FREE | ISSUE 25
EARTH THOU CULTURE ABUSE STRAY FROM THE PATH SUNN O))) DRUG CHURCH FRANK IERO & THE FUTURE VIOLENTS LUNGBUTTER NOTHING EMMA RUTH RUNDLE musicandriots.com
FREE | ISSUE 25
SUNN O))) THOU CULTURE ABUSE FRANK IERO & THE FUTURE VIOLENTS
STRAY FROM THE PATH DRUG CHURCH EARTH LUNGBUTTER NOTHING EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
FREE | ISSUE 25
DRUG CHURCH THOU CULTURE ABUSE STRAY FROM THE PATH FRANK IERO & THE FUTURE VIOLENTS LUNGBUTTER NOTHING
SUNN O))) EARTH EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
ISSUE 25 - CONTENTS
BLANCK MASS Animated Violence Mild Sacred Bones Out Now
RUSSIAN CIRCLES Blood Year Sargent House Out Now
CHELSEA WOLFE Birth Of Violence Sargent House Available on Sept 13
EARTH Full Upon On Her Burning Lips Sargent House Out Now
CEREMONY In The Spirit World Now Relapse Records Out Now
LINGUA IGNOTA Caligula Profound Lore Out Now
FEATURES 12. 18. 22. 26.
RELEASE SCHEDULE STRAY FROM THE PATH: STILL RAGING AGAINST THE MACHINE (Q&A) ESSAY: WHAT ABOUT BREXIT? OPINION: OUR QUIET DESPERATION: HOW MITSKI’S ‘BE THE COWBOY’ GAVE IT A VOICE 28. BOSTON MANOR: WELCOMING US TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD (Q&A) 32. SWANS: A LITTLE GOD ON OUR HANDS 34. THE RECOLLECTION SECTION: REVISITING ‘AVALON’ WITH ANTHONY GREEN A DECADE LATER (Q&A) 36. CAUGHT LIVE! FEATURING: TERROR, STICK TO YOUR GUNS, COUNTERPARTS, SANCTION AND THE YEAR OF THE KNIFE 40. THE LEGACY OF SCOTT WALKER 41. STILL ON REPEAT: WATCH THE WORLD BURN WITH DAUGHTERS 42. OUR GUIDE TO THE EVENTS YOU SHOULD GO THIS YEAR 124. SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL 128. NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND 130. DAVID LYNCH: AN UNSOLVABLE CONUNDRUM
INTERVIEWS 46. LUNGBUTTER // We talked with Lungbutter about their debut album, the Montreal music scene, recording with Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and much more… 50. SUNN O))) // We caught up with long-time collaborator Tos Nieuwenhuizen and asked for his thoughts on this latest evolution. 56. FRANK IERO AND THE FUTURE VIOLENTS // A lovely chat with Frank about his art, working with Steve Albini and of course his brand-new effort. 60. CULTURE ABUSE // We caught up with David Kelling and company to chat about the new album, the DIY community in the Bay Area and much more... 66. THOU // Thou is a band of the people, for the people, whether you like it or not. Deal with that!!! 72. NOTHING // Once again, we had an in-depth talk with Nick Palermo about everything that went down making this record and so much more.
PHARMAKON Devour Sacred Bones Available on Aug 30
78. EMMA RUTH RUNDLE // We couldn’t miss the opportunity to catch up with Emma to know more about what went down while creating these new songs. 82. DRUG CHURCH // We chat with vocalist Patrick Kindlon about the new album, the band’s ability to stay true to themselves and so many other things...
BAD BREEDING Exiled One Little Indian Out Now
88. EARTH // We spoke to Dylan Carlson on the run-up to the release of Full Upon Her Burning Lips about returning to a two-piece, reinvigoration and why slower is always better but not necessarily easier.
REVIEWS HESITATION WOUNDSS Chicanery Deathwish Inc. Available on Aug 30
96 - 123 // ALBUMS - Bad Religion, Bad Breeding, Blanck Mass, Baroness, Russian Circles, Lingua Ignota, Sunn o))), Earth, Lungbutter, Sleater-Kinney, Wear Your Wounds, Full of Hell, Darkthrone, Cave In, Hatchie, Rammstein, Torche, Weyes Blood, Spotlights, The Mountain Goats, Ratka, Khiis, Pelican, Ionna Gika, Health, Brutus, Orville Peck, Nots, Elizabeth Colour Wheel and many more...
THE IDIOTS ARE TAKING OVER. THE TIME TO CHANGE IS NOW! We’re back! It sounds a bit cheesy calling this new issue a comeback issue, but truth be told, this is an absolute fact. Here we are again sharing our pseudo-musical knowledge, our strange editorial choices and somehow pretending that we know what the fuck we are doing here, in a business that is a risk and shows us how superficial and shallow this industry is. But, let’s be completely direct and frankly honest about it, we know our place in this industry and we are completely aware of the role and importance that we aim to achieve. By the end of 2018, we went in an indefinite hiatus. Let’s say that at the time things were not fun anymore. So, we took some time off, and some time for ourselves too. Over that period of time, I observed how much I hated the current affairs in music media, found myself taking notes and ideas from others outlets outside the classic and cliché music magazines and websites, and I continue to see how fucking wrong and irresponsible some of the music features I was reading are: it was frightening to see how many music outlets were saying the same thing about the same release almost every single week. With no deadlines whatsoever, we decided a few months later that we should start working in something different, but we’re not saying that this new issue is completely different: we’re already trying new things, new pieces and a new approach on how we think and idealize a music magazine should be nowadays. Our next issue will probably be a bit bolder and will push the boundaries a bit further yet again. As editor in chief and designer of the magazine, I think we should be in constant evolution, change is nowadays more normal than ever. Let’s say that building a new issue always brings you back to ground zero. There’s a minimalist, almost anarchic approach in the way we connect the design with the content - probably the way we present ourselves to the world is today more important than ever, rethinking and refreshing in order to innovate and escape the boringness that music media has become nowadays. On this new issue we decided to publish some great interviews that were left unpublished during our “brief” hiatus, we worked constantly on editing pieces and features, doing constant corrections, checking pages, finding the right pictures, the perfect order on how everything should relate, writing more than 100 reviews, listening to more than 800 albums, searching in our archives and beyond that in order to bring you new ideas and also left so many out. All of this was and is only possible if we were able to skip some of daily operations, planning days and nightmarish deadlines. In all our editorial weirdness, we were able to create a new edition that is rich in content, but also goes beyond the mundane complexity of creating content nowadays. It’s direct and straight-forward, our interviews are like coffee conversations with artists that bring new perspectives about so many issues and share their problems, their passions, lessons and some inspiring life experiences. We like to think that we go further: in the future, we’re going to have more essays, opinions… some of the content is already so detailed that sometimes it’s quite easy for me, as editor in chief to feel overwhelmed, but weirdly proud sometimes, but never completely satisfied. Looking back now, with a little more perspective on how we are going to relate with what is happening around us, I constantly reflect on what we should do, always have my mind set in the understanding of our independent voice and in our constant capacity of learning, always exploring the infinite possibilities that music journalism gives us. Henry Rollins said recently that: “I think there’s going to be a huge rejection of this really antiquated bigotry… what you’re seeing right now is the old guard kicking and screaming as it’s dying off. And that, to me, is 2019 punk rock.” With that in mind, it’s easy to witness how the world continues to wrestle with economic and political uncertainty, where countries and companies line up to enter the disinformation business, even in music media everything seems driven for hits, there’s no such thing as editorial stand and content carefully delivered. There is the almost-inevitability of the chaotic Brexit, and also the imminent and alarming news that the UK, US, China, Germany and many other important economies are on the verge of recession is just a bit more fuel to this already sore clash of arguments. We can also see the rise of the far-right (Greece, US, Brazil, US, Australia, Poland, Italy, Spain, Austria and even in Germany), where old-fashioned bigotry, misogyny, racism and homophobia are used to justify what is unjustifiable, and this shows how fragmented this world is and how democracy was never an easy thing to achieve. Nothing new, right? And mark my words, we are heading into a dangerous journey, a clash of generations is already on the way. Climatic change and inequity are something that we are strongly committed to fight, and our outspoken views on animal rights are something that we are not ashamed to talk about, we are very active on that issue and will keep fighting against animal cruelty and their shameful exploration. The time to change is now. Cheers and thank you for your support. Fausto Casais PS: Right now, the amazon forest is burning and the repercussions are devastating. The Amazon is home to 10% of all the wildlife species we know about, and there are probably many more yet to be discovered. The Amazon rainforest is also home to almost three million indigenous people – who all play an important role in its protection and conservation. Help protect animals living in the jungle with WWF. Go to act.greenpeace.org and make your voice heard!
PORTO | LONDON | LISBON GLASGOW | NEW ORLEANS FREE | ISSUE 25 | COMEBACK ISSUE FOUNDER / EDITOR IN CHIEF Fausto Casais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DEPUTY EDITOR Andreia Alves (email@example.com)
ART EDITOR // DESIGNER Fausto Casais
CONTRIBUTORS Nuno Babo, Dave Bowes, Ricardo Almeida, Teddie Taylor, Andi Chamberlain, Mark McConville, Anastasia Psarra, Annayelli Flores, Jorge Alves, Bruno Costa, Robert Westerveld, April Fox
COVER STORY CREDITS Earth - James Rexroad Sunn o))) - Ronald Dick Drug Church - Kat Nijmeddin
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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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After nearly 40 years as a band, Bad Religion is more relevant and needed in todayâ€™s music than ever. With a brilliant new album in their pockets, the LA punk rock overlords return to Portugal 17 years later, showing zero concerns about slowing down and their punk rock sounded elegant, louder and stronger than ever. This night was filled with energy, enormous sing-alongs, classic anthems and sheer emotion in the air, it was easy to feel in almost every single face in the audience how important and game changing this band was for them. Bad Religion took their art and music around the world and morphed into a cultural revolution for so many of us. Thank you!
SOUNDCHECK |||||| BAD RELIGION| ALTICE ARENA - LISBON
PHOTO BY: ANDREIA ALVES // WORDS BY FAUSTO CASAIS
MARIKA HACKMAN – Any Human Friend RA RA RIOT – Superbloom SLIPKNOT – We Are Not Your Kind THE CONTORTIONIST - Our Bones TAU CROSS - Messengers of Deception INFINITE CRUSH - Virtual Heaven ELECTRIC YOUTH - Memory Emotion STRONG OUT - Songs of Armor and Devotion
UFOMAMMUT - XX
MARK LANEGAN BAND – Somebody’s Knocking
PIXIES – Beneath The Eyrie MIKE PATTON & JEAN CLAUDE VANNIER – Corpse Flower CHELSEA WOLFE - Birth of Violence THE UTOPIA STRONG - S/T BELLE AND SEBASTIAN - Days Of The Bagnold Summer KORN - The Nothing DEVENDRA BANHART - Ma SUBHUMANS - Crisis Point JENNY HVAL - The Practice of Love TINY MOVING PARTS - Breathe TWIN PEAKS - Lookout Now VOID OF VISION - Hyperdaze TIGER ARMY - Retrofuture HARBORLIGHTS - Isolation Ritual
RiCHARD DAWSON - 2020 LIGHTNING BOLT - Sonic Citadel ELBOW - Giants Of All Sizes STARCRAWLER - Devour You KIM GORDON - No Home Record BIG THIEF - Two Hands
16.08 BLANCK MASS – Animated Violence Mild RIDE – This Is Not a Safe Place Cultdreams – Things That Hurt UNIFORM & THE BODY - Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - Infest the Rat’s Nest LOSCIL - Equivalents THE HOLD STEADY - Thrashing Thru Passion SLEATER-KINNEY - The Center Won’t Hold OFF WITH THEIR HEADS - Be Good FRANK TURNER - No Man’s Land KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - Atonement THE MURDER CAPITAL - When I Have Fears OSO OSO - Basking In The Glow PRESS CLUB - Wasted Energy FIELD MOUSE - Meaning
23.08 KNOCKED LOOSE – A Different Shade of Blue JAY SOM – Anak Ko OH, ROSE – While My Father Sleeps CEREMONY - In The Spirit World Now SHEER MAG - A Distant Call TROPICAL FUCK STORM - Raindrops REDD KROSS - Beyond Door WILDHONEY - Naive Castle HIDE - Hell is Here SACRED REICH - Awakening SHANNON LAY - August
30.08 PHARMAKON - Devour HESITATION WOUNDS - Chicanery BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT - At The Party With My Brown Friends LARA DEL REY - Norman Fucking Rockwell TOOL - Fear Inoculum
20.09 EFTERKLANG - Altid Sammen FLY PAM AM - C’est ça HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER - Terms Of Surrender CULT OF LUNA - Dawn Of Fear ECSTATIC VISION - For The Masses CHASTITY BELT - Chastity Belt BLINK 182 - Nine VIVIAN GIRLS - Memory sir WAS - Holding On To A Dream
27.09 GIRL BAND – The Talkies VAGABON - All The Women In Me MOON DUO - Stars Are The Light HEAVENS ClUB - Here There and Nowhere 65DAYSOFSTATIC - replicr, 2019 OPETH - In Cauda Venenum TEGAN AND SARA - Hey, I’m Just Like You SUI ZHEN - Losing, Linda WEDNESDAY 13 - Necrophaze THE NEW PORNIOGRAPHERS - In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights LAURIE ANDERSON, TENZIN CHOEGYAL & JESSE PARIS SMITH - Songs From The Bardo
18.10 MATANA ROBERTS - COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis ALUNAH - Violent Hour REFUSED - War Music BATTLES - Juicy Be Crypts FOALS - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2 CLIPPING - There Existed An Addiction To Blood
25.10 ALCEST - Spiritual Instinct MIKAL CRONIN - Seeker BLACK MARBLES - Bigger Than Life NORMA JEAN - All Hail PETBRICK - I SUNN O))) - Pyroclast ZONAL - Wrecked GREAT GRANDPA - Four Of Arrows MAYHEM - Daemon LITTLE SCREAM - Speed Queen
01.11 PUMAROSA - Devastation
15.11 JULIANA HATFIELD - uliana Hatfield Sings The Police
04.10 06.09 BAT FOR LASHES – Lost Girls LOWER DENS – The Competition KAYO DOT - Blasphemy SANDRO PERRI - Soft Landing FRANKIE COSMOS - Close It Quietly TINARIWEN - Amadjar MUNA - Saves The World IGGY POP - Free ROXY GIRLS - A Poverty of Attention
VINNIE CARUANA - Aging Frontman LAGWAGON - Railer ANGEL OLSEN - All Mirrors CARLA DEL FORNO - Look Up Sharp THE MENZINGERS - Hello Exile DIIV - Deceiver GATECREEPER - Deserted WILCO - Ode To Joy BORIS - LφVE & EVφL,
LISA PRANK - Perfect Love Song
KIM GORDON ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER SOLOALBUM
im Gordon has announced her first-ever solo album, No Home Record, to be released October 11th on Matador Records. No Home Record was produced largely by Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Ariel Pink, Sky Ferreira) at Sphere Ranch in Los Angeles, along with contributions from Shawn Everett (Jim James, The Voidz, The War on Drugs) and composer/filmmaker Jake Meginsky (L’appel Du Vide). Gordon’s solo debut album’s title is a nod to the French-Belgian director Chantal Akerman’s film No Home Movie. “‘Why a solo record? And why now?,’” Gordon mused of the upcoming solo debut. “I don’t know, but it wouldn’t have happened without the persistence of Justin Raisen. Living in LA the last few years it feels like home, but the transience of the place makes it feel sometimes like no home.” In the past few years alone, Gordon has debuted her 2015 memoir Girl In A Band, acted alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill under the direction of Gus Van Sant (in 2018’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot”), released music and performed as one half of Body/Head alongside Bill Nace, and opened multiple solo-exhibitions at internationally renowned museums. PRESS PLAY TO WATCH THE VIDEO FOR HER NEW SINGLE “SKETCH ARTIST”, VIDEO DIRECTED BY BERLIN-BASED ARTIST LORETTA FAHRENHOLZ AND INCLUDES A CAMEO FROM ACTRESS AND WRITER ABBI JACOBSON.
Boris first new album in two years it’s going to be a double effort entitled LφVE & EVφL, set for release on October 4th via Third Man Records. About their new album press release states that “LφVE & EVφL will exist as two independent works, encapsulating conflicting connotations that interweave and become intricately entangled with one another, gradually eroding before becoming utterly singular.” Boris‘ two forthcoming reissues of Akuma No Uta and Feedbacker, which will be released via Third Man Records this year, marking a new partnership between the band and label. Boris will also be hitting the road with NYC industrialists Uniform this fall. thirdmanrecords.com
NEWS IN STUDIO NEW RELEASES
Seattle band Chastity Belt will return with their first new music since 2017’s I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. This new record, simply titled Chastity Belt, is due out on Friday, September 20th via Hardly Art records, and from Milk! records in Australia and New Zealand. Their fourth record, Chastity Belt, comes out of that safe space. After a restorative few months on hiatus in 2018, each member worked on solo material or toured with other bands. “So much of the break was reminding ourselves to stay present, and giving ourselves permission to stop without saying when were gonna meet up again,” says guitarist Lydia Lund. “It was so important to have that - not saying, ‘we’re gonna get back together at this point,’ but really just open it up so we could get back to our present connection.” Chastity Belt was co-produced by the band and Melina Duterte aka Jay Som. hardlyart.com
ANGEL OLSEN MOVES FORWARD WITH ‘ALL MIRRORS’
ngel Olsen will release her fourth full-length album, All Mirrors, on October 4th via Jagjaguwar. In creating this new effort, Olsen initially planned to work on a dual record release — a set of solo songs and a full band version of the same songs — both to be released at once. She recorded the solo version with producer Michael Harris in Anacortes, Washington. Soon after that was completed, she began work on the more ambitious, fleshed out version with producer John Congleton, with whom she collaborated on 2014’s breakout Burn Your Fire for No Witness, arranger Jherek Bischoff, multi-instrumentalist/arranger/ pre-producer Ben Babbitt, and a 14-piece orchestra. Olsen says about her new
album: “In every way — from the making of it, to the words, to how I feel moving forward, this record is about owning up to your darkest side, finding the capacity for new love and trusting change even when you feel like a stranger.” While remaking the album with full production and new collaborators, Olsen developed a new relationship with control, and as she got further into the process, she realized she “needed to separate these two records and release All Mirrors in its heaviest form. . . It was impossible for me to deny how powerful and surprising the songs had become. The truth is that I may have never allowed this much sonic change in the first place had I not already made an account of the same songs in their purest form.” The All Mirrors tour kicks off on October 28th. A full European leg has also been added. PRESS PLAY TO WATCH THE VIDEO FOR TITLE TRACK
Lightning Bolt have announced a new record, Sonic Citadel arrives October 11 via Thrill Jockey. The duo - bassist Brian Gibson and drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale recorded Sonic Citadel with Seth Manchester at the Pawtucket, Rhode Island studio Machines With Magnets. In 2019 and 2020, Lightning Bolt will reissue their Load Records catalog via Thrill Jockey. thrilljockey.com The duo of Justin Broadrick (Godflesh/ Jesu/JK Flesh) and Kevin Martin (The Bug/ King Midas Sound) are finally re-united, and have reconfigured as ZONAL, to re-ignite their previous unfinished business. Wrecked is the first full length album ZONAL and will release on October 20 via Relapse Records. And this time they have invited Afro futurist/ agit-antagonist Moor Mother along for the ride. The album was mastered by Stefan Betke aka POLE at Scape Studios Berlin and the album artwork was provided by long time Kevin Martin collaborator Simon Fowler, who has also provided artwork extensively for Earth and Sunn 0))) in the past. relapse.com Philadelphia-based punk band, The Menzingers will release their sixth studio record Hello Exile on October 4 via Epitaph. In creating the album, the band again joined forces with producer Will Yip (Mannequin Pussy, Quicksand), spending six
CHELSEA WOLFE WELCOMES YOU TO THE ‘BIRTH OF VIOLENCE’
weeks recording at Yip’s Conshohocken, PAbased Studio 4. “That’s the longest amount of time we’ve ever worked with Will,” notes vocalist Greg Barnett. “We wanted to make sure these stories didn’t get lost in the music, so we kept it to a lot of room sounds with the guitar and bass and drums.” epitaph.com Mikal Cronin will release Seeker, his fourth full-length, on October 25th via Merge Records. Following a few rough years of touring, relationships beginning and ending, and writer’s block, Cronin decided to make a change. He packed up and retreated to Idyllwild, a small town in the mountains of southern California, where he spent a month in the cabin, alone. The solitude proved fruitful, with the bulk of Seeker being written and demoed during this time period. “It was so quiet and peaceful. I got weird looks at the store. I got bug bites that didn’t heal for months,” says Cronin. “I walked around a small lake a few times. I wrote. I tookliterally something that’s usually a hypothetical, something every artist thinks about doing. It worked.” The recording process of Seeker was at Palmetto Studios, there, engineer Jason Quever and a crew of close friends helped bring the album together. The record was backed by Ty Segall’s Freedom Band. mergerecords.com
Battles have announced details of their fourth studio album, their first since 2015. Multi-instrumentalist Ian Williams and drummer John Stanier have announced that their next record is called Juice B Crypts and will be out October 18 on Warp. The new album includes several guests, such as Principato, Shabazz Palaces, Tune-Yards, Xenia Rubinos, Yes frontman Jon Anderson, and Taiwanese psych band WWWW (aka Prairie WWWW). warp.net High Command to release their debut full length, Beyond The Wall Of Desolation, incoming via Southern Lord on 27th September is in the band’s own words, “five friends coming together to create the sonic equivalent of a barbarian horde.” High Command’s lyrical world, created by vocalist Kevin Fitzgerald, is inspired by fantasy based warfare, and in the band’s own words “boundless quests frozen in the aeons of time and space hacked out of ice and transcribed in lightning. Beyond the thin vail of sanity lies the forgotten age of mysticism and heroes”. Their studio choice for such proceedings was the legendary Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and Seth Manchester, the head engineer, worked tirelessly for the week High Command were there. southernlord.com
helsea Wolfe is going to to release her new album, Birth Of Violence, via Sargent House on September 13th. Birth of Violence is a return to the reclusive nature of her earlier recordings, written and recorded in the solitude of her remote home in Northern California. “I’ve been in a state of constant motion for the past eight years or so; touring, moving, playing new stages, exploring new places and meeting new people-an incredible time of learning and growing as a musician and performer,” Wolfe says of the era leading up to Birth of Violence. “But after a while, I was beginning to lose a part of myself. I needed to take some time away from the road to get my head straight, to learn to take better care of myself, and to write and record as much as I can while I have ‘Mercury in my hands,’ as a wise friend put it.” Longtime musical collaborator Ben Chisholm recorded the songs in the home studio and helped fill them out with his modern production treatments and the occasional auxiliary flourish from ongoing contributors Jess Gowrie (drums) and Ezra Buchla (viola). PRESS PLAY TO WATCH VIDEO FOR “AMERICAN DARKNESS”
STILL RAGING AGAINST THE MACHINE
NY hardcore heavyweights, Stray From The Path have recently released a live album, Smash 'Em Up: Live In Europe 2019, signed with UNFD and are working on a new album. We spoke with guitarist Thom Williams about the new release, the nearly 20 years as a band and his thoughts on the political landscape, the music industry and much more.
ongrats on signing with UNFD, how did that happen? Thank you! We’ve released our last two albums with them in Australia, and we’ve become pretty close with the Australian team. When our contract was up, we hit them up about re-signing with them for Australia again, and they filled us in on their new infrastructure going world wide, ISSUE 25
and how we’d be a priority release for them, which we’ve never had in our career. We ended up leaving other deals for more money on the table, so we can go with a label that believed in our world wide growth as a band. So far so good! All of the band’s royalties from this live album are going to be donated to the Hardcore Help Foundation in perpetuity. Do you want to talk a bit about this inspiring and life changing project? We went to Africa with HHF, and to see what they do on a regular basis was insane. We like to feel that with what Stray does as a band, we are doing our part with trying to raise awareness for things that need it, but going to Africa with HHF showed that we don’t really know how real the world can be. These people dedicate their lives to helping people in Africa with clean water, which is a huge problem in Kenya. So if we can help financially, we will as much as possible.
STRAY FROM THE PATH Are there any current organizations or projects that either the band is working with or you’ve been inspired by their work lately? Actions Not Words is another organization we saw in Kenya. They take kids who live in a garbage dump in Nakuru, Kenya and put them in a boarding school that supplies them with food, clean clothes, education, and an overall good environment to have a bright future. Ross, one of the founders of the company, dropped his life in Northern Ireland and moved to Nakuru to help people full time. Again, it puts into perspective that we don’t know whats happening outside of our little world. How do you see Brexit in the UK and Trump in America affecting the nature of modern music? What is your opinion at the moment about the current political and social situation in the US and in the UK? I mean we are already witnessing it. Just simple things, like under Obama, We’d get a visa for our drummer Craig in 3-4 weeks, once Trump took over it took 16 weeks to get his visa approved, and he ended up missing the record release shows for Only Death Is Real. As far as the climate of politics in the US/UK, the US is still crazy but it started to die down a bit…there was supposed to be a huge K K K rally in Ohio this past weekend, and NINE of them showed up. The UK has had its issues with people like Tommy Robinson, but because he has lost his social media platform, he got nowhere to spread his agenda. People are getting together to combat this movement that has been rising.
