the Norwegian Girls’ Choir at her side; the exquisite vocals and resonating harmonies produce images of Beowulf sailing across frigid waters to Hrothgar and his Danes. All that made M resplendent is magnified with Mausoleum to show Myrkur’s undeniable fealty to her heritage and craft.
FLE UNDER: Whirr, Nothing, Autolux
FLE UNDER: Chelsea Wolfe, Wardruna, Darkher
8 NEWMOON Space PIAS (2016)
Newmoon, a Ghent and Antwerp based band with members who’ve previously played in the hardcore punk outfit Midnight Souls, is a band stepping into more challenging and matured territories. Space, their debut album, thrives with waves of reverb, extremely lush atmospheres, imposing riffs, a sound that often taps into more dreamy territories, and vocals that perfectly intertwine with the sonic environment that’s been constructed, deconstructed, and often amended. Space transcends a mere “collection of songs” description, giving the listener the choice of being immersed in all its emotional weight and depth. Newmoon’s debut is a memorable trip that rewards people who are willing to lose themselves in its delicious shoegaze mazes. Space is an awe-inspiring debut and Newmoon’s future couldn’t look more promising.
8 NORMA JEAN Polar Similar
FILE UNDER: ISIS SLAYER NIRVANA
OOZING WOUND Whatever Forever
Solid State Records (2016)
It would be an understatement to call this one a “solid record”. Metalcore titans Norma Jean may have just released a record that sums up all the great assets of their sound throughout the years, one that is bound to defy the often dated nature of the genre. Getting close to Deftonian territory, Polar Similar is pretty rough, heavy and unsetting when it has to, but where it really seems to shine is in its very well-conceived melodic leaps. With no founding members still on board, Norma Jean set themselves to explore new territory without ever sacrificing the trademark of a sound they’ve been mastering for the last 19 years, and that’s why the name Polar Similar seems so appropriate. This one is definitely among our 2016 favorites.
Thrill Jockey (2016)
Lulling you in with a static burst of guitars and bass, like a radio finding a severe weather warning Oozing Wound don’t want you to be comfortable, they do not want you well rested or happy, they want to pummel you with their sonic malice and curb stomp your head until you are begging for more. This is angry, doom infused post-metal that bends you in ugly contortionist ways and throws you discarded to the ditch when it’s done. Guitars are fast and thrash flecked, drums are like angry engine strokes, pounding ever forward, momentum not relenting for much of the album entire run, and vocals are barked, spat, vicious screeches of anguish and agony, lamenting at your life’s inadequacies and laughing all the while. This is an album of some incredible ugliness. And it is all the better for it. Not a second goes by your heart is not verging on utter panic, and its final seconds reveal only your deep need for silence and breathe. An utter success. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
OF MICE & MEN Cold World
OKKERVIL RIVER Away
OKKULTOKRATI Raspberry Dawn
Of Mice & Men have been classed as revivalists, true pioneers of the genre that they choose to play. Their new record Cold World represents maturity and hopelessness, as the world seems to be failing. The band members have crafted an honest opus that has flashes of brilliance. But, then there are songs that don’t quite light up fully. That’s not to say that the album is truly flawed or exempt from being listenable. It has its moments of grinding guitar lines and volatile drumming, vocals that would rip your ribcage apart. Songs such as “The Lie” and “Contagious” fully showcase the talents of the band, producing an atmosphere that is haunting. And then there’s songs like “Pain”, which is drone filled. Cold World is not a packet full of treats, but it has its wonders.
A poignantly constructed, multi-instrumental paean to love, life and misery – Away is an emotionally solid, beautifully crafted album from a band who seem to have a very clear idea of what they want to be and where they want to hit their audience for maximum impact. Like a Ben Fold Five fronted by Father John Misty having a breakdown as he sings. The songs on this album are slow building confessionals that unfold in fantastic and wonderfully gloomy ways – cutting quickly to the heart of each subject they cover – unveiling its core to the sun in painful and savagely beautiful ways. A joyful heartbreak of an album, where there is optimism in amongst the darkness, and multiple listens will uncover it, and each listen will be a revelation. Pretty great work.
From word Go on this sparse fuzzed-up fever-dream of grumble voiced garage rock you are pulled into a deep well of uncomfortable and dense darkness. The album screams at you like an angry radio stuck fuzzy between stations, the production a barely finished growl of loose bass strings and muted drums, cymbals and guitars sounding like they are being heard through four or five rooms away. The vocals are a fearsome spit and sizzle, crawling over the music like a creature stalking the Serengeti. It’s garage rock, but not as we know it, darker, edgier, more miserable. A goth tinged nightmare sound that is utterly unique and utterly gripping. Pretty mind-blowing in its almost mockingly under-produced own way.
Rise Records (2016)
Southern Lord (2016)
ATO Records (2016)
FLE UNDER: Bauhaus, Suicide, The Icarus Line
Deathwish Inc. (2016)
ardcore is, at its heart, a form built on catharsis, an expulsion of disgust and ire at injustice and ills, and anyone who has seen Oathbreaker live can testify that they embody this ethos. Rheia is, therefore, something of an anomaly as while it remains an emotionally impactful effort, its toning
down of blackened aesthetics and focus on earnest intricacy marks a definite move towards maturity. Even more noteworthy is the evolution of vocalist Caro Tanghe, her usual piercing screams now reserved for the album’s few forays into more acerbic territory while in its stead is an almost waifish naiveté that blends the theatricality of Julie Christmas with PJ Harvey’s even and uncompromising tone. “Where I Live” and “Second Son Of R.” both hark back to the rage of yore, the former with its d-beat leanings and razorblade energy and the latter
FLE UNDER: Deftones, Julie Christmas, PJ Harvey
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Where I Live, Second Son R.
