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THE MEN ALELA DIANE ANTI-FLAG EARTHLESS KISSISSIPPI THE SOFT MOON JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN CIRCUIT DES YEUX MINISTRY
ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF CASEY | HATCHIE | PARAMORE | ARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS | ANNA BURCH | CANE HILL |TANCRED SHARPTOOTH | HALF WAIF | TINY MOVING PARTS | PRINCESS NOKIA | musicandriots.com MOVEMENTS | FU MANCHU
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THE MEN ALELA DIANE ANTI-FLAG EARTHLESS KISSISSIPPI THE SOFT MOON JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN CIRCUIT DES YEUX ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF
MINISTRY ++ 2
CASEY | HATCHIE | PARAMORE| SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS | ANNA BURCH | CANE HILL | TANCRED SHARPTOOTH | HALF WAIF | TINY MOVING PARTS | PRINCESS NOKIA | MOVEMENTS | FU MANCHU ISSUE 24
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THE MEN ALELA DIANE ANTI-FLAG EARTHLESS ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF THE SOFT MOON JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN CIRCUIT DES YEUX MINISTRY
CASEY | HATCHIE | PARAMORE | SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS | ANNA BURCH | CANE HILL | TANCRED SHARPTOOTH | HALF WAIF | TINY MOVING PARTS | PRINCESS NOKIA | MOVEMENTS | FU MANCHU musicandriots.com
SOUNDCHECK |||||| SORORITY NOISE | CHICAGO “BOTTOM LOUNGE” | PHOTO BY: ANNAYELLI FLORES
SOUNDCHECK |||||| DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL| GRAND RAPIDS “20 MONROE LIVE”
PHOTO BY: ANNAYELLI FLORES
SOUNDCHECK |||||| LUCERO | CHICAGO “ARAGON BALLROOM”
PHOTO BY: ANNAYELLI FLORES
78. ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF 88. MINISTRY Anna told us how the creative process behind Dead Magic was like, the recording sessions on the 20th century organ at Copenhagen’s Marmorkirken, and her collaboration with Randall Dunn for this masterpiece.
ROUND UP 16. 26. 38. 42. 50.
UPCOMING: NOTHING UPCOMING: INTERPOL 5 ESSENTIAL CALEB SCOFIELD RECORDS RELEASE SCHEDULE BLED FEST IN PICTURES
14. 18. 20. 24. 28. 32. 36. 40. 44.. 48. 62. 66. 70. 74. 84. 92. 96.
NEW NOISE 54. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60.
MOVEMENTS + Q&A MØL + MOMMA SNAIL MAIL SLOW MASS + MANY ROOMS HATCHIE + Q&A AMANDA TENJFORD + MIDDLE KIDS
106 // ALBUMS 140 // FILM & TV 142 // LIVE REVIEWS 12
After several announcements of retirement, Ministry are and kicking against the pricks. We pinned down Uncle Al the state of the world and its part in the shaping of Ame in his own inimitable and perversely hilarious fashion.
ANNA BURCH HALF WAIF SHARPTOOTH TINY MOVING PARTS FU MANCHU THE MEN THE SOFT MOON CASEY SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS MIRACLE CANE HILL EARTHLESS CIRCUIT DES YEUX JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN ALELA DIANE TANCRED ANTI-FLAG
PORTO - GLASGOW - LONDON - CHICAGO
FREE | ISSUE 24 | SUMMER ISSUE FOUNDER / EDITOR IN CHIEF Fausto Casais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DEPUTY EDITORS Andreia Alves (email@example.com) Tiago Moreira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ART EDITOR // DESIGNER Fausto Casais
FILM EDITORS Fausto Casais & Andreia Alves
CONTRIBUTORS Nuno Babo, Dave Bowes, Ricardo Almeida, Teddie Taylor, Euan Andrews, Joe Doyle, Miljan Milekić, Ryan Neal, Andi Chamberlain, Mark McConville, Anastasia Psarra, Jamie Van Beveren, Antigoni Pitta, Annayelli Flores, Jorge Alves, Bruno Costa, Robert Westerveld
COVER STORY CREDITS Anna Von Hausswolff - Lady Lusen Ministry - Allan Amato Kississippi - Emily Dubin
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e still alive to talk about erikkkant
Zoe Reynolds has been touring nonstop, has had several line-up changes to her band, experienced the pains of heartbreak, but now on the day of her release, she is all smiles. Sunset Blush sits on the table behind us as today’s celebratory drink of choice.
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WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
e’re back! It’s been a while since our last issue. Over the last few months we have been working on some minor changes, from our editorial ethos to the mag’s layout. So, with that in mind, it’s easy to understand that we’ve maintained our 3 cover story scheme, and let’s say that having the living legends Ministry, along with the amazing Anna Von Hausswolff and newcomer Kississippi is something else. This new issue is cleaner and brighter, the interviews and review section are dense but feel young and energetic, focused on what we find that is exciting nowadays in music. It’s also a weird blend of styles and the first one where we are playing a bit more with the endless possibilities of this digital era, with full interactivity in several parts of the new issue. Along with our amazing 3 cover stories, having the pleasure to feature Earthless, Fu Manchu, Sharptooth, Tiny Moving Parts, The Soft Moon, The Men, Alela Diane, Anti-Flag, Tancred, Joan As Police Woman and many more on this new issue is something that we’re all very proud of. This is for sure a re-launching of a young and new project, and we can’t be more excited for what will come next, starting with our Issue 25 (already on the making) that will arrive to you in late September Your Editor, Fausto Casais
WEBSITE: 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. MUSIC&RIOTS Magazine is published four times a year
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ANNA BURCH INTRODUCING
“I learned to trust my instincts and abilities.” 14
The Detroit singer/songwriter Anna Burch started her music career singing in Frontier Ruckus and more recently co-fronting Failed Flowers, but now she has taken the leap to write and release solo material. Quit The Curse is Anna's first full-length and it's an invigorating and tightly structured pop effort. It has warm and upbeat melodies, but there are these dark lyrical themes that gracefully combine with her bravery and sweetness as well. We talked with Anna about her debut album and much more. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Ebru Yildiz
ou are well known for your work in bands such as Frontier Ruckus and Failed Flowers. Now you have released your first solo album, Quit the Curse. Can you tell us what led you to venture as a solo musician? I had decided to recommit to music after finishing grad school and still feeling like I hadn’t found “my thing” after a year or so of floundering. I joined up with Frontier Ruckus again after a 4 year break, and several things just clicked in my mind about what I should be focusing on. I also started hanging out with a new friend who was younger than me and was a music school kid who was doing a lot of home recordings. Then I moved to Detroit and it was in a lot of ways a very freeing move for me and that’s when I really started to write. I had always wanted to write but felt unable to - the conditions weren’t just right at that time. There was also a sense of urgency I think being in my late 20s that might have fueled the creative push. How was it like to have complete creative control for this album? Such a wildly different experience from anything in my life prior. I of course was collaborating with other musicians, so I can’t call it “complete” control because they all brought their own styles and sensibilities within the framework of what seemed right for the songs. But yeah, it was completely energizing and consuming. I loved it and I miss being in that stage of working on music. Which artists had a direct influence on the shape of your sound? I was listening to Cate le Bon, Alvvays, The Aislers Set, The Cardigans, 60s pop, 90s power pop/alt radio kind of stuff. Quit the Curse is an amazing album and it was recently released. How’s been the feedback so far? Thank you! It’s been seemingly very positive. I think a lot of people I’m close to and work with are pleasantly surprised by the reception so far. Quit the Curse has these lovely sugary and upbeat sounds, but the lyrical content is
emotionally dark and quite honest. Can you elaborate how the writing process for these songs was? I wrote all of these songs in very short and productive bursts. The lyrics came in tandem with the melodies and chord progressions. So if there’s a tension between the two, it was intentional. Adding the full band arrangement added a more pop rock vibe to the songs, but that was what I was looking for. There’s definitely a lineage there from the 60s pop stuff. I read somewhere that they called songs about teenage tragedies like Leader of the Pack “splatter platters.” Despite being your first album, Quit the Curse is really impressive and shows a lot of self-knowledge. What did you learn about yourself when writing this record? To trust my instincts and abilities. And that having a creative outlet makes a huge difference for my psyche. The video for the single “2 Cool 2 Care” was directed by you. What was the inspiration behind the concept of this video? I was somewhere with a hula hoop and I just had the image of a close-up of me hula hooping in slow-mo where you can’t see the hoop, but the camera zooms out and reveals the hoop and then you see the guy lounging behind me. That was the little seed of the idea. And my boyfriend’s parents have a very cute backyard with a pool in suburban Detroit and I thought it’d be a nice setting, and wanted to have this dynamic between the city and the suburbs. How was it like to work with Collin Dupuis on the album? Collin came on to the project at the perfect time and just like, knew what needed to be done. Originally my drummer introduced us because I wanted someone to mix what we had recorded in friend’s apartments in Chicago, but then we talked a lot and diagnosed some of the problem areas and decided to re track some stuff at his Detroit studio. It took a day and a half and then he mixed the whole thing into a cohesive thing that we were very happy with. He’s great. Very technically minded but also creative and has such a genuine love for music. How’s it like the Detroit music scene at the moment and what do you like the most about it? There’s some major talent in Detroit but it’s still a relatively small scene, which is in a lot of ways really nice. It was a great place to start playing out for the first time with my own songs, and it’s cool watching other bands I’m friends with grow and create. Now that you’ve released your album, what else do you have coming up in 2018? Lots of touring. I just got a US booking agent, and my European agent has been busy getting together a lot of summer plans. As soon as it makes sense, I’m very much looking forward to writing some more and working on the next album.
QUITE THE CURSE IS OUT NOW ON HEAVENLY RECORDINGS musicandriots.com
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NOTHING RETURN WITH NEW ALBUM ‘DANCE ON THE BLACKTOP’
othing return with their third installment, Dance On The Blacktop, due to be released on August 31st via Relapse Records. “I don’t feel as though I’ve grown less cynical by any means – maybe just more comfortable knowing that I’m no longer using existence, existence is using me”, chuckles Domenic Palermo when speaking
of Nothing’s new album, Dance On The Blacktop. This new effort is the next chapter of Nothing’s story and like its predecessors, it pulls from all corners of life in its contents. Stories of self-loathing, self-destruction, and a general disdain for humanity and its “insignificant” role in Palermo’s vision of the universe are met with his poised amusement and tranquil hysteria being one himself. All of this told through the eyes of a recently diagnosed Palermo suggesting he is dealing with the early stages of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a neurodegenerative disease found in people with serious head injuries. And as they packed themselves in a coffin-sized NYC apartment for 23 days to demo songs it became abundantly clear that the ripple effect left upon his psyche from dealing
with these newfound symptoms would leave its mark on the material. Nothing sought out celebrated producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Breeders, Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile) to help accentuate the band’s love for all sounds 90s, from rock to shoegaze to pop realms on both sides of the pond. The next month was spent tracking at the historical Dreamland Studios in Woodstock, NY with newly appointed bassist Aaron Heard. As days moved by, Palermo spewed songs of heightened confusion, anxiety, paranoia, depression, and chronic battles with physical pain- a result of his unstable past and more recent illness.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR SINGLE “ZERO DAY” (JUST PRESS PLAY)
Half Waif started as Nandi Rose Plunkett’s music project, where through songs she shared her thoughts and experiences. Since then, alongside bandmates Adan Carlo and Zack Levine, she has created a sound that embodies her emotional landscapes and her brilliant writing skills. Lavender is her brand new album, which is named for her grandmother Asha, and it’s quite a stunning and complex effort. We spoke with Nandi about the themes approached on Lavender and her thoughts about the music industry nowadays. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Thonje Thilesen
ou were recently on tour and in March you’re hitting the road again. How’s been 2018 for you so far? 2018 has been really exciting so far. We had a great few weeks in Europe with Iron & Wine, saw some new cities that I fell in love with (shout-out to Aosta in northern Italy), and played our biggest shows yet. My birthday is in early January so the new year always coincides with a new age, and I have a feeling that this year – the last of my twenties – is going to teach me a lot.
You signed to Cascine last year for the release of your amazing form/a EP. How’s been like to work with them? Working with Cascine has been a complete joy, through and through. I’m not exaggerating. You hear stories about the music industry and some shady things that go down with labels, but the folks behind Cascine – a tiny
tight knit crew run by Jeff B Ratton – are deeply kind, open-minded, and hardworking. They are genuine Good People with a vision. I feel incredibly blessed that my first experience of releasing music through a label has been with this family. When did you start working on your new album, Lavender? The songs on Lavender were written between 2015 and 2017. We started earnestly recording and piecing the album together in May 2017, when we moved to a sunny house in upstate New York that had a pond in the backyard. Your music has a very distinct and stunning style, where you combine electronic landscapes and elegant pop melodies. What was the process like for the writing of Lavender? The process for arranging and recording the songs on Lavender was varied – a product of
working closely with my bandmates Zack and Adan for the first time on a record, and also of learning new tricks and tools for producing. “Keep It Out” was a song we had written and arranged for live performance before it ever existed as a recording, which is unusual for this band. But we found the live arrangement didn’t translate to recording, so we had to scrap a lot of elements and rebuild them in the computer – which is how the ping-pong percussion sounds were born. Other songs, like “Silt” and “Lilac House,” I wrote in Ableton, so their life as songs and as recordings was virtually intertwined. And still others, like “Lavender Burning” and “In the Evening,” I wrote fully on a keyboard and then over the summer, we gently added other sounds to bring them into the world of the album. Having different approaches to building songs keeps things interesting for me. It’s like pushing on different sides of a box all at once, making new openings.
HALF WAIF I was at her house in Ashford, Kent, after a long tour in Europe. I was exhausted and emotionally broken. I was sitting upstairs in a room that overlooked her garden, and she was slowly slowly walking in the garden, tending to her plants. That garden brought her so much joy. So I felt this lightness observing her, but in the next second, I was reminded of how little time I had left with her. That song is about longing and aging and leaving. Did you have any particular musician or record that inspired you while creating your new album? Frank Ocean’s Blonde, for its playful experimentation and emotion. Lorde’s Melodrama for its inventive production and her stunning vocal performance. Forest Swords’s Compassion for the carefully layered mix of organic and electronic instrumentals. Fever Ray/The Knife for synth sounds and vibe. Tell us a little bit about your bandmates and their input on the creation of Lavender. I’ve been working with Adan Carlo (bass/guitar) and Zack Levine (drums) for many years now. Not only are they stellar musicians, they are also my best friends, my housemates, and in the case of Zack, my partner. So there is a deep connection between us all on many levels. Though we’d been performing together for a while, Lavender was the first time we worked collaboratively on recording an album. Our working relationship ranged from me bouncing ideas off of them and then squirreling away to finish a track, to all three of us sitting and editing a single drum sound. Part of me was nervous about opening up that experience, because I was used to working alone or with one producer, but another part of me was like, if I’m going to do this with anyone, it’s going to be these two. And creating something with people you love is a tremendous joy.
Naming the album as Lavender has a special meaning for you. Can you tell us the story behind it? The album is named for my grandmother Asha. She passed away in September, in the last month of recording. But she knew it was named for her, and she called herself “Granny Lavender” in the last card she ever sent me. I equated her with lavender because she used to boil it on her stove to make her house smell nice. Lavender is healing, and her presence – and now her memory – has always been a sanctuary for me. Your grandmother was alive when you wrote and recorded the album, but she sadly passed away in September. On the track “Lavender Burning” you describe how she would pluck lavender from her garden and boil in a pot on the stove. It’s a beautiful song for sure. Did you write this song before her passing? I did, I wrote that song in October 2016 when
The first single released was “Keep It Out” along with its video directed by Celina Carney, which stars you in a bare room alongside some dancers. Tell us a little bit about the song and the concept of the video. The song is about who we are and who we become in our most intimate relationships. No matter the closeness, there will always be a divide because we are confined by our bodies and the limitations of language and communication. The video, which was choreographed by the amazing Hannah Garner, seeks to explore the ways in which we are in relationships – sometimes collaborative, aggressive and tender, like the boxer figures, and other times isolated and searching for some kind of deeper communion. Tell us about the album’s artwork and its connection to the album. As with all of the imagery for the album, the cover was shot by Adan and styled/designed by Celina. Originally, we weren’t going to use that image at all! When we shot that, it was late November and freezing cold, and I was standing in a pond with rubber boots that went to my ankles, in what was basically underwear and sheer top, with the wind blasting through me. I was so unbelievably cold, we only got a couple of shots before I had to run into the warm car. We thought we didn’t get anything usable but, after some editing and playing around, I’m very happy that this image emerged. Much of the album
deals with facing the nighttime, entering the darkness, with the knowledge that the night will eventually end, as it always does. So the cover echoes that approach, with an air of hesitation. The mystery awaits. Lavender was co-produced by David Tolomei and mastered by Heba Kadry. How were the recording sessions for it? We decided early on in the process that we wanted to record a lot of the instruments ourselves, but that there were a few sounds that needed a masterful touch and a proper studio: the drums, piano, and Wurlitzer. We were introduced to David, had a phone call, and we clicked immediately. David, who’s from LA, flew out to us in August and we tracked at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock, which is a really legendary and funky place. I loved getting to have that experience in addition to the more DIY approach we took with the rest of the album. David and Heba have impressed me endlessly with their skills. I’m so happy we got to bring on the dream team! What was the most challenging thing in making Lavender? Honestly, making this record was one of the most fun and rewarding things I have ever done. There wasn’t much I regarded as a challenge – or at least, it never felt heavy or hard, and I think working with my bandmates saved me from some of those deep self-doubt traps that I normally fall into. But we did have the challenge of being on tour a lot over the summer, which, while a fun adventure in itself, did tend to break up the flow of recording. I love this quote of yours, “Lavender is a talisman to hold in the midst of that uncertainty, to heal and remind ourselves that it’s not over. It’s not ending yet.” This sort of describes the album’s overall feeling. Would you agree with that? Yes! I think as a society, we are collectively facing these nightmares, these demons and darknesses – in politics, in the media, in our relationship with technology… It’s not that I was writing directly about any of these things, but there is a greater need to find protective pockets within ourselves, to heal and regenerate and find strength to forge ahead beyond the immediate dark. What are your thoughts about the music industry nowadays and the whole social situation in the world? My thoughts are, we have a long way to go but the journey is well under way. I always think of Yeats’s “the center cannot hold” – though that might not be his original context, to me it serves as a powerful description of the way in which the longstanding, unquestioned pinnacles of society must and will be brought down. We are clearly seeing the legs quiver out from under that center: in the way women and people of color in all industries are having their voices and points of view heard, gaining credibility and positions of power; in the way that activist students are enacting real change in gun reform. The center is not broken yet – there are still so many that cling to those places that are familiar and safe to them, which is the very platform upon which Nationalists and Fascists run their campaigns – but it cannot hold, because it only serves the elite few, clutching each other on their crumbling island.
LAVENDER IS OUT NOW ON CASCINE musicandriots.com
HOT NEW BAND
SHARPTOOTH’S LAUREN KASHAN DISCUSSES SEXISM IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND HOW THE 2015 BALTIMORE RIOTS HELPED SHAPE THE BAND’S DIRECTION
Upon first listen to Baltimore hardcore band Sharptooth’s debut album Clever Girl, you can’t help to internalize all the political and social motifs that permeate through the lyrics sung by Lauren Kashan – the band’s lead vocalist. The hardcore scene has always had its roots in politics, but Sharptooth takes it to another much needed IN YOUR FACE level. There is no running away from the messages they want you to hear, to understand, to educate yourself on and have constructive conversations about. They hold nothing back when it comes to discussing today’s political climate, sexism, misogyny, the treatment of Black and Brown lives and everything else in-between, which is so refreshing to listen to from allies in a music scene that may often seem unwelcoming to those who don’t fit the paradigm. From the snippet of the 2015 Baltimore Protests at the beginning of “Give’Em Hell Kid” to when Lauren shouts, “trapped in a memory that I can’t escape; too scared to admit I was raped” on “Can I Get a Hell No” gives you chills. These are just a few of the moments that sonically define the importance of Sharptooth’s debut album Clever Girl. Lauren took a moment to sit down with us to discuss signing to Pure Noise Records, Baltimore’s impact and the future of hardcore music. Words: Annayelli Flores // Photos: James Harper
N ongratulations on signing to Pure Noise Records, a successful debut album and being on such a stacked bill. What’s it been like touring with legends like Anti-Flag? Well, this is just day two! Everyone has been so nice and so welcoming and everybody has just made it very clear that we are on this tour because they wanted us to be there, which is just the best feeling in the world. So if they feel like we are doing something right, I’m like okay I feel good about what we are doing. And Stray From the Path are literally one of my favorite bands of all time, so the fact that they back us is just like FUCK YES!
Do you still get a bit nervous being on the stage and going up before such iconic band such as Anti-Flag? Sure! I get nervous all the time. I am just a bundle of feelings always. I am never cool, calm and collected. Even like small shows and basement shows, I am getting up in front of people and I have a responsibility to be talking about certain things and giving them the best show. Being from Baltimore, how has that city, with Ferguson nearby and 2015 Baltimore protests, inspired your songs and your political stance? We wrote a song called “Give’Em Hell Kid” about specifically police brutality because winter of 2014 was when all that stuff was going down in Ferguson and the Michael Brown case. I just remember how angry that made me feel, that there is anybody walking around worried to just fucking go out and exist in the world because of the color of their skin. I personally believe that unless you are taking an active stance against it then apathy is just like the worst fucking thing you can do. Like saying it doesn’t affect me or it is not my problem, it’s like yeah but as human beings, we have a responsibility to each other and to look out for one another. So, I don’t know I was just watching how much the people were struggling and hurting from this, and then when everything happened with Freddie Gray and the Baltimore uprising. When you’re angry and hurt and in those feelings, you’re not sitting down thinking what is the most rational and logical way to express these feelings. People don’t get to police how people feel, especially in the face of such egregious oppression. The one thing I love the most about your music is that is always politically charged and speaks towards truly marginalized groups of people and movements like Black Lives Matter. What inspired you and the band to take the music in this direction, knowing that the hardcore scene is mostly cis hetero white males? People like to think that we live in a post-racial society and the last year has made it very clear that we do not. It’s up to people who aren’t necessarily those people [people of color] to confront our peers about it. It’s not just the job of Black people to have to explain to everyone else why shit isn’t okay. As a white person, I think it’s my responsibility to go talk to other white people because I do have the privilege of being more accessible to them. musicandriots.com
“WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY AND HURT AND IN THOSE FEELINGS, YOU’RE NOT SITTING DOWN THINKING WHAT IS THE MOST RATIONAL AND LOGICAL WAY TO EXPRESS THESE FEELINGS. PEOPLE DON’T GET TO POLICE HOW PEOPLE FEEL, ESPECIALLY IN THE FACE OF SUCH EGREGIOUS OPPRESSION.” Has the “scene” always been so welcoming to Sharptooth? It’s has not always been easy. I feel like I carved out a place for myself in the Baltimore hardcore scene and metalcore about like 10 years ago, when I started going to heavy shows. It’s funny because I felt I needed to work twice as hard to feel accepted as other guys did. Every show I went to I moshed from the first band to the last band and nobody is gonna forget who the fuck I am. I do that because this is the music I am passionate about and expressing myself through being a crazy person at shows which made me feel better about existing in a world that is hard and painful to be in sometimes. When I first wanted to get into hardcore when I was like in high school, people would tell me “no clit in the pit” that was a thing. *We discuss our age and how that phrase was very common when she was in high school* It was a very male-centric scene. It was pretty poisonous. I knew a lot of women who were involved in the hardcore scene at that time and they basically dropped out of hardcore because of that. They felt the culture was so toxic. I am very fortunate that I’ve been trying to do with Sharptooth for the last 3 years.
It’s a much more socially aware landscape than it was. I think the great thing now is that so many more women and femmes feel embolden. We do fucking belong here and we are gona make sure you know it. I think the exciting thing is most of us aren’t scared anymore. In most recent events, we have seen the meteoric rise of people speaking up for movements like Me Too and Times Up. Your song “Clever Girl” discusses fighting back, especially towards industry sexism and sexual assault, which is now more relevant than ever. As well as “Can I get a Hell No,” my personal favorite. Can you share how you are making your shows safe spaces for the women who come to see you? We have a song called “No Sanctuary” and before that song, I usually talk about how this needs to be our sanctuary because out there we cannot rely on anybody else. This is all we have – music. We go here because we don’t fit in anywhere because nothing else makes sense. Let’s talk about your song “Fuck Donald Trump.” Did you write this pre or post-election?
It was our joking working title. The real title that we actually put on the first release of the record was “Red Lies.” When we sent it the songs to Pure Noise, it accidentally had the old working title on it. We were like “oh by the way, the ‘Fuck Donald Trump’ thing you don’t have to worry about that. That isn’t the actual title.” [Pure Noise] was like, “No, we love it.” It was more supposed to be a broad-brush stroke about all the candidates. We are still in the start of the year. Can you share what the band has in store for 2018? A whole lot! Unfortunately we can’t share, but we are going to be very busy especially the summer. Anything else on your mind that you want to discuss? I encourage who is listening to take a moment to stop and think about people that aren’t them. Just take a moment every day and think about the happiness of somebody else.
CLEVER GIRL IS OUT NOW ON PURE NOISE RECORDS
APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE: TINY MOVING PARTS ‘COME ALIVE’ IN THEIR ALBUM SWELL
Before a sold out show in Chicago, we caught up with Dylan Matheisen, lead singer and guitarist, to discuss their amazing third album Swell, how they stay so positive on the road, and what led to the making of Swell beer. Words: Annayelli Flores // Photo: Nick Karp our third album Swell is finally available now. Your tour has sold out 10 shows and counting (the tour ended up selling thirty of the thirty-two dates). You’re also headling in the UK and Europe in the spring. What a way to start off 2018! Tell me what you are thinking/feeling when you reminisce about the band’s progression and maturation since forming roughly 8 years ago. We are beyond stoked!!! Very proud of this band and how far we’ve come. Some people would say that being a band for 8 years is a lot of hard work, which at times it’s definitely true, but the fact we have so much fun doing it erases that. We love doing what we do!
Let’s chat Swell! Boy, what an album. I love the duality that a majority, if not all, of the songs hold. The concept that the listener chooses whether to hear the positivity in a song or can solely focus on the dark. Was that an intentional approach or
something that you realized as you were finalizing the album? We always want to connect to people with lyrical content. Writing lyrics is a great outlet for me to let off some steam, and get out things that has happened in my life personally, but also keep everyone else in mind so we all can find a connection. I like to hand over the paint brush and have the listener paint the picture. Were these themes of duality, giving into the dark thoughts but trying to find a sliver of happiness through it all, prevalent subject in your own life as you were developing the record? I feel it’s always a good thing to try stay positive in life, even when you’re hitting a bump in the road. Our lyrics tend to be about that, trying to stay optimistic in a dark place. Finding a balance on how to deal with life. It just feels right to write this way! The album features a couple songs told from varying perspective – an old stray cat (“Cough”), a fish (“Whale Watching”), a piece of trash (“Warm Hand Splash”) – does putting yourself in someone else’s shows or paws (?) and using their point as a vehicle for own feelings and thoughts ease the writing process for you? That’s what’s awesome about art, you can be as creative as you want to be. I truly enjoyed writing in other people shoes, and through the life of animals. It’s metaphoric and may mean something to you. Hard hitting question, if you could be any animal what would you be and why?
A manatee. Manatees are pretty freaking awesome. [laughs] You shared that the album is about being the best person you can be and finding happiness in the current state the world is in. How do you manage to keep a positive outlook while on the road and ensuring that your mental health is taken care of? Always trying to find the bright side in dayto-day life. Touring with my cousins, who are also my best friends, help a whole lot. We always try to brighten up each other’s days, and not drag anyone down. Sometimes it is easier said than done, but all you can do is try. Talking about mental health, what is something you hope your fans take in from listening to the album? I hope people try find the light in a dark place. We’re all on this planet together, let’s all be nice to each other and help each other out! Can you share what prompted the band to release a beer along with the album? How was that overall process and how involved were you in the making? We’ve always thought it would be cool to have our own custom beer made! We reached out to Dancing Gnome Brewery, they have been fans of us as we have been fans of their beer. So happen to make this happen. Here’s a spoiler alert, it’s freaking delicious!
SWELL IS OUT NOW ON BIG SCARY MONSTERS
|||||||| UPCOMING RELEASE
JAMIE JAMES MEDINA
THE STORY BEHIND MARAUDER’S ARTWORK
INTERPOL RETURN WITH ‘MARAUDER’, THEIR HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED SIXTH ALBUM
Marauder’s artwork is a shot of Attorney General Elliot Richardson, who in 1973 dramatically resigned after refusing President Nixon’s orders to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was then leading an investigation into the growing Watergate scandal. Richardson cuts a lonely, isolated figure, naked to scrutiny in a spare and artificial looking room. “A lot of being accountable has to do with being honest,” says Paul Banks, referring to both his lyrics, and the cover. 26
nterpol will release their sixth album, Marauder, August 24th on Matador Records. “Marauder is a facet of myself. That’s the guy that fucks up friendships and does crazy shit. He taught me a lot, but it’s representative of a persona that’s best left in song. In a way, this album is like giving him a name and putting him to bed.” - Paul Banks. For the first time since 2007’s Our Love to Admire, Interpol have opened themselves up to the input of a producer. For two-week spells between December of 2017 to April of 2018, they travelled to upstate New York to work with Dave Fridmann – famed for recording with Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, MGMT, Spoon, Mogwai, and countless more. The New Yorkers arrived at his remote and frequently snowbound Tarbox Studios with most of Marauder tightly rehearsed and worked out. Fridmann made sure that their meticulous work in crafting a virile and visceral set of songs didn’t get
flattened during recording. It was his suggestion to skip the Pro Tools, and record directly into two-inch tape. “That meant there was a limitation to the amount of things you could track,” explains Daniel. “You couldn’t add more overdubs because you would have to erase something else. You couldn’t really over-think too much of it.” It’s a decision that allows a leaner and more muscular Interpol to flex throughout the album. Interpol have also confirmed an initial run of worldwide tour dates, in addition to previously announced appearances at London’s BST Hyde Park with The Cure, Glasgow’s TRNSMT Festival, NYC’s House of Vans and Chicago’s Riot Fest. Those that preorder Marauder directly from the Interpol store will get first access to ticket presales for the new shows, which include London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl.
LISTEN INTERPOL’S FIRST SINGLE “THE ROVER” (JUST PRESS PLAY)
NEWS IN STUDIO NEW RELEASES Spiritualized have announced the release of their first new album in six years, And Nothing Hurt, on September 7th via Fat Possum/Bella Union. The new album follows 2012’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light. Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce stated the following about the forthcoming new album: “Making this record on my own sent me more mad than anything I’ve done before. We’d been playing these big shows and I really wanted to capture that sound we were making but, without the funds to do, I had to find a way to work within the constraints of what money I had. So I bought a laptop and made it all in a little room in my house… The biggest thing for me was to try to make it sound like a studio session. There are bits that I went to a studio to record — mainly drums and percussion. I mean, there’s no way I’m going to get timpani up my stairs. When I came to terms with how I was going to make the record, I assumed it was going to sound like Lee Perry — all flying in from different angles; all extraordinary and not hi-tech in construction. But I was new to it all, I didn’t have all the short cuts people use when they’re making records — I just sat there for weeks… for months… moving every level up bit by bit just to try to get the sounds right…” spiritualized.com Bristol, UK 5-piece IDLES have confirmed details for their anticipated sophomore LP – Joy as an Act of Resistance. Which will be out August 31st via Partisan Records. Produced by Space and mixed by Adam Greenspan & Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kate Bush), Joy as an Act of Resistance. takes “aim at everything from toxic masculinity, nationalism, immigration, and class inequality – all while maintaining a visceral, infectious positivity.” Singer Joe Talbot summarizes: “This album is an attempt to be vulnerable to our audience and to encourage vulnerability; a brave naked smile in this shitty new world. We have stripped back the songs and lyrics to our bare flesh to allow each other to breathe, to celebrate our differences, and act as an ode to communities and the individuals that forge them. Because without our community, we’d be nothing.” idlesband.com
MITSKI ANNOUNCES THE FOLLOW-UP OF ‘PUBERTY 2’, ‘BE THE COWBOY’ ARRIVES IN AUGUST
itski has announced the follow-up to her 2016 breakout effort, Puberty 2. Entitled Be The Cowboy, this is Mitski’s fifth album and is due out August 17th via Dead Oceans. “For this new record, I experimented in narrative and fiction,” comments Mitski. Though she hesitates to go so far as to say she created full-on characters, she reveals she had in mind “a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel. Because women have so little power and showing emotion is seen as weakness, this ‘character’ clings to any amount of control she can get. Still, there is something very primordial in her that is trying to find a way to get out.” Mitski has been touring nonstop. “I had been on the road for a long time, which is so isolating, and had to run my own business at the same time. A lot of this record was me not having any feelings, being completely spent but then trying to rally myself and wake up and get back to Mitski.”
The 14-track collection sees Mitski once again working with her longtime producing partner Patrick Hyland. While recording the album with Patrick Hyland, the pair kept returning to “the image of someone alone on a stage, singing solo with a single spotlight trained on them in an otherwise dark room. For most of the tracks, we didn’t layer the vocals with doubles or harmonies, to achieve that campy ‘person singing alone on stage’ atmosphere.” The title of the album “is a kind of joke,” Mitski says. “There was this artist I really loved who used to have such a cowboy swagger. They were so electric live. With a lot of the romantic infatuations I’ve had, when I look back, I wonder, Did I want them or did I want to be them? Did I love them or did I want to absorb whatever power they had? I decided I could just be my own cowboy.”
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR SINGLE “GEYSER” (JUST PRESS PLAY) musicandriots.com
WE GRABBED A QUICK CHAT WITH FOUNDER AND GUITARIST SCOTT HILL TO DISCUSS CARS, PEDALS AND RIFFS. YOU KNOW, THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE.
lone of the Universe is such a strong album and it feels like one of the heaviest things you’ve done in recent times. What direction had you been wanting to take this and did it come out as planned? Well, we always do pretty much straightforward fuzzy rock stuff and we’d been coming up with maybe 10, 15 songs for the new record. We whittled that down to about 10 that we really liked and then, when we kept coming up with riffs, instead of making more songs out of those we just thought, “Why don’t we take those and make one long song out of it?” We wanted to keep the record kind of heavy with a few mellow parts, some slower stuff, and we’re pretty happy with how it all came out. I think it’s one of the heavier things we’ve done for sure.
How did you find that process of making “Il Mostro Atomico” then? Is it the first time you’ve constructed a song in that way? For sure, for sure... we kept coming up with riffs and riffs and riffs. We had that long, slow intro riff to the song and then I thought, “Why don’t we take all the best parts of what we’ve been coming up with, see if they’ll fit together and just make that side two of the record?” We’d recorded all the new riffs we had and figured where they should go, what we did and didn’t like, and after a few weeks we got the final arrangement. Yeah, it was the first time we’d ever done anything like that. How did Alex Lifeson come to be involved? Our manager is friends with his manager and they were talking one day. He asked him what Alex was up to, and it was just messing around in the studio and playing guitar. He was asked what Fu Manchu was up to and he said that we were getting ready to record the new record. They got talking more and he eventually asked if Alex would want to do anything on the new Fu Manchu record, and they got back to us and said, “Yeah, just send us over the song.” We thought our manager was kidding! Like, no way was he going to do it but yeah, oh my god! So we got this 18-minute song and sent it to him. He listened to it and got back to us and said, “Yeah, I’m into it. Let me know what you want me to do.” Oh my god, he’s asking us what we want him to do! We just said to
In the past three decades, there have been few bands to sell the Fu Manchu. The epitome of fuzzed-up, riffed-out cool, they’re pra and even now, they are still pushing their sound ever further. Case - 40 minutes of groove and grit that is ramped up further by “Il effort made all the heavier by its inclusion of Rush ISSUE 24
FU MANCHU play “whatever you want, for however long you want”. We sent him the final recording, he laid some guitar stuff all over it and said to use whatever we wanted. We took this one spot where the whole band drops out and it’s just him tearing the rhythm with this riff that he made, doing this sci-fi type feedback stuff, and I still can’t believe he did it. I’m still blown away that he agreed to it! Is there anyone else that you’d have in your dream guest spot? There’s probably millions. If you were to ask me that before Alex Lifeson, I would never even have said him as I didn’t think he would do it, so I have no idea. The first thing to grab me with the record is that artwork. It’s so out there and I dig it on every possible level. Who did you work with on that? We had a friend that did our last record, Gigantoid, and he always does this cool, layered stuff, so we went back to him, gave him the title of the new record and asked him if he had anything that he thought would maybe fit. I gave him a few lyrics and song ideas and he said, “Here, check this out” and let us see the cover art, which was pretty much exactly how it is. We thought it was perfect. We’re big sci-fi fans and it fit the name of the record, and its theme, so it was pretty easy. He showed us it – “That’s perfect! That’s it!” Where did that album title come from? I don’t remember. I wanted to do something with the word ‘universe’ in it. I think I tried a bunch of stuff, like ‘Dual Universe’ and then Clone Of The Universe came to me and that was it. Is there any of the new material that you’re really looking forward to taking out on the road? All of them. With this record, we told ourselves to pick songs that we would want to play every night at any given point of the set. With most records, there’ll be one or two that don’t really work but this one, we had two record release shows locally. We did the long song and everyone loved it, they kept yelling for it. We did that one, “Clone Of The Universe”, “I’ve Been Hexed” and “Nowhere Left To Hide” so all were really fun to play live. Any of them will be great.
Sunshine State quite as well as actically a genre unto themselves e in point, Clone Of The Universe Mostro Atomico”, a behemoth h’s Alex Lifeson. Words: Dave Bowes // Photo: John Gilhooley
You’re getting lots of praise for the guitar tone on this record, as always. What is, for you, the key to getting a perfect guitar tone? My guitar tone, I’ve had forever. I like a little noisy fuzz; I plug straight into a Super Fuzz pedal and a Marshall 800 head and there’s no distortion on the head, it’s just real dead-sounding, dumb, and you just kick the distortion on it. I just like overthe-top fuzzy stuff, both me and Bob. I’ve had that same tone forever and I don’t really want to switch it. I was wondering about your gear choices. Do you switch anything up these days? Bob sometimes changes up fuzz pedals but it’s all pretty close to the one sound he likes. I’ve been using this since 2002 and before that I had a Crown fuzz pedal that I used forever, on all the early Fu Manchu
records, and then someone in the crowd, as we walked offstage, stole it. Just grabbed it off stage and ran. Those are hard pedals to find so I got a Super Fuzz and now I’m using that since. You’re self-releasing now with At The Dojo. How is the process working for you? Totally. It’s fun coming up with everything, doing it yourself from the start until you get the final LP or CD in your hands. All of us chip in, look at everything, be it artwork, pictures or reviews, mastering, we have a distributor in Europe through cargo UK, in the States we have Cobraside... we like doing it all ourselves, and it’s worthwhile to do that from start to finish. The only problem is coming up with the money for everything, but you play some shows, save all the money and then put it towards that. Was there anything that prompted you to head in this direction in the first place? We’d been on labels since around 1990 and then after the last time, with Century Media where we had a two-record deal, we thought, “Let’s just try it ourselves.” We just wanted to give it a shot. It was a little easier than we thought. We thought it would be tough but like I said, the real problem was getting all the money for the recording, mastering, getting them pressed and artwork is the hardest part, but you play shows, you sell merchandise and put all that money towards it. You’ve had a few big anniversaries in the past few years, like the 20th anniversaries of The Action Is Go and In Search Of... Are you planning anything for Eating Dust’s 20th next year? No, I think that those four records that we reissued were really limited pressings back in the day and the record label that they were on let us reissue them on vinyl so we did that. I think we’ll do something in 2020 as that’ll be our 30-year anniversary so there should be something cool for that. Any ideas? I really don’t! There’s a lot of old, unreleased stuff from every record so maybe do something with that, or rerelease all the records exactly how they were originally. Everything we’ve done, we’ve added new pictures or an extra song or two, so maybe just do the originals and put them as a box set. I’ve always associated you guys with cars, or all-American muscle cars in particular. What was your first car and what is your dream one? My first car was actually a van. It was my parents’ car and they let me have that, which was good. My dream car I actually have, and that’s a ’68 El Camino which is on the cover of our California Crossing record. That’s something I wanted ever since I was a kid. Do you still skate much? No, not at all! I have a fear of falling and breaking an arm or a leg and then there is no touring, so I just surf. Water is a little softer than concrete.
CLONE OF THE UNIVERSE IS OUT NOW ON AT THE DOJO RECORDS musicandriots.com
MIXTAPE THE VERY BEST NEW TRACKS
1. DELHIA DE FRANCE Waterfalls 2. SAD BAXTER Believe In Me 3. MUDHONEY Paranoid Core 4. DAUGHTERS Satan In The Wait 5. ECHO BEDS Still Body 6. THE DIRTY NIL Pain Of Infinity 7. THRICE The Grey 8. EMMA RUTH RUNDLE Fever Dreams 9. IDLES Danny Nedelko 10. EXPLODED VIEW Raven Raven 11. KEN MODE Feathers & Lips 12. BOSTON MANOR Halo 13. THE TWILIGHT SAD I/m Not Here [missing face] 14. DUDE YORK Moon 15. MOM JEANS. Sponsor Me Tape
NEWS IN STUDIO NEW RELEASES Exactly three years since the release of his last solo LP, John Grant returns with his new album Love Is Magic, released 12th October on Bella Union in the UK & Europe and Partisan Records in the US. Produced by Grant (together with Benge and Paul Alexander), and engineered by Benge at his Cornish studio, Love Is Magic is according to Grant “closer still to how I’ve always wanted my records to sound, but I didn’t know how to go about it”. Already mentioned above, he also called on bassist Paul Alexander of Denton, Texas maestros Midlake, renewing a working relationship that began on Queen Of Denmark. “Paul trained in music theory at UNT in Denton, Texas with an emphasis in Jazz and I knew he would come up with beautiful harmonies, so I unleashed him on the backing vocals,” Grant enthuses. “He comes up with interesting angles rather than the obvious and also plays some of the best bass lines I’ve ever heard.” bellaunion.com After six long years of absence, the mighty Pig Destroyer return with their highly anticipated sixth full-length, entitled Head Cage (named after a grisly medieval torture device) and due to be released on September 7th via Relapse Records. Head Cage was recorded by guitarist Scott Hull at Visceral Sound Studios, mixed and mastered by Will Putney and features striking artwork by Mark McCoy (Full of Hell, Nothing) along with guest vocal appearances by Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Richard Johnson and Kat Katz plus Full Of Hell’s Dylan Walker. relapse.com
Denver-based industrial duo Echo Beds began as a one-off live set played in a local warehouse in 2010. Sensing immediately that they’d only scratched the surface of their potential, the duo (comprised of Keith Curtis and Tom Nelsen) began experimenting with hand-built instruments and manufactured sounds—such as recordings of broken glass and a metal filing cabinet—in order to explore and interpret the sounds of industry as a sonic landscape. The duo recently signed with The Flenser and have announced the release of their forthcoming sophomore full-length album, Buried Language, for August 17th. nowflensing.com Daughters have signed with Ipecac Recordings and shared a new song “Satan in the Wait” from an as-of-yet unannounced, but planned, 2018 release. This is the band’s first new song in eight years. “As longtime fans of many of the albums Ipecac has released, we are proud to be a part of their roster,” says guitar player Nick Sadler. Ipecac Recordings Co-Founder Greg Werckman added: “You don’t often get a chance to work with bands that you are already fans of. We are thrilled to have Daughters join the Ipecac family. A perfect fit and I guarantee the wait was worth it!” Along with news of the band’s signing to Ipecac and the release of their first new song since 2010’s self-titled album, Daughters have announced a fivedate trek for the fall, with stops in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Chicago. ipecac.com Brooklyn trio Forma have announced the release of their new album, Semblance, for July 20th via kranky. Their latest album continues their mission to “broaden the idea of what an electronic music ensemble can sound like.” Semblance emerged from exploratory sessions at The Schoolhouse, the Bushwick loft where members Mark Dwinell and John Also Bennett live, then was tracked at Gary’s Electric studios, where their previous album Physicalist was also recorded. The group states the intent of the new album as “to be more direct and exacting”. kranky.net
16. UNIFORM The Walk 17. MARISSA NADLER For My Crimes 18. JETTY BONES Innocent Party 19. PIG DESTROYER Army Of Cops 20. NOTHING Blue Line Baby 21. FRØKEDAL David 22. DEAFHEAVEN Honeycomb 23. THE BODY Nothing Stirs 24. METRIC Dark Saturday 25. DILLY DALLY I Feel Free
KEN MODE ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM ‘LOVED’ “This feels like the album we’d make if the band died and went to heaven,” says Dilly Dally guitarist/singer Katie Monks about her band’s upcoming sophomore album, aptly titled Heaven, out September 14 via Partisan Records / Dine Alone Records. Monks describes the sound of Heaven as “doom metal vibes with lots of positive messages.” Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck), she’s backed by Liz Ball (lead guitar), Benjamin Reinhartz (drums), and Jimmy Tony (bass). partisanrecords.com Death Cab for Cutie have announced a new album, Thank You For Today. It arrives on August 17 via Atlantic. Thank You For Today features production and mixing by Rich Costley, who also worked his magic on Death Cab’s 2015 effort, Kintsugi. It marked their first release since Chris Walla left the band. The new record features new members Dave Depper and Zac Rae, who have been touring with the group since 2015. deathcabforcutie.com Thrice have announced a September 14th release date for their new album Palms. The album is the first Epitaph release for Thrice. Co-produced by Thrice and Eric Palmquist and mixed by John Congleton, Palms encompasses everything from viscerally charged post-hardcore to piano-driven balladry. “The most sonically expansive album so far in the band’s 20-year-history”, Palms follows the critically acclaimed To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere (released on Vagrant Records in 2016). epitaph.com
On September 28th, Mudhoney will release their 10th full-lenght in 30 years, entitled Digital Garbage via Sub Pop. Thirty years later, the world is experiencing a particularly high-water moment for both those ideals. But just in time, vocalist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison, and drummer Dan Peters are back with Digital Garbage. “My sense of humor is dark, and these are dark times… I suppose it’s only getting darker” – Mark Arm comments about his lyrics on Digital Garbage. “I’ve tried to keep things somewhat universal, so that this album doesn’t just seem like of this time—hopefully some of this stuff will go away,” Arm laughs. “You don’t want to say in the future, ‘Hey, those lyrics are still relevant. Great!‘” subpop.com Cali punk vets Swingin’ Utters are back with their first album in four years, Peace and Love, which comes out August 31 via Fat Wreck Chords. They recorded the album with Chris Dugan and guitarist/vocalist Darius Koski says the album is: “by far our absolutely most political record we’ve ever done. We don’t generally write very pointedly political songs. We tend to be a little more vague and abstract. But this one is pretty pointedly disgusted and pissed off and really directly attacking these fuckin’ people in office.” Singer Johnny Bonnel also added, “When sexism, racism and nationalism is the agenda, it’s time to speak up.” fatwreck.com
EN mode announce their seventh full-length Loved, which is incoming via Season Of Mist (and New Damage Records in Canada) on August 31st. Drawing from not only the desperate noise and industrial sonics of the 80’s and 90’s, KEN mode have mixed in the decidedly more extreme tone and presence of death and black metal, expertly captured by Andrew Schneider’s (Unsane, Cave In, Daughters) sick vision of noise and girth. “We entered writing for this album with one goal in mind – to please the smile”, states frontman Jesse Matthewson, referring to the cover piece by the band’s long-time collaborator Randy Ortiz – Jesse continues…“We wanted to make an album that represented a thinking person’s reaction to the political/technological climate we are existing in today. We wanted to make the perfect album to put on repeat while pushing your physical limits to their maximum, if only to silence the noise that is constantly whirring around inside of your own head, even for a brief moment. We wanted tones that bash and cut, and for you to feel that desperate part of yourself clawing for a way out. And then, just when things are at their most bleak, you start to focus on what’s actually being said, and you’ll see the humour in absolutely everything that is transpiring before you. THAT is Loved.”