If you think about the music industry in 2001 till today, has the music industry changed too much at this point? Yeah, but there are pros and cons with it. Yeah, back then bands made more money off of sales of albums, but it was a lot harder to spread the word back then. Now, we can have a new song, and I’d make a tweet, and it reaches thousands of people all over the world. People can find our albums, listen to them instantly, and decide if they like us or not right then and there. Back in the day, I used to buy albums because the artwork looked cool or another band I liked thanked them in the “Thank you’s” of their album. Now its like “oh I’ve heard that bands name before, let me check it out” and its right there. So its hard to say unfortunately. Live music will never get replaced, and that’s where we feel our band is at its best, so as long as we love playing live, we will have a job. At least, I think so. I know that you wanted to do a live
record for years, how do you feel about having ‘Smash ‘Em Up: Live In Europe 2019’ finally out? Yeah, its about time! We’re stoked. It came together super organically and out of nowhere. People seem to enjoy it, and the cities that we recorded the songs in are happy to be a part of it as well. The artwork is sick too. Shout out to Patrick. Did you ever imagine that you’d achieve everything that you guys have achieved over the past 19 years? Feel free to put everything on perspective if you want and everything, this an open answer for whatever you wanna say. 19 years? I mean, 19 years ago I was 12, so I guess at 12 years old I would have never thought I’d be in this band haha. But the journey has been wild, been to 40+ countries and have fans all over the world and we’re about to release our 7th full length album. We’re fortunate that we get to do this as a job, and everyone that has supported us along the way.
Do you think Bernie Sanders will bring a glimpse of hope in the US and really shake things up? Do you have any hopes for the movement created by him? I strongly believe that someone like Bernie will have the power to lead a global revolution that might bring some hope and also be able to inspire young people to care and make a stand. It remains to be seen. The fact that he didn’t win the Democratic nomination in 2016, shows that this shit is rigged. Hilary Clinton was drawing crowds smaller than Stray From The Path, yet she beat Bernie who was drawing crowds bigger than Metallica. I just don’t buy it that he lost. This year will be very interesting as well. I don’t know who could get the nod besides Bernie this time around, and I think if he teamed up with someone like Elizabeth Warren, they could make some noise. SMASH ‘EM UP: LIVE IN EUROPE 2019 IS OUT NOW ON UNFD
WORDS: FAUSTO CASAIS PHOTO: GABE BECERRA
NEWS IN STUDIO NEW RELEASES
Big Thief have announced their new album, Two Hands, due on 11th October via 4AD. “Two Hands has the songs that I’m the most proud of; I can imagine myself singing them when I’m old,” says Adrianne. “Musically and lyrically, you can’t break it down much further than this. It’s already bare-bones.” The quartet has also confirmed worldwide tour dates that will extend to the Spring of 2020 including details of a special intimate London show. 4ad.com On September 20th, Sub Pop will release Morning in America, a new 7-song EP of tracks recorded during the sessions for Mudhoney’s 2018 album, Digital Garbage. The songs were mixed at Johnny Sangster’s studio Crackle & Pop! The release of this EP coincides with Mudhoney’s fall 2019 US tour. subpop.com Swedish punk/post-hardcore outfit Refused have announced plans to release a new album this fall, their first since 2015’s Freedom. The outing is titled War Music and will arrive on October 18 via Spinefarm Records and Search & Destroy. This will be Refused fifth full-length studio album and will be accompanied by a Worldwide concert tour with Gouge Away with Thrice. This insane touring schedule already began in May 2019 with a US tour with The Hives and three major European music festivals in June. officialrefused.com Gothenburg artist sir Was, aka Joel Wästberg, have announced the release of his new album, Holding On To A Dream, which is due Sept 20th via Memphis Industries. “I was interested in having a lusher sound, more rich,” Wästberg says about the new album. “With the first record I had this idea that I wanted it to sound like an old vinyl record. I wanted this lo-fi, old-school sound. When I realized that I was actually making another album, I felt a bit scared of the whole thing, but it didn’t take me that long to realise that the only thing I could do was to make something that felt really right in my body and soul. I’ve realised that there’s nothing to be afraid of. I’m ready to explore so much more.” sir Was has announced a
handful of shows, including being selected to perform at Nile Rodgers’ Meltdown and his biggest headline show to date at the Scala in London. memphis-industries.com To celebrate their 20th anniversary Explosions In The Sky have announced news of an extensive international tour… The band will be on the road in the US throughout September and October before heading to Europe in February next year and reaching the UK for five dates. To mark the occasion, the band will be releasing deluxe remastered and repackaged editions of two highly soughtafter, long out-of-print pieces of theirhistoric catalogue: their debut album, How Strange, Innocence (available on vinyl for the first time since 2004); and The Rescue (available on vinyl and on all digital platforms for the first time ever). bellaunion.com Iggy Pop has announced that release his new album: Free, will be released September 6 on Loma Vista. This is the first new Iggy Pop album since 2016’s Post Pop Depression - the effort he created alongside with John Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Dean Fertita of The Dead Weather and Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys. On the process that led Iggy and principal players Leron Thomas and Noveller to create Free, Iggy says: “This is an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice… By the end of the tours following Post Pop Depression, I felt sure that I had rid myself of the problem of chronic insecurity that had dogged my life and career for too long. But I also felt drained. And I felt like I wanted to put on shades, turn my back, and walk away. I wanted to be free. I know that’s an illusion, and that freedom is only something you feel, but I have lived my life thus far in the belief that that feeling is all that is worth pursuing; all that you need – not happiness or love necessarily, but the feeling of being free. So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen.” bodega.lomavistarecordings.com Vivian Girls are back with upcoming album, the indie rock trio regroup on their first album in eight years, Memory, out in September. The album was recorded in Comp-NY Studio in Los Angeles, and produced by Rob Barbato (Cass McCombs, The Fall, La Sera). Upon the release of Memory, Polyvinyl will also reissue the band’s first two albums, which have been long out of print: 2008’s Vivian Girls and 2009’s Everything Goes Wrong. The selftitled has been remastered by Heba Kadry, who’s previously engineered works by Beach House, Björk and the Mars Volta. polyvinylrecords.com After a long and intensive work period at Drudenhaus Studios, Alcest can finally announce that they have finished the recordings of their sixth studio album. The first long-player to appear under their new label, Nuclear Blast, is titled Spiritual Instinct
and will see the light of day on October 25th 2019, leading the band into darker yet still dreamy and spiritually profound soundscapes. Frontman Neige comments: “Alcest’s 6th album is called Spiritual Instinct and will be released on the 25th of October on Nuclear Blast. Therecording of Spiritual Instinct has been a long and challenging process, but we feel really proud of it and can’t wait to share our new music with all of you. The artwork has been made by the Parisian duo Førtifem and represents a sphinx, as a reference to the symbolism art movement. The sphinx is the ultimate figure of the enigma, which embodies both the spiritual and feral sides inside us.“ nuclearblast.de Heaven’s Club announce the release of their debut album, Here There and Nowhere, will be released via Profound Lore on September 27. Originally a project helmed by Shiv Mehra (Deafheaven’s guitarist), his vision for Heaven’s Club eventually expanded to his wildly talented circle of friends, namely Deafheaven drummer Dan Tracy, Nadia Kury, Chris Natividad, Ross Peacock and Luis Mayorga. Recorded at Santo Studios in Oakland, CA, Heaven’s Club producer and engineer Andrew Oswald acts as a seventh member and brings rich texture and nuance to Mehra’s vision. “Heaven’s Club is the fog of memory and insubstantial fantasy,” Mehra says of the project. “The songs reside in the liminal space between love and the end of suffering. They reach toward an ambiguous desire for peace — a deeply felt longing.” profoundlorerecords.com Moon Duo have announced details of a new album Stars Are The Light, set for release on September 27th via Sacred Bones. The band’s Sanae Yamada comments about the new album: “We have changed, the nature of our collaboration has changed, the world has changed, and we wanted the new music to reflect that.” With Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum) at the mixing desk in Portugal’s Serra de Sintra, the area’s lush landscape and powerful lunar energies exerted a strong influence on the vibe and sonic texture of the album. On embracing disco as an inspiration, Yamada says, “It’s something we hadn’t referenced in our music before, but its core concepts really align with what we were circling around as we made the album. Disco is dance music, first and foremost, and we were digging our way into the idea of this endless dance of bodies in nature. We were also very inspired by the space and community of a disco – a space of free self-expression through dance, fashion, and mode of being; where everyone was welcome, diversity was celebrated, and identity could be fluid; where the life force that animates each of us differently could flower.” sacredbonesrecords.com Hesitation Wounds, the collaboration between members of The Hope Conspiracy, Touché Amoré, Gouge Away and more, has returned with a sophomore album
titled Chicanery, that is scheduled to be released via Deathwish Inc. on August 30.. Hesitation Wounds formed in 2012 and features Jeremy Bolm of Touche Amore, Stephen LaCour (ex-Trap Them), Neeraj Kane (The Hope Conspiracy), and Thomas Cantwell (Gouge Away, Axis). Chicanery was written by the group and recorded in just a few days’ time by Zach Tuch (Trash Talk, Movements), mixed by Kurt Ballou at God City Studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. deathwishinc.com Black Marble, the synth-wave project of LA-based Chris Stewart is back with his third full-length album, Bigger Than Life out 25th October on his new home, Sacred Bones. About the new album Stewart explain: “The album comes out of seeing and experiencing a lot of turmoil but wanting to create something positive out of it,” Stewart continues. “I wanted to take a less selfish approach on this record. Maybe I’m just getting older, but that approach starts to feel a little self-indulgent. Like, ‘Oh, look at me I’m so complicated, I get that life isn’t fair,’ It’s like, yeah, so does everyone. So with this record, it’s less about how I see things and more about the way things just are. Seeing myself as a part of a lineage of people trying to do a little something instead of trying to create a platform for myself individually.” sacredbonesrecords.com
MIKE PATTON AND FRENCH COMPOSER JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER TEAM UP FOR THE NEW ALBUM CORPSE FLOWER
ike Patton (Faith No More, Mondo Cane) and renowned French composer Jean-Claude Vannier, who is perhaps best known for his work with Serge Gainsbourg, release Corpse Flower, a 12-song album featuring the song “On Top Of The World”. “Jean-Claude and I met while working together on a Gainsbourg retrospective at the Hollywood Bowl in 2011,” explains Patton. “We bonded immediately. I could see he had a dedication and attention to detail that was relentless so the respect I had for him in my mind was magnified in person. We spoke loosely about working together in the future… and it took some time, but after a few years I contacted him and we began to ignite some sparks.” “I would send Mike rough versions of the songs to get his thoughts, then I’d wait impatiently, staring at the clock, until I
received his response,” offers Vannier about the process the duo used to create Corpse Flower. “He made my music awaken with his unique perspective and interpretations of my songs. A formidable vocalist, with a sense of humor, Mike and I created a strong, beautiful and sincere collection of music, as well as a friendship.” A variety of musicians, both in Los Angeles and Paris, took part in the recording of Corpse Flower with the Los Angeles team including Smokey Hormel (Beck, Johnny Cash), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Air, Nine Inch Nails) and James Gadson (Beck, Jamie Lidell). The Parisian players are Denys Lable, Bernard Paganotti (Magma), Daniel Ciampolini, Didier Malherbe, Léonard Le Cloarec and the Bécon Palace String Ensemble. The lyrics for “Ballad C.3.3.” are drawn from Oscar Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” poem, which was initially published using the name C.3.3. CORPSE FLOWER ARRIVES ON SEPTEMBER 13 VIA IPECAC RECORDINGS
AN ENTIRELY PARTISAN LOOK AT THE UNITED KINGDOM’S COLLECTIVE BREAKDOWN. THE IN’S AND OUT’S OF ONE OF THE 21ST CENTURIES FIRST GREAT FOLLIES. WHAT ABOUT BREXIT? THE SHITLIST. LET’S LOOK AT THE VILLAINS CHOKING DOWN THE COLD HARD FACTS WITH BITTER, SPOILED MILK THE FARCE KNOWS NO BOUNDS THAT SOUND YOU HEAR IS HALF A NATION HEADBUTTING A DESK WELCOME TO THE POST REFERENDUM, PRE-BREXIT BRITAIN WELCOME TO BROKEN, BITTER BELLIGERANT BRITAIN WELCOME TO BRITAIN, 2019! 22
WHAT ABOUT BREXIT?
1. WHAT ABOUT BREXIT?
M y name is Andi James Chamberlain, and I am a Remainer. Now, that sentence is enough for a fair number of people to end reading there and then. Such is the fervent chaotic partisan mood that has become core to the thorny clusterfuck of a subject that is Brexit. You are either a staunch and critical Remainer, who opposes the whole ideal of taking a nine-iron to the head of our relationship with Europe and the EU, or, you are a fucking idiot… Sorry! Leaver… You are a leaver. So tired and jaded by the idea of being a small cog in a greater machine. Angrily waiting for the time when we as a nation are able to clutch back “control” and “Sovereignty” and strike out again on our own in delightfully adventurous and prosperous ways. Once again returning the island of Britain into a GREAT entity on the world stage. Leading from the front, guardians of moral superiority and heroes to the greater world, as paramours of how first world countries are able to evolve.
Well. It’s not really working out like that is it? No. BREXIT is turning into something of an almighty iceberg crashing full pelt into the side of the Titanic in choppy, freezing Atlantic waters. Devoid of nearly any lifejackets and with leaky, woodworm ridden lifeboats. What was promising to be a celebrated and historic victory has fast become a rotten, poisoned chalice that has corrupted the spirits and hearts of politicians, civil servants and dyed in the wool Leavers – and has turned a lot of ordinary, regular Brits who supported leaving the EU into braying, foam mouthed pseudo-racists, xenophobes and maniacs clutching at strays to find anything of what they thought they were voting for in the proposals put forth by the Prime Minister and her merry band of bastards. Brexit has been one of the monumental catastrophes in human history. A farce that just keeps bringing in the big numbers – all singing, all dancing – a cavalcade of absolute misery, which doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down or quit its stampede toward country wide suicide anytime soon.
2. THE SHITLIST. LET’S LOOK AT THE VILLAINS Where do we begin when it comes to bullet-pointing the entire sordid affair? The bus? - £350 million a week saved in tariffs to the EU we can give instead to the NHS? – disavowed as a lie within 24 hours of the result being announced. The fact that one of the two main campaign parties in favour of the LEAVE broke just about every fundraising law there is, took assistance from Russian influencers and is run by a man (Aaron Banks) who seems to be incapable of not breaking financial laws – and has one of the smuggest shit-eating grins this side of – I don’t know, Nigel fucking Farrage. How about how the UK public who were in favour of the Leave campaign were spun lie upon lie upon lie to the point that were you to ask a man in the street now what they voted for and whether it is in the proposed deal we have on the rickety table that is the negotiating bureau Theresa May has been cry-wanking over since she got her massive razor sharp banshee talons in the poison chalice of the whole debacle left over by the coward David Cameron – he would have trouble not hemorrhaging from his eyes and spewing stomach bile on you there and then, right before he bursts into flames. Am I bitter about the whole fucking affair? You bet your left bollock I am. Right now we are a country in the iron handed grasp of a party of villains, psychopaths and nineteenth century throwback misanthropes who seem to all have their hands crammed elbow deep into
the cookie jar that not one of them realise the biscuits are gone, the blood circulation is cut off and they will soon have embolism all over the Irish backstop before they get a nibble of a crumb. Brexit has been nothing if not consistently awful since the former pigfucker in chief David Cameron called the ridiculously terrible idea of a referendum that literally had no planning, no preparation and no blueprint – despite us being repeatedly told, with giddy glee – that there was a roadmap in place, plans waiting to be actioned and the whole thing was going to be fine whether the vote said remain or leave. The prime lie. The original sin. The beginning of the whole shambles.
3. CHOKING DOWN THE COLD HARD FACTS WITH BITTER, SPOILED MILK There is a total of 46.9 million people in the UK who are able and eligible to vote. Of this number the voter turnout for Brexit was reported to be 72.21%, which means that the result of the referendum - 51.89% to Leave and Remain having 48.11% - means that 65.27% of the electorate who participated in the referendum vote voted LEAVE and only 34.73% of the entire electorate voted to Remain. To break this down further – of the 46.9 million people who were eligible to vote in this process – whether for leave or remain – was only 33.8 million people. That means 13.1 million people who live in the UK or its valid borders, which were of eligible status to vote and participate in this election, did not. The will of the people suddenly does not look like it is really being paid attention too now when we consider that present figures suggest that if the referendum was run again it is predicted that voter turn-out would be somewhere closer to 80-85%. Dig deeper and you find out that this percentile would almost certainly be in the majority for Remain considering what we know now, compared to what we knew then – it is not hard to believe this thinking is true. These numbers are eye-opening and sickening in equal measure when you consider that the referendum was essentially supposed to be only a straw poll. An advisory. Something that would allow the UK to return to the negotiating table with the EU and begin the process of finding a new deal that would be beneficial to us as a nation as well as keep the relationship and membership to the union alive, if on a slightly fairer keel. The entire vote has no legal basis that decreed that we HAD to trigger Article 51 that begins the process and timer on us leaving the union. There was nothing legally binding about the vote at all. It was entirely advisory; to give us a better standing in future talks… musicandriots.com
ESSAY But, as we all know, the party that started this abominable shit-show decided to rupture like the hemorrhoid-ridden rectum it is and people either ran away “DOO DOO DAH”ing to a golden handshake retirement (Cameron. The coward) or turned into such backstabbing bastards that they caused what is looking like irreparable damage to the Party that could linger for generations. (Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and the irredeemably awful Ebeneezer Scrooge caricature – Jacob Rees Mogg.) Do you want to talk about how in two years we have had two Brexit secretaries, one of which attended four meetings and did a grand total of what is looking like FUCK ALL toward negotiating any kind of realistic deal or plan, and, who is now putting his face on every TV show as he is able too giving his “Expert opinion” on the entire affair. How about how the second secretary, responsible for negotiating the terms of the separation between Europe and the UK signed his name to the deal that is now being touted as our greatest opportunity and deal – and resigned the very next day saying he could not support the plan.
Instead, what we will have is between ten and fifty years of economic uncertainty, an exponential rise in food-bank usage and need, limited and one-sided regulation on movement to and from European countries, an entire motorway being turned into a lorry park because of the new customs requirements and a government system that is healing from the fractures caused by the almighty fuck-up forced thought by a collective of pompous, self-serving aristocratic arseholes.
5. THE SOUND YOU HEAR IS HALF A NATION HEADBUTTING A DESK
How about we talk about how Prime Minister May refused to disclose the solicitors general and legal council’s advice on the legal ramifications of the deal. A decision that saw the government – and Prime Minister May by extension – held in contempt of parliament, something that has never happened in the entire history of parliament – an institute that has existed since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215a.d (in one form or another, initially being the royal council that oversaw King Johns court, and which gradually developed into the parliament system we now recognize). It feels now would be a good time to put the kettle on and take a moment of repose to take a breath, regroup and calm down. This sounds like an amazing plan on paper, but sadly, in reality is as far removed from possibility as it can be – as I cannot stop thinking about how monumentally ridiculous this entire thing is. We have a short window of time to finalize the deal – either with negotiated divorce terms, an agreed monetary settlement, a proper plan to cater for the millions of people who will be affected by this sudden tonal shift in regulations, custom agreements and citizenship challenges. We have a limited time to settle the ship to avoid further choppy, horrific waters and steer us clear into a future that doesn’t stymie the future generations of people who are losing out on freedom of movement, the biggest trading block in the world and the largest unified council of nations on Earth – all of which co-exist in a complex, highly regulated and legally protected catalogue of benefits that we have enjoyed since out membership was ratified and agreed.
Everything I have written above may come across as hyperbolic doom-mongering, however, much the same as the USA seem intent on a collision course of country and ruin with their fuhrer Trump leading the country into near oblivion with his orgasmic stupidity, Theresa May seems to be having a game of one-up-manship with the orange for worst overlord in the “how fucking stupid can we be this week” game. Deciding rather than to shoot off the whole foot in one go, it would be grander and more beguiling for the press and public to decipher reason and legend as they shoot off one toe at a time. The facts sadly speak for themselves. A crooked, deceitful campaign that contributed toward the result. A cataclysmic series of lies displayed as truth that contributed toward voters decision making and cast votes. A cabinet of selfish, selfserving bastards who used the process to get rich quick and benefit as much as possible whilst doing little to make it fair or worthwhile. A leader who is so obsessed with completing the job to secure her legacy that she is blind to the genuine will of the people – whilst forcing her own narrative and repeating how everything she is doing is to preserve democracy and the will of the people in the original vote… Despite changing her own mind a dozen or more times, moving goalposts daily and refusing the actually display of any kind of semblance of democratic behavior. A contempt of parliament charge and a criminal investigation into one half of the main leave campaigns processes and organizers that will likely see several people serving real, significant jail-time. The entire process from day one to this very day has been fraught with lies, deceits and deceptions – and steered to the brink of collapse by people with little in the way of qualifications to handle such a huge, life changing and landscape altering decision and process – that the limitations and list of indiscretions and mistakes are being highlighted and added to daily. I speak not from a place of ivory tower, high-horse or arrogance – no. I speak about this from a land of fear, worry and anxiety that people with no real significant experience or skill are leading the whole program and are slowly walking us as a nation off the cliff and into the sharp
4. THE FARCE KNOWS NO BOUNDS
deadly rocks below. Millions of people will disagree with my thoughts, feelings and take on the mess. And more power to them for expressing such a thing. But it doesn’t change the fact that I am right on a number of levels and does not change the fact that – though we were given a platform in which to express our opinion of the matter – in the form of a referendum – the decision made was not mandated by a majority of the populace. Rather, by a narrow margin of a minority vote, that will directly change the course and standard of living of every child in the country and a few million more who have lived here from inside the EU itself. What Brexit is and what it will eventually become are still a mystery to me. As well as being the cause of a near permanent state of paranoid anxiety. As a proud Brit, who holds our history amongst the most important in the world – we have decided to take a blowtorch to thousands of years of precedent and decided that this would be our most famous folly in a deep swelling ocean of them. I am angry that my unborn children’s futures have been limited and stripped of potential by people who have never been, have no interest in going to and have never stopped to look at what Europe does for us, and how we benefit from its partnership – and instead, with close minds and sad hearts, gladly voted down the opportunity to ACTUALLY be able to negotiate, by forcing a process we never had to trigger. I am sad that this is still rumbling on like a limp horse toward the knackers yard, and I am confused as to why we have sat around and taken it without kicking off a second civil war to preserve common sense and our own importance as a nation and a historical entity.
6. WELCOME TO THE POST REFERENDUM, PRE-BREXIT BRITAIN It has now been 1074 days (as the writing of this article) since the Great Britain decided to vote itself out of the EU with a referendum that was called to protect one party from losing ten or so seats to a fringe party. 1074 days since the Labour party started the long but steady decline in the absolute mess it is now in, 1074 days since the Tory party of the UK decided that cannibalism and self immolation was a better look than the “Strong and steady” government they perpetually promised in the General Election of 8th May 2015. 1074 days since the Great Britain decided it was happier to be Mediocre (soon advancing to ABSOLUTE SHITSHOW) Britain instead of being the once great nation it had enjoyed being for several hundred, hundred years. Welcome to the post referendum, preBrexit Britain. Where politics has basically become an image of pigs bathing in their own shit, and a comedy suicide of a nation as it struggles to come to an agreement what Brexit is, how Brexit will work and
WHAT ABOUT BREXIT? what a Post-Brexit Britain is ready to be. Up is down, down is up, cats and dogs are living together and it’s the end of times. Or so it feels. The referendum was supposed to be a statement of overriding intent, and instead, became a marginal success for 17.4 million people. 16.6 million people voted to remain in the union, a turnout of 71.8% of the eligible voting population. Since then, the tide has turned so that an over-riding amount of people who have since turned eligible voting age have stated that had the referendum taken place yesterday they would have voted Remain, and a massive amount of vote leave voters have died (primarily due to them being old as fuck, or, more likely bored to death with the never ending pantomime that has started in Westminster and has not stopped for nearly three years now.)
7. WELCOME TO BROKEN, BITTER, BELLIGERENT BRITAIN This is a country that is slowly kicking its own ass across the news, papers and internet – trying to prove that as hard as America tries to be the most obnoxiously self aggrandizing country in the world, Britain has several beers it would like you too hold. We live a life where Brexit dominates 90% of our time EVERY DAY, and the idea of what the hell is actually going to happen changes daily – so much so that I am positive the writers of this last season of BRITAIN, really need to be sacked for stretching the fabric of disbelief into awful, ugly, terrible shapes and insulting our intelligence as an audience. We have now had THREE Brexit ministers, two of which were as useful as acid filled condoms, and the third is basically a patsy for Theresa “Crocodile tears” May – who couldn’t find it in herself to shed a tear for the 70+ people who died in Grenfell Tower fire, but did wail like a woman drowning in cut onions during hay fever season when she had to quit her job as prime minister for being an absolutely useless sack of shit. Apparently we were supposed to be sad for her because of how tears humanized her, but I still believe she is about to pull out a photo of Edward Furlong and ask if you have seen this boy, before turning into liquid metal and fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger in a smelting factory. She’s a fucking robot – and you won’t convince me otherwise. Theresa May is a very short distance away from leaving her post as Prime Minister after failing to get her Exit Strategy deal through parliament THREE TIMES. A fourth attempt being the straw that broke these donkeys back and forced her out. The conservative party has been cannibalized from within by a fringe committee called the ERG (European Research group – a complete misnomer, as none of the members give a single shit about Europe except to count the prospective hundreds of thousands,
and in some cases, Millions that they will make once we as a country get out of the EU’s coffers and their private equity funds can start cashing in and maturing. There are now 14 people running for the position of Prime Minister (and leader of the Tory party) – each one ranges in the category of “Mild mannered moron” to “supreme evil Super villain” with “bumbling fuck nugget” being the median way to describe the candidates. Its less a personality contest as much as a FIND-THE PERSONALITY contest (clue: They don’t have one.) Choosing between Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or Jeremy Hunt for Prime Minister is a bit like choosing your favourite cancer. Or whether you’d prefer to lose an eyeball or a hand – they are bad choices which have no happy ending, no matter how hard you spin it. It’s a cavalcade of corruption, xenophobic, posh old Etonian who believe they all have some form of divine right to be leaders and therefore can MAGIC a Brexit that won’t break Britain’s ankle like that mad bitch from MISERY for the next 30 years.