from its doom-tinged ire, but both benefit from the ambitious sense of discovery that makes this album so singular. The songs are longer and more unpredictable, though never meandering nor resting on weary repetition; they can chill the bones with a show of deliberate tenderness without first hacking through skin and flesh; they are a huge leap forward for a band who always sounded hungry for something greater, more audacious, and it’s enough to leave you stunned, thirsting for what they deliver next. DAVE BOWES
8 PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS Prey Deathwish Inc. (2016)
Next year Planes Mistaken For Stars will be celebrating their 20-year anniversary. The Denver-based band has been one of the most singular and gut-wrenching voices to represent the North American Midwest. On their fourth album, and first since their reunion in 2010, the quartet led by guitarist and vocalist Gared O’Donnell manages to deliver what’s arguably their most urgent and earthshaking effort. Starting with a noisy, aggressive, to-the-fucking-point, and chaotic “Dementia Americana” that throws a well needed “Wake Up!”, Prey is an extremely multi-layered effort that wanders through a multitude of territories that are pieced together by Planes Mistaken For Stars’ soulful, vulnerable, extremely emotional, and relentlessly complex approach. Prey is an album that celebrates the relevance and importance of honest rock and punk music. TIAGO MOREIRA
8 PG.LOST Versus
PIXIES Head Carrier
Pelagic Records (2016)
Swedish foursome pg.lost took the album title Versus from the idea that two seemingly separate, contrasting sounds could unexpectedly unite to complement one another. Therein lies the beauty of their latest creation. It possesses a crisp, glacial clarity that is embedded with rough, heavy till gathered along the journey - a metallic, rocky, fluid and all things in between sound. There is a depth and radiance that comes from the heightened presence of synths compared to past releases. A fantastic war of sound is waged throughout the album; ascending keys and guitars clash against sludgy bass lines and the footsteps of drums in a sonic display of Spartan might. Versus is an epic tale that resonates far beyond its recorded confines. TEDDIE TAYLOR
FLE UNDER: Russian Circles, Mono, If These Trees Could Talk
Pixies Music/PIAS (2016)
The holy grail for any band is to create a sound that both defines you and at the same time be unique and timeless. Well, Pixies are that kind of band that even their most struggling efforts have that distinguish and trademark sound, nothing sounds like them and everyone wants to sound like them. Head Carrier is not just another Pixies’ album, is another punchy 90’s noisy surf-rock nostalgia affair written by one of most influential rock bands of the world. Even if sometimes we feel that strange feeling that Kim Deal is not there anymore, it’s fair to say that bassist Paz Lenchantin – and now a permanent Pixies member – totally nailed it, bringing new old dynamics that since Deal’s departure we’ve been sadly missing. Head Carrier is strong, confident and sounds like Pixies, but it feels like they’re still figuring out how to continue their legacy. FAUSTO CASAIS
RED FANG Only Ghosts
Relapse Records (2016)
Over the years, Red Fang have been cultivating their own signature sound, and over that process it’s impressive to observe that every single time they release an album it’s like another huge leap forward for them. Produced by the legendary Ross Robinson and mixed by Joe Baresi, Only Ghosts is heavy, strong and cohesive. Aaron Beam lyrics are raw, extremely personal and dark, everything seems more direct and tied up. Musically speaking, Beam outstanding vocal performance is definitely a truly standout, but there’s something refreshingly pure in Only Ghost, perhaps they’re more dynamic, richly textured and detailed album till date. FAUSTO CASAIS
7 SALEM’S BEND Salem’s Bend
Ripple Music (2016)
SACREN Night Carousel
Night Carousel is an otherworldly, ambient pop dream with regular flashes into strange, dark places. SACREN (Dustin Senovic) possesses a voice that echoes those of David Bowie, Scott Walker and Nick Cave; it is distinct and tailor-made for his aesthetic. Amidst inspirations ranging from personal tragedy to introversion, the dramatic aspects of the vocals lend to the avant-garde nature of the album. Joined by Peter Lightning and Hether Fortune of Wax Idols (who also produced the record), nothing feels like a first release. Senovic’s vocals turn each landscape into a dimly lit, neo-80s cruise toward a synthesizer-created pastel horizon. Refreshingly original, yet with obvious nods to the past, a listen to Night Carousel is a journey to a past that yearns for the future. TEDDIE TAYLOR FLE UNDER: Wax Idols, Savages, The Horrors
Yet another stoner rock project that sees the light of day to appeal to a trend or maybe a fashion that doesn’t seem to let go. Fortunately, these musicians know exactly what they are trying to achieve and do so with ease and even some panache. A sound that harkens back to the glorious and uniquely decadent seventies without ever sounding like a copy of anything, effortlessly creating a sound that could easily be perceived as a logical progression or a reaction to many bands from that period. The traces of band like Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath and even Hawkwind are present not to plagiarise, but rather to serve as a template to create a very interesting melting pot of sounds.
5 SET IT OFF Upside Down
PRURIENT YOUTH CODE WRECK & REFERENCE
Rude Records (2016)
When Set It Off released in 2014 their sophomore album, Duality, they set the bar really high, earning great praise from the media and gaining a huge fan base. It was obvious that these four guys from Florida had reached something really spectacular in such short career. Upside Down follows-up all the madness and buzz created two years ago and it’s just what it was expected: a record that goes with the same vibe, full of excessively polished production songs that range pop, hip-hop and R&B. It’s great for those who have been following and loving the band’s work, but it just gets a bit overrated and dull at times.
SLAUGHTER BEACH, DOG Welcome
SUBROSA For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages
Slaughter Beach, Dog, the new project from Jake Ewald of Modern Baseball is an introspective and emotive journey, and totally different from what you’re used to know of Ewald’s work on Modern Baseball. Welcome is moody and straight-forward, his lyrical approach is highly descriptive and well-constructed. An effort that needs some time to explore and dive into, not saying that it’s complex or anything, but it’s very detailed and urges comparisons with Pavement, Silver Jews or even Built For Spill, and that glistens out of every corner of this intelligent, finely crafted collection of lo-fi indie rock songs.
A sign of a great band is whether or not they can shake off the genre that birthed them and become one in their own right – Subrosa did this long ago. Battle... continues to hone their uniquely sorrowful chamber-doom, toying with concepts of heaviness and beauty as they ratchet up the volume while pushing Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack’s violins into more prominent roles, directing melody and tone as ably as the ample distortion does. It’s not so much an album as a collection of short stories set to a whirlwind of sound – death and rage and love and loss, each narrative unfolding with time and deliberation before reaching a conclusion that never gets any less devastating.
Lame-O Records (2016)
Profound Lore (2016)
STREET SECTS End Position
The Flenser (2016)
Texas duo Street Sects (Leo Ashline and Shaun Ringsmuth) have created, with End Position, an environment of unceasing industrial chaos. Building a base with samples and frenzied noise, they present lyrical images of suicide, flawed humanity and mental anguish that are neither trivialized nor exploited. Layer after layer of sounds work together, though often pleasantly against one another, to construct the backdrop; it’s an ideal companion to the verbal content of each song. Sects’ greatest achievement, apart from being completely singular and in a category of their own, is the ability to barrage and disorient the senses with confessional punk poetry. There is a sincere beauty that coincides in the discordant universe of End Position; “I’m not suffering, I am blossoming.”
9 SLEIGH BELLS Jessica Rabbit
Torn Clean (2016)
leigh Bells - Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss - are back! The duo return with their first new album in three years, Jessica Rabbit. Gloriously expansive and full of sonic explosions, this is a return to form of band that totally justifies their hype, once again they are firing raw passionate anthems all over the place. Jessica Rabbit is refreshing in any way, it’s noisy and confident, all over the album there’s a sense of maturity, attitude and precision, Derek Miller incendiary riffs are still damn catchy and sharp, while Alexis Krauss thrashes and wails right on form with her trademark visceral raw minimalist vocal approach. No one matches Sleigh Bells’ chaotic and wildly infectious sound, Jessica Rabbit is unpredictable, wonderfully dynamic and defying in any way. They’re still the undisputed champions of originality! FAUSTO CASAIS
3 7 SUICIDAL TENDENCIES World Gone Mad To be honest, I thought Suicidal Tendencies will be long gone by now. I could never imagine any band could survive so many troubles and lineup changes and still be alive. Once again, their stubbornness proved me wrong. With three new members, one of them being ex-Slayer rhythm machine Dave Lombardo, they are back with a new record, World Gone Mad. These thirteen new songs may not be among their best ones, but it gives just the right dose of their aggression energy and attitude. If you’re not a fan of the band, you probably won’t change your mind after this record, but if you are, you know what to do.