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR SINGLE (JUST PRESS PLAY)
Celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band this year, The Men just put out their brand new album, Drift. This is the band’s most diverse and surprising album to date. They’ve just let themselves explore their sound much further, which is more experimental and atmospheric. We caught up with Mark Perro about the new album, the 10 years of The Men and much more. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Josh Goleman
his year you guys celebrate 10 years of The Men. How do you look back to those years as a band? It’s a long time. I’m 35 years old and so that’s almost a third of my entire life. [laughs] I’ve been in the same band. When Nick and I started the band that was our fourth band we were in together or something like that, so we’ve been playing together for almost 15 years probably. It’s a long time. It feels good because I have a lot of people tell me that I’m afraid of commitment or whatever, but I’ve been in this band for 10 years. I mean, I’m not afraid of commitment.
That’s a long commitment. Yeah! I think to keep a band together that long is not easy. I don’t have any personal relationships that lasted that long. I think at this point it feels like those guys to me are family. I feel like the band is going to
be together forever. I think it’s going to go through the varying levels of intensity. How does your songwriting process tend to be nowadays comparing to your first record? When we first started, we were switching instruments around and everybody was writing song, so it was kind of chaos. We didn’t know how to write songs and we still don’t know how to write songs, but we knew even less than. Now I think it’s a little more refined. In this last album most of the lyrics we kind of collaborate on the music. It kind of goes back and forth, unless a riff start or a sort of melody and it just kind of develops into its own thing. It’s a pretty organic development and much simpler and easier now, less thought. Your last album, the self-released Devil Music, you were looking to your roots to rediscover yourselves. What was your mindset when going into writing your new album Drift?
I think Devil Music hits right on the head. As a band, we’ve been through a lot. Even personally, I’ve been through a lot that I kind of needed to reassess who I was as a person and musician. In order to do that, we needed to sit down and we did that and now that we’ve done that, with Devil Music I never felt so much putting out an album and as soon as I put it out it was gone. It was out of my system, it was out of my body. I didn’t feel it anymore and that was a beautiful thing. Now with Drift, I feel very much myself. As a band, we feel very much ourselves and so it’s just easy letting us be ourselves. Drift feels like an album where you definitely reinvent your sound and explore new directions and dropped the electric guitar, for the exception of the track “Killed Someone”. Your sound seems to always evolve from record to record. Where did the changes come from and what did inspire you this time around?
THE MEN this Ray Manzarek vibe into it. Can you elaborate more on the writing of this song? I had that riff forever and we worked it out. We played that on a tour. We were playing that song, but it was a completely different arrangement like Nick was singing and it was just a very different thing. We booked another day in the studio and we had extra time and I was like, “We could just jam on this part and we’ll see if anything comes out of it. Nick has always been very into Latin rhythms and so am I. It just kind of had that feel to it. They started playing a piano that was in the studio and it just kind of took it from there. Just kind of took little life of its own. I think it’s just a side of ourselves that is fun to play with. The album ends with “Come To Me”, such engaging song. What was the idea behind this one? Nick had a lot of that song together. He came to the studio one day with that and he was playing guitar and we were just kind of messing around with that texture. Just with drum textures. I think that was really almost an attempt to just be as quiet as possible. We’ve always been so loud. It’s just synthesizer, a little of lap steel and acoustic guitar. You just let the vocals and the lyrics speak for the song. The melody is kind of exposing stuff that we’ve usually tried to cloak in others layers with noise and distortion. Have you guys played the new songs live already? Yeah. The last two years we haven’t played that much in general, just different personal things going on in everybody’s lives, but we’re going to be playing all this stuff in all the tour dates. We’re also working on a bunch of new material to play some new stuff. In a way, Drift to me feels like the first step of something bigger inside. I think that was an opening of a door to something and now we’re walking through and there’s going to be something bigger on the horizon.
It wasn’t a conscious thing. I think we were just trying to really play with arrangements, especially with Devil Music, which is just guitars, drums and saxophone. That’s it. It was kind of like, “Where can we go from there? What if we just got rid of the guitar? What would it sound like?” I think it takes a level of confidence to do that, which we always sort of hid behind the distortion and stuff. It was like, “What if we got rid of that? What happens if we get rid of that distortion?” I think we were just trying to play with that. The new album sounds more experimental and atmospheric, what were you listening to while working on it? All I really listened to was country, jazz and soul music, which I don’t think really had much of it in it. There wasn’t much directly inspiration from the music other than I think some internal inspiration. “Secret Light” is an improvisation based on an old piano riff of yours and it has
It’s really amazing listen to your progression on this new album and how you can reinvent yourselves, since you’ve been doing this for 10 years. That’s really nice of you to stay. It’s very flattering. At the end of the day, we’re not necessarily trying to reinvent ourselves or anything, but this is what this is. This is our lives, this is what we do. We’re just trying to keep it. The longer we do it, the more thankful I am that we’re able to do it. Five or six years ago, I think I took it for granted how special what we have is. I don’t anymore. I’m thankful for anything we’ve ever accomplished or do, or anytime anybody ever listens to it or cares about it, it’s amazing. That blows my mind. The album was recorded to 2” tape with Travis Harrison (Guided by Voices) at Serious Business Studios in Brooklyn. The recording involved a lot of instruments such as synths, strings, sax, steel, harmonica, tape loops, guitar, bass, and drums. How was it like to record Drift? Yeah, there were a lot of instruments in. Travis is a good dude. Nick and I play on another band called Chomper with our friend Mark Shue who plays bass in Guided
by Voices, so he knew this guy Travis, who recorded everything for them. Chomper was going to record and our friend Mark said we should really record with this guy Travis, and so it went really well and he was awesome. When we we’re ready to record this album we thought about Travis. He knows how to make things sound good. I usually stick my nose in everything, but with Travis I was just like, “You know what you’re doing. Do it! I’ll just play.” We had a lot of instruments, but there’s no additional players for. Everything’s is the four of us. We tried to get it so that it was to a point where whatever is on the song was performed live, because I don’t like overdubs. I think a band should sound like a band and not some sort of construction in the studio. Everything you hear on it was done live in the room, even most of the vocals, there’s probably one or two overdubs on the whole record. I’m not into that. I believe very much in the most traditional recording sense you can imagine, like a couple of mics in a room, the band plays the song and that’s it. That’s the end. One of the first times we did that we’ve successfully did this when we recorded “Rose on Top of the World”. We went into the studio, set everything up, ran a tape and did a few takes. We mix it on the tape and I remember Travis was like, “Alright, if I do this now, we’re committing to this and that’s it. There’s no editing it later. You can’t turn anything up or down later. This is going to be it.” We were like “Yes! It’s done, do it!” It’s very free in that way because strive after perfection doesn’t exist. It’s modern recording, you can just go in and just start chop on drum beats. At that point it’s not even a human saying. It’s just like it’s robotic. Are you guys going to have the same approach on the live performances by including those instruments? I think the shows are going to be pretty stripped down. We’re going play all the songs and we’re going to play them in very simpler paces, just probably guitars, bass, drums and maybe some saxophone. Just really stripped down. It’s not going to sound exactly like the record. It’s going to be something a little different. We’ve been really feeling the Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis world lately, so there’s probably going to be some old standards in the set. There’s probably going to be a pretty rock and roll type of approach to all this sounds. It’s going to be a little different, but it’ll still be us. On Drift, you guys returned to your longtime label Sacred Bones Records. What led you to work again with them? They have always been supportive of us. From the very beginning, we were never easy to deal with. We were always headstrong and maybe a little arrogant. They always stood by us out, even when we said, “Hey, we can’t work with you. We need to do this record on our own.” That kind of support doesn’t go unnoticed. Those guys have been behind us from the beginning. I’m loyal to them to death. It’s been great. It’s been the best that we’ve worked together in all the years.
DRIFT IS OUT NOW ON SACRED BONES RECORDS musicandriots.com
NEWS IN STUDIO NEW RELEASES
Anna Calvi has detailed Hunter, her third full-length album, which will be released on August 31st via Domino. Produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Grinderman) at Konk Studios in London with some further production in LA, the album was recorded with Anna’s band – Mally Harpaz on various instruments and Alex Thomas on drums – with the addition of Adrian Utley from Portishead on keys and Martyn Casey from The Bad Seeds on bass. Anna Calvi said the following about Hunter: “I’m hunting for something – I want experiences, I want agency, I want sexual freedom, I want intimacy, I want to feel strong, I want to feel protected and I want to find something beautiful in all the mess. I want to go beyond gender. I don’t want to have to chose between the male and female in me. I’m fighting against feeling an outsider and trying to find a place that feels like home... The intent of this record is to be primal and beautiful, vulnerable and strong, to be the hunter and the hunted.” annacalvi.com Welsh rock trio The Joy Formidable have announced the release of their fourth album titled AAARTH, which will be out on September 28th via Hassle Records. AAARTH unites the personal with the mythical and symbolic, as lead singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan says: “We’ve definitely made a colourful, mystical collage with this record, partly because of our surroundings. Those multi-coloured sunsets & the primeval elements of nature in the Southwest – it’s emboldened our imaginations in the songwriting and the production. I love stories and seeing symbolism and meaning change with different cultures and interpretations. I see it in my lyrics, a lot of the imagery plays on being ambivalent because I’m often expressing a lot of things at once. That’s true of the title; it falls somewhere between a scream, an exaltation, a play on words, and then this motif of the bear (“arth” in Welsh) that spiritually represents strength, wisdom & healing.” thejoyformidable.com Exploded View, the international project of Welsh-bred, Berlin-based Annika Henderson, and Mexico City-based Hugo Quezada (Robota) and Martin Thulin (Crocodiles), return with their second album Obey, which is set for release in September 28th via Sacred Bones. sacredbonesrecords.com
ALICE IN CHAINS ANNOUNCE ‘RAINIER FOG’, THEIR FIRST ALBUM IN FIVE YEARS
lice In Chains have announced an August 24th release for the long-awaited Rainier Fog (BMG), their first album in five years. Rainier Fog marks a few firsts for the band: in addition to being their first album in five years, it’s their first album for BMG and their first time recording in their hometown of Seattle in more than 20 years (worth noting that the album title is a tribute to Seattle). They recorded at Studio X, the same facility where they tracked 1995’s self-titled Alice In Chains album (back when the studio was known as Bad Animals). About “So Far Under”, Alice In Chains vocalist/guitarist William DuVall says, “It’s about feeling completely up against it – outnumbered, surrounded, facing seemingly unbeatable odds and being really pissed off about it. It was inspired by personal circumstances, as well as
events in the wider world. But it’s not as resigned to defeat as it may seem. The lyric is a cold, hard assessment of a difficult situation but the music has a message all its own. There’s still room to flip the script. Every aspect of writing and recording this song will always be remembered with a lot of joy – from recording the basic tracks and the guitar solo at Studio X in Seattle to doing further overdubs at Nick Raskulinecz’s studio in rural Tennessee. Everyone in the band and our studio team really stepped up and knocked it out of the park on this one. We’re extremely proud of this song and the entire album.” The Rainier Fog recording process also saw the band spend time at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles and at the Nashville studio of producer Nick Raskulinecz. Rainier Fog is the third straight time their album recorded with producer Nick Raskulinecz and engineer Paul Figueroa. The album was mixed by Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, Tool).
LISTEN TO ALICE IN CHAIN’S NEW SINGLE “SO FAR UNDER” (JUST PRESS PLAY)
Muncie Girls have announced their sophomore album, Fixed Ideals. The album, which draws its title from a Sylvia Plath poem (Sonnet: To Eva), and was produced by Muncie Girls’ long-term collaborator Lewis Johns (Funeral For A Friend, Rolo Tomassi, Gnarwolves) at The Ranch and mastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge (Death Cab For Cutie, Coldplay, Haim), will be released via Buzz Records (North America) and Specialist Subject (UK & EU) on August 31st. Muncie Girls’ second album saw a change of approach for the band, who took more time in the studio, with vocalist/guitarist Lande Hekt playing guitar as well as bass, which she says helped to change the tone and direction of the songwriting.“We were at it for so long, I thought it would never end,” she says. “I actually got ill half way through, because I think it was just a lot to deal with. These are some of the most personal songs I’ve written, and I was listening to different music when I wrote them and during the recording which probably sounds quite noticeable. Stuff like The Replacements, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Popguns and The Pastels. I think we all became a bit more adventurous with this record.” specialisubjectrecords.co.uk Newcastle’s Pigs x7 are back with their new album, King of Cowards out 28th September on Rocket Recordings. “We hired a remote, converted barn in the Italian countryside and spent a week there writing the bulk of the album and trying to make friends with wild boar.” notes Adam Ian Sykes. “The results are shorter, more concise songs with, I guess, a little more focus, especially thematically. We wanted to shift slightly from our old jam-based way of working. In places, the album gets darker than Feed the Rats, especially lyrically but we also tried to get a fair amount of levity in there.” rocketrecordings.bandcamp.com Vocalist Michael Berdan and instrumentalist Ben Greenberg have joined forces with drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs) to perfect their vicious post-industrial dystopian cyber-punk and are ready to announce Uniform‘s new studio album The Long Walk incoming via Sacred Bones on 17th August. Uniform join Deafheaven on a full North American tour this summer. sacredbonesrecords.com
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE ANNOUNCES ‘ON DARK HORSES’
The singer-songwriter’s follow-up to 2016’s lauded Marked For Death is due out on September 14th via Sargent House
mma Ruth Rundle has announced her forthcoming tertiary full-length album, On Dark Horses, due to be released on September 14 via Sargent House. On Dark Horses was written in the fleeting moments of downtime during Rundle’s relentless touring schedule in the latter half of 2017 and into the early months of 2018. It was engineered and produced by Kevin Ratterman at LA LA LAND in Louisville, Kentucky over the course of ten days in February and March. “The record is about overcoming—understanding and embracing the crippling situation and then growing beyond it,” Rundle says. “Horses keep working their way into the lyrics and visual dimension of this record. They’re powerful and beautiful yet not free really. So the dark horse works for me in a visual way, as a representation of a contained force that will win the race or exceed the expectation of society and self.” Taking the full arrangements of Marked For Death on the road demanded a backing band, which Rundle pieced together from tour companions—first Dylan Nadon from Wovenhand and Git Some and later Evan Patterson and Todd Cook from Jaye Jayle. “This the first time I haven’t played all the guitars on my own record,” Rundle says of Patterson’s contributions to the writing process. “It was stressful letting go but it was also rewarding.” The collaboration worked both ways, with Rundle contributing to Jaye Jayle’s No Trails and Other Unholy Paths.
LISTEN TO EMMA RUTH RUNDLE’S NEW SINGLE “FEVER DREAMS” (JUST PRESS PLAY) musicandriots.com
The Soft Moon, aka Luis Vasquez, has battled and documented in music his emotions, insecurities and anxieties. Criminal is by far his most confessional and self-reflective work to date. Luis has laid everything into his songs and is quite inspiring how he’s not afraid to put them out to the world. We talked to Luis about his approach to music and how Berlin is a place that inspires him. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Marion Constentin
ou recently played some live shows, which included Sacred Bones 10th Anniversary show in Los Angeles. How did that go? Have you played the new songs off the new album? Yeah. We played the first single “Burn” off Criminal a couple of times, but I felt that it was maybe a bit too soon because we rushed into trying to learn it. We didn’t have that much time. This tour was kind of not too last minute but more or less minute than usual, just a couple months before. Normally a tour is booked like six months in advance and things like that.
You used to live in Oakland, but you’ve been living in Berlin for the past couple of years. What’s so special about it and which way it influences your music? I came to Berlin mainly because I wanted to live in Europe and the fan base here is much larger than in the States. There’s more of a connection in Europe and I felt that Berlin was also kind of central for me,
so whenever I have to go play festivals or go on a tour in Europe, it’s quite easy as a starting point. In terms of the connection, it’s funny because I moved here six years ago for the first time and I had a hard time dealing with the city. At that time I was dealing with depression and whatever I was going through at the time, and I felt like the city added more to that, so it was a little bit overwhelming. A few years later, I came back and now I’ve been here for three and a half years and it’s inspiring. I think it’s more of the energy that the city has that is quite inspiring. There are a lot of people that are very creative and have a lot of freedom to be creative, and so that kind of energy inspires me. It’s also not the prettiest city and it’s not so pretty post-war, you know? They had to rebuild the city right away and the weather is not the best. I guess that influences me in a way that it takes me inside myself even further. Criminal is your fourth album and it’s really surprising how you let your most raw emotions flow throughout the whole
album. Deeper was a much darker record than its predecessors, but Criminal takes darker to another level. What did inspire you this time around? I would say this is probably my angriest album, which I think another level of darkness is anger. I’m still talking about the same and still expressing the same things that I always do, like my anxiety, my thoughts and emotions, but now there’s also a layer of anger. It gets frustrating, you know? All of this time I’m trying to get to a happy place in my life. It becomes too much after a while and then naturally it was just kind of frustrated, so there was a little bit more frustration and there was also more desperation. I’m like reaching in order to heal myself and now I’m talking about my father in one of the songs and things like that. It’s getting more personal – not more personal because it’s all personal, but more specific. Now I’m pointing out specific things and I think that’s just the main difference in this album. Criminal is definitely a confessional work.
THE SOFT MOON the other half of the project to feel, so it always takes me a while when I write something and I go on tour. I need time to reflect and to see if I’ve changed or not. Like you said before, anxiety is something that has been following you. It is something that a lot of people deal with, including myself. Is music something that helps you and allows you to handle it? Actually it makes it worse to be honest. [laughs] Because it makes me think more. When I’m in the process of writing a song, I’m facing things and then the music is forcing me to look at a deeper and longer period of time. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about the song and I’m like, “Why am I writing about this? Why is the song sounds so dark?” The way I’ve been battling anxiety is actually when I started going to the gym and try to care for myself. That’s the big thing I can get for myself. I’m an anxious person as well and going to the gym and exercise helps me to release a little bit of the weight on my shoulders, you know what I mean? Yeah! It helps a lot as well. Actually I went home to Los Angeles. I was there for three weeks, but I had a skateboard there and it helped a lot just because I was having fun and being physical. [laughs] It really helps. It’s interesting. Music just makes it worse for you, right? It makes me contemplate more. I mean, of course it’s rewarding because it’s my art and I love what I do and creating a song is the most insane feeling. It’s rewarding and cathartic, but it makes me dwell a little bit more because I’m learning about myself through my music. It makes me think more, but I guess in order to get better, you have to face things. It’s not easy to come under the concreteness kind of thing.
This is probably your most self-reflective work to date. Can you elaborate more about your approach to this new album? It was pretty similar to since even the first album. I kind of stuck with the same approach. It’s nothing glamorous. I’m still writing where I live. I write at home and also I rented like a little basement studio in the beginning when I first started writing. That was different. I actually rented a basement like a warehouse and it’s interesting because after about four months, I ended up just taking all my stuff out and bringing it back home. I guess it was just more comfortable writing in a home environment. And then I was flying to Italy over like the span of nine months. I was flying to Italy like once or twice a month to go to the studio and take my songs and further produce them, so that was pretty much the entire process. On Deeper you were trying to find inner peace, but in Criminal you were seeking redemption. Did you find both peace and redemption after writing this new album? I won’t know until I tour the album. I need
Overall, it’s a learning process. When I was preparing this interview, I was listening to your new album at the gym and it kind of gave me the fuel I needed to say motivated. I have a few fans that have written me and they tell me that they go to the gym and they listen to my music there. There’s even been a few like personal trainers saying to me, “I use your music to train my clients.” It’s funny because I haven’t done it myself. I haven’t listened to my own music at the gym. [laughs] That’s pretty cool. Is there any track on the new album that made a mark on you while you were writing it? One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Give Something”. That one made a mark on me because it was so honest. I’m being very honest with that. Another kind of revelation or an epiphany would be “Like A Father”. I wasn’t expecting to write about my dad who I’ve never met and that sort of happened naturally in the studio. That was a pretty interesting feeling and for me to be like, “Ok, I guess I’m ready to be a little bit more personal with my expressions for people and talk about something specific.” You worked once again with Maurizio Baggio, who produced Deeper, at La Dis
tilleria in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy. What can you tell me more about the recording sessions this time around? I work really well with Maurizio and I think the main reason is because when I tour he’s also my sound engineer for the live shows. When I had first met him, it was to go on tour with me. He’s been with me so long and we’re also close to each other, because we’re in the van driving, you know? We’re traveling all over Europe, all over the world together actually, so we know a lot about each other and we feel very comfortable with each other. He has a strong understanding of my vision because he knows me so well, so therefore he was the right person for me to finally work with someone else on the last album in. Another thing about him is that if he ever has an idea, it’s usually pretty cool. I can kind of sit back if he has an idea because it’s usually something that I like, that’s another cool factor with him. You have signed to Sacred Bones to release the new album. How did that come to be? After, I was ready to move to a different label. I felt that I was using the connection with Captured Tracks and the direction that they were going ever since Mac DeMarco, they kind of shifted a little bit because of his success. I started to feel more and more like an outsider on the label and I felt like the fan base of the record label were going to the label looking for more music like Mac DeMarco. I just didn’t really feel right and so I was looking for labels and then Sacred Bones was excited about the new record and I’ve always been a big fan. Actually, I’ve always felt more of connection to Sacred Bones and I’ve always had my eye on that label. It just finally happened. There’s something quite cinematic on your music, it feels like a soundtrack. Have you ever thought on writing a soundtrack for a film? Yeah, actually that’s one of my main goals. After touring Criminal, I’m going to start to kind of go into that direction and pursue that. I would love to be involved in scoring film. I just feel like I would be good at that stuff. Like you said, my music is very cinematic and I do that on purpose, so I think that’s my secret weapon with my music. That’s my style, the atmosphere and cinematography within sound. Is there a specific film genre that you are more into? Anything like sci-fi post-apocalyptic. I would love to do like thriller slasher films, it would be really cool. Before you started to make music, you were a graphic designer. Do you still work on stuff related to that? Yeah. All the art that you see is all me. All The Soft Moon releases, all the t-shirt graphics, I still create everything and that’s pretty much all I do with graphics now. I don’t do anything else. I just do graphics for my own project.
CRIMINAL IS OUT NOW ON SACRED BONES RECORDS musicandriots.com
5 ESSENTIAL CALEB SCOFIELD RECORDS Despite some time following the news of Caleb Scofield's passing, Music&Riots Magazine are still reeling from it. The prolific member of many bands like Cave In, Old Man Gloom and Zozobra (which he also fronted) left us at the age of 39 following a car crash in New Hampshire. With many musicians and publications paying their tribute to Caleb, we couldn't help but do the same. Which is why we put together this little list of "5 Essential Caleb Scofield Records", which I am happy to have written. May Caleb's legacy live on. Words: Bruno Costa
CAVE IN Jupiter
Hydra Head Records (2000) My personal favorite record with Caleb (and possibly one of my favorite records ever, period), Jupiter does many incredible things: it shows Cave In at the very top of their game and at their most inventive; it was an enormous commercial success for Hydra Head Records (the whole story appears on the “Blood, Sweat + Vinyl: DIY in the 21st Century” documentary); and it might have Caleb’s most phenomenal playing of his whole career. His bass doesn’t just have a monstrous tone, but it also drives the record in many ways, with inventive lines (and knowing with to add flourishes and when to keep it quiet and build tension) that not only contribute to the whole of the record, but also stand out when taken apart. I could give you an example, but the fact is that this can me heard all throughout the record, without exception. A career-defining achievement that any musician would sell their soul to have created.
OLD MAN GLOOM The Ape Of God
Proufound Lore (2014) Old Man Gloom’s latest record is a double (triple, if you count with that hilarious fake album stunt that angered album-leaking members of the press) album extravaganza that continues on with the band’s penchant for hulking Post-Metal monstrosities, as well as some more eerie soundscapes and drones. This was to be Caleb’s final major release, and while no one could have guessed what was to happen to him, it ends up being an incredible final release, ending his carrer on a very high note.
OLD MAN GLOOM Christmas
Hydra Head Records (2004)
CAVE IN Until Your Hearts Stops
Hydra Head Records (1999) It all begins here. Caleb was only just about 20 years old when Cave In’s monumental debut full-length album was released, causing a massive effect on the underground Hardcore and Metalcore worlds and bringing the band much well-deserved praise for their complex and chaotic, and yet very emotional and intelligent sound. Caleb’s bass playing and tone gives the record a dense sound, and his ability to inject melody into the tracks is remarkable (such as in the middle section of the bonus track “Mr. Co-Dexterity”, a track too good to not have made it into the final cut).
ZOZOBRA Bird Of Prey
Hydra Head Records (2008) Created and fronted by Caleb, Zozobra truly sees him taking the center stage with his highly resonant and powerful bass sound and throat shredding vocals. Bird of Prey is a very dynamic, fun and heavy record that serves as a testament to who Caleb was as an artist: not only incredible within the context of bands with equally talented and like-minded peers, but also a driving creative force himself.
Supergroups are often a disappointing affair... but not Old Man Gloom. Here, Caleb joined forces with Aaron Turner (the project's original mastermind), Nate Newton and Santos Montano for a colossal barrage of sludgy and pummeling doom and gloom that feels like an experience to listen to from start to finish. The album's first track, "Gift", is an amazing introduction to the whole experience, and Caleb's harsh and powerful vocals on the track are just chilling.
CALEB SCOFIELD IS SURVIVED BY HIS WIFE JEN AND TWO CHILDREN, DESMOND AND SYDNEY. PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO HIS MEMORIAL FUND HERE: YOUCARING.COM/JENSCOFIELD-1149130
Casey, from South Wales, are a perfect example of how vulnerability can lead to artistic greatness. Singer Tom Weaver has faced many obstacles, but he uses those experiences to create, alongside his bandmates, some of the most powerfully cathartic music we’ve heard in a long time. In this interview he talks about his life, discusses the band’s new album Where I Go When I Am Sleeping and reveals plans for the future. Words: Jorge Alves // Photo: Martyna Wisniewska
our new album Where I Go When I Am Sleeping retains the intensity and anger of your debut but at the same time sounds more melodic and atmospheric. Was the goal all along to create a diverse yet incredibly cathartic record or did things evolve naturally? We’ve never really lead ourselves in a particular direction with any discernible level of intention. The only goal we’ve ever had is to produce content that the five of us are enamoured by. What we create is just a matter of organic development.
How did you come up with the title? As with the debut, I ended up writing a lot of this record in the studio. I don’t like trying to craft lyrics around a piece of music until it’s absolutely finished, and we always end up amending and developing songs as we record them. Initially as I was writing I wanted to call the record This Routine Is Hell, because it was entirely about my health and wellbeing and the sense of futility when an attempt to seek help fails
you. Then, as the days went on and I began diversifying the nature of the topics on the record, that title became less fitting and I had to start thinking outside of it. “Sleeping” or the idea of sleep is a metaphor that I come back to quite often throughout the record; it’s intended to describe a sense of detachment from your identity, the feeling that what you’re experiencing isn’t real and so you have no personal investment in it. It’s also intended in a more literal sense for some of the songs regarding issues that I do often encounter in my sleep while dreaming. One thing I particularly enjoyed was the inclusion of two interludes. I believe it gives the album a unique cinematic vibe and makes the whole thing feel like a huge journey. Was this what you had in mind when the decision to put them on the record was made? We’ve always tried to draw a distinction between an album and a record. I think of an album like, well, a photo album, where not all of the images are connected, and it’s just a collection of content produced
by the same creator(s). Whereas I’d say a record is an intentional body of work, something coherently put together to be enjoyed as a single continuous piece. When we were piecing the record together we were very deliberate about trying to make it flow well from start to finish. The instrumental tracks definitely contributed to that. You worked with producer Brad Wood (Placebo, Smashing Pumpkins, Touché Amoré) this time around. How involved was he in shaping the new record, so to speak? Brad was wonderful to work with, and while I wouldn’t say he made a huge contribution to the structure of the record, the atmosphere he cultivates in the studio definitely made this album what it is. Considering how much we’d left to improvisation and complacency when entering the studio, he was completely confident in letting us do our own thing and develop the record as we worked through it. At no point did we feel under pressure or influenced to move away from our own ideas. Brad’s
CASEY I suppose the two are difficult to compare because one is physical and the other is emotional. However, even without having to compare it to any other experience in my life, the personal strain of combating illness and feeling like I had to justify it to loved ones is something that at times has been incredibly difficult. Fortunately, I’ve almost always been surrounded by incredibly patient and supportive peers, so despite my own feelings of guilt I’ve had the reassurance in place to handle my turbulence. Last year I saw Touché Amoré live and what impressed me most was watching their lead singer, Jeremy Bolm, sing deeply personal lyrics about his mother’s death and realizing he had to wrestle with those demons night after night on stage. Since your songs are also rooted in pain and sadness, how do you deal with those feelings without going crazy? For the most part, the therapeutic element of music is finished when a record is complete, because by then I’ve already performed and listened back to the sentiments countless times in the recording process. And aside from that, as I mentioned, it’s very rare that I will write about an experience as I’m going through it; more often I will write about something retrospectively once I’ve had time to process it, which means I can dwell on it more and make sure that I’m describing it in words that are creatively fulfilling. Obviously there are some nights where the lyrics will hit harder for me than others, depending on what’s happening in my life away from the stage, but for the most part I don’t find it too difficult to handle.
biggest influence sonically was with layers, he suggested instruments and ideas that we certainly wouldn’t have explored without his input. He also brought some gnarly fuzz and synth engine pedals with him from California that we loved playing around with. How would you describe your music at the moment? People often call you a post-hardcore band, but your sound has evolved so much... I find a lot of emo elements when I listen to your work, for example. This is something I’ve always wrestled with, because if you take 20 second snapshots throughout the record we could just as easily be Comeback Kid as we could Sigur Rós. I think in the internet age the concept of genre is becoming less and less relevant. People are fusing soundscapes in such diverse and dramatic ways that trying to pigeonhole an artist is becoming more difficult than it’s ever been. We just make music that we love, if people listen to it and it resonates with them, then the genre is of no consequence.
Your life hasn’t exactly been easy: you were diagnosed with brittle bones disease at birth, ulcerative colitis when you were 15 and manic depression at the age of 20. You`ve also had a heart attack, a stroke and were involved in a car accident. Is it safe to say music was your salvation, your way of coping with all these tragedies? I’d definitely say that it was a contributing factor, but certainly not the entire solution. Almost everything I write is a retrospective description of an experience that I’ve already processed. The community that I’ve become involved with through music has been far more beneficial to me than the actual performance element. Even since high school when I was first introduced to alternative music, it’s the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had as part of it that have made it so comforting and supportive. On “Fluorescents” you wrote “Does it help if I say that I’m sorry? I know the burning in my blood has made you worry a lot”. Was feeling like a burden sometimes as unbearable as the actual pain caused by your illnesses?
Do you hope your lyrics can help other people? It would be stupid of me to say that I don’t hope they help people, but I’ll be honest and say that it’s never been a motivating factor in creating music. Lyricism has always been very personal and I’d even go as far as to say selfish pursuit. I write about myself because that’s the topic in which I am most confident. One lesson I’ve learned and tried my best to apply in songwriting is to dilute my own experiences far enough that they become accessible to others but still retain a sense of individuality – something that’s personal to me. Musically speaking, what differences, if any, do you think your music would have if you hadn’t gone through all this? I suppose that’s impossible to answer, because Casey’s music is the product of the five individuals that create it, and is also at all times a reflection of each of us as people. I would imagine there would definitely be some changes, but without knowing who I’d be instead of who I am right now, I wouldn’t be able to say what Casey would be. You have announced tour dates in the UK and Europe with Endless Heights and Rarity as support acts. What’s next? How long do you plan on being on the road? As long as we can be. [laughs] We’ve got some plans in place for the summer and we’re just finalising things for the fall and winter.
WHERE I GO WHEN I AM SLEEPING IS OUT NOW ON HASSLE RECORDS musicandriots.com
LISTENING POST SUMAC Love In Shadow Thrill Jockey Available on Sept 21 BIRDS IN ROW We Already Lost The World Deathwish Inc. Available on July 13
CULTURE ABUSE Bay Dream Epitaph Out Now
LUCERO Among The Ghosts Thirty Tigers Available on Aug 3
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE On Dark Horses Sargent House Available on Sept 14
LET’S EAT GRANDMA I’m All Ears DAIS Records Out Now
KEN MODE Loved Season Of Mist Available on Aug 31
THOU Magus Sacred Bones Available on Aug 31
FOXING Near My God Triple Crown Available on Aug 10
KING DUDE Music To Make War To Van Records Available on Aug 24
THE JOY FORMIDABLE AAARTH Hassle Records Available on Sep 28
06.07 DEVILDRIVER - Outlwas ‘Till The End 13.07 DEAFHEAVEN - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love LAUREL HALO - Raw Silk Uncut Wood BODY/HEAD - The Switch BIRDS IN ROW - We Already Lost The World THE OPHELIAS - Almost LULUC - Sculptur DIRTY PROJECTORS - Lamp Lit Prose LOTIC - Power CHASTITY - Death Lust CHELSEA GRIN - Eternal Nightmare RAYLAND BAXTER - Wide Awake BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME - Automato II THE OPHELIAS - Almost BRASS DRUM OF DEATH - Just Business REAL FRIENDS - Composure JEN CHAMPION - Single Rider LAUREL HALO - Raw Silk Uncut Wood 20.07 WILD PINK - Yolk In The Fur FORMA - Semblance THE INTERNET - Have Mind EISLEY - I’m Only Dreaming... Of Days Long Past WILD PINK - Yold In The Fur MEG MYERS - Take Me To The Disco WHITE RING - Gate Of Grief NEGATIVE SCANNER - Nose Picker PRAM - Across The Meridien 27.07 UNDERWORLD & IGGY POP - Teatime Dub Encounters THOU - Rheya Sylvia DEAF WISH - Lithium Zion TONY MOLINA - Kill The Lights 03.08 HELENA HAUFF - Qualm LOOSE TOOTH - Keep Up SHY BOYS - Bell House LITTLE UGLY GIRLS - Little Ugly Girls 10.08 FOXING - Near My God TOMBERLIN - At Weedings 17.08 UNIFORM - The Long Walk STILL CORNERS - Slow Air DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE - Thank You For Today CULLEN OMORI - The Diet JULEE CRUISE - Three Demos TREVOR POWERS - Mulberry Violence MISTKI - Be The Cowboy CULTS - Motels SLAVES - Acts Of Fear And Love GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS - The Waves, The Wake ANIMAL COLLECTIVE - Tangerine Reef 24.08 OHMME - Parts NOTHING - Dance On The Blacktop INTERPOL - Marauder KING DUDE - Music To Make War To MARK LANEGAN & DUKE GARWOOD - With Animals WHITE DENIM - Performance ALICE IN CHAINS - Rainier Fog JUSTICE - Woman Worldwide THE AMITY AFFLICTION - Misery THE LEMON TWIGS - Go To School
31.08 ANNA CALVI - Hunter WILD NOTHING - Indigo THOU - Magus MENACE BEACH - Black Rainbow Sound IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance MASS GOTHIC - I’ve Tortured You Long Enough KEN MODE - Loved MUNCIE GIRLS - Fixed Ideals CONAN - Existential Void Guardian 07.09 TELEMAN - Family Of Aliens MOTHERS - Render Another Ugly Method SPIRITUALIZED - And Nothing Hurt CLUTCH - Book Of Bad Decisions AVA LUNA - Moon 2 MOTHERS - Render Another Ugly Method PIG DESTROYER - Head Cage BOSTON MANOR - Welcome To The Neighborhood MIRAH - Understanding RUDIMENTAL - Toast To Our Differences THE MOLOCHS - Flowers In The Spring 14.09 EMMA RUTH RUNDLE - On Dark Horses LOW - Double Negative THE DIRTY NIL - Master Volume THE GOON SAX - We’re Not Talking DILLY DALLY - Heaven BRANT BJORK - Mankind Woman DEICIDE - Overtures Of Blasphemy THRICE - Palms MONSTER TRUCK - True Rockers THE HOLYDRUG COUPLE - Hyper Super Mega 21.09 SUMAC - Love In Shadow THERAPY? - Cleave VILLAGERS - The Art Of Pretending To Swim SAY LOU LOU - Imortelle BEAK > - >>> VOIVOD - The Wake BLACK HONEY - Black Honey 28.09 MARISSA NADLER - For My Crimes THE JOY FORMIDABLE - AAARTH EXPLODED VIEW - Obey ANAL NATHRAKH - A New Kind Of Horror THE BLACK QUEEN - Infinite Games MUDHONEY - Digital Garbage RESTORATIONS - LP5000 LALA LALA - The Lamb 05.10 COHEED AND CAMBRIA - The Unheavenly Creatures MADELINE KENNEY - Perfect Shapes YOU ME AT SIX - VI 12.10 JOHN GRANT - Love Is Magic
HOT NEW BAND RISING
“This record is about finding a way. A way through exhaustion, depression, betrayal, hangover after hangover, upper after downer after upper, fight after never-ending fight. ” – says Sarah Shook about her sophomore album, Years. The North Carolina country-punk quartet is back with a brand-new album and their trademark defiant attitude. We caught up with Sarah about her empowering lyrics, her new effort, the U.S. and much more. Words: Fausto Casais Photo: John Gessner
love the way Years is a constant don’t give a fuck and fuck you “to the motherfucking cosmos” (like you stated in the press release). Why
name the album Years? I feel like we get caught up in the minutia and details of our day to day lives, relationships, jobs, etc., and time doesn’t stop for a moment. Whatever we’re choosing to do with our time, the years are passing us by. It’s good to observe our respective situations and ask ourselves if we really want to look back and realize that we’ve spent years, literal years, in a shit relationship, dead end job, toxic friendship, what have you. Your lyrics are totally raw, fucking honest and sometimes it seems that they’re not even a bit disciplined, they sound unconventional, bringing a lot of emotional baggage with in your face brutal attitude. How do you go about coming up with your lyrics? My lyrics are based on experience, usually personal, sometimes empathetic to and/ or from the perspective of someone in my life. It’s frustrating to see a lot of artists, especially country artists, singing about whiskey because it fits some kind of cookie cutter idea of what country is or should be about. It makes it derivative in the context of the genre when it’s something deeply personal and a significant part of my life, for better or worse.
You grew up in a deeply religious environment, but you consider yourself an atheist. So, as a single mother and fronting a country-outlaw-punk band that tours constantly, it’s fair to say that you’re not living up to your parents’ expectations. Is that a fair assumption? If so, how did that shaped you as an artist, woman and mother? My folks have come a long way and, although I don’t need their validation, it sure makes everything smoother. I’ve always been an outsider and have never really fit in the way other folks do, but at this point it’s safe to say I embrace that, it’s just part of my deal. Plus normality is fucking boring. Like Lydia Loveless, your label partner, you were home schooled. What can you tell us about it? And what are your thoughts about it? As with most things motive and context are super important. Homeschooling for the sake of individualized education of core subjects can be great. Homeschooling with the intent of sheltering or shielding your kids from the evils of the world (basically reality) makes for some super unprepared and social anxiety ridden adults. There are whole support groups for kids who were homeschooled and subject to religious abuse. Like Sidelong, Years sounds very autobiographical, empowering and with a strong feminist stand, but at the same time your music and lyrics seem to be breaking a lot of rules, you’re doing your own thing
and that’s fucking inspiring. Where does that come from? I’ve been pushing boundaries and bending rules since I was born. I like testing limits and apparently it comes naturally. Authority is a bullshit concept in most respects and I’m happy doing my own thing, writing my own rules, and living my own morals in every arena of my life, songwriting is no exception. Tell me a little more about the song “What It Takes”. Ever have an argument with your significant other that is so beyond inconsequential your head might explode from the inanity? “What It Takes” begins within the context of a personal argument then slowly widens the scope with the hope it makes us think a little more thoroughly about the dumb ass shit we get upset about. Life is way bigger than us, bigger than our own personal experiences. If we could see ourselves and our lives within the greater context of what is happening in our society and as a nation, even on a global scale, we could put a shit ton more energy into things that matter. In your new album, there’s a strong sense of vulnerability, but also a menacing and confrontational attitude. It’s also quite interesting to see that you never bow down to anything. There’s some acceptance, but it seems that you never surrender to anything. Do you agree? Totally. I hold myself to my own standards. I don’t define myself by others’ definitions of good/bad, right/wrong, success/failure
SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS EX EYE
so it ain’t like someone’s opinion is gonna shake my world up any. Is it fair to say that your approach in music is somehow your very own way of catharsis? It is, it’s always been, and, with any luck, always will be. Writing the songs, working on them with my band, performing them live, recording them, the entire process is cathartic. My highest hope is that this music can bring a little catharsis in just the right way to anyone looking for it. How did you hook up with The Disarmers? I’m huge fan of their work, it’s like a perfect match, it almost seems that they add an extra depth to your singing. I’ve been playin’ music with Eric Peterson (electric guitar) for coming up on 8 years. He’s been with me through every project, no matter how short lived. When started building this band together I knew I didn’t want it to be like “The Sarah Shook Band”; my bandmates have distinct personalities, stylings and skills, and I wanted them to feel represented and highlighted in the band name. The Disarmers was the name that stuck. I know that you guys recorded with Gorman Bechard a documentary titled What It Takes. I personally love what he did with Grant Hart, Brian Fallon and The Replacements. So, how was working with him like and when can we expect this to be live? We’ve been working with Gorman on various
projects for quite some time now actually. He made the music videos for “Heal Me” and “Nothin’ Feels Right But Doin’ Wrong”. We met up for lunch over a year ago and he pitched me this idea about capturing the songwriting process from start to finish; it would involve me filming myself whenever I wrote a song or worked on a song. Pretty sure the doc is coming out mid-year, definitely keep an eye out for it. How do you balance being a mother and the constant need to tour with your band? My son and I email and call each other pretty regularly when I’m on the road, I also use his school’s app to stay on top of his projects and assignments and follow up with him to make sure he’s completing his work. It’s been an enormous adjustment, but him understanding that this is my job now has helped him out a lot. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King. With this in mind, what are your current views about what’s happening in the US, politically and socially? We have a shit ton of work to do. And we will accomplish absolutely nothing as long as we dig in our heels, toe respective party lines, and deteriorate into insults and tantrums when someone doesn’t agree with us. Often when a dialogue centers around “political issues”, we forget that we’re talking about actual real human lives and how they are impacted by legislation and society as a whole. As a nation we are disjointed and disconnected. Our online lives are filled mostly
with people who agree with our views and don’t challenge us to listen, grow, and constantly evolve our way of thinking. We would all benefit from forming real life relationships with people whose personal experience and identity is nothing like our own, and from being more present in general. I know that you’re pretty involved in your local music scene, trying to make spaces for women, trans folk and members of the LGBTQ community. What can you tell me about it? Erika Libero is my activism partner (and our tour manager!) and the two of us teamed up awhile back with some simple ideas for sort of reworking how people in our scene perceive the musical community. Providing a platform for folk who are underrepresented and oftentimes marginalized can be done in a super basic, laid back fashion. Progress doesn’t always come from taking a combative stance and it was cool to see that simple communication and some behind-the-scenes hard work had (and is having) some pretty palpable ripple effects. Giving space to women, trans folk, and members of the LGBTQ community, watching these incredible musicians owning a stage, some might consider this revolutionary, yet it’s a real and normal thing that should be presented as normal. We’re everywhere. And we’re not going anywhere.
YEARS IS OUT NOW ON BLOODSHOT RECORDS musicandriots.com
NEWS IN STUDIO NEW RELEASES
MARISSA NADLER’S NEW ALBUM ‘FOR MY CRIMES’ ARRIVES IN SEPTEMBER
arissa Nadler has announced the release of her eighth album, For My Crimes, out 28th September via Bella Union in the UK/Europe and Sacred Bones in the US. Nadler co-produced For My Crimes with Lawrence Rothman and Justin Raisen at Rothman’s Laurel Canyon studio, House of Lux. Between Rothman’s fluidity with both
gender and genre (as heard on his 2017 album The Book of Law), and Raisen’s track record of successful collaborations with strong women (Angel Olsen, Kim Gordon, Charli XCX), Nadler felt empowered to explore without judgement in the studio. With the exception of saxophonist Dana Colley (Morphine), every player on the album is a woman of notable pedigree and distinct style, many of whom have played with Nadler over the years. Cameos include vocals from Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten and Kristin Kontrol, Patty Schemel (Hole, Juliette and the Licks) on drums, Mary Lattimore on harp, and the great experimental multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin on strings. Adding to the album’s deeply personal feeling is its abstract artwork, featuring Nadler’s original oil paintings. Though
Nadler is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and a semi-retired art teacher (she has one student left—a 95-year-old named Doris), For My Crimes marks the first album cover bearing one of her paintings. She also channelled the album’s themes into paintings corresponding to specific tracks, which will be included as prints in the limited edition version of For My Crimes (and in some cases, for sale as originals on Nadler’s website). Nadler will be playing a handful of US live dates with the Decemberists in early October followed by a European headline shows later in the month.