8. WELCOME TO BRITAIN, 2019 Since writing this piece, the Brexit car crash has continued to flip over and over and over, kicking debris into the stands and taking out innocent parties who just came to watch the show. It’s buckled our industry, businesses are having aneurysms daily about the uncertain future that the politicians are promising will be all rosey fields of golden wheat and wonder – and the country feels collectively on the cusp of a giant civil war. The Right have come back in a big way, taking the lead form our American cousins, and we are staring into a barrel of a gun trying to figure out whether it’s being held by someone else, or we have our own finger on the trigger. Great Britain has a political system in tatters and allowing the rise of the grey skinned slug Nigel Farrage to come out of his hole and stand as an genuine contender as future leader – not 18 months after Jeremy Corbyn almost caused a upset at the snap election called by May when she realized she was out of her depth. The future looks bleak. People keep talking about a 30 year adjustment until we start to see benefits of our own sovereignty. Brexiteers are fighting with each other on national TV about who’s version of Brexit is better and more deliverable – and remainers have been labeled as terrible losers who are trying to derail “democracy” by asking that the final decision be allowed back to the public – and continually told by the powers that be that “the will of the people” only works once and needs to be honoured – as the “will of these new people” is less valid and clearly biased because we’re all “snowflakes” or moaning “libtards”. Our evolution into becoming the 51st state feels complete and soon we will raise
the stars and stripes over Buckingham Palace and roll over to let Trump tickle our bellies as good, loyal subjects to the grand American empire. The greatest issue that Brexit has kicked up is the countries slow – but steadfast – decline into Far Right demagoguery. The rise of con artist villains like Nigel Farrage (a man who has never held pubic domestic office, has failed four times to become an MP and who has wholeheartedly thrown himself into the life of Tweed wearing, fox killing, climate change denial, Trump worshipping) and his collective of festooned idiot disciples has tipped the scales in the UK and more and more white supremacists, far-right devils and pseudopolitical experts have emerged to stake claims in what is “best” for the public, to try and divine the so called “will of the people” and to deny the facts that stare them in the face. Let’s not make any bones. Brexit is a car crash. As bad ideas go it is number one with a bullet. The decision to make it was one polluted with “Protest votes”, outright lies from the players of the Leave side (spearheaded by the villainous Aaron Banks who has since been prosecuted and maligned for his actions,) and a contentious battering of our parliamentary procedures. Including the death of one MP to an assassins bullet, and the death of several careers due to the entirety of parliament having such varied and wildly different views on what Brexit is, should be, could be, and probably will be. In my view, anything that will smash the kneecaps out from under the country in every single meaningful way for a near on 30 year period BEFORE it can start to see any measurable improvement or benefit is not worth its sacrifice or the pain that will be caused. In conclusion: England is on fire, Wales are laughing at us and waiting for the exit to be opened, Ireland could soon be a killing field again, Scotland may soon hold its second referendum to leave the Union and will definitely vote YES this time to leave… The United Kingdom is held together with string and sellotape and the GREAT has fallen off the sign outside Britain and has now reserved itself to laying in the mud, forlorn and forgotten. We are a nation at war with itself and there is no end in sight. Brexit. As bad ideas go, this is where they go to die. I just hope the death is swift and as painless as it can be; yet I know the pain will linger and the end is going to shift forever. Here’s to the 31st October and seeing how this all plays out. See you again in five months, I suppose. WORDS: ANDI JAMES CHAMBERLAIN
Mitski’s Be The Cowboy has found its niche between female audiences. With its last year release it seemed necessary to discuss Mitski as an artist, her specific brand of feminism and what’s shifting in what it means to be a feminist.
OUR QUIET DESPERATION: HOW MITSKI’S ‘BE THE COWBOY’ GAVE IT A VOICE
fter the success of Bury Me at Makeout Creek and Puberty 2, Mitski’s fifth studio album Be The Cowboy delves even deeper into the author’s emotional realm and is probably one of the most emotionally sincere albums you’ll hear. But more so than being a truly well-crafted album, it tells a story. It speaks toward the sensibilities and
struggles of the modern woman. This strong character seems to embody masculine features as a way to be valued by society: insensitiveness, coldness, rationality and invulnerability. A character that, just as the album starts, begins to unravel. Opening with “Geyser”, a song about longing (the beauty and despair of it) she sets the tone for what turns out to be a cohesive masterpiece that in spite of its short tracks ties beautifully together. Like a geyser, no longer able to hold everything in: lyrics and sound suggesting there’s no turning back. In a way, Be The Cowboy is an ode to the wild woman. The imagery of the cowboy seems to connect to that. No longer hiding in shame but finding her way back through emotional vulnerability, grief and the mourning of her traumas and perceived faults. Accepting her emotionality, her mistakes, her weaknesses. Also, her female condition.
“In A Pearl” (one of the best the album delivers) she masterfully speaks of past trauma becoming entrenched in our identities, comparing it to rolling around a pearl in our hands, mesmerized, unable to connect to our current reality. Just like any woman today, constantly on guard, on the battlefield. “Nobody” (an upbeat tune with forlorn lyrics about loneliness) hints at Naomi Wolf’s concept of the beauty shift. Perfection, as an out of reach concept, fueling billion dollar industries which sit wholly on top of our sense of inadequacy. In fact, it’s curious to see the beauty shift turning from being seen as expectation to being lauded at as self-care in an attempt to convince us that this is what we want, not what is demanded of us. Oppression disguised as personal choice. Freedom as the freedom to buy. But, as “Nobody” states: “I’ve been big and small (…)/ still nobody wants me”.
But in the same breath Mitski defies feminist expectations of what a womanshould be: she’s upfront about her search for connection. This is revolutionary in a culture accustomed to policing feminists and shortsighted about what a good feminist looks like. Introducing worthwhile expressions of feminist art into echo chambers increasingly uncomfortable with individual differences, questioning and opinions that don’t conform to the 2019 agenda is indispensable. And is this the cost of emancipation? Proving ourselves rational human beings (even though we rarely are, men and women from inside and outside the movement). Do we want it to mean losing touch with ourselves and other women, our passions, our feelings, our values and our personal experiences? And isn’t it lonely juggling men’s expectations, other women’s expectations and our own at the same time?
Even the record’s cover seems to suggest a woman trapped in such expectations. Make-up, tweezers in hand. Mitski herself has said in a interview she envisioned a controlled, austere woman (an exaggerated version of herself) losing grip of her emotions and desire. In “Blue Light” Jay Gatsby’s green light and that same feeling of longing come to mind. In “Pink in the night”, about lost love and the desire for a second chance, raindrops become a plead filled with I love yous on repetition. Her lover’s back is turned but she falls in love with it. Mitski’s character: still chasing the fairytale as we chase equality. Almost daring in renunciating her emotional independence, but somehow finding it. As a feminist I confess I cringed upon my first hearing of this album, recognizing myself in her honesty but inevitably challenging my self-image as a strong woman. I was left reflecting heavily on how breakdowns can actually be useful in healing and overcoming personal difficulties. As Alain de Botton states, we so frequently hear “I’d never gotten so well haven’t I fallen so ill’” and that is worth thinking about. Especially relevant when we (women) need permission to breakdown. Be The Cowboy brought me back to the 80’s. It got me thinking about female emancipation taking the form of power dressing, recreating masculine shapes that enabled us to stand ground on professional and political environments. Our desexualization, the stripping of our feminine body was seen as a way of dissociating from feminine gender stereotypes and our roles as mothers and caregivers. Even in feminist circles it was important to expect strength, to disconnect with female characteristics that could relate to a place of perceived weakness. But I wonder if this still makes sense today. In truthfulness, I feel we’re left with a reality which takes an immense toll on women’s mental health. This is what seems to be obvious in the unraveling of Mitski’s character: nobody is able to handle the weight of the world on their shoulders forever. Naomi Wolf talked in The Beauty Myth about the various shifts of work we encounter on the path of being “perfect” modern women. We seem to be overworked with 1) our careers and the emotional labour it entails 2) our feminine traditional roles in the home (still relatively untouched) 3) the beauty shift (a rise in purchasing power contextualized in a consumerist mindset permitted selling emancipation as the freedom to buy an increasingly unobtainable idea of beauty). And I would add 4) feminist expectations of what a woman should be, look like and act like: demanding more strength, more independence, the disavowing of men as a whole and almost convincing us of the near impossibility of healthy heterossexual partnerships. Even in feminist contexts, our voices go as far as we’re willing to subscribe to the dogmatic views of whatever happens to be the current prevalent discourse.
“Washing Machine Heart”, “Old Friend” and “Lonesome Love” deliver some of the most poignant moments of the album but in closing with “Two Slow Dancers”, Be The Cowboy saves the best for last. “Two Slow Dancers” feels like a nostalgic memory where she explores complex themes: the inevitability of death , the harshness of growing old, wanting things to remain the same. A longing for comfort, maybe a return to simpler times. “Me and My Husband” reenacts such a setting. A submissive woman, trying to come to grips with her situation, trying to feel content with it without a clear idea of where to go (“In the corner, taking up space But when he walks in, I am loved, I am loved”). There’s no identity without a husband. There also seems to be no way out. Psychological and emotional reasons for not leaving an unfortunate marriage just as valid and worth talking about as the ones from yesteryear. Well crafted but still bursting with emotion, the album feels sincere, honest: exploring the vulnerability of admitting difficult truths to ourselves and others. It feels forbidden and brave: breaking the expectations for the perfect women of the 2010’s. And it’s not an easy task to concede we’re not Wonder Women. Where everything we do is political, and everything is judged it’s hard to unearth, work on and expose parts of ourselves we’re not supposed to. But in the end, it feels liberating. The title Be the Cowboy seems to be a realization that despite all the heartache, we must be our own cowboys in our own terms. Just as Bjork sings in “Blissing Me” “did I just fall in love with love?”, Mitski seems to elicit this same sort of feeling. That it all begins and ends in and with us, our experiences, how we interpret them and what we have to say about them, not the objects of our love. Both artists fully committed, not in hiding themselves, but in showcasing those emotional realities. Even when our reality is not all that glamorous, it is real and working it through creative outlets opens real chances for healing. So let the wild woman regain her voice and sing, be, feel, cry, despair. Unleashing her fire. Letting go. Mitski evolves into that woman, no longer concerned with what it will look like. And after 32 very short minutes, we can’t help but feel grateful for that.
BE THE COWBOY IS OUT NOW ON DEAD OCEANS WORDS: GIGI MONIZ PHOTO: BAO NGO
WELCOMING US TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD: CATCHING UP WITH HENRY COX OF BOSTON MANOR TO DISCUSS THEIR LATEST ALBUM! Boston Manor released their heavy 90’s alt-rock inspired LP Welcome to the Neighbourhood earlier this year on Pure Noise Records. Inspired by the band’s dilapidating hometown, the muddiness of the political state and feeling disenfranchised by what you love, the band’s second album is some of their best work yet. We spoke to Henry Cox, lead singer, about the album’s new direction, scrapping their first iteration of the album and their current tour with Real Friends. 28
W hat inspired you to write about your town Blackpool? How has the neighborhood changed ISSUE 25
over the years and how did the change within your town and community made you feel?
We had already narrowed down a general theme that we wanted to follow on the record. Disenfranchisement, desperation, hopelessness, apathy and a general feeling of decline. We had gotten home from months of touring around the world and started to write the record and realized that all of those issues were so prevalent in Blackpool. It’s an area that’s seen such a steady decline from its former glory in the 60’s. It’s also home to a lot of young people who feel trapped and don’t have much of a future. I still have such a soft spot for the
WHAT’S GOING ON BOSTON WITH... MANOR REWS the lines a bit too much rather then really letting go and delving deeper into the sound we wanted. Mike Sapone was a big part of that process and helped us to really trust our guts and try new things.
Although not intended necessarily as political, some of the themes (i.e., addiction, poverty, etc.) are very relatable in today’s climate both in the United States and in the UK. As you were writing, were you conscious that it may come off as making a statement? Not that the band has ever been shy of being nothing but themselves.
Yeah, I mean, don’t get me wrong I have a lot of opinions on these matters, opinions that for a number of reasons I try not to broadcast too heavily, but mostly because I want people to connect to the songs in whatever way means the most to them. Rather than ramming politics down their throats. That being said, most of these songs were inspired by these topics, England’s Dreaming came from the blind obnoxious bigotry that suddenly came out of the woodworks around Brexit for example. I’ve always tried to keep my lyrics fairly open-ended because at the end of the day, everyone has been misrepresented in some way, everyone is frustrated about something and I think people just need a way to channel that.
What would you tell your peers and the younger generation about not being apathetic and staying on the sidelines, but being more active in enacting change?
I think we need to change ourselves first. Everyone is involved in this big shouting match on the internet, it’s always someone else’s fault and we love to grab our pitchforks and torches and label every Trump voter or Brexiteer a racist instead of start to ask questions like “what would cause over half the population to vote for something like this, where have we gone wrong”?. Also how can I start making changes in myself, how can I be more understanding, and also I think a big one for me, ‘do I really know enough about this issue yet before I start broadcasting it permanently on the internet’ (also part of the reason I don’t air my political views online).
WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD IS OUT NOW ON PURE NOISE RECORDS town because it has such a history and it is really trying to better itself, there really is nowhere like it. But considering how much it limited us as a band in the early days (it doesn’t have any music venues and the nearest place we could play was at least an hour or two away) it’s hard to see it as a place offers anything to young people.
when it comes to the guitar tones. We’re also big hip-hop fans; hip-hop was kind of my first love in music, I didn’t really discover guitars music until I was in my early teens. In some of the vocal patterns, hooks, and particularly the title track of the album, we drew heavily from those influences.
What were you listening to while writing and recording the album? I definitely hear a lot of early Deftones, Glassjaw and Nine Inch Nails!
Why did you decide to scrap your previous work and start a new?
Hit the nail on the head there really. A lot of 90’s alt-rock, Radiohead being another one. But also bands like Korn and Failure
WORDS: ANNAYELLI FLORES
It just wasn’t good enough to be honest, to be clear, we only scrapped about two-thirds of it. Songs like Halo, Digital Ghost & Funeral Party remained. It was just a bit bland, we were trying to colour inside musicandriots.com
NEWS IN STUDIO NEW RELEASES
Elvis Depressedly, the enigmatic project of prolific songwriter, Mathew Lee Cothran, has announced Depressedelica, a brand new full-length due out October 4th on Run For Cover Records. “I might be known for making this kind of low-fi bedroom music,” reflects Cothran, “but I really love electronic and experimental and psychedelic stuff, too. Music has always been the most powerful, beautiful thing in my life, and more than anything, I wanted this album to capture how much it means to me.” This new effort marks the North Carolina based musician’s first new album as Elvis Depressedly in four years, following 2015’s brilliant New Alhambra. runforcoverrecords.com Gatecreeper return with their highly anticipated new album Deserted, out on October 4th via Relapse Records. “We wanted to separate ourselves from the crowd and focus on having memorable songs,” Gatecreeper vocalist and cosongwriter Chase H. Mason explains. “We wanted big hooks and catchy leads while still being extreme and aggressive.” Like its predecessor, Deserted was recorded at Homewrecker Studios in Tucson, where Gatecreeper co-produced the album with engineer Ryan Bram. Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou handled the mix at Godcity in Salem, MA, and Brad Boatright mastered the album at Audiosiege in Portland, OR. relapse.com
JENNY HVAL ANNOUNCES ‘THE PRACTICE OF LOVE’
orwegian multidisciplinary artist Jenny Hval announces her new album, The Practice of Love, due September 13th via Sacred Bones. Though the title, The Practice of Love, was in some sense inspired by Valie Export’s 1985 film of the same name. “This all sounds very clichéd, like a standard greeting card expression“, Hval says, “But for me love, and the practice of love, has been deeply tied to the feeling of otherness. Love as a theme in art has been the domain of the canonized, big artists, and I have always seen myself as a minor character, a voice that speaks of other things. But in the last few years I have wanted to take a closer look at the practice of otherness, this fragile performance, and how it can express love, intimacy, empathy and desire. I have wanted to ask bigger, wider, kind of idiotic questions like: What is our job as a member of the human race? Do we have to accept this job, and if we don’t, does the pressure to be normal ever stop?”.
The album features collaborations with Vivian Wang, Félicia Atkinson, and Laura Jean Englert. Hval explains that this braid-work of voices could be “the voice of someone who was once an angry teenager, furious at the hierarchies,many years later. No longer angry, but still feeling apart from the mainstream. . . longing for community. I wanted to give the feeling of being apart from the world a mystical, but beautiful place, meaning pop songs… A place that also contains enough depth to bury oneself in.”
Don’t miss Practice of Love Performances, dates below: * Sept 20 – Sept 21. Oslo, NO - Ultimate Oslo Contemporary Music Festival * Sept. 20 – Sept 21. Oslo, NO - Black Box teater * Sept 29. London, UK - Milton Court * Oct 15. Frankfurt, DE - Mousonturm * Oct 16. Frankfurt, DE - Mousonturm * Oct 30. Paris, FR - Centre Pompidou * Nov 9. Utrecht, NL - Le Guess Who? Festival WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD IS OUT NOW ON PURE NOISE RECORDS
Cloud Rat announce the release of their fourth full-length album, entitled Pollinator and it will be released September 13 via Artoffact Records. Guitarist Rorik Brooks says about the new album: “Pollinator is our most complete and accomplished work yet. It is the quintessence of everything we’ve tried to say and do before, and it’s kind of fitting that we are coming up on a decade of being a band together.” The new album was recorded and mixed by JC Griffin and Rorik Brooks at Lakebottom Recording House in Toledo, Ohio. artoffact.com Smithsonian Folkways has announced the release of Songs from the Bardo, a collaborative long-form composition by multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, Tibetan singer and multi-instrumentalist Tenzin Choegyal, and activist and composer Jesse Paris Smith, to be released September 27. The piece, first performed as a mostly improvisatory performance at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art, is a guided journey through the visionary text of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a collaborative effort where cellist Rubin Kodheli and percussionist Shahzad Ismaily are also part of it. Choegyal, who was born into a family of Tibetan nomads forced out of their homeland and exiled in India, explains in the album’s liner notes, “I have tried to channel the wisdom and traditions of my ancestors through my music in a very contemporary way while holding the depth of my lineage.” folkways.si.edu Stephen Mallinder, co-founder and frontman of the iconic Cabaret Voltaire, has returned with his first solo album in over 35 years: Um Dada. Mallinder himself says about the new effort: “There’s too much digital finger-licking right now; every thought and desire at the turn of a dial… well a click of the mouse. And there’s a giddy, false nostalgia about the analogue past. Sorry to burst your bubble but the truth of history is more mundane: practical, pragmatic...Um Dada is about ‘play’ – cut and paste, lost words, twisted presets, voice collage, simple sounds – things that have been lost to technology’s current determinism. Let the machines talk to each other, let them dance .. they lead, we follow.” Dais Records will release Um Dada on October 11. daisrecords.com Los Angeles’ Starcrawler have announced their sophomore album Devour You, will be relesed on October 11th via Rough Trade. The new effort was produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, L7) at Sunset Studios, a record that the band’s Arrow de Wilde says, “encapsulates all the blood, sweat, bruised knees, and broken fingers of a Starcrawler show… With this album, I want people to put it on and feel excited, and hopefully get goosebumps. I always want there to be a dramatic response.” roughtraderecords.com
PETBRICK (BIG LAD’S WAYNE ADAMS & SEPULTURA’S IGGOR CAVALERA) ANNOUNCE DEBUT ALBUM ON ROCKET RECORDINGS
ETBRICK, the duo comprising Wayne Adams (Big Lad/Death Pedals/ Johnny Broke) and Iggor Cavalera (Sepultura/Soulwax/Mixhell), are releasing their debut album I via Rocket Recordings on 25 October. The meeting of the duo’s minds initially took place after Iggor - these days a London resident - was impressed by a Big Lad show at Camden Underworld, subsequently resulting in the two staying in touch via email, swapping files of material they were working on, bonding over Eurorack modular synth gear and eventually Iggor visiting Wayne’s Bearbiteshorse Studio, where coffeefuelled initial jams proved so fruitful that the project took on a life of its own. “We wanted to do something different than the other projects we were involved in. Making horrible noise was the first concept behind
Petbrick” says Iggor. “I think we realised that we were both pretty much in tune with each other’s taste, both into a lot of weird electronic music, as well as some decent far out guitar stuff. For me personally I definitely pushed the electronics in a much harsher direction” reckons Wayne. “I think the Industrial side of things probably comes a lot from Iggor’s playing” notes Wayne. “He hits hard, really fucking hard, and just goes like the clappers, so mix that with gabber and noise you have instant industrial vibes”. I is packed with guest vocalists – from Full Of Hell’s Dylan Walker to Integrity’s legendary vocal exorcist Dwid Hellion and from Mixhell’s Laima Leyton to Warmduscher’s Mutado Pintado. “Basically all the collaborations on the album come from people whose work we love, and also are connected as friends” says Iggor. “It’s very important to us, to bring different vibes to the songs.” PRESS PLAY TO LISTEN TO PETBRICK NEW TRACK “RADIATION FACIAL FT. DYLAN WALKER” musicandriots.com
A LITTLE GOD ON YOUR HANDS AS SWANS AND MICHAEL GIRA SEEMINGLY STEP INTO THE THIRD ACT OF THEIR CAREERS, A BAND’S MOST LEGENDARY STORY OF TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS AND TRANSCENDENCE IS FINALLY GETTING TOLD THOROUGHLY. It’s always been difficult to talk (or write) about the legendary band Swans without making Michael Gira the central figure of the conversation. The man has always been a workhorse, and that uncompromisable nature is what makes Swans such a special band in the history of Rock music, or simply the history of music, period. What is odd is that for an entity that has existed for over 30 years (with a hiatus in between), there are few films or books documenting
the band’s incredible and unpredictable trajectory. Thankfully, with the documentary “Where Does a Body End?” coming out anyday now, and Nick Soulsby’s “Swans: Sacrifice And Transcendence: The Oral History” already available, that is about to be corrected. The multiplicity of voices in this book is sprawling. Current members, former members, acquaintances, producers and many others give their account of the history of Swans, and that is the book’s best asset. Michael Gira does not take long to admit that he is not the easiest person to work with, and soon enough the stories from former members let us know why. From funny to cringy, from inspirational to saddening, the stories told in the book are very interesting and show us a band that endured many (but very realistic, for anyone who knows what being in a struggling band is like) obstacles in its unconventional path to becoming an improbably legendary act. All eras of the band are very well covered, including the life of Michael Gira and his bands pre-Swans, as well as a couple of chapters dedicated to the Angels of Light. One disappointing facet of the book, however, is that there is a bigger focus on
personal relationships and the hardships of touring than there is the weight of the band’s discography. Far more could have been said in regards to concepts behind albums and their songs, and perhaps more stories behind the conception of their works could have been told. Nevertheless, where “Swans: Sacrifice And Transcendence: The Oral History” is a very interesting document for fans of musical biographies regardless of genre (especially due to how unfiltered it is, and how unafraid it is to tell the naked truth), it is absolutely mandatory for fans of Swans, and if you love the band as much as I do, definitely pick this one up. SWANS: SACRIFICE AND TRANSCENDENCE: THE ORAL HISTORY BY NICK SOULSBY IS OUT NOW ON JAWBONE PRESS WORDS: BRUNO COSTA PHOTO: SAMANTHA MARBLE
THE RECOLLECTION SECTION: REVISITING ‘AVALON’ WITH ANTHONY GREEN A DECADE LATER
Anthony Green is synonymous with leading the way of prog and experimental rock in the Philly music scene with his bandmates in Circa Survive, which formed over 14 years ago. Since then, we have beared witness to the band’s growth, sonic evolution, hard work in releasing six LPs, and, on top of all that, they continue to bring their unequivocal infectious type of energy to the stage time and time again. Let us go back to 2008 though, in the middle of writing Circa’s next album, Anthony Green wrote the ever moving solo record titled Avalon, named after the city in New Jersey where he wrote the lyrics. A collection of songs he had written in that moment and some revisited from his high school days, it was a different approach from what fans were used to listening to from his work with Saosin and Circa Survive. Fun fact, the album had actually leaked on the internet a few days before its official release, but that was back when that wasn’t cool and record executives were focused on pushing physical album sales. 34
This is so weird for me because I grew up hearing your music since I was like 15. Now, 11 years later, I’m interviewing you. Let’s talk about the art form that is Avalon. Ten years after the release! How would you summarize in how wild the ride has been three words or less? It’s hard to summarize. I still feel like I’m on it, you know like I don’t feel like 10 years have gone by so fast. It wasn’t ever a thing where like, oh, you know if I play all these songs so often... I’ve always played ‘Baby girl” and ‘Slowing down’ almost every set. I feel so familiar with it still. I feel like it’s just like a celebration of a bigger thing than
ANTHONY GREEN a piece of shit.
It had been three years since the release of Juturna, when you decided to release Avalon. Why did you decide to finally branch out into solo material? Well, I just had a ton of songs and when the band [Circa Survive] started, we’d been on tour for like four or five years. I had all this material I wasn’t doing anything with and I was playing with them trying to make them Circa songs. It just didn’t fit. I feel like they were their own sort of thing. I played a show or two at home, my hometown, and they were like, yeah, you should just put out a solo record. So I did do that. Can you share your experience in writing Avalon and how Good Old War came into the picture? Avalon really is a compilation of a whole lot of time before the record came out. “Dying to reach you “ was written when I was in Sampson. ‘Baby girl’ and ‘Traffic lights’ were written when I was in high school/college. I was around 19 or 20 years old. That is crazy. It puts into perspective how long-lasting songs can be. What’s crazy about it is it just lives forever. The permanence of it makes it really terrifying to me and that’s what makes it so beautiful. How has the reception been at the shows? People have joined in, lots of people who have been here to celebrate the music in general, just being a big part of our lives. The people who come to see Circa, me and them all are music enthusiasts. Music touches them and in that way, when I look out and I see people at my shows they are there for that reason - the healing aspect of music. Every night people are singing super loud and it’s mind-blowing.
just Avalon. It’s all of us [Anthony Green and Good Old War] as friends and for the music.