SUM 41 Voices
With Canadian pop punk band Sum 41 we were always guaranteed infectious tracks that brandished a snotty nosed attitude. Now, as the act have released their new record 13 Voices, it seems that they’ve burst into a different monster. 13 Voices isn’t a record of greatness or an opus of ground-breaking magnitude; it just boils over as an album that contains some contributions that make the grade. And lead singer Deryck Whibley bellows about his brush with death and his marriage with redemption, as he was caught up in a whirlwind situation regarding alcohol. Songs such as “Fake My Own Death” and the heart-pulling ballad “War” keep the record from becoming a festering mess. These songs contain the sound that many associate with the pop punk megastars.
From the first chords of this record, we can perceive that these are seasoned musicians belching out classic power metal like there was no tomorrow. This project led by Phil Swanson (vocals; ex- Hour of 13 / Atlantean Kodex) and Arthur Rizk (guitar player and producer of Inquisition, among others) presents us with a very personalized albeit imitative form of American power metal. Scorching riffs and earth shattering solos prove that these gentlemen know what they want and they know how to get it. Phil Swanson’s vocals sound like a somber Ozzy Osbourne, if that is even possible and the pounding drums and bass lines throw us back to a time when power metal ruled the world, a time when melody was as important as the heaviness of the song.
Hopeless Records (2016)
Suicide Records (2016)
8 Relapse Records (2016)
8 STICK TO YOUR GUNS Better Ash Than Dust EP Pure Noise Records (2016)
Let’s get it straight from the start – this is some huge stuff over here. Stick To Your Guns’ Pure Noise Records debut brings out the best in them, and shows the band in a great shape. Better Ash Than Dust may be short, but it hits hard. Through five songs, the band managed to maintain the energy at very high level, with aggression and melody in perfect symbiosis. That being said, it’s almost impossible to single out one or two songs as highlights, mainly because they share the same atmosphere, and the record itself is just big enough for one tasty bite. MILJAN MILEKIC
STICK TO YOUR GUNS - JESSE BARNETT // Q&A
hat were your main motives for this release, and was there any difference in making it, compared to your previous records? Nope. We just went into the studio with the same fire in our hearts as always and what came out is what came out. We will always try to write our best possible songs. I am really curious about the cover art, and would like to hear a background story. It was done by Australian artist Sam Octigan. We just wanted to portray the fact that we are connected with all things. You are taught that there are limits to you. You are meant to believe that your skin is your border. We believe this to be untrue. For this record you have a new label, Pure Noise Records, but they aren’t completely new to you. Was the split with The Story So Far what convinced you to work again with them? Jake Round, the label founder and owner is what convinced us. He gets it. He gets us. He cares about it and we love him. Although you are a hardcore band,
somehow most of your records ended up on predominantly metal labels such as Sumerian and Century Media. How would you explain that? Hardcore for the most part has never been too accepting of us. We don’t believe in belonging to one thing. Call us whatever you need to. We are hardcore kids playing in a hardcore band. Regardless of the show or festival we are on. Regardless of the label we are on. Our ethic cannot be matched by almost any hardcore band out right now. You are a band with strong philosophy and attitude. I assume that’s something you are very proud of, have you ever had problems because of it? Were you ever blocked by labels, venues or agents who found your music risky for commercial success, and did you ever cared about it? Of course we have. In Europe, our stance on the Isreali-Palistinian conflict has gotten us into trouble. Also, in the States, our stance on police. None of it matters. We stand in our truth. We are students of the universe and world. We try to always learn. Have you ever had any problems with the crowd who doesn’t share your
views? Is it even possible to play hardcore and be neutral and without any deeper philosophy in music? So many bands are neutral in hardcore music and it’s fucking soft and weak. They never last though. So, it doesn’t bother me too much. You have many young fans who listen to your music, and what you have to say. Do you ever feel the pressure because of it, and do you see yourselves as a role model for anyone? Never pressure. I feel grateful. I try to do the same thing that many of the bands I listened to growing up did for me. Showed me a batter way. You are known for amazing live shows. How important the tours and live shows are for you and for your band? Where do you find the energy and motivation to be on tour so much and still give your best at every show? It’s hard. Sometimes before I go on, I think to myself “Fuck, I don’t want to do this today”. However, once we take the stage, I get so into it. We all do. We love this shit so much.
Relapse Records (2016)
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Dirt, Low Fog, Sorcerer FLE UNDER: John Carpenter, Zombi, Tangerine Dream
etween Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s recent breakthrough success with Stranger Things (or most notably its tensely anachronistic score) and a general synthwave revival, the timing couldn’t be better for S U R V I V E’s return. An elegantly spacious collection of atmospheric electronica that is, by turns, eerie, gorgeous, dreamlike, catchy and shot through with subtle malevolence, in RR7349 the Texan quartet have created something that rivals, and in some ways transcends, the albums from which they take their cues. While “Dirt” carries a slow and steady momentum, its rhythmic pulsations imperceptibly driving swooping Moroder melodies and brief stabs of rock star derring-do, “Sorcerer” reins in that musical impetus, leaving the listener stranded as banks of noise descend like fog (though “Low Fog”, which follows on from it, takes that sense of ethereal claustrophobia and draws the walls even further in). Given their choice of instrumentation and texture, there’s a naturally cinematic feel – one minute a masked killer is stalking his ground, the next a desperate family are beset on all sides by vicious thugs – but on the whole, S U R V I V E never seem bound by such aesthetics, nor by their vast array of influences. Instead, they are shaping a world, a sonic cosmos that operates according to their rules – it’s a dark place, but the sense of wonder and mystery makes it a joy to traverse. DAVE BOWES
8 TAKING BACK SUNDAY Tidal Wave
TEENAGE FANCLUB Here
Hopeless Records (2016)
Merge Records (2016)
Taking Back Sunday are one of those bands that will always lead me back to those school days and the teenage angst, especially with the records like Tell All Your Friends and Where You Want To Be. But as the years go by, people change and grow, and TBS have grown into be more ambitious with what they wanted to really do with their sound and lyrical content. On their seventh album, the band is more audacious than ever, and is not by chance that their still going strong with everything surrounding the band. Tidal Wave is eclectic and fascinating. They’re just doing what they want and playing what they love, drawing influences from bands like The Ramones and The Clash. They’ve never sounded as focused as they do right now and this is clearly a great album.