LISTEN TO MARISSA NADLER’S NEW SINGLE (JUST PRESS PLAY)
ROUND UP 25 years after its initial release, Julee Cruise’s sophomore album The Voice of Love is being issued for the first time on vinyl as a deluxe 2xLP, and returning to print on CD. In 1992, after the release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti, and Julee Cruise returned to the studio with new compositions as well as the intent to craft previously instrumental score-based material from Fire Walk With Me and Wild at Heart into Julee Cruise songs. The result was 1993’s final studio album The Voice of Love. sacredbonesrecords.com SUMAC – the trio of Aaron Turner (ISIS, Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer), Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists, Erosion), and Brian Cook (Russian Circles) – will be releasing new album Love In Shadow, on September 21st via the always eclectic Thrill Jockey. The new album was recorded live in a single room at Robert Lang Studios in Washington by Kurt Ballou (Converge), who later mixed the album at his own studio God City. On the album’s emotional motif, Turner says: “Since many of the surface level aspects of our being are often used as divisive tools to separate/alienate us from one another, the intent here is reveal that at our base level all humans desire and need to be loved and accepted for who they are, for just being.” thrilljockey.com Amber Arcades, the moniker of the Dutch-born musician Annelotte De Graaf, has announced details of her second album, European Heartbreak, set for release on 28th September via Heavenly Recordings. European Heartbreak was recorded and co-produced in LA with Chris Cohen from Deerhoof and in Richmond, Virginia with Trey Pollard (Natalie Prass, The Waterboys, Bedouine) who oversaw horn and string overdubs from Spacebomb. Annelotte said the following about the album: “If it were called American Heartbreak, you wouldn’t bat an eye. Somehow calling it European Heartbreak feels far less comfortable, almost like a statement in itself. I’m Dutch, hence European. The focus of the record is Europe. As for Heartbreak, for mea heartbreak symbolises any kind of falling apart of one of these concepts or stories we invent for ourselves, like romantic love, a sense of identity, nationality, an economic system. It’s kind of a universal thing in my mind.” heavenlyrecordings.com Lola Kirke has just announced her debut full-length album Heart Head West; Downtown Records will release the album on August 10. Tracked live to tape in East Los Angeles and produced by frequent collaborator Wyndham Garnett (Elvis Perkins in Dearland, WYNDHAM) her debut LP Heart Head West, asserts her as part of the artistic tradition she holds so dear: “It’s a really personal record about basically everything I thought about in 2017-time, family, loss, social injustice, sex, drinking, longing-essentially everything I’d talk about with a close friend for 40 minutes.” downtownrecords.com
MOTHERS SOPHOMORE LP TO BE RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER
others have announced their new album Render Another Ugly Method, set for a 7th September release date via ANTI- Records. “A blame kit is exactly what it sounds like – an apparatus or social mechanism that aims to shift or imply guilt onto a particular person, group, or idea,” explains songwriter and founding member of the project Kristine Leschper. “It is the first of many songs on the record that deals with the body as an object that can be expanded or collapsed, inhabited or deserted. The second section was inspired by a passage I discovered in a book of case studies of schizophrenic and autistic children: ‘His body will at one moment expand to contain things and events that are outside of it,
and at the next shrink to near-nothingness…Uncertain of the boundaries of his body, things on the outside become terribly important.’ I couldn’t stop thinking about that.” Now based in Philadelphia, Mothers originated in Athens, Georgia where Leschper was attending printmaking school. In 2016 they released their debut album When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired to great critical acclaim. “The first time I heard Mothers I knew it was a band that I wanted to work with,” said John Congleton, who produced Render Another Ugly Method. “So special and idiosyncratic, it is impossible to ignore their point of view. I loved making the record and seeing them work.”
LISTEN TO BRAND NEW SINGLE “BLAME KIT” (JUST PRESS PLAY) musicandriots.com
There are busy people, there are really busy people (e.g. the entire Japanese psych and noise scenes) and then there’s Daniel O’Sullivan. Between frequent bouts of touring in one of his numerous personas, he typically finds time to release at least two or three of the lushest, most psychically innovative prog albums to appear in any given year, and now he has returned to one of his most infectious projects, Miracle, a synth-pop vessel of pure wonderment that he co-pilots with Steve Moore (Zombi). Luckily for us, he was more than willing to guide us on his journey for a spell. Words: Dave Bowes // Photo: Alexander Brown
ou have the new record out with Miracle, and I’m a huge Steve Moore fan, so how did you two initially meet and come to start working together? We met on tour when I was playing in Guapo. It’s heavy instrumental music and Zombi is obviously different but also heavy and instrumental, so there’s an affinity there. We ended up touring the States together in 2006 and found that we had a lot of common interests, a lot of them to do with that formative music that you discover in childhood. We’re a similar age so we were exposed to similar cultural phenomena. I’ve always appreciated how Steve screen grabs those memories, or fetishises them somehow, and turns them into such a strong, gridlike, latticed sound. I really respond to how he applies music in a physical place, like in a physical geometry. I can really relate to that. He wants to create a sound environment to step into, and I find it easier to find
communion with that kind of music. You feel like you’re in safe hands. That was how we met, and then we got talking about proto-dance-music, I suppose; that interesting grey area before something becomes established, where it’s something else. We both share a love of ‘80s pop music – well, all pop music; the living language that people know – and disco and film, the things we were exposed to. Making VHS compilations, collages of things you record off the TV, weird adverts and public information broadcasts. Hopping between this album and Mercury, was there a different intent behind those two albums as they do seem quite dissimilar? Yeah, I agree with you. The intent is pretty polarised on each of those records. With Mercury, I remember being very invested but it was dramatising a more personal landscape. It was coming from somewhere quite emotionally painful but always with Miracle, there’s this awareness of the
artifice, which is so in your face because we’re dealing with these quite broad strokes. It is pop music. The new album comes more from caricature, and a detachment. That’s not to say I don’t fully embody this multi-persona but I feel that they are traceable in realms outside of music. They come more from mythology, sci-fi, the study of archetypes and I suppose it wears that on its sleeve more prominently than anything on Mercury. There is a sense of fetishisation of the past which at the moment does seem to be focused on the 80s, but it does bring with it a sense of warmth and familiarity. Did you attempt to tap into that yourself, into those childhood memories? The thing is, for me it’s not nostalgia as it still is very present in my life. I’ve got a very acute awareness these days of the role of memory and how it can be best served in terms of our trajectory. If you think of it in terms of the human condition, what is memory all about? Its lower nature is that
MIRACLE self-destruct that you inherit different insights into yourself and your conditioning. Why you gravitate towards certain things and the design of your habitual behaviour. Creating a witness to the self. Does pop music have a particular way of tapping into that? Oliver Sacks believed that music could affect us on a deeply subconscious level, and you and Steve shared a lot of musical similarities despite growing up on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Music transcends language. It’s something you can rely on as a common denominator when you’re trying to express something, and in a way it’s far more effective than words. It has this amazing transformational potential and sometimes it’s not happening on a conscious level. Sometimes the things that you think you hate in music and that rub you up the wrong way, somehow have an influence on you. Even if it’s a constant push and pull, it’s still determining your decision-making process.
it can be used as a sort of security blanket; it’s very much part of our conditioning, our programming and how we relate to the world, but it’s also a great device for communion. I think that’s its higher nature, when there is something shared, not necessarily from something external but from something that arises within consciousness at the same time. Maybe on opposite sides of the globe. An innate tendency in the collective unconscious that manifests in certain traits; I see that less as nostalgia and more as opportunity for connection. I’ve been reading lots of crazy stuff about memory at the moment from different perspectives, like Oliver Sacks and then also Rudolf Steiner and the theosophical perception of memory which relates to the idea of the body as a vessel and memory being a mirror of the organism, in that it’s encasing an essence and, in a way, memory is the mirror of the brain as a psychic organ that needs memory to retain a sense of identity; it’s only when you start letting go and allow memory to
I thoroughly enjoyed the video for “Light Mind”, especially the Carl Sagan vibes. Where did that idea come from? Is it tied to those symbols that you had planted throughout the record? Yeah, and also a shared affection for that kind of aesthetic that Steve and I have pursued both individually and collectively as Miracle. All the lyrics are a collage of various ancient texts (Lao Tzu, Upanishads, etc), somewhat unceremoniously assembled. I think it required a firm hand and because I used to watch Cosmos and it felt like something to do with his visage of a mild-mannered, corduroy-wearing scientific spiritual polymath that really appealed. It’s kind of a send-up of that but also, like I said, there are multiple truths. That’s the solar energy of the record and then the darker, lunar side appears immediately after in “Night Side” which is the opposite. The character in that song is descending into fear and self-doubt, feeling alienated by their potential for healing and to be of service. It’s not all sun-drenched motivation – it’s not just the dream, it’s also the nightmare.
Are there any recurring themes or motifs on The Strife Of Love In A Dream? Yeah, there are several things really. There are symbols embedded in the music that are intentionally placed there, and then there are others that emerged since making the music which totally align with the symbols that were placed there but I was not aware of them when we were making it. Very much a response to making this record came to me after a lot of work with transpersonal states of consciousness and starting to embrace the idea of self-obliteration in sound and also using persona within sound that contradicts itself in order to evade any one relative truth. There’s an interruptive quality throughout so that you don’t really get comfortable in any one place. It’s always something mechanised, something manmade interrupting an organic process, like the collage on the sleeve – the insect approaching the flower but it’s interrupted, which is very much where we are in this hypermodern industrialised society, approaching something scary. An automated world. During that ‘golden age’ of synthpop during the 80s, was there anyone you particularly loved? At the time, it was just sort of ‘there’. I wasn’t really invested in it, it was just on the radio and sort of omnipresent. It was after the fact that I got more interested in that sort of music. The things that stand out for me now are John Foxx – Metamatic and Tin Drum by Japan also more obscure things I suppose, DAF, Flying Lizards, etc, but when I was a kid it was all Tears For Fears, Erasure and Human League. I love all that stuff as well but I wasn’t digesting that music at a point where I was independently collecting music. It was more something that was around.
How much of this was agreed on a conscious level with Steve and how much was just you two playing off of each other? There wasn’t much conversation. It was kind of a detached process, very different from how I usually work with other people. He’ll send me something and I’ll respond but we don’t really scrutinise each others’ work. I think that slows things down. If you’re not on the same page to begin with it can turn collaboration into an albatross. Whatever he sent me, I would just work with. I wouldn’t say, “Oh, you have to reshape this bit”. It was more a sense of, “What do I feel about this? How should I respond to it?” It was kind of effortless, really, but of course one struggles to get the result one envisages, but there was certainly no conflict between us in making the work.
Now, the obligatory question – what else are you working on just now? I’m working this new collection of songs with Thighpaulsandra. It’s an incredibly well-equipped studio so I’m able to arrange the music quite extensively – an orchestra of one. Lots of gigs with This Is Not This Heat which is an amazing experience, excavating that incredibly important music which is still so fresh, so exciting. We’re taking it the states in July. Grumbling Fur have just made a new record with Neil Campbell from Vibracathedral Orchestra – that’s another Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra, which is sort of our extended music alias. We’ve been making records with Charlemagne Palestine under this moniker. The fifth Grumbling Fur album is percolating, I mixed Alex’s new solo record which is coming out in the summer. I’m also writing music for an orchestral group based in Brussels called Echo Collective, who have worked with people like Jóhan Jóhansson, Winged Victory For The Sullen and Stars Of The Lid. We’ll record some time in Spring. Then it’s just generating this library music day-to-day. That’s all I can think of but you know what I’m like – lots of irons in the fire.
So more of a musical conversation than a collaboration, per se? Both to some degree.
THE STRIFE OF LOVE IN A DREAM IS OUT NOW ON RELAPSE musicandriots.com
BLED FEST IN PICTURES Hartland Performing Arts Center, Michigan (US) Photos: Annayelli Flores
6 (1) Vagabonds (2) Joyce Manor (3) Rozwell Kid (4) Mom Jeans. (5) Kississippi (6) Jetty Bones (7) Remo Drive
OUR GUIDE TO THE BEST FESTIVALS OF THIS SUMMER ELECTRIC CASTLE
CLUJ (RO) / 18-22 JUL DON’T MISS: London Grammar, Icona Pop, Wolf Alice, Nothing But Thieves, The Horrors, Son Lux, Deliquent Habits, Cancer Bats, Idles, Pillow Talk, Little Boots, The Last International, Agent Fresco. electriccastle.ro
RIOT FEST CHICAGO (US) / 14-16 SEPT
The Riot Fest’s (also known as Riot Fest & Carnival) first wave lineup was finally unveiled and it’s time for you to freak out, because this is a unique fest, that keeps breaking new grounds every single year... Among the first-announced artists are headliners blink-182 and Beck, as well as Elvis Costello, Cat Power, Adolescents, Interpol, Blondie, Matt and Kim, Father John Misty, Liz Phair, Suicidal Tendencies Alkaline Trio and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis. Last year, Riot Fest featured Jawbreaker reuniting for the first time in 21 years, but over the year we’ve seen reunion sets from Naked Raygun, Screeching Weasel, WAX, Blue Meanies, Articles of Faith, Plow United, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Chiodos, Misfits, and The Replacements. DON’T MISS: Atmosphere, Dropkick Murphys, Liz Phair, Father John Misty, Cat Power, Fear, Blondie, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Jesus Lizard, Killing Joke, Mannequin Pussy, Bully, Clutch, The Wonder Years, Speedy Ortiz, Bad Religion, Suicidal Tendencies and many more... roskilde-festival.dk 52
CHICAGO (US) / 20-22 JUL DON’T MISS: Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Fleet Foxes, Girlpool, Circuit Des Yeux, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Zola Jesus, Japandroids, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Kelela. picthforkmusicfestival.com
CHICAGO (US) / 2-5 AUG DON’T MISS: Brockampton, Curtis Harding, The National, Tyler The Creator, Parquet Courts, Dream Wife, Vampire Weekend, Lykke Li, Manchester Orchestra, Jack White, Lizzo, St. Vincent. lollapalooza.com
BLACKPOOL (UK) / 2-5 AUG DON’T MISS: UK Subs, PIL, Stiff Little Fingers, Buzzcocks, The Menzingers, The Vandals, T.S.O.L., Lagwagon, GBH, The Exploited, Petrol Girls, Discharge, The Adicts, The Adolescents, DRI, M.D.C., The Dickies. rebellionfestivals.com
KATOWICE (PL) / 2-5 AUG DON’T MISS: M.I.A., Charlotte Gainsbourg, Turbonegro, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Zola Jesus, Oxbow, No Age, Unsane, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Ariel Pink. off-festival.pl ISSUE 24
ØYA FESTIVAL 2018
OSLO (NO) / 7-11 AUG DON’T MISS: Jenny Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, Thea & The Wild, Brockampton, Converge , Sløtface, Behemoth, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent, Patti Smith, Phoebe Bridges, High On Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Fever Ray, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. oyafestivalen.no
HASSELT (BE) / 15-18 AUG DON’T MISS: Hockey Dad, Aurora, Amenra, Brockhampton, Confidence Man, Dirty Projectors, Kelly Lee Owens, Kendrick Lamar, La Dispute, METZ, Protomartyr, The Fever 333, West Thebarton, The Joy Formidable pukkelpop.be
FUZZ CLUB EINDHOVEN 2018 EINDHOVEN (NED) / 24-25 AUG
London-based indie label and online record store Fuzz Club announced a huge two-day festival in Eindhoven, NL in partnership with the prestigious Effenaar venue - the line-up already boasting the likes of The Black Angels, Holy Wave, The Underground Youth, Ron Gallo plus many, many more. As Fuzz Club Eindhoven 2018 draws ever-closer, the latest additions to the already ridiculously stacked line-up have now been announced.
DON’T MISS: The Black Angels,
A Place To Bury Strangers, The Limiñanas, The Underground Youth, Ulrika Spacek, Gnod (R&D), The Cosmic Dead & Friends, The Cult Of Dom Keller, The Oscillation, Sonic Jesus and many more... fuzzclub.com
2018 FESTIVAL???????? GUIDE
FESTIVAL PAREDES DE COURA
PAREDES DE COURA (PT) / 15-18 AUG DON’T MISS: Arcade Fire, Big Thief, Curtis Harding, Confidence Man, DIIV, Frankie Cosmos, Japanese Breakfast, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Lucy Dacus, Slowdive, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead paredesdecoura.com
BRISTOL (UK) / 16-18 AUG DON’T MISS: Rolo Tomassi, Glasjaw, And So I Watch You From Afar, Pianos Become The Teeth, Foxing, Black Peaks, La Dispute, OHHMS, Pelican, Zeal & Ardor, Alcest, Shellac, Jamie Lenman, Orchads. arctangent.co.uk
BRECON BEACONS (UK) / 16-19 AUG DON’T MISS: John Grant, The War On Drugs, Teenage Fanclub, Dirty Projectors, Black Angels, Anna Calvi, Joan As Police Woman, Beak>, Goat Girl, Follakzoid, Frankie Cosmos, Bo Ningen, The KVB, Snail Mail, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Eleanor Friedberger greenman.net
END OF THE ROAD
TOLLARD ROYAL (UK) / 30 AUG-02 SEP DON’T MISS: Vampire Weekend, St. Vincent, Feist, Ezra Furman, Jeff Tweedy, Yo La Tengo, Fat White Family, Julia Holter, Ariel Pink, Idles, Titus Andronicus, Big Thief, Du Blonde, Amen Dunes, Jonathan Wilson endoftheroadfestival.com
REEPERBAHN FESTIVAL 2018
HAMBURG (DE) / 19-22 SEP DON’T MISS: Anna Burch, Black Foxxes, Dream State, Graveyard, Estrons, Jamie Lenman, Halo Maud, Princess Chelsea, Poppy, Sigrid, Soccer Mommy, Okkervil River, Jaguwar, Ibeyi, Odd Couple reeparbahnfestival.com
Flow Festival has become synonymous with bringing music from old school legends to topical newcomers. The festival features 10 to 12 different venues every year: larger outdoor and tent stages plus intimate indoor and outdoor venues HELSINKI (FIN) / 10-12 AUG DON’T MISS: Ms.Lauryn Hill, Patti Smith, Fleet Foxes, Sigrid, Shame, Anna Of The North, Kendrick Lamar, Lykki Li, St. VIncent, Fever Ray, Kamasi Wahsington, Tangerine Dream, Jorja Smith, Brockampton flowfestival.com musicandriots.com
Hailing from Orange County, California, Movements are a band that didn't go unnoticed on their very first show. They've got signed to Fearless Records right after that particular show. Having released their first EP Outgrown Things in 2016, the band have now released their brilliant debut album, Feel Something, a combination of their love for music and the experiences of everyday life. We talked with vocalist Patrick Miranda about how has been their journey been far. Words: Andreia Alves
me growing up listening to music I always connected with the bands or the songs or whatever it might have been that dealt with the heavy hitting like difficult issues. Knowing that somebody else is struggling with the same thing that you’re struggling with or at least along the same lines. There’s something that’s so relieving about that, like that sort of camaraderie of not feeling alone. I think one of the biggest things about it is that’s really easy to feel alone in whatever it is that you’re going through and knowing that you’re not is just really important. So yeah, that’s what I strive to do with all of our music and with this new record that’s a huge theme and I think it will always be a huge theme in Movements’ songs. What else did you want to explore on Feel Something and where did you take inspiration for your lyrics? Lyrically, Feel Something is does talk a bunch of other stuff about mental health, but there’s also the classic sort of relationship breakup stuff on the record, like “Worst Wishes” on Outgrown Things EP. There’s a song about Alzheimer’s and dementia and
t was really impressive that you guys just got signed with Fearless Records after a show that you played. How was it like for you guys to get such a quick response from them? Honestly, it was crazy. None of us really could have imagined that it was going to happen as quickly as it did. Being picked up after our first show by a record label was unheard-of. I don’t know any other band that’s ever done that and so that was really crazy to see that people actually gave a shit about us and people believed in what we were doing enough to put a bunch of resources and everything into us. That was just unbelievable, and I think that even to this day, we’re still kind of blown away by all the things that we’ve done and that we continue to do. Earlier this year, we toured with Good Charlotte and that was like unreal for us. Good Charlotte are one of those bands that you feel like everybody listened to growing up and they’re especially one of the bands that made me want to play music. Being able to go out on tour with them was such a personal milestone for me. It’s just crazy because my mind is still being blown every single day. You released you debut EP Outgrown Things in 2016 and it had an amazing feedback. You mentioned back then that the EP was very therapeutic for you and has helped you battle depression. How do you feel now looking back to that? That’s the thing for me, music has always been very therapeutic. I use music as a way to express the things that are difficult to express sometimes in everyday life. That’s sort of how I’ve always written. I write about things that are difficult and sad. Movements isn’t a very happy band, but for
we wanted to sort of shine some light on that because I feel like it’s not something that’s really talked about often. I wanted to sort of start spreading some awareness within our music community because it’s not really something that we talk about in our music community. I know that a lot of people relate to it because it’s really difficult to watch somebody that you love struggle with Alzheimer’s or dementia and so we have a song on this record called “Deadly Dull” and it’s about my girlfriend’s friend’s father and basically he has Alzheimer’s and dementia and his wife passed away last year. I was there with them the night she died. He just didn’t know what was going on. He just couldn’t comprehend it. He still doesn’t know that she’s gone. He still asks to go see her and all these sort of things. It’s really heartbreaking and it’s really tough to watch somebody go through that. That’s what “Deadly Dull” is about and I really wanted to just work on spreading some sort of activism about that or working on activism and outreach our community so that we can try and help the best that we can. Overall, there are a couple of happy songs on this record.
WE’RE NEW HERE, PLEASED TO MEET YOU “Daylily” is more of a happy and uplifting song. There’s also another song called “Deep Red” that is a little bit more uplifting and happier, so that’s pretty new for us. “Deadly Dull” is definitely such a striking song. Do you find it difficult to write about these themes that are so intense and emotionally heavy? It is and it isn’t, you know? That’s the thing about writing from such personal and deep emotional places. I don’t struggle with writing songs. They come very naturally to me just because I’m just being honest. I’m just writing down exactly what I’m feeling. I’ve always been a fan of creative writing, so I just take my thoughts and I try to put them down in creative ways, but it is difficult in the sense that it’s very emotionally draining. It takes a lot out of me writing the stuff that I write just because I have to dig deep into all the shit that I feel like what is going on in my head, but it’s just really difficult to deal with it in general. I use my music to talk about my problems. It’s therapeutic, but it’s very draining a lot of the times
The first single off the album, “Colorblind”, was the perfect way to give a little taste of the album as a whole and you have also released a video for it? Where did the idea for the video came from? “Colorblind” was one of the songs that we thought that really best represented what people can look forward to on this record. I think that Movements is definitely progressing as far as our sound goes and I think that “Colorblind” was one of those songs that sounds close enough to the EP and that people will still enjoy it and they’ll be able to vibe with it. At the same time it’s also showing our growth as musicians and showing our progression as a band. We chose that one for the first single just because honestly we all really love it. It’s one of our favorite songs on this record. We all think it’s just a banger. We teamed up with Morgan, who is one of the founders of Emo Nite LA, which is a big thing out here. His company basically does marketing stuff in music videos and whatnot for artists and all that sort of thing. He wrote sort of the vision behind the music video just based off what I told him about the song. Basically the song was written after a pretty bad
break up and I kind of just felt like I wasn’t really capable of feeling anything or loving anybody or connecting with anyone on a deeper emotional level. I’m colorblind in real life, like I actually am colorblind and so I sort of used that as an analogy for love and not being able to feel certain things much like how I can’t see certain things. That’s what that song is about and Morgan just took that and ran with it and just created such a cool video. With all the projections and all the different lighting scenes, it’s really cool because you see a lot of contrast between really bright, vibrant colors that are just crazy and vivid and then the black and white of everything else. We just thought it was awesome. Has there been any different approach between working on Outgrown Things EP and Feel Something LP that you want to share with us? Not really. I think on Feel Something our writing process was a lot better. On Outgrown Things there was just a bunch of stuff that was different during that era of Movements that I think once we kind of got past those things, it opened up a lot of doors for us. I don’t think there was really anything that was super different necessarily. I think we just grew a lot. I think that we as people grew up. I think we’ve just become better musicians and better people. The EP was produced by Will Yip and you guys returned to the studio with him in February last year to record the album. What led you to work with him again and what did he bring to the table? Will is seriously the coolest person ever. I believe he’s a musical genius and he’s just a really cool guy. Everything he touches is just awesome. Everything he touches is gold, there’s not a single Will’s record that I think is bad, you know? We worked with him on the EP. When we got signed, we were talking with different record labels and whatnot that had interest in us and one of the things that really made us choose Fearless is that they said, “Hey, we’re going to make sure that you go record with Will Yip.” When we did that for the EP, there was an instant connection. We were instantly like, “This is awesome.” We really wanted to work with him again. It was cool going in to do the full-length with him, because we had a lot more time. When we recorded the EP, it was a really quick process and it was sort of like, “Ok, here are these songs, record them and they’re done.” There wasn’t a whole lot of changing anything. There wasn’t a whole lot of actually rewriting or collaborating with Will. It was very like, “Here’s a song, let’s record it and it will be done” because we had a very short amount of time then. With the LP, we had close to a month with Will and we had a lot of time to really just dissect each song and change what we wanted to change. Rewrite and just make them as perfect as we possibly could. That was awesome. Honestly, I don’t think we’d ever want to work with anybody other than Will. He’s just that good.
FEEL SOMETHING IS OUT NOW ON FEARLESS RECORDS
NEW NOISE IF YOU LIKE, ALSO TRY: DEAFHEAVEN “SUNBATHER”
WHERE: Aarhus (DK) WHO: Nicolai Hansen, Ken Klejs, Frederik Lippert, Holger Rumph-Frost, Kim Song RELEASE: Jord (Out now on Holy Roar Records) FOR FANS OF: Deafheaven, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Alcest
he Scandinavian band MØL was created a few years ago in Aarhus by guitarist Nicolai Busse Hansen, and drummer Ken Lund Klejs, with the purpose to combine their love of shoegaze, alternative rock and metal. After releasing two three-song EPs, the Danish band has finally release their debut full-length this year through British independent label, Holy Roar Records. Jord, which was recorded during the summer of 2017, displays beautifully the mesh of shoegaze with metal and rock, with a high production value and sharp songwriting chops. MØL exemplify the importance of “how” over the “what” with their triumphant debut.
WHERE: Los Angeles (US) WHO: Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten RELEASE: “Interloper” LP (Out now via Danger Collective Records) FOR FANS OF: Girlpool, Liz Phair, Sleater-Kinney L.A.’s Momma are a teenage duo - Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten. They began their band after meeting in high school and bonding over a mutual love of LA’s DIY scene. They started Momma as a way to write about and reflect on their experiences as young women growing up today. In 2016 Momma released their debut EP, Thanks Come Again, an infectious and atmospheric pop effort and now they have just released their new LP, Interloper, which shows a much more complex and quite standout writing.
WE’RE NEW HERE, PLEASED TO MEET YOU
WHERE: Baltimore, Maryland (US) WHO: Lindsey Jordan RELEASE: “Lush” LP (Out now via Matador Records) FOR FANS OF: Fionna Apple, Liz Phair, Paramore
nail Mail is the solo project of eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan. At age of five, Lindsey had intense classical guitar lessons and played for her local jazz band, and in school plays, as well as being in the boys’ ice hockey team. After all that and getting involved with the DIY punk scene in nearby Baltimore, she started to make her own music as Snail Mail and released her first EP Habit when she was sixteen. She writes melodic lo-fi indie rock and her voice is powerful and sweet. Lush is her debut full-length and showcases Lindsey’s amazing skills as a songwriter and it's very emotional and personal. She's definitely a gem on the new wave of young, female indie rock musicians. musicandriots.com
NEW NOISE NEW NOISE
LETLIVE. THE CHARIOT RATM
WHERE: Chicago, Illinois (US) WHO: Mercedes Webb, Dave Collis, Dave Maruzzella, Josh Parks RELEASE: On Watch (Out Now on Landland) FOR FANS OF: The Jesus Lizard, Cap’N Jazz, Shellac
hicago has always been a great of source of music. There’s the blues, jazz, and hip hop, but there’s also a generation of misfits that spread the alternative rock ethos through the entire world – Smashing Pumpkins, Ministry, Jesus Lizard, Jim O’Rourke, Wilco, Cap’n Jazz, Shellac, and many more. Slow Mass belong in that world and are undoubtedly one of the most enthralling rock acts coming out of Chicago in these last few years. Their debut full-length On Watch, released just recently, proves it. It’s an extraordinary album with an exquisite songwriting crammed with wonderful details and impressively matured nuances that demands to be heard. These guys are beyond exciting, they’re truly impressive.
WHERE: Houston, Texas (US) WHO: Brianna Hunt RELEASE: “There Is A Presence Here (Out now on Other People Records) FOR FANS OF: Angel Olsen, Mitski, Daughter
any Rooms is the moniker for Houston, TX-based musician Brianna Hunt. It’s mesmerizing how such melancholic and haunting melodies fill you with warmth and tranquility. Brianna’s vulnerability and sensibility are what makes her songs so special and touching. She shows a really advanced emotional maturity for such young age and the result is atmospheric and impactful songs. With her debut album, There Is A Presence Here, she expresses her soul and deepest feelings in such distinct way along with her ethereal voice and powerful lyrics. She makes what seems to be fragile become stronger and brighter.
FOR FANS OF:
With an astonishing debut EP titled Sugar & Spice just released and a growing fan base – including Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie -, it’s quite obvious that we’re gonna hear a lot more about Hatchie. We talked with Harriette Pilbeam to know a bit more about herself and what led her to create such stunning tunes.
Cocteau Twins Slowdive Kylie Minogue
ell us a little bit about yourself and what have led you to start Hatchie. My name is Harriette, I’m 24 and I’ve lived in Brisbane my whole life. I started playing in bands just after I finished high school, but I decided to start my own project last year after writing a few personal songs I felt needed their own space. Is Hatchie your nickname? It is! My parents have called me Hatchie since I was a kid, my boyfriend was helping me out with demos and called them all ‘Hatchie demo’ as a joke and it stuck. When did you start playing instruments and writing music? I’ve been singing since I was really little and I learnt guitar and piano all throughout school and I’ve been taking writing seriously for about 4 years. How was it like for you to grow up in Brisbane?
Brisbane is a small town compared to Sydney and Melbourne, it’s a great place to grow up, but very hot in Summer which I do not like! There are lots of bands so it has a great music community. What were your main musical inspirations while growing up? When I was growing up I loved listening to Kylie Minogue, Carole King and The Strokes. How do you usually approach the songwriting process? I usually start with a vocal melody before figuring out chords to suit it. Then I work on the rest of the song and fill it in with lyrics I have already written. I read that Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins is also a fan of yours. How did you find out that? He and my manager spoke through emails about my music and he said he was a fan – he is really lovely!
HATCHIE Sugar & Spice EP
Heavenly Recordings (2018)
Hatchie is the moniker for Brisbane’s artist Harriette Pilbeam. She has made quite an impact with her first single, “Try”, a sugary pop gem, which also won Hatchie a fan in Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie. With strong pop sensibilities and tremendously impressive writing skills, Hatchie delivers on her first EP, Sugar & Spice, 5 songs with summery vibes and catchy melodies. Her lyrics are on point; she reflects on her own personal experiences and explores feelings of vulnerability. Sugar & Spice is simple and clean, contagious and joyful, a great effort showing a promising career for Hatchie. ANDREIA ALVES musicandriots.com
WHERE: Trondheim (Norway) WHO: Amanda Tenfjord RELEASE: “First Impression” Single (Out now via Propeller Recordings) FOR FANS OF: Kimbra, Ingrid Michaelson, Aurora
alf Greek, half Norwegian 21 year old Amanda Tenfjord is from a small village in Western Norway called Tennfjord (Tenfjord is also her real surname), but now she’s based in Trondheim. Signed to Propeller Recordings, Amanda made a huge “impression” with her first single, “First Impression”, a song with sharp lyrics and strong and glorious pop melodies. “In the beginning, it was about first impressions in general, and the impact they have on us... We turned it around, and made it a little more ‘direct’ in its approach – how first impressions can be misleading,” Amanda explains. She’s planning to release an EP in October this year and more music to be revealed in the coming months. A promising future is ahead of Amanda and we can’t wait to see more of that.
WHERE: Sydney (Australia) WHO? Hannah Joy, Tim Fitz, Harry Day RELEASE: “Lost Friends” LP (Out now via Domino) FOR FANS OF: Big Thief, Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire
iddle Kids are a band hailing from Sydney, Australia and consists of lead singer/guitarist Hannah Joy and her husband, Tim Fitz along with drummer Harry Day. The trio combines indie rock and alt-country in an exciting and heartfelt way. In 2017 they released a self-titled EP and now they have put out their first full-length, Lost Friends, an effort filled with pop anthems with powerful and sincere lyrics, and great songwriting with a rich palette of piano, strings, pedal steel, and electronic textures.
CANE HILL With their second full-length album, the New Orleans-based Cane Hill have proved to be more than some people accused them to be: a revival act of the nu-metal genre that doesnâ€™t add anything particularly exciting. We talked about Too Far Gone withvocalist/lyricist Elijah Witt. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photo: Anna Lee
ou stated, “We went too hard down this big spiral of LSD.” What made you realize that you had to turn back around before it was too late? My man, there were so many instances, but it just kind of led up to all culminated in a pile of just realizations that I had gone way too far. There were moments where we took the LSD and we look in each other’s eyes and we saw some fucked up shit, but I think what it kind of boiled down to… we were losing a lot of our humanity to a substance and it just kind of clicked with all of us one day that we had pushed a little bit too far and we needed to turn back before we lost ourselves. How was the period post-Smile like for you guys? Even though Smile was a successful debut, it seems that you tried to tackle things differently with this new record. Yeah. Smile, it did what it needed to do. I don’t think that it was the most wildly successful album that it could’ve been. And I think that we took that in stride when we were going with Too Far Gone, we wanted it to be a little bit different. We wanted to make sure that we were being really true to ourselves and we came from a different
HOT WATER MUSIC place with this album. When we went into Smile, we had just gotten rid of a member. We went into the studio and there was really little material. With Too Far Gone we were prepared. We were more cohesive as a unit. We had experienced life and death, left and right, together, whether it was almost dying ourselves multiple times, family members dying, and then obviously pushing ourselves too far with doing illicit substances. We had just experienced a lot together and that all just came together in Too Far Gone. It worked out really well for us. Before returning to the studio you worked on these new songs for six months. Was the writing process about exploring new possibilities or did you have a clear idea of what you want to do? I don’t know if we knew what we wanted to do with it. We were in a weird head-space when we started writing and nothing heavy was coming out of James [Barnett, guitarist]. He was going through a bad breakup that put him in a dark place and everything that came out of him was dark and soft, and kind of... depressing. We got a lot of our softer songs out of that moment and then things started to turn around and we started to get angry again and that’s where the heavy music came back in. So it was just kind of a product of our own time and place. Not really a plan. You write for six months and you go to Los Angeles to record once again with Drew Fulk. What was the process like this time around? Being the two records so different, I imagine that the process with Drew was also different. Yeah. When we went in for Smile, we didn’t have very much material. So I think Drew had a little bit of a heavier hand with us that time. With Too Far Gone we kind of made sure that he took a little bit of a backseat with us that way. It was more of a producer experience instead of a writing experience. He just kind of guided us in the right direction this time, which is, I think, where he really flourishes the most and where we flourish the most. So it was just definitely a little less hands-on approach from him. Being Too Far Gone a more internal-focused record whilst Smile was a more external-focused record, what are the challenges and rewards of making such a shift? Oh, the challenge was just making sure it was as honest as possible and kind of letting go of my own ego and my own
selfishness, I guess. It was weird. I was no longer looking at the world and the problems that I saw in the world. I was looking at the problems that I saw in myself, the problems that each of the other members of the band saw on ourselves and trying to put how we felt about our own experiences into words that make sense to other people. Because when you’re doing LSD and you’re surrounded by people that haven’t done it, it’s very hard to explain the feelings and the emotions that come from it... the comprehension of life. Our entire world shifted, our entire viewpoint of mortality shifted, and we had to kind of make that comprehensive through our music for listeners to understand exactly how we felt and that was the difficult part, was putting into words exactly what we saw and what we felt. “When people hear this, I’d just like them to feel anything,” you’ve said about Too Far Gone. Since it’s a record that deals with mortality and drugs… Was that the point of the record for you guys, to feel anything again? Yeah. I mean, we wanted our music to make us feel as much as we wanted it to make anyone else feel. I still listen to some of the songs we wrote, and I get tears in my eyes just from going back to the moments that created the songs and gave us the inspiration for... It’s all from a very, very dark place in our life and a dark time, and it hurts to listen to some of the songs sometimes because it brings us back. You were talking about letting go of your ego and being as honest as possible. How do you achieve that? I imagine that’s not easy being honest about your own mistakes. Yeah. It’s a very difficult moment in a very transparent moment and it puts you in a really fragile spot where you are letting your guard down and I’ve let people know through these songs a little bit more about my life that I ever thought I would be comfortable with doing. I’m not a very open person. I don’t like talking to people about personal things, but I don’t think that if we were going to make a record, I don’t think it would be very good if it wasn’t as personal and honest as I could. And it wouldn’t be very inspiring or emotive if I hadn’t been completely honest and exposing all of my deepest, darkest feelings. Who are you talking to when you shout, “Are you mad that you can’t be like me”? That was a little bit of a call out to other groups of musicians who have done the same exact things as we have but are a little bit more private about it and have decided that they wanted to talk shit about us for being too open, for being too far gone, if you will. We just kinda got sick of it. We got sick of this weird attitude towards us like we were bad or we were too much when we know that the majority of the bands that are around us are just as fucking bad. They are just a little bit more private about it. And it was like, “How dare you put yourself on a pedestal when we know that you’ve done the same shit? You just don’t do it as well. You don’t go as far and you don’t handle as well as us.”
Did you write the lyrics for “Erased”? What was Devin’s reaction when he heard the lyrics? Yes, I did. I don’t even know if I can put that into words, man. I just wanted to make sure I did justice to how he felt and I brought him in and out of the room multiple times throughout the process of writing those lyrics, making sure that I captured exactly how he fell. To be honest that’s one of the songs that brings tears to all of our eyes because all of our families have kind of suffered through Alzheimer’s - Devin was hit the hardest and I’m not sure how he feels about it. I just know that it was good enough to do his grandfather’s life justice, and good enough to put into words how he felt watching it happen. So I can only assume that it’s a difficult song for him. I’ve never taken the place of asking him how he felt because I don’t really want to bring back the memories and the thoughts. You were always very vocal and public regarding your drug consumption, even though it was never to glorify it. What made it so important to share with everyone? I just got sick of hearing music that wasn’t personal. We’ve all been listening to music since we were born. There was this weird shift in the world of music where at least in this scene and definitely in the pop scene where music just kind of became impersonal. It became very vague, like a vague product where all the lyrics were as bubblegum as they could be. That way as many people [as possible] could relate to it, which I understand the point of but it’s mass consumption. There’s something so futile about writing something that anyone can grab onto that has absolutely no emotional bounce to you. If I’m listening to music and I’m listening to the lyrics and I’m trying to dissect it, I want something deep. I want something personal. I want there to be some sort of long background story that created this. Otherwise I’m not going to feel. I’m not going to think. It’s not going to make me have any kind of emotional reaction. So, I wanted to make sure that people had an emotional reaction to our songs and the only way I could do that was by making sure that I put everything I had into it. That I lay myself bare on the table to be dissected, because that’s what I do to the vocalists I listen to. I dissect them. I love how open and honest they are. When you listen to Black Sabbath, when you listen to Metallica, when you listen to fuckin’ Pantera and Alice in Chains.... The honesty, and especially in Alice in Chains. The honesty from Layne Staley, like the acceptance that he isn’t a good person, that he’s going to die and that is his fault and he accepts it, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard in my life. Layne is an extremely special case in music. He wasn’t the first to admit that he was wrong, but the way he exposed all his flaws… it was unparallel. Not only he was well aware of his mistakes, but he also showed an extremely clear mind analyzing how that would probably be the end of him and how that would inflict pain to the people around him. That’s probably why I love his lyrics and relate to him so much, because... and not
“THERE WAS THIS WEIRD SHIFT IN THE WORLD OF MUSIC WHERE AT LEAST IN THIS SCENE AND DEFINITELY IN THE POP SCENE WHERE MUSIC JUST KIND OF BECAME IMPERSONAL. IT BECAME VERY VAGUE, LIKE A VAGUE PRODUCT WHERE ALL THE LYRICS WERE AS BUBBLEGUM AS THEY COULD BE.”
to sound fucking like egotistical, I know the mistakes that I’ve made. I think that a lot of the music he made about the mistakes that he made, it was from a very pointed point of view, if that makes any sense. Like the way Layne did it and the way he went about it was, I mean, it takes a very special person to understand their own mistakes and being willing to expose themselves for them. You know, when most people are writing songs about getting fucked up or writing songs about the hurt that they’ve caused, it comes from very selfish point of view. They’re trying to explain why it was OK for them to do what they did. They’re trying to make excuses. But Layne even has a song called “No Excuses.” He understood that what he did and what he was doing was selfish and he understood that what he was doing was hurting him and other people. And it wasn’t trying to rationalize why it was OK for him to do it. It was more just apologies. Personally, he was the best to me. There’s no greater emotive vocalist than him. There’s no one that causes me to feel the way I feel, other than Layne Staley. That’s just my personal opinion. He’s the pinnacle of a vocalist to me.
“Scumbag” and “Ten Cents” are the two tracks where you stop for a moment to look to the outside. Could you please talk about what made you write about these two subjects: hateful people, specifically the Nazis, and the heroes? “Scumbag” came about because of the current shit state of America, man. I mean, you have a president that’s seated, running the country, and who put like multiple white supremacists and leaders of the alt-right in his cabinet. You had anti-semitic rallies, left and right. There was next to no rebuttal against a lot of these rallies, especially not on a federal level. It got to the point where, I mean... I went to school for History and I concentrated in holocaust and genocide studies. You know, I’ve read pretty much exclusively historical literature about the Holocaust since I was eight years old. So I know pretty well the political and social rise of Hitler, anti-Semitism in Germany, and kind of the process that led to it. There are a lot of things that are happening that kind of mirror the pre-WWII German and pre-Holocaust Germany, in the way that Trump came to power and the things he was and is doing, the people he was holding close to him and the social responses that
came from it. James, our guitarist, his great grandmother was in the Holocaust. She had the tattoos on her arms. My family, maybe four generations down, were Jewish European and they escaped to America. I got a Hispanic guy who’s my bassist [Ryan Henriquez] and that wouldn’t seem like a problem, right? But the fact that he’s not white has been causing problems left and right with immigration for us ever since Trump came about. So that’s just an honest and angry distaste for Nazis, which seems like a pretty easy opinion to have. “Ten cents” is much more personal than it comes across. Because while it is about the very literal idea that my heroes all died, it’s also about the idea that after we wrote Smile, I pushed myself to my physical and emotional limits because I felt that I had to do it because my heroes are like that. I felt like I had to kill myself to become the vocalist that I wanted to be after the album was made. I genuinely thought after this album, a year ago, I would already be dead by now. I thought we would have done the album and I would have found a way to die.
TOO FAR GONE IS OUT NOW ON RISE RECORDS musicandriots.com
Just when you think youâ€™re burned out on rock and roll, that all the good riffs have been played out, and all your heroes are either dead or revealed to be lowlives, you can always count on Earthless to drop another stone-cold collection of acid jams and remind you that life is occasionally sweet. Black Heaven might take a few unawares but there is no shortages of excellent grooves and bewildering soloing to be found in its wax, plastic, or what-have-you, so naturally we persuaded axeman and vocalist (gasp!) Isaiah Mitchell to initiate us into their magical world. Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Atiba Jefferson
t’s always great to have a new Earthless record, and Black Heaven is absolutely killer; really not what I was expecting at all. Why did you decide to take things in this direction? Honestly, we had just a couple songs with vocals in the beginning. We wrote another one, and then ended up putting vocals on it – it was never a planned thing. We just took the songs that we did into the studio, along with a longer instrumental as well, but these were the songs that felt the strongest so we were just, “Alright, that’s fine. It’s fun and different so what the hell – let’s mix it up a bit.” The songwriting is much leaner and more compact. Was there a different approach to how you put the songs together? I don’t live in San Diego, I live in the Bay Area so our time was a little more limited for writing. We’d been working on the song “Black Heaven” for a while; whenever we got together in San Diego, we worked on it as a three-piece, though I know Mario (Rubalcaba, drums) and Mike (Egington, bass) were working on it on their own as well. We weren’t together a whole lot, so I tried writing songs myself, getting some ideas together and bringing them to the guys. We’d then decide to change this, or lively up that, and then there was another song. Instead of us just banging it out and jamming our hearts out like we’d done primarily for every other record, this one had a lot more individual input brought to the table. We all wrote “Electric Flame” together at one of the last practices before we went to record, so that came out different in that we wrote it together, in the old way – just bashing it out. Most people are used to that jam-based material, especially live. Do you see there being any difference in the live shows coming up, particularly with the new material? We’re on tour right now and we’ve been playing four tracks off the album on the live set, and people seem to really still seem to dig the show. I think it’s more of a challenge for us, trying to keep our classic live experience together instead of saying, “Okay, here are some shorter songs”... are we going to stop them completely? You’ve got to keep it interesting to keep the flow going like we’re used to. I don’t think anyone is going to notice too much of a difference, except for the vocals. It’s still very much an Earthless show.