In what ways has your life changed since then? Everything. My whole life. I’m a completely different human being and vastly different. It is so fucking strange, especially on this tour because we remember things that happened on that first tour. I just like to identify with it because it was my past, but it’s weird… the music and the evolution of your poetry and your art as a person. It’s something difficult to describe to people. But uh, it’s really strange to me to think of who I was as a human being level like not ours and artists, you know like I can identify myself as what I was going through as an artist back then, you know, as a human being. I was like such
Is it still hard to grasp when fans are singing your songs back at you? I don’t try and grasp it any longer. I like it. I make it like a meditation of just like joining in and feeling like this gratitude feeling that is like for like for this thing outside myself and it’s like freeing that way. Almost like speaking in tongues. It’s like when people sing and it’s a service. When putting the album together was there a singular inspiration behind it besides Avalon, New Jersey? It was never about Avalon. They are songs about my wife, about other relationships in that way, and songs about insecurities. It’s like there are songs about my mom and dad. It’s like Avalon was just a place and a time in my life plus get away from stuff. And so that’s why I made the record, this album, this tour. Where I could get away from Circa and the stress of that stuff for a bit. It was just crazy.
do with every album where I haven’t let go of it. But I like the way it is.
Switching gears to your new release, Would You Still Be in Love released early June 2018. Did you always have the intention of doing a surprise album? Yeah, I didn’t want to put it out with a bunch of fanfare and buildup. I knew there was like a small group of people who were like always hitting me up for new music. I was making it and was trying to put a plan together to release it. I jumped the gun on it. I just want to put stuff out so I put the album together as an idea to just be like, I’m going to just write a bunch of songs and then put them out and that was like around November, December, last year in 2017. I kept writing songs and wrote more songs. Rather than build it up, I just wanted to put it out and play live. That way if somebody liked my music and didn’t know I had any new music out they would discover it that way rather than try to like get some kind of like first week sales that didn’t matter in my world anyway. You know, I felt more like a gift to the people that had been waiting for the few people who have been like, no, I want to hear that. I want to hear this or that thatI had been playing live. You played at the Paste Magazine Studios, but before you played ‘You’re so Dead Meat’ you said you preferred to talk about how songs come together rather than what they are about because themes are tough for you to discuss. After, writing and performing these songs over and over again, do you find it difficult to rehash these topics especially during interviews? I find it difficult to rehash and during the song itself, it is just like says things that come from a place of “I can’t say this to you so I’m going to just write it.” Write it in a way that I can express it and it sort of it throw it away and not have to deal with confrontation. To say that stuff, it would have to be me dealing with it and confronting it in a way that i am indirectly avoiding it. It’s very selfish. WOULD YOU STILL BE IN LOVE IS OUT NOW ON MEMORY MUSIC
WORDS: ANNAYELLI FLORES PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
Is there anything you’d change about the album that you’ve thought about the last ten years? No. I did go through a period of time as I musicandriots.com
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MIXTAPE THE VERY BEST NEW TRACKS
1. KHIIS “Venon” 2. LUNGBUTTER “Vile” 3. ZONAL featuring MOOR MOTHER “System Error” 4. PORTRAYAL OF GUILT “Moral Decay” 5. UNE MISÈRE “Sermon” 6. QUEEN OF JEANS “All The Same” 7. UV-TV “Hide” 8. SANDUNES “Eleven Eleven ft. Laslandes” 9. CHASTITY BELT “Elena” 10. JENN CHAMPION “Turn Up The Radio” 11. BLANCK MASS “Love Is A Paradise” 12. JENNY HVAL “High Alice” 13. CHELSEA WOLFE “Be All Things” 14. CLOUD RAT “Wonder” 15. UNIFORM & THE BODY “Patron Saint of Regret (feat. SRSQ)” 16. PHARMAKON “Spit It Out” 17. HESITATION WOUNDS “At Our Best When We’re Asleep” 18. GoST “Wrapped In Wax” 19. HIDE “Raw Dream” 20. PETBRICK “Radiation Facial (feat. Dylan Walker of Full Of Hell) 21. KRIMEWATCH “Dreams Of Peace” 22. BORIS “Love” Just click on the playlist and enjoy our humble picks!
THE LEGACY OF SCOTT WALKER
oel Scott Engel. Known to most as Scott Walker. Born in 1943 and deceased just this past March. A man who took the word “adventure” and ran with it with a boldness very few artists in the entirety of music history ever did. Scott Walker went from the Pop charm and simplicity of his time in The Walker Brothers to the mind-boggling (and expanding) output of the later stages of his career. He was a man most unafraid of trying new things and challenging conventions, and his music had the power of leaving no one indifferent to what they heard. I first came across the artist when people like Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt name-dropped him as big influences. And listening to “The Drift” for the first time was a strange experience: getting exposed to something 100% new and so utterly uncanny made me hit the “stop” button at first, and soon enough press “play” again, when the mystery got too intriguing to be ignored. I couldn’t help but feel like I was being pulled into a vortex of genius and lunacy in equal measure, with eerie and obscure chunks of sound creating a deliciously nightmarish masterpiece. This last term is, in fact, one that could be applied across nearly all of Walker’s artistic output. To me, Scott Walker’s legacy will always be two things: the amazing music he left for us to happily lose ourselves into, and his absolute fearlessness when it came to discovering new possibilities within the music world. The idiosyncrasies of his artistic path reveal a man most unafraid of trying new approaches to art. To me, Scott Walker is an artist in the truest sense of the world. And the void left by his departure is one which not a single soul is this world can ever fill. Thank you, Scott Walker. Your presence will be sorely missed.
WORDS: BRUNO COSTA // PHOTO: JAMIE HAWKESWORTH
STILL IN REPEAT: DISSECTING LAST YEAR’S MOST IMPORTANT RELEASE
WATCH THE WORLD BURN WITH DAUGHTERS
fter eight years of hiatus and some line-up changes underground noise-rock antiheroes Daughters are back with an unbelievably fresh and mature new album. Think about everything that is great about Daughters and the legacy of the labels they’ve worked with (Hydra Head Records, Robotic Empire and Ipecac). Now, throw your Young Widows records into the mix and consider giving a listen to the amazing and incredibly underrecognized Enablers. See where I’m going? Going off easy by flagrantly name dropping in a review, that’s where I seem to be going. The aggressiveness of Daughter’s early recordings seems to have given place to something that, while at times is almost subtle (at least by comparison), has much more devastating effects. The band found new ways of articulating their turmoil, reaching us deeper than before. It’s that universal language that only music seems to convey effectively, which reminds us all that we are not that different in the end. Sometimes, noise-rock — let’s just call it that — might seem like a regurgitated cacophony vaguely resembling a song and just makes one, to quote Henry Rollins, want to “break shit and fuck on the floor.” While we might get a little bit of the ladder on
A TRIP TO THE THE HELLISH BACKROOM OF YOUR MIND... the “The Flammable Man”, that’s not what’s mostly happening here. The record peaks — for me, at least — with “Satan in the Wait”, an almost avant-gardish approach to the art of the song with a near perfect vocal performance that makes me think of a theatre play actor who happens to be in a post-hardcore band, or something alongthose lines — great narrative skills here. It’s the kind of track that reminds me why I find myself leaning more and more towards vocalists that do not really “sing”. Going back to “The Flammable Man”, there’s chaos to the instrumentation, but — trying to avoid using the word ‘organised’ here — there’s also a sense of direction, it serves a purpose and everything harmonises well together in the end. These guys know what they’re doing. They’re not agitators. They’re sharing. They’re communicating. There’s something about the abrasive nature of the sound, the pounding bass and drums, and the vocals’ spoken approach that seems to induce introspection and make one want to swallow himself into fetal position and face its own demons. The darkwave vibe brought by the electronics on “Less Sex”, the way the album closes with “Guest House” and the overall use of dissonance and high-pitched glitches like stab wounds just adds to this feeling. Fortunately, somewhere down the line hardcore asskicking songs, like the single “The Reason They Hate Me”, come up and just seem to grant us the strength to take down all the motherfuckers. Is this self-help music? I guess it is. Daughters do it the only way that matters: with zero compromise. Their sound is somehow artsy but still unpretentious and will certainly blow your head off.
YOU WON’T GET WHAT YOU WANT IS OUT NOW ON IPECAC RECORDINGS
WORDS: RICARDO ALMEIDA
‘YOU WON’T GET WHAT YOU WANT’ TRACKLIST: 1. City Song 2. Long Road, No Turns 3. Satan in the Wait 4. The Flammable Man 5. The Lords Song 6. Less Sex 7. Daughter 8. The Reason They Hate Me 9. Ocean Song 10. Guest House DAUGHTERS ARE: Alexis ASF Marshall Jonathan Syverson Samuel Walker Nick Andrew Sadler Recorded by Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, Pawtucket, RI // Mastered by Heba Kandry // Produced by Seth Manchester and Nick Sadler // Artwork by Jesse Draxler WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT THE ALBUM: “I’ve always felt we decide what a Daughters record is. It’s not a sound or an aesthetic. Daughters is the name of our group and, we will do whatever we want to do with it. If that’s a jazz record or an opera, then that’s the decision we’ve made. With that, this feels like the natural progression of things musically.” - ALEXIS MARSHALL “We’ve changed our sound from record to record since the beginning... We always had a very broad interest and taste in music across the spectrum. This is another moment in which we pay tribute to the history of rock ‘n’ roll as we like it. Since we are a rock band at heart, expect not to expect anything.” “We’re getting what we wanted out of iT... As I get older, I like the concept of just sharing things with other people and being somewhat considerate of the folks who listen to music. For all of the nihilism and pessimism, we might be associated with, I hope the album provides more ways to connect with others.” - NICK SADLER musicandriots.com
OUR GUIDE TO THE EVENTS YOU SHOULD GO THIS YEAR
HAMBURG / 18-21 SEP DON’T MISS: Algiers, Bedouine, Donna Missal, Dz Deathrays, Efterklang, Georgia, Ida Mae, Mantar, Pile, Press Club, Sasami, Sebadoh, The Japanese House, The Subways. reeparbahnfestival.com
BARCELONA / 10-13 OCT DON’T MISS: Pelican, Daughters, Brutus, Cocaine Piss, Zeal & Ardor, Deafheaven, Touché Amoré, Tides From Nebula, Alcest, Tides Of Man, Bo Ningen, The Album L:eaf, Daniel Blumberg, Lisabö. amfest.es
END OF THE ROAD
LARMER TREE GARDENS / 29 AUG - 01 SEP DON’T MISS: Courtney Barnett, Spiritualized, Kate Tempest, Low, Deerhunter, Black Midi, Yves Tumor, Kikagaku Moyo, Kelly Lee Owens, Sasami, Viagra Boys, Parquet Courts, Goat Girl, Wire, Mitski, Beak>, Gazelle Twin, Pigs x7 , The Murder Capital, Let’s Eat Grandma. endoftheroadfestival.com
BASILICA SOUNDSCAPE 2019
NEW YORK / 13 SEP - 15 SEP DON’T MISS: Big|Brave, The Body with The Assembly Of Light Choir, Chelsea Hodson, Cloud Rat, Circuit Des Yeux, Dilly Dally, Jerusalem In My Heart, Low, Lingua Ignota, Waxahatchee, Jessica Moss, SQÜRL. basilicahudson.org 42
PICTHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL PARIS PARIS / 31 OCT - 01, 02 NOV
This year’s Pitchfork Festival Paris will feature a more diverse line up than ever before, introducing two new stages focussing on up and coming talent.
The three-day festival will feature around 50 different artists and there will be two new stages - bringing the total now to four. La Petite Halle and the Boris Vian auditorium, located next to and inside the Grande Halle respectively, will each play host to a new stage, welcoming the future stars of tomorrow. The festival continues to set musical trends boasting its trailblazing status by inviting indie music’s new guard to take over the new concert spaces.
PORTO / 12-13 OCT DON’T MISS: Daughters, Touché Amoré, Deafheaven, Inter Arma, JK Flesh, Emma Ruth Rundle (solo), Birds In Row, Pelican, Author & Punisher, Nadja, Portrayal Of Guilt. amplifest.com
ATLANTA / 12-13 OCT DON’T MISS: FKA Twigs, Danny Brown, Fever 333, Mahalia, Earthgang, Fantastic Negrito, Ohso, Smino, Gallant, Sir, Leikeli47, Lucky Daye, Ravyn Lanae, Masego, Cautious Clay, Sho Madjozi, Upchuck. afropunk.com
DON’T MISS: Skepta, Celeste, Ezra Collective, Mura Masa, Chromatics, Belle & Sebastien, Weyes Blood, Sheer Mag, Orville Peck, Jessica Pratt, Jamilla Woods, Barrie, Primal Scream, Desire, Nilüfer Yanya, Drugdealer. picthforkmusicfestival.fr
RIOT FEST CHICAGO / 13-15 SEPT
FEVER 333 AT LAST YEAR RIOT FEST // BY: ANNAYELLI FLORES
BRAGA / 25-28 OCT DON’T MISS: Felicia Atkinson, Avalon Emerson, Deaf Center, Drew McDowall + Florence To, Clothilde, Alessandro Cortini, Ipek Gorgun, Nik Void, Oren Ambarchi & Robert AA Lowe. festivalsemibreve.com
REYKJAVIK / 06-09 NOV DON’T MISS: Amanda Tenfjord, Between Mountains, Whitney, Une Misére, Tiny Ruins. Shame, Siv Jakobsen Pip Bloom, Orville Peck, Pillow Queens, John Grant, Kælan Mikla, Ólöf Arnalds. icelandairwaves.is
TEXAS / 07-10 NOV DON’T MISS: Angel Olsen, High On Fire, Black Mountain, The Black Angels, Lingua Ignota, Acid King, Chelsea Wolfe, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile & The Violators, A Place To Bury Strangers, Russian Circles, Power Flipper, Emma Ruth Rundle, Jaye Jayle, Brutus, Deafheaven. levitation-austin.com
LE GUESS WHO? ULTRECHT / 07-10 NOV
Le Guess Who? is a city-wide celebration of global sounds and musical boundarycrossing. The 13th edition of the festival takes place 7-10 November 2019, in the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands. During four days, Le Guess Who? takes over the city center of Utrecht with over 150 performances set to electrify pop venues, theaters, churches, galleries and warehouses. Satellite events with music, film, visual art, photography and markets appear at cafés, hotels, restaurants, wharf cellars, de Neude square and the hidden corners of the city. DON’T MISS: Jenny Hval’s ‘The Practice of Love’, Fatoumata Diawara, Deerhunter, Cate Le Bon, Earth, Tropical Fuck Storm, Moon Duo, Zonal feat. Moor Mother, The Bug, Acid Mothers Temple, Föllakzoid, The Raincoats, Mary Lattymore, Godflesh, Surfbort, Faten Kanaan, Felicia Atkinson, Vivian Wang, JK Flesh B2B Goth-Trad, Lone Taxidermist Presents ‘BodyVice’, Vilde Tuv, Prision Religion and many more... leguesswho.nl
The Riot Fest 15th Anniversary lineup has been revealed. A recently reunited Bikini Kill will also be playing as well as Slayer performing at their final Chicago show. The Raconteurs will also be playing their first Chicago show in 11 years. Rise Against’s set also marks a special one as they make their Riot Fest return for the first time since 2012 when they played the first outdoor event. FULL ALBUM PERFORMANCES: * Against Me! – Reinventing Axl Rose + Transgender Dysphoria Blues * Avail – Over The James * Bloc Party – Silent Alarm * Dashboard Confessional – The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most * The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots * Glassjaw – Worship and Tribute * The Selecter – Too Much Pressure * Senses Fail – From the Depths of Dreams + Let It Enfold You * Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends + Louder Now * Ween – The Mollusk DON’T MISS: Bikini Kill, Slayer, Blink 182, Rise Agaainst, The Raacounters, Jawbreaker, Ween, Violent Femmes, Patti Smith and her Band, Descendents, Against Me!, Pennywise, Rancid, Bob Mould, Hot Snakes, American Football, Glassjaw, The Get Up Kids, Anthrax, Guided By Voices, Turnstile, H2O, Angel Du$t, Hot Mullign, The Beaches, The Flaming Lip, Cursive, Frank Iero & The Future Violents, Save Ferris and many more... riotfest.org musicandriots.com
Montreal has developed a status for being a haven for artists and for the DIY ethic community, from Godspeed You! Black Emperor to Arcade Fire, to respected and influential labels like Constellation or even Arbutus Records. With that in mind it’s easy to relate that booming experimental scene with the birth of exciting and new acts and artists over the years, like Lungbutter, Basia Bulat, tUnE-yArDs, Jerusalem In My Heart and many more. But our main focus here, is Lungbutter, the Montreal trio that are too noisy for grunge, but also too experimental melodic for a more extreme sound. Lungbutter’s debut full-length is out now, it’s perhaps one of the most accomplished efforts of this year, a relentless and chaotic sonic experience, that is both refreshingly fearless and thrilling at the same time. With that in mind with talked with Lungbutter about their debut album, the Montreal music scene, recording with Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and much more…
that really comes through in our live show so he was able to bring that feeling to the table. And you’re totally right, Jerusalem In My Heart is incredible!
irst of all, how would you describe yourselves to someone who is not familiar with your sound? Loud, Noisy, Fun, Oblique, Catastrophic. What changed since the self-release of your debut recording “Win Some / Lose Most” in late 2013 and the release of ‘Honey’? (Musically speaking and beyond that…) Joni: I think we’ve developed as songwriters, which feels good. “Win Some / Lose Most” was recorded pretty shortly after we started playing together, so we’ve had a lot of time since then to challenge ourselves and gel more cohesively as collaborators. Ky: Our songwriting has become more purposeful and organized, and maybe departed somewhat from the more standard punk and metal referents that we were working with in 2013. I think we’ve also developed a clearer intuition for what works and doesn’t work for our music. What experiences do you draw on to write a core set of the material on the forthcoming album ‘Honey’? Ky: Lyrically – Immediate personal experiences, books and papers, whatever feels urgent and living when written down. I try to very deliberately and transparently write down feelings and sensations in order to create a sense of moving across the surface of my own thoughts. It’s more of a process thing than a ‘sitting down to think about material’ thing. What themes do you touch on thematically on ‘Honey’? Ky: Lyrically – heartbreaks, categories, shapes, feelings, theories, framings, materialities, imaginaries. The current environmental collapse. Ephemera and ephemerality. People and the things they do. Where and when did you record the new album? And how was it like recording with Radwan Ghazi Moumneh? I must say that I’m big a fan of his project Jerusalem In My Heart. Joni: We recorded it in September 2018 at Hotel2Tango in Montreal. Working with Radwan was a real treat because he’s a friend of ours, and he’s done live sound for us before so he’s pretty familiar with our overall aesthetic. Keeping things a bit loose and spontaneous was important to us, and 48
I love the way the whole album flows, the immediacy of song after song is remarkably striking, it seems almost like a live show. Was this intentional or did it just happen? Ky: We recorded things mostly live off of the floor, and definitely wanted to at least point towards what our live sound is like. But in terms of the flow of the album, I think that just happened. Kaity: I think because the project has been so rooted in live shows (rather than recording) we are used to thinking about our music in terms of what works in a live set. I know that the feedback and other amp sounds between tracks was definitely done in an attempt to recreate how our live performances feel. However, this recording process was also the first time that we had experimented with recording material that had never been performed live. What’s the story behind the cover image by Tommi Parrish? Ky: Tommi was my roommate for a dreamy six months, which is how we found out about their art. I’m hugely impressed by what they do and the determined / thoughtful way they do it, as well as the emotional immediacy and ambiguity of the images they create. So we asked them if they would want to paint some cover art for us. The image is totally their doing, though Ian from the label did the graphic design. This might be a bit exaggerated to actually say out loud, but I felt almost spiritual about “Honey”, it’s confrontational but damn cathartic… Does this makes any sense to you? Ky: Haha. That’s funny, I sang for a long time in churches, and have always loved chant and traditional religious music more than almost anything else. I’m not strictly religious but there’s something very special and transformative about choral music in particular. I think that probably filters through into our music a bit. It’s powerful to make exactly the music you want to make with friends, and it makes space for confrontation and catharsis, as you say. Kaity: This is a really nice thing to say! I think we all want our music to have tones or qualities that don’t neatly fit into the categories of “heavy” / ”aggressive” / “noisy”, so knowing that you heard elements of it that felt relieving or welcoming in some capacity is very affirming! Daughters or Sonic Youth? Joni: Sonic Youth, for sure. That said, I saw Daughters play here in Montreal a little while ago and was definitely impressed with their live show. There’s room in my heart for both. Ky: I went on tour with Big Brave (as their front of house engineer) for a few dates that they played with Daughters, I have to say from my brief encounter I really like ISSUE 25
“I try to very deliberately and transparently write down feelings and sensations in order to create a sense of moving across the surface of my own thoughts. It’s more of a process thing than a ‘sitting down to think about material’ thing.”
LUNGBUTTER Joni: The new Big Brave album is really, really good. I’ve also been revisiting Nü Sensae’s self-titled record, which came out around a decade ago and was really influential at the time. Once in a while I take a deep dive through the record collection and find myself falling head over heels for a beloved album all over again, which is definitely the case here. The new Holly Herndon album Proto is blowing my mind in unexpected ways – to be totally honest I’m not even sure whether I like it or not, but it’s so bizarre and innovative that I keep finding myself drawn to it. The way she uses technology is definitely inspiring. Ky: I also second the Dwarfs of East Agouza rec – I’m kind of obsessed with them too! How’s the current Montreal scene? Any new bands or artists we should look for? Ky: The current Montreal scene is actually a bunch of smaller scenes, I think. But in terms of recommendations, some of the new-er bands we’ve been super stoked on lately are Beep Test, Eliza Kaviton, Rivalled Envy, Tamayugé, Kee Avil, Mutually Feeling, Neighbour’s Guitar... If you’re willing, here’s a chance to talk about anything you like for a couple of hundred words or less…. So, is there something you’re passionate or do you wanna talk about right now? Anything! Really! Lungbutter: Dogs! We all love dogs! Joni: On a more serious note, it feels important to talk about the rulings on reproductive rights in Alabama and other parts of the US. The situation sets a terrifying precedent and has some very dangerous ramifications, so it’s been weighing heavily on my mind since the bill was signed in. Ky: Yeah, it’s really fucked. We have to act now if we want to prevent similar things happening in Canada. Criminalizing abortion is basically a move to regulate who gets to fuck and how – as well as a move that puts any person with a uterus in danger of criminalization. that band, both as people and as musicians. I don’t think I can really choose, though, Daughters and Sonic Youth are doing something totally different from one another and both things are awesome. I didn’t start really listening to Sonic Youth until maybea year ago (dorky to admit, I know), but I really love Body/Head, so there’s that. Kaity: Imagine if we tried to pretend that we weren’t somehow influenced by Sonic Youth!! So respects must be paid.
Can you talk about three records that are blowing your mind lately? Ky: The new Big Brave album, A Gaze Among Them! It’s so fricking amazing, fiercely minimal and carefully paced and tense. Also the album Filament, by Petra, an artist from Providence, RI. Just wild and weird vocal work. Mary Halvorson Quintet, Saturn Sings- definitely been out for quite a
while but still blowing my mind right now. The guitar lines are really satisfying. Kaity: Lately I’ve been listening to Alan Bishop, Sam Shalabi, and Maurice Louca’s trio The Dwarfs of East Agouza’s most recent record Bes, which is full of really wonderfully peculiar guitar and synthesizer sounds, and amazing percussion. It’s one of those records that allows you to either study and appreciate the strangeness of each instrument’s tone and the kind of dissonant patterns they are following, or you can sitback and let it wash over you as a really hypnotic whole. I have also been regularly re-listening to Carlyle Williams’ Gotta Go For It, which is the probably the most truly psychedelic thing I’ve ever heard! And finally my go-to walking around just trying to tap into the joy of life is, Prince’s Sign O’ The Times – one of the great treasures of human history!
HONEY IS OUT NOW ON CONSTELLATION RECORDS
WORDS: FAUSTO CASAIS PHOTOS: THOMAS BOUCHER
ADDITIONAL NOTES: Here are some resources for those who want to learn more or show support: - Planned Parenthood - Center For Reproductive Rights - American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) musicandriots.com
LIFE IN DA 50
Once upon a time, there were a band of bearded druids who summoned mighty tectonic rumbles from cavernous realms, existing in an underground that few knew about and who were spoken of in fevered tones in select circles - that was a hell of a long time ago. Nowadays, Sunn O))) are a cultural touchstone, the figureheads of a scene that bridges high art and sonic extremity and whose live rituals have become, depending on who you ask, worthy of adulation or derision. With this coming into the light, it makes sense that 2019 will have them deliver two albums that, from the sound of first entry Life Metal, their brightest and most joyous offering to the faithful. To give us a unique perspective on this new take on all things droney, we caught up with long-time collaborator Tos Nieuwenhuizen and asked for his thoughts on this latest evolution.
t’s always an interesting experience discussing you guys and whatever beast of a record you’ve just conjured. Since Life Metal came out last week, that might be a good place to start. I heard that the title came from something of an inside joke with the band, so how does it
t’s always an interesting experience discussing you guys and whatever beast of a record you’ve just conjured. Since Life Metal is out now, that might be a good place to start. I heard that the title came from something of an inside joke with the band, so how does it tie in with the sound and writing of the record itself? Is it really the opposite of death metal? No, not the opposite; just another shape of metal. Just kidding - we’re not trying to come up with a new music category. As you said, that inside joke was referring to health activities by Attila Csihar, and to sell-out metal acts. But then it turns out to be a perfect name for the music conjured up on this record. A celebration of life. The whole thing was recorded and edited straight to tape, right? What did you think of the process and did it bring something to the table that you’d never been able to capture using other techniques? To be honest, I was a little surprised that it wasn’t something you’d tried your hand at before. This was the first time that Sunn O))) set 52
out to record and mix within two weeks. Working with tape doesn’t give you the flexibility of ProTool recordings, which was necessary for all those collaboration records that came since Monoliths & Dimensions. Files are easier to mail than 2-inch tape-reels. The tracks on Life Metal are pretty much all one-takes, with minimal overdubbing - one layer of guitar harmonics, Hildur’s treated cello. The less-is-more principle applied to a more=more band. And, since the band uses equipment from the 60 and 70s, why not use recording techniques from that era? After all, the best sounding records are from 1970 or thereabouts, but that might be a personal opinion.