A jangly guitar infused, shaggy haired, harmony0singing throwback to a time when chart music was full of well-crafted guitar lead songs that parked their car somewhere in the “Easily Listening” section of the musical parking lot. Teenage Fanclub seem to have never left that early noughties sound of shoegazey, indie guitar music that is wistful and innocent and sugar-coated in naïve charm. Here is a candy-coated breeze to listen too. In-offensive, full of open breasted blazer wearing charm. Music for people with no fear of the world, who constantly gaze skyward and make stories from the clouds. It’s innocent, chirpy and genuinely able to conjure smiles from nowhere. What it lacks in songwriting prowess it more than ably makes up for in its purity and optimism, and for that you really have to applaud its efforts. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
THE BOUNCING SOULS Simplicity Rise Records (2016)
The Bouncing Souls are back with the new record Simplicity. Four years after their previous effort, Comet, they are bringing thirteen new songs, with their typical East Coast punk rock and all of the elements we like them for. Big sing along choruses, fast riffs and some mid-tempo punk rock anthems give just the right feel. Veterans know what they want and know how to do it. Simplicity may not have iconic songs like some earlier albums, but I guess nobody expected that anyway. We wanted good, solid punk rock songs, and the band duly delivered. The stage is their strongest weapon, and here, they have a solid supply of ammo.
REVIEWS FILE UNDER:
PUNCH PERFEC PUSSY BIKINI KILL
STAFF PICK Bobby Cochran
8 SUPER UNISON Auto
Deathwish Inc. (2016)
Formed in 2014, Super Unison features Meghan O’Neil Pennie (formerly of PUNCH) on bass and vocals, Justin Renninger (formerly of Snowing) on drums, and Kevin DeFranco on guitar. Together they create these intense and hectic songs that will leave you knocked out for every time you listen to them. There’s no bullshit here and their music is meant to be frontal. Auto is their debut full-length and a great follow-up to the band’s EP. It’s raw and bold, everything is straightforward, creating songs coming in at the two minute mark. Meghan blends aggressive with melodic singing, speaking about real damn important social issues. Having producer Jack Shirley (Oathbreaker, Deafheaven, Loma Prieta) on board to record this album, it gave a consistency to the dynamics of the band, resulting in an incendiary and intelligently ANDREIA ALVES brutal album.
THE DEAR HUNTER Act V: Hymns With The Devil In...
THE EXQUISITES Home
Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional is The Dear Hunter’s six album concept series chronicling the story of a boy at the turn of the century, only referred to as “The Dear Hunter.” Act V was written and recorded much in the same time frame as the last year’s Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise. It’s impressive how multi-instrumentalist vocalist and songwriter Casey Crescenzo began this concept, creating such engaging story. Act V stands on its own, musically and lyrically, featuring the Awesöme Orchestra with orchestration written by Crescenzo. It’s once again an amazing piece of work, giving to the listener an unforgettable experience.
While The Exquisites embody and has the ability to wake everything that’s true to the rebellious spirit of punk, they still have the charm to experiment and dare to be different. Home is an emotional and cathartic effort, their sound is very effective and brings a certain clarity into the whole distortion driven blend of punk, noise and 90’s emo. Clackley’s emotive and powerful voice, the right amount of energy and carefully crafted lyrics are a few of the ingredients that makes this effort a strong and cohesive effort. The Exquistes have created an album that deserves to see them progress towards success.
Rude Records (2016)
7 THROES This Viper Womb
Aesthetic Death (2016)
Asian Man Records (2016)
There’s a distinct line between sentiment and manifesto, and ThrOes is undoubtedly a work of the latter; the musical, ideological and cultural worldview of Tasmanian polymath Trent Griggs, their debut is a varied and meticulously assembled work of intelligence and defiance, kicking out against culture and counterculture alike. Griggs’ approach is endlessly serpentine, straddling the borders of death, groove and black metal while sounding not entirely like anything that falls within those boundaries, and while his barbs against the world are savage, there is a melodic component that makes them eerily approachable. Balanced yet excitingly unpredictable, ThrOes’ ‘dissident metal’ is so unique that you’ll likely never hear anything quite like it again.
9 THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Dissociation Party Smashers Inc. (2016)
FLE UNDER: That’s hard! No one sounds like them...
very single time Dillinger delivers the goods we’re always ready to be happily punch in the face, and this time around they gave a new life and dimension to the whole sonic experience, because it’s even more assaulting and painfully arresting. Dissociation is The Dillinger Escape Plan’s sixth full-length and it could also be their last. Could this be the end? We don’t fucking know... But we’re fully aware that a Dillinger album is never easily made, and the whole process is for sure creative and personal exhausting, these guys don’t operate like a normal band. Listening to a Dillinger Escape Plan album is always a new experience, like trying to solve a puzzle that never seems to end... Dissociation is primal, crushing and rad, everything sounds frantic and perverse, it’s like a vicious ride full of euphoria that pushes the listener in the same intellectual and sonic direction. Greg Puciato is once again out of control and Ben Weinman is the maestro of this unfashionable yet brilliant masterpiece, showing a group of artists more focused than ever in their pursuit of musical innovation. FAUSTO CASAIS STAFF PICK
9 TRUCKFIGHTERS V
TRUE WIDOW Avvolgere
Fuzzorama Records (2016)
Relapse Records (2016)
Opening with a gentle breathy vocal over a slow burning bass and guitar line, V begins with an intention that it rarely lets up over its seven tracks. A story cut into seven chapters, V may not be a concept album, but certainly sounds like one - each track can exist easily within and of itself, but listened as a full piece it is a revealing, poignant and astonishing release. Bass is a grumbling beast, guitars are chuggy and clean all at the same time – vocals are near whispered one second the next they are teetering on a breakdown of pure emotion. The drums are a ballet, driving each song in fantastic new groove lead journeys. This album is a perfect fusion of the stoner slow of Open Hand, mid-tempo indie rock a la Foals, and rock-song writing wits of Foo Fighters. A band that has a clear and distinct voice and a plan on how to implant its seed in each heart and mind that listens. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
A hybrid of stoner and shoegaze, Avvolgere is a dark, brooding, deliberately under-produced album that exists somewhere in the ether between the two aforementioned genres, but is happily flirting and dashing between the two in brazen and unashamed ways. Vocals sound like after thoughts, hidden deep in amongst the bass and fuzz-hewn guitars. Slow tempo drums beat slave ship rhythms throughout the songs, and the production allows every rough edge space to breath, enhancing the songs rather than displaying any naivety or lack of talent. It sounds like the music that would soundtrack a late 90’s gothic action movie. It’s completely comfortable in its skin, utterly unafraid of its limitations, wearing its heart proudly on its sleeve. And you have to kind of adore it because of that chutzpah.