People often ask about your guitar influences, but what about vocally? I don’t know, there’s so many... Jack Bruce is one of my all-time favourites, Steve Winwood, Sam Cooke, Paul Brady, Peter Green, Leon Russell, Johnny Winter, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton... there’s a million. Having vocals as part of the repertoire, do you feel that you can bring something more to Earthless now, or express yourself more fully? It’s just something that I wasn’t bringing before and now it’s like a little bit more firepower. I think that they can complement each other if you use them right and I think you can serve the music better; give a little more of what you can do. It’s more dynamic, and it’s more interesting to do that sometimes, but I love just playing guitar. It is fun to add vocals to the mix as well. Do you remember what your first guitar was? It was a Peavey Tracer and it was a bright yellow guitar. I was really into watching Mötley Crüe, Poison and Def Leppard on MTV when I was a kid, and they all had bright, pointy guitars. I saw that Peavey Tracer and I was like, “I want that one.” My dad said, “No no, we’ve got to get you a Strat.” I didn’t want that so I got my Peavey Tracer, but I eventually got a Strat and only like to play Strats. I guess he knew right away. What’s your current set-up like in terms of pedals and amps? It can tend to vary but the fixtures on my pedal board are SIB Electronics, out of San Diego, who have a two-power delay called the Echodrive, which is a really nice delay pedal, very warm; Echoplex EP-3, another delay – it has spillover, so when you take it off the delay just slightly decays. I really like that pedal. My buddy Tim Brennan in Brisbane, Australia, made me a custom fuzz using a Triangle Big Muff circuit and a Colorsound Tonebender circuit – we call that one the Seaweed Fuzz. I like that a lot. I’m a big treble booster fan and I like the Diaztreble booster, the Texas Ranger; that’s one there, and I’m a big fan of Crowthers Audio Hotcake overdrive... there’s a Cry Baby mini-wah; I have a Strymon Flint reverb, three different tremolo circuits too, a harmonic trem on there. Echoplex is my main tremolo when I’m home, the EP-3; Earthquaker devices makes great pedals, and right now the touring board has a few of those guys on there. Was it Earthquaker you did a session for? Well, Earthless did a session and then I got together with them and did a run-through of what pedals I was using on a house up on a hill, and that was pretty fun. They’re great people and they make great pedals. The location looked great for that. Have you played in many strange places or venues over the years? Beaches or the like? We’ve played some cool places in Spain, like we played in Guadalest. It was this
beautiful outdoor festival and we were playing under this castle. That was really beautiful as they had these sulphur lakes – like extremely blue, bright turquoise lakes and the castle on the hill lit up as we played out. That was pretty cool, and we played at 2 in the morning which was great. We’ve played out in the desert here in California but no beaches yet. I really hope that’s on the agenda soon as I like the beach. Do you skate or surf? Yeah, I surf – well, I think I surf. I like to say I do. Mario was a pro skater, and Mike likes bombing hills. I liked doing that when I was a kid but I wouldn’t think of doing that any more, but I used to be a little more reckless. But yeah, surfing is nice and the ocean is great. Waves are fun, sharks are bad... Come on... They’re good for the ocean, I just don’t want to get touched by one. How do you feel that your style has developed over the years, as a guitarist and as a vocalist? It’s interesting because from time to time I’ll go back and listen to an older live thing that we did and think, “God damn, I was better then!” Sometimes I feel, like on a few occasions on this tour, where I’ve had a good show and there’s been a lot a lot of focus, a lot of relaxation, and I feel like my listening is better. I can sit in the pocket better or just be more relaxed. I feel like things get refined over time. Like I was saying, I listen to some stuff from 8 or 10 years ago and it’s really fast, and fluid and clean and creative; now, those moments are still there and I don’t know if I got better but I look for different things. I try to listen better, be more relaxed and that’s what I tell my students when they ask what I do for better soloing. Just breathe. When you have a conversation you have to take a breath, so do the same thing when playing guitar. Try not to be obvious about it but try to make it a fluid motion. You tour pretty extensively, so how do you stay healthy and happy when you’re on the road? Well, I don’t drink any more, I gave that up. Currently on two weeks of no smoking so I’m going to go ahead and call it out, I’m done with that. You gotta take care of yourself. You can’t burn the candle at both ends. That’s what I would do when I was younger, just fuckin’ party and party, but now I just go back to the hotel after a gig and not go out. I love home, I love my wife and where I live. I just have a strong sense of home wherever I am and really know what it is I’m doing back home. Keep in touch, be healthy, meditate, go slow and eat healthy, because everything catches up to you eventually. I’m starting to notice it. You’re not going to be a saint all the time when it comes to health, but don’t wear yourself out, don’t get sick because you’re partying or being stupid. Do that, take your vitamins and you’ll be alright. Call home every day and you’ll be home eventually. Was it a different feel with Golden Void
CIGARETTES EARTHLESS AFTER SEX
“I THINK MOST IMPORTANT IS THE GROOVE, OR THE WAY THE MUSIC CAN MAKE YOU FEEL. WE’RE NOT REALLY REINVENTING THE WHEEL WITH ANY OF THIS BUT THE ONE THING THAT CAN’T BE DENIED IS A GOOD GROOVE, OR A GOOD RIFF.” where you had your wife with you on tour anyway? That’s the only difference, and the people are different. It’s still tiring, you’re still busting your ass, playing and going to bed late, driving all day – it’s exhausting, but having my wife there? That’s awesome. We get on great when we’re not together, like when I’m on tour, but when we’re doing something that we both love, it makes it that much more fun. That’s how we met, through music. We met at Roadburn Festival and we both understand what music is, we both love it and of course being together makes life easier. That’s a given, but obviously you’re still going to get on each other’s nerves or say something stupid – it’s like being at home. We’re actually in Las Vegas now, driving to Joshua Tree, and I will see my wife in a few hours as she will be there. The only time I saw you with Golden Void was at Roadburn so is that a special place for you? I think that is our spiritual European home – 2013 in Tilburg. That’s where I met my
wife, I think that Live At Roadburn was very helpful to us in getting our music out to people. I think Roadburn is very responsible for some of the band’s success and we’re doing our ten-year anniversary there next month. Roadburn has given us a lot. Walter (Hoeijmakers, Roadburn artistic director) is like a family member and he was invited to our wedding, but he couldn’t make it. When you’re playing, or even listening back to previous records and shows, are you much of a perfectionist or is it more about getting the feeling right? I think most important is the groove, or the way the music can make you feel. We’re not really reinventing the wheel with any of this but the one thing that can’t be denied is a good groove, or a good riff. If you can get inside of it, it makes you move; it’s probably been played a million times already but if you can get inside of it, it’s undeniable. That’s my favourite thing about writing, it’s the feelings that you get from it. It doesn’t have to be perfect or polished, if it makes you feel something then go with it. At least start there, don’t
complicate it by trying to make it go a certain way. The three of you have this uncanny synchronicity, especially live. When did you realise that you all had that level of connection? I think we would all say it was the first time we jammed. We just had a really good time. We played forever, a good half hour or whatever, and our very first jam/ practice sounds kind of like an Earthless jam session. Mario playing some interesting beats, Mike following along and keeping a solid spine for the music, and me doodling on guitar on top - all three of us just painting. We all had a good time and decided to play a show. Did one show and then, “Hey, that was fun. Let’s do another.” Kept doing it and it was fun. I think we all knew right away or we wouldn’t have booked that show. It wasn’t some huge epiphany, like there was lightning and God struck us.
BLACK HEAVEN IS OUT NOW ON NUCLEAR BLAST musicandriots.com
circuit des yeux
Circuit des Yeux (the project of vocalist, composer, and producer Haley Fohr) has been one of the most exciting acts to come from the experimental realm of rock, folk, and even country. Reaching For Indigo, the latest and 5th full-length, reaches a new height with the spectacular collaboration between Haley and Cooper Crain (co-producer). We had the chance to talk with one of the most undeniably unique voices of our days to know more about how the project evolved and how important Reaching For Indigo is for CdY. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Julia Dratel
ou recently announced that you will be performing solo vocal pieces in January at the Art Institute of Chicago. Is it the first time you will be doing something like that? No, I mean I don’t tour on it. It’s something I only do vocally in general, but I started doing it about a year ago. I try to do at least six, three to six a year solo vocal performances. They’re like between 20 and 40 minutes long. I imagine it to be extremely different from what you do normally on tour with your band. Yeah, I mean it’s pretty much almost entirely improvised and it’s really physical and hard for me to do. I don’t use any loop pedals or anything, it’s just like me singing long tones for like up to an hour. It’s pretty meditative. It’s kind of minimal, like in this same vein of like, you know, Tony Conrad or something. It’s very repetitive and something that washes over you but it has no formation. There’s no songs or additional players or even like effects. It’s just my voice and it’s a way for me expand and stay in shape as a vocalist. I was wondering about that, because I imagine that those performances help you with the vocal work you do in Circuit des Yeux and Jackie Lynn. Yeah, definitely. When you’re singing songs and you’re singing the same things over and
over, your voice acclimates to it. I’m very interested in like continuing to expand my range and textures. So this is like really nice conduit for me to do that in because although I get to sing every night when I’m performing as Circuit des Yeux, I’m seeing the same thing, you know? Yeah, you can try new things. And I guess it is a good boost for your confidence. Yeah, sometimes. There’s a lot of fear involved too. And I have to say that when I’m doing the solo vocal performances, they’re not very beautiful sounding. They can get pretty ugly pretty quickly. Sometimes it turns into like a screech, sometimes I sound like a dying animal or something [laughs] for awhile, but it’s more about like letting go of expectations and addressing an audience in a different way, I think. Well, before you gain confidence most of the times you have to face your fear. You do... That’s what they say, but in practice it’s really challenging to do that. I mean, I do do that, but it’s hard sometimes, you know? That’s why it’s hard but so rewarding at the end. Yeah, right. I mean I’m trying to discover a new world inside of myself and it’s very rewarding but always a challenge and a multi-step process. Before talking about Reaching for Indigo I would like to ask you a bit about Jackie Lynn. What prompted you to start Jackie Lynn – you could have easily have done it under the Circuit des Yeux’s umbrella? I could have, it just didn’t feel like it came from the same place. When I think about Circuit des Yeux... the running thread through it is like the emotional currency that comes with that project and it’s very personal and it’s tied to my heart in this way that I work a lot from intuition and with Jackie Lynn it just came from such a different place. It came from my brain and sort of like an idea. And I was drawn to it because it was for me... I mean, there’s a lot of similarities in a lot of ways because I’m the same artist, you know, or I’m the same vocalist and still writing new songs but it felt like a different color to me and it felt like a departure from my normal mode of creation. It felt pretty precise and like an exercise. With Circuit des Yeux it feels really fully embodied like my life, so... Jackie Lynn, was just more of an exercise and I just remember thinking that I was very weighed down. With Circuit des Yeux the content is kind of heavy, which can be really rewarding and beautiful, but sometimes just hard to live in that all the time. And that was my initial reasoning and then I realized that green is my favorite color but maybe I haven’t seen all the colors. So I was trying on different color, see how it felt, you know? Were you expecting that people would pay so much attention to Jackie Lynn? Because it feels like you were just releasing that record to experiment a bit and try new things, a one-off sort of thing. Yeah. I did not expect anybody to listen to it at all actually. And then when I first musicandriots.com
completed it, I approached my label wanting to self release it maybe, just because it’s not that I didn’t believe in it, it’s just I listened to a lot of records and stuff and I like to follow artists that kind of do these departures. It just felt more appropriate where it’s kind of like this weird one off. And it wasn’t like I was realigning my trajectory, it was just spitting something out, you know? But that being said, I’m always grateful. There’s so much music in the world, so I’m grateful for any traction. Would you consider doing it at least once again? Yeah, I’m open to it. A lot of people are asking me about that and I’m certainly open to it. But it’s something that a lot of things would have to accumulate. I don’t know, the Jackie Lynn record really kind of hit me like a strike of lightning. You just got to wait and see if lightning strikes twice, I guess. Would it be fair to assume that Circuit des Yeux and Jackie Lynn are not completely disconnected from each other? I still think they are in separate spheres in a lot of ways and I see them artistically as very distinct from one another, but in hindsight like when I look at my career and what I’m doing, there’s overlap in everything, you know? And also the longer you’re on earth… it’s hard for me to follow a hard line. Like I’ve never been good at staying in the lines with anything. So there’s certainly, I feel like the longer I’m creating art the more bleed there will be between each sect of my artistry. Posthumously there are so many great artists that leave this footprint and it’s hard to recognize until they’re gone sometimes. I get compared a lot to Scott Walker and I checked out a lot of his stuff with the Walker Brothers and although it’s different and maybe when he was in the currency, just like a current artist, it felt really separated, but I mean he’s still alive. But yeah, once you have this sort of like a library of content and work, I think it all kind of bleeds into one another. Talking about comparisons, a lot of people compare you to Scott Walker but personally, especially listening to this new record, I couldn’t help thinking about Tim Buckley. I have a lot of his records. Lorca is like very far out and kind of jazzy within his, some of his earlier stuff is more singer-songwriter. When it comes to comparisons, I used to be very sensitive, like I used to take it almost as an insult because I don’t think - although I listened to a lot of music - my music isn’t insert. Like I’m not taking... I’m taking inspiration from life as a culmination of everything I eat, everything I wear, everything I hear, but never have I ever heard someone and thought “I’d like to sing like that,” it’s just like a biological conduit. It’s something you’re given. You’re given a body and then you have to deal with it. And like this is kind of something that I’ve had to deal with for better or worse. But I really find that the artists that I am mostly drawn to are the ones that kind of sprawl out, like Tim Buckley, and grow
into something totally new over time. I think that’s beautiful. It’s like when you meet someone from a different country, or even continent, and you are connected (with a bunch of similarities) in some sort of way with that person, even though you were raised in a different culture and by different people, and you’re completely unfamiliar with that person. Yeah, I do think that’s beautiful. I think there’s something in the water and there’s like this cosmic connection, like wow, like we’ve come from such different places but we’re kind of the same and that can be really unifying and beautiful. But I mean I am an American and as a human being, I think I’ve been taught and I have this thing called the ego, you know, where like everybody wants to be the first one. The idea of a pioneer it’s so amazing, and celebrated because there can only be one and everybody wants to be the one, but really nobody’s the one. And you can hardly prove you are the first one, because most likely someone did that – especially with art – centuries ago. It’s really hard to prove that. It really is. Yeah. I mean people hire [other people] and spend so much money trying to [laughs]... I have a hard time with PR and music because everyone’s trying to build a story now. I think that’s so silly. Like, you know, like it has to have this interesting story or it isn’t interesting anymore. You mention the importance of January 22nd, 2016 for your new record. What’s the importance of that day for the conception of the album? The memory still lives inside of me very vividly, like a movie, like I can replay in my mind and it’s like it is happening again and I don’t have very many moments like that in my life, you know, like these light bulb things that really make you a person. And it also didn’t come from really any outside factors that kind of boiled up inside of me and in hindsight, I see as like an intuition, like something that was going to happen, because of like the connectiveness to my psyche and the world, and what I need. I think everyone finds their inner truth eventually in their own way. And also I felt like I was kind of blossoming and coming into myself, and I wanted to honor that, so I found the answer and it was like a real moment and I was by myself and I was with a friend of mine. It was really late at night and it all happened, very startling and then after that moment you have to decide what to do with it. Answers are really hard, questions are easy because there’s a responsibility once you find an answer. So yeah, I mean I took it seriously and a lot of people thought I was kind of crazy, you know, because I changed my life very drastically and I was kind of in a transitional phase for a few months and that’s when I wrote all the songs. A couple of songs in particular lean on that specific moment more than others, but it’s more about the transitional period of just becoming who you are and being open to answer and navigating the earth. A lot of it it’s about identity, which sounds like a broad term or
broad concept, but something that’s always changing within me and it’s something that I struggle with. So, the record is a documentation of your life at that time. Yeah, but I tried to make it more universal. It’s hard to know if that came off as true or not. I tried because that’s the whole point, right? Like you’d have this personal experience and then you want to share it with people and it’s not like I’m telling everyone this is the answer. I’m saying, “This was my answer. What’s your answer?” Indigo can be a colour or a tropical plant. What is it for you? And why are you reaching for it? For me it’s the great unknown and it’s like a celebrated horizon. Something that I find in culture and humanity that we have done through the millennia, like for centuries where whether it’s like a personal God or a color... Indigo is undefined. It’s scientifically undefined; some spectrum of color but it’s a frequency that nobody has agreed upon. And because of that it stands for like the third eye and intuition. I just think that’s so interesting, to celebrate something that can never be reached and hold this power that’s beyond our comprehension and interweaving into our lives because I think really when it comes down to it, life can be so challenging and it’s easy to say, “Why? Why do I keep doing this?” I think that this indigo and this idea of the unknown and that anything can happen. Like this moment that came down on, it came out of nowhere. That’s something to live for. That’s something to continue on towards, and it’s something that seems collective. I know there was more collaboration this time around. Did it change your approach to the creative process? It didn’t change it entirely, but it did. This was a much different approach than any other record that I had. It took a lot longer. I spent a lot more time and attention to detail, but I also leaned a lot heavier on a couple of people, which was really challenging for me because I am... I mean, I’m not a control freak by the label, but I am very hands on and territorial with my art ‘cause it’s kind of all I have, but Cooper Crane is my friend who helped me record it, and he was very, very involved in the process, more so than we have ever worked together. That was challenging but very rewarding. I could almost say that the entire collaboration was with him, like 50 percent, 50/50. He really helped direct the process of recording this time. Do you feel more comfortable collaborating? I know you’ve struggled with that in the past. When I first started making music I was kind of isolated. I was in a small town and I learned to play music on my own. I wasn’t in a band, so that was what was comfortable and I used my means. Five years ago I moved to Chicago and I began collaborating with people and it was a messy learning experience because the city is filled with amazing musicians and I remember thinking like, “I’ve got a lot to learn. I just want to
CIRCUIT DES YEUX
“I THINK CIRCUIT DES YEUX IS ME, AND I’M CIRCUIT DES YEUX FAR MORE THAN I’M HALEY. IT’S WHERE I FEEL THE MOST COMFORTABLE, LIKE WHEN I’M PERFORMING ON STAGE OR I’M IN A VAN DRIVING TO A SHOW, OR MY ETHOS IN THE WORLD.” play with all the great people and learn from them, and become a greater artist in that way.” But not every collaboration is a correct one. Now when I collaborate, I know the type of people that I’m looking for, I can feel the energy. I collaborate now more than I ever do, but I think I’m quite picky. I can tell when it’s going to work out or who I’d like to collaborate with, just because there needs to be this energy and when it comes to Circuit des Yeux, because the subject matter is so personal, I usually end up working with people that are really, really close to me, like my best friends. I mean, they are also professional musicians because that’s what happens when you’re in this world for so long. Everyone that’s in my life is pretty much an artist at this point. I draw inspiration from their talents.
extremely nuanced sound? It’s something else the sound on this new record. Thank you. I mean, I can’t just totally dismiss myself but I can’t say enough things about Cooper and sure we have some gear but really like, I would never display the gear going to the details of like how we got the sounds we got because I do think mystery is a good thing in this regard, but really it’s just talent. We just spent so much time and we refined things and did it in a way that would be impossible in the studio. It’s nothing more than just... Cooper and I, we have a really special connection. And I think his ear is like unparalleled. Like I really think that the worlds that he’s able to create in like us together is kind of just this mysterious jackpot team. I just think that what we do is to work so well and I’m grateful for it.
Circuit and Circuit with Haley? At this point I see it one to one. I think it’s finally… I mean, it’s something I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been trying to reach this point for a decade now, but as of today, I think Circuit des Yeux is me, and I’m Circuit des Yeux far more than I’m Haley. It’s where I feel the most comfortable, like when I’m performing on stage or I’m in a van driving to a show, or my ethos in the world. I feel totally out of my element when I have to go to the bank or go grocery shopping. It’s hard and something that I grappled with but also like in a less spiritual way I just take it very seriously and it took a long time for people to also take it seriously, I think. I think I’m finally at that point where there’s less friction, and I don’t try so hard to get people to believe that Circuit des Yeux is real. It’s me. It’s real.
You recorded once again with Cooper Crain at his house. How did you manage to get such a big, powerful, and
You could have used your name to release records but instead you chose Circuit des Yeux. How much of in sync is Haley with
REACHING FOR INDIGO IS OUT NOW ON DRAG CITY musicandriots.com
It's no surprise that Joan Wasser is an inspiring and charismatic woman. Throughout her music career, she has presented intimate and stunning records. Her latest effort, Damned Devotion finds Joan at her rawest and more fascinating form, always sounding fresh and unique. We caught up with Joan to talk about this mesmerizing new record and how's it been like to be in the US right now. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Allison Michael Orenstein
AS POLICE W 74
t’s been a long journey for you in the music industry since the 1990s. What have you learn over these years that you think it’s the most important to you as an artist? The most important thing as an artist for me is to stay true to my own ideas of what is beautiful in music. Trying to imagine what the industry, the public or anyone wants or needs more in music for me is never gonna work, I just have to always make what I think is beautiful. People tell me a lot, “You don’t fit in any category.” Actually for me that’s a great thing, but it makes it sort of difficult for people to place my music or what to do with it, but as an artist, creating your own world of what you feel is beautiful. I think that’s the most important thing. You’ve collaborated with a number of amazing artists, including Lou Reed, Sufjan Stevens, and RZA. What did you take from those experiences? For me in general, really learn to listen. If something has really deepened my appreciation and I think my ability to make music, because there’s different kinds of listening, you know? I try to really listen to whoever I’m working with, to what they’re saying, but also observe how they work and observe what works for them and what doesn’t in collaborating. But I think in general, it’s like you have to just stay your course, whatever it is that you’re doing and be true to your idea of art. I feel like it’s just something that is universal about art in general, in writing, in visual art and in anything. You’ve just released your new album, Damned Devotion, which showcases a mesmerizing blend of moody and atmospheric classic soul, R&B and pop tunes. What was the writing process this time around? It’s interesting because this record was written mostly as experiments with making beats. I love making beats. I love listening to that part of music, but I didn’t know if it would work with Joan As Police Woman format and if I could integrate that into my writing and my work. I started a lot of the songs at my home studio and I was writing songs to beats. They were songs that I wasn’t thinking necessarily anyone would hear. I wasn’t thinking about anyone else and I was just putting exactly what I wanted to do in the songs, because maybe no one would ever hear them, you know? I was saying exactly what I wanted to say and I was taking chances. I was just seeing what it would sound like if I was using beats rather than starting with bringing the song to a band and sort of writing a different way. After I had made a lot of these demos, one of my friends - who I was writing a film score with - he kept saying, “What are you working on? I want to hear what you’re working on!” and I hadn’t really played musicandriots.com
these pieces for many people, but I played it for him. He was very responsive, very supportive and loved it. I said to him, “This is what I’ve been doing and I have to start writing my record soon.” [laughs] He just said, “Well, you already have your record here.” It was something that I was hoping, but I didn’t want to maybe allow myself to think that yet because I wasn’t certain about how I felt about it. From there, I had Parker Kindred - an amazing musician and singer - playing drums over it and that friend that I was talking about, Thomas Bartlett, he did a lot of keys. I did a million overdubs myself and lots of singing in the background. I just developed the record from there. There are a few songs that are recorded the way that I used to record with the band, which is going into the studio, but a lot of the songs are definitely recorded in a different way. So this record wasn’t planned at all, it just happened. Yeah. I mean, it’s not like that on my previous records I’m thinking about what people want. That’s not the point of my writing ever, but somewhere when I’ve been thinking about to the record as a whole, I’m thinking like, “Oh, what does this record need? Does it need a more up song? Does it need a more poppy song?” Just trying to think about how will this record be well rounded, you know? With this, I’ve never even got to those questions because I was like, “I don’t care if it’s well rounded.” [laughs] This is what it is. I love the photo of you on the album’s cover. What was the idea behind that photo? I wanted a photo that was mostly a shadow and dark, but with just a very little part of me exposed like the Vermeer and Rembrandt portraits. My friend, who’s a photographer and who I’ve done a lot of photos with, we worked it together until we figured out how to make that work. Last year you went to Women’s March in Washington DC - one day after the inauguration of Donald “grab them by the pussy” Trump. The track “The Silence” has protest votes [“My body, my choice!” / “Her body, her choice!”] that you recorded that day. Tell us more about that day and the writing of this song. This song started as a song about interpersonal communication, but then as I continued to write it, it became about the bigger picture as well. I mean, it’s all the same ultimately. That march was a really necessary for my country, that’s for sure. We were all in shock. No one I knew even considered that this unmentionable person that has stolen the election would be possible. There’s no way, so we all felt robbed and scared. To meet up there with tons of women, but also a lot of men, it was very important for us in general. But then also the amount of people that came was overwhelming, because protesting something that doesn’t happen like it used to and the fact that people were flying in from all over, at that moment was so necessary for everyone to not perish in the state of total depression and anxiety, you know? It was helpful and it showed what could happen.
"WE'RE NOT HELPLESS AND THE MORE WE TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING, THE BETTER IT WILL BE FOR ALL OF US. WE JUST HAVE TO KEEP THE DIALOGUE UP AND KEEP OUR VOICES VERY LOUD."
How are things right now in the USA? Personally, I’m still in shock. This is no news for anyone. Every day there’s another assault on humanity and insult to just kindness. I feel like every day there’s a good reason to get that “person” out of the office and the fact that it hasn’t happened yet is very scary to me, because I feel like people get used to this insanity. That can’t happen because we can’t get used to this. This is not right and it’s very easy to fall into a feeling of helplessness, which is also scary because of course we cannot allow that to take over. We’re not helpless and the more we talk about everything, the better it will be for all of us. We just have to keep the dialogue up and keep our voices very loud. You’ve recently released a new video for the single “Tell Me”. It was directed by Brian Crano and you get to play half a dozen different personas. What was the concept behind this video? [Laughs] Well, before I met Brian, he had been using my music in all of his films, so he was a fan of my work. We just got to be friends through doing this and he got to know me who I am as a person. None of those wings I bought, I had all those already. I do to have a lot of people in me that I express through the visual. He sort of used that for the concept of the video and I’m asking someone else to tell me what they want and what they need, but also I have to ask myself the same thing. He got that whole a part in there where I’m like yelling at myself and I’m angry at myself. That’s very real, I’m very hard on myself. At one point it’s like I’m holding my own heart and I’m just eating it, you know? It’s like I’m devouring myself. [laughs] One of the personas, you are wearing a white sweater. That one looks like the
most normal persona comparing to the other ones. It’s funny that you mentioned that because that was the only thing that they had to go out and buy, I didn’t own that sweater. Brian kept talking about, “This is the innocent you.” [laughs] It’s funny because I do have a lot of innocence and I think some of it comes out in my music, but in order to live in this world and also to sort of exist honestly as a woman in this world, I have definitely in my life assume some very tough personality traits to protect myself, especially in the older days, I was always the only woman on the road and that gets tiring and challenging. It was interesting because I was kind of like, “What is this? I don’t really understand this character. Am I a child?” I am sort of a child, you know and I do have that sort of joy in me and it definitely comes out, but I have to feel safe enough for that to come out. I don’t know if the child and the innocence really looks like that to me, but that part of me is definitely something that I have worked for a long time to express more, to allow to come out. Um, yeah, so that’s of course, of course, what you, you, you, you, you mentioned that because uh, I mean that’s just very astute very far though. You scored Brian’s new film, Permission, which is available now. What can you tell us more about that? It was great. I loved doing that kind of work and I did it with my good friend who I mentioned, Thomas Bartlett. He’s just like one of my favorite people ever to work with and he is so much of the sound of this record. His keyboard playing is just my favorite. He’s incredible. It was really fun. It was great. The whole situation was a really positive. Now that you’ve released your new album, what else do you have coming up in 2018? I will be going on to an extensive tour. The tour starts in Europe on March 2nd and then it goes through the UK to April 26th and then I am desperate to make it to Portugal, which is one of my favorite places in the world. Those dates are in progress. There’s like summer festivals and stuff, so that will be most of my next six months. In the meantime, I’m also in the middle of a working on a second cover’s record and I’ve already started recording my next record. [laughs] When I finish songs, I record them because I don’t want to lose the freshness. Over the next few years, Benjamin Lazar Davis and I will be also working on a new record. We’ve already started that and we are working on it when we both have time. Overall, you are definitely an inspiration for women all over the world. What advice would you give to them right now? Talk about your feelings with your friends. Talk about what’s going on. Don’t keep it inside because men need to know and men want to know. They just don’t know because they haven’t been told often. I would just say, stay vocal!
DAMNED DEVOTION IS OUT NOW ON PIAS
JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN
ANNA VON H Anna von Hausswolff is well known for her extraordinary and riveting music. Dead Magic is her fourth album and it's probably her most personal yet mysterious record to date. Going through some difficult times while writing it, Dead Magic is just an exquisite and fascinating effort that came from a really obscure place. Anna told us how the creative process behind Dead Magic was like, the recording sessions on the 20th century organ at Copenhagenâ€™s Marmorkirken, and her collaboration with Randall Dunn for this masterpiece. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Lady Lusen
ead Magic is your fourth album and you wrote it in the summer of 2016 in your hometown (Gothenburg, Sweden) and then recorded it the following year in Copenhagen, Denmark. What was your mindset going into the writing of your new album? It was actually not a very good place when I wrote Dead Magic. I’d been a touring a lot. I’d been working constantly. When I got back home after a very long tour, I felt a little overheated and then I just kinda went numb and passive. I went into a sort of grey area. When I look back at that period now, it was like I lost contact with my imagination, with my imaginary mind and my creativity. I was making music to kind of make my way out from this place and music is something that I do and something that I’ve always done. I was making music, but I wasn’t making fully contact with it. I couldn’t really appreciate and I couldn’t really see the magic of making the music. I just wasn’t in contact with my creativity whatsoever, so I was just writing, saving the songs, finding my way into a certain territory and trying to sing in a way that helped me to kind of get in contact with my emotions... Trying to be a little bit more physical with my body and my voice; standing up and singing and just to kind of activate the body where I would easily get contact with my emotions. It wasn’t until after I kind of came out from the period when I started to make something out of these songs. I started to make interpretations of them and they started to have a specific meaning, but I can’t say exactly what I was thinking at that moment. It was just very passive state. The imagination is a very strong force that you carry around and it can work in both ways. It can be good for you, but sometimes it can be destructive for you as well. I felt like I didn’t have any imagination, but of course that is not true because you can never lose these things, but that’s how I felt. It was just like my imagination was projecting its ideas and thoughts onto me and kind of degrading and destroying itself in a way. musicandriots.com
For the promotion of Dead Magic, you have chosen a poem by the Swedish writer Walter Ljungquist (1900-1974) as the only comment. In which way that poem is bound to your new album? I was asked to make press text and it was very to speak about this album because I wrote it in this state of mind where I was confused. Like I said, the interpretation of all the songs came after, so I can’t say exactly that I’m staying 100% true to the core because I’m changing my idea of the songs. I couldn’t just make a concept or say, “This is about that or about that.” It’s more about the period and emotions that were circulating in my head during that period, but now that means something else. And then I found this quote in a Ljungquist’s book that is called The Black Lady. I thought it was beautiful and fitting for this, like in this context as it’s kind of encouraging people to embrace the mystery and the secrecy of things. When you are presented with mystery or some secrets, you start creating your own world and your own ideas around it. You’re kind of making it yours in a way, because you own the full interpretation of it. I felt that like, “I will take this poem and I will use it as a kind of an encouragement for people to use their perception and their own imagination to make something out of this album.” I think, generally, today people are supposed to be so extremely transparent and all the information has to be out there. Everything needs to be said and our truth should be transparent and they should just tell everyone about their lives and their ideas. I think it’s very good in some fields. I think it’s excellent in politics, for example. You get like straight answers, but unfortunately you don’t usually get straight answers in politics. I would have wished that politicians to be a bit more transparent sometimes, but in art I feel that the magic is kind of taken away from the art if you haven’t explained or if you have only information served because then you can’t make it your own. You can’t make it your own word and world, because when you get to own the tool to interpretation, then you cannot get a more personal bond to the art, to the music or whatever it is that you’re perceiving. But once you start creating something around the art, that’s when you create the true personal bond to it and that’s when you start thinking and your mind starts expanding. You start imagining and you become very stimulated because you feel that your mind is working and the body’s working, so it’s like a stimulant that I’m kind of striving for. I totally agree with you. I think people nowadays are kind of lazy to get their own imagination flowing and have they own interpretation of things. I think that’s really important what you have just said. Your album itself is magical and mysterious, and it makes it more exciting for people to get into it. Yeah, I think so. I mean, some context need to be explained to some degree, but I still think it’s very important that you don’t undermine people and people’s knowledge and intellect, and that you kind of invite them into the process of thinking and making. I think it’s very important
when you make art. Dead Magic feels like a one piece album, which has five songs extending over 47 minutes. Do you feel the same way about it? My original idea was to make one long track, but it didn’t work with this album because I was in this state of mind that everything was fragmentary. The process was fragmentary. The emotions were very mixed and so five songs came out of it. I always think about the album format and how I place things and how I want them to kind of grow in and out from each other. I like to see it in a linear way that I kind of have a beginning and then I have an end. It’s like storytelling. Even though it’s not one singular piece, I can still feel that the songs are connected to that and there is a thread throughout the whole album. For me, “Ugly And Vengeful” is just a damn masterpiece. It’s the longest track of the album and the most intense as well. I would say it feels like the centerpiece of Dead Magic. Can you elaborate more on how was the making of this one in particular? That song started with just the vocal line. I had this pattern that I started playing on the piano the last two years every time I played on a piano. I always played this pattern and then I just had this vocal lines going over it and not really shifting the piano. It felt like it was disconnected. It was just this own thing on top of the piano. So then I started to take this vocal line because I felt the energy of it. I just had this vocal line repeated and repeated to myself and I was singing it over and over again. It kind of grew from there, but it still is weird because that period is kind of blurry and confusing, but I somehow puzzled it together and then I took the demo to Karl Vento and Filip Leyman who play in my band. They also kind of helped me to come out from this place where I was. Music and friends really helped me to get grounded and make out of this grey zone. I presented this song to them and then they helped me arrange it, so I would say that we arranged it together. I wanted it to feel very physical so I could use my body more and feel more. [laughs] I think that’s all I can say about it. When I listen to that song, I just feel a vivid connection with my body and soul, because of its intensity and increasing pace within the song. I can tell you one thing. The overall mood I had when I wrote that song was that I felt let down. I felt down about absolutely everything, including myself, so that’s the main emotion kind of moving through the song. When you were composing the track “The Marble Eye”, was intentional to be just an instrumental song? No. Usually it just happens because I play what I feel like in the moment and many times when I go into the studio, I don’t really feel like singing, especially if I don’t feel creative or if I feel super sensitive in a way and maybe I don’t like myself 100%. It’s easier for me to start liking myself if I
"WHEN YOU ARE PR YOU START CREATIN IDEAS AROUND IT. Y BECAUSE YOU OWN
RESENTED WITH MYSTERY OR SOME SECRETS, NG YOUR OWN WORLD AND YOUR OWN YOU'RE KIND OF MAKING IT YOURS IN A WAY, N THE FULL INTERPRETATION OF IT."
ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF just play instrumental music, which made me lead me into singing and gives me the courage to sing. But I started playing this song and it was creating harmony inside and calmness in a way and also awakening some kind of curiosity. I felt I was playing on this pattern that you hear in the beginning and I just played that over and over again. That’s how I usually do things. I expanded a little bit and changed it a little and moved into different parts. And then I recorded it and added a melody on top of it, which is good if I don’t feel like singing. It’s always nice to have a melody because then it almost feels as if I’m singing, but I’m not. I’m singing through the fingers. It was very nice to have this kind of melody to it and then just let the melody sing its way through the song. I added layers new patterns on top of the old pattern and just expanding the landscape very gradually. That’s usually how I work in the studio with my songs. The majority of the recordings of Dead Magic were done on the 20th century organ at Copenhagen’s Marmorkirken, “the Marble Church”, one of the largest churches in Scandinavia, with a chapel inspired by the majestic St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. How was it like to record in such stunning place? Did it have a direct influence on “The Marble Eye”? Yes! It did! It was absolutely amazing to go into that space. It’s a dome shaped building. It’s all made in marble. It’s fantastic space and visually it’s extremely inspiring. When I heard the sound and the acoustic, it was just amazing and how the organ was the corresponding with the room. It was just a very magical place to be in and to record that. I remember when I sat up on the organ balcony, I was playing by the organ console and I just had this a great connection with the room because the dome was kind of projecting the sound in a way, so it was kind of flooding all over me. The pipe organ is such a big instrument and so it can be very dominating when you sit that close to it, but with this organ I felt that the pipe organ wasn’t too dominating that actually I was in connection with the room and there was an ambiance that I loved and an ambience that I could play with. Randall Dunn (producer) brought some really perfect equipment for that specific room and for the organ. I think the combination of the room, the organ and his equipment added another level to what the organ could sound like. Both me and him were very excited to be in there and to hear all of these weird new textures being created on top of a layer that can be done before and all of this clashes between different sounds in the pipe organ and that was inspiring to. “The Marble Eye” was intended to be a soft song first, like the buildings are more or less the same as my demo and the arrangement is actually exactly the same, but the sound is completely different than my demo, because when I played this marble organ it just had this extremely interesting and harsh notes in the upper register that both me and Randall felt like using and working and experimenting with it. It was perfect in this song because the notes were so clear and so they could present the patterns in this song in a very interesting and fresh new way. It also created a lot of weird overtones. We really fell in love with musicandriots.com
these overtones. In the mixing process, I remember the first mix that he sent to me was basically only almost the overtones and I was like, “Ok Randall, I love the overtones and they are amazing, but can we also have the song in the song?” [laughs] And then he sent me a new mix with the song and all the arrangements and all the layers, but the texture and the ambiance of the overtones are still there like half dominating the soundscape. It’s very interesting in an unexpected way. Unexpected things can happen when you create something. Randall Dunn is definitely one of my favorite producers at the moment. How did you end up working together and how was it like the experience? Randall contacted me on Facebook and he wrote, “Hi Anna. I’m Randall Dunn and I love your work. I would love to do something with you. Here’s the link to my website, please feel free to contact me.” I recognized his name, but I couldn’t truly figure out who he was. I went into his website and I saw the list of the bands that he recorded and I was like, “Oh my god!!!” [laughs] They were all of my favorite bands. [laughs] Really, all of my favorite bands were in that list. I was just like, “I think he gets it. He can understand what I’m going for.” He contacted me, which means a lot, and I knew he would put in a lot of passion into the project as well, because he thinks he can do something good out of it. I felt very comfortable telling him that I would love to do something to him. I answered him and we kept contact. We spoke a little bit about it and once I had the songs we set a date and had 9 intense days of working together. It was great. I think he’s a fantastic producer. The album has the contributions of Karl Vento (guitar), Joel Fabiansson (guitar), Filip Leyman (synthesizers), Ulrik Ording (drums) and David Sabel (bass), with string arrangements on “The Truth, the Glow, the Fall” and “Källans Återuppståndelse” by Úlfur Hansson. Did those musicians have any input on the writing of the songs? No, the writing of the songs is just me and
"THE IMAGINATION IS A VERY STRONG FORCE THAT YOU CARRY AROUND AND IT CAN WORK IN BOTH WAYS. IT CAN BE GOOD FOR YOU, BUT SOMETIMES IT CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE FOR YOU AS WELL." 82
ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF it’s my project, and so it’s my emotions, my ideas and my thoughts. I need to be consistent with that at the moment. I’m not the best improvising musician, I’m not like jamming musicians, but with organizing sounds I think that’s one of my strongest qualities. I usually have a mission or an idea and then I can present it to the band. We work around it, shape it and we find songs together and once we have the structure then we can start to play around with it and jam a little bit on it and improvise on it, but usually I have to have like the main structure to be there for us to make something out of it. You have recently released the hauntingly beautiful video for your first single, “The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra”. Starring Siri Wigzell and yourself, the video was directed by your sister Maria von Hausswolff, who recently won the Cinematography Debut award at the prestigious Camerimage film festival. Congrats on that! Can you tell us how was develop the concept for the video and how was it like shooting it? Well, I would say she’s as secretive as I am her doing her art, so when I came to the set I didn’t know anything about the plot or the storyline or her idea about it. I just knew what I was going to do. She said, “You’re going to be in the mud, you’re going to be running, you’re going to be singing to this part on the song. Do you feel comfortable with that?” And then I said, “Yes, I think so.” [laughs] Of course I trust her and so if she thinks it can be good, I believe it can be good. I came to the spot in the nature outside of Copenhagen in the middle of the night. We spent the entire night and also a little in the morning in that place recording. For me it was extremely physically a tired song because it was very cold and I was covered from head to toe in mud from that place. It was really cold, nasty mud smelling like bird shit. [laughs] The first scene was me running with the mud, but the last scene that we were going to shoot was me being dug up from the mud, so I had to keep that mud the entire sets. I was covered in mud. I had this all over on top of me. I just walked around like I was some kind of mud troll for a lot of hours. [laughs] It was kind of extreme, but I was just following her orders and doing what I was told the best way I can and trust her. When she works with my music videos, she likes to see it as an extension to the music videos that she has done before. It’s not like an entirely new field in itself. I think she kind of wants you to see the previous ones as well. Just like the album format, the songs can connect with each other and there’s something going on, and she has the same view on her music videos. When she was done with the music video for the first time and I saw myself, it was a horrible. I’ve never seen myself singing to the music before. I never seen myself acting in a music video before and it was really hard. I just called her and said, “This is not possible, we can’t show it.” [laughs] But then she was like, “Anna just try to disconnect from your own body, your mind and from your idea of how you want yourself to be presented. Also try to disconnect from your vanity and your perception of yourself. Ask friends, ask people that you really trust and hear them out before we totally
throw this out in the trash can.” I showed to my friends and I got lots of good feedback and people were very surprised to see me in the video. I also felt like sometimes it’s really good to let go of control because then you can open up to something new and you can open up to the possibility of acting out in another project. If I would throw this in the trash can and then I would say “I will never ever be acting out or being in a music video or like looking at myself on a screen. I will never do that again.” But I don’t want to say that because then I would limit myself. Now I feel super proud and happy about the delivery. [laughs] The music video is so beautiful. The album’s cover is a photo by Maria von and the design and layout was by you and Magnus Andersson. What’s the meaning behind this photo? Here comes another secrecy. [laughs] I will tell people eventually what it is, but right now I’m getting so many fantastic interpretations and just wild ideas of what the photo is and where it’s coming from, so I want to hear more of what people think of it and what they see in this image. I can tell you that it’s a photo that I had in my belongings for 16 years, so it’s a very personal photo. My sister took it. On the inner sleeve artwork for Dead Magic, there’s this drawing made by you and it’s called “the marble eye”. Yeah. There’s the inner sleeve on the LP/ CD artwork. When you open up, there’s a drawing of an imaginary place. It’s like a fantastic place, but it’s also kind of a dark and gothic in its presentation, but it’s more magical. I think the inner sleeve cover work is corresponding beautifully to the front cover artwork, because both of them have this dark humor. One has a more dark and brutal aesthetics, and the other one has some more fantastical imaginary and mysterious aesthetics. Um, we’re not mysterious, but yesterday were bright and such students. Are you currently working on other projects? I had been working with a theater play here in Gothenburg for the last four months and it’s a theater play called Gösta Berlings saga. It’s a take on the story to by Selma Lagerlöf. I was asked to write the music for this play and it’s a three hour long play and so I made probably like one and a half hour or even two hours material for this play. Once I was finished with the recording of Dead Magic, I started writing the material for this play and so that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been recording amazing pipe organ here in Gothenburg and it’s very different from Dead Magic. It’s mostly instrumental music and a new approach to the writing process, also because it’s a play and so I have already the story and the narrative presented to me. I finished that one in December and now I’m preparing for the upcoming tour of Dead Magic. Now I started to approach Dead Magic material again, but in a live format.