The inclusion of Hildur Guðnadóttir makes such a difference on the record, especially with ‘Between Sleipnir’s Breaths’ opening the record. How did you settle on the arrangement and lyrics for that track? Did it help with the collaboration that you already had some history of working with her? The song was recorded before Hildur arrived (she wasn’t there for the whole session), and we were well aware of her capabilities so when she was presented with the poem it was just a matter of fitting it. She’s a pro. Given your long history of collaboration, I was wondering if you found there to be any real difference when working with vocalists and with instrumental collaborators. Do you choose to have much input with lyrics yourselves, or do you leave that completely in the collaborator’s hands? In this case the lyrics were taken from an Indian poem. With other vocal contributions it was the vocalists that came up with lyrics. What can you say about that cover art? It seems very abstract, especially in comparison to some of your works in the past, where there had been a definite thematic connection between the piece and the album itself. Looking at Samantha Keely Smith’s body of work, it’s all about elemental stuff, fire, water, earth, air, and I think it ties in with the record really well, the music being pretty abstract as well and open for interpretation. You’re also going to be releasing Pyroclasts later in the year. Given that the two were announced at the same time, is there any connection between the two records? Can they be viewed as connected, or even opposing, works, or should they be kept entirely separate? The Pyroclasts are the product of the band’s morning exercises. Once we had the complete band together in the studio we would start the day with an improvisation in a certain key, before continuing work on the main body. They’re definitely more trance-y. 54
“I have witnessed Sunn O))) for 20 years and see the band develop from the slow power riffing duo to the entity it is now. I’m into waves and pulses and resonances, and the effect they can have on mind and body.”
The recent passing of Scott Walker hit everyone hard, and I have little doubt that it affected yourselves as well. I was just wondering how Scott’s music had influenced the direction of Sunn O))), and what you had taken away from your experiences of working with him. Yes, he will be missed. We were fortunate to be able to work with him on Soused, the recording of which was a great learning experience. All parts of that album were written out beforehand, all the different instruments, tempos, everything scored. Quite the opposite of Life Metal where the objective was to capture a Sunn O))) performance, more akin to ‘50s and ‘60s jazz recordings, but when it came to fitting in Hildur and Tim’s contributions I’d say there was a definite Scott influence in the arranging decisions. People seem to make quite a distinction between Sunn O))) on record and on stage, and I think a lot of that comes down to physics – there’s a very visceral, tactile experience from watching you perform live that be either meditative or physically distressing. Do the two occupy different soundspaces, ISSUE 25
or serve different purposes, for you as musicians? That’s quite right, Sunn O))) live is an experience that you will not get from playing the record : The sheer volume, the lights and the fog, sometimes the venue all contribute to that sensory overload that can induce a trance-like state. Meditative yes. All Sunn O))) records after 2007 (to my knowledge) are written in or around the studio, 2007 being the year Stephen moved to Europe. So with band members living in LA, Paris, Amsterdam, Seattle, there’s not a lot of jamming/practicing happening - I can remember four band rehearsals since 2003. The pieces develop quite a bit from the recordings once we get to perform them live. You seem to research the venues you play quite well, which I imagine is as important for atmosphere as it is for acoustics. Do you have a formula or any guidelines as to what constitutes a perfect, or even an ‘apt’ Sunn O))) concert space? We do get to play a lot of ‘interesting’ places that fit our description of a righteous venue - large rooms with a lot of reverberation work well for us, say churches. We recently played a cave in Tennessee where the stage was about 400 meters from the entrance, that place had an amazing low frequency extension. Seated theatres are cool for the audience and usually have good acoustics, there are clubs that are solid, clubs that rattle and threaten to fall apart, all those different places have an impact on the show. Some will emphasise the soothing quality of the music, others will make for a punishing experience. A lot has been said about the spiritual and mystical aspects of drone music, with Owen Coggins’ book giving a really interesting take on the overlap between drone and ritual. Is it something that you have researched at all, or tried to factor in to your writing and performance? I haven’t read up much on drone music/ rituals/ spirituality and am not familiar with Owen’s book, will search it out though! But I have witnessed Sunn O))) for 20 years and see the band develop from the slow power riffing duo to the entity it is now. I’m into waves and pulses and resonances, and the effect they can have on mind and body. LIFE METAL IS OUT NOW ON SOUTHERN LORD WORDS: DAVID BOWES PHOTOS: RONALD DICK
Frank Iero is back with a new record and new band name. This time around it’s under the name Frank Iero and The Future Violents and the album is titled Barriers. As per usual, Frank is quite honest and impressive with his music and we had to know more about this brand-new effort. We had a lovely chat with Frank himself.
t’s been three years since you released your previous album. How have you been? I’ve been okay. A lot has happened in the three years since I released Parachutes and a lot of real poignant things in my life that I feel like I’m a completely different person than the person that I was three years ago. It’s been a lot of life in the last three years. Every time you released a solo album you have a different band name. In 2014, your first solo album, Stomachaches, was released under the name frnkiero andthe cellabration, then your second album Parachutes was Frank Iero and The Patience, and now is Frank Iero and The Future Violents. What does The Future Violents mean to you? With every record the name will change, so this time around The Future Violence means a lot to me. It was a collection of words that
was actually kind of a serendipitous thing. We were traveling and someone asked what our band name was, I said Frank Iero Cairo and The Patience and they misheard us and said, “Oh, The future violence”. I was like, “That’s kind of interesting.” I started to think about what that meant and to me it’s like life is a lot like a pristine lake, you know? You can kind of sit back and passively participate and maybe live vicariously through others and just kind of be content with just observing and watching the current kind of take shape and the fish swimming underneath and stuff like that. Another way to participate would be to pick up a rock and kind of toss it in and disrupt that pristine glass on top, and watch those ripples kind of carry on and carry out into infinity. That to me is a very violent action in it and I mean that in a positive way. I think that life can be very abrupt and it can be very piercing, that action of making a mark. I’d like to hope that the people that are involved in the band and also the people that are listening to the music are the future of that. The future activists, someone that goes out and makes a noise in the quiet. That action of actively participating in life, being violent.
What was the kickoff/mindset to start working on this new effort? I think that was really just being contacted by musicians that I wanted to work with for a very long time, like Matt Armstrong and Tucker Rule. I had known them for probably 19 years and they were both free. My brother in law Evan Nestor was free and we wanted to work on a record. I started writing songs and we brought Kayleigh
Goldsworthy into the mix and that was the spark and it was the availability of people that I had wanted to start a project with for a very long time.
Lyrics-wise, you talk about how making mistakes and have regrets show us that we’re alive and we should go through those feelings to know that. Can you elaborate more on that topic? I think the idea is that people aren’t perfect. Life isn’t perfect. We shouldn’t strive to be perfect. Scars are important. You should have regrets in this life. It lets you know that you lived, you know? If you didn’t make mistakes, how would you ever grow, evolve, change and be a better person? If life was going to be a perfect journey and you were 100% when you were first born than what’s succeeded at the beginning, I think that we need to stumble and fall and get back up again and these are all just important parts of living life. This time around, you had on board Evan Nestor, Matt Armstrong, Tucker Rule and Kayleigh Goldsworthy working with you on this new album. What was their take on the whole process? It was so great. I’m really looking forward to bring all those wonderful musicians out on the road and playing these songs live and also taking on the old songs as well and seeing how those evolve and change. I love playing older songs with a new configuration of musicians. I think that allows me to stay creative on the road as well. [laughs] I mean, if you’ve already been in the studio and that’s a really fun thing for me. I like to just stay creative. As far as their take on the whole process, I think we had a really good time. We clicked really well and we operate in the same way and that’s really fun. Barriers was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini. What led you to work with him and how was it like? It was fantastic. It was a really amazing process. We recorded it and mixed 17 songs in 15 days. That’s all recorded live to tape in Electrical Audio in Chicago. It was a great process. It was very hard and taxing, but rewarding. I was lucky enough to be able to get into the studio with Steve a couple of years ago before the recording of Parachutes. It’d be 2016 and I did a full weekend with him. In three days, we released a four-song EP and it was nice to get to know him and to get familiar with his working style and his mindset. I think that really did help in this recording process. Steve is a genius. He’s a legend and, as a musician, you look to records that he’s made over the years and I’m continuously inspired by the things that he has done, whether it would be bands that he actually plays in and the music that he writes or his ability to capture a band by being a sound engineer and recording them. When you get to work with someone like that, it makes you want to play better and want to be better. That’s a really great experience. He’s at the top of 58
“If life was going to be a perfect journey and you were 100% when you were first born than what’s succeeded at the beginning, I think that we need to stumble and fall and get back up again and these are all just important parts of living life.” ISSUE 25
his game. It’s just him in the studio, there’s no assistance or anybody else miking anything or editing anything or even touching a button. It’s all Steve and he’s very, very good at what he does, and so it was pretty amazing.
You stated that every time you start a new record, you say to yourself, “This is it. This is the end. This is the last one.” Do you still feel that way towards making a new album in the future? Yes and no. I really do enjoy making records. I love that process of figuring it out and “What is this song saying?” and “What is this sound going to be?” and what are the tonal qualities of the record... I love every second of it as much as it takes everything out of me. Every time I finish a record, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine doing that again” because it is so depleting, but just the other day actually
FRANK IERO AND THE VIOLENTS
I was having a conversation with my wife about records and making another one and things of that nature she said, “You always say like, that’s it, man, you’re done” and I was like “I know, but what am I gonna do, not making another record again? I don’t know.” [laughs] I don’t know how to do that. She’s like, “Well, maybe just make them and just write songs and don’t record them.” I was like, “Oh, that would kill me.” I don’t know how I navigate that, but as of right now, I finished this one by the skin of my teeth. I can’t imagine doing another. Trilogy sounds like a really good way to end this type of thing, but who knows, rules are meant to be broken, I suppose.
You are releasing your third album with UNFD, who are also home to bands like Beartooth, Tonight Alive, Architects and more. How did you end up working with them?
That was kind of funny. When I first started playing songs off Stomachaches - I made that record in my basement basically - I had played it for my friend Matt Galley, who in turn played it for some other people. The second person to contact me about signing was Francesca Caldera and she worked for Equal Vision at the time and I was like, “I already spoke to Vagrant Records.” It was one of those things like “I’m gonna sign over here because he was the first one to contact me.” Francesca followed the career and eventually ended up a couple of years ago over at UNFD and when our relationship with BMG ended after Parachutes, she contacted us and she was interested in finally working together and that was an amazing thing. It was kind of crazy how things ended up working out in that way. It’s honestly been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with a label. I’m very lucky and excited to be working with UNFD.
What have you been listening to lately non-stop? I really love the new Culture Abuse single “Goo”. I think that’s a fantastic song and I love that band. The latest Nothing record is fantastic as well as the new The Homeless Gospel Choir record, which is not released yet, but I’ve heard the recordings and I think it’s just fantastic. Derek is one of my favorite singer-songwriters of all time and he’s just doing amazing things. BARRIERS IS OUT NOW ON UNFD WORDS: ANDREIA ALVES PHOTO: MARTYNA WISNIEWSKA
FROM BIG DREAMS TO BAY DREAMS: CULTURE ABUSE JUST WANTS TO ROCK OUT AND HAVE A GOOD TIME
From the moment they broke into the scene with their highly-acclaimed debut album Peach in 2016, Culture Abuse had already undergone their fair share of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, losses and plenty of good fortune. Peach was all about clutching onto pain while yearning for love in trying times. Yet, it was this source of tragedy and triumph between the countless miles driven and tours that shed some type of perspective on David (or Dave as he is aptly known) Kelling, frontman of Culture Abuse, during the writing process of the bandâ€™s new album Bay Dream. On the night of their Audiotree Facebook Live at Lincoln Hall in Chicago last year, we caught up with David and company to chat about the new album, the DIY community -- or lack thereof -- in the Bay Area and giving back to the fans.
Kicking things off with Bay Dream. Is the title a nod to growing up in the bay area? Who would you say the album is dedicated to? I read that it was a little bit towards your mom and what has been going on in the Bay area. Yeah! It’s more for everyone that is around us - our loved ones -- and kind of like introspectively thinking about things.
e find the band, David Kelling (lead vocals), Ross Traver (drums), Nick Bruder (guitar) June Bug (guitar), and Shane Plittoutside (base) at Lincoln Hall hanging outside their van with craft supplies -- spray paint and poster board signs -- they got earlier in the day. Since they weren’t allowed to hang up their banner, they improvised by writing out “Culture City,” “Keep it Tuff,” and other quasi-punk axioms that the band’s posse will hold during their set. When asked if they usually do this sort of thing, Dave is quick to respond that the band is always staying busy on the road finding the closest Kinkos or place with Xerox zines to hand out at shows and make their own banners. It’s in the band’s DIY nature to take an idea and run with it. It’s all about doing it now and doing it for yourself. Once inside, while the band is warming up backstage, we step out onto the staircase to chat with Dave. It’s been a long day, and year to say the least, for Culture Abuse. They have been touring in support of Bay Dream since June and will end the year overseas with tourmates Nothing. At this moment, with this being their first Audiotree appearance, the band is eager and exhilarated to bring the frenzy to the fans watching at home.
Often people think punk rock in the form of in your face antagonism and grime, but Bay Dream is a fresh of breath air. It’s very posi-punk, still in your face, but also sweet. It’s very positive, but still in your face. I like to equate it to like a Sour Patch Kid -- sour and sweet at the same time. Has the intention always been to make punk that is positive? Well, I actually like read an old interview with Tim Armstrong from back in the Operation Ivy days where he was like, “You know, I used to write negative songs but I like to write happy songs.” I mean in the same sense, they’re kind of like upbeat and they sound more positive than I think that they are. I mean because a lot of the songs are talking about the people we miss or the people that we’re going to miss or dealing with the day to day, but it just kinda upbeat. So everyone’s like this is like a happy positive record. And it’s kinda like, yeah… So, even if it starts negative, it kind of like a self-dialogue kind of thing… talking out problems, you know? Do you normally write with that intention? I mean, do you start something and then think maybe you shouldn’t be so negative? Totally, and I also try not to overthink. I mean, even with one of the songs I was told the dudes I have this… “Time keeps moving like a big slug. I get squished like a big bug” [from the song “Dip” on Bay Dream] and I thought I’m not sure I can say that, but they thought it was cool and I should just say it. It’s actually trying not to overthink a lot of things and just letting it pour out rather than having an intention. I’d rather just write like whatever! What changed in your life that kind of made you want to create music that was like more towards that direction of positivity? Well, it’s not even, I’m not even trying to be positive. If you think about it, the first song on the record is talking about how I have to go pursue this dream, but I know that I’m going to miss my mom, who has a terminal heart condition. It’s like how fucking far do I go away? When do I come home? What do I do? It’s not really positive, but it’s trying to find a way to cope with everything. Like I was saying, it sounds upbeat, but also kind of going back to doing this band is actually trying to not overthink anything. All of these songs that I wrote... I grew up listening to Motown and the Beatles and then got into punk rock… it’s straight from there -- no real in between. We just write the song that comes out and if we like it then when we use it and if we don’t we scrap it. How does this moment in time making ISSUE 25
Bay Dream and touring on it differ you’re your time making Peach? When we were writing Peach, we weren’t touring at all. We hadn’t toured really… We were living in San Francisco, we were paying a lot of money, living in really shitty environments, and doing a lot more drugs, and doing a bunch of crazy shit. When we recorded Peach, we started to get all these tour offers in preparation for it. We all moved out of our house and we started couch surfing or living in our practice space. We’ve just been touring and touring. Since then, I have a girlfriend and my mom got diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, which is a terminal heart condition, and it’s just really introspective, but still, we’re just gone all the time… Could you say like the band is in a better place now? Yeah, everyone’s in a better place. Everyone’s doing a lot less drugs and has like a little more of a purpose and a direction in life. It kind of naturally sorted itself out.
“There’s so much stuff that needs to be taken care of in this world and right now with how we are living and where we are, it’s something that we can do to help someone.”
Was there an internal struggle in staying DIY and signing with a major label? We talked with a bunch of other labels and we had offers, and Epitaph was the one that seemed to enjoy our music the most. At the end of this, to me, we’re a band so the music is the most important part. I want to be surrounded by people that love music in general and less of like a business. Also, the dude who owns it [Brett W. Gurewitz] is the dude that helped us record the record and who I call, you know? So that dude isn’t going to get fired and get replaced... I also know other people and friends that are in bands that have signed to bigger labels and their whole team gets fired, and they hire new people and then you’re stuck at a label where you don’t know anyone. With Epitaph, our dude is the owner. He’s like THE DUDE. It felt cool and they have like a Xerox machine at their office! Pivoting to Bay Dream, I’d love to talk more about “S’Why”? What is the inspiration behind that track? Hands
down one of the most romantic tracks I have ever heard! We started a tour that went from May to September. We ended with Reading Leeds Festival in the U.K., and we had been gone since May and it was like almost September. It was the last few days and we had been working on the record the whole time. When we were backstage at Leeds, I wrote that song in our green room right before we went on. It was like we had done some interviews while we were over there, things were kind of weird, and being gone for so long…I had my girlfriend over there and it kind of just came out naturally. She’s the first person in my life that stayed positive and supportive the whole time. I felt like I could really dive into what I was doing because a lot of people made me feel guilt for knowing what I want to do in life. So I just wrote it, demoed it and sent it to Barbara. When we were actually making the record, we played it for play for our producer dude. He was like that has to go on the record! And then we did it. Now you’re
asking me about the song. It wasn’t supposed to be a song on the record.
How important is having that support system right now? It’s great. It’s great. I mean because there’s so much to second guess in life, you know? Let’s talk about the giveaway you announced on Twitter last week. So you’re giving away a brand new Fender to a lucky recipient who emails you about wanting to learn guitar. What inspired the giveaway? It’s not brand new. It’s a couple of years old. They gave it to me and I just kinda had it. I wasn’t playing it as much as I would like and so on. I’d see it in my house and I’d feel guilty. I have this guitar that my dad found on the side of the road. I wanted to play guitar, but I have cerebral palsy so it affects the right side so I’m left-handed. My parents didn’t think that I could [play guitar] and they kind of didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Then my dad found this musicandriots.com
guitar that was thrown out of the car on the freeway and brought it back to patch it up. It was so heavy and sounded like shit, but it was like awesome! For that Christmas, they gave me my cousin’s old guitar that she didn’t touch at all. It was like a kid’s nylon string acoustic guitar and it was left out in the sun. It was cracked and all beat, but I totally remember Christmas getting it and playing like a minor chord and thinking that it was like the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. That’s the guitar that I still have today. I play and I write everything on that. When we started working with Fender and I was like, “Hey, can I get a guitar?,” and they sent me a guitar, that’s the one that I have, but I still just play the acoustic all the time. Then just seeing the one FIDLAR did with Brandon, their bass player, that he decorated the whole guitar and drew on it and he gave it to some kid who made the most clever video, you know? It was so cool. That’s when we were like well I want to give it to a kid that doesn’t have a guitar or someone that like definitely needs it, you know? Imagine not having anything and someone gave you that opportunity? Even Fender was willing to donate more so we’re going to pick a handful of people and actually give away like a ton. So it’s been really cool.
On the flyer you state “music saved my life and continues to.” Your touring mate Dominic Palermo was once quoted saying, “I didn’t know what else to do with my life, what would make me want to wake up every day. I really struggled with that for like four years and, not to sound dramatic or anything, but I thought about blowing my brains out every day,” regarding not playing music after Horror Show and that incident. Does this ring true to how you feel if you weren’t playing music? Totally. I mean like that is all you know. I mean from what I was a kid till like after high school and then I played in bands. That’s all I wanted to do. There was a time when I was in a band and it was really unhealthy. The people in the band hurt my self-esteem and I didn’t play music for like four years because I just felt the absolutely lowest of the low. Eventually, I’d go on tour with bands and just sell merch or be a tour manager and I just wanted to be there. Now I’m in a band with people that just make me feel nothing but comfortable to do whatever I want. There’s only been a small window where I didn’t know really what I was going to do, but for the most part, music gave me a thing. The band continues to be very DIY. You have zines “YOU ARE WHAT MAKES IT” at shows and give fans free shirts. What does DIY personally mean to you? Obviously, it means doing it yourself, but it’s also doing it now. It’s like now like I want something, I’m going to make it happen now rather than send it off or pass it by someone or like see what they. I want to make stickers. I’m going to go to a Xerox machine and get 64
“It’s like I can’t ride a bike, I can’t fucking run, but I can write a song like just as good as anyone can write aa song.”
sticker paper and put something on it and make stickers.
Is it more than a tacked on label to define you? I Dunno. It’s like... it’s so...we just want to get shit done. We’re just trying to get it done. A lot of times we do shit that could have been done a lot easier and a lot faster, but it’s kinda like just obviously doing it your own way, you know? I mean it’s cool if you want to attach it and it’s cool that people can appreciate what we’re doing because every once in a while you’re like, “Dude, I fucking have been in Kinko’s all day!” Even right before we are playing we’re doing this and doing that. I don’t know if people want to tack it on, it’s cool to me.
to open up for you. 11 bands in 3 hours, that must have been tough to keep everyone on track. What was the thought behind letting anyone take the stage? A thing that I try to do and always remember doing with this band is like we try and have it be shit that like the people that want to be there. So if we just put it out there, anyone can play if you want to play and we kind of take care of it all for you, with gear and equipment, it really sorts out who wants to play and who needs something. It’s like we only take tour offers of bands that we want to tour with. So a lot of that with the community and the record release shows is it creates an environment where everyone just wanted to be there.
You did two hometown record release shows where you invited the community
As you continue to blow up, do you still feel like you will always go back to those art gallery DIY spaces to play?
Yeah, that’s the only shit that I wanted really! I think like the bigger that you get the more that you can actually control what you do.
How was the overall experience with the record shows? It was great! The first half of each day I’d be like freaking out, and then like Cody Volado from like the Blood Brothers was just like, “Dude, what are you doing?!” I had this piece of paper with like every band and there were set times on it telling bands you have ten minutes like literally it was like hanging out until like 10 minutes and that’s what you got. He was like, dude, put it down, come get a drink and fucking chill, you know? Talking about those shows, they must’ve been insane. Does your personal safety and the safety of others ever become a
concern at your shows? The Oakland show was definitely like holy fuck! I had to get my friend Jay — who was like my personal security guard — to just come and grab a hold of me. Barbara, my girlfriend, was like grabbing me from the front. They were just holding me up and I was like doing it, but so we’ll see as it goes. For the most part, I feel like everyone knows what the fuck is going on… You have to be understanding that people get caught up in the moment and people get hurt.
I think that it’s always going to sort itself out, you know what I mean? There’s never
Do you ever see starting your own label or venue to continue the support? We’re kind of doing that right now! Culture City Records!
BAY DREAM IS OUT NOW ON EPITAPH RECORDS
What do you think about the DIY music community? What do you think the DIY music community could do better?
going to be like a utopia or anything. The best thing that the DIY scene can do is just keep doing it. Hopefully more people don’t forget about like the joy of doing what you do. To go back to like doing DIY, that’s fun for me to do and make a zine, get my hands dirty. It’s just fun!
Any final last words? Keep up tuff. T-U-F-F.
WORDS: ANNAYELLI FLORES PHOTOS: ALICE BAXLEY
NO BULLSHIT, FULLY HONEST AND IN YOUR FUCKING FACE
The last year in the metal world has been dominated by Thou. With 3 EPs and a new LP, the long awaited Magus, added to their already prestigious catalog, itâ€™s obvious why they are as revered among fans and peers as they are. From the onstage banter and humourous Internet presence to the gut wrenching riffs and dramatically philosophical lyrics, Thou is a band of the people, for the people, whether you like it or not. musicandriots.com
re there any common threads between last year’s releases? Specifically, there’s the “Behind the mask, another mask” lyric on “The Changeling Prince” that’s also a song title on Inconsolable. Bryan: I’m surprised people even picked up on that. I’m really surprised people even read the lyrics. It’s a pleasant surprise for me. Andy: Yeah, but you put that one in at the end of the song. It’s kind of a hook. But that’s more of just a call back, though. Bryan: It’s a little bit of that. Andy: You could see it as two different interpretations. Bryan: I’ll take some little thing I was writing about in one or two lines and I’ll be like, I need to write a whole thing about that. Those two things, together, were a bit linked in a general sense of what I was talking about; it’s a person feeling this darkness about them. But, also, it’s the sort of thing where I was going back and sifting through things I’d written. The same way I would look at and pull from someone else’s writing, I can pull from stuff I’d already done and come at it in a different way. I really like the idea of shared ideas within the context of Thou and within the context of several bands. Me and Emily (McWilliams) had been talking about some stuff between Thou and Silver Godling that I wanted to riff off of and there’s a song that me and her sang on for HIRS where I pulled a piece out of a Thou song and mangled it into this other direction that Jenna could riff off of. It’s less about recycling things and more about bringing back certain themes or elements to hammer in a point. Andy: To me, and this where we differ very much, after I finish writing a song, it’s done. I never want to touch it again. I never want to come back to it. Bryan: Wait, what was the question? Andy: Is there a theme that links all the records? Musically, no. Bryan: Rhea Sylvia is definitely far removed from everything because it’s Matthew’s take, for the most part. There were specific emotions I was trying to get at on The House Primordial and Inconsolable that we scratched a little bit, the same way that we, musically, scratched a few things just barely on Magus. There were certain emotions. That sort of menace that I wanted for The House Primordial. Just complete despondency on Inconsolable. We touch on that a little bit on Magus, but it’s not like those are driving the ship the way that they are on those two.