9 TWELVE FOOT NINJA Outlier Volkanik Records (2016)
So strange... that’s our very first thought when we listen to Twelve Foot Ninja’s new album. But this is exactly the charm of this band, they can be weird and all, but at the same time pleasant and funny. Outlier keeps the core of the band, their sound and unique blend of styles make one of the most consistent of the genre. Strong and explosive, this new effort is a heavy fusion of styles, full of jazz meets funk meets djent epic blend, not to mention the introduction of Indian Sitar and Nintendo effects that result in perfection and with vocals similar to Mike Patton’s Tomahawk and Mr. Bungle crazy style of singing. Quite difficult to describe to the common Joe, their characteristic, weird and unique sound of this band demands your attention. SERGIO KILMORE
INSTANT CLASSIC Christian Cordon
9 TOUCHÉ AMORÉ Stage Four
Epitaph Records (2016)
ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Skycraper, Palm Dreams, New Halloween FLE UNDER: La Dispute, Sun Kil Moon, Title Fight
ouché Amoré started well with 2009’s... To the Beat of a Dead Horse and from there they managed to evolve and increase significantly the quality of their songwriting to the point of reaching almost perfection with the unbelievable fulfilling 2013’s art-punk masterpiece, Is Survived By. After a great landmark there’s always some reservations regarding the follow-up. Unfortunately, for the singer and lyricist Jeremy Bolm, life was a great provider of material for Amoré’s fourth album – Bolm’s mother was diagnosed with Stage Four cancer and passed away in 2014. And from there is born the most emotional, personal, and cathartic album of the band’s career thus far. A piece that testifies the importance of art in life and vice-versa, and confirms Touché Amoré as one of the most important acts in the punk/rock/whatever spectrum. Stage Four isn’t only a great work around acceptance and understanding from this one man, is also the alternative soundtrack for said subjects. An exquisite and delightfully detailed soundtrack for anyone that is willing to grow up with the band. TIAGO MOREIRA Stage Four makes seem that there’s much more to come.
9 ULCERATE Shrines Of Paralysis
Relapse Records (2016)
Ulcerate, who rapidly became an absolute and undeniable highlight in the current death metal scene by dropping four excellent full-length works, have returned with a brand new album and managed to meet any wild expectations by those who have closely followed their brilliant path. Shrines of Paralysis, just as with previous works from the New Zealand-based power-trio, is very demanding with its listener incorporating unorthodox but very distinctive traits into their overwhelmingly harsh, brutal, and violent sound. Skillfully designed as an album extremely layered and filled with nuances, Ulcerate reach out to other extreme music genres creating a masterpiece that uses the power of contrast to magnify the outcome and reward immensely its listener.
FLE UNDER: Gorguts, Deathspell Omega, Mitochondrion
ULTIMATE PAINTING Dusk Trouble In Mind (2016)
Ultimate Painting are comprised of two singular voices in Jack Cooper and James Hoare, who met when on tour together with their other bands, Mazes and Veronica Falls. Dusk is a charming effort, full of perfect balanced harmonies, that sounds somewhere between The Byrds, Beach House’s exuberance or even Pavement’s elegant complex twist. Their simplistic approach is rather lovey, has this dreamy and unstressed vibe, at times it seems so damn relax that it’s quite easy to totally focus on the album. Overall, it’s fair to say that Dusk is a lazy and smart effort, the ability to be addictive and very enjoyable.
FLE UNDER: Veronica Falls, Yo La Tengo, Pavement
USELESS ID State Is Burning
Fat Wreck Chords (2016)
Pure punk rock perfection. It is pretentious to say that this is the punk rock record of the year, when we got new albums by Descendants, Bouncing Souls, or Against Me!, but in my books, it is. Useless ID have rare quality to get their hands on melody, aggression, emotion or politics, and be good in every single one of them. Their 90s style SoCal punk rock sounds heavy, melodic, old school, but yet fresh and very important. Comparing to personally oriented Symptoms, State is Burning is screaming with political and social subjects. A lot is said that’s been said before, but this band never sounded worn out, or cliché.
HOT NEW BAND
VANISHING LIFE Surveillance
Dine Alone Records (2016)
WL Light Years
Comprised by Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits), Zach Blair (Rise Against), Jamie Miller (Bad Religion, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead), and Autry Fulbright (…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Midnight Masses), Vanishing Life are not just another supergroup, their CV is just a minor detail. Surveillance is strong, noisy and energetic, these dudes don’t fool anyone, this is not just a side-project or whatever, this is an ambitious and ballzy punk rock album that sounds raw, spontaneous and lyrically straight to the point. It’s perhaps one of the most exciting old school punk efforts in years and theirs is the sense that here stands a band who know what they’re doing and know just how to do it.
Light Years is WL sophomore effort, and another detailed and elegantly set of kraut-pop sharply intimate songs. The three-piece exploratory rock band from Portland, led by Misty Mary elegantly and penetrating voice is once again showing no signs of slowing down, creating an experimental sound in a complex scenario where their dreamy kraut pop blends with this ethereal new form of shoegaze, sometimes it gets gritty and raw, but that’s the beauty of travelling into two different yet so close sonic worlds. Light Years is a charming and immersive effort, let’s see what they’re going to do next.
8 WARPAINT Heads Up
7 WHORES. Gold.
7 WOVENHAND Star Treatment
Glitterhouse Records/Sargent House (2016)
After working on solo projects, Warpaint got together to make their third album and the girls seemed more focus and open to whatever idea would come up to them. Heads Up flows so ridiculously well that is quite hard to stop listening to it, it just gives you a great mood. It’s got all the elements to make it by far their most confident and daring album. Their dynamic is phenomenal, as usual, keeping always that electrifying and sensual approach, like the way they play their instruments and the way they sing their lyrics. You just get wrapped up to those danceable beats and the intense melodies. Working apart or together, these girls are just incredibly talented and they fucking know that.
Atlanta-based power-trio Whores. made a name for themselves with two EPs, one split, and by delivering intense live experiences. With their debut album, Whores. go frantically at it with a much more incisive set of songs that for the most part are unwilling to take the foot from the gas pedal. The feedback and noise wrap around a gift that is brave enough to mention the current state of affairs at the same time it is vulnerable with Christian Lembach’s lack of insterest to hold back his involvement in the conversation. More than just a sonically ripping rock album, Gold is of extreme relevance on a social level with its imposing, gut-wrenching, and extremely gritty lyrics.
Take a dash of Bowie, a smattering of Nick Cave and plonk them down in the middle of a Cormac McCarthy novel and you have a good grasp on the tone of Star Treatment, David Eugene Edwards’ latest slice of doomsaying psych-country. Though Edwards’ bourbon-steeped croon, rich and gifted with a true troubadour’s flair for soul and narrative, is steeped in American tradition it finds itself placed alongside a soundtrack that is geographically unburdened, raga jams and the brooding pulse of post-punk proving intriguing bedfellows for the dust and grit of Wovenhand’s doomericana. As dark as a Midwestern sky at midnight and shot through with just as many specks of light, these songs embody the fire and ash that rests within the heart of man.
Rough Trade Records (2016)
eOne Music (2016)
REVIEWED IN OUR NEXT ISSUE
9 WREKMEISTER HARMONIES Light Falls Thrill Jockey (2016)
Wrekmeister Harmonies’ records tell grandiose stories. JR Robinson and Esther Shaw, the heart of Harmonies, destroy, resuscitate and move through worlds relying on cooperative contrasts. In the first part of the title piece, Robinson repeats, “stay in, go out, get sick, get well, light falls;” these words echo feelings of movement throughout each song. Light Falls was inspired by anti-fascist Primo Levi’s memoir of his year in Auschwitz, If This Is a Man. Robinson transformed Levi’s assertions, that inhumanity stems from slow changes that rational people inadvertently accept, into the album’s theme: an audible change that mimics the sunset’s transformation into darkness. The transitions from subdued violin to vehement guitar convey their intended message of metamorphosis. Joined by only five guest musicians this time, Harmonies are perhaps more intricate and anecdotal with their sounds than ever before.