DEAD MAGIC IS OUT NOW ON CITY SLANG musicandriots.com
ALELA DIA Being a mother is a full-time job, and though it can be hard sometimes, it's an extraordinary and enriching experience. Alela Diane knows that well and her new album Cusp is all about it. We talked to her about how motherhood changed her life, how it is important to talk about it, and why a near-death experience while giving birth to her child changed her perspective towards life. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Jacklyn Campanaro
ou were recently on a European tour. How was it? It went really well. I’m actually back in Portland now. I came back last night, so I’m home and it feels really good to be back. It was a great tour and we had a lot of fun. How’s the new year has been for you so far? It’s been really good. It’s always nice to have a fresh start. It’s exciting to be back again after some time off. Things are going well. Cusp is your new album and you gently reflect on the emotions and experiences of motherhood. Going into motherhood and everything around it was the main influence on the writing of your new album. Was it easy for you to go deeper about motherhood like you did a while writing this album? Well, I wrote the album at an artist residency. I was away from my family for a few
weeks and at the time my daughter was two years old, and so for me the fact that I began reflecting on motherhood it wasn’t really an intentional choice. It was pretty circumstantial and it was kind of what I had been doing so intensely for the past two years. It’s what I naturally was drawn to sort of start unpacking and to write about. Because it wasn’t a conscious decision to “I’m going to write about motherhood”, when I began writing the songs it became very clear, after I’d written a handful, “I guess this is what I have to talk about right now.” [laughs] Why did you name the album as Cusp? Cusp is the word that describes the time that the astrological sign changes, so I was born on the cusp between Aries and Taurus. My birthday is April 20th. I was pregnant when I recorded the album, which felt very fitting for the subject matter of the songs, and the weekend that the album was being finished, it was being mixed down in Los Angeles and I was supposed to be down there while they mixed the record, to obviously help with that process. But instead I had to have my baby early and she was born five weeks early. She was also born on the cusp and she was born on February 20th. The word also means like on the brink of or the threshold between, so I’m referencing pregnancy and how it sort of this in-between place that baby is not quite in the world yet. The baby is not quite participating here, but it’s not in the other world either. A lot of these songs are referencing this in between place and in this beginning place, and I think of the word cusp sort of embodies a lot of the feelings like that that are on the record. And so there were a number of reasons why I titled it that. You recorded the new songs while pregnant with your second child, and during the mixing process, you went into labor five weeks early. You went through a near-death experience while giving birth to new life. How do you look back to those moments of your life now that you’re about to release the album? I learned a lot from that experience and it also strangely I had already recorded all the songs on the album, but there are certain songs that explore that idea of the intersection between birth and death. It was pretty strange to then experience that myself when it was something I had already written about on the album. I think that’s another reason why it sort of all connected back and that’s why I named it Cusp and how that related to the whole experience. I think after going through that and really feeling so close to the edge, I’ve been left with this sense that I just appreciate every day now and I’m just glad to be here. It has also given me a new appreciation for what I’m able to do with my music and just appreciating performing much more than I ever had before. Just given me a new joy of life and just to not taking anything for granted. It was a bit of an awakening for sure. Yeah, that’s really amazing. It makes life even more interesting. So, like you were saying before, you wrote this new album 2016 in a small cabin deep within snowy woods where you lived during a three-
week artist residency at Caldera, Oregan, alone for the first time since become a mother. As an artist, how was it like the experience? It was a really nurturing experience for me. Motherhood is such a full-time job and to be able to get away by myself and to reflect on that life felt very wonderful for me. I was writing the songs, but I was also just taking care of myself and I was having some time away to get perspective. I was putting logs on the fire in the little wood stove in the cabin as watching football. I read some books. It was very healing and I got to have proper rest. I could sleep as long as I wanted. The creation of these songs came out of a place of peace and of just sort of collecting myself again, sort of a reawakening and a reconnection with myself and being able to get back in touch with my creativity as well. It was quite wonderful. That’s really important. As a mother you have to take care of your child, but you have to care yourself as well. Yeah. I’ve learned that in the years since becoming a mother. Now that I have two children, I can feel that even more because with two kids you’re that much busier. The tour that I just went on I was away for two weeks and my littlest child will be one in February this month, so she’s quite small and it felt really hard to leave, but once I was gone I realized how important it is for me to be able to take some time away and sort of reconnect with my music as well. It felt so wonderful to go out and perform these songs. I missed my children, but I also was like “This is really fun to be away.” [laughs] I appreciate it. It’s like you are recharging your energies and then go back to take care of them with more strength. How’s it like for you now that you are a mother to adapt the life on the road with your family? The two are so different. After my first child was born, when she was two I did a tour where we brought her with us and that was so difficult. It was so challenging to be a mother and to put on a good concert at night. I was exhausted. I’ve realized after that that it’s really important to separate the two things and that when I’m on tour I need to just be fully present with that and engaged with that experience. That allows me to when I’m at home I can just focus on being a mom and I don’t need to worry about the performance and all these other things. And then it also allows me, when I have childcare a few times a week, I have a nanny come here and I have five hours. I leave the house and I fully engaged with my work and that feels really wonderful. But when I’m at home with my kids, I have to just fully be with them. And so the two roles do their best when I’m able to carve out time for each thing. During the writing of the new album, you broke a thumbnail which led you to the songwriting on a grand piano, resulting in the most piano driven album of your career. Were you expecting such a gratifying end product? It’s really a riveting album. It’s such a silly story. [laughs] The first day I arrived at the residency I remember breaking my fingernail off and just being musicandriots.com
like, “Oh shit. I’m here to write songs and play the guitar and when you don’t have a thumbnail and you are a finger picking guitar player.” It’s just really annoying. It’s possible to play guitar without your fingernail, but it’s just really annoying because yeah, it’s like my pick for playing guitar. I remember also thinking like, “This is interesting, why did this happen?” and I remember going and seeing a piano and I’m not a great piano player and I haven’t taken lessons. I didn’t know how to play piano, but I remember just going in there and sitting with the piano. I had a lot of time in my day because I didn’t have my child with me, and so I just sat at the piano and kind of fumble around for a while. Eventually I had a breakthrough and for the first time in my life I figured out how to play piano with two hands. For piano players there’s no big deal, but for me was really cool. I started using it to write songs and it became clear that I was really enjoying it. It felt really relaxing for me to sit at that piano to explore and figure out how to do new things. And the result is the most piano driven album that I’ve had. It’s worth noting that on the record there are four songs that I played piano on and then there are a few piano songs that I wrote on the piano, but I didn’t feel like I could play them in the way that I wanted them to be performed. So I did work with an actual piano player who tracked piano on “Ether & Wood” and “Moves Us Blind” on the album and did a few overdubs as well. He played beautifully and things that I couldn’t play piano on my own, but having written those songs on piano, I knew that I wanted them to be illustrated in that way. So yeah, I think it gives the album a different feel than my older work as well. Did you play piano on your latest tour? I did! I played piano on a few of the songs, which were “Albatross” and “Wild Ceaseless Song”, and my friend Heather Woods Broderick was touring with me and she played piano on the songs that I didn’t really feel like I could play very well. [laughs] Now that you have great skills with piano and guitar, which one would you prefer now for songwriting? I think I’ll probably always do a little bit of both, but I’ve been enjoying playing piano and even on the live shows when I was just performing, the times when I get to sit down at the piano and perform a song on the piano, it felt really refreshing and really different to me. I think I’ve been enjoying that quite a lot, like it feels very different to sit down at a piano than it does to stand at the front of the stage and play a guitar. It feels really different and lately I’ve been definitely enjoying the piano. Besides expressing your own personal experiences about motherhood on your songs, you approached also other important subjects related to that, like international refugee crisis on the first single “Emigré”. Can you elaborate more about that song? I think that song came out of seeing that really tragic photograph of Alan Kurdi, the little boy washed up on the beach, and my own daughter was the same age as him at
that time. I think through the perspective of having become a mother that really impacted me seeing that and I think it impacted a lot of people. We’re bombarded with bad news every day of our lives, really and when these things happen and they hit close to home or they strike a chord in a different way, like seeing that little boy it made a lot of people realize that that could’ve been anyone’s child wherever you come from. No mother should ever have to make a decision that risks her own life or the life of her children for the pursuit of safety and freedom. I felt really strongly about that and I just felt called to say something. I haven’t often spoken about political events much in my music at all, but because of being a mother, I felt really protective around that and I felt like I needed to say something. The video for “Emigré” is simple but just so stunning. How was it like for you to shot that video with your own child? That’s my second child, my little baby. She’s 11 months old now and in the video I think she’s probably nine months old. I think showing me and my child felt like a really powerful way to illustrate that everybody deserves a roof over their head and just the simple things in life that we take for granted when we’re born into a country where those aren’t issues or safety isn’t an issue. I guess safety is really become an issue everywhere in this day and age, but there’s a lot you can take for granted and showing that everyone deserves freedom and safety with their children. “Song for Sandy” was written for British singer Sandy Denny who died shortly after the birth of her daughter. It’s such a touching song. What led you to write about her story? It’s a story I’ve known for a long time and I’ve appreciated sending Sandy Denny’s music for many years. I love her voice and love her songwriting. One day I was on tour a few years ago and I was thinking about her story after I became a mom and just the tragedy of the fact that she left the child behind. And again, it was the perspective of motherhood that I’ve thought about that tragedy again and just realized the intensity of it, and so I wrote a song for her. “Never Easy” is one of those songs that really stand out on this album and it’s about your relationship with your own mother. Your perspective towards your mother changed once you became a mother yourself. How’s your relationship with her now? My mom and I have a really wonderful relationship now. I think that me becoming a mom has given me a new understanding of just how difficult it is to raise children. When I was a little one, I cried all the time and I was a very emotionally difficult child. I remember screaming and just feeling so devastated and sad all the time when I was little. My older daughter is a lot like that and she cries over everything. She’s very sensitive and it’s very challenging to know how to navigate that as a mom. It’s almost like my own daughter came to give me this gift of saying, “Hey, this isn’t easy at all.”
I understand more the place that my own mom was in because I think as a child I didn’t understand where she was coming from and I didn’t have the compassion towards that I do now. I wrote that song about my mom and I, but now that I’ve written it, I realized in a lot of ways is also about me and my older daughter. It has been challenging from day one. I just think I’ve gained a lot of perspective on all of that: being a mom and how to navigate that. You love your kids so much and you’re just trying to help them figure out how to be a person in the world as gracefully as possible and it’s really hard. Cusp was recorded at Flora Playback, produced by Peter M. Murray and mixed by Noah Georgeson, with the album also featuring contributions from Ryan Francesconi (Joanna Newsom), Rob Burger (Iron & Wine), Peter Broderick, Heather Woods Broderick (Sharon Van Etten), Luke Ydstie (Blind Pilot), and Daniel Hunt (Neko Case). How was it like to record this album? This record was one of the easiest records to make. There weren’t really any hang-ups. I worked with Peter Murray and he helped produce the album. He was just really good at helping to support my vision for the songs. I think in the past I’ve worked with people who insert themselves too much into the project, but on this one, Peter was just there to support me and my ideas. Between the two of us, we knew a lot of really wonderful musicians, so we invited them to perform on the record. It just kind of went gracefully, like the basic tracks - the piano, the vocals and the guitar -, we recorded all of that in six days, which is pretty weird for a recording. And then we did the overdubs in a couple of different studio and all along the way it just was easy. I think that’s a good sign when you’re making a record, because I’ve had these experience a lot in the past where I recorded a song and I hadn’t been able to figure out why the song doesn’t feel like I want it to feel and with this album as I recorded it was like, “Yes, that feels like the song! The right person is performing on it. It’s at the right tempo.” I think I’ve just learned a lot over the years through many difficult experiences of recording and I was able to feel really at ease in the studio this time. That was really great. Overall, which song of the new album has a special place for you? I appreciate them all on their own way, they are my songs. I think one of the songs that I love performing and I appreciate the album version as well is “Albatross”. It’s sort of an understated song, you know? It’s probably not a single or whatever, but I think I like that song because for me playing the piano on that song is really relaxing and I just love playing that piano heart. I wrote the piano and then I added the melody to it, so I feel like for me that was kind of a special song to write, have a breakthrough and feel like, “Wow, I feel comfortable playing this song live.” I’m sitting in front of the piano, which is so new for me.
CUSP IS OUT NOW ON ALL POINTS
ALELA ZOLA DIANE JESUS
"THE CREATION OF THESE SONGS CAME OUT OF A PLACE OF PEACE AND OF JUST SORT OF COLLECTING MYSELF AGAIN, SORT OF A REAWAKENING AND A RECONNECTION WITH MYSELF AND BEING ABLE TO GET BACK IN TOUCH WITH MY CREATIVITY AS WELL."
“I DO AGREE THAT IF FASCISM COMES TO YOUR DOOR, YOU OPEN YOUR DOOR AND STAND FIRM, AND YOU FUCKING DEAL WITH IT IN ANY WAY YOU CAN. I DON’T MIND VIOLENCE IF IT’S FOR YOUR OWN SELF-PRESERVATION AND RIGHT NOW WE’RE IN A BATTLE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION AGAINST RIGHT-WING IDEOLOGY THAT IS BEING ACCEPTED AS MAINSTREAM”
Y R T S I N MI 88
You can’t keep a mean dog down. Maybe that’s why, after several announcements of retirement, Ministry are still alive and kicking against the pricks. Making a name for themselves in the then-fertile underground of the US industrial scene in the late ‘80s, they’ve rebuilt and reinvented themselves so many times that they’ve never seemed anything but relevant, and though the tragic passing of guitarist Mike Scaccia in 2012 seemed set to put an end to the party, Al Jourgensen has deemed it fit and right to deliver yet another series of scathing blows in 2018, just when we need it the most. We pinned down Uncle Al to talk about the state of the world and its part in the shaping of Amerikkkant in his own inimitable and perversely hilarious fashion. Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Allan Amato
ou had said that From Beer To Eternity would be the last album. Was there ever any real thought of not making an album given everything that’s been happening? Of course. When I made that statement that there really can’t be another Ministry album, I’d just lost my best friend of 30 years and my right-hand guitar player, and I didn’t really need to continue doing Ministry without Mikey. So I decided to do an album called Surgical Meth Machine, which I did alone along with an engineer but then, as I was making it I got a call from a fucking manager that said, “Oh yeah, you already signed a contract to play Europe as Ministry next year, and if you don’t do it you’re going to get fucking sued and it’ll ruin the rest of your life.” So, okay! I put together a new Ministry band. I wasn’t happy about it but we went over to Europe and we toured for a while and at the end of it the shows were sounding pretty good, and it was actually like a band again for the first time in a long, long, long time. So, we decided after the European tour to go to a studio in Los Angeles for a few days and say “Okay, let’s see what we can do on our own instead of playing the stuff we did with Mikey” and within one week, we came up with 70-80% of this record just from us jamming. That pretty much affirmed my point that, “Hey, this is cool. This is like a band again.” It’s been so long. The last time we ever recorded as a band in the studio was in 1993-1994 for Filth Pig. It was really re-energising to do this record and I think it came out cool. Definitely. How did that recording experience compare to going back to Filth Pig? I know that some of the old recordings are a bit of a blur for you. Well, the main thing is – if you want to go back to Filth Pig – the main difference is that this album was more fuelled by people on psychedelics than it was by people fuelled by heroin and cocaine. [laughs] That’s the best way I can describe it, man!
So how does that work with the writing and recording process? I think it melds perfectly with the way society is going now. It’s probably best to get off the heroin and cocaine and just start eating mushrooms as we are living in the Twilight Zone. Given everything happening at the moment, and everything you’ve experienced, how do you stay sane? It’s going on six decades now that I’ve been on this shithole of a planet and it’s starting to get more surreal the older I get, which is great because I’m more prepared to deal with it. I’ve seen some crazy shit over the first 59 years and now it’s going into overdrive. It’s the Twilight Zone on steroids and as you get older and inundated with so much bullshit, it almost comes naturally to start saying, “Okay, what’s next?” Waking up in November after the election and 70% of the populace have jaws hitting the floor, freaking out, and you’re just, “Okay, roll up the shirt sleeves – it’s time to get to work.” That was the spark of this record, the initiative, but it evolved into so much more because there were so many people collaborating and it was a whole different approach from the past couple of Ministry records or Surgical Meth Machine. It’s just an inspiration. It’s really cool but it took a really big pile of pus to get us going. How did you find heading back into the studio and doing Ministry without Mikey? It seems like it’d be a big shift. It actually wasn’t as we’ve done it before, but it’s been so long. And it wasn’t planned to be like that, it was more “Well, we sounded pretty good in Europe. What can we do on a dare, or chance? Where can we go?” Within one week, we’d found the answer and it was called Amerikkkant. It kind of fell into place seamlessly and a lot of the other different people came floating in and out of the studio after we recorded the basic tracks, like DJ Swamp from Beck; Arabian Prince, the DJ from NWA; Burton Bell from Fear Factory. We all live within a mile or two of each other and people would just hang out and it became a really organic, collaborative process. After sitting in a room with an engineer for the last 10 years and programming albums, calculating them out, this played really organically and I think you can tell. People have noticed the similarities in feel between this and the early to mid-90s period of Ministry. It really felt like coming home again. What was the fuel for the tone of this album, both sonically and lyrically? Was it anger or was it just the strangeness of things these days? I wouldn’t call it anger, I’d call it a combination of frustration and wonderment. This is not an anti-Trump record, this is far deeper than that. This is more like if you look at a TV series like Electric Dreams – any Philip K Dick, really - or Black Mirror. I felt more like a photographer on this album than a musician. I just took a snapshot of what the fuck happened in 2016 and took the picture, held it up to society for society to see and said, “Look at it.” Then they looked at it and my question is, “This is where we’re at; is this where we want to be at or do you want to go somewhere?” It’s bullshit and this is far deeper than Trump. There’s a Trump in almost every country these days – Turkey, Egypt, Russia, Poland, Romania, you name it. There’s this rise of right-wing fascism that people seem to be okay with, but it’s not the majority of the global populace. That’s why I wanted to take a snapshot and remind everyone that this is not what we wanted as a global species. I have to live in America so of course that hits home when we have this angry, toxic orange thing spewing misogyny and racism on a daily basis, but it’s more about what’s wrong with us that we thought it was a good idea to put this person in power and that’s basically the driving force of this album. Well, when you have that you get reactive forces too, one of which that you mention on the album is Antifa. What do you make of these grassroots reactions? Once again, it’s a far more complex topic than just a soundbite. Say “Antifa” and people immediately think of people in black hoods beating up right-wingers. Right-wingers are free to say what they want to say. I don’t endorse the violence of musicandriots.com
Antifa but people in America have been ruled for centuries now by fascists, but not by overt fascists. This is the first time we’ve had an overtly fascist president that has mainstreamed the KKK, and the John Birch Society, and these other right-wing lunatics, so now that has become the mainstream vernacular and accepted. To me, that was really interesting because in 1930s Europe, fascism was on the rise and there was this movement called Antifa that stood up against it. This is what we’re facing in America now but Americans don’t know it because our fascist rulers have been hidden under a cloak; this one is overtly fascist so it’s time to bring the word Antifa into the vernacular. Now, do I agree with Antifa’s policies of violence? No, but I do agree that if fascism comes to your door, you open your door and stand firm, and you fucking deal with it in any way you can. I don’t mind violence if it’s for your own self-preservation and right now we’re in a battle for self-preservation against right-wing ideology that is being accepted as mainstream, whether it’s in the UK, USA, France, Turkey, Egypt, Philippines, Russia, et cetera... Well coming back to Amerikkkant, that artwork is quite striking. It’s simple but poignant. How much involvement did you have with the commissioning of that? Well, Sam Shearon and I are old buddies. We sat down and of course we’re all very ashamed but hats off to France for at least not letting Marine Le Pen get into power, and boo to the UK for letting Brexit happen, but yeah, we were embarrassed. Sam came up with that concept, we talked about the parameters and then he did all the legwork on it. He’s a genius illustrator and also a good friend so I’m quite happy with the artwork. It’s succinct, it’s nothing too sophisticated, it’s to the point and it evokes a certain sentiment. You spoke earlier about the organic nature of this record. Given the increasing technological presence in the album-making process now, does it become more difficult to keep human elements at the fore? I’ve gone back and forth on this. When I first started, I was a musician – not a singer, not a songwriter – and as a guitar player, and later a keyboard player, as new technology came out I started to steer Ministry towards more keyboard-oriented stuff because it was the new thing to do and I neglected the guitar side of things. Then, with Land Of Rape And Honey, we started to incorporate guitar more again and pretty soon we’d ditched a lot of the technological stuff and gone back to the organic stuff. Then we went through a period with a combination of both. With this one, I’ve been up and down on it. Basically, an album is just a means to express your point. Whatever weapon you choose, whether it’s a computer or it’s a guitar, doesn’t matter as long as you get the same point across. This one, to me, is shifting back to a much more organic feel and that’s fine too. I take it you don’t miss the days of splicing together tape by hand then? Well, no. I’ll tell you what, though, I’m most proud of those days. If you ever see
some survey of me with what my all-time favourite album of Ministry was, it would always have to be... Rape And Honey because that was the days of literally splicing tape by hand and hours and hours of doing it, yet it didn’t seem to be drudgery at all. It was like this whole new vast horizon that we were exploring and you felt invigorated, that you were doing something no-one else was doing. That was really cool, but I’m sure being a coal miner in the early 1900s and powering up the first electrical grids in America felt great, but it doesn’t at the end of your life when you’re spitting up black lung coal dust! That’s my feeling on it. When you look back, you feel like a coal miner but at the time, you felt like Dalí. You’ve mentioned The Matrix and Philip K. Dick now – have you always been into sci-fi or is it a recent development? It’s never really been my thing but I’ve always kept tabs on it. Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, I kept tabs on it as I was growing up. Dick, Ballard, Clarke, it’s a bit of sci-fi but it’s more of a psychological thing. When 2001 came out, I was seven years old. I went to the theatre and saw it, and I was blown away, but it’s not so much the genre as it is the possibilities of “what if.” Could this really happen? When I was about three years old, back in the 60s, I remember hearing that pretty soon we’d have flying cars. We still don’t have them but the possibility exists. That’s the intriguing part of science fiction that every sentient being on this planet cannot ignore. Of course it’s a factor but it’s not the foremost in what I do, as there’s also societal topics of poverty and gender inequality, of race divisions. There’s so much to talk about but science fiction is an important part of anyone’s intellectual diet. There is that real idea of hope there. Do you want Ministry to be a vessel of hope? I don’t necessarily consider ourselves a hopeful band, or necessarily anything, but literally a mirror that is held up that you should look at, because all I’m writing about it is you. You tell me where the fuck we should go from here. The only hope here is coming from the people that have been made aware of the situation. I’m not a messenger; I’m not a harbinger of doom or hope. What was your learning curve like with working with technology? Can you remember your first experiences with things like ProTools? I remember ProTools quite well because I’d just spent some ridiculous amount of money, like $60,000, on a Fairlight to get the new technology of the time. I think that was during the Twitch record, and by The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste, it was completely obsolete - fleeced out of $60,000 that I could’ve spent on decent drugs at the time. So my relationship with technology is one of complete distrust and disdain. Then ProTools comes out, and for $20,000 I can get twice or three times the capability as I could have had the year before for three times the price. I view it with major distrust, and I remember saying in ’88 that I don’t even want to use technology again until it comes completely
voice- activated and interfaced to your brain. The shit like The Matrix literally a mirror that is held up that you should look at, because all I’m writing about it is you. You tell me where the fuck we should go from here. The only hope here is coming from the people that have been made aware of the situation. I’m not a messenger; I’m not a harbinger of doom or hope. There’s a much greater scope now for feedback between artists and fans. How much difference does that make to you? Here we go again with the ultimate paradox of our generation – the internet. Very similar to the lessons that are trying to be told on shows like Black Mirror, I feel very akin to that in terms of the nature of what we have. We have the greatest tool in generations, probably in recorded human history, and what grandiose possibility is this going to create? This is the information age which, within 20 years, has turned into the disinformation age, divided and conquered society through mistrust and fake news, and now we have a problem on our hands. What started out as sex became syphilis. As far as instant response from people, is that instant response or is that robo-trolls who spew hate in order to divide and conquer? The ruling class has found a way to fight back against something that is perfectly cool in nature but just like everything else, it’s the practical application that decides its fate, and right now the fate that’s being perpetrated by the multi-nationals is to take the internet, something that could have been fantastic for the human race, and turned it against us to make us squabble and squander the opportunity of having this much knowledge. Instead, we care more about how many likes we get on sharing a post from YouTube about a cat playing piano than we do about our government taking away our healthcare or slashing pensions or making your life miserable on a day-to-day basis because hey, it’s a cat playing fucking piano! This is what the internet has devolved into when the possibilities of it in the beginning were so enormous, and we have allowed it to get to this point. Don’t get me wrong, I like cats; I like piano; I like both, but this is not my raison d’etre for being on this planet. What is your reason for existing? Is that a question that keeps you awake at night? [Laughs] It would probably have to be psilocybin mushrooms that keeps me awake. Other than that, I’ve quit all the other bullshit man-made pharmaceuticals, like heroin and coke and OxyContin, that I haven’t done in years, but mushrooms keep me awake at night in a much more serene way. I feel much more stable and tranquil now. I actually have lucid thoughts and when my head hits the pillow, it does so in the most serene way. When did you start using psilocybin? My god, I lived with Timothy Leary for two years in the mid-90s so that was a trip. They were just isolating the chemicals in MDA and MDMA to figure out the difference, and then there was the LSD-25 molecule. Tim would have me shoot this shit intravenously in a liquid form, these new
“THE ONLY HOPE HERE IS COMING FROM THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN MADE AWARE OF THE SITUATION. I’M NOT A MESSENGER; I’M NOT A HARBINGER OF DOOM OR HOPE.”
drugs that were coming out of laboratories, and I was his guinea pig. He took copious notes on it that are now owned by Winona Ryder’s father, strangely enough. That’s a long story but either way, Tim had copious notes on the effects of psychedelics on the mind and that came from two years of me living with him in Beverly Hills and shooting up drugs. I took a two-year hiatus from Ministry for that. Some people go to the Andes, live with shamans and eat mushrooms; I just went to Timothy Leary’s house and shot up chemical compounds. That’s probably the most singular propellant in my life to effect change within myself. There’s more than meets the eye. Don’t just require the eye, require the mind. Given the people you’ve encountered in your life – Leary, Burroughs, Spielberg – is there anyone from throughout history that you’d kill to meet? I think there’s only one person on this planet that I find particularly interesting, and what’s funny is that I actually met him one day at 2:30 in the morning on a street and he came up and asked to borrow a cigarette from him, and it was only later I realised that was Tom Waits. I never had the chance to talk to him and that’s the only person. All my heroes are dead, so Tom Waits is probably my last hero alive. You said in the past that you wanted to be
a teacher. Do you still have that urge or have you fulfilled it through what you’ve achieved with Ministry? I think I’ve amalgamated the two careers into one. It’s certainly not a classroom but I release records, I have points of view and personal insights that might or might not help other people that are out there, and to me that’s kind of like a floating classroom. I’ve reconciled my desire to be a teacher with convincing myself that what I’m doing is the same as being a teacher, only I’m paid a little better than most of them. I think education is the most important thing to our species on this planet but I’ve reconciled it to the point where I try to make my records at least a little bit educational or informative in the sense of one person’s viewpoint or of a snapshot showing society. A lot of my records have been like that, so in other words I’m trying to give myself the excuse for not being motivated enough to drag my ass to class and finish my degree. What did you want to teach? I was a history major and political science minor. I was one of those agitated little kids that probably should have been on some state-sponsored Ritalin drug because I was bouncing off the walls with theories and propositions, and people couldn’t stand me. Nowadays, they put those kids on drugs to sedate them but then I was able to ping-pong around until I found music, and there
I ended up losing my degree and my hopes and dreams of being a teacher, and now I’m stuck with this shithole job! What other art are you working on, as you’ve dabbled in a lot over the years? We’re about halfway done with a new Revolting Cocks record, which is the perfect antidote to this record and all its sombreness and self-reflection. I think we need good old-fashioned fraternity, a romp in the hay – Revolting Cocks rides again. Do something spectacularly stupid and make people realise that irony, and paradox and humour still actually exist, and it doesn’t have to be politically correct, because it’s also a mirror. We, as a collective society, are also this – a misogynistic tribe of dolts that are going around, doing loud and proud partying. I think it’s time to resurrect the Cocks just for comic relief. We need to take a breath of air, after all these impeachment proceedings and the world starts getting a gauge on where it wants to go after nuclear threat and nuclear threat, everyone going back to the bomb shelter days of”‘duck and cover” in the ‘50s. I think people might need 15 minutes of humour. It’s already halfway done, it’s already ridiculous and over-the-top, so I’m looking forward to doing that next.
AMERIKKKANT IS OUT NOW ON NUCLEAR BLAST musicandriots.com
CRED Long gone are the days when Jess Abbott was a guitarist on Now, Now. She has built her own project and her own thing as Tancred. Since then she has been releasing songs that are quite personal and impressive. Nightstand is her latest effort and we caught up with her to know more about it. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Shervin Lainez
ightstand is your fourth album as Tancred. How do you feel that your songwriting has evolved since the first album? I feel like it’s changed a lot. My first Tancred album was very low fi and I was really young. I was like 19 when it came out. I feel like with each album I’ve put out, I’ve just learned more about what I’m doing and figured out the songs I want to write. I think writing pop music is becoming more and more important to me. With these songs I feel like I’ve arranged them very specifically, which makes them feel a little bit different from the first album. With that said, I feel like Nightstand is a more calm record comparing to the frenetic energy from your last album, 2016’s Out Of The Garden. So what led you to a more soft approach this time around? Out Of The Garden had a lot of energy. That was really fun for me. I felt like a lot of the energy I really needed to like get out of me like set it free and then I did that. Now I’m just trying to like reconnect with a more vulnerable songwriting. On Nightstand, you explore your quests for the meaning of life and to be alive, and I think that’s something that everyone goes through on their lives. Did you find some answers after writing this new album? I think every time I write an album, I learn more about myself and the message that I always come back to when I’m writing something is how important it is to be yourself with yourself and others. A lot of the songs on Nightstand are about trying to connect with other people romantically or intimately. My takeaway from all of these experiences from that album is that finding myself is the most important thing at the end of the day. By the way, why naming the album as Nightstand? I had all of these songs written that were about really specific moments and things that were happening to me that we were all kind of like unrelated and each song felt a little different from the next. It felt like a collection of just like personal things and I was thinking like, “What’s something I could use to describe that? What’s something out there that holds a bunch of little personal items?” and I came up with Nightstand, where like each person’s nightstand is totally individual to themselves. You’ll never find a nightstand that’s exactly the same as someone else’s, you know? Everyone’s got their own personal
little knickknacks and things that are important to them. And also because one of the songs is about connecting romantically with people and being intimately with people. I feel like the image of the nightstand really brings you into that kind of like quiet private space. During the time you were working on this new album, you were reading a lot of books, learning a lot of new hobbies, meeting new people. In what way did that influence the creative process for Nightstand? It was really just a period of time that I took to really connect with myself and figure out more about myself. All those hobbies or aspects of life I was exploring on my own and being able to take that time alone helps me. I guess see what I was experiencing around me through the writing lens and then created these songs felt like I hadn’t spent all this time alone, like working on things that I was doing for myself. I stumbled into writing these songs. Was there a particular book that had a great impact on you for this album? I was reading during that time. I was reading a lot of Margaret Atwood. Her books and her poetry are all pretty dystopian and it’s like feminine dystopian. I tend to get from this book like less feeling of dread and more feeling of how important human connection can be. That drew me into writing these kinds of songs, like these moments that you won’t forget and that were like important to you. I was also reading a lot of like period books like World War II era books and that kind of set a tone for me thinking of that kind of clothing and architecture. You released a video for “Queen of New York” and it was shot by Shervin Lainez. The song is basically about one night stand and the internal reflection the next day. What can you tell us more about this song and the video? This is probably the most upfront song about everything I was just talking about in terms of connecting with other people in a way that... I think humans are just naturally very lonely, with or without people, humans are just on their own. Being alive is kind of lonely and so I took like the most blatant example of trying to just connect with someone, which is just like a one nightstand. I wrote the song about that experience from the perspective of looking back on it the next morning and thinking about what it meant to you, even if you both knew it was nothing. There was still a vulnerability regardless what you can think about the next day and carry it with you into your next day, but I wanted it to be kind of fun too. Can you elaborate about the story behind the song “Strawberry Selfish”? To me “Strawberry Selfish” is about kind of thinking of a love from when you were younger and even though you can grow into different people, as you get older they’re still this kind of dislike imprint of a time that will like sit in your mind forever of what this person meant to you. There’s this kind of innocence then when you think
“I THINK EVERY TIME I WRITE AN ALBUM, I LEARN MORE ABOUT MYSELF AND THE MESSAGE THAT I ALWAYS COME BACK TO WHEN I’M WRITTING SOMETHING IS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO BE YOURSELF WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS.”
about your first love or something, there’s an innocence there. It kind of always stays in your mind that way. When you get older like myself as an older adult, you think about all the things that you’ve done and whether or not you’re a good person, but you think back on this vulnerable, innocent first love and how pure that was and carry that with you. That song was mainly about that. You worked with Lewis Pesacov on this record. How was it like the recording sessions with him? It was incredible. Lewis is such an easy going guy. He just has so much knowledge. His ability to shape tones is just phenomenal. He always knew exactly what I was trying to do and had so many different tools for us to get there and so many different interesting instruments. He had a really cool guitar collection and we have such a good environment working together. He has a little puppy French bulldog named Donna
that was so cute. She was with us in the studio every day. He just brought such a great energy. It’s just so interesting how calm, relaxed and easygoing he was. It was really great working with him. I feel like he really understood what I was trying to do. Just you were recently on tour with the Julien Baker, what are your touring plans for this summer and fall? We’re thinking of doing some more like intimate shows coming up in the summer and then we have more tour coming up in the fall, but we haven’t quite announced yet and that’s still being worked on. Right now I guess I don’t have any specific details at this moment, but we should be putting some stuff up soon. There will be definitely plenty of stuff coming up in the future. What do you love to when you’re on tour besides performing? When we have a day off in between shows and we’re someplace we’re not familiar
with, we really like to find a place that has some experience that we can go do something in nature, whether it’s stopping in a national park. On the tour with Julien we had a day off in Ithaca, New York and so we went onto Airbnb and we rented like a little vacation house on the Finger Lakes for a couple of nights and it was awesome. We got to go have lunch by a lake and there was all kinds of local wine in the Airbnb and it was so much fun. It felt like for a day we weren’t just playing music. We were like having an experience and it was nice. Also the boys in my band, one or two of them like to skateboard, so sometimes before the show we would go find a skate park to park at and they would go skateboarding. I would just sit in the van and watch them and read a book. It was kind of nice. [laughs]
NIGHTSTAND IS OUT NOW ON HAND IN HIVE / POLYVINYL RECORD CO musicandriots.com
It may be hard to explain to a young kid that it has been more than two decades since Anti-Flag released their seminal debut Die for the Government (1996), and merely because their output seems not only to be getting better with time but thereâ€™s also a great sense of urgency in their music. We talked with guitarist/vocalist Justin Sane about Anti-Flagâ€™s most recent LP, American Fall, and the current stage of the world. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: alliesaurousREX
eems like there’s no break. Almost 900 people injured in Catalonia during the police crackdown on the referendum and now we wake up to another shooting, this time in Las Vegas where at least 58 people were confirmed to have been killed (at the time we talked to Justin, the world was in the same way it is now, a fucking mess). Yeah, it’s really tragic. It’s pretty crazy to say the least. You know, what’s really insane about what happened in Catalonia to me is that people were beat up and brutalized for voting and that that’s what it comes down to definitely. To see people just standing there peacefully not committing any kind of violence and being attacked by the police... that to me was really outrageous and really unforgivable. It’s unconscionable. Sometimes it feels like it’s too much. Every day we witness something that’s wrong, horrific, or even outrageous. It takes a lot to follow everything that’s going on right now. I feel like it’s unbearable at times, to me personally. Well, you know, I think it’s really easy to feel that way because especially with the Internet, information travels at light speed now and with the 24 hour news channels. We have received so much news, we’re bombarded with it and you know there’s a saying in American news media, “If it bleeds it leads” meaning that if you know it’s going to be violent or something dramatic you know that’s the first thing that is the headline. But I will say this to you, playing in Anti-Flag we have this really unique position where every time we play a show we meet so many incredible people. We worked really hard when we started Anti-Flag to create a culture of people that were interested in and more than just music or more than just fashion. And people who actually gave a fuck about the world and people who actually care about more than themselves. And as a result of that, when we put on a show and when we play a show we always try to invite an organization, whether it’s Sea Shepherd or PETA or Amnesty International or Greenpeace or maybe some local organization. And we meet people pretty much at every show who do really inspire us and really give us hope. It reminds us that there are other people out there who are decent people and who are good people, and who care about more than just profits or care more about than just themselves. And another thing that I think is incredible about what we experience as a band is, quite often we meet people who because of punk rock, maybe sometimes it was because they found Anti-Flag or maybe they found Minor Threat, or Bad Religion. But you meet these people and they say to
you, “You know, because of your band or because of punk rock I got involved in human rights and now I’m a human rights lawyer or I’m an environmental activist or I fight for animal rights.” I feel like it’s easy to feel cynical in the world that we live in today. But I actually have a lot of help because I’m in a position where I actually get the opportunity very often to meet people that inspire me and make me believe that we actually have a chance. I know it’s easy to become cynical and feel like “Oh we’re fucked.” I mean, if you just watch the news you’re just like “Fuck it man, let’s just give up.” [laughs] My heart goes out to you and I feel that because I fall into that too and I think everyone does, and I think in our society is easy to fall into that. But what I encourage people to do is: if you can reach out to people in your community, and maybe it’s an online community, but there are people out there who are doing positive things who I think are fighting for the right things. I always try to encourage people to get involved with Amnesty International, it’s not something that requires a lot of your time but it’s something that everyone can do. And it actually gives you a little hope. Turn off the fucking bullshit for a little while and tune in to what’s happening with something positive. I find at least from me that helps me and that keeps me grounded, and it keeps me from giving up. Chris#2 mentioned the importance of The Clash’s London Calling on this new Anti-Flag’s record. Can you talk on the historical importance and how that translates to your situation in 2017? I think that when Chris was talking about London Calling, as far as I understand, he was not saying that our record sounds like London Calling. The inspiration that we kind of took from London Calling and from The Clash is that London Calling for The Clash was a departure from what they had done before. I think they took chances on London Calling. I mean, it’s a really musically diverse record. They were trying a lot of different things. We took a lot of inspiration from that for this record, because we decided that we didn’t want to do the same record or a record that we had already made. We really wanted to try something new. Do you feel that your perspective has changed from American Spring to
American Fall? It feels like you were sort of announcing the arrival of darker times on American Spring and now that they are definitely here you seem more keen in creating this sort of hopeful tone. At least it feels that there’s a stronger sense of resilience this time around. I think that with American Spring we kind of were trying to identify to a certain degree where we were and where the possibilities could take us. I think with American Fall we understand that with every action there’s a reaction. And Donald Trump has created a situation where there’s going to be an extreme backlash to him and his allies. I think that as a result of that we are living in a time where the possibilities are really endless, you know? I think that we can move the country in the direction that is really positive and almost the total opposite of Donald Trump. I think what we need to do right now is... there’s a couple of things. One thing that we need to do is create solidarity with people. We have a lot of songs of solidarity on this record, especially with the groups of people that Donald Trump has attacked. But I think the question is: what do we want now? What do we want the future to look like? Because I think that we’re going to have a real opportunity to reshape things and steer things in a different direction. Right now it looks very dark but the counter reaction to Donald Trump is really strong. We toured in the United States this summer and I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said to me, “I was asleep before. I was apathetic before. I didn’t care. Since Trump, I’m awake. I do care. I’m involved. I’m ready to fight.” And so it’s inspiring even in this kind of really dark time to see that people haven’t given up. The question is: where do we go now that people are waking up? I’m hoping that we go in the direction where the police are not killing two African-Americans a day, that we go in a direction where there is more tolerance, where there is more acceptance, less violence, and a country that values humanity over profits. One of the things that we looked at with American Spring was the failures of Barack Obama, which were many. The first song on American Spring is “Fabled World” and it’s just kind of like a highlight of Barack Obama’s failures, because so many people saw Obama’s kind of like this progressive but the reality is that Obama really was a conservative centrist who just continued all of George Bush’s policies.
“I REALLY WANT PEOPLE TO LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENS TO A SOCIETY WHEN PROFIT IS THE NUMBER ONE MOTIVE. OUR SOCIETY HAS TO BE MORE THAN JUST PROFIT. IT’S GOT TO BE MORE THAN WHAT YOU DO TO MAKE MONEY, BECAUSE IF IT’S NOT THEN WE END UP WITH PEOPLE LIKE DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT.” ISSUE 24
I mean, as a neo-liberal politician, but what he did with his drone strikes, with his relationship with Wall Street... He didn’t prosecute one banker after 2008, he let them all go. What he did with surveillance and the intelligence agencies, what he did with deportation... He basically set the United States up for this nightmare that is Donald Trump. I mean, he built the car and then he handed Trump the keys. Throughout the album you tackle all these issues that are going on the world today, but what are you hoping people will get listening to American Fall? Other than talking and denouncing the issues, is there a goal to this record? For me the number one thing that I want people to take from American Fall is solidarity and just for the reasons that I just mentioned. For example our guitar player’s girlfriend is from a Muslim family. We have very good friends in the trans community and the gay community. I have members of my family who are African-American. Chris#2 has members of his family who are African-American. We have friends who are Mexicans. All of these people are being persecuted by Donald Trump and now the federal government. And we want to put out a message to these people that you’re not alone. We’re going to fight for you and we’re going to stand up for you. The day after Donald Trump was elected, in my
hometown there were protests in the streets for five days and we were a part of that. And thousands of other people were there as well. I think the number one reason is to let people who are being persecuted and who are being scapegoated, to let those people know that they’re not alone. So for me with American Fall I think the songs of solidarity are really important, and I think the other overarching message on American Fall... I really want people to look at what happens to a society when profit is the number one motive. The song “Criminals”, that’s really what that song is about. Our society has to be more than just profit. It’s got to be more than what you do to make money, because if it’s not then we end up with people like Donald Trump for president. What was the role of Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden (co-producer) on American Fall? What was his biggest contribution to the album? I love Benji. It’s pretty amazing what a great guy he is. As we were working on the record, Benji would just stop in and listen to what we were doing, and make suggestions. I mean, it was pretty cool because I think one of Benji’s really great talents and one of the things where he’s very strong is that he can hear a direction that something is taking like listen to a song as you’re working on it and say, “Wow. You
know, this reminds me of this. Why don’t you guys go more in that direction?” And he would push it in that direction. To me that makes certain elements really stand out in a song that maybe would have gotten lost. And I think another strength he really has is that Benji can see what people need to be successful - successful in terms of completing a project. If you’re working on a project Benji can kind of look at what you’re doing and say, “I think you need this to actually be able to make this happen.” He finds a way to get people those things. I think he has a lot of talent in those areas. As we continued working on the record it was just clear that Benji was the producer on the record. [laughs] I feel like Benji contributed as much to the record as anybody. That’s always exciting, when you get to collaborate with somebody who actually contributes. We’ve made records with people before and I felt like they just got in the way, or they were just unhelpful. Where with Benji I would make a record any time because he has ideas, and they are good ideas. I think that that’s pretty rare. I’ve made records with a lot of people, I’ve been around a lot of records and sometimes I wonder why there’s a producer there. [laughs]
AMERICAN FALL IS OUT NOW ON SPINEFARM RECORDS musicandriots.com
ICON IN THE MAKING: KISSISSIPPI’S ZOE REYNOLDS DELIVERS A ROSY ELECTRO-POP DEBUT ON SUNSET BLUSH
Kississippi’s Zoe Reynolds has a knack for making people feel like she has known them for eons. Upon the first five minutes of meeting, we exchanged several hugs, laughs, glittering gold stickers and a rose quartz rock she calls her “worry stone” backstage. That is just who she is – a genuinely warm person who is trying to figure it all out as she is being catapulted into stardom. At just 23, the Philadelphia-based Zoe and her bandmates have just finished their set opening for emo legends Dashboard Confessional on the “We Fight” tour – an impressive feat for the young musician who currently isn’t signed, yet. It’s also the day of her debut album release Sunset Blush, aptly named after the economical Franzia boxed wine. The album was originally scheduled to come out on April 20 on SideOne Dummy records, but life happens and Zoe Reynolds made the best of it. Making music under the moniker Kississippi since 2014, Zoe Reynold’s solidified her place as a musician to watch with the release of 2016’s standout We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed EP. Since then, she has been touring nonstop, has had several line-up changes to her band, experienced the pains of heartbreak, but now on the day of her release, she is all smiles. Sunset Blush sits on the table behind us as today’s celebratory drink of choice. Words: Annayelli Flores // Photos: Emily Dubin
’ve been tracking your success since I saw you play in Pontiac, MI in January to about 100 people. Just last month you were doing unofficial SXSW in someone’s home! So, to come make that transition to 2,000+ cap shows like every night, how has that been for you? It’s pretty wild and huge. Like it is a huge transition! But honestly, I was like way more nervous leading up to the tour. Then
I have been on the tour, like everyone in Dashboard and Beach Slang are like super, super nice. I was scared because I was like “what if they don’t like me?” I’m just a nerdy little kid and then everyone was just fucking awesome. When I get off the stage I’m like, I just played another show opening for Dashboard Confessional. What the heck. I feel like my stage fright has been less bad on this tour than it has been before. I think it might be because I’m like really comfortable with y’all [referring to her bandmates], but also, I think I’m just desensitized now. We played in St. Petersburg and like I’ve never seen that many people in front of me while we were playing before. Today is unofficially Kississippi Sunset Blush day! Were you nervous to put out the record? Did you think the day would ever come? Just the way things played out in the grand scheme of things. [In reference to the dramatic changes at
SideOne Dummy Records] Honestly, I have been really nervous to put it out. I’ve been really like excited to too like I’m really confident with the songs, but like there’s like a part of me that was just like really scared to show it to people. Um, but honestly today’s been going really well and like, you know, if people don’t like it, they don’t like it and that’s fine. I mean for a minute there I was getting a little nervous because we went through like all the label changes and stuff like that. Um, honestly like, yeah, it sucked but you know, shit happens. We were supposed to release this record on 4/20 and I was like “oh man, like we’re not going to be able to release the record on time.” I was really bumming about it and we ended up releasing it early. So, it was like fuck it. You talk about how the album is the music you’ve been wanting to make all along. What finally clicked for you to help you achieve this level of comfort in
creating Sunset Blush? Honestly, we went through a really big lineup change where our guitarist and our drummer both left the band. So, we went through this like panic about replacing them. And then I was dating our bassist at the time and our drummer was our roommate. So, our bassist broke up with me and that led to us parting ways with music. The breakup was kind of messy. So, shit went kinda super south to the point where it was just me leftover in the band and I was like, “OK, I’m going to pull this shit together.” I was playing music with people that kind of had a different vision for it than I did. And then everything kind of fell apart and I had this squad [her current band line-up] and they were all supporting whatever I wanted to do. I just ended up doing the record mostly on my own, outside of like Kyle Pulley who recorded, produced and mixed it. I was just like, the only person who needs to like this is me. I’m going to just do it how I want to do it.