About the artwork, was the point to contrast the sound of the records? Andy: Definitely. Bryan: That’s always the approach in Thou. Not necessarily to contrast what we’re doing… Andy: To compliment… Bryan: Yeah, to compliment what we’re actually trying to do and get at despite people’s superficial reckoning with it. Not to make us seem like we’re so much better than whatever other bands are out there, but we’re not in a metal band strictly to be a metal band. We’re not trying to just play to certain tropes. Andy: We’ve probably beat that over the head. Bryan: We did that even with the first record! Andy: I’m almost at the point where maybe we just need to start leaning into it. Just go full metal. Bryan: I was trying to be a bit more subtle about weeding people out by challenging them with the aesthetics and, if not, trying to make them uncomfortable by using, you know, pictures of naked men grabbing each other. Stuff that’s unappealing to Neanderthals. But I feel like that still doesn’t work… Andy: I think if we had that as a record cover it’d be more effective. We did it as a T-shirt and as T-shirt or a patch someone’s just not gonna buy it. But as a record, they’re like, Well, I want the new record. I like how it sounds. I’ll be forced to purchase this. [laughs] Bryan: Maybe we should get more graphic… This was amped up to be the “black metal” record. Andy: Eh... Failure! It’s not what people would assume, but what does “black metal” mean in the context of Thou? Bryan: We’ve had a lot of conversations about that. Andy: I don’t think we ever really had the intention of actually writing a real black metal record. I don’t think we had any illusions that we could write a legit black metal record that sounds like a black metal record. It was more of a lens we were trying to view things through. I had the idea in my head that I was gonna write a riff that could work on a black metal record. But, also, I can’t write black metal riffs. So my attempts at that are still gonna sound like Thou, maybe just with some elements of black metal. Bryan: It was more about getting a certain feeling and atmosphere. I think, at times, we brushed up against it. Andy: We’re gonna stick with what we’re good at. We’re not gonna force something that doesn’t come naturally to us. Bryan: I think it depends on what comes out, like you said. There’s something that, maybe, you might not hear. There’s stuff on that first Body collab… Andy: Yeah, I think that’s a better ISSUE 25
representation of what our version of black metal would sound like, really. There are certain songs on both of the collaboration records that are more atonal, less emotional. I think Magus is still fairly emotional. It’s hard for me to write stuff that’s interesting and isn’t emotional. Bryan: Somebody said it sounded like a grunge record. I could hear that. Some of those Matthew riffs. Andy: Yeah, maybe. People don’t really know what they’re talking about. Bryan: It’s just the feeling of it. It doesn’t sound like Siamese Dream or whatever, but there’s a certain feeling. Andy: Catchiness and angst in different doses. I get that. Bryan: Like, a heavy, distorted riff that’s still very melancholic. That’s what’s good about Nirvana. Black Sabbath. Trying to make a dark sounding thing also kind of pop-y. Yes, we failed. Andy: Failure on all counts. [Laughs] We need to stop setting these big goals for ourselves and announcing them in public.
Well, I just assumed it was a joke anyways. Andy: I guess people usually don’t know when we’re joking and when we’re serious. Bryan: That’s good. That’s a strength. Andy: I would say that’s a strength. That’s actually the next question. In person and online you’re sarcastic and humorous and self-deprecating. Is that intentional for the atmosphere of the band or just you? Andy: Not even the band, that’s just us. Bryan: Our failings as people and individuals. Andy: Hiding behind our wall of sarcasm afraid to show our true selves. Is it to offset how serious other bands tend to be? Andy: Yeah, I think that’s part of it. Bryan: Well, yeah. I think when other bands take themselves a bit too seriously, it’s silly and stupid and pretentious. Like you were saying, we talk a lot of shit, but I would say we’re probably most critical of us.
Andy: It’s just that other people wouldn’t even necessarily know that. It’s whatever. Who cares? So, on “The Greater Invocation of Disgust” there’s the “We’ve got nothing but hatred” lyric that seems representative of a lot of people these days. Bryan: I ripped that line from a Gorilla Biscuits song. There’s a line right before the mosh part that’s “You’ve got nothing but hatred” and I loved how it fit. Taking it out of the context of what their song is about, I love the idea of writing a thing where it’s celebrating this more righteous anger towards the fucked up people in the world. I wanted to twist it. We had a thing way back with “I Am the Leviathan” which was a play off Andy’s old band We Need To Talk’s song “Am I Lunch For Leviathans?” Andy: Yeah, yeah, the movie quote. Bryan: Me and Steve Mudge had a conversation about that. Changing that sort of interaction with the world of feeling… Andy: Victimized.
“Viewing it from an anarchist’s perspective, it’s like, when Obama was president we were angry at all the bullshit he was doing. Fucking drone strikes, pipelines, all that shit. Deportations. We were just as pissed off then. Trump is just more naked about it.”
Bryan: Well, just feeling small and overwhelmed by the greater powers and twisting it and saying, No, this fucked up world we live in is gonna be overwhelmed with me and my personality. A very phallocentric approach, admittedly, but that was interesting to me. I had sort of the same thought with that one line from the Gorilla Biscuits thing. We’d had that part that was that weird Zao, mosh-y riff that Matthew came up with and at the time I was somewhere on a job listening to Gorilla Biscuits and trying to figure out how I would approach that song. Andy: It fits in with the bigger theme of the record, being a more individualistic approach. Was it meant to be commentary on how people seem to be angry all the time? Bryan: Well, yeah, that keeps coming up, but I don’t think the anger that’s in the socio-political climate right now is anything new. It’s new that the people expressing that anger are the people on the left. It’s new in the direction it’s going. That’s what’s interestingabout it. The social woes and the stuff that’s in the political and social dialogue right now is nothing new. Andy: I think it’s because we’re viewing it from the perspective of having been critical of liberal politics over the past however many years. Viewing it from an anarchist’s perspective, it’s like, when Obama was president we were angry at all the bullshit he was doing. Fucking drone strikes, pipelines, all that shit. Deportations. We were just as pissed off then. Trump is just more naked about it. Granted, he is doing more tangible, fucked up things in the everyday lives of some people, but if you zoom out a little bit it’s like, Yeah, we were already pissed off. There’s so many people who are just finding their footing and being like, Ah bring back Obama! Biden for President! We’re viewing it from the perspective of, no fuck that too. Where 70
were y’all before? All of this shit was happening before, it’s now just been ratcheted up a couple notches. Bryan: It’s the same thing with identity politics. It’s interesting to me how all the trans stuff and the non-gender stuff is entering the mainstream dialect. It’s like, we’ve been talking about this shit for 10 years now! Andy: We already went over this! Trans people have been around since ancient civilizations. Bryan: Forever! Andy: It’s not brand new. This is entry level shit. But, obviously, it’s good that people are thinking about it. I’m glad it’s a dialogue. I’m glad people are forced to interact with it. It’s the same with the Trump stuff--I’m glad people are speaking up. It’s great and maybe it’ll be a step towards people caring when a Democrat’s in office. Bryan: It’s a funny thing to me because there are people who are our contemporaries and who share our politics but are visibly put off by the Internet SJW shit and are reacting to that poorly. It’s interesting to me because that pendulum swing is necessary and helpful in the broader sense. It might be annoying in some aspects if you’re too worried about it or looking at it too much, but if you actually want mainstream society to follow that progressive arc, that, the loud voices and imperfect ways of handling situations, is necessary. The Me Too movement? It’s definitely not perfect. But it’s absolutely necessary. I probably have more criticisms of things that I agree with than the things that I despise, but I can also see when it’s time to let things happen. Let it sort itself out.
You scored a showing of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari last year. If you could score any movie, what would it be and what would it sound like? Andy: Oh, I don’t know. We had a hard enough time figuring out what that one would sound like. ISSUE 25
Bryan: I would love for Thou to do something with the Duplass brothers. Andy: [Laughs] Okay, yeah, sure. Bryan: I’m just saying in a general sense, like, I don’t know what that would be or whatever, but people keep asking who we’d want to do stuff with and blah blah blah and usually it’s music related. In terms of just artists in general, I think that’s great. I think they’re doing cool shit. The documentary they just did on Netflix was awesome. Andy: I don’t watch enough. Bryan: You didn’t see that? It’s all about cults. About that cult up in Oregon. Andy: Oh! Wild Wild Country. I did watch that. That was good! Scoring, though, it’s hard. Bryan: I would want to be intrinsically involved in whatever it was and I would want the thing to be really cool. You know what I mean? Andy: [Laughs] I do know what you mean. Bryan: I mean, the same way if we’re going to collaborate on a record. We’re not just gonna collaborate with any ding-dong. It’s going to be somebody we know we can trust. Like, Mogwai did the score for Les Revenants, the French zombie show. Fuckin’ awesome. The show’s awesome. The music’s awesome. Perfect mix. Andy: Their music is very well-suited to that sort of thing. They live off of peaks and valleys just like every other post-rock band movies are peaks and valleys. Bryan: Yeah, but we’re versatile enough. Andy: We’re versatile enough, but it’s hard
“I don’t think we ever really h writing a real black metal re any illusions that we could wr record that sounds like a blac
to make it interesting. It’s hard to adapt our style to it because we have to basically abandon all of our crutches and just rely on mood. You have to be sparse and it has to develop over time. That was the thing about the Caligari thing that made it hard--having to map out those peaks and valleys and then do stuff that was interesting most of the time.
What bands, if any, shaped your views growing up? Bryan: I got into punk and hardcore directly from the grunge stuff. So, you see Eddie Vedder wearing a Fugazi shirt and you go listen to Fugazi and you realize this dude from Fugazi was in this band Minor Threat. For me, coming up pre-Internet, it was a lot harder to get information so it was what band shirts they were wearing and on a punk or hardcore record who was in the “thanks” list. And then once you discovered mail order stuff, it was scouring mail order catalogues and it would compare, like, This sounds like Earth Crisis or This is vegan straight edge death metal. You gravitate toward certain things because it was referencing other things you liked. And mixtapes. Andy: I didn’t really have any of that. I didn’t have any friends who were into punk or anything like that in high school and almost 99% of my high school experience was pre-Internet. I feel like, politically, maybe Rage Against The Machine. Outside of that, I didn’t ever view grunge as being overly political. Bryan: Nirvana.
had the intention of actually ecord. I don’t think we had rite a legit black metal ck metal record.”
Andy: Nirvana to an extent. Bryan: All the feminist stuff. Andy: Yeah, but that stuff, if you just listen to their music, it isn’t readily apparent unless you know the context they’re operating in. Whenever I was a kid listening to “Drain You,” I didn’t think about anything. It wasn’t until much later. I also wasn’t a political person until after high school. For me, it wasn’t bands. It was just DIY in general. Zines. Going to punk spaces and seeing how things operate. Those kinds of things were much more influential on me, anyway. I’m trying to think of other bands that were political. I mean, it doesn’t have to be politics. Just bands that shaped you in any way. Andy: Like worldview? That’s hard to say. I guess, how can you extricate the two? I love the Smashing Pumpkins, but my worldview was being shaped at the same time as I was listening to them, so how would you even know? Also, they’re probably a bad example because what are they about? What are any of those songs about? Bryan: Wanting to sell more records. Andy: It’s actually incredible that I was even a fan of that band because when I look back--I can’t remove the nostalgia, of course--I’m like...the dude’s voice is super annoying. The lyrics are some of the worst lyrics of the time period. Just nonsense. Bryan: Soundgarden’s like that too, though. Nonsense lyrics. Andy: Yeah, they have that too. Looking back, it’s like, Why did I like this? Bryan: At the time, I was deep into Alice In Chains. Loved Alice In Chains. Every song about heroin. Still, love the fuck out of Alice In Chains. Andy: Huge Alice In Chains fan. I love them too.
[Laughs] Okay, plug your friends’ bands. Andy: The new Moloch record. Bryan: Oohh, that new Moloch record. It’s sick. Moloch is, without a doubt, Chris Braddock is without a doubt, the aesthetic. They’re the only other band where I can point to most of their stuff and I’m behind the aesthetics. Most of it. The last LP with the thing from Possession. So sick. Andy: I like the promo video they did. Bryan: That promo video is INCREDIBLE. Andy: I don’t know what movie that is. Bryan: It’s from Shame. It’s fucking perfect. Chris, he is good. He’s on point with the Moloch message. Andy: We’re just plugging Moloch. No other bands are getting plugged. Bryan: Moloch is awesome. Of heavy bands that we like and know, or in general, they’re awesome. I don’t know how people aren’t losing their shit. Of that style, they’re perfect. MAGUS IS OUT NOW ON SACRED BONES RECORDS
WORDS: TEDDIE TAYLOR PHOTOS: TEDDIE TAYLOR
Any plugs? Things in the future? Bryan & Andy: More interviews! Andy: Can we link the other interview in the plug section? [Laughs] musicandriots.com
NO Philly’s band Nothing have managed through these last years to create something real and pure with their music, which speaks and inspires those who truly feel it. Dance On The Blacktop is their latest album and it’s another ride on their world that will make you both smile and cry. Once again, we had an in-depth talk with Nick Palermo about everything that went down making this record and so much more. 72
t’s been already 9 years since you started Nothing. It’s also been a tough journey for you as a person. You went through really serious health issues and still you keep moving forward. How do you feel looking back to all these years that have passed? Tired. [laughs] I mean, it’s just crazy to think
OTHING that this project has turned into what it’s turned into and it’s crazy to me that I’m still doing this. I often wonder what I would be doing if I wasn’t doing this and it’s a scary thought for me. I spent so much of my life developing this from the ground up, you know? From the music to everything surrounding the music, to the recordings, to the merchandise, to the tours... I oversee everything and I don’t really let a lot slide out of my view. It takes up a lot of my time and it’s a frightening thought to think that if I didn’t have this going on, what
would I be doing with myself?
It’s great that you keep pushing forward, even though it’s been a really tough journey for you and each album that you released a really shows that, so it’s really amazing that you keep doing it, keep pushing forward and show that to people with your music. It never seems as hard as it is when you’re looking back on it. Everyone has their issues and I chose to put mine under a magnifying glass, you know? For personal reasons, it
helps me deal with them by using this music and this writing to release pressure from my head. It’s been therapeutic, but it also seems probably pretty necessary at this point. At the end of the day it’s just another person that’s dealing with the things that they’re dealing with and that’s the whole point of this thing is that everyone is dealing with so much pain and confusion with everything around this whole existence. It’s a really absurd but phenomenal thought to think of all of that. This is just another record, I guess for me. musicandriots.com
Through the years, Nothing became this strong and inspiring band. Each album you released has had a huge impact on a lot of people’s life. How do you feel about that and the importance of your music and message behind it? It’s such a difficult thing to think about... When I think about how people are perceiving what I’m saying, especially when I hear so many inaccurate things from people and read inaccurate things, there’s a constant call of people saying, “These guys are nihilists” and that going to be more inaccurate. The band’s philosophy is very cynical, but if you knew anything about nihilism... I wake up every day and I strive to move forward with music and do things and that’s the complete opposite of any nihilistic thing. The band has always been cynical, but we wake up every day and get out of bed. We deal with things and I often harp on a lot of the negative things about everything, but at the end of the day I’m still striving to get through it like everyone else and I think people react to that pretty well. I think that’s why it’s received well and it’s held like very personally to people who do enjoy it. We have our fans and they feel very connected to what we do because I think you can feel that the personal level of things that are dumped into the music from us personally and so I think that’s always been an important part of this project as well. You were diagnosed with the early stages of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease found in people with serious head injuries). How are you dealing with that? I’m just trying to deal with it all day to day. I understand that it’s there and it’s affecting how I do everything. It’s right at the stem of the point where all my decisions are made in movement, so it affects me a lot. It’s a strange thing to try to remember how things were like prior to this, because as a human being it’s hard to remember things like that, like how was I always dealing with anxiety and depression or is it just heightened weird nervousness or losing my patience faster than I should... It’s all really hard to kind of distinguish what was what then and what is what now. But it is what it is and I’m just pretty much trying to move forward and deal with it. It’s an interesting experience if anything. It’s just another part of cause and effect. I have tumbled around in life and things are going to obviously catch up to you and this is just another one of those things and I deal with it how I can deal with it. I just try to not make too many people around me hate me. [laughs] I just try to wake up every day and move through it. It leaves a kind of quiet of an ominous gray around everything a lot like waking up in the morning is sometimes really tough with this new thing. I just wake up feeling like I have a wet blanket of gray overtop of me. It’s a struggle sometimes to get up and get moving and start to move on 74
with life, especially when you have the kind of thoughts that I do already. But again, up and this is not necessarily optimistic, but I’m getting up because I do believe in what I say and I feel like it’s important to be there for the people that care about it as well.
Dance On The Blacktop is Nothing’s third album, and like the previous albums, this one touch upon your recent personal life experiences and the things you’re dealing with now. How was it like to work on these new songs? One of my favorite parts is writing music and recording it. It’s always really exciting for me and was exciting to get to work with John Agnello. We were in a really nice studio, much nicer than like my regular living conditions are [laughs] that’s always a plus. I felt like I was on vacation. We were out in the woods in Woodstock and we were just drinking a ton of wine and booze and just writing music in this converted church that was from the 1800s. We just had really good people around and we were kind of isolated, it was just a really great experience. There’s been some calls of people saying that even though this record is seemingly dark and kind of depressing, you can kind of hear some slivers of optimism, which probably was just because we were all just such a good place while we were there. We had a lot of good time. There was only one really bad argument between me and Brandon [laughs] but that’s pretty good, only one. What happened between you two? I think we just drank too much tequila. Tequila nights are usually when me and Brandon usually get into it. This album feels more optimistic. I read in an interview that making this album was more about having fun and not making things too serious or too stressful. Was it a less stressful experience and you guys had more fun with that? The vibe was really good. There’s always going to be a bit of stress for me when we’re in these scenarios just because I’m handling everything. If I’m not stressed, no one else is going to be. I try to keep it to myself to not just let it get out of my head, but I have to be there to make sure that everything gets done by the end, so there’s a certain amount of stress about deadline and stuff like that. But for the most part, it was just a really nice experience. We were in a shit place when we kind of demoed the songs. I was really struggling a little bit around the time that we demoed the songs. I was like feeling really sick and the doctor was giving me some new medicine for the head stuff. It just really had me feeling like really suicidal and nauseous all the time. I was in a really shitty place, but we managed the pump out those demos. There was a nice base for those songs to be there because they were written in a time that was just not very good, and then being able ISSUE 25
to take those and move them into a position where you’re feeling a lot better for a little while, it was a really good contrast between the two things. It was like, “We created this thing out of such an awful place, but now we can take it to this nicer place and clean it up a bit.” That was the vibe that there was. As we left that studio and went back to New York, things started to fall apart and get shitty again as we were like recording vocals and stuff. We were all just kind of back to normal and feeling like shit, like life catching up to us kind of thing, you know? Vacation was over.
There’s a particular meaning for picking up “Dance On The Blacktop” as the album’s title. Can you tell me what’s the story behind it? The main reason for that title came from when I was reading a lot of when I was incarcerated. It’s a author called Donald Goines. It’s an black author from the 60s/70s and he just kind of told tales of poor American neighborhoods, from things of drug dealing stories and gang stuff. It’s in the American prison system. If you go to any prison in America, you’ll see these books everywhere, but when you shear out of the jail system, you don’t see them anywhere. It’s a really weird thing, but I’ve always been attracted to a lot of that stuff. I read a ton of books about the drug kingpins from like the 70s/80s in New York. I always enjoyed all those stories and stuff in Miami, but I love everything about it too. I love the style and I love the music from that time, like the old soul stuff, and also the slang and that was more why we pick this up. “Dance on the Blacktop” was kind of a term that was used in prison system around that time for an attack or a fight like outside in the yard of a prison. The reason it struck me so much is that it had this abstract kind of beautiful sound to it. It’s just like this poetic wine, but it holds so much darkness and violence in it. It just struck to me that is kind of similar to what Nothing has been about for a while. We create these lost soundscapes of ambient music and it’s injected with all this cynical, pessimistic vocal and they all kind of matched to me. It speaks on the philosophy of what this record is about as well, but we’re reaching this point of this life and realizing to myself that life largely seems like we’re in a pit of fire and the cycle of life is just painfully absurd the way that life and death happen. That’s always been a philosophy and Nothing preached this kind of thing, but it’s getting to a point nowadays where I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with this, you know? Not necessarily optimistic by any means, but being able to sit there in the fire and crack a smile about it all, laugh at the absurdity of all of it and not let it break you down. Revolt against everything that life is. That’s largely what it is. It’s kind of a mixture of different things, but that’s something I strive to do when I’m making this music and writing stuff is that for it to just connect on so many different levels of what the band is doing and what the band is living and what the band is saying.
How did you come up with the album’s cover photo ? We wanted to take a step back from having my hands on everything about this record and as much as that’s a very scary thing for me to do, there’s a few people that I really trust and Mark McCoy is one of them. Mark played in numerous bands for hardcore and punk bands, like Charles Bronson. He runs Youth Attack! Records, which is a more obscure label but it’s brilliant. The releases, the packaging and everything is brilliant, the philosophy behind the label is brilliant. He’s just a really intelligent guy and I have a lot of respect for him. When I mentioned having him help me and art direct this album cover, he was really into it. I was very excited. We sat down and talked. We talked about a lot about my life, the things that I have gone on and some of the meanings behind a lot of the songs on this new record. He kind of just went home and dwelled on it for a little bit and came back with this idea of a woman wearing this mask. He explained it so beautifully comparing it with philosophies. He’s a philosophy major. It was great just sitting with him and having him explaining this on so many different levels and then I kind of was able to fire back on him about the uneasiness that this record causes on the eyes when you see it. When we sent the record cover around to everybody,
everybody was kind of just like, “What is this about?” [laughs] We were able to give this explanation for it, which is about identity and how humans deal with the thought of life and the sort of existence. It largely ties to the cover of how most people would just ignore it and just dance away on the asphalt of the world. There’re so many different ways to deal with it - with the consumerism or religion or any of that. There’s a lot of things going on underneath the base of the face that you’re looking at. It’s a scary thought to think about what’s going on underneath all of that. I think that’s another reason why the record kind of invokes that uneasiness as well.
You hate flowers, right? [laughs] I don’t hate them. To me flowers are like the purest and simplest form to explain life and death. I have always been obsessed with the thought of a flower blooming into this beautiful thing and then eventually decaying into nothing again. We use the chrysanthemum flower heavily through this record. The flower represents grief and loss. On this record, we burned the chrysanthemum flowers in a sense of saying we’re revolting against grief about life. It’s a revolt against that idea of either hiding or avoiding the truth of what this life is or succumb into it with grief. The record is more of a revolt and to stand in that pit of fire and smile at it.
“I use this music as a way to pick myself up and this is not necessarily optimistic, but I’m getting up because I do believe in what I say and I feel like it’s important to be there for the people that care about it as well.”
Musically, this new album standout is the sounds of the 90s, from rock to shoegaze to pop. What let you to go more into this sound direction? When we’re writing songs, it kind of happens naturally. Whatever we’re listening to or whatever art is inspiring us at that time, books or even life in general, it all kind of comes itself into the music. I can’t really tell you exactly why it has that, but it also probably doesn’t hurt to have Agnello attached to these records. These songs, considering his discography and what he’s done in his life as a producer and working with Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, The Breeders... The reason that that’s even a sound is because this man exists. Once we were sitting there working with him, that could have been a factor and have these songs kind of shift a little bit, but with this band has always been inspired by the 90s style, from Seattle and the grunge stuff to the English’s shoegaze scenes to the Philly’s shoegaze scene to the UK stuff, even the Brit pop stuff. There’s always been this influx of inspiration from that time, but I feel like we mix it up enough to where it develops into our own thing a bit now. I’m really happy to see this thing moving into a direction where I don’t really know where it’s going. I would love to keep that to be the one thing that this band never changes, which is the fact that I don’t know what the next record is going to really sound like, but also not straying too far away. [laughs] You have a new bassist on board called Aaron Heard. How did he end up joining you guys? Aaron is a Philly guy. We sold a lot of weed together for a while and then we also smoked a lot of weed together for a while. [laughs] Those kinds of things usually go hand in hand. He’s a really hardcore guy and there’s not a lot of those guys that I really fuck around with some errands. I just happened to mention that we were looking for a bassist and he said, “I’ll do that” and I didn’t believe him. I was like, “Yeah, you could do it” and he got really excited about it and said, “I’m dead serious, let’s do it.” I always tried to keep friends in this band. I would never do this band if it was musicians for hire. It’s nice to finally put another people I consider family into the band before they even join this dysfunctional family. [laughs] The first single you revealed was “Zero Day” and you also released a video created by director Kevin Haus, which is really amazing. How was it like to shoot it? Really cold! [laughs] It was a nuts day that we shot it on New Year’s day because it was really important as the song really conjures up a lot of the disdain I have for the cycle of life. I really wanted this to fall on day one of the year. On New Year’s day in Philadelphia, it’s a tradition to have a parade called the Mummers Parade. It’s kind of heavily New Orleans’ inspired, but it’s basically just a bunch of drunk neighborhood guys that put on these really 76
“We created this thing out of such an awful place, but now we can take it to this nicer place and clean it up a bit... The record is more of a revolt and to stand in that pit of fire and smile at it. “
elaborate costumes and just walk up and down the streets of Philly in a parade drinking and celebrating basically. I thought with the song’s demeanor and what I was trying to get through that this would be a perfect day to kind of give myself my own funeral. It represents the circle of life a little bit, but also about how people are just very keen on celebrating around the circle of life. I was able to slide into this day of celebration and turned it into what I wanted it to be. It was cool video, but it was freezing and we had to carry around that coffin all day. We had bottles of whiskey inside the coffin and every time we put the coffin down we would have to drink the whiskey to stay warm. By the end, the coffin was filled with four bottles of empty Jameson’s whiskey. I had the coffin in the back of the van for like three weeks after that, so every time I would stop or go in the van, you would just hear all the bottles around in the coffin. [laughs]
And then, what did you do with the coffin? Oh, we set it on fire down by the river and just left it down there. You also released a video for the single “Blue Line Baby”, which is just beautifully surreal, and it was directed by Ricardo Rivera and features model Sara Skinner. What’s the concept and inspiration behind the video’s storyline? Thank you. This was the biggest project I’d ever worked on. I wrote the screenplay and ISSUE 25
then I basically co-directed the whole thing as well as produced this massive thing. We had a 35-person staff on this video with a two day shoot in the mountains outside of New York City. I basically had to put this team together. I was able to get Ricardo Rivera, who directed the video. He’s a really good friend of mine who runs this brilliant production company called Klip, which does this really intricate projection on stuff. They get hired to go down to gardens at nighttime and they light the whole gardens up and make this whole giant visual thing. I’ve always been infatuated with what he does and been trying to get him involved with something with the music for a long time. Luckily when I showed him the screenplay for this, he was really interested in work. We kind of adapted the screenplay to fit my idea, which was heavily inspired by the Shakespearean heroine Ophelia. This song is about a friend that I had when I was a child who at a very early age got addicted to heroin and died. She was 14 years old. That was kind of one of the first introductions I had to have a friend that was taken away by that world. It had a lot of effects on me as a kid. It kind of steals a little bit of the innocence that you have as a youth. I wanted to give an ode to her in the song. I thought it was kind of similar to the Ophelia story, so I figured it would tell the story of a girl that was chasing this chrysanthemum flower around in the woods and takes a journey basically with that. It was really great working with Sarah. We cast her and I love her look. Having her strutting around in that Alexander McQueen dress, which is like a $15,000 dress. We were able to rent it to pull that for the shoot. It was just a really great experience. It was nuts and it was in two days. We had like a scuba diver for camera work. It was just a stressful day. I was really happy when they get it done. That was probably the pinnacle of me sending myself into an anxiety coma. I’m glad it turned out great.