METALLICA Hardwired.. To Self-Destruct
JIMMY EAT WORLD Integrity Blues
YOU BLEW IT! Abendrot
ANIMAL AS LEADERS The Madness Of Many
IN FLAMES Battles
TANYA TAGAQ Retribution
SUPERJOINT Caught Up In The Gears Of...
HOOTON TENNIS CLUB Big Box Of Chocolates
HONEYBLOOD Babes Never Die
THE RADIO DEPT. Running Out Of Love
FILE UNDER: Mamiffer, Sunn O))), Jesu
9 YOUNG GUNS Echoes
Spinefarm Records (2016)
This is colossal. A sound that has been developed by a band that certainly want to be heard. Young Guns are the makers of this Goliath, breakneck, musical wonderment. Their new record Echoes bursts like a balloon struck by a cigarette, it also jolts the heart and wastes no time in wowing the listener. The band have definitely worked extensively on the lyrical qualities, by dazzling with metaphors and hooks. The wordplay is accomplished on the record, deeply spawning from heartache and hardship, love and loss. Opening song “Bulletproof” is a wonderful, atmospheric, pile-driver that has been scaled up to perfection. It’s massive and has been composed with style and musical muscle. There’s also melodic heart-pullers like “Paradise”, which is emotive and brilliant, utilizing the bands softer side. MARK MCCONVILLE
FILE UNDER: Deafhavana, Lower Than Atlantis, PVRIS
AMPLIFEST 2016 Hard Club + Passos Manuel, Porto (PT) Words by Fausto Casais // Photos by Andreia Alves
I’m not going to begin this review with the cliché sentence, “Not a festival, it’s an experience”, but damn, that’s something we cannot for sure avoid. Portugal’s reality regarding Summer Festivals is always painfuly boring, the same bullshit boring bands, the same media stupidity euphoria over the same old overrated events and of course what we may call business as usual issues. Well, the difference between Amplifest and other festivals in Portugal is that they have an artistic agenda, everything is skillfully planned to the minor detail. They are not following any kind of musical trends just to make money out of it, they bring the artists and bands they love, respect and they just want to share that same passion with everyone else. It’s quite impressive and heartfelt, and demands to be witness directlt. By saying that we can’t for sure say that this was the best line-up ever, but it was strong and totally coeherent. Unfortunately, this kind of experience only started on day 2, we sadly had to miss Friday’s warm up with French trio Aluk Todolo. So, our Saturday started with Minsk, the Illinois crew experienced technical problems - yeah, that happens - and their performance was somehow painfully merciless, their powerful stand was there but the sound problems really kick the dudes in the ass. Well, time to see if the hype around the Spanish death metal band from Bilbao, Altarage, was real... Their sound is massive and brutal, their image is absolutely perfect, but overall their performance was just average and sloppy. On the other hand, Kowloon Walled City took the stage for one of the most intense and infectious performances of the day. With Grievances on the menu, the San Francisco foursome was straight to the point, in a sharp and crushing performance. Anna von Hausswolff was the following act. Bringing her most recent release The Miraculous to the main setlist, Anna and her band delivered a fearless, intimate and powerful performance. She's for sure a remarkable artist and that night she proved more than enough her ability to create dense atmospheres and chilling melodies. Our night ended with Japanese post-rock royalty, Mono. It couldn't have ended in a better way, and they brought along with them their new album, Requiem For Hell, which they gave to the audience a taste of what to expect from it. It was another surreal and passionate sound experience, just like they know
Kowloon Walled City
how to convey at live shows, keeping the same intense vibe of their recording releases. Sunday was the last day of Amplifest 2016. The Black Heart Rebellion are a rare gem, they sound heavy and different, always pushing their own boundaries, sometimes pushing too much. Unfortunately, their performance was full of oscillations, from their edgy and sometimes epic moments to a deep feeling of boringness and despair, their sound is not everyone’s cup of tea. Still, it’s quite impressive to see how they managed to capture live all those melodramatic and almost hypnotizing moments from Har Nevo and People, when you see the smoke, do not think it is fields they’re burning. Time for Caspian, and what a fucking good show they delivered. A strong performance that was both muscular and majestic, glimmering with ferocity and dynamism. One of the highlights of the whole festival. This is Oathbreaker’s year and everyone knows it. Caro
presence on stage was haunting and cathartically heavy, their performance was insanely heavy and brutally bleak, a defiant experience and challenging in every single way. Neurosis don’t need any kind of introduction, the moment that everyone had been waiting all weekend. Only few bands have the ability or power to change people’s life, and for the past 30 years their visionary, heavy and liberating approach was something inspiring in every single way. Their performance is flawless, engaging, a pure visual and sonic assault. There was adrenaline in the air, a limitless joy, emotion and euphoria taking the show to new levels of intensity. Well, the show’s over... On Monday and part of the “extended experience” of this year’s Amplifest, we got the pleasure to get intimate with Steve Von Till, only him, an acoustic guitar and his unique way of singing along storytelling, an honest, stripped down and intense performance. It was an extended experience, they say...
THE KILLS + KIM AND THE CREATED House of Blues, New Orleans (USA) // Words & Photos by Teddie Taylor Kim and The Created are currently touring with The Kills to bestow the greatest night of music to the U.S. cities they visit. As an opening band, Kim and The Created injected an energy into the room that was entirely unexpected and purely insane. Before Alison Mosshart could begin her prowl, the night was already wild... Kim and The Created put on an unrelenting show. The California duo captured the entire room’s breath as soon as they appeared and launched into their explosive set. Lightning bolts in various places, from mic stand to earring, represented their sound and aesthetic perfectly - perhaps this is why drummer Patrick Glendening goes by the name Pat Bolt. Every aspect of Kim and the Created, from music to theatrics, is fast, fiery and magnificent to witness. After months of admiring
Los Angeles photographers’ shots of their home shows, it was a given that Kim House would be atop the bass drum, kneeling, on her back, running from side to side or in the crowd. She was electric; her Abbath-esque face paint, glittery silver guitar and facial expressions were impossible to look away from. Without having even released a full LP, they are already an unparalleled entity. New Orleans will not be able to forget them. The Kills are continually the single most captivating pair in music. The chemistry between Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince has always been effortless and undeniable; fifteen years together has not dampened the music or their relationship in the slightest. Mosshart moved across the stage as if Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau had cursed her on Bourbon Street - slinking, doing
backbends, hair flying... She and Hince exchanged smiles in a way that only two people eternally devoted to their music and to one another would. While the set list was packed with new songs, a Kills show is not complete without “Sour Cherry” and “U.R.A. Fever.” Mixed in between songs that are now over a decade old, the tracks from their latest record, Ash & Ice, were larger and, maybe, more impressive than the album versions. For the first time, a live drummer took the place of the typical drum machine and made all the difference. The songs sounded fuller and were given the massive presence they deserve. Mosshart’s ever-sultry vocals were best displayed when she held an acoustic guitar on stage alone for the heartbreakingly beautiful “That
Love.” Her voice, which ranges from honey sweet to gravely, is the perfect complement to Hince’s often smooth tones that just as quickly become grating. On this first tour since his numerous surgeries and relearning the guitar, it was more obvious how underrated and impeccable is his style. They balance hard and soft with safe and daring in a way that no other band can maintain. No one puts on a show like The Kills. It is absolutely impossible to stand still while Mosshart is dancing and Hince is playing the initial notes of “Doing It To Death.” Their music evokes movement and joy. Their connection is natural and enviable. Alison and Jamie are, in every way, as spellbinding and magical as the spirit that New Orleans exudes.