“I HAVE BEEN REALLY NERVOUS TO PUT IT OUT. I’VE BEEN REALLY LIKE EXCITED TO TOO LIKE I’M REALLY CONFIDENT WITH THE SONGS, BUT LIKE THERE’S LIKE A PART OF ME THAT WAS JUST LIKE REALLY SCARED TO SHOW IT TO PEOPLE.” musicandriots.com
Did you know you wanted to go a bit electro-pop on the new album? It’s very dreamy, hazy and all while talking about like real life stuff, such as being in a relationship, but also being concerned about self-doubt yet masking it with dreamy keys. Yeah, I really wanted to go super synth-poppy on this record, but I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. So, I was like it’s a pop record! I would like to do more like super synthy stuff in the future. I’m really digging how this is sounding right now. Have you always gravitated towards more a pop sound? Heavily influenced by Carly Rae Jepsen, CHVRCHES, and Purity Ring. When it comes to stuff like those are definitely influences for me. But I also really love like fucking, like Liz Phair and Michelle Branch. Did you feel the need for it to be like perfect? I don’t think I am capable of creating anything perfect, but I was definitely spent a lot of time on it during those two years. There were a lot of breaks, but I was touring a lot. Even though we were taking breaks we were spending long days and days doing the record. Yeah, I didn’t expect anything to be perfect because, you know, I make pop, but I definitely was pretty anal about it. I wanted it to be right, but I am not perfect. The album explores a variety of emotions – rush of new love, self-love, self-doubt, finding your voice, and essentially being your own bad bitch. Does that ring true? Did you want to make a more positive album rather than dwell on the sadness? You nailed, dude! I think that with our EP a lot of the songs are just like bummer songs that are just like, “I’m sad. Boys suck.” You know, it’s still accurate. My friends are in this band called And the Kids and this is where it got like a big amount of inspiration from. They released a record called Friends Share Lovers and I read some interviews where they talked about that record. They avoiding using any I’s or you’s. It is all like we and us. I was like, “Yo, that shit fucking rocks.” That really puts into perspective for me how much my songs, and some still on this record, are just like, “you hurt me, I’m sad,” you know? And I was like, okay yeah true, but I wanted to say that in a way that’s like empowering instead of making myself feel worse. I guess that these songs are still major bummers. But I went about them in a different way where I was not going to dwell on shit. This is about me getting past shit that messed me up. Philly is one of my favorite places and just booming with incredibly talented musicians left and right. Has the music scene there been welcoming? Has it kept you grounded? It’s a good place to live if you play music or are involved in music and like seeing bands, you know. I’ve talked about this in interviews before. When I first moved to Philly, I really didn’t feel very welcome as
a younger girl. There was a lot of girl hate. Just showing up to shows and feeling like I didn’t belong there because I was 18 years old and people didn’t like being around kids or something like that. And I think that’s ridiculous because I don’t know when I go to these DIY show and I see like kids at those gigs and I’m like “hell yeah, you’re like our future, you know?” I really think that that’s something that’s changed a whole lot. I think that’s something that like keeps me grounded for sure. It’s like the things that were wrong with it and the things that were toxic people have worked on for sure. And I’m obviously any music scene is going to have its flaws. But I really think that Philly’s is trying a little bit harder and we’re growing so much because music is a huge thing right now. I think that I like push past all of that negative and negativity, and I found a lot of people who I really care about and who like genuinely care about me. That’s just led me to so many other people who I wouldn’t have ever expected to want to be my friend or anything like that, they look out for me and stuff. I guess that’s it, just like people look out for each other and take care of each other. Yeah, those are things that keep me grounded. It’s day one only of your album release, but I can say with certainty it ranks in the Top 50 Album of the Year in my book. You’ve had an overwhelmingly positive first day and I love it. Will you miss or always feel attached to the DIY scene in Philly? Absolutely, I mean I’ll always feel attached to just like the national DIY scene generally. I wouldn’t be here right now if I wasn’t doing that for the past four years
“I’LL ALWAYS FEEL ATTACHED TO JUST LIKE THE NATIONAL DIY SCENE GENERALLY. I WOULDN’T BE HERE RIGHT NOW IF I WASN’T DOING THAT FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS AND I’LL DEFINITELY STILL WANT TO BE VERY INVOLVED IN IT.”
and I’ll definitely still want to be very involved in it. I mean like I would also like this to be my career so it’s conflicting for sure. Yeah, that I’ll definitely miss it because we kind of went from like being like a band that played like three shows in Philly a month to, oh shit, we can’t be playing this many shows or play every other month. Then I was doing all this solo work just have like slowly kind of like stopped doing as much Philly DIY and started doing more touring. I’m just blabbering right now, but yeah, yeah, I will miss it. I definitely still plan on being active in some way. That’s something that I definitely actually look up to Chris, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional. He is like super ingrained in DIY because that’s where he comes from. I’d like to be like Dashboard one day, you know what I mean? I’d like to be playing headlining rooms like this. a big dream, yeah. And like be nice, you know! I mean I might never get there, but if that was the case, I would love to be in his position where he has the power to put smaller bands on a pedestal – which he’s doing for us, which is really fucking cool. We briefly venture off-path to discuss Paramore’s Hayley Williams and the necessary longing for a strong female idol one needs when growing up wanting to be in music. When discussing Hayley’s impact and trajectory, Zoe says, “I want to be somebody’s Hayley Williams when I was thirteen, you know what I mean?” She continues, “that’s the kind of influence I want to have on someone, you know?” So you want to have a positive influence with your music? Yeah, for sure. When I was growing up in the emo scene, it was all run by dudes. I didn’t feel like I could make a difference in anything because all the bands that I was seeing and like looked up to were men. was like “oh maybe I could be like a merch person” or something even though I want to be playing music. And then there’s like someone like Hayley Williams! She’s incredible. She shreds and writes beautiful songs. She cares about her fans so much. She’s just a very positive influence for like younger people and that’s the kind of thing that I want to do. We dive into chatting about the lack of female, POC and non-binary representation in the music scene. Zoe continues to say: There’s not enough! [Referring to my comment about not having enough positive influences] Not really enough representation for just like non-white dudes generally. It’s definitely getting better, but I mean we gotta still keep pushing for it to be better. That’s something really cool about this tour. Going into it I was like oh, are we going to be the only band with women and non-binary people in it? Then I found out Beach Slang [who they are on tour with] had two new members who are women and I was like, “Oh my god, this rocks!”
SUNSET BLUSH IS OUT NOW ON ALCOPOP!
REVIEWS STAFF PICK
ALELA DIANE Cusp
All Points (2018)
ecoming a mother is a life-changing event. Even for those who haven’t experienced that (myself included). It’s obvious that giving birth to a human being must be something quite magnificent and unique. At her sixth full-length, Alela Diane was inspired by motherhood and she wrote it when alone for the first time since becoming a mother. Cusp is a beautiful and sublime album and is Alela’s most piano driven album of her career. Her delicacy and contagious strength to write these songs is inspiring, she puts everything in perspective as a mother and a woman. Cusp also marks her near-death experience while giving birth to her second daughter, and that’s why she named the album that way, “Life and death meet in a cusp.” Cusp is undoubtedly Alela’s best work to date, an album that takes you into her journey of joy, growth and living life to the fullest.
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE American Nightmare
ANNA BURCH Quit The Curse
Rise Records (2018)
rom changing members, breaking up to even changing name (remember a band called Give Up The Ghost?), it’s fair to say that this new album is the perfect way to expand their legacy, but most importantly, to establish themselves in a genre that so far lacks American Nightmare’s enigmatic and fresh approach. American Nightmare is the band’s third installment, featuring vocalist Wes Eishold, bassist Josh Holden, guitarist Brian Masek and Garcia-Rivera who were all part of the original lineup of the band that disbanded in 2004. There’s something poetic and dark in American Nightmare’s trademark sound, in a little less than thirty minutes they easily show us the hard hitting intensity of their in-your-face attitude. Eishold’s brutal vocal delivery perfectly portrays the emotional heaviness of their sound, it still sounds bleak and fucking raw, but it also has a new sense of depth that truly transcends most hardcore outfits.
Polyvinyl Records (2018)
uit The Curse marks a top notch debut by Detroit singer/ songwriter Anna Burch. It’s a cathartic and empowering personal effort which clearly marks the end of an era of uncertainty and emotional struggle for her. Quit The Curse takes us on a journey of self-discovery and forces us to confront past or current emotional issues and makes us wonder if our approach in life has been the best or we simply keep avoiding tackling the issues that really haunt us. Burch’s expression of emotions is not defined by any kind of structure, it almost feels improvised. Her crystal clear vocal and the catchy and upbeat tunes are the perfect match for her forward and dark lyrical approach, creating a strange sense of harmony and peace. Anna Burch’s Quit The Curse is effortlessly one of 2018’s gems and one hell of an impressive debut, a perfect statement of liberation, gracefully crafted.
BAPTISTS Beacon Of Faith
7/10 Southern Lord (2018) Vancouver, BC… Nardwuar told us multiple times of how good it can get. On their third full-length, Baptists keep delivering their metallic hardcore - now more infused with an extremely enhancing noise rock punch to it – in the same old high standards and quality fashion that has now been established as a given. It starts off fast and unforgiving, as you could more or less expect, but Baptists really shining moment is when they slow down. On tracks like “Indigo Child” and “Eulogy Template,” for example, we are denied the chance to look away and instead we feel obliged to stare as their tremendous guitar work keeps building up with density, rage, and a rhythmically imposing pulse. Beacon of Faith is another urgent statement of a band that can’t miss apparently. TIAGO MOREIRA 106
BEACH HOUSE 7
8/10 Bella Union / Sub Pop (2018) 7 represents a rejuvenation on Beach House’s sound, but is also the duo’s richest and most organic effort ever. Inspired by the social insanity from the past two years, from the political non-sense, discussion surrounding women’s issues and to the overall tension that still brings gloom and chaos to our days, 7 is also a smart stand on that dichotomy between hope and despair, love and hate, beauty and darkness and a dream pop pleasure with foggy electronic emotions. They’ve refined their trademark harmonies and raucous energy and there’s a clear feeling of social and cultural disenchantment. The way they rise to those challenging times is impressive and very inspiring. They are not pushing any kind of boundaries anymore, but overall 7 is a nice and fresh rebirth of Beach FAUSTO CASAIS House as a band. ISSUE 24
BEN CHISHOLM & FELIX SKINNER Burgeoning Verse Weyrd Son Records (2018)
After five years in the making, waiting to be released, Burgeoning Verse finally comes out. Ben Chisholm and Felix Skinner have concocted a beautiful whirl of lush soundscapes (which you’ll be hard-pressed to figure how they pulled off) that wouldn’t be misplaced if it were playing amidst the peace of undisturbed nature, all the while marrying its ambient post-rock with near classical inclinations. Contrasting moments of sorrowful grace with uplifting energy, the build-ups are at times so gradual that they force us to instead appreciate the sonic palette of the moment, saving us from cheap pay-off. It’s the kind of music that justifiably takes five years to make. Somebody please give these guys a chance at soundtracking a high profile motion picture. BRUNO COSTA
SPIRITUAL ELECTRO FINESS
AÏSHA DEVI DNA Feelings
ïsha Devi’s sonic endeavors can be extremely overwhelming for the listener. On her sophomore album, the artist who was born in the Swiss alps with Nepalese-Tibetan heritage, delivers one of the most enthralling and packed sensorial attacks of recent times. Heritage seems a pivotal element to the entire sort of maze that is DNA Feelings, where Devi admittedly makes heavy usage of meditation, spiritual guidance, ritualistic practice, and metaphysical research to ultimately enable a transcendent experience not only for her but also for anyone interested in partaking the voyage. The press release states that no one on this planet sounds like Aïsha Devi, which could well be just another erratic statement by a label or PR, but fortunately they’ve measured their words and the statement comes off extremely accurate. It’s a non-conformist take on electronic music, TIAGO MOREIRA vocal performance, and artistic identity. There are very few people being this unique. Thank you, Miss Devi.
BIRD IN THE BELLY The Crowing GFM Records (2018)
BLACK MOTH Anatomical Venus
For their debut album British collaborative folk project Bird in the Belly have collected ten songs and stories that have rarely or never been recorded before, setting them to contemporary arrangements and melodies.Throughout the past decades, folk music has gained a sense of prudery and, certainly in the mainstream, it has become something of an affair of the innocent blonde lass with the bright red guitar. Many people forget that many of these songs are very tongue-in-cheek, like the excellent Welsh Ploughboy aptly demonstrates. As an effort of documentation, The Crowing is an interesting piece of work, but it is the curation of these songs in a modern framework that makes it a record of importance and that is recommended for folk enthusiasts and casual listeners alike. ROBERT WESTERVELD
8/10 Spinefarm (2018) Like the clinical visage of its cover subject, Anatomical Venus is an album that hides little but still retains an air of mystery. It’s a muscular, sinewy collection of Kyuss-worshipping stoner riffage, lightly lysergic doom and radio-friendly rock that makes full use of the considerable range of Harriet Hyde, letting her smoky lustre linger over “Tourmaline” sludgy body yet seeing her simply trample over “Sisters of the Stone” like a one-woman army heading to war. Jim Swainston and new addition Federica Gialanze likewise nail the album’s seesawing balance of weight and melody, and of hard-rocking fury and morose introspection, with admirable skill, but despite an intriguing concept and solid performances all round, it never quite reachesthe genre-defying heights that Black Moth are capable of DAVE BOWES reaching.
BOYS Rest In Peace
Rest In Peace is the debut album by 22 year-old Stockholm artist Nora Karlsson that goes by the moniker Boys. Even though she has worked on her own songs since she was 17, Nora just released a few home recordings in late 2015 with the Kind of Hurt EP, followed by the Love On Tour EP in the spring of 2016. It was a slow process to get the full-length done, but the final result is an honest and intimate effort with dreamy and garage pop songs that totally justify the wait. Nora brings a refreshing and captivating approach to the already saturated indie pop scene. From lo-fi home-recordings to a much more matured songwriting, Rest In Peace shows that Nora is definitely one of Scandinavia’s most exciting new artists at the moment. ANDREIA ALVES
STILL PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF Dead Magic
City Slang (2018)
nna Von Hausswolff has been releasing dark folk tunes for over eight years. Her most recent lament, Dead Magic, is a full-fledged, head-first leap into the classical gothic doom foretold by her previous material, perhaps due to production by Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Marissa Nadler, etc.). Often drenched in the eeriness of pipe organ, Von Hausswolff’s work feels religious in its grandeur and theatrics; her soprano voice soars into wails that are charged with ecstasy and fright. Contrary to the “heavy” that describes metal albums, Dead Magic is heavy in emotion and its atmosphere that can only be likened to fog encroaching on a being in a dark field. The five-track record’s centerpiece, “Ugly and Vengeful,” is a 16+ minute mainly instrumental drone opus that the great horror writers of history would surely appreciate for its twists and turns that always lead back to somewhere haunted with elegant spirits. A definitive record for bitterly cold nights, Dead Magic is beautiful, terrifying, intense and spectacularly bleak in ways that inspire both love and nightmares.
BRUCE LAMONT Broken Limbs Excite No Pity
7/10 My Proud Mountain (2018) Does Bruce Lamont ever sleep? After his endeavours with projects such as Corrections House, Yakuza, Brain Tentacles and Bloodiest, the man is back for a solo adventure, following his great 2011 release Feral Songs for the Epic Decline. Taking a somewhat similar approach, Lamont crafts cinematic droning landscapes with both the instrumentation and his vocals that can make you feel at times like a cursed soul, stranded in the Sahara desert, and at other times like you are diving into an abysmal waterfall. But it’s not all about the drones. “Maclean”, for instance, offers a heavily stdio-manipulatedand layered folk moment. Other tracks like “Goodbye Electric Sunday” and “The Crystal Effect” unfortunately feel meandering and lost amidst the tracklist. Still, it’s a solid release from one of Art-Metal’s BRUNO COSTA most prolific workhorses. 108
CAMP COPE How To Socialise And Make Friends Run For Cover (2018)
CANCER BATS The Spark That Moves
New Damage Records (2018)
How to Socialise and Make Friends is the second album by Australia’s trio Camp Cope. After releasing their amazing self-titled debut, the band is back with another empowering and straight to the point effort. They keep pushing themselves and using their music as a way to fight for what’s right and for equality overall. The songs are quite simple and direct, but it’s their way of encouraging and put out there what they feel that’s more remarkable. Vocalist and guitarist Georiga Maq offers a restless and vast emotional strength that will inspire you to sing along with her and compromise with what she is singing about: life experiences, loss, growth and being true to yourself. How to Socialise and Make Friends is a brave and audacious effort. ANDREIA ALVES
There’s more explosive songs on Cancer Bats new record The Spark That Moves, but it’s an enlightening experience delving and listening to their intense offerings. The Canadian band, manage to keep their integrity alive while pushing the boundaries. And on this release, they enforce a sense of emotion that resonates. Yes, there is screaming tension throughout, but if you look at the lyrical content, you may as well bleed with this act which are flooded in darkness. It isn’t for the loose listener either, it has been created to shock and to rattle every single bone in the body. There’s no let up, there’s no subtlety, but ferocity and desire. Songs such as “Space And Time” and “Rattlesnake” boil over and showcase the band’s instrumental flair, as well as bellows which could melt paint. It’s an enthralling work. MARK MCCONVILLE
CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX Horrific Honorifics Season Of Mist (2018)
REAL MUSIC FOR REAL PEOPLE
BIRDS IN ROW We Already Lost The World
Deathwish Inc. (2018)
he last few years have been socially and politically shameful, an embarrassing time to be alive. If somehow we travel back in time we can easily experience the same instability in the already faded late 70’s troubled times, where the first important explosion of punk rock and hip-hop happened. With that in mind, we should look into Birds In Row new album with a delightful sense of urgency. We Already Lost The World is nothing more than an abrasive, emotional and realistic statement about the world we live in. There’s something different in the way Birds in Row communicate with us, their melancholic and dark approach is uniquely strange and their stunning cocktail of hardcore, post-punk and angular rock influences are remarkably brutal. We Already Lost The World is audaciously over the top, but Birds In Row knack for attaching lush hooks, strong songwriting with a powerful and meaningful message onto their post-genre blend is fucking seductive. FAUSTO CASAIS
ssentially a small collection of covers of bands that have influenced Justin Greaves and Crippled Black Phoenix over the years, Horrific Honorifics does a respectable job of piecing together the myriad components of Greaves’ strange assembly. “The Golden Boy That Was Swallowed By The Sun” balances Swans’ ponderous gravity with delicacy and poise, “Victory” smoothes out NoMeansNo’s jittery pulsations by adding a fuller and more rounded instrumentation to offer the greatest transformation on offer, and their rendition of “Will-O-The-Wisp” allows Belinda Kordic’s unearthly croon to take Magnolia Electric Co.’s lackadaisical melody to somewhere truly magical. It’s rare that covers collections serve as anything more than a novelty, but in this case it serves as a useful primer for a genuinely enigmatic unit. DAVE BOWES
CANE HILL Too Far Gone
Rise Records (2018)
New Orleans-based quartet Cane Hill’s sophomore album is an undisputable step forward in terms of approach and songwriting to what they were doing in their debut, Smile. Still influenced from a sound that’s clearly from the 90s, more specifically the nu-metal sound, the band incorporated another sound from the 90s (the grunge of Alice in Chains, which is extremely transparent with tracks like “Lord of Flies” and “Why?”) to craft a notably more mature and well-rounded album. Too Far Gone is very much focused on the band’s experiences as vocalist Elijah Witt adopts, for the most part, a more fragile and introspective attitude that ends up as an exercise of self-reflection. A solid heavy rock album that doesn’t rely exclusively on nostalgia but also delivers and stands for itself. TIAGO MOREIRA
CARPENTER BRUT Leather Teeth
Caroline Records (2018)
What do you do when the quarterback gets the girl that you’ve got eyes on? Naturally, you undergo horrific self-experimentation and become Leather Teeth, demon on the stage and monster on the streets. So goes Carpenter Brut’s latest vision, an imagined score that splices rollicking synth arpeggios, metal-flecked disco beats and a few doses of New Romantic bliss courtesy of guests Kris Rygg (Ulver) and Mat McNerney (Hexvessel). The vicious edge of CB’s EPs remains scathingly sharp, and the melodies strike just the right balance of Flashdance and Suspiria, but it’s the uncanny subversion of ear-pleasing pop nostalgia into something disturbing and oh-so-alluring that gives Leather Teeth its most vicious bite. DAVE BOWES
CASEY Where I Go When I Am Sleeping Hassle Records (2018)
Casey’s second album is a heavy one – more due to the words than its sonic attributes. Tom Weaver’s own personal experience is the brush that beautifully paints the pain and anxiety-fueled paint – diagnosed with brittle bones at birth, diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 15, diagnosed with manic depression at 20, suffered from a heart attack and stroke, and was in a car accident that crushed half of his face. But underneath the extremely bleak brushes there’s a light that is as undeniable. Where I Go When I Am Sleeping takes advantage of the atmosphere that it creates in a very expressive and more layered construction to ensure that the listener is able to feel every high and low along the way. It’s testament to the potential of human power and the band itself. TIAGO MOREIRA
CHRCH Light Will Consume Us All
Neurot Recordings (2018)
oly Shit! Sacramento, California based doom band Chrch have just changed the normal perceptions of what Doom Metal should sound like… Light Will Consume Us All is an epic and thrilling effort that perfectly balances a wicked - almost supernatural - vocal presence with an abundance of depth, with passages of calmess and ambient interludes, all packed to clash with these enormous gargantuan riffs. This serves as proof that experimenting with the sound doesn’t necessarily translate into compromising. Chrch’s ambitious and organic sound reaches new heights and transcends the traditional doom, psych rock, drone and even black metal elements of their sound. From the slow and perfect blend of height and emotional depth of opening track “Infinite” to the expansive density of “Portals” and the increasing subtlety and crushing intensity of closing track “Aether”, there’s this sense of aggression and heaviness. At the same time, we are consumed by the album’s beautiful and exquisite dynamic. Chrch’s sophomore album, Light Will Consume Us All, is a straight-forward and cathartic masterpiece and was made to be contemplated in its entirety. FAUSTO CASAIS
COURTNEY BARNETT Tell Me How You Really Feel
Marathon Artists/Milk! Records (2018)
Courtney Barnett’s sophomore album is filled with this sort of inconspicuous nature. The unpacking of its true nature might very well feel overwhelming but the end result is more gratifying that one could expect. Tell Me How You Really Feel presents Barnett once again in her, often celebrated, effortless ways, and that might be the most essential element in her artistic identity. Especially with a record so packed as Tell Me…, where the Australian puts herself in the most vulnerable place we had the chance to witness so far. The rage, unanswered doubts, exhaustion, tenderness, frustrations, and how she ties everything together by finding a way to establish a connection amidst the entire whirlwind are nothing short of amazing. TIAGO MOREIRA
DANCE GAVIN DANCE Artificial Selection Rise Records (2018)
Post-hardcore experimentalists Dance Gavin Dance return with Artificial Selection. With the over-saturated post-hardcore scene still belching out endless sound-alike bands, the Sacramento five piece is still trying to move away from their peers. With their mix of muscle and melody, Dance Gavin Dance is still raising their own levels of intensity and creativity, blending their post-hardcore with brand new prog elements, catchy pop elements and straightforward melodic heavy rock. Artificial Selection sounds frenetic, fresh and fucking inventive for the genre, sometimes is fucking exhausting and sonically dense, but overall this ferocious offering is a rewarding brutal assault on your senses, full of colossal choruses and top notch songwriting. FAUSTO CASAIS
DARK BUDDHA RISING II Neurot Recordings (2018)
Ten years since their genesis, Finland’s strangest sons have returned full circle, with II representing the end of one cycle and the opening to another. The two parts of Mahathgata present themselves as two opposing faces of the same tarnished coin - part I steeps itself in swirling chaos, a monstrous vortex of subterranean bass grooves, krautrock kineticism and atavistic howls from whatever remains of M. Neuman’s psyche; part II seems more rooted in a sense of stillness, a meditational void that sinks deeply into the subconscious before spiralling off into that same primordial base. They have once again birthed a work that is truly impossible to drag yourself away from while it’s playing, and will remain with you after the record stops spinning. DAVE BOWES
SOUNDTRACK FOR THIS SUMMER
CULTURE ABUSE Bay Dream
ay Dream, Culture Abuse first full-length release via Epitaph is a remarkably sophisticated record that viciously delights the minimalistic textures of its own trademark sound. Fully personal and strongly cohesive, Bay Dream is a well-crafted effort, with a more upbeat sound and full of that twitchy, verse-chorus-verse power punk grit. This is also an album that puts everything in perspective, from nostalgia feelings to life lessons, “Be kind to the bugs, be conscious of others, be careful with drugs, be kind to yourself even though it gets hard,” David Kelling songwriter and frontman sings out on “Bee Kind to the Bugs”, for sure on of the best anthems for this Summer, even if somehow it looks like a serious and practical advice. Full of massive hooks, top notch lyrics, memorable songwriting and souding like a heavy fling between The Ramones and the Beach Boys, Bay Dream is a raw, honest, gorgeous effort. It makes you enjoy life a bit more, but also shows you the ugly side of life - “But the bugs in your bed, the rats in the walls, and the bill collecting phone-calls, make it harder and harder, and the rent’s going up… Don’t waste your time”, sings Kelling on “Rats In The Wals”. Bay Dream is a departure to the band’s excellent 2016’s debut album, Peach, but it’s a charming and heartfelt sun-kissed FAUSTO CASAIS record.
DEVILDRIVER Outlaws ‘Til The End Vol.1 Napalm Records (2018)
“The blues and outlaw country are what made rock’n’roll. They were around before rock’n’roll...and in my head, I’ve always heard these songs heavy”, explains Devildriver’s main man Dez Fafara about the motto for this epic, outlaw and crushing blending of metal with country anthems. Outlaws ‘Till The End, Vol.1 is frighteningly good with a modern twist, creating something new out of nothing and with cameos like Wednesday 13, Brock Lindow (36 Crazyfists) Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory), Lee Ving (Fear), Randy Blythe and Mark Morton (Lamb Of God), Hank III and none other than John Cash Jr, son of Johnny Cash. It’s fair to say that the overall result went exceptionally well. FAUSTO CASAIS
DOTT Heart Swell
Graveface Records (2018)
Heart Swell, the eagerly awaited sophomore album by Dott is the perfect soundtrack for this time of the year. These twelve tracks shimmer with lo-fi attitude, sounding like a blend of Bully’s straightforward attitude, Best Coast sunny harmonies and Vivian Girls bubblegum-sticky garage rock. The directness of Dott’s songs--both emotionally and melodically--is their strongest asset, tackling themes like the sea, growth, acceptance and the recent political atmosphere in Ireland. Heart Swell is a confident, blisteringly powerful, beautifully layered and exquisitely crafted record. Above all it is brutally honest and waves perfectly the Feminist flag. Expect glorious singalong hooks, fuzzy guitars and highly additive levels of noise indie pop. Well done! FAUSTO CASAIS
DYLAN CARLSON Conquistador Sargent House (2018)
Expansive and minimalistic; that’s perhaps the best way to label Dylan Carlson’s new effort, Conquistador. Earth 2 made us expect this kind of quality from Dylan’s work as he not only helped pioneer drone doom metal, but changed the classic conceptions of noise, by creating an agonizing wall of sound responsible for what drone stands for nowadays. Recorded at God City Studios with Kurt Ballou during a weeklong break from Carlson’s solo tour on the East Coast in May 2016, Conquistador sees Dylan reaching a new level of intensity and exploring new horizons. This is a multilayered and transformational piece, where Dylan’s austere and trippy guitar work will leave you breathless and lost in time. FAUSTO CASAIS
BARELY CIVIL We Can Live Here Forever Take This To Heart (2018)
It seems like emo is having a great comeback in the last few years, and honestly, I really like that. With their alternative rock, hugely influenced by early-2000s emo sound, Barely Civil bring something fresh and new, but yet so familiar. Over the course of ten songs, the band hit all the right spots. Haunting melodies, emotional guitars, raspy vocals, and intelligent lyrics give them enough depth for a strong record. Although Barely Civil significantly dives into slower tempo it’s faster tracks where they excel. Melodic numbers like “You With A Cape, Me With A Baseball Bat” or “Lost//Found” are probably the best songs on the album and I’d really love to see the band explore this style even more.
BLESSTHEFALL Hard Feelings
7/10 Rise Records (2018) Rousing songs litter Hard Feelings, an album of screams and sincerity. But it is a success? Well, there’s enough guitar trickery and bashfulness to keep the metal-core fans interested, but it doesn’t go beyond the norm,it doesn’t empower. This is a shame, as there’s talent in these guys, bubbling to be released more. We need to hear their masterpiece, we need Blessthefall to hit the mark. On their Rise Records debut, Hard Feelings sounds far too similar to prior releases (2013’s Hollow Bodies and 2015’s To Those Left Behind) and diversity isn’t explored. “Feeling Low” and “Sleepless In Phoenix” are two standout songs though. MARK MCCONVILLE
DUMB Seeing Green
Mint Records (2018)
The Vancouver quartet are absurdly prolific, over the last two years, Dumb have self-released three albums quite easily, all filled with renewed energy and with this laid back fresh and distinctive approach. Each song gets to the point with direct, biting post-punk that soars in the realm of Devo, Parquet Courts, or even Ought in some spots. Seeing Green brilliantly tackles the inherent absurdity of modern life, sounds ridiculously catchy, and is unpredictably diverse and full of punchy lyrics matching their frantic batch of songs. Modern life is full of uncertainty, but one thing is for sure: this exciting Vancouver four piece have an impressive body of work to share with us. FAUSTO CASAIS
EAGLE TWIN The Thundering Heard Southern Lord (2018)
There are heavy albums, and then there are those that seem to originate from a place of such density and leaden weight that they scarcely seem earthly. The Thundering Heard is one of those rare beasts, a plodding leviathan that eats pure doom and excretes distortion while trampling the line between ritualistic amp-worship and the kind of sleek, blues-tinged guitarwork that has existed as long as metal has. It’s also a genuinely unsettling album, not least because of Gentry Densley’s hypnotic growl and insistent, serpentine riffing, but also the sheer power that it repeatedly pulls out of the ether. If there was ever an album to have encroached upon Dopesmoker’s gargantuan weight, this is it. DAVE BOWES
EFRIM MANUEL MENUCK Pissing Stars Constellation Records (2018)
Efrim Manuel Menuck’s foray into the light and dark spectrums of human emotion is incredibly dual. While plenty of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s material is highly uplifting, his solo work over here might tear your heart to shreds. The drones feel like dark clouds over the listener, the vocals feel like they’re coming from apparitions in a haunted house, the keys seem to be ripped right out of a worn-out VHS tape of childhood memories far happier than anything you’ll ever experience again. At some points you’ll be hard-pressed to accurately say where some of the sounds come from. One has to wonder if Menuck doesn’t come from the Black Lodge… For the sake of your emotional well-being, approach with caution. BRUNO COSTA
DEDEKIND CUT Tahoe Kranky (2018)
hat drives a hip-hop producer to turn to abstract minimalism? Well, we’re talking about Fred Warmsley III here previously known as Lee Bannon - ; to label him as a “hip hop producer” would just be an obese understatement. The guy has walked many alleys of electronic music, most of the times doing a pretty damn good job. Unfortunately, the sophomore album released under the Dedekind Cut moniker comes off as a little disappointing. Safe for a few passages where what seems to be field recordings, some instrumentation and manipulated vocals break the soothing but pretty generic soft droning parts, Tahoe seems pretty mediocre. While the sound manipulation is that of someone who knows what he is doing, the album comes off as just a rough proposal of the something, awaiting to be developed. If you aren’t familiar with Fred Warmsley III’s music, you should definitely go and explore his back catalogue. The experience of listening to Tahoe might become more interesting if one considers what Warmsley did before. RICARDO ALMEIDA
HOT NEW BAND
7/10 Spartan Records (2018) Keep this in mind: Sonder is “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” Sonder is the follow up to the band’s 2015 debut album, This House Has No Windows. The influences on this shine through bright and distinct in each and every song and it’s filled with massive hooks and songs. Tight and strong, Sonder sounds fresh and dynamic in a way that is so hard to accomplish on an LP. Sonically, Wolverhampton’s five piece goes straight to the 90’s alternative rock and 2000’s emo, but with a modern, more complex rock twitch that you can FAUSTO CASAIS easily relate to.
Violence is Editors’ most expansive, assertive and aggressive effort. It sounds perfect, but it also sounds like a band that is flexing its creative muscles in a skillful and thoughtful way. Pulsing with frustration about current affairs and tackling everyday life, from relationships to the hard paths of friendship, Tom Smith’s pointed lyrics lead us to a path where we find the light and optimism in all this darkness. Overall, Violence is a confident and bold effort, equally arresting in its breadth of content and creativity, brilliant produced by Leo Abrahams and with the additional production from Benjamin John Power (aka experimental producer Blanck Mass), two key elements that this time around really helped Editors to push all the right buttons. FAUSTO CASAIS
FIDDLEHEAD Springtime And Blind Run For Cover (2018)
Springtime and Blind is Fiddlehead’s debut album, a clash between their loud post-hardcore with pinches of 90s indie rock that helps the listener understand a scene that has lately been more exciting than ever. Influenced by the death of frontman Patrick Flynn’s late father, Springtime and Blind is an introspective and emotional effort. A glaring emotional wreck of feelings of grief, love and loss. The way Flynn looks at how his mother coped with the situation, losing her spouse, is heartbreaking and works like an emotional catharsis. Featuring vocalist Patrick Flynn and drummer Shawn Costa (both of Have Heart) and Basement guitarist Alex Henery, Fiddlehead have just delivered one of the most passionate and dynamic efforts of the year. FAUSTO CASAIS
LUSH, TENSE & NOISY
DEAF WISH Lithium Zion
Sub Pop (2018)
ithium Zion is the fifth full-length from Melbourne band Deaf Wish and their second for Sub Pop following 2015’s Pain. Unapologetically fearless, noisy experimentalist by nature and with the raucous garage-punk energy, Deaf Wish perfectly captures the essence of bands like Sonic Youth, Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu. The breakneck, invigorating Lithium Zion is a bold triumph, an effort that leaves layers of loud melodies, distorted, unabashed guitar-rock and their irritating repetitive cadence stucks on your brain for days. Deaf Wish attraction to combine lush, controlled tension onto noisy rock and their ferocious post-punk remains fucking awesome. Deaf Wish are a band that you can still believe in, who won’t let you down, Lithium Zion is the band’s best album and one of the best rock albums of 2018. Ditto! FAUSTO CASAIS
FU MANCHU Clone Of The Universe At The Dojo Records (2018)
Four years on from the suitably colossal Gigantoid, the California groovers have only learned how to get bigger, louder and (somehow) even cooler for its follow-up. “Don’t Panic” and “(I’ve Been) Hexed” are classic desert rock cuts, equal parts punk sneer and hellacious rock’n’roll with a dash of thrash to taste, but it’s “Il Mostro Atomico” that cements this album as one of their best, a diesel-powered trip through Hawkwind’s most lurid moments that engulfs half of the album’s run-time yet feels so fluid, so effortlessly spacious that time doesn’t really apply to it. From Reeder’s endless energy to Bob Balch’s savage lead breaks (and that killer artwork) this is everything a fan of bars, cars and guitars could want in a Fu Manchu record. DAVE BOWES
GENOCIDE PACT Order Of Torment Relapse (2018)
Throughout the years, death metal has had its ups and downs, either because legendary bands ended or others that have soldiered on, unfortunately, not always with the incisiveness to make good music. Other bands are founded almost on a daily basis to try and keep death metal alive and festering in our ears, pulverizing your bones and beating you senseless. On their sophomore album, these guys from Washington prove they are more than apt to master the precision and sheer savagery needed to create good death metal. They may not be pioneers, originators, or even leaders of the movement they epitomize; still they just need to spew out good old fashioned audio grossness, because sometimes that’s all you need to do to create a piece of repugnant resonance. NUNO BABO
Spinefarm Records (2018)
Papa Emeritus III is dead! In his place come two new characters, Papa Emeritus 0, an old dude that looks like pure decay, but with the mission to… who knows?! Illuminate his probable successor and the other enigmatic character mentioned above, The Cardinal. With mastermind Tobias Forge calling the shots, and with The Nameless Ghouls and Sister Imperator taking the band’s story to a whole new dimension, Ghost’s fourth psalm is another perfect example of an entity or cult that transcends their own musical genre and artistic statement. This is a record themed with death and about our decadence as a society, that sounds incredible dark, striking, effective and very contemporary. Prequelle is Ghost’s new opus, it’s here to be contemplated and adored. FAUSTO CASAIS
EARTHLESS Black Heaven
Nuclear Blast (2018)
FATHER JOHN MISTY God’s Favorite Customer Bella Union / Sub Pop (2018)
or those who always appreciated Earthless’ knack for timeless riffage and jaw-dropping guitarwork but never quite had the patience for their extended jams, Black Heaven might just be their new favourite record. Like ZZ Top cruising in an El Camino with Hendrix hitching a lift across the Mojave, it’s an expert blend of old-school cool and desert blues introspection, tethered by Mario Rubalcaba and Mike Eglington’s unparalleled rhythm work. Isaiah Mitchell uses the more streamlined format to express himself in more efficient yet equally dazzling displays but with his throaty wail now taking up a more permanent presence, Black Heaven feels more like a stab at creating something genuinely “classic”. With “End To End” hitting that target dead-centre and “Black Heaven” showcasing the old chemistry with plenty of flair, there’s a feeling that this could be the start of a new and exciting stage for Earthless.
he intelligence of Tillman is coming through too often to be overlooked or dismissed at this point – especially in moments where he recognizes his dumbness, flaws, and ‘misadventures’. It’s that witty mind that carries the artistic expression of Father John Misty… that, and how he chooses to deal with his life on record, time and time again. Last year, when a journalist said that it was “hard not be bummed out while listening to Pure Comedy,” Tillman promptly replied, “Well, there’s a difference between art and entertainment. Entertainment is really about forgetting about your life, and art is about remembering your life.” That’s not just a guy that is willing to talk the talk and walk the walk, but also the purpose of a record like God’s Favorite Costumer, a record where Josh’s mental issues, doubts, life, and vulnerability take the spotlight. It can certainly be weary, but so is life. TIAGO MOREIRA
GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT Epitaph Napalm Records (2018)
Sometimes it’s hard enough to write a meaningful and useful review about music as it is, especially when it’s about an entirely instrumental album… But everything changes when the music in question is created by post-rock Irish outfit God Is An Astronaut. There’s a strangely spectral melancholy and ethereal elegance in their sound, it’s like a journey into a cosmic and emotional soundscape. Epitaph sounds depressive and tragic, there’s a whole new level of intensity in their dynamic melodies as they’ve pushed their sound even further. From “Epitaph”, a dark, powerful scintillating ride and “Séance Room”, an apocalyptic climax to “Oisín”, a hypnotic, sad and beautiful piece, GIAA’s new opus is an effort that perfectly clashes with the calm and storm of the band’s despair and sadness. FAUSTO CASAIS
Blood Music (2018)
The throbbing bass beats of Justice will come as little surprise to fans of Slasherwave’s most notable purveyor, but with the addition of Anaal Nathrakh-esque synthesised blasts and an aura of infernal punishment splattered liberally across much of its runtime, Possessor transports GosT’s sound to truly oppressive territory. In moving more firmly into extreme metal-influenced tones and themes, it creates something wholly unique, retaining some of synthwave’s diverse energy but focusing it to a sharpened point and then stabbing it straight into your frontal lobe. The flashes of gothic horror and satanic panic lend a slightly camp tint to the effect the album is trying to portray, but when the beats all hit with such unyielding malice, there’s no mistaking that GosT has created something delightfully hellish here. DAVE BOWES
BRIGHT, BOLD & BRASH...
FOXING Nearer My God
Triple Crown (2018)
on’t let anybody tell you differently: the world is messed up and it feels that it is falling apart quite fast and there’s nothing you can do to change that. Foxing’s highly-anticipated third full-length is a conceptual piece created over the course of nearly 3 years, produced by the brilliant Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists) and Foxing’s guitarist and songwriter Eric Hudson, with the help from Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Modern Baseball). What they created was an album so multi-textured, so bright, brash and bold, striking that perfectly balance between maturity and measured elements of indie rock, avant-garde, R&B and post-everything that you might think of it. Foxing’s new effort is a “post-apocalyptical melodrama” about a world in constant decay, at least it’s the very personal perspective that vocalist Conor Murphy tell us on Nearer My God. Probably one of the most unexpected treats of the year! FAUSTO CASAIS
HALO MAUD Je Suis Une île
Heavenly Recordings (2018)
Once your ears penetrate the fuzzy melodies, the lush of her psych meets dream-pop sensibility, the gentle balance between English and French, and you enter Halo Maud’s very own world. Je Suis Une Île is an exquisite effort, with a brutal realism and refreshing raw emotion, but it’s also an effort that brings perspective, optimism and new sensations, all tempered with Maud’s delicate, heartful and sweet voice. You will easily be lost in this rich palette of unknown pleasures and contradictions between the album’s elements and its very own sensibilities, creating this awesome juxtaposition and through it Halo Maud have managed to create one of the most brilliant experimental pop albums of this year. FAUSTO CASAIS
HOT NEW BAND
HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS Bad Frequencies Pure Noise Records (2018)
Hawthorne Heights return with Bad Frequencies, their first full-length since 2013 and the first release on Pure Noise Records. If this was not a record by Hawthorne Heights, you would probably love it immediately, because this is the kind of record that would do extremely well if it was presented by a new band, fresh face or whatever. So, with that in mind it’s fair to say that for a band with a career of 14 years they aren’t reinventing the musical wheel on Bad Frequencies, and they aren’t necessarily spinning those wheels in the mud, either. It’s a strong comeback, peppered with JT Woodruff’s heartwarming vocal delivery and perfectly balancing their energetic straight-forward rock with their punk meets emo catchy tunes. FAUSTO CASAIS
HOT MULLIGAN Pilot
No Sleep Records (2018)
Hot Mulligan have been a staple in the Midwest pop punk scene since the band’s inception in 2014. Since the band’s stellar re-release of their Opportunities EP, there was plenty of anticipation to see they could fulfill the space they have carved out for themselves as a band to watch. It is without a doubt that the band delivered on Pilot, an excellent debut for Hot Mulligan packing high-energy emotional gut punches straight out the gate from start to finish. A distinguishing debut album in a sea of pop punk carbon copies, listeners get a glimpse of the breadth of Hot Mulligan’s musicianship capabilities not only as clever lyricist but also as crafty musicians creating distinctive riffs and standout melodies that make the people want to bounce. ANNAYELLI FLORES
FRANKIE COSMOS Vessel
Sub Pop (2018)
s a music lover, exploring a record for the first time and falling in love with it is one of the best experiences you can have. Vessel, the new album by Frankie Cosmos, the musical project led by Greta Kline, is one of those rare and special occasions. The minute opener “Caramelize” starts playing, we enter a universe full of sweet, delicate melodies and catchy indie songs you feel like listening to over and over again, no matter what mood you’re in. The brutally honest lyrics also play a crucial role in making this record - the band’s Sub Pop debut - such an intimate listening experience. Greta uses them to once again say what’s on her mind, discussing themes of love, dependency or self-doubt in an attempt to come to terms with herself and the world. However, even though the album would not exist without her, its greatness is the result of a collaborative effort between Greta and the musicians she is currently working with. By giving them a voice, she also ended up finding herself as an artist, creating a marvelous work in the process. JORGE ALVES
IMMERSION Sleepless Swim (2018)
After the impressive 2013’s You’re Nothing, Iceage took a huge step back with 2014’s Plowing Into the Field of Love, mostly because frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt didn’t seem too much in sync or able to follow the rest of the band. Their new album though… it makes up for everything. After the fail they’ve bounced back in an incredible way to the point of producing what’s arguably their most matured, dynamic, coherent, and dizzying statement to date. The band is fucking astonishing, grabbing the listener by the neck, track after track, and Rønnenfelt comes through incredibly confident and focused with his lyrics and vocal performance. Iceage made a humongous rock record that begs to be heard and certainly deserves to be celebrated. TIAGO MOREIRA
Brighton-based duo Immersion, made up of Wire frontman Colin Newman & Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel are back with Sleepless. This brand new album follows the lovely 2016’s Analogue Creatures Living on An Island. It’s fair to say that Sleepless is a huge leap forward in the duo’s sonic palette, but it’s also a record that easily lays down their classic soundscape, there’s still krautrock elements in there, but there’s a bit more attention to details and textures. There’s also a sparse mysticism that courses through the hypnotic melodies of the record. With excellent guest appearance from Matt Schulz of Holy Fuck and a collaboration with Gil Luz and Asi Weitz of EBM band Hexenschuss, Sleepless is without any doubt Immersion’s best work. FAUSTO CASAIS
INSECT ARK Marrow Hymns
Profound Lore (2018)
Back in 2016 I had the pleasure of witnessing Wrekmeister Harmonies live, with Dana Schechter (one half of Insect Ark) in its live line-up, tearing a lap steel guitar with grace and mastery. So naturally, I couldn’t help but be excited about this Insect Ark album. While delivering a tight and promising doomy Post-Metal sound with plenty of layers, the songwriting and structure of Insect Ark’s material feels lacking and meandering. Too much of its material tends to fall back into becoming background music, even when attempting to listen actively. Songs like “Arp 9” and “Skin Walker” prove, however, to be very good exceptions to this. You can hear the talent here, but there’s still a long path of growth ahead. BRUNO COSTA
GROUPER Grid Of Points
iz Harris’ previous album was recorded in Portugal, during an artistic residence in Aljezur curated by Galeria Zé dos Bois. This time the singer and songwriter found refuge in Wyoming, where over the course of just a week and half she worked on art, wrote and recorded piano-based music before being abruptly stopped by an emerging fever. “Though brief, it is complete”, she later stated. This story seems to mirror Grouper’s music, where time — giving time some time to do its thing — seems to be very important. Liz continues stripping her music down to the very bare essentials, no longer hiding her soft voice under tides of electrical guitar echos and noise. A wise man once said, “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another”; so, whether it is recorded in Portugal or Mongolia, Grouper’s music never ceases to convey this beautifully vulnerable place we all find ourselves in every once in a while — and sometimes more often than we’d like to admit. RICARDO ALMEIDA
JAYE JAYLE No Trail And The Other Unholy Parts Sargent House (2018)
Swathed in a strange sense of desolation, that’s both comforting and unsettling, the eight tracks on Jaye Jayle’s No Trail and Other Unholy Paths combine the sparse beauty of neo-folk, experimental Krautrock arrangements and singer/ guitarist Evan Patterson’s hypnotic crooner dark voice. This is an album that has no beginning and no ending. With that in mind, we can easily shuffle the whole effort, and everything matches perfectly. Featuring an intense cameo of Emma Ruth Rundle on “No Trail Path Two” and with film composer Dean Hurley - David Lynch’s music supervisor of the last twelve years - serving as producer, No Trail and Other Unholy Paths is a densely, seductive and captivating work. A record for late, empty, lonely nights. FAUSTO CASAIS
JASON SHARP Stand Above The Streams Constellation Records (2018)
JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN Damned Devotion
Just a little short of two years after the release of his debut solo adventure, here is the Canadian musician Jason Sharp with his second full-length, Stand Above the Streams - out on non other than Constellation Records. Relying on too many unconventionalities to mention here (including heart monitor triggered drums, and a Colin Stetsonesque approach to the saxophone), this is a treatise on sonic landscaping. Stand Above the Streams drags the listener to an unknown location that somehow feels intriguingly familiar. It may seem like it lacks a bit of direction at times, but, still, it constitutes an overall very engaging experience. The kind of sonic environment one’d expect to hear on a post-apocalyptic Philip K. Dick inspired movie. RICARDO ALMEIDA
Joan Wasser’s explorations (both lyrically and sonically) as Joan As Police Woman never show signs of slowing down, and if anything on her fifth album, Damned Devotion, Wasser manages to renew her willingness to sink even deeper into her thoughts and views on a myriad of emotional manifestations that range from love to pain and loss – articulating how the relationship between them is important and how they feed of one another. Even though is very blatant the innumerous mutations that happen throughout these twelve tracks, it’s the soul that carries the album through and through, serving as a conducting wire to what’s arguably the most accomplished work of Wasser’s beautiful career. Pop proves itself worthy, rewarding, and even vital, once again, as JAPW shows up more triumphant than ever. TIAGO MOREIRA
HALF WAIF Lavender
8/10 INSTANT CLASSIC
andi Rose Plunkett is known for her formidable songwriting and has worked with a bunch of great musicians. She started Half Waif in 2012 as a way to put out her deepest thoughts and feelings in the form of music. With her bandmates, Adan Carlo and Zack Levine, she created a sound that’s quite unique and remarkable along with complex and impactful lyrics. Lavender is their second album and is a mesmerizing effort. Behind each song there’s an emotional story that will make you get so stocked by it. The album’s title was named for her grandmother Asha – she would pluck lavender from her garden and boil in a pot on the stove. Even though the album was written and recorded when her grandmother was alive, Lavender has a connection to her death and the loss, and there’s this magical sensibility that Nadia conveys with her words and the experimental synth layers that are the perfect soundscape. Lavender feels like a purification and cathartic process for Nadia and those who experience this album will likely feel the same way. ANDREIA ALVES
JOAN OF ARC 1984
Joyful Noise (2018)
HILARY WOODS Colt Sacred Bones (2018)
“Colt was created as a way to process and make sense of the everyday… As a means to speak with inner voices, explore aloneness, and understand the complexities of desire. As a vehicle for imaginative flight, as a quest for resilience and connectivity to the outside world, as a medium through which to journey into the present, to temper the mind and inhabit the body” - says Hilary Woods about her brilliant debut album Colt.
ilary Woods debut album is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Delicate and fascinatingly fragmented, rich with ghost-sounding melodies and boldly intensity, Colt’s minimalist approach takes us to that dreamy atmospheres that defined the Twin Peaks score. Somewhere between Julee Cruise’s poignant voice, Emma Ruth Rundle’s immersive approach, Cocteau Twins’ ethereal sound and Angelo Badalamenti weird and twisted modern ambiences, Colt cinematic and multi layered instrumentation is the perfect match to the album’s dark and wonderfully slow mood. Written and recorded at home in Dublin and was mixed by and co-produced with James Kelly (WIFE, Altar of Plagues) in Berlin in the winter of 2017, Colt, Hilary Woods debut album is an emotionally intense and personal journey that sounds bleak and beautifully haunting. FAUSTO CASAIS
Since their inception, back in 1995, after the breakup of Cap N’Jazz, Joan of Arc keep breaking new grounds. 1984 is a series of nearly a cappella performances from Tim Kinsella’s fellow vocalist Melina Ausikaitis. Autobiographical and deeply personal, 1984 is, if perhaps the band’s most challenging and strangely effective effort, a set of songs that demand your full attention even as they so beautifully defy it. Ausikaitis now unlocks the door and invite us into her own world, full of feelings of despair and clarity along with this haunting energy and bursting intensity. This time around - and without Kinsella’s voice – some of us may find it bit strange, but the overall result is arresting, minimalist and elegantly crushing, an experimental standout. FAUSTO CASAIS
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE COCTEAU TWINS JULEE CRUISE
HIDE Castration Anxiety Dais Records (2018)
hicago based industrial duo HIDE is a collaboration between visual artist Heather Gabel and percussionist Seth Sher. Castration Anxiety is HIDE’s debut full-length album, a provocative, dark and hypnotic effort that enfolds their industrial structure and clashes with their disrupting multi-layered complexity, where feelings of empowerment, desperation and hopelessness are like soundwaves that bounce and reverberate as you move from track to track. Dynamically this is an industrial effort but it is played and produced with a sense of EBM and dance floor epic euphoria and sonic rawness. Gabel’s cathartic vocal delivery will take you to a very dark, and at times disturbing place, but that’s just a caustic getaway to achieve balance. In a genre that can easily become boring and repetitive, Castration Anxiety will for sure leave you uncomfortable and shaken. Overall, it’s a distinctive and refreshing effort. FAUSTO CASAIS FILE UNDER: Ministry, The Soft Moon, Revolting Cocks, Marilyn Manson
JULIANA DAUGHERTY Light Western Vinyl (2018)
Light is the singer-songwriter Juliana Daugherty’s first solo album after playing around in the Charlottesville, Va. folk scene. Even though she was raised by her trumpeteer and violinist father and mother, Juliana grew up playing multiple instruments. She even attended a musical conservatory and went on to acquire an MFA in poetry. All those moments of her life reflect on Light, an intimate folk-rock album where the lyrics were written with the softness and subtlety that Juliana has so splendid. But still, the album itself approaches depression and vulnerability and it’s a way to Juliana dissect such hurtful life experiences. Through her minimalist yet powerful music, she gives life to such powerful and outstanding songs with a deepening atmosphere. ANDREIA ALVES
ILSA Corpse Fortress
lsa’s Corpse Fortress is 48 minutes of sludge-covered death/doom metal perfection. Whichever genre you prefer, the sense of danger and imminent annihilation is ever-present throughout. The album opens with the straightforward, creeping “Hikikomori” and builds into a more hardcore/death influenced second half, notably “Rukenfigur,” before diving back into the blackest depths for the “Drums of the Dark Gods.” While the vocals are often a distant echo in comparison to the deafening bass, it doesn’t detract from the power of every track. In fact, Ilsa could just as successfully be an instrumental band. Without jumping from style to style or seeming disjointed, there is room for brooding stillness as well as angry headbanging. Corpse Fortress doesn’t pigeonhole itself into one groove; the album grows and shifts with each track and, in the end, has completely damned every listener.