Are you planning on doing another video like that? It’s something I’d definitely be very interested in. After doing that, I immediately kind of shifted some direction of myself and started thinking about what’s possible. I’ve been always infatuated with film, so it’s something that I really wouldn’t mind getting into at some point. I have been writing a screenplay for a short film for a few years now, so I think after this record settles a little bit and the touring aspect is done, I’m gonna shift directions a little bit. DANCE ON THE BLACKTOP IS OUT NOW ON RELAPSE RECORDS
WORDS: ANDREIA ALVES PHOTO: BEN RAYNER
With four albums now into her solo career, Emma Ruth Rundle brings to her new album On Dark Horses a different musical palette, where she had a new writing approach and special contributions to it. This is another deeply beautiful collection of songs and we couldn't miss the opportunity to catch up with Emma to know more about what went down while creating these new songs.
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE 78
t’s been almost three years since you released your latest album, Marked For Death (out on Sargent House in September 2016), an album that had a really huge impact on you. How do you look back to that period time of your life? It’s hard to say because when I started touring that record, it’s been sort of a blur since then. It just feels like everything has been in constant motion. I looked back on making that record and I’m a lot healthier and happier now than I was then at that time. It’s been a nonstop process and just constantly moving around since then.
You are currently living in Louisville, Kentucky, so did that have any kind of impact on you and on your writing approach? It did because what really had impacted me was meeting the guys in the band Jay Jayle and meeting Evan Patterson. We’d met before. I think touring with them in 2017, making the friendships, falling in love with Evan and moving here definitely affected the record. Kevin Ratterman, who is a reputable local producer and engineer, did this record and there’s so much about the record that really wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t moved here. It would have been a different record entirely. You started working on your new album On Dark Horses in the latter half of 2017 while you were touring. Did you have any kind of mindset while going into it or it just happened over time when you moved to Louisville? I think the mindset I had going in sort of eased in last summer as I was here writing in a more casual way. “Control” and “Dark Horse” were some of the early songs to be written last summer and those took a lot longer to write. I really took my time with them. I didn’t feel like I was in a hurry and then after we toured in the fall and winter and I had decided to record in February. I took all of the end of December and January to write the rest of the record. I worked really hard on that. Every day I would wake up and just be writing. There
was more of a purpose at a schedule. I also was kind of conflicted about whether to make an acoustic record or to make a full band record, because of all the touring with these other musicians - Evan, Todd and Dylan. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture some of the dynamic that we had developed, so I decided to make this full band record and I wrote all the songs on an acoustic guitar, but this record is definitely intended to be performed with a band. I have been playing solo and with the band, and kind of getting away with playing some of the songs from Marked For Death and Some Heavy Ocean alone, but this record is not intended to be played that way.
For this album you had a new writing approach. It was the first time you haven’t played all the guitars on your own record, which you had Evan Patterson (Jaye Jayle) contributions to the writing process. What can you tell me about that? It was difficult for me to let go and let somebody else write some of the guitar and record the second guitar parts, because that’s usually something that I do in the studio or in the recording process. I have written the base, the song and most of the guitars, and then we’ll go in and discover extra textures, melodic lines and discovering the song in the studio. Whereas with this record, Evan and I worked together. I’d take the song to him and I’d be like, “In this bridge, I have this idea for a second guitar part, can you play this?” Or he will have an idea like, “Here’s the melodic line that could happen over the outro.” It was a collaborative effort in crafting the second guitar. He’s such an amazing player and our styles are so complimentary. I can’t really think of anybody else I would trust. There’s a lot of trust that’s been developed between us and we’re actually married now. I found my other half. It was hard for me to let go, especially because it was a man playing on my record and suddenly this is going to be a thing everyone wants to talk about and I was really paranoid about it. And that’s actually true. Everyone asks me why I am writing with someone else. I’m not actually writing with someone else. I wrote all these songs. Evan is a musician playing on my album, so it is what it is. [laughs] But it’s great and I love playing with him. He’s incredible. Jaye Jayle had released their new album, No Trails and Other Unholy Paths, and it features your contribution on the song “Marry Us”. On your album, you have the song “Light Song”, which features Evan Patterson as well. How was it like to write both songs? Were they written at the same period time? Actually, “Light Song” is technically the oldest song on my record and I do love that “Light Song” and “Marry Us” are sort of mirror songs. I had a seed of a demo of an idea for “Light Song” a couple of years ago right after I finished Marked For Death. musicandriots.com
It’s sort of loosely based in these two kinds of traditional songs like a wedding song and also like a baptism song. I think doing “Marry Us” with them definitely brought “Light Song” back into focus and finished it. It just seems like a cool little real world crossing over into this fantasy musical land, where Evan and I not only are we together in real life, but we have these mirror songs on our albums. It seemed only natural.
Do you ever thought about doing something like a record together just the two of you? We have talked about that and I’m not sure. I feel like after this year we’ll probably have to part ways a little musically just because they’ll be touring with somebody else and I’ll have to be on tour at the same time. It’s something that could happen. We’ve talked about it, we’ve done a lot of stuff together over the last year and a half, so we’ll see... You said that this record is about “overcoming—understanding and embracing the crippling situation and then growing beyond it”. Can you elaborate more about that? Some of the songs, not, not all of them, I would have to go song by song specifically. The song “Dark Horse” was really about childhood trauma, abuse and overcoming those patterns, breaking free of that and taking the opportunity to move beyond. I wrote the song “You Don’t Have To Cry” for a friend who had been struggling in his personal life and in a social setting as well. I wrote that song for somebody that had been struggling and it has also a positive message that there’s a goodness somewhere and that it’s not worth getting all fucked up and twisted forever about some of these things that are happening. “Control” is about the cycle of addiction. This record still deals with some of these themes that Marked For Death did. I wrote it with a band because I thought that was sort of empowering and helpful and it wouldn’t be so traumatic to perform. The message and some of the lyrics isn’t as dismal, there are hopeful lyrics in there that run through the album. It’s clear that horses were a big influence for the writing of the new album and there are equestrian themes on it. What led you to get so inspired by horses for this album? I don’t really know. I think it’s just I’ve always loved to draw horses and I live in Kentucky now. I am just fascinated by them. I can really spend all day staring at photos of horses and I’ve checked out like 25 books about horses, which really is just something that kind of entertains my mind. The album became On Dark Horses because the song “Dark Horse” is the centerpiece song for me and even within that song Kevin did this thing in the bridge where he took the drums in a way that it sounds like you’re being surrounded by animals charging. Of course, the concept of the dark horses is someone that’s like an outlier, you know? Someone who isn’t expected to succeed and 80
"There's a goodness somewhere and that it's not worth getting all fucked up and twisted forever about some of these things that are happening."
who’s able to come and get ahead of things. There’s the idea to write On Dark Horses the way that a writer would write a thesis, like each of these songs is kind of about a situation or for a dynamic that creates a sort of dark horse character person and then the idea of riding on horses. It’s sort of like a double meaning that goes hand in hand. There’s like the visual element - the actual real horses, - but then there’s really the concept of the dark horse being a dark horse and the message of hope and getting ahead through that. It’s kind of a convoluted, strange, surreal little world that I created in this album.
I really connected with the way you described the horses, which was they are powerful and beautiful, yet not free really. Do you feel that way about yourself as a way to describe the whole feeling of the album, which that you are strong powerful, but at the same time you are still trying to free yourself? Yeah, I do feel that way actually. It’s always a process of discovering how you are and who you are. I don’t always have all the answers to all these questions, but I would definitely say that I do not feel free, but things are better. I think that the last album was more defeated and a little bit more maybe wrong and traumatized, but this new one is a little bit more of a emboldened approach to the music. The cover’s artwork itself is a blurry photo of you holding a large toy horse with broken legs. Why choose that photo for the cover and what’s the meaning behind it? I have a little polaroid camera and I had been documenting the recording process with that. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for the artwork. I went out and took photos of Louisville and did some collages. That horse that’s on the cover is a ceramic statue of a horse that was actually in the studio and it had the legs broken off. It was a black horse and it was sitting on top of this tape machine and all the legs were broken ISSUE 25
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE off of it. It seemed to me to be like a direct manifestation of the lyrics of the song “Dark Horse” and it was just in the studio. Kevin just had it in some corner and it was just a forgotten broken statue that somebody had used clamps to prop it up. To me it was like visually encapsulated everything about my music and everything about the themes of what I write about, just this broken ceramic black horse with legs missing, but it’s still propped up somehow. It was just beautiful and I took it, Kevin gave it to me. I took it home and I just started taking all these photos of it and with it. That’s a polaroid photo on the cover and that’s just the one hat I thought was the strongest image.
This time around you worked with producer Kevin Ratterman at LA LA LAND in Louisville, Kentucky. How were the recording sessions like? Recording with Kevin is very exciting. It’s a really fun time. This was the first record that I actually went into a real recording studio because Some Heavy Ocean and Marked For Death were both recorded in a domestic setting. They were in a house where the studio gear was either brought in or was already there. It wasn’t a super professional studio like La La Land. Kevin is a very colorful and excited person. He’s really just brilliant. I don’t know if you’ve ever met a person that’s just so full of ideas and energy and they’re so excited about things and its kind of makes you feel good. We got really into layering a lot of feedback. He just understood what we’re doing. With this record, we wanted to capture this sort of almost 90s guitar kind of moment. It’s like midwestern shoegazey kind of vibe in some of the guitars. Kevin just understood it and he really ran with it. He really influenced the sound of the music so much. The recording thad 10 days, that was seven days of recording and three days of mixing. We tracked the album mostly live the four of us: Todd Cook on bass, Evan Patterson on second guitar, Dylan Naydon on drums and Kevin engineering. We tracked that way and then I overdubbed vocals, we all did little overdubs here and there and Kevin mixed it. We would go out and have dinner or go do things during the day and Kevin would just stay in the studio, mixing the record and then would call us to listen to what he created. I would just give him some notes and some feedback, but he crafted the sound of this record and I think that’s why it’s got this like colorful, cohesive sound. It’s just different from the last one, but it’s cool. He’s a mad genius and I love working with him. ON DARK HORSES IS OUT NOW ON SARGENT HOUSE
WORDS: ANDREIA ALVES PHOTOS: ASHLEY OSBORNE
Drug Church always played music that feels right to them and their new album Cheer is no exception. Pointed lyrics and infectiously energetic tunes, the band's latest effort is probably their bigger and cleaner to date. We chat with vocalist Patrick Kindlon about the new album, the band's ability to stay true to themselves and his thoughts about everything that's happening in the USA now.
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ast year you guys released your third album that goes by the name Cheer. When did you start working on this new effort? We recorded a few songs, which it isn’t the sort of thing we usually do. That feels like something that bands with money do. [laughs] We’re not that, but we just knew that we have some songs and we thought, “Maybe we will put a 7” while we try to figure out what to do for our next LP.” We went into the studio and recorded three songs and we said, “You know what? Let’s figure out before we give these songs to a 7” or an EP release. Why don’t we send them around and see if labels are interested.” Pure Noise Records was kind enough to take us on and they really liked the songs, but they also were impressed with the recording because we spent our own money in trying to make them sound as big as possible. Pure Nosie said, “Look, here’s enough money for a LP. Please go back to that same studio because you guys sound great on these recordings.” And we did that last year. I think it has been years since those demos were recorded certainly, but it’s been overused since those demos were recorded. Our new album was recorded probably winter of last year. The new songs have been around for a while.
This new album is your first release on Pure Noise Records. How did you join the label? Our guitarist Nick [Cogan] is a guitar fix for the band State Camps. Yeah. He knew Jake musicandriots.com
Round [Pure Noise’s founder]. It was a rather easy introduction and they were familiar with what we’d been doing, but I don’t think that they knew that we were in the market for a label. We started talking and we liked what they had to say. They have a pretty wide variety of bands on their roster and that helps us because you don’t know if you want to be the heavy band on a soft label, or if you want to be the soft band on a very heavy label. It’s hard to know what a label is good at, so Pure Noise made a lot of sense to us because they had had success with the variety of different types of bands. We met with them, got on well and we made the decision to have the other.
That’s interesting that you mentioned about being too heavy or too soft for a label, because I read a quote about you guys, which was “too poppy for the heavy crowd, too heavy for the poppy crowd.” Would you agree with that? Yes, I would. [laughs] It’s highly melodic music, but it’s not terribly pop music. It’s also not necessarily the kind of melodic post-hardcore that is popular at the moment, so it’s none of the things that are kind of the easiest to categorize. It’s not like we’ve made a new genre, it’s a type of music that we grew up on. It’s not like we’re coming from a totally unknown space here. Our style of that sort of post-hardcore or alternative or whatever you care to call it is just not the thing that people are doing right this second, although that’s changing a little bit. I see that it’s coming back a little. In my opinion, Cheer has a mix of hardcore and punk energy with 90s pop melodies. Your approach is still fierce as well, but it’s a much bigger and cleaner record. How was the creative process for the songwriting like? It’s kind of typical band’s stuff in the respect that every band thinks that they’re going to plan all the songs out perfectly before they get into the studio. They all believe that everything is going to run very smoothly because they did all the preparation, but that’s never the way that it really works. The way that it really works is you have ideas and you’re not sure of them or maybe you are sure of them, and once you get into the studio you realize that they’re not going to work. A lot of this record was written in the studio. We came in with ideas but not songs. I always write lyrics in the studio just because I tend to work better that way. It was just really five guys sitting in the control room at a studio arguing on whether or not a part is lame. [laughs] That’s the way that works, it’s that simple. [laughs] Everybody goes into the recording room, then come out and either they love it or hate it, and everybody else either loves it or hates it. [laughs] Go through the process of elimination by fighting with each other and then you end up with a good record.
able to take more days for vocals than we ever have that I worked in the studio, but that really means four days of writing, but usually we didn’t have a lot of time for vocals and I would be writing the lyrics as the band would be recording the songs and then I would go record the following day. We usually would record 10 songs and the lyrics for the songs in basically 24 hours. [laughs] We didn’t do that this time. This time I went to do vocals maybe three or four times or more times after everything else was recorded. Each time I would sit down and write lyrics for an hour before we started recording it. Everything was done in the studio, but it was in some ways much more relaxed than I used to.
Did you like more this kind of approach to make a record more? I actually like both ways. I’m not put off or scared by a kind of high stress recording situations, but I will say that having more time, having more money to spend on time did make it so that my vocals are the best they’ve ever been. It has to do with two things: It has to do with the patience of the engineer - Jon Markson, who did a great job - and also the fact that he had the time to devote to my voice. In that respect, I got the best outcome, I really enjoyed the process this time. Your lyrics have always touched upon the human condition but with a sarcastic side to it. Where did you draw inspiration from while writing the lyrics for the new songs? I debate every time before I go into writing a record like, “Is this going to be personal or is this going to be a projection of personal thoughts?” There’s a difference because if you’re writing about yourself, that’s one thing; if you’re writing about other people but just through your lens, it’s still ultimately about you but you have these avatars of other people. Normally for Drug Church it’s usually the latter. Usually I’m singing about people that I’ve known or things that I’ve witnessed but not particularly about myself. Like I said, at the end of the day, everything you write is about yourself, but there’s different ways to sort of insulate yourself from that. This time there are more songs from a purely personal perspective.
On your previous albums, you had always waited to write until you guys went into the studio, was it like that this time around? Yeah, although this time because we were
One of the things that stands out about your band is that you make serious music but you don’t take yourselves too seriously. Do you find harder nowadays to write under the bad atmosphere that surrounds our world? That’s a good question. I think that if I was concerned with being popular or successful in a traditional way, I think that I would find it stressful and difficult, but that’s not my background. I come from a place where there’s literally zero expectation that you could make money doing music. I don’t have it in my head when I’m writing music that I should attempt to do the thing that’s going to win the most people over or make us more popular. It’s just not the way that I approach it. It’s not very hard for me to write in our current atmosphere, because
if people decide that they don’t like it and they decide that they don’t like the band anymore, that’s okay, they don’t have to like everything. [laughs] I imagine that it is very hard for some people right now because it is very hard to do anything, except for the most inspirational parts of the human condition. It seems at the moment that if you are singing about the ugly parts of people and the ugly parts of yourself that you are seen as advocating for those things instead of simply exploring them. People are very literalist at the moment and that’s not me. I have zero patience for it, but I have the advantage of lower expectations. [laughs] I’m not terribly bummed if people don’t like it, they don’t like it. That’s okay.
How are things right now in the USA and how are you guys dealing with it? Very tense. It’s a very low class environment, like a very tasteless environment that Trump has created and sectarian because of what he’s done, I found it very upsetting. So many people look at what is being done and say,
“Oh, it’s disgusting. There has to be a more civil solution to what’s going on.” But as it turned out, these people seemingly know exactly what they’re doing because by behaving in this way, it kicks up a certain fervor with their base. They can use this to win an election, even though so many of us look at it and go, “There’s no way anybody can feel good about being a republican right now”, you know what I mean? But people dig their heels in and a thing that I think that we also got is how tribal, sectarian and contrary people can be. The United States seems to have a love of identity politics at the moment, but seemingly doesn’t understand that that type of politics applies to everyone. Once you get to a certain level of Balkanization, nothing works anymore. [laughs]. We don’t have coalition governments here. What you do basically is you continue to cut away until the pieces of the pie are too small to feed anyone. Have you ever watched a sitcom and the premise for the comedic action is that the audience knows something’s going to happen and
they know that it will be uncomfortable? The whole episode is predicated. The audience knows it’s not avoidable, but the characters don’t and that is how it feels right now watching Trump’s America where every situation you look at and you say, “This could have been handled with much more grace. This could have been handled with much more class.” You can see it coming because it’s not going to be handled well and it’s just going to further galvanized people into their weird little tribal way to think. Nobody seems able to pull the brakes on it before it happens. Right now, America feels like when you are in the middle of a car accident and you know what’s about to happen, but you have very little control over it. [laughs] It’s very frustrating. People are finding this moment very scary and I think that people have every right to. It’s a scary time, but I’ll say this as some small comfort maybe, which is that people act dangerously and violently without regard for each other and then they get tired of it, and that’s the smallest comfort in the world
“At the end of the day, everything you write is about yourself, but there’s different ways to sort of insulate yourself from that.”
because obviously many people are hurt in the meantime, but just so that everybody who might be feeling incredibly discouraged about this moment, they should bear in mind that it’s not forever, in the respect that even if things returned to a normal level of bad that would be an improvement right now. [laughs] We’re either going to hit a bottom, but I don’t think we are because the economy is too strong and so I don’t think we’re going to hit the type of bottom that we need to hit. I think that we’re going to just become tired and we’ll go back to a thing that many of those find very discouraging. I personally wasn’t excited by Trump, but I’m always excited by a viable kind of renegade candidate, usually they’re the third party and they are not viable at all and people won’t vote for them, but I’m usually quite excited by the irregular non-career politician. One of the things that’s unfortunate about Trump is that he has probably ruined that for the next 50 years in that we’re going to go back to a kind of a lifetime bureaucrats’ sort of a person. That’s what’s going to be... The normal that we’ve had for 100 years is going to be the normal again and that sounds appealing right now because Trump is such a disaster, but it’s also the thing that we were all sort of tired of and want to change. History will prove if he’s the worst or not, but I don’t think that a historian would take any issue with me saying that he is probably the most divisive president of the modern era. I don’t think there’s any debate about that. It’s discouraging to know that business as usual going to be exciting for us because this is so bad. [laughs] We are all going to be excited when things go back to lifetime politicians who don’t care about us. We all are going to be dancing in the street when we can get back to that level of a career politician because Trump is that bad that he’s made us excited for those people. [laughs] And same thing to the UK, same thing to Poland. Some of these people are so bad that they’ll make you long for the days of just a regular scumbag. [laughs]
Let’s go back now to your new record again, the first single unveiled was “Avoidarama” and you guys also released a Ian Shelton-directed video with a dude who plays dead to avoid some kind of awkward interactions. What can you tell me about the storyline of the video? Maybe you had in your life’s experience a friend who was too demanding of your time or energies. The song is largely about a type of social anxiety. For people that aren’t particularly social or are going through a period of their life where they’re not feeling particularly social, these social demands are bad, but it’s just not like that your friends want to hurt you, they just want to be around and they just want friendship from you, but if you’re not in a space where you can really provide that every, everything feels like an imposition andeverything feels like someone’s asking too much of it. That’s largely what the video is about. 86
"We are all going to be excited when things go back to lifetime politicians who don't care about us. We all are going to be dancing in the street when we can get back to that level of a career politician because Trump is that bad that he's made us excited for those people."
“Unlicensed Guidance Counselor,” “Conflict Minded,” and “Tillary” are clearly the most melodic songs of the album. How was is like to write these songs that sound cheerful but the lyrics are kind of the opposite? I really kind of require that now because I’m really tired of sort of the standard that when you listen some pop music, it’s normal for the music and the lyrics of the song to have perfectly common size and if something’s downbeat and slow, it’s likely to be a sad song. If something is upbeat, it’s associated with dancing and the themes of the lyrics are typically positive. That’s the way that most things are and there’s nothing wrong with it when it’s done well, but for myself I would personally feel bored if I was going to try that in 2018. It just feels like there’s enough of it. [laughs] Someone else is probably doing that better than I could do that. I prefer to kind of not necessarily aligned the theme and the musical tone of the song. To me, if I keep those things separate or in opposite to each other in a way that’s interesting, I prefer to do that. “Conflict Minded” has a female vocal guest. Tell me about her and her contribution to that song, which is amazing. Thank you! Carina is the vocalist and she is in a band called Husbandry. I always compare them to Faith No More, but that’s not really accurate. I just don’t have a large enough lexicon of that type of metal to really nail the comparison. It’s not progressive metal and there’s a lot of ISSUE 25
elements of post hardcore in there as well, but what that band does is not a thing that necessarily appeals to me as a listener, but they do it so well that I am constantly impressed and I am always impressed by her vocals. She did all the vocals on our record basically in two takes. She’s that talented. I’m not particularly talented and I’m impressed by her. I had been looking for an opportunity to work with her since I heard her band, but it’s not always easy to find a fit that makes sense. When we heard what she did with the song, we weren’t sure because to us we didn’t know if that was too melodic and we were nervous. We were like, “Does that push us in a different place that were not comfortable with?” and the answer is that she is so good at it that it doesn’t matter. [laughs] We were very grateful for her contribution. I think for a lot of people, that will probably be their favorite song.
You also released a Self Defense Family record laast year (Have You Considered Punk Music out on June 2018 on Run For Cover) and also a whole bunch of comics. How do you find the time to work on so much stuff? Basically, I’m not a very good adult, so I have a lot of time to just focus on things that I find very fulfilling. Like my mother said it, “The worst part in life is the details” and I agree with her, like paying bills, making sure that you had an appointment on time. These are the basic building blocks of having a working adult life and I’m terrible at. [laughs] I kind of have this ability to put my focus on the things that I care about, but it’s obviously at the expense of some many other parts of my life, but thankfully for me I don’t suffer from the type of anxieties that a lot of people do. If they pay a bill late, they feel anxious about it and they feel like they’re not upholding that part of being a functional adult. I don’t think that this is good for most people, but I am too comfortable the other way. I am too comfortable saying, “Well, alright, I guess I’m late on that.” [laughs] The result is that I have time for the things that I love, but like I said, I don’t suppose that’s the way that everybody should live. It means that I’m always kind of having some type of struggle in my life, but that’s the answer which is that I’m just not good at doing any of the other adult stuff. CHEER IS OUT NOW ON PURE NOISE RECORDS
WORDS: ANDREIA ALVES PHOTO: KAT NIJMEDDIN
S ALWAYS BETTER musicandriots.com
There are few bands that have made quite as much of an impact on popular culture without anyone ever realising than Earth. The Seattlites arguably created drone doom with their seminal Earth 2, created a stoner metal masterwork with Pentastar and since 2005 have set about perfecting a sun-bleached take on Americana that continues to impress and awe, not to mention their early influence on the then-nascent Seattle grunge movement. With this lengthy career has come a steady stream of obstacles for sole constant Dylan Carlson, but just like the earth itself, he just keeps on going. We spoke to Carlson on the run-up to the release of Full Upon Her Burning Lips about returning to a two-piece, reinvigoration and why slower is always better but not necessarily easier. ow are things going these days? Are you just gearing up for the album release? Yeah, that and practicing for the US tour. We’re bringing another guitarist with us, a guy named Tristan, who’ll be playing guitar and bass, so we’ll be a three-piece. I just got back from doing my solo dates overseas so trying to relearn the Earth material now.