Kim and the Created
Bannerman’s, Edinburgh (UK)
Words by Dave Bowes // Photo by Bruce Cowie Forget what De La Soul said – 2 is the real magic number. Duos are where the real meat is, and Beehoover are as juicy as they come. Two dudes seated opposite each other, locked into some of the most furious, mind-melting and finger-mangling avant-sludge ever perceived by human ears. It’s not just the effortless virtuosity they display, Ingmar Petersen’s rapid fret traversals registering on eye and ear as a glorious blur while Claus-Peter Hamisch leaves an impression of impeccable timing, rattling out skittish beats and desperate tribal poundings that bear little sonic semblance to his partner’s rumblings yet fit so well; that’s impressive in its own right but it’s the range they demonstrate, the way they can mash delicate, spry runs and guttural fuzz-charged marches into cohesive, catchy and monumentally heavy works that is simply staggering. “Embers” makes this clear at an early juncture, Petersen kicking off his shoes and slinking into a barely audible, ugly-pretty segue. As Hamisch eases into the fray, both ratchet up the pace until they erupt in beats and bellows. With a set that traverses the length of their career, they demonstrate a consistency of passion and tone that nonetheless exhibits a flair for understated extravagance, one that owes as much to the grizzled funk of Primus as to The Melvins’ bewildering stonerisms. From smiling headbangers to furious dancers, no-one is quite sure how to react to what Beehoover have been touting for over a decade but that’s the point – there is only instinct, something Hamisch and Petersen continue to rely on and masterfully manipulate. Judging from tonight, it works well for them and there’s no sign of them bucking the trend just yet, so it looks like there’s plenty of joyous confusion in the cards for devotees of the ‘Hoover for years to come.
NOTHING + RICARDO REMÉDIO Cave 45, Porto (PT) Words by Tiago Moreira // Photos by Andreia Alves
Even if on paper it might seem that it makes sense the truth is that often it doesn’t and it isn’t the most appropriate state of affairs. That was kind of the situation with Nothing’s debut in Porto, Portugal. The Philadelphia band ended up playing in Cave 45, which is a very appropriate setting for a more simplistic and dirty punk/metal act, but kind of unsuitable for something so layered and sonically challenging as Nothing’s sound. Brandon Setta (guitar/vox) was who suffered the most – from not being able to fully hear what was going on on stage to his voice not being heard by the public – but there were technical difficulties throughout the entire show. It sucks, and there’s no other way of saying it, but the mere possibility of witnessing such a brilliant band like Nothing made it feel worth it. Their show – even with the tech problems – was enough to prove how fuckin’ special is their mix of shoegaze, extremely high pop sensibility, punk attitude, and awe-inspiring riffs. With a set balanced with songs from their debut, Guilty of Everything, and their most recent and sophomore album, Tired of Tomorrow, the quartet fronted by Domenic Palermo managed to create a beautiful environment and wash our souls with tracks like “Get Well”, “Bent Nail”, “A.C.D. (Abscessive Compulsive Disorder)”, “The Dead Are Dumb”, etc. Sure, the concert was far from perfect, but it isn’t every day you have the opportunity to watch one of the most genuine, exciting, and extraordinary bands of an entire generation playing just three meters away from you. Opening the concert was Portuguese artist Ricardo Remédio with its electronic explorations that fortunately didn’t suffer from any technical problems. Presenting his debut album, Natureza Morta (which has multi-instrumentalist genius Daniel O’ Sullivan on the production duties), Remédio delivered an interesting and dynamic set, always challenging the audience and never forgetting to change gears – one minute he would invite you to chill and then he would shake you from head to toes. A concert that was definitely worth everyone’s time.
Sky City, Augusta (USA) // Words & Photos by Teddie Taylor In Augusta, GA, hometown of James Brown, The Whigs were just a short drive from their Athens roots. A hometown show, or close enough, is special. It’s like seeing The Beatles in Liverpool or Nirvana in Seattle. Not even running out of gas on the way to the show could keep them from rockin’. The Whigs have nearly fifteen years of being a band under their belts and five albums of songs to choose from. As always, they journeyed back to their first album and even played a few new songs, one of which, “What’s The Point?” was inspired by the Harry Nilsson fable and, later, Ringo Starr narrated movie. The “Stayling Alive” jam is something that can only be understood in their presence: sheer garage rock ecstasy. Even though their last album was recorded live in the studio, nothing compares to the feeling of hearing the initial drums of “Right Hand On My Heart.” It’s a shame if you’ve ever missed them in your city. Singer/guitarist Parker Gispert has the energy and flexibility of a young Iggy Pop and is a frontman who obviously revels in every second of playing live. He does nearfull splits and never stops moving, all the while sounding exactly as he does on Whigs albums. Julian Dorio, who is well-known now for his stint with Eagles of Death Metal, is one of the greatest drummers to see in person. Red hair flying and sporting an Atlanta Braves baseball jacket, his hard hitting simplicity is incomparable today. While bassist Timothy Deaux tours with Grace Potter, Mitchel Thunderbolt is keeping the ever-present groove. As at any good rock show, there was a brief moment of banter on the topic of everyone’s favorite band, Creed. The Whigs, never taking themselves too seriously, came back for one more song while “Higher” played over the speakers and they began to play along. There is no deficit of humor in their shows (or, especially, in their posters and merch). The group’s upcoming live album, Live In Little Five, is out in November and is the next best thing to seeing them in all of their rock and roll glory.
Understage - Teatro Rivoli, Porto (PT)
Words by Tiago Moreira // Photos by Andreia Alves Once again we were part of a group of people that was extremely fortunate to witness a concert in the wonderful centennial building of Teatro do Rivoli. We were impressed how good the Understage was a venue with the concert of Teeth of the Sea and we couldn’t be surer of all its charms after watching New York-based industrial/post-punk outfit Pop. 1280. The setting was perfect and the music and band’s performance didn’t fall short in what was an extremely pleasurable night to anyone that has a love for the industrial meets synthesizers meets post-punk that Pop. 1280 so well have crafted. Presenting their latest full-length album Paradise (Sacred Bones) and Pulse EP, the band fronted by Chris Bug was relentless, offering an overdose of energy and noise that was as contagious as pure pleasure. A truly gnarly performance and experience.
THE NEON DEMON
DIRECTOR: Nicolas Winding Refn STARRING: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Charles Baker, Jamie Clayton, Stacey Danger FRANCE/DENMARK/USA 2016
he Neon Demon is Nicolas Winding Refn’s most beautiful film yet, stunning, haunting, exciting, but is it his best? Well... no. That honour still belongs to 2011’s Drive, but that’s not to say the film is bad, the film is certainly an acquired taste. Personally, I loved it, the visuals, the soundtrack, the characters, they were all terrific but other than Refn’s last film; the “love it or loathe it” Only God Forgives in 2013, this is one of Refn’s most niche films which will definitely lead to some mixed responses.