BLEAK, DARK & BEAUTIFUL
FILE UNDER: Cough, Primitive Man, Bell Witch
Bjørn Tore Moen
KALI UCHIS Isolation
here do I start here? Ihsahn has always been more than just a Metal musician. While he is responsible for some stone cold Black Metal classics with Emperor, ever since he began his solo adventure the man’s turned into an overlord of dark, experimental and progressive music. So much so that his 7th solo full-length album is probably one of his best thus far. Opener “Lend Me The Eyes Of The Millenia” sets us off with an Avant-Garde mesh of synthesizers, frantic kick drums and harsh vocals that will weed out casual listeners. Following songs such as “Arcana Imperii”, “Sámr” and “Twin Black Angels” later on carry Ihsahn’s most progressive edge, with clean vocals, technical solos and more conventional song structures and melodies, but other tracks like “One Less Enemy”, “In Rites Of Passage” (one of the tracklist’s most multi-dimensional songs) and “Wake” show us that he’s never forsaken his roots (he’s never been a purist about anything other than having an untamable creative vision). Also, Ihsahn’s always been a good vocalist, but ÀMR features some of his most elastic and haunting vocal performances ever, with whispered, breathy, clean, raspy and harsh vocals aplenty (sometimes in the same track). Bonus track and closer “Alone” masterfully sets music to the original Edgar Allen Poe poem. One can only hope the man pulls an “Ulver” and does a full album around a classic work of literature someday. BRUNO COSTA Ihsahn has outdone himself once again. Unbelievable.
Interscope / Virgin (2018)
Kali Uchis, the soon to be 24-year old that was raised between America and Colombia, has been the reason for much of the music-related noise in 2018. The noise itself couldn’t be more insignificant, but the reason for that noise is nothing but worthy to talk about: Isolation, the debut full-length of Karly-Marina Loaiza. It’s just one of those moments that you know it will eventually happen, even if rarely, but you’re never fully prepared for it. Fifteen tracks deep, the album defies the natural filler-expectation with an artistic vision that feels bullet proof in terms of a constant delivery of high standard quality. It’s a pop classic in the making, an astonishing product of our eclectic cultural soundscape with Uchis ability to shape everything around her. Feels like a truly and scary new benchmark. TIAGO MOREIRA
JOSH T. PEARSON The Straight Hits!
osh T. Pearson is known for the classics but not exactly for being the most prolific fellow. Lift To Experience’s The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads and his solo debut, Last of the Country Gentlemen are highly regarded but are the only two albums in his 20 plus career. His new album, The Straight Hits!, is the hint that something is changing. A post-divorce (with some counseling) record that follows some parameters that Pearson called the ‘Five Pillars Of The Straight Hits’, is not what you would expect. The miserable bastard dared to be joyful and giddy – and more than that, but you’ll have to look under the bed. The pink-soaked album is so all over the place that ends up sounding coherent and perfectly connected, and that’s the beauty of an album that celebrates the word ‘straight’ and wonderfully fails being so. It’s a country delight born out of necessity and happiness.
MAGNIFICENT POP CELEBRATION
FILE UNDER: Hank Williams, Nick Cave, Buzzcocks
JANELLE MONÁE Dirty Computer
Bad Boy Records (2018)
istening to Dirty Computer, the third full-length from Janelle Monáe, makes it hard to believe that not long ago the Kansas City-born artist was extremely focused and committed in her acting career – Moonlight and Hidden Figures, both released in 2016. Monáe has always been extremely talented, but her latest album might be a whole new high. It couldn’t start off in better terms. The harmonies on the opening and title-track (that features the one and only Brian Wilson) set the tone perfectly for the magical, dazzling, effortless, and highly thorough details that succeed it. Thematically, Dirty Computer doesn’t fall far away from the three that Monáe has planted and neutered more than a decade ago, but this time around it feels more unfiltered. It’s an unabashed celebration of the individual identity, which has been done many times before, but Janelle dares to be highly personal on it, which ultimately sounds liberating making it easier to appreciate her thoughts, emotions, and feelings. There’s an amazing flavor and delight in the irony that this being Monáe’s more packed album in terms of guests and collaborations, it’s one that asserts the most her true singularity. Dirty Computer is a truly magnificent pop album, with enough assets to go down as one of the most pivotal of this decade. TIAGO MOREIRA
Rama Lama Records (2018)
Kluster’s rich, dreamy, fresh debut album is a very interesting surprise. civic’s playful sound is totally unrestrained by any kind of conventional rules, but everything matches somehow, as if their broad scope of influences weirdly blends into this cocktail of pop, punk, noise, lo-fi, indie and jazz. Malmö’s five piece multi colored experimental pop is bold and eclectic, oscillating between this outstanding dynamic with this thrilling dichotomy, where their own complexity flirts with their catchy simplistic structures. Overall, Civic sounds distinctive and charming, but even with the final package being cleverly constructed and invigorating, it’s far from perfect but it’s strong and perfectly balanced, resulting in an honest collection that merits the deserved attention. FAUSTO CASAIS
HOT NEW BAND
LAURA VEIRS The Lookout
Bella Union (2018)
The Lookout is Laura Veirs’ tenth solo album and once again the dreamy Seattle singer-songwriter delivers something that is both oddly beautiful and brutally compelling. We already knew that Veirs is a prolific singer but her ability to create something organic and pure over and over again is truly outstanding. The Lookout is a brilliant folk-pop masterpiece! It’s an album that puts everything in perspective. It makes us think about how we approach life and how we relate with each other. Guests like Sufjan Stevens and Jim James of My Morning Jacket perfectly match Veirs’ luminous vocals and soft melodies. The Lookout is a stunning and captivating listening experience, there’s a real depth of feeling to her songs and singing that makes you stop and listen. FAUSTO CASAIS
Reckless Yes Records (2018)
Thrill Jockey (2018)
here’s a sense of hostility that underpins much of American Dollar Bill; it’s there in Haino’s cauterised howls, a litany of PTSD poetics punctuated with mangled blues and negative space; it’s in Aaron Turner’s burrs of noise and guttural, droning sludge; you can hear it as Brian Cook slowly ramps up tension before releasing in each frantic kit-drubbing. It’s hostile against sound, against form and even against the precepts of improvisation, with “I’m Over 137%... pt. II” seeing the quartet sink deep into an otherworldly blues jam that, for all its organic flow, possesses a keen sense of structure and pace. It’s strange, then, that a work this focused and complete could only be created by four staunch individualists working in absurd, uneasy harmony but that’s what we have here – an hour of wonderful, baffling contradictions. DAVE BOWES
Dead Oceans (2018)
Liines are a post-punk power trio with tightly wound arrangements, a signature sound and dynamic rhythms. The Manchester outfit is truly a powerhouse. With an impressive lyrical depth, unusual energy and visceral attitude, Stop-Start sounds urgent, intense and fucking loud. Somewhere between a mix of Sleater-Kinney, Pixies and Joy Division, Liines is neither directly imitating nor imitable. Built around Zoe McVeigh’s inspiring vocal delivery, Liines tackles themes like loss, frustration, anxiety and despair as there’s an obvious melancholy and introspection all over the album. Overall, it’s fair to say that Stop-Start is both quietly devastating and life affirming. An impressive debut album that sounds fresh and straight-forward. FAUSTO CASAIS
LUMP is a collaborative album from Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay, the founding member of Tunng and Throws. Recorded in Lindsay’s subterranean London studio and inspired by early-20th-century surrealism and the absurdist poetry of Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler, Marling’s verses are about the mundane absurdity of individualism and the superficial void of contemporary life. The classic Joni Mitchell comparison is utterly undeniable, but on LUMP it would be also fair to mention that there’s a lot of Kate Bush on Marling’s voice, pushing her voice in new directions, all wonderfully balanced and with brilliant dynamic. LUMP is one of the most expansive and striking collaborative efforts of this year, sounding colorful but also unbelievably intimate. Simply stunning work. FAUSTO CASAIS
LITHICS Mating Surfaces EP
MARY LATTIMORE Hundreds Of Days
Kill Rock Stars (2018)
KEIJI HAINO & SUMAC American Dollar Bill
Shimmering with the spirit of The Fall, Public Image LTD and pinches of Captain Beefheart, Mating Surfaces is raw, in your face and fucking awesome. Normally, post-punk revival trendy cliché bands keep doing the same old thing over and over again, with the same boring musical references and blah blah blah… But what sets apart Lithics from their peers? Well, that’s easy… Starting with their start-stop dynamics and art punk experimentalism, Aubrey Hornor’s icy yet vibrant vocal approach, and how they impressively defy any kind of expectations are just some of of their biggest strengths. Mating Surfaces might sound strange at first, but it’s more subtle and accomplished than you might expect, their music is sneakily sophisticated and addictive. FAUSTO CASAIS
Ghostly International (2018)
Mary Lattimore is a harpist living in Los Angeles and her music is charming and dreamy. Across her memories and experiences, she has made songs that have their own world. She recorded her new album Hundreds of Days while in residency at an artists’ colony in Northern California for a couple of months last summer. She used the studio there to write together her music in an old redwood barn. “It was the most beautiful summer of my life,” that what’s she said and one can really enjoy those moments of her life through her own music. It’s amazing how she interacts and plays the harps. The instrument really wires into her psyche, like they have their own language with every note played. It’s a stunning and delightful effort. ANDREIA ALVES
LUCERO Among The Ghost
Liberator Music (2018)
Lucero return with their ninth studio album Among the Ghost, the perfect treat from the band to their fans in a year that they celebrate 20 years together. Co-produced and engineered by Matt RossSpang (Margo Price), Among the Ghost is a haunting and emotional effort. From the band’s trademark southern gothic esque to Springsteen meets Nick Drake songwriting approach, the Memphis native’s quintet keep once again pushing their sound further. Lead singer Ben Nichols is a brilliant storyteller, delivering a handful set of sharp, intense and heartful tales, where he croons about missing his family on title track and about the troubles of love on “My Dearest Wife”. By the way, thumbs up for the poignant spoken word interlude by actor Michael Shannon on “Back To The Night”. FAUSTO CASAIS
Heavenly Recordings (2018)
Mattiel is the sort of gem that doesn’t come across that often. The self-titled debut album by the Georgia-born and Atlanta-based artist is far from being truly spectacular, but the glimpses of greatness are so undeniable that make the experience extremely gut-wrenching and one can’t feel other thing than unabashed hope and excitement. It’s not their low key garage rock meets Nancy Sinatra nor the lo-fi production values – that’s definitely the element falling behind. It’s Mattiel vocal performance all the way. It’s been a minute since someone, with only their sheer strong voice, was so devastating and nuanced. Truly earthshaking and one can only wait for the future, because there’s no denying how truly fantastic it can be. Keep an eye out. TIAGO MOREIRA
Nuclear Blast (2018)
A HOT NEW ARTIST
KISSISSIPPI Sunset Blush
merikkkant is Ministry’s 14th fulllength studio release and the first without guitarist Mike Scaccia, who passed away in 2012. Amerikkant is also one of the most important albums of the year, like it or not. It’s the perfect political stand against what’s happening in the US right now but goes beyond any kind of Anti-Trump manifestation, it goes directly to the society that we all live and breathe. Amerikkkant is the definitive Ministry album, and their best in years. You can hear many pieces from “The Mind is a Terrible Thing”, “Dark Side of the Spoon” to “Filth Pig” and through to “From Beer to Eternity”, and even the strong political message is instantly reminiscent of Houses of The Mole and Psalm 69, with an obvious different message and vibe. The frantic punishment and sonic chaos of Amerikkkant is overwhelming, full of ingenious mechanical beats and exhilarating results. Al Jorgensen is still pushing the envelope, he sounds fucking angry and along with a new line up he fucking delivered an uncompromising industrial masterpiece. FAUSTO CASAIS
hiladelphia-based Zoe Reynolds has been making music under the moniker Kississippi since 2014 permeating the DIY scene with her sweet soprano voice and painstakingly all too relatable lyrics. Her visceral 2016 standout We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed was just a taste of the magic Kississippi is capable of. Taking what she has experienced from life on the road, major line-up shifts within her band, and the pangs of a relationship, Zoe has been able to beautifully harness all of it into her heartfelt and raw debut album, Sunset Blush. Aptly named after the Franzia Wine and very much like the drink, the album is sweet and delicate over steady rosy synthpop keys. Also like the wine, after too many spins, or sips, of Sunset Blush you may find yourself with tears in your eyes due to Zoe’s innate ability entwine you into her world and experiences that feel much like your own. Whether you’re listening to Reynold’s croon about her vulnerabilities on “Easier to Love” or sings to you a reminder find your voice on “Rinse, Repeat,” each song culminates into a grand and hopeful reminder that you are all you need in the end. ANNAYELLI FLORES
Chapter Music (2018)
The winter is dark and cold, but the new album by Australian musician and visual artist Montero will make you feel warm inside. All the songs have that cool summer breeze atmosphere, wonderful for sunny days spent with friends at the beach. Inspired, according to him, by the romantic classicism of love songs, the album sees the artist taking those influences and adding elements of catchy psychedelic pop and occasional electronic music passages – similar to Tame Impala or Pond (Jay Watson, who plays in both bands, was one of the co-producers). The complex instrumentation, full of small details, makes everything feel big and perfectly illustrates how to create accessible yet ambitious pop anthems. Simply addictive - the more you explore it, the better it gets. JORGE ALVES
MOOSE BLOOD I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore Hopeless Records (2018)
When this record starts, you’ll fall deeply in sync with the lyrical quality and overall sound. It is an album proudly wearing its stripes, emotionally connecting. It’s also infectious, which is what you look for in a rock band. Although this is the case, Moose Blood don’t just deliver heaps of catchy mellow-drama, but they give us some well-rounded lyrical content. By saluting their roots, they empower on their new record I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore. There’s dashes of emo, there’s signs of pop punk, there’s pessimistic notes throughout. Songs such as “Have I Told You Enough” and “Talk In Your Sleep” go beyond the norm, as they pound with riffs and succinct wordplay worthy of praise. MARK MCCONVILLE
TOP NOTCH EXPERIMENTAL POP
LET’S EAT GRANDMA I’m All Ears
Transgressive Records (2018)
m All Ears is a portrait of Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth’s lives over the past two years, but also a gloriously unique and unsettling provocative blend of experimental sludge pop, psych rock and innovating songwriting. Stepping out of the shadows suits them perfectly well, from romantic relationships, mental health, new friendships and the perks of technology, these childhood friends who grew up writing songs together have also matured their songwriting, their lyrical approach and they’re not afraid to show their incredible confidence through the album. I’m All Ears is an accomplished effort from two young musicians, an album about self-discovery and personal relationships, that also tackles themes like consumerism, feminism and gender diversity. Produced by David Wrench (The xx/Frank Ocean/Caribou), SOPHIE (Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples) and Faris Badwan (The Horrors), I’m All Ears is irrefutably infectious and fascinatingly complex, but it’s the album’s overall consistency and the duo’s furious pop dreamy ambience that somehow brings some refreshing incongruence to a genre that seems populated with tedious acts. FAUSTO CASAIS
NOW NOW Saved
Trans- Records (2018)
OKKERVIL RIVER In The Rainbow Rain ATO Records (2018)
It took KC Dalager and Brad Hale six years to make Saved, Now Now’s brand new album and probably one of the most important indie pop albums of this year. The Minneapolis duo’s third full-length is an emotionally charged, haunting and intimate piece, full of mellow melodies and charmingly addictive. It’s been almost half a decade since the release of their brilliant debut Threads, since then a lot has changed. Jess Abbott left the band to pursue Tancred full-time, they ditched their guitar-driven alternative rock with shoegaze and noise elements for this new breed of electro-synth pop, with a lush and more polished production. Saved is not staggeringly original, sometimes a bit challenging, but overall is a strong effort and a triumphant comeback. FAUSTO CASAIS
Okkervil River return with In The Rainbow Rain, the follow up to the band’s 2016 effort, Away. The new songs are meticulously crafted, full of bright colours and are much more optimistic. There are obvious differences between the band’s previous effort and this one. While Away was a bit more dark and introspective, In The Rainbow Rain sounds more playful, hopeful and more open. Even when it deals with heavy things, there’s a strange and positive vibe in it. There are some twists along the process, but nothing sounds strange or out of place, instead we get these driving and engaging anthems. With In The Rainbow Rain, Will Sheff was able to create an album of singular beauty, something like triumph over adversity. FAUSTO CASAIS
ORANGE GOBLIN The Wolf Bites Back Spinefarm (2018)
The Wolf Bites Back is a hell of fun ride and is also Orange Goblin strongest and most diverse and consistent effort, proving that Ben Ward and the gang are in great musical shape. With their ongoing gravitational heaviness and groove, Orange Goblin have constantly paced themselves ahead of their genre, especially because of their ability to change and improve their songwriting skills, adding some new depth to both its aggression and to its restraint. Lyrically, we have everything from “alien serial killers to zombie biker gangs, Buddhist warriors through to descendants of the Salem witches”. It might sound silly, but it gives you a sense of fun into this dark and weird journey. FAUSTO CASAIS
CATHARTIC & PAINFUL HONEST
Triple Crown Records (2018)
cCafferty, the Ohio-based quartet, has been a fan-favorite in the Midwest emo music scene for some time, so when they disbanded and rose from the ashes to deliver superb 2017 comeback EP, Thanks. Sure. Sorry., it seemed like a new beginning. At the tail end of last year, McCafferty signed to Triple Crown Records and announced their second LP, and first on the label, Yarn. Fans have come to expect the sweat-soaked, highly caffeinated music, but on Yarn, listeners get more than that. They get a painfully honest dark album that reflects the ugliness one goes through and witnesses in life. The band stretches themselves further than before delivering cutting realness on songs such as “Strain”, which is about the lingering thoughts post failed relationship breakup. Other standouts include “Loser.”, “It’s A”, and “Westboro Sadness”. The latter pulls real life lyrical influence from the Steubenville rape case that took place in Ohio. The album culminates into what could be considered the most gut-wrenching song on the record, “Toewngmo,” Nick Hartkop croons, “But my body says hurt myself, and my heart says to harm myself. my wife said to love myself, so what am I to do, myself?” It’s a painful reflection of what it is like to live with mental illness and the constant fight between you and your demons. McCafferty abruptly dropped off the bill with Moose Blood to seek help for Nick Hartkop’s mental health. No word yet on what are the band’s next steps. Even if this were their last album, in which we hope it isn’t, alas like a beautiful shooting star, we fondly remember the bliss it brings to ANNAYELLI FLORES all who listen. Yarn is out now on Triple Crown Records.
PARQUET COURTS Wide Awake!
8/10 Rough Trade Records (2018) Living legend Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels (founding member of hip hop game changers RunD.M.C.) has once said, “We were all in this together. Punk and hip hop came up at the same time but punk was killing it. Punk actually kicked open the door for the rebellious, innovative, creative, political, socially consciousness of hip hop.” Parquet Courts’ new record follows that same explosive ethos as the Brooklyn-based band step out - continuously and unrelentingly for the entire album’s thirteen tracks – off of their comfort zone and deliver an exquisite adventurous and refined punk voyage. From their political and social consciousness to the heavy incorporation of funk elements, Wide Awake! is a fantastic addition to the cutting-edge section of punk. Punk is TIAGO MOREIRA Dead!
PEACH KELLI POP Which Witch EP Mint Records (2018)
Allie Hanlon’s Peach Kelli Pop is back with a brand new 6-song EP with a duration of 6 minutes. It features only Allie and it’s a short EP, but still, it’s captivating and quite amusing. The 60s girl groups vibes and the upbeat power pop tunes are predominant on the songs along with Allie’s sweet and vulnerable vocals and very autobiographical lyrics. She approached themes of isolation, depression and feeling like an outsider in her current home of Los Angeles. Allie seems more confident and assertive with her new work and that’s the result of a new step on her songwriting. A new full-length is awaited later this May featuring the entire band collaborating on all of the songs, so let’s hope that she brings more of this dreamy and fuzzy music. ANDREIA ALVES
PLLUSH Stranger To The Pain
Father/Daughter Records (2018)
There’s an irresistible attraction to the rising wave of new indie bands that blend shoegaze with dream pop. But then there are groups like Pllush that push further that envelope, experiment and add something new to the scene. Stranger To The Pain Is Pllush’s new LP, and is also a new chapter in the band’s sound and dynamic. Refining their trademark dense harmony and blending that with a new found melody, this new effort drips with dizzying dream pop and shoegaze nostalgia, but it’s their deeply and abrasive pop precision that really stands out. The overall result is bloody lovely and it’s fair to say that this is the kind of record that works like a fresh new start for the band, it’s not perfect and its scope is overly broad, but it still sounds new and fresh. FAUSTO CASAIS
MIRACLE The Strife Of Love Relapse (2018)
n one hand, it’s a shame that Miracle don’t release more frequently. The pairing of Steve Moore’s sinewy synthwork, Daniel O’Sullivan’s outré sensibilities, and their joint skill at crafting drama from the sparsest of constructs, never disappoints, yet if the wait gives us a collection of The Strife Of Love...’s calibre, they can be forgiven. While “Light Mind” delivers a sharp pastiche of motivational-speaker sloganeering, O’Sullivan brimming with gravitas over a tense beat and the occasional righteous guitar solo, “Sulfur” dials it right back, replacing the driving force with something more akin to the pulsating crawl of “Assault On Precinct 13”. It’s an album that plays deftly with film scores, glossy synthpop and the kind of twisting prog that only these two can ever seem to get right, painting something less contrived than that description might suggest. At times, it’s like being lost in a dream, a gentle flow of new wave synth and half-forgotten memories of late ‘80s dance culture at its finest, but there’s always that potential, when Moore begins to pack more and more into tighter spaces and O’Sullivan’s voice shifts into ‘harbinger of doom’ mode that the effect becomes more nightmarish, but that’s life. The Strife Of Love... is a reflection of ourselves, the id, the ego and the super-ego, and a demonstration the transformative power of sound. It’s a marvellous work and a true landmark for two serial innovators.
NATALIE PRASS The Future And The Past ATO Records (2018)
REDRUM04 A New Era
This Is Core Music (2018)
Italian alternative rock acts Redrum04 return with their new album A New Era, probably the band’s most ambitious effort till date. Formerly known by Redrum (initially the band’s name), over their 15 years as a band they’ve changed their name to Panic Room, who in the meantime, changed the name back to REDRUM04… Name quest aside, A New Era brings back that early 2000’s nu-metal with a modern twist on the band’s very own melodies and harmonies, there are elements of Staind, Incubus and Biffy Clyro all over the place. The overall result is very satisfying, there are some very nice elements and hooks all over the album, even with some deeply uninteresting radio friendly songs along the listening process. FAUSTO CASAIS
atalie Prass sophomore full-length album is very much informed by the United States presidential election of 2016 and everything that surrounds such event, especially what it means to be a woman in America these days. After all, Prass already had an album written and ready to be recorded, and decided to rewrite the entire thing. The Future and the Past works in multiple dimensions and its dynamics often work like counterweights in what seems a process of ultimate self-rediscovery of the individual in the grand scheme of the world. Prass seems to be right in the middle of a process that aims salvation and preservation of the individual and ultimately of the group. It’s with overly rhythmic grooves, her irresistible soft voice, and detailed and lush orchestrations that she keeps pushing the notions of weakness and inutility out of the way with strong statements that reassures the importance of self-worth in times that question its existence. It’s in this apparent dichotomy that Natalie moves herself. In these uncertain political and social times where everyone is screaming and on full attack-mode, Natalie Prass took the alternative way and ends up finding more satisfying results with love, affection, and overall beauty. TIAGO MOREIRA
NINE INCH NAILS Bad Witch
The Null Corporation (2018)
ad Witch, the third and final part of a planned trilogy of EPs (which is actually being marketed as a full-length for streaming relevance), is exciting beyond our wildest dreams and expectations. The six-track project sees Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (a long-time collaborator that is now officially a member of the band) tackle experimentation without any sort of reservations to the point of sounding, more often than not, out of control. Very much like Nine Inch Nails’ first couple of records, Bad Witch is undeniably abrasive, corrosive, wild, and even at times fueled by rage. That unpredictable nature that made NIN a household name is the most important feature on this project and the result couldn’t be more satisfying. An extreme textural record that takes nothing but left turns and thrives with its almost-too-crazy-and-good-to-be-true transitions. Next year will mark the 30th year anniversary of NIN debut album, Pretty Hate Machine, and they’ve managed to sound completely and utterly reinvigorated while breaking new grounds. Not many people saw this coming and the truth is: it feels amazing to be punched this hard in 2018. As good, and as focused, as Bad Witch is, it TIAGO MOREIRA feels like Trent Reznor is only starting to rattle our cages. It’s a good day to be a freak. musicandriots.com
POPPY ACKROYD Resolve
One Little Indian (2018)
ithout a doubt, Poppy Ackroyd’s neo-classical music is a delight to listen to. The London-born composer, who is known for her multi-tracked pairings of piano and violin, manages to prove that again on her latest disc. There is a broad but saturated market for melancholic piano music, which Ackroyd readily caters to, yet what sets her apart from fellow contenders is a rhythmic sensibility that is comparable to that of German composer and pianist Hauschka, which is further elaborated upon by the addition of frantic layered instruments like the violins on the song “Light”, or the flapping clarinet keys on “The Calm Before”. Throughout the album, Ackroyd’s velvet fingers softly glide up and down the clavier, playing notes soft as honey and almost drowning among the layered strings. Perhaps Ackroyd’s playing is more effective on more sparsely accompanied pieces like “Feathers” from the 2015 album of the same name, but with its rich production values giving way to expansive instrumentation, Resolve is a distinct move forward from Ackroyd’s previous work, both in songwriting and arrangement. All in all a nice record to play on those melancholic winter afternoons or lush autumn mornings. ROBERT WESTERVELD
PRISM TATS Mamba Anti- (2018)
o say I have been eagerly looking forward to the new Prims Tats album would be a mild understatement. His debut album (self-titled, 2016) was one of my albums of the year and he was one of the acts I most excitedly shared among my friends and social circle. A wonderfully eccentric indie-rock artist who can take simple melodic structures and kick them into top gear with subtle, nuanced and tricky hooks and magical leftfield ideas – he is an act who just has a juju at his fingertips and seems incapable of writing a bad song. Mamba is a deliriously good sophomore album from an artist who is blazing his own trail in a very barren musical landscape. Where a lot of bands seem to be resting on laurels and falling into cliché, Prism Tats seems keen to dig into new fertile soils and trough ground that might seem tough on first inspection, but bloom crops of wonderful musical wheat. From first to last this is an album that sticks with you, rides your back like Jabba’s weasly little mate, and laughs as it uses your brain as a ping-pong table bouncing these tracks round and round your head for days on end. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
SCREAMING FEMALES All At Once
Drag City (2018)
creaming Females have recently released their seventh album, their most expansive and imaginative work to date. The description might make people think All At Once is highly experimental, but it is more of an extremely dynamic rock album. There are songs like “Chamber For Sleep”, an epic two-part sonic adventure, while “I’ll Make You Sorry” sees them venturing into simple and direct pop-punk territory and “Soft Domination” is a delicious, high-energy tune featuring Fugazi’s Brendan Canty as a second drummer. Basically, this is Screaming Females doing what they want while staying true to their roots. Marissa Paternoster continues to be that charismatic frontwoman who captivates listeners with her strong voice, honest lyrics and splendid guitar melodies, and the rest of the band is still a well-oiled machine. At the end of the day, Screaming Females sound like a refreshed version of themselves more than anything else, and that’s what makes the album so fun to listen to. JORGE ALVES
FILE UNDER: The Coathangers, Fugazi, Stevie Nicks
REGGIE AND THE FULL EFFECT 41 Pure Noise Records (2018)
SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS Years Bloodshot Records (2018)
Few bands expect to ever celebrate a twentieth anniversary when they start out, least of all those who are born of an off-kilter practical joke. That Reggie and the Full Effect are now releasing their seventh album is as much a surprise to anyone, but most impressive is that Dewee’s stubborn refusal to sing in tune has remained intact throughout a twenty-year career, along with his inability to take anything seriously. Electropop and 80s synth influences capitalise on the frivolous atmosphere while the jarring and sombre “Heartbreak” does a fantastic job of emulating seminal britpop band Pulp. It all feels a bit directionless and perfunctory. Do yourself a favour and revisit 2005’s Songs Not to Get Married To instead. RYAN NEAL
“This record is about finding a way… This record is shouting “f**k you, from the rooftops to the mother******g cosmos” – says Sarah Shook about her sophomore album, Years. It’s hard to talk about Sarah Shook & The Disarmers new album without letting yourself go inside Sarah’s fascinating mind and attitude. Years is a gem, a defiant and cathartic effort that is both challenging and disarming. There’s something of a country-punk spirit in their sound, which set them apart of their peers, even Sarah’s fierce honest lyrical approach is inspiring and goes straight to your heart. It’s not very often that an artist speaks to you with such a powerful message, the way every song connects is uplifting, fresh and fucking bold. FAUSTO CASAIS
SENSES FAIL If There’s A Light, It Will Find You Pure Noise Records (2018)
Since their formation back in 2002, Senses Fail have a very special and unique place in the hardcore scene. Influenced by pretty much everything - from metalcore and post-hardcore to emo and even pop punk, hardly finding the middle ground between the cult status among the fans, and a significant animosity from some other people. That probably cost them larger popularity, but seems like the frontman, Buddy Nielsen never cared too much about it. From the day one, he stayed true to himself, doing what he wanted. The new record hardly carries any surprises, it brings twelve songs worth of good music, but it’s hardly band’s best work. Experimentation is still here, stylistic chaos is everpresent, and pretty much everything is in its place. MILJAN MILEKIC
A CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE...
ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER Age Of
aniel Lopatin possesses the bragging rights of having one of the 21st Century's most successful careers in experimental electronica. From 80's synthesizer worship to plunderphonics and all the way into award-winning film scores, the man's main project, Oneohtrix Point Never, just keeps bringing on challenging headtrips for the most adventurous listeners to experience. Age Of is no different. The opening title track brings to mind the classical-based works of Wendy Carlos, fusing harpsicord with production techniques that already seemed to be present in "Garden Of Delete". Then the differences in tone and style start coming in. There are interestingly and densely composed tracks ("The Station", "Toys 2", "RayCats", finisher "Trance1"), annoying auto-tune ("Babylon"), odd choices for lead singles ("Black Snow") and complete weirdness ("myriad.industries", "Same"). It's hard to tell whether this album is "business as usual" or if Lopatin has finally gotten lost on his way up his own ass. But one thing is undeniable: OPN has come up with another puzzling piece of work that will require patience and getting used to. BRUNO COSTA
SHAME Songs Of Praise
Dead Oceans (2018)
Shame, hailing from South London, have been slowly making a name for themselves on the UK underground scene with highly fun and chaotic live performances. Now, with the release of their anticipated debut album, these guys prove they are the real deal. While they don’t necessarily break new ground, the way they incorporate punk, post-punk and a surprisingly strong indie rock sensibility into their sound is absolutely incredible. Several bands focus on intensity at the expense of musical depth, but Shame manage to get the best of both worlds, crafting dynamic and creative songs without losing that passionate, no-fucks- given rock ‘n’ roll attitude… and that’s why we fucking love them. Songs of Praise is already one of the best things 2018 has given us. JORGE ALVES
SHITTY PERSON Judgement Svart (2018)
Shitty Person is the latest solo-ish project from Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy (Lesbian, Fungal Abyss) along with other members of Lesbian, Rose Windows, and Master Musicians of Bukkake. Judgement is dark and nostalgic, an immersive and trippy experience that works almost like a drug. It’s not pleasant for happy souls, it sounds depressive and it’s fucking bleak. When you write about self-hatred and counterproductive self-reflection you just have two options left: decide there’s nothing left to do and let yourself go or sneak your way back into the light. There’s a lot of Spaceman 3 on this record, but also some good old Monster Magnet and Woods of Ypres as well, Judgement is meditative journey through life, it’s fucking painful and puts everything in perspective. FAUSTO CASAIS
SPEAK LOW IF YOU SPEAK LOVE Nearsighted Pure Noise Records (2018)
Ryan Scott Graham’s side project, Speak Low if Speak Love, is quite the departure from his role in the incredibly successful pop-punk group State Champs, but it is an absolute revelation into Ryan’s ingenuity as a musician and multiinstrumentalist. His second album Nearsighted, as Speak Low If You Speak Love, transcends genres intertwining electro, acoustic, emo, indie and a little of everything in between. Songs such as “Contrasting Colors,” “Safety Net,” and “Cannot Have It All” are emotionally laden standouts. Overall, Nearsighted is the kind of album you must take the time to truly listen to enjoy every layer and facet, musically and lyrically. ANNNAYELLI FLORES
RAYLAND BAXTER Wide Awake
ATO Records (2018)
ayland Baxter might not be the most groundbreaking artist out there, but the magic of his music lies in his undeniable charm, an uncanny ability to make the listener relax and have some fun. That feeling has a lot to do with the atmosphere surrounding the recording of the album: looking for isolation in order to focus on his art, Baxter moved into an abandoned rubber band factory which he turned into a studio - as well as his home - for three months. The experience allowed the Nashville-born musician to come up with this collection of 10 delicious and vibrant indie folk/alternative country tunes, a source of musical joy one can certainly use to cope with the increasingly scary and confusing planet we live in (the title of the song “Strange American Dream”, for instance, is sort of political – Baxter did have the TV in the kitchen stuck on the news channel, after all). Still, the beauty of the songs reminds us of better, simpler times, times we might desperately need to go back, and that’s what makes the JORGE ALVES record so wonderful and addictive.
Nihilus Microfome (2018)
What do you do when your band dies a slow death? For an artist, it’s a painful experience; almost like ending a relationship with the person we love the most. Still, there comes a time when one needs to find the strength to carry on, and that’s exactly what former Blackbird Prophet frontman Bruno Costa did. Desperate to get his career back on track, he created a solo project called Spiralist, writing and recording this impressive collection of five songs. Incorporating elements of black metal, doom, hardcore and ambient, the record is a perfect blend of aggression and ethereal melodies, taking us on a sonic journey both intense and vulnerable - the sound of a man wrestling with his demons to find the light at the end of the tunnel. A cathartic, visceral debut album created by a hardworking musician who keeps challenging himself. JORGE ALVES
SPLIT CRANIUM I’m The Devil And I’m OK Ipecac (2018)
On one sense, Split Cranium are somewhat predictable – what else is a band consisting of ISIS’ Aaron Turner and the bewildering helmsman of Circle, Jussi Lehtisalo, going to sound like, other than utterly hatstand? However, both players inject these crusty d-beat anthems full of their own strengths and quirks, like Turner’s barking delivery and ethereal textures buried amongst the rage, with Lehtisalo adding not only a healthy dose of Finnish hardcore grit but also the feeling that the record is constantly on the verge of morphing into something truly cosmic. Add in some Mamiffer and Converge alumni and you have a record that never quite exceeds the sum of its parts but remains a truly incomparable punk landmark. DAVE BOWES
STUART A. STAPLES Arrhythmia City Slang (2018)
Stuart A. Staples returns with Arrhythmia, his first solo album in thirteen years. The Tindersticks frontman brings once again another experimental and unconventional electronical and multi-instrumentation paraphernalia of sounds, from guitar, bass, chimes, q-chord, philichorda, bells, Wurlitzer piano and vibraphone to an array of guests. Arrhythmia is beautifully layered and is divided in two different sets. The side 1 is comprised of three songs, a pure exploration of Staples’ melancholic and melodic side, the other part is a 30 minute song, which is a bit more digestible, where improvisation is the law, it was carefully crafted and edited. It’s a challenging effort, needs your absolute patience, but it’s well worth it. FAUSTO CASAIS
SARAH LOUISE Deeper Woods
Thrill Jockey (2018)
REMEMBER SPORTS Slow Buzz
Father/Daughter Records (2018)
ver felt a connection to a group or a song so intense and totally on-sided that it challenged and confounded all logic and reality? Fuck! Of course you have! That being said, this soundtrack might be another interesting puzzle to help you figure out some things in your life. So, do you remember Sports? They’re back under a new moniker, Remember Sports, and they have just released brand new album, Slow Buzz. It’s not easy dealing with a break up, there are always feelings of nostalgia, grief and melancholy, but moving on from that can bring out the best in you. Slow Buzz centers around a break up, where Carmen Perry’s intimate and emotional talk about the perks of the painful end of a good relationship. Remember Sports return with their most expansive and straight-forward effort ever, delivered with a melodic purr and heavy emotional baggage. FAUSTO CASAIS
olored by the Appalachian folk traditions, psychedelia and experimentation, there’s a new element present in Sarah Louise’s lauded and accomplished 12-string solo guitar work, her beautiful and haunting voice. Deeper Woods is the first album to feature her voice and what we get is stunning. There’s a much broader scope on Deeper Woods, everything sounds sparse but is brilliantly crafted. From richly textured arrangements to the lush harmonies build on layers and textures, all connected with Louise’s powerful and emotional vocal delivery. Deeper Woods “is a reflection on the struggle between peaceful isolation and the need for community” but is also an album that brings us closer to nature, Louise’s unique approach and her refreshingly original sounds. In all its complexity, Deeper Woods is an exquisite and oddly moving piece, probably her most ambitious effort and a powerful feminist statement. FAUSTO CASAIS
SVALBARD It’s Hard to Have Hope Holy Roar Records (2018)
There’s no coming back for Svalbard. So far they have spun out on their on evolutionary curve that even their crushing debut album It’s Hard To Have Hope sounds conventional by comparison. It’s Hard To Have Hope is a fearless, raw, and honest effort, proving that the Bristol’s four piece politically awareness is more sharp than ever, especially if we think about the troubled times we are living in. Serena Cherry’s hypnotic vocals along with the band’s hardcore tension and metal aggression, full of soft/abrasive dynamics and an emotional scope that will leave you both, physically and mentally drained. Svalbard’s s ophomore album sounds cohesive, fucking brutal and challenging, it’s not genre boundary-pushing or anything, but it sounds modern and empowering. FAUSTO CASAIS
THE DANGEROUS SUMMER The Dangerous Summer Hopeless Records (2018)
Almost five years after their last release and brusque hiatus, The Dangerous Summer return more powerful and in-tune with their distinctive roots than ever before. Their self-titled album is proof that if you wipe the slate clean, literally and metaphorically, there is an opportunity to rise from the ashes to create your best work to date. Songs such as “Color,” “Ghosts,” “Valium” and “When I Get Home” are reminiscent of the band’s previous work, however they continue to feel fresh pushing the limits and waves towards bolder music. The Dangerous Summer’s latest album demonstrates the band’s long-lasting power and their impact that not only appeases their fans from who have been there from the start but also younger generations who are being introduced to them in a refreshing new light. ANNAYELLI FLORES
THE MELVINS Pinkus Abortion Technician Ipecac (2018)
The Melvins, the prolific songwriting machines that they are, have blessed us with a new record. With a double set of bass players, one of which being a member of the Butthole Surfers, I couldn’t help but have expectations for the weirder and more experimental side of this band to pop up. However, what I got was a groovy mix of classic rock stylings with elements of the Blues (“Don’t Forget to Breathe”) and Punk (“Embrace The Rub”). It seems like the band is more interested in kicking ass and being fun than it is breaking boundaries nowadays, which is fine (even if I prefer the former), but all the riffage can end up feeling boring and aimless. Even their cover of the Butthole Surfers’ ”Graveyard” seems ready-made for pentatonic-lovin’ bar bands. It is what it is. BRUNO COSTA
COMPLEX, LOUDER & BRIGHTER
SKATING POLLY The Make It All Show
El Camino (2018)
kating Polly are comprised by multi-instrumentalist step-siblings Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse - with a recent update of Kelli’s brother Kurtis Mayo joining the duo – and since the release of their debut album, Taking Over The World in 2010, they have put out some of the best indie punk music allied with intense and memorable live shows. The Make It All Show is their fifth album and it shows the band more confident and even more melodic. There’s still an intensity and aggressiveness on their songs, but the melodies are more on point and the lyrics are sharper. The band’s dynamic feels more flexible and neat. The new arrangements give a new flow to the songs and a refreshing approach. Skating Polly are always really honest and engaging with their music and now ANDREIA ALVES with The Make It All Show they are more complex, louder and brighter.
THE SAD SONG CO. Worth
Passive Aggressive Records (2018)
THE WEEKEND CLASSIC Better Health EP Rude Records (2018)
THE WONDER YEARS Sister Cities
You might be more familiar with Nigel Powell’s work as charismatic tub-thumper in Frank Turner’s backing band The Sleeping Souls, but Worth sees him flexing his songwriting chops as alter ego The Sad Song Co. With a playful mix of 80s electro pop and gothic vocals, any one of these songs could sit quite comfortably on the iconic Donnie Darko soundtrack. The melodies and pacing rarely fall where you expect them to while the instrumentation is often menacing and discordant, meaning that it’s never an entirely comfortable listen — but that’s sort of the point. It does tend to wander into experimental territory from time to time, which blurs its focus and blunts its edges but penultimate track “Worth My Bones” reconciles it all with its uplifting melodies and collaborative vocals. RYAN NEAL
Hailing from Madison, IN comes The Weekend Classic, an alternative emo-rock trio that deserves your full attention. Fueled with Chris Webster’s distinct, powerful emotional vocals, Better Health is an ambitious effort and it sounds fresh for a scene that somehow seems stuck in the past with no plans to evolve whatsoever. The difference between a good effort and a bad record in the genre is how well the band playing can execute the song, rhythm, lyrics, etc… and they balanced all these parts perfectly, they are even favouring melody over muscle. Better Health is a strong and emotional effort. It’s not perfect, but they had the balls to blend big rock anthems with emo in style. Makes us wonder what their next move will be like. FAUSTO CASAIS
Hopeless Records (2018)
It’s been 3 years since The Wonder Years released their awesome album, 2015’s No Closer To Heaven. Through this time in between, the band had been touring and writing what became their next album. Sister Cities was written based on the two years of travel across five continents, documented in songs, photos, journals, poems, paintings and artifacts. The outcome is just impressive and quite fascinating. Like they said, “It’s an album about distance, connectivity and the way humanity towers above its boundaries” and with that one can only relate to such honest and frontal songs. It’s probably their most personal effort with learning lessons and new perspectives through different places and time periods. At their sixth full-length they have delivered their most solid and introspective rock record to date. ANDREIA ALVES
THE LEGENDS RETURN
SLEEP The Sciences
Third Man Records (2018)
t has been 15 years since the last time the Doom Metal and Stone Rock titans Sleep graced us with a new record (and the last one consisted in a single track record of epic proportions). Now, almost from out of nowhere, Sleep come back, and with them return the riffs, colossal jams and weed reverence. After a simple but noisy intro, “Marijuanaut’s Theme” kicks in with the sound of a bong and then one of Sleep’s single most kick-ass songs begins. An onslaught of badass riffery ensues, with Al Cisneros’ monk-like vocals and Jason Roeder’s (also from Neurosis) patient but precise and engaging drum playing contributing to a stand-out moment in the tracklist. Then a couple of reworked “Dopesmoker” session outtakes appear (“Sonic Titan” and “Antarcticans Thawed”), and we keep following the smoke toward the riff-filled land. It feels almost as if the band has never left us: their essence remains unaltered not because of laziness, but because they have always been the best at what they do. After Matt Pike’s guitar skills tear us a new asshole on “Antarcticans Thawed”, Sleep’s never-ending Sabbath worship becomes (ridiculously, even more) apparent in “Giza Butler”, a track so out of this world that they even manage to subtly nod at the Kwisatz Haderach at one point. Finally, “The Botanist” concludes the record with some of Sleep’s most melodic playing yet. Yes, more of the same. Yes, always hitting on the same nail. But goddamn, do they hit it hard. BRUNO COSTA musicandriots.com
THE BODY I Have Fought Against It...
Thrill Jockey (2018)
aking as its title an excerpt of Virginia Woolf’s suicide note, I Have Fought Against It... continues Chip King and Lee Buford’s exploration of humanity at its rawest, clawing through flesh and bile to unveil the beauty and wretchedness at the heart of each of us. It stretches further away from their sludge roots than ever before, bridging industrial, harsh noise, hip hop and disfigured neoclassical strains while transforming King’s guitars and ungodly howls into audible sandpaper, tools that exist solely to scrape away at the senses. Much of the vocal duties therefore fall to guest stars like Chrissy Wolpert and Kristin Hayter, whose transition from vestal calm to screams of desperation on “Nothing Stirs” creates what might be the most emotionally devastating moment of The Body’s career. The overall impression is genuinely haunting, its strings and cold beats lending an air of tragic isolation to the sometimes crushing weight, and by allowing more and more breathing room within their compositions, the duo have created the sonic equivalent of placing a plastic bag around the DAVE BOWES listener’s head and slowly tightening the grip.
TINY MOVING PARTS Swell Big Scary Monsters (2018)
TITUS ANDRONICUS A Productive Cough Merge Records (2018)
There’s a pattern surrounding Minnesota’s Tiny Moving Parts very own release schedule, because every two years they drop a bomb, but that also means some sort of change on the band’s trademark Midwest indie-math-emo-rock esque. Swell picks up right where Celebrate left off. It’s a fine album from a fine band, one whose songs are automatically appealing but at the same time thoughtfully and carefully crafted. The complexity of their songwriting captures perfectly all the band’s melodies, emotion, intensity and strangely addictive catchy dynamics. Swell probably doesn’t tops 2016’s Celebrate (arguably their best record), but it’s a consistent and strong effort. There isn’t really a bad song on this record, showing the natural progression of the band’s growth and sound. FAUSTO CASAIS
Titus Andronicus are one of those bands where you are supposed to expect the unexpected. It’s a part of the charm but it’s also what makes you scratch your head and makes you work for it. The epic and wonderfully rock opera they crafted with 2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy was admittedly a culmination of their past efforts, and seems like they were sort of closing a chapter. A Productive Cough feels very much like a new chapter – not completely detached from the past but new nevertheless. You can definitely hear the growing pains while the band explores the more classic fringes of rock (blues, roots, and folk), but it never sounds far-fetched. It’s a transitional record that actually sounds good, with replay value, and a great production. TIAGO MOREIRA
TONIGHT ALIVE Underworld
Hopeless Records (2018)
Underworld is Tonight Alive’s fourth album and it’s by far a much better representation of the band compared to their average previous album, 2016’s Limitless. The band shows a much more steady and consistent approach. With strong rock melodies and lyrics on point, it feels like vocalist Jenna McDougall wanted to convey on Underworld something more than just her darkest self, she gives a surprising good energy on each song. Guest performances from Lynn Gunn (PVRIS) and Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) are pleasant, but they didn’t bring much to what was already there. Even though Underworld is quite powerful, it tends to be a bit unmemorable with some songs that don’t quite go well with the album’s energy. ANDREIA ALVES
AN APOCALYPTICAL ELECTRO AFFAI
THE MEN Drift
Sacred Bones (2018)
018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Brooklyn based rock innovators The Men, the return to their longtime label Sacred Bones Records and the release of their seventh full-length Drift. With no signs of slowing down when the subject is their constant exploration, improvisation and experimentation, it almost seems that their need to rediscover themselves is their own particular and creative addiction. Recorded in Brooklyn to two inch tape under the direction of Travis Harris of Guided By Voices, Drift is a well crafted and masterful effort, the group commitment to their roots is fucking impressive, even when they use synths, strings, sax, steel, harmonica, tape loops, on top of the usual guitar, bass, and drums. On Drift they didn’t throw songwriting out of the window, instead they were able to create one of the most expansive and razor-wire genuine sweet of their career. You’re not going to find their early confrontational noise-punks or even their garage-rock in here, it sounds like a departure from their past, still sounds trippy and it seems that they’re glowing and reaching new heights. Bravo! FAUSTO CASAIS
he Soft Moon’s Criminal is everything an experimental electronic album aspires to be. For every catchy, pop-seasoned moment, there are ten aggressive, confusing and beautifully jarring ones. From the gritty, industrial “Choke” to the goth-rock tinged “The Pain,” every plausible idea is explored and executed to perfection. As a whole, the songs are cohesive rather than repetitive; there’s an entire story existing in the emotions that flow between tracks. The project’s sole member, Luis Vasquez, has grown immensely in the eight years since his self-titled release; this time around, he seems more extroverted and eager to stray from his previous material. Where vocals were once hidden under layers of synths and effects, they stand out on Criminal and are less of a distorted, background fixture. Sacred Bones is home to many of the greatest minds in experimental music and Criminal TEDDIE TAYLOR proves to be yet another masterpiece in their library.
TREMBLING BELLS Dungeness
Wolves And Vibrancy (2018)
Back in 2016, the duo Dennis and Katharina known as Trautonist released their first album. It was a brilliant effort where the musicians created the perfect combination between black metal and shoegaze. It was a remarkable listening experience. Now they’re back with their sophomore album, Ember, another stunning and intense effort with dreamy shoegaze and infectious black metal that they’ve already familiarized us with. There’s this constant contagious energy and evolving atmospheres throughout the whole album. Katharina brings back her sweet voice along with Dennis’ shouts by her side. They take us once again into a mesmerizing and self-reflective sound journey that transcends body and soul. ANDREIA ALVES
THE SOFT MOON Criminal
Sacred Bones (2018)
Tin Angel (2018)
While retro tendencies in rock music are less common nowadays - as opposed to a few years back the music of Scottish quintet Trembling Bells boldly mixes the jam rock of The Allman Brothers Band with the pastoral ballads of early Genesis and the rock-in-opposition of Henry Cow. It is an aesthetic stubbornness that is easily forgiven when a band uses such faded colours to paint an impressive apocalyptic picture like Dungeness. The way the smooth alto voice of Lavinia Blackwall weaves itself around the psychedelic guitar phrasings of “Christ’s Entry into Govan” should win over any listener into the Trembling Bells camp, while the combination of witty lyricism firmly rooted in the arts and catchy songwriting is sure to make Dungeness a keeper for the rest of 2018. ROBERT WESTERVELD
UNDEROATH Erase Me
Fearless Records (2018)
Florida band Underoath step back into the spotlight after disbanding in 2013. The rock band are somewhat pioneers of their genre, commanding the stage with formidable strength, but on their new record, Erase Me, they’re not convincing. It isn’t due to the lack of instrumental power, it’s the lyrics and overall intensity of the record. Spencer Chamberlain does sing out loud, bellowing for hope and a place to rest his head, but when he commits to layering lyrical strands, it just doesn’t fill the record with enough punch. Songs such as “Rapture” and “On My teeth” do hold the record afloat, although this is due to soaring guitar sequences and atmospheric pulsation. MARK MCCONVILLE
TOY CARS Paint Brain
n today’s day and age, anyone can release music online on the platforms of their choice. If that music is any good is up for debate. In very few instances, a truly dynamic band comes along with telling lyrics and an even more powerful sound who decide to forge ahead to self-release the fruits of their labor. While that always a risk, Toy Cars did that. The New Jersey punk-indie quartet self-released their debut album Paint Brain in January. The album feels like we are secretly listening in on vocalist Matt Debenedetti private journal which is honeycombed with his introspective emotions and sang over spirited guitars. The personal lyrics are interlaced with the struggle of trying to find joy in life even when you’re feeling low – relatable to many. Toy Cars’ debut is a masterful work that has set the bar high for what is to come from the band. ANNAYELLI FLORES
FILE UNDER: The Gaslight Anthem, The Hotelier & Kevin Devine
Hand In Hive / Polyvinyl Record Co (2018)
fter several years as guitarist in Now, Now, Jess Abbott needed to write songs on her own and began Tancred in 2011 as her lo-fi recording project, but things had grown to something much bigger and it became Jess’s main priority. Now she’s about to release her fourth album, Nightstand, which prevails the 90’s pop rock tunes and empowering lyrics. Jess shows her confidence and strength once again on these new songs and slows down a little bit from the frenetic energy of her last album, 2016’s Out of the Garden. She delivers a more intimate and vulnerable side in this new effort with introspective feelings and deep emotions. She had also explored more the recording process and comprised different guitar sounds, but however sounding simple and neat. Nightstand gives the best of Jess’s melodic sensibilities along with upbeat and sugarcoat tunes. Like she has mentioned, “There’s a hopefulness in the loneliness” and that’s how you will feel after listening to this album.
VIVE LA VOID Vive La Void
Sacred Bones (2018)
Vive la Void is the new solo project of Sanae Yamada, co-founder and keyboard player of Moon Duo. Adrenaline pumping, layered euphoria and dense, Vive La Void is an elegant and well- crafted effort. Yamada’s haunting vocal intensity brings a careful and gripping depth to her experimental style. There’s a natural cadence of repetition and shape-shifting nuances all over the album, but after a few spins, you can identify the demanding and very distinct complexity of Yamada’s cerebral artistic approach. Vive La Void has this strange cosmic energy, both visceral and emotionally arresting, and is a delight to the ears and utterly minimalist. An album that reflects Yamada’s very own meditation through her life over the past years. FAUSTO CASAIS
NGIN GAME CHA
TURNSTILE Time And Space
Roadrunner Records (2018)
etting your foot in the door in a punk scene driven by excess is a hard fought battle. But Maryland band Turnstile have become heavily equipped for the long haul as their punk treats are ludicrously infectious and brimming with substance. The act also have a fanatical following throughout the world, which is always a major bonus. Their new record Time And Space is a volatile monster, championed by a unit destined to hit bigger platforms. The songs are like quick fired ammunition hitting against glass, so fast, but powerful. The band’s hardcore roots are sustained. They’ve committed to their style graciously as floods of fans come and observe such intense performances. In a live setting, Turnstile are totally hooked to the crowd, sending messages through their sound. On record, the music fits perfectly too, managing to keep the listener interested. From a lyrical standpoint, there isn’t much of a poetic influence, but there’s enough words to keep the story compelling. High powered screams are evident. Shouts and bellows run through the bloodline of a record which is mean. It isn’t for the subtle listener, they’re not going to enjoy those fast paced hysterics, but those hard-core travellers will adore such madness. There’s so many hard hitting contributions on Time And Space. From the beating heart that is “High Pressure”, with its intense guitar riffs and “Can’t Get Away” with those screams powering through, there’s so much to admire. The album won’t break ground, but it will turn heads, and it will also give Turnstile an injecMARK MCCONVILLE tion of exposure.
HOT NEW BAND STAFF PICK
WAX IDOLS Happy Ending
Etruscan Gold Records (2018)
WEST THEBARTON Different Beings Being Different Domestic La La (2018)
Wax Idols went through some difficult times in the last couple of years, but despite that the band led by Hether Fortune stood up and even started their own record label, Etruscan Gold Records. Currently, Wax Idols are a four-piece based out of Oakland, California and their most recent LP, Happy Ending, is the band’s most collaborative record to date, not being just Hether’s vehicle for her songwriting. The album is full of complex and emotional post-punk and dark wave tunes with classic pop-rock hooks. Lyrically, Hether explores death, politics and personal perspectives. Heather seems more optimistic, it looks like she found a new path along with her bandmates. It can be a happy ending, but it can also mean a new beginning. ANDREIA ALVES
Nice surprise this one. Adelaide, Australia’s seven piece West Thebarton might be your new favourite band. Different Beings Being Different is a monster, a soulful, meaningful and authentically brazen effort. Led by charismatic gravel-voiced frontman Reverend Ray, West Thebarton’s debut album is full of wit, energetic and sharp riffs. There’s this in-your-face attitude in the band’s structural sound, which sometimes remind us of the 60’s garage punk that shaped the sounds of bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney, somewhere between the expansive sound of The Sonics, the explosion of The Vines and Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster killer rock and roll tunes. Different Beings Being Different is a killer debut album, filled with brutal simplicity, some incredible screams and “straight-from-the-gut rock” vibe. FAUSTO CASAIS
WOODEN SHJIPS V. Thrill Jockey (2018)
Wait wait wait wait wait wait… wait. Who the fuck put LSD in my coffee and sent me back to Woodstock 69’ through a time machine? That’s what this album feels like. With loads of droning and bluesy riffage (phaser, flanger and wah-wah pedals aplenty too), reverb and echo-soaked passages, ethereal vocals, enveloping keyboards and panoramic panning, the Wooden Shjips new album V. (I wonder if any Pynchonesque craziness influenced this record) is a good, old-fashioned psychedelic head-trip that you can easily use as an antidote for the all-consuming daily anxieties of cosmopolitan life. There’s no reinvention here, and impatient listeners might be dulled out by the record; but if you’re looking for something to make your mind dance along the good vibes of the world, this might be it for you. BRUNO COSTA
WAR ON WOMEN Capture The Flag
Bridge 9 (2018)
here’s one faction of the feminist movement that’s extreme, isn’t interested in dialogue, and will try to completely revert the power roles at any chance. On the other hand you have a faction that defends truly equality, doesn’t wants anything offered just because, and that is willing to start a dialogue. The perversion is when unconsciously we mix them together and start to dismissive, indirectly, the important heritage of people like Pankhurst, Veil, Wollstonecraft, and many more. War On Women respect the heritage and reminded us of the good fight. On Capture the Flag, the Baltimore band deliver the goods with a more powerful and incisive songwriting and excel on the task of match their message with a refined sound that’s not only dynamic but also multi-layered. “I don’t want to scream just to be heard.” There’s a difference, and it’s far from subtle.
FILE UNDER: Babes In Toyland, Bikini Kill, Sharptooth
WRONG Feel Great
“Great” isn’t necessarily the first thing you’ll feel upon listening to Wrong’s second full-length, as it is one pissed-off beast of an album. Distorted, gravelly grooves and piercing lead breaks make up half of Eric Hernandez’ output here, the remainder a mix of bellicose grunts and the drawl of a man done with life and love, yet Feel Great is by no means an ugly album. There’s a real appreciation for both the simple joy of a well-honed riff and for the concrete bliss of tonal noise, and when they really push out the boat of melody and emotion, they show themselves capable of crafting songs that will remain with you for weeks. Quite simply, one of the finest ‘90s alt-metal albums to ever come from the 2010s. DAVE BOWES
WREKMEISTER HARMONIES The Alone Rush Thrill Jockey (2018)
e it for the long gray hairs that compose JR Robinson’s beard, or a certain sense of serenity that always manages to resonate through his music, Wrekmeister Harmonies is one of those entities that just seems to be a very old one. Not old as in dated, but as in experienced, and somehow reconciled with this twisted world of ours. Though their music has paid visits to some of the ugliest and vilest chapters in human history, there always seems to be a tiny leak of light shining through at the end of a Wrekmeister album. And if the man who crafted the masterpiece that inspired this band’s name doesn’t consider himself a pessimist, I’d assume the man behind the band is, arguably, one to share the same stance. The Alone Rush addresses one of the most visited themes in all literature: death. While the most certain thing there is, it always hits us hard — even when expected, arriving at the late stages of the long life of a loved one. But when it is sudden, cruel, and when it comes way too soon, oh boy… There seems to be a little bit of a Jim Morrison character to JR Robinson. Not the “Look at me, I’m the Lizard King” Jim Morrison, but the introspective, meditative poet whose mind seems to drift into far, far away, while, in the faded background, all we mortals just watch the ball game. Like a maestro, accompanied by his trustworthy right-arm (Ester), he wonders through the muddy waters of life, death and freedom (freedom from regret, from fear, from existential terror, and from all the shit one just cannot control). And he grips onto it. He beats the shit out of it and comes up with another Wrekmeister Harmonies album. This time, one that is his most frank and sonically stripped down, while, perhaps, his lyrically deepest. Maybe this music deserved a more descriptive review, but that would have to be the work of a writer, perhaps a poet — and I, for sure, am not anywhere close to either of those. Having recently been to a Ben Chasny concert, the words “The belief in life is a belief in love” come to my mind as I listen to the last couple of Wrekmeister albums. Maybe I’m just full of shit, maybe I’m about right — the world doesn’t give a flying monkey’s ass. Just listen to the record. RICARDO ALMEIDA
YOB Our Raw Heart
Relapse Records (2018)
ur Raw Heart was created among dreadful circumstances that nearly left frontman Mike Scheidt dead after suffering from an extremely painful and potentially fatal intestinal disease. “When I was in the emergency room, I felt the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Then I left my body. I completely dissociated. There was a period of time, though I’m not sure if time had anything to do with it, where I was aware but I wasn’t “me” at all…” - Mike Scheid talks about the moment in early 2017 when he almost died. Fully Our Raw Heart is the most enthralling essay of that year, when Scheidt had to deal with his own mortality and the issues that affected him physically and emotionally. Our Raw Heart is probably Yob’s heaviest effort and screams emotion from almost every rumbling note. There’s also a renewed energy along with a new set of dynamic harmonies and hypnotizing rhythms. The riffs are massive, the vocals are fucking impressive and Scheidt’s approach to songwriting goes from challenging to uplifting. Our Raw Heart is an inspirational work and Yob’s finest work to date. FAUSTO CASAIS
WYE OAK The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs Merge (2018)
The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is the third record that Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack wrote while living in separate cities. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, and he lives in Marfa, Texas. Despite that distance, the duo show how they are an endlessly evolving band by delivering their most sophisticated and rich effort yet. It feels like they’re shouting louder than ever on each song and each note. There’s this wide range of sounds, from playful keyboard, steady bass to loose drums and charming synthesizer. Lyrically the album is self-reflective and quite emotive, and Jenn provides her best vocal performances to date. The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is a powerful and hopeful statement. ANDREIA ALVES
REVIEWED ON OUR NEXT ISSUE
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE On Dark Horses
THE JOY FORMIDABLE AAARTH
MUDHONEY Digital Garbage Stian Fosse
ZEAL & ARDOR Stranger Fruit MKV (2018)
here is no doubt that Zeal & Ardor, the unorthodox project led by Swiss-American musician Manuel Gagneux, is one of the most original and refreshing musical creations of the current decade. Challenged by 4chan users to mix black metal with “black music”, he took what could very well have been just a funny gimmick and turned it into something serious, fearlessly pushing the boundaries of heavy music and becoming a game changer in the process. Two years after making waves with the debut Devil Is Fine, Zeal & Ardor return with Stranger Fruit. While musically similar to its predecessor, the new album displays a clear and impressive artistic maturity: whereas before the marriage between these disconnected genres seemed at times somewhat forced, now Manuel is fully in control of his own weird but ambitious formula where spirituals, blues and sonic brutality peacefully coexist. It is also socially relevant, with its lyrics often drawing parallels between America’s past history of racism and current events. Stranger Fruit will certainly go down as one of the most creative and important records of our time. A true gem. JORGE ALVES
ZOLA JESUS Okovi: Additions
Sacred Bones (2018)
MARISSA NADLER For My Crimes
Okovi: Additions is an experiential interpretation of Zola Jesus 2017’s fantastic album, Okovi. This new release offers 4 unreleased tracks from the Okovi sessions with 4 remixes by artists such as Johnny Jewel, Katie Gately, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Joanne Pollock. Those four “new” songs were intended to be on Okovi, but instead they were kept as dear memory for Niki Roza Danilova during the whole recording sessions. She has now decided to put them out along with the remixes giving a new life and depth to the other songs. Everything sounds organic and remarkable just like on Okovi. With new atmospheres and dynamics, Okovi: Additions is an extension of what was already great on Okovi. ANDREIA ALVES
NOTHING Dance On The Blacktop
IDLES Joy As An Act Of Resistance musicandriots.com
A DIRECTOR: Ari Aster STARRING: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Christy Summerhays, Morgan Lund, Mallory Bechtel, Jake Brown, Harrison Nell, BriAnn Rachele, Heidi Méndez, Moises L. Tovar, Jarrod Phillips, Ann Dowd, Brock McKinney, Zachary Arthur, David Stanley USA 2018
ri Aster’s debut feature film has been hyped up to the heavens ever since it’s showing at Sundance, and for good reason. Hereditary masters several traits of the modern horror renaissance’s best works (The Babadook, The VVitch, It Follows, etc.) and thanks to its unparalleled and slow, heart-arresting sense of dread it delivers once of 2018’s best films. It’s clear that the film’s director loves and deeply understands the horror genre. The camera often moves slowly and lingers on wide shots that, at times, require the pupils to dilate to truly see the creeping figures in the corners of the frame, as if you’ve just woken up and you’re trying to
figure out whether you’ve got company in the room or not. Even the most quotidian of moments are ripe with tension, from dinner scenes to simple dialogues. There are also several textual, visual and sound pearls sprinkled throughout the film, from seemingly inconsequential conversations to symbols and subtle but absolutely sickening and menacing bass roars that will test your local theater’s sound system. Speaking of the sound, Colin Stetson’s soundtrack might also be one of the year’s best. The acting deserves its own paragraph: virtually everyone is at the top of their game here. Toni Collete is already gathering some Oscar buzz for her performances, and it’s very well deserved. She emotes so much throughout this film and shows such a range that it feels criminal to not have her
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
DIRECTOR: Ron Howard STARRING: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Joonas Suotamo, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Erin Kellyman, Linda Hunt, Ian Kenny, John Tui, Anna Francolini, Andrew Woodall, Warwick Davis, Shaquille Ali-Yebuah, Eben Figueiredo USA 2018
nominated. Alex Wolff, playing the family’s son, is also disturbingly good, making us feel in all sorts of different ways for him as the events unravel. Gabriel Byrne and Milly Shapiro and the father and daughter, respectively, can also be unnerving, especially Shapiro. The bottom line is: if you like horror films, Hereditary is mandatory. I kid you not: never before in my entire life had a film made me sweat, or made me feel as tense and paranoid as this one did. I felt physically sick by the end. A24 just keeps coming up with some of the best films in recent memory, and they’ve pulled off a crowning jewel here. Also, please avoid spoilers if you are truly interested in watching this, and unless you’ve got a gigantic television or projector and a great sound system, don’t wait to watch it at home. To get the full experience, head to a good theater nearby, and muster all the courage you can. You will need it. BRUNO COSTA
ark Kermode recently joked that every piece of furniture featured in Star Wars is rumored to have its own spin-off. And in fact there have been rumors of all sorts of star wars characters getting a film, from Boba Fett (totally deserved) to Jabba the Hut (hum…). But for now, it seems like Disney is sticking to territory that’s closer to the hearts of the “old guard” fans, and decides to make a fairly safe bet on a much beloved character: Han Solo. But many things had fans doubting about the quality of this film. The change of director more than halfway through the production, the seemingly unconvincing casting of the lead actor, a mediocre first trailer… the film seemed doomed to failure. And though it isn’t exactly a high point for the franchise, it is not a disastrous affair either. Considering all of its troubles, It actually manages to be quite coherent. The film seems to have been directed by the same person from the start, and carries the viewer quite well from its runtime. The performances are also good: Alden Ehrenreich adopts most of Solo’s idiosyncrasies well, and Woody Harrelson (who plays a sort of “mentor” to Solo) and Emilia Clarke are as entertaining as usual. However, Donald Glover and Paul Bettany are the real scene-stealers. The former effortlessly brings humor into the picture, and the later walks a fine line between malice and fun. The film’s climactic moments are also structured in an interesting and at times unconventional way. Still, the film’s first half feels a bit clunky and meandering, and certain character motivations are not well developed, so there are decisions that are made in the film that do not seem to make all that much sense. Also, like Rogue One, characters (one in particular in “Solo”) from other films make brief appearances that don’t serve all that much of a purpose other than for people to go “Oh, I know who this one is!”. That being said, Solo is better than it had any need to be. An inofBRUNO COSTA fensively entertaining flick. musicandriots.com
PARAMORE CONTINUE THEIR WORLD DOMINATION ON ‘AFTER LAUGHTER’ TOUR 5
PARAMORE + FOSTER THE PEOPLE + JAY SOM Huntington Pavilion, Chicago (US) Words: & Photos: Annayelli Flores
t’s almost like yesterday when bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance were gracing our television screens on channels like MTV and Fuse on the regular. 2008 was indeed a different time, one in which pop punk and emo bands frequently graced covers of magazines and topped the charts. As time went on, other genres took the forefront on charting Billboard’s hot lists and many disbanded (R.I.P. MCR), but throughout all the changes, one band forged on – Paramore. 14 years later, five albums under their belts, a few line-up changes, and a myriad of tours later, Paramore – Hayley Williams, Zac Farro and Taylor York – persist as one of the few pop punk acts who have been able to evolve and grow as time went on to become one of the greatest rock bands of this generation. We find ourselves at Paramore’s Tour 5, in support of last year’s highly-lauded and praised After Laughter album, at Huntington Pavilion in Chicago on July 2, 2018. The band brought Jay Som and Foster the People to open the show and get the crowd on their feet on the hot and humid day. The scorching summer heat was no match for the fans who came in droves to see the band they have an unmatched devotion for. Lines circled around the venue parking lot, fans were dripping in merch, and many wore make-up looks inspired by Hayley Williams. As the lights dimmed low and the music began to play, fans went frantic as the band took to the stage. Hayley Williams sported a Brandon Flowers-esque bright yellow suit with dyed neon tips and immediately launched into ‘Grudges’ with an unrivaled energy that established the type of fun, hyped and emotional night that awaited fans. It is difficult to put into the words the type of raw energy the band has so expertly developed in the spotlight which fills their viewers with aww and zeal, and even harder to express the love and adoration the fans exude when seeing Paramore time and time again. It is a sight to be seen and experienced for one’s self that can only be described as “being taken to church,” as the expression goes. The band played songs spanning across their repertoire including old favorites like ’Crushcrushcrush’, ‘Aint it Fun,’ and ‘Misery Business.’ There were several After Laughter crowd pleasers like ‘Rose-Colored Boy’ and ‘Hard Times,’ but also a few surprises like a cover of Drake’s ‘Passionfruit’ and a Half-noise cover, drummer Zac Farro’s side project. It can almost be overwhelming to watch Paramore own every inch of that stage with such grace and breathtaking talent. You’re taken aback by the distant memories that their songs conjure up in your mind. It HAS been that long since the band’s music has been there for people for the (fake) happy times and the downtrodden. It also is a reminder of how fans have stuck around since the band’s humble beginnings in the Nashville music scene and Vans Warped Tour. Fans love Paramore and Paramore loves their fans that much is evident – it truly is the perfect union we hope lasts forever.
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND 2018 Parque da Cidade, Porto (PT) Photos: Fausto Casais
DAY 1 Words: Fausto Casais & Tiago Moreira
his year’s edition of NOS Primavera Sound started with Waxahatchee. Katie Crutchfield took the stage alongside her sister Allison and her band played tracks from each of Katie’s past three albums, Cerulean Salt, Ivy Tripp, and the new, acclaimed Out in the Storm. The lack of intimacy, normal of a opening in a festival, was probably the main handicap of their engaging performance, where the band’s indie rock evokes a nostalgic spirit that harks back to the 1990s.
Starcrawler is one of the most exciting new acts around. With a self-titled debut recently released via Rough Trade Records on their belt, the LA’s glam-rock outfit delivered a riotous and visually impressive rock and roll gig. Ozzy Osbourne-inspired vocalist Arrow de Wilde made use of the stage to twist her body into angular poses, somehow way more close to Iggy Pop than almighty King of Darkness. Menacing and fucking brutal, Starcrawler was one of the main highlights of the day, that’s for sure. Undoubtedly one of the biggest names in this year’s Primavera, Father John Misty didn’t seem too anxious. As a matter of fact, Tillman couldn’t look more relaxed and prepared – I’m sure it helps having an amazing band behind him. In the midst of arguably his best creative moment, Father John Misty delivered a near-perfect show. What more could we ask? It’s been well established that Lorde is a special case in mainstream pop music, and
there’s little or nothing to argue about it. Her songwriting skills are for the most part top notch and her voice is equally impressive. Unfortunately, the Australian star seemed a bit exhausted - even though she was clearly doing her best to deliver to the people. That fact naturally affected the show. It was competent but nothing more than that...Ok, and it’s nice to hear such good songs. Tyler, the Creator is a different cat, and nothing proves it better than watching him performing live. The stage was set in a way that it looked humongous and Tyler alone on it, just… owning it, like few people could. A set centered on his latest and revered album, Scum Fuck Flower Boy, Tyler showcased a range and attitude so damn powerful that the audience had no choice but to be taken hostage. It felt good to be taken hostage, especially when you’re in front of such singularity. Also, the connection between the public and Tyler was nothing but awe-inspiring.
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND 2018
DAY 2 Words: Fausto Casais & Tiago Moreira
Bristol-based rock outfit IDLES are renowned for their aggression and energy, but nothing could prepare the audience for such a beautiful and destructive storm. It’s something else being able to witness such mayhem. An unmatched energy carried a set filled with bold and highly relevant statements, both politically and socially. Seeing a band like IDLES parading and abusing the runway was also a huge highlight of a performance that was already mind blowing. Zeal & Ardor, one of most peculiar and special bands not only on this year’s Primavera Sound but on the entire music world, were one of the most anticipated acts. We know it works in the studio, but what about live? Well, it’s even better. The mix between black metal and blues, gospel, soul, and chants is incredibly well-crafted and live - on the day they were releasing their new album, Stranger Fruit - the minutiae of their sound was truly delightful. A wonderful experience. The Breeders, the project of Kim Deal of Pixies, are back. In fact they’ve released this year a solid album, ten years after their fourth album Mountain Battles (2008). All good and well but The Breeders are definitely a band for smaller clubs, and not for the open air festivals like Primavera. As straight as we can be: it was dull and even at times boring. Ibeyi was all about good vibes. Yeah, it might sound a bit tacky and at times even over-rehearsed, but the truth is that the French (with Cuban and Venezuelan origins) duo find a way, time and time again, to create that environment. Much like their albums, the performance was a bit minimalist, and much like in their albums it was enough to enchant an audience. The twin sisters definitely know what they’re doing and how it should be done. An edition of NOS Primavera Sound without Shellac is something that we can’t even think about, actually we can’t live without having Steve Albini in our lives. Shellac are in impeccable form and their live show is an astounding spectacle. Footage of Kurt Cobain, Farrakhan, violence, and twerking were the backdrop to one of most surgical performances of the entire festival. Vince Staples, who is undoubtedly one of the most enthralling minds and voices in the current hip hop scene delivered. With a set that featured many songs of his latest album Big Fish Theory, the North Long Beach rapper was impeccable in his debut. If there is an award for the most disappointing performance, then A$AP Rocky is the clear winner - no doubts. Presenting his new full-length, Testing (an album that lacks even more than previous releases), the New Yorker didn’t seem too interested in putting out a great performance. Instead we were presented with a mere hype man that was screaming, jumping, and running around... sometimes completely senseless. What a waste of a runaway. Thundercat must be really famous in Portugal. Hundreds and hundreds of people surrounding the Pitchfork stage to check the Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus collaborator. A session of freaky jazz and songs about cats and videogames didn’t seem to appeal as many people started to give up after a couple of songs. Those who stayed were blessed with an incredible level of proficiency with some humor in the mix. AWESOME! musicandriots.com
DAY 3 Words: Tiago Moreira & Ricardo Almeida Kelela was very touched seeing hundredths of people in the audience in the rain just to watch her. That didn’t stop her of using playback at various moments. The highly emotive songs and Kelela’s voice are the special and pivotal element in her music, and unfortunately her performance wasn’t very telling of her biggest strengths for the most part. Far from awful, but also far from impressive. After standing in the rain the whole day one would be quite happy to punch the moron who said a little precipitation would make the Bad Seed’s gig even more special. As 22 o’clock arrived, our lord and savior Nicholas Edward Cave finally emerged on stage, along with his right arm, the world’s nicest maestro, Warren Ellis, and all his friends. Before them, a wet and weary but loyal and, finally, happy crowd, after three days of way too many so-so gigs (except for the newest greatest band in the world, IDLES, and very few others). If one had been thinking about how an independent gig in a smaller venue full of people who actually give a shit about his work would have been much better, that idea was immediately crushed by the immense, rough but somehow welcome drone that initiates “Jesus Alone” — the track that starts his first album since the tragic events that took place in 2015. Many probably were not expecting that degree of sonic abuse (and expression), that certainly pleased fans of bands such as Swans or Einstürzende Neubauten, which just assured this was going to be a memorable night, with or without the rain, a lover or money for more beer. They played a few classics along with the newer tunes and all that boring journalist mumbo jumbo… Nick showed (he doesn’t have to prove shit) why he is one of a kind among the one of a kinds, up there with the Waits, the Cashes, the Iggys, the Dylans and the Bowies of the world, and not the rain nor the morons could ever fuck this up for those of us who paid good money and drove half of the country to see fuckin Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND 2018 (1) Idles (2) Zeal & Ardor (3) Starcrawler (4) Waxahatchee (5) Tyler The Creator (6) Father John Misty (7) Shellac (8) Lorde (9) Ibeyi
AMENRA + BORIS St. Luke’s, Glasgow (UK)
Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Lara Vischi
t can be a weirdly disjointing experience to be a long-time Boris devotee. It’s not just the stylistic changes, or the massive rise in stature of the Tokyo trio over the past decade – it’s more their ability to play with myriad forms that can leave you reeling. Taking to the stage, they look like a glam-metal Sunn O))), black-clad yet impeccably poised, but as the guttural rumble of “D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise” rolls into view, it feels like a wormhole has opened up to 1998. This is Boris in full-on sludge mode, operating at the peak of their subsonic-tectonic abilities, and it’s as beautifully immersive as it is a resounding smash to the temples. Takeshi is a solid contributor to their low-end prowess, but it’s Atsuo and Wata who capture the room – the former for his wild showboating and all-out metalness, and the latter for being the most effortlessly cool guitarist in metal. She’s a master of deadpan expressionism, letting her fingers do the work of a hundred voices, and with her steering their way through one of their most profound releases to date, the effect is staggering. It’s clear that it’s Boris’ Belgian tourmates who are tonight’s main draw, though, and from Boden’s opening steely clangs through to the final eruption of “Diaken”, AMENRA do not disappoint. There’s something terrifying and wondrous about seeing this band in full flow, a sense of complete abandonment to art that can’t help but draw in everyone around it. “Plus Près De Toi” demonstrates not only their ability to turn a horrendous deluge of sludge into something emotionally resonant but also gives Colin H. van Eeckhout the opportunity to show that there’s more to his voice than just paint-stripping ferocity. The ideas of ‘mass’ and ‘ritual’ are always tied into music of this calibre and form, but AMENRA transcend these clichés and take them to somewhere more authentic, a meeting of art, noise and pain that is weirdly redemptive. They throw themselves into every gut-punch riff and beat with fevered passion, creating monochrome swirls of distortion that either leave the room flailing or rooted to the spot in reverence. It’s transformative in all respects and the worship that is thrown their way tonight is wholly deserved.
BRIAN FALLON + DAVE HOUSE Rock City, Notthingham (UK) Words: Ryan Neal
TINY MOVING PARTS Lincoln Hall, Chicago (US) Words & Photos: Annayelli Flores
o be in a sold-out room of 507 sweaty strangers anticipating the lights to come on and Dylan Mattheisen, William Chevalier, and Matthew Chevalier, who make up the Minnesota emo math rock trio Tiny Moving Parts, to begin – what is going to be an amazing show – is an experience on all its own. The band opens with "Applause," the lead single off their fourth full-length album, and the crowd rushes to the stage tightly compact to shout back every lyric they have come to know so well. Playing a fair mix of new music and audience favorites, the show seems to be frenetically cathartic for all parties involved. There’s just something so enchanting and entrancing about the band. They radiate positivity and genuine enjoyment; the crowd can’t help but soak it up. The same can be said about their latest record Swell. Although a bit darker than its predecessor Celebrate, the album focuses on looking for the positives in the darkest situations. The band aims to bring affirming and uplifting energy through their music that their listeners have no choice but let its positive effects it swell inside their hearts and brain.
f Brian Fallon is the soul of the party then fellow punk troubadour Dave Hause is most certainly the heart. Fitting, then, that these old friends should be sharing a bill together. It’s testament to the adoration of his fans that Hause manages to fill the venue despite doors being significantly earlier than advertised. But tonight he’s playing the support role and he’s in fullon entertainer mode, cracking jokes with younger brother Tim and indulging in novelty renditions of his songs played on ukuleles and melodicas. It’s an entertaining performance and one that at times undermines the poignancy of his songs yet never fails to highlight the dexterity of his songwriting with the backing band and electric guitars stripped away. Fallon on the other hand has brought his backing band with him and is celebrating the release of fantastic new album Sleepwalkers. Tonight’s renditions are softly spoken and understated, allowing the mix to incorporate the voice of the audience and engendering the kind of comradery that music is made to cultivate. At points the performance strays into wedding band territory as he peppers the setlist with covers, but it’s a personable experience and one that never feels in the slightest bit detached from the audience. As the set draws to a close, a half-tempo, utterly heart-wrenching piano rendition of The Gaslight Anthem’s “The ‘59 Sound” brings the entire crowd to tears and arouses a roaring applause that resolutely refuses to die away. It’s triumphantly powerful and crushingly sad and by far the highlight of the evening. Refusing to let the night die on an unhappy note, he invites Dave Hause back onstage for a rousing singalong of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, which evokes that celebratory Revival Tour atmosphere. If nothing else, tonight highlights what powerful songwriters this duo are once you strip away the pounding drums and crashing guitars. musicandriots.com
PRINCESS NOKIA + GLITTER MONEYYY + JPEG MAFIA House Of Vans, Chicago (US) Words & Photos: Annayelli Flores
wo months after her A Girl Cried Red EP, Princess Nokia – Destiny Frasqueri – continues her path to world domination as the emo rap queen chanteuse that deserves everyone’s attention. A constant source of inspiration for Black and Brown teens who like emo and punk, who are slightly off-the-wall, and are often labeled as the “alternative type,” Princess Nokia’s music serves as a safe haven for the weird ones who often feel alienated for being different. It was beyond evident that fans were not going to miss the opportunity to see her perform at the House of Vans on June 8 in Chicago as they wrapped around the venue hours before doors opened in order to not miss their opportunity to make it inside. The show kicked off with hand-picked acts personally chosen by Princess Nokia to open up the show. TayyySlayyy and Queen TrAshley of the sex and body positive femme rap duo Glitter Moneyyy got the crowd moving with songs off their debut album Twurk for the Nation. With hilarious raps about sex toys and big beats that make the crowd shake it like they are at a Big Freedia concert, Glitter Moneyyy got the crowd hype for what was yet to come. Jpeg Mafia, a Veteran and rap/producer from Maryland, took the stage next with his fitfully erratic presence that matched his intense bars. The crowd took to it and began to mosh as Jpeg Mafia made an appearance into the house packed crowd to join in the fun. Once his set was done, the crowd was buzzing with high energy that anxiously awaited for Destiny to make her appearance. Fans rabidly pushed to the front of the barricades once they heard the opening to “Brujas” and Princess Nokia took the stage to spit hits from her critically acclaimed debut LP 1992. She commanded the stage with her strong-willed presence and assured fans that this was a safe space for POCs, women and the LGBTQIA community that had waited long hours to see her perform. She pulled up fans on-stage to dance and continuously made sure fans were being treated properly. Princess Nokia had a special gift up her sleeve when she brought out her full band perform her latest release A Girl Cried Red. Having only been out for two months, the crowd sang back every lyric and word missing no beats. There was not a single moment that Princess Nokia and her fans were not continuously engaged with each other’s presence. It was a special night indeed made possible by Vans.
(1, 2) Princess Nokia (3) Glitter Moneyyy (4) Jpeg Mafiaa
Budapest Park, Budapest (HU)
Words: Miljan Milekic // Photos: Tamara Samardžić
omewhere in between their festival appearances this summer, Rise Against took the time to play a few side shows. One of them was in the Hungarian’s capital, and we were there to catch it. Although their last year's record Wolves is still fresh, it was evident that the band is in the middle of a festival season, playing no more than three songs from any of their albums, and going through all phases of their career. But not only that, they also touched on their upcoming acoustic record including the acoustic rendition of “Voices Off Camera”. The set mainly consisted of well-known singles and crowd-pleasers with a little room for mistakes. However, at some points, it seemed like the smaller venue would be a better fit for this show. Rise Against provide a pure punk rock show, rather than a spectacle full of special effects, so, having more than a few casual fans created a minor setback in the atmosphere. Nothing too bad, though.
TOUCHÉ AMORÉ + TURNSTILE + CULTURE ABUSE Bottom Lounge, Chicago (US) Photos: Annayelli Flores
5 (1, 2, 3) Turnstile (4) Culture Abuse (5) Touché Amoré (6, 7) Rise Against
SCOTT KELLY Understage, Porto (PT)
Words: Tiago Moreira // Photo: Andreia Alves
he Rivoli's Understage packed to see Scott Kelly (known to lead Neurosis since 1985 and forparticipating in very other projects like Tribes of Neurot, Shrinebuilder, Corrections House, Mirrors for Psychic Warfare) and John Judkins (Rwake) perform songs from Scott Kelly's solo career and, as we've come to expect, the night was filled with catharsis, pain, rawness, and a unfiltered honesty. The firm guitar strokes echoing while Kelly makes sure every word is properly heard. There's a reason to why Scott decided to cover Neil Young's “Cortez The Killer” and Townes Van Zandt's “Temcuseh Valley” during his performance. There's a spiritual kinship and it was far too much evident to go unnoticed. It is soulful folk that will leave very few stones unturned.
ANTI-FLAG + STRAY FROM THE PATH + SHARPTOOTH + THE WHITE NOISE Bottom lounge, Chicago (US) Words: & Photo: Annayelli Flores
t a time when there is a xenophobic racist pussy grabbing abuser in the White House, it feels like there are limited spaces where anyone who isn’t a cis-white MAGA loving male or female can feel safe and welcomed. So, it comes as no surprise that one of those few safe spaces one could find some solace within the punk scene would be an Anti-Flag show. Co-headlining the “Silence = Violence” tour with the equally politically-charged hardcore band Stray From The Path, Anti-Flag has crafted a powerful line-up bringing along L.A. punks The White Noise and Baltimore standouts Sharptooth. Having issued a statement along with the tour announcement, it is clear that Anti-Flag will always continue to use their platform to fight for social and economic justice of those who were not born with the same advantages. Read an excerpt of their statement below. “Each band on this tour is predicated upon an ethic of caring about more than just themselves. To carve out a few hours in a day, in each city, where we can be comfortable in our own skin… free from racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, bigotry of any kind… this is not an opportunity that any of us tread upon lightly. We’re excited to throw these small celebrations of unity in hopes that it can leave all that attend with a sense of community and organization that will help fuel our collective ability to create positive change and leave things better than we found them.” The second stop of the tour lands the bands in Chicago at the Bottom Lounge on a cloudy winter day in January. The crowd has been riled up and are impatiently waiting for the veteran rockers to take the stage. Lights dim dark blue as they grace the stage and launch into “When The Wall Falls” and into “The Press Corpse.” With a 30-year career span, the band blended a medley of older hits and songs off their latest release, American Fall. Before they propelled into “Racists,” Justin Sane had a few words to say about today’s political climate and the crowd was all here for it. Although no “F*ck Tr*mp” chant was had, it was refreshing to be in a room of like-minded individuals who want to fight against the evil powers that are currently running the government. Playing just under 20 songs withfervent energy and conviction, the band hasn’t lost a step in performing their incredibly powerful repertoire of songs that keep their fans coming back album after album. One can surely leave slightly bruised from the pit, but a hell of inspired to go out and enact change.
CIRCUIT DES YEUX
Auditório de Espinho, Espinho (PT) Words: Tiago Moreira
romoting Circuit des Yeux's latest full-length album, Reaching For Indigo, Haley Fohr and her band took the stage of the Espinho auditorium in a rainy but wonderful Spring night. Circuit des Yeux are one of most wonderful gems in the contemporary music scene – the records have proven so – but watching Haley perform is another thing all together. Her untamed voice shines live in a way that words are simply unable to describe. With not much light on stage and a shadow show of sorts, Fohr made sure that the music and her voice were the only focus points of the performance, and the outcome couldn't be more brilliant. Sometimes it felt freighting how Fohr couldn't move and shake the entire room with just the power of her voice. But then again, those gut-wrenching moments are the beauty of any relevant performance. musicandriots.com
+++ THOU IDLES SUMAC PIG DESTROYER DILLY DALLY EMMA RUTH RUNDLE (on the photo) FOXING THE JOY FORMIDABLE ROISIN MURPHY HILARY WOODS KEN MODE ANNA CALVI BOSTON MANOR NOTHING MUDHONEY MARISSA NADLER AND MANY MORE... KRISTIN COFER