You’ve been working largely on solo material for the past few years now. Is it a completely different mindset for you to be writing for Earth again? Primitive and Deadly was our last record for Southern Lord and we also switched management at the same time. I knew it would probably be a few years before we got around to putting a new Earth record out and then the opportunity came up to do solo stuff, like the Bug thing and then I did the solo record.
the songs was written at Hellfest and then the other two had their genesis with the live soundtrack that we did for Belladonna of Sadness at Ghent film Festival. Those were the first three out of the chute and the rest were actually written pretty quickly, in about a month. Before we went into the studio we just did a lot of playing together, writing like in the old days before Hex. That stuff came quite quickly and we did most of the arranging during the recording process. A quick album in that sense; the music was very spontaneous and written as we played rather than me sitting writing by myself.
How was the writing with the new record after that bout of solo work, and going back to working as a two-piece as well? There were about three songs that we started working on during Primitive and Deadly touring – we did a lot of touring for that record, about 3 years straight. One of
In listening to the album, there seem to be elements of everything that you’ve done throughout your career, especially Pentastar. Was that an intentional move? Earth does our own thing, no-one else does it, and I feel like this record was like a really strong representation of that.
All of our influences have been distilled and become part of what we do rather than something that obviously stands out as an influence. I think we’ve managed to transmute our influences and they’ve become part of the fabric of what we do. The Earth thing is what we do, no-one else does it and I think this album is a representation of that. It has elements from the entire history of the band, but percolated into Earth music. I think it’s us playing at the best that we’ve played over the years. As much as I enjoy working with other people and having other elements within the band, I really wanted this record to showcase what me and Adrienne do. I think that drums are a huge part of what makes Earth unique and that’s apparent live but on record in the past, I feel like when you have a bunch of instrumentation, keys and cellos and things like that, you need to leave room in the mix so things don’t get cluttered and drums
are often pushed aside. On this album I felt that I wanted the drums to be up-front and present in a way that they never had before. Same with guitar – my guitar is always the anchor that holds everything together but on this one, I felt that I got to explore the melodic side of my playing much more. Plus, I got to play bass. I’ve always enjoyed getting to play bass, as you get to approach the song in a different way, plus I approach bass in a way that’s probably different to a full-time bass player. I just thought it is a really strong showcasing of Earth and what we do. It’s the summation – not the ending – of us and what we do.
It sounds like a very free and liberating record to work on. Had anything held you back in the past from working on an album like this and taking such a stripped-back approach?
“The Earth thing is what we do, no-one else does it and I think this album is a representation of that. It has elements from the entire history of the band, but percolated into Earth music.”
I don’t think so. The Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light sessions were quite free as most of the record was entirely done in the studio with a lot of improvisation. With Primitive and Deadly, the songs in general were much more constructed, especially since we were having vocalists involved; they weren’t as loose as some other albums. I feel like this one is more of a balance between composing and arranging, and just winging it - it incorporates both elements of the band, the composed elements and the freer ones.
It seems to be a very clean, bright album. It’s great hearing your more melodic side coming out for the first time in a while. I feel like a lot of our previous albums were very lush sounding. We used a lot of reverb, stuff like that, but I wanted this one to be very dry, to be upfront and present. I wanted guitars hard-panned, to be like a classic ‘70s record in some ways, where stuff is up-front rather than being massaged with prettiness. Did working with Kevin Martin have any bearing on that? He also has that quite stark, unadorned style of production that seems to be in line with what you’re describing. It’s definitely been an influence on me as it’s something that I was involved in. We certainly share certain musical tastes as in how stuff should sound, that less is more kind of approach. Our ideas of beauty encompass sounds that are not necessarily pleasant in the conventional sense of the word. I feel like a lot of things that are considered beautiful in music are just saccharine or maudlin. To me, beauty can be awe-inspiring and sharp; a mountain is beautiful, but it can also kill you; same with a black panther. A lot of the time in music, the conventional idea of what’s beautiful can be limited. Obviously, I find distortion and the harmonic depth that it provides part of the beauty of electric guitar.
else. It’s a good thing and I’m quite pleased with it.
You were talking earlier about Earth had subsumed your influences and were entirely your own thing. What was the first record you did where you had that feeling, that what you had created was entirely you? I think all of the records are pretty selfevident and something that’s not like something else. There have been records where maybe the influences were a bit more obvious, like perhaps Hex, but I still don’t think that we’ve done a ‘genre’ record; even though there’s a country and western influence there, it’s not a country and western record. I think Earth has always eked out its own thing. For me, what I notice isn’t necessarily what other people would notice. I might hear something and think, “Oh, that sounds a bit too much like I was influenced by this, or that.” Others might not notice that, but I do because it’s my work. Even with Earth’s commitment to never making the same record twice, I still think we’ve always managed to make Earth records; some wear their influences more on their sleeves and others don’t. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light, I feel very strongly about – a lot of that has to do with the time it was made. I was ill, the possibility of death was in the air and I thought it might be the last Earth record. It has a special stamp to it. From the very get-go, Earth didn’t sound like anyone else and the fact that Earth 2 is held up as this talisman or genre-defining moment speaks for itself. That’s not something I put on the record, but that’s the thing with music, or with any art form – you never pick your best moments, the audience decides and the audience are always right. You just have to be humble and accept it.
Bearing in mind what you’re saying, that cover art seems perfect for the record. It’s beautiful in an uncomplicated way and it encapsulates what Earth are. Originally, we were having artwork done but the moment I saw that photo, I knew that was the cover. I just knew it. It’s such a strong photo, and we’ve never done a band photo on the cover. So I just decided to forget about the artwork. It’s a statement photo.
As an aside, given your love of drone and Celtic folklore, I’m surprised that you’ve never incorporated bagpipes. There’re probably some room in there. I would never say no. Who knows, maybe somewhere down the road I’ll find a bagpipe player who wouldn’t mind joining. I sometimes joke that maybe that’s where my love of drone comes from, some atavistic Scottish thing from my grandmother. She came over after the war, but in my family tree there’s a lot of English, Scottish, some Scandinavian… my brother’s an archivist so I’m always getting reports from him on distant relatives.
You’ve switched to working with Sargent House for this record, though you’d been doing solo stuff with them already. How’s that relationship faring so far? Good. We started with Cathy as our manager at first and then I did the solo record on Sargent House. That went really well and so we decided to do the same with the Earth record. She’s a great manager, a great label person; she’s supportive and cares about the band. There’s a great relationship with all the bands on the label – everyone enjoys the support of everyone
How are preps going for the tour? Has there been any issues getting back into the swing of the Earth material after doing solo work for so long? The only thing that’s kind of weird is that some of the songs I do on my solo thing that I do with Earth, like ‘Bees Made Honey’, is remembering how to play with the drums alongside. When I do it myself, it’s a little looser and freer and the pauses are of variable length, whereas with the band I have to remember that, “Oh yeah, there’s only four counts here.” The song that’s funny
“Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light, I feel very strongly about – a lot of that has to do with the time it was made. I was ill, the possibility of death was in the air and I thought it might be the last Earth record.”
because it’s so deceptively simple is ‘Old Black’. When I play it solo, it’s a bit more uptempo and with Earth, the pauses are quite a bit longer, but getting that feel back is the only the thing that ever causes any problems. Other than that, it’s quite seamless.
That tempo can’t help, as when you’re playing so slow tempo makes a world of difference. Yeah, sometimes it’s easier to relearn stuff. Normally I’ll play it at a quicker pace when I’m going over it, and then slow it back down. It’s also been helpful that we’re bringing a new person into the band, as it’s making us aware of my idiosyncrasies and phrasing. Trying to convey that to someone who’s new to it helps me understand it a bit better. When I’m doing that by myself, I don’t notice it, but when it comes to explaining it to someone else I can realise
the things I do that aren’t normal. Not just with Earth but with a lot of music, like blues and R&B, there’s a weird intersection between feel and tempo, where you’re on the beat but don’t want to be right on it. There’s a laziness, a feeling that if you’re right on the beat it sounds too tight and constricted. Learning phrasing and feel is the key to playing slow.
You can learn so much from some of those guys, though. Yeah, just listen to Miles, or Lee Morgan, all those cats. I try to listen to more than just guitar players because there are so many guitarists out there who don’t phrase. To me, the weakness of the guitar is that you can just play without having to take a breath or pause. It ends up not being very musical, especially with the modern tendency to idolise technique over musicality, like with all these ‘shredder’ guitarists. “Okay, great,
you’re playing the E Phrygian mode all the way up and down the neck at warp speed, or sweep-picking arpeggios. Whatever – it’s not fucking music, it’s an athletic endeavour. Listen to a fucking horn player and learn how to phrase.” That’s my grumpy old man rant over for the day. FULL UPON HER BURNING LIPS IS OUT NOW ON SARGENT HOUSE WORDS: DAVID BOWES PHOTOS: SEAN STOUT
BLANCK MASS Animated Violence Mild
enjamin John Power may have one of the most appropriate surnames to dawn upon the world of electronic music. The Blanck Mass entity/ project is indeed a beast of such colossal and visceral power that you would be hard-pressed not to stand back in awe once the sound waves of Power’s music blast through the speakers. But beneath the surface of the sound, Blanck Mass has always brought forth something more. It has always carried a deeper message within. If World Eater successfully conveyed the human duality of being torn apart between our rational ability for good and the primal, animalistic urges and feelings we carry within almost as if it was the musical response to Hermann Hesse’s classic “Steppenwolf”, Animated Violence Mild directs us to the fast-paced and unsubtle world of consumerism, almost reminding us of that famous Tyler Durden quote: “The things you own end up owning you”. Right from the start, the record is as blunt and straight-forward as the album’s suggestive cover art. After a brief introduction, “Death Drop” and “House vs. House” open already in 5th gear, with blasting beats, powerful lead synthesizers, screaming vocals (yup) and suffocating layers of noise which, despite their brute force, never obliterate the melodies (the excellent Odd Scene / Shit Luck EP teased this musical direction fantastically). “Hush Money”, though not being a ballad by any stretch of the imagination, slows things down and introduces more structured dynamics, providing us some room to breathe. “Love is a Parasite” very subtly makes drum sounds and beats almost sound like coins dropping in the background of the track, and then it carries us through a melodious build-up of near-operatic caliber. The record’s softest and most harmonious moment comes in the shape of “Creature/West Fuqua”, an elongated interlude that soothes the listener with the delicate sounds of harps, eventually fading out and giving way to the pulsating bliss and defiance of “No Dice”, one of the album’s highlights. Finally, coming back full circle, “Wings of Hate” delivers on the title and closes out the senseassaulting ride with electronic aggressiveness and uplifting melody walking hand in hand as if they were made for one another despite their conflicting nature. The co-existence of these two contradictory entities remains, in fact, one of the artist’s greatest strengths. Though it deserved to stick the landing better than with the last track fading away into oblivion, Animated Violence Mild is, yet again, another puissant work from Benjamin John Power. Blanck Mass has crafted a singular and immediately recognizable sound throughout the years that merges beauty and belligerence like few acts in the music world do. A truly unique and dangerous world into which to dive headfirst.
AUTHOR & PUNISHER Beastland Relapse Records
The man-machine cacophony of Tristan Shone was once an intriguing side-show attraction, a crushing amalgamation of steel and sinew that the metal world viewed with curiosity and the industrial scene rightly saw as the birth of something extraordinary, but his last few releases have done a lot to bridge those two worlds. Beastland keeps that rigid pulse, a sense of cold metronomic precision, but wields it more organically to create moments of soaring gothic gloom (“The Speaker Is Systematically Blown”) and chaotic flurries of noise and rage (“Ode To Bedlam”) even when he does revert to more familiar industrial tropes, there is such a sense of malice and purpose behind it that Shone’s voice cuts through the leaden bass hammer-drops and bee-hive drone. Whether you class this as his finest work depends on where your loyalties lie, namely with the cold primitivism of Drone Machines or with the more humanist leanings of his recent excursions, but no matter which side you lean towards, this is a truly remarkable work of biomechanical art. DAVID BOWES
BELLROPE You Must Relax
Exile On Mainstream
BIG|BRAVE A Gaze Among Them Southern Lord
There must have been something in the water when Bellrope, the successors to veteran sludge mongers Black Shape Of Nexus, named their debut You Must Relax given that this album’s first few minutes are one of the most excruciatingly tense things you’ll hear this year. It makes their subsequent tectonic sludge assaults soothing in comparison, the massive hooks and rust-flecked grooves at least giving the unwary something to cling to. There’s enough variation within and between tracks to keep sludge-fatigue from setting in, and when they truly hit their mark the effect is sharp, immediate and long-lasting, urging the body to lurch in time with each monstrous downstroke. It’s still an uncomfortable listen, Malte Seidel’s utterances always keeping the atmosphere on the wrong side of ‘hostile’ but a canny and occasionally inviting production, coupled with the knack for writing weighty yet emotionally resonant epics means Bellrope are the misanthropes you need in your life right now. DAVID BOWES
The essence of BIG | BRAVE’s charm is quite simply, the way they explore and experiment with their own sound with an expansive emotional scoop and perfectly balanced dynamics. A Gaze Among Them easily strands the listener, everything sounds urgent, tense and vibrant. Vocalist and guitarist Robin Wattie’s confident delivery was absolutely vital for the band’s fresh approach and sound, everything sounds carefully built and layered, creating that essential human connection that sometimes some bands and artists lack, and it’s essential to music nowadays. With guest appearances from Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt Zion) on Contrabass and Seth Manchester’s synth overdubs, who also recorded the album, it’s fair to say that A Gaze Among Them is one of the gems of this year in music.
BLACK MOUNTAIN Destroyer
# AUTHOR & PUNISHER WILL BE AT THIS YEAR’S EDITION OF AMPLIFEST IN PORTO
BARNETT & COLOCCIA VLF Sige Records
Barnett + Coloccia is the musical collaboration between Faith Coloccia (Mamiffer, Mára and recently provided vocals on Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ‘Mandy’ soundtrack) and Alex Barnett (Oakeater, Champagne Mirrors and is now the owner of SCRAPES Recordings). Recorded by Nicholas Wilbur and with production duties by the one and only Randall Dunn, VLF is the duo’s third full-length album and you already know the drill: spooky cinematic compositions and a labyrinth of cavernous hollowness, with this weird compression and unconventional immediacy that will leave you uncomfortable and fractured. VLF is carefully layered and gives you a sense of a slow pace, but you should not be fooled by the monotony cadences of the album, because they will lead you slowly and intentionally to an abyss. FAUSTO CASAIS
Destroyer sounds like a jam session between friends, where they all play their favourite rock n´roll, hardcore, punk and psychedelic songs. Now, picture that and add this twisted early-to-mid 80’s sci-fi vibe, strange right? Well, Black Mountain’s new album sounds exactly like that, as if The Doors were making covers of Black Flag or Lemmy was fronting Jane’s Addiction for the soundtrack of the first Blade Runner. Full of strangely clever dynamics, Destroyer has a killer teen angst, screams freedom all over the place and sounds like a continuous eruption in the maelstrom of distortion and cathartic euphoria. It’s fair to say that with Destroyer Stephen McBean and the rest of the gang created a renewed vitality into the FAUSTO CASAIS Black Mountain’s catalogue.
When Brutus released their debut album Burst back in 2017, it was like a breath of fresh air in the nowadays’ music panorama. Their brutal and raw combination of hardcore and post rock tunes were contagious and monumental. Lead singer and drummer Stefanie Mannaerts was quite unique as well, her powerful and amazing voice was the perfect fit for such energetic and honest music. Brutus’ sophomore album is not so refreshing nor surprising. The voice is there and their message comes through perfectly, but there’s plenty of similarities to their previous album, such on the melodies and sounds, it feels too similar, even though they approached more on their instrumental and let the music be heard ANDREIA ALVES more.
BAD RELIGION Age Of Unreason
e’ve all heard the line about old punks standing in the back, but from the sounds of their latest album, Bad Religion are still standing front and center after nearly 40 years. They’re living proof that punk rock can be furious and smart, lyrically adept, dark, melodic and frenetically tight. There’s an urgency to Age of Unreason, from the opening frenzy of drumming through the cutting observations on US politics -- this is an album clearly driven, at least in part, by the band’s disdain for the current political climate. It’s a record that appeals to listeners on several levels, speaking not to trendy disillusionment and contrived melancholy, but to authentic rage and the reality of struggles with mental health, shot through with a heavy dose of wry humor and the kind of hope that comes from having weathered all of the above. Age of Unreason feels like a long conversation with old friends, connecting through shared experiences and laughing at the absurdity of life while trying to figure out how the hell to fight the chaos all around. Bad Religion released their first album way back in 1981 and were instrumental in popularizing the LA hardcore punk sound. Despite a revolving cast of members over the years (vocalist Greg Graffin is the only member who has been there since the beginning, although founding guitarist Brett Gurewitz and bassist Jay Bentley eventually came back to the band after parting ways) and dabbling in different styles, Bad Religion has consistently produced solid and original material, something that’s hard to say about many bands with similar longevity. They stay true to form on Age of Unreason, blending superb musicianship and the smooth rasp of Graffin’s vocals with classic three-part harmonies and expertly-crafted highs and lows as the record flows seamlessly from the straight punk fury of the opening track, “Chaos from Within,” to more melodic tunes like “Lose Your Head” and back again. In a relative musical age of unreason, where pop country and computer-generated beats seem to be taking over the world, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear that punk is still in fact very much alive. Age of Unreason is practically flawless (and now that I’ve written that, I’m stuck trying to find a single flaw), but the standout track without a doubt is “Do the Paranoid Style.” This shit blew my mind like I was a Kennedy, tearing into my head with the kind of force rarely seen in music these days, fast and hard and coming to an abrupt stop that made me immediately hit the repeat button so I could hear it again and again. On the flip side, “My Sanity” hits just as hard but in an entirely different way: There’s a sweetness to it that speaks to a kind of vulnerability that a lot of folks are afraid to show, acknowledging the value of keeping your mind together, and the fragility therein. “Lose Your Head” feels almost like a continuation of “My Sanity,” but focused more outward than inward. “Big Black Dog” is a fierce foot-stomper, and listening to it, you can picture the crowd hearing it live, pressed against the rails at the front of the stage, pulsing like a heartbeat as the bass drives through their veins. Age of Unreason is an album that reminds us of punk rock’s long history as a voice for social change, of our universal connectedness, that you don’t have to be throwing flowers and shitting glitter to want to make a positive change in the world, and that life should be lived, at least some of the time, full speed ahead and wide open, even when your head is up against you. Absolutely fucking beautiful. APRIL FOX
DEAFKIDS Metaprogamação Neurot Recordings
Though undoubtedly prolific, full lengths from Brazil’s experimento-anarcho-punks Deafkids have been few and far between, which is unfortunate as Metaprogramação is an immersive listen that is quite unlike anything else you’ll ever hear. Stripping back their punk roots to the barest of bones, the São Paulo trio bury their sound in a dense swirl of cavernous echoes, fractured electronics and barely-disguised disgust, all propelled into the most primal part of the brain by the steady pound of samba and latino percussion and the sort of grimy bass tone that only the crustiest of punks can ever really master. The chaotic onslaught of ’Virus da Imagem do Ser’ provides a taut tether to their d-beat past but beyond that, Metaprogramação is truly uncategorizable – atavistic and futuristic, contemplative and urgent, an incendiary burst of creativity that begs for sharp ears and open DAVID BOWES minds.
ELIZABETH COLOUR WHEEL Nocebo The Flenser
DOWNFALL OF GAIA Ethic Of Radical Finitude Metal Blade
Despite their promising grasp of atmosphere and nuance, Downfall Of Gaia have typically leaned towards the savage side of their spectrum but their fourth full-length stresses balance to make its mark. Spoken word passages face off against caustic blackened wails, there’s as much in the way of gentle melody and tension as there is in the explosive releases of rage, and a sense of cautious introspection is often pitted against soaring grandiosity. They’re hardly leading campfire singalongs at any point but by straying into murkier waters, albeit with precision and some truly ferocious drumming, they seem to be reaching ever closer to their full potential.
There are many ways to try and pigeonhole ECW and their debut LP – a devastating fusion of Julie Christmas and Kowloon Walled City; Slint’s Spiderland taken to illogical blackened extremes; post-rock-post-hardcore-post-bloodyeverything majesty – but all these do are to cheapen the incredible honesty, breadth of scale and songwriting nous that permeates every moment of Nocebo’s perfectly-paced runtime. Rather than simply rely on the intensity of Lane Shi’s vocals, her harrowing explorations of loss, and despair both moving and intensely repellent, there is a canny use of both crushing lowend and soothing, elegantly-situated melodies to deliver one intensely emotional haymaker after another. It’s an unpredictable listen, especially when pulling stunts like following up Bedrest’s glacial drone with the d-beat pummel of ‘34th’, but life never follows logical order, and nor DAVID BOWES should art.
BARONESS Gold & Grey
t is truly fascinating to witness the evolution of Baroness’ sound. In a decade and a half of releases, Baroness went from Sludge Metal titans along with Kylesa, Black Tusk and High on Fire, to becoming an explosive and adventurous psychedelic Progressive Rock band. Add in elements of Folk and Alternative Rock, and a notable sense of passion in the band’s performances, and you’ve got a goldmine in your hands.
My relationship with the band started when I first discovered them a few months before they announced the release of their Yellow & Green double-record. The heaviness of the first two albums intrigued me highly, but the two following records opened up the band’s sound and thrust them into uncharted territory, and with Purple I was no longer just intrigued, I was most decidedly a fan. That album’s incredible songwriting, instrumental inventiveness, poetic lyricism and fiery delivery, especially considering it came after a horrible road accident for the band, was mesmerizing. But this also means that, with the critical acclaim Purple received overall, Baroness has a lot to live up to. And while the critics’ consensus seems rather positive so far, yours truly is frankly disappointed for the most part. Firstly, what you might have heard from other fans is, unfortunately, true: the album’s production is, at times, headache-inducing and borderline unbearable. There were shades of Dave Fridmann’s over-compression being applied to the instrumentation back on Purple, but on Gold & Grey this is intensified to the point that simple drum parts, for instance, sound distorted beyond belief. If one pays
very close attention to the instrumentation, it eventually becomes apparent that the band tried to work some intriguing effects and sonic layers into the songs, but these got completely buried in the mix. Other than the production, we’ve got an overlong tracklist that needed a little trimming, especially when it comes to some rather pointless interludes: “Sevens” sounds like the band REALLY wanted to cover Tim Hecker’s “Virgins” in two minutes and change, “Blankets of Ash” adds nothing to the album, and “Crooked Mile” and “Can Oscura” present intriguing motifs that go absolutely nowhere. This collection of 17 tracks has a few tracks too many, including the underwhelming finale of “Pale Sun”, and when you have to listen to John Baizley continuing to sing in a register that makes him sound like he is rallying up troops to battle Orcs in Helm’s Deep throughout most (but fortunately not all) of the songs, it can get tiresome. However, the album does have its moments of brilliancy. Some entire songs are absolute highlights. “Seasons”, “Throw Me an Anchor”, “I’d do Anything”, “ColdBlooded Angels” and “Borderlines” are all songs that deserve to become staples in the band’s live setlist, and their sense of adventure remains as heightened as ever: the quasi-Trip-Hop beat in the beginning of “I’m Already Gone”, the blast-beats in “Seasons”, the beautiful intro of “Tourniquet”, the emotional balladry of “I’d do Anything” and the subtle singing in “Emmett – Radiating Light” are some examples of a band constantly trying to challenge itself and deliver something new and fresh. Gold & Grey is also full of unpredictable song progressions that have the listener guessing where things will go next, and even though Baroness’ guitar work has always been one of their strengths, it still feels imperative to point out that the guitars here sound very proggy, melodious and appropriately epic. Gold & Grey might end up becoming a textbook example of how great ideas and fantastic songwriting can be marred by terrible production and the lack of an outsider’s pair of ears to set things straight. This is one of the band’s most well-written efforts, while being, by far, its worst sounding one. One can only hope that the band can retain this line-up of excellent musicians for more than one record in a row (Baroness has been rather unlucky in this department throughout the years), because they make some great music together, and that they decide to completely change the production style of whatever their next effort is, whether it’s “Orange”, “Brown”, “Turquoise”, “Indigo”, “Lavender” of “Fuchsia”. I don’t mind if they go through all the colors of the rainbow despite constantly saying that every new record will be the last one named after a color. What I want as a listener and as a fan is that what I am hearing reflects the kaleidoscopic intentions of the band’s songwriting and artwork. And that is not exactly the case on Gold & Grey.
BAD BREEDING Exiled
One Little Indian Records
With bands such as Systemik Viølence set to bringing danger (and spit) back to punk, while declaring war on the so-called scene, DIY punk (is there any other kind?) seems to be in pretty good shape these days. Were we to name a young and angry narrator to tell the story of the embarrassing shitstorm humanity has come to be, Bad Breeding would be strong candidates for the role. ‘ Exiled’, their third full-length, shows us the band going full power on its insane blend of free-noise punk, proving this is as fertile ground as any other when it comes experimentation and ambitious creative expression. Pyromaniac and urgent, the band has its blood-red eyes set on the savage circus of greed, egoism and general fuckedupness of the present. For this is no ordinary band screaming the same old shallow clichés