The film, like Refn’s other work besides Drive, is not made to be a mainstream, accessible movie. This is Refn indulging in what he finds interesting and exciting and I applaud him for that. However, many audiences will find this “pretentious” or “self-indulgent” and I can understand their claims. There are scenes that just seem crowbarred in for the sake of what Refn calls his “fetishes” such as a sequence of necrophillia and a scene involving menstrual blood. The script is also rather weak, the symbolism on screen is all there, but the written dialogue sometimes is just plain bad or awkward. On the positives
though, Elle Fanning, Abbey Lee and Jena Malone all give great performances and a cameo appearance by Keanu Reeves is my personal favourite performance in the film. The soundtrack is incredible, Cliff Martinez always gives great work when collaborating with Refn and obviously, the cinematography is outstanding. This film won’t be remembered for its amazing script or characters, but the visual experience. Overall, The Neon Demon isn’t as good as Drive and Only God Forgives, but it’s certainly a film worth your time in a movie season dominated by more stale comic book adaptions. JOE DOYLE
CINEMA & TV
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN DIRECTOR: Tim Burton STARRING: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Rupert Everett, Allison Janney, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Finlay MacMillan, Lauren McCrostie, Milo Parker USA/UK/BELGIUM 2016
And Tim Burton is back! After his latest films being quite forgettable, the “peculiarly” extraordinary director returns with a surprisingly compelling and rich film experience. Based upon a best-selling novel, the film follows Jake (Asa Butterfield) into this magical place known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, after his grandad’s death. He gets to know all the residents and learns about their special abilities, and also their terrifying enemies, which leads him to his fate with his own special “peculiarity”. There’s an Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice vibe on this film, where Burton goes deep into every detail, every character and every scene. The film is packed with moving moments about family, loneliness, and of course, being different in a world full of “normal” people. Even though sometimes the film feels overstuffed, this is a great story told by a great storyteller. With Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Burton has shown why he does so well peculiar better than anybody else. ANDREIA ALVES
CAFÉ SOCIETY DIRECTOR: Woody Allen STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Sheryl Lee, Blake Lively, Paul Schackman, Jeannie Berlin, Ken Stott, Richard Portnow, Sari Lennick, Stephen Kunken, Laurel Griggs, Corey Stoll USA 2016
Set in the 1930s, Woody Allen’s bittersweet romance Café Society is a film of rare beauty. A journey of Bronx-born young man (Jesse Eisenberg) to the glamorous Hollywood, where he falls in love and returns to New York. A nostalgic affair of a time that also seems like a blast from the past, in a movie that lives through the strong character’s dynamics, from Steve Carrell to Blake Lively, from Bobby’s (Eisenberg) colourful family in the Bronx to the movie stars, gangsters, politicians and socialites. It was fun to see Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart chemistry together, we have already seen that in Adventureland (2009) and more recently in American Ultra (2015). Hollywood always seems like an uncharted territory for Allen, but this time around he’s going straight to a glamourous age, bringing all its trademark elements into a sophisticated yet sometimes moody film. Café Society is not Blue Jasmine, or even close to Allen’s classics, but it looks a lot like a restart or even reflective, seems fresh and shows that his skills as a storyteller are still great and intact. FAUSTO CASAIS
DIRECTOR: Todd Solondz STARRING: Greta Gerwig, Keaton Nigel Cooke, Tracy Letts, Julie Delpy, Kieran Culkin, Rigoberto Garcia, Haraldo Alvarez, Dain Victorianio, Connor Long, Bridget Brown, Charlie Tahan, Danny DeVito, Tyler Maynard USA 2016
iener-Dog is a film by Todd Solondz told in vignettes featuring the director’s unique ability to combine comedy and despair. We are following four different, successive stories which appear to have one common link, the cute dachshund
puppy which somehow goes from one eccentric owner to the next. Despite not having anything more in common, all of the film characters seem to somehow project their own yearnings and hopes on the dog while they fight their own demons. Many might argue that in this film Solondz takes his misanthropy a bit too far and shows little compassion towards what his characters are going through, however his cynical and no-frills approach is one of the most anthropocentric ways to approach tragedy and mortality. There are many avenues a
writer/director can choose to explore in order to deal with pain and devastation and here Solondz chooses to utilise sharp dialogue, black humour and stellar performances by Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Burstyn and Zosia Mamet. Wiener-Dog will bring a bitter smile to your lips and as Ellen Burstyn said during one of her interviews about the film you will realise that it’s ridiculous to be that hopeless. And that perhaps is the most humanistic way to deal with life’s ups and downs. ANASTASIA PSARRA
CINEMA & TV
SWISS ARMY MAN
DIRECTOR: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert STARRING: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Antonia Ribero, Timothy Eulich, Richard Gross, Marika Casteel, Andy Hull, Aaron Marshall, Shane Carruth, Jessica Harbeck USA 2016 What a weird, unexpected, awkward yet funny and moving film. A blend of mixed feelings is what you’ll get after watching Swiss Army Man. This is the feature film debut of music video directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan and they approached it with no limits and reaching with it to a high point of their creativity and exploration. A little about the film without telling too much details: Hank (Paul Dano) is stranded on a deserted island, having given up all hope of ever making it home again. But one day everything changes when a corpse named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) appears on the shore. The two become fast friends and go on an unbelievable adventure that dwell on subjects such as friendship, loneliness, survival, and more weird stuff. Swiss Army Man has a world of its own, which is quite peculiar and special, seeing Dano and Radcliffe committing into their roles in such an exceptional and remarkably way. There’s a bunch of humorous and emotive moments, making the audience either laugh or get really emotional. By the end of the film, I just wondered what the fuck just happened here, but then it just made total sense - even if doesn’t make no sense at all. Well, that’s up to everyone’s interpretation. Swiss Army Man is quite something. ANDREIA ALVES
BLOOD FATHER DIRECTOR: Jean-François Richet STARRING: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks, William H. Macy, Miguel Sandoval, Dale Dickey, Richard Cabral, Daniel Moncada, Ryan Dorsey, Raoul Max Trujillo, Brandi Cochran FRANCE 2016
Blood Father is possibly the biggest surprise of 2016. I knew it was going to be a good movie due to positive buzz and the involvement of the immensely talented Mel Gibson (despite how you personally feel about him), but the film was so much more than what I was expecting. The film is marketed as a B-movie action thriller and it is that but there’s such a strong emphasis on the character development and plot rather than action sequences and the dialog, particularly Gibson and William H. Macy’s is very funny and surprisingly well written. Blood Father reminds me of action films from the late 80s and early 90s like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon where you watch them for the performances and the experience rather than seeing shit get blown up. Blood Father is an absolute gem of a modern thriller/drama and please see it wherever you can as it’s limited release in cinemas. It’s not some thought provoking masterpiece and it has a simple premise, but for what it is, it’s absolutely terrific. Welcome back Mel. JOE DOYLE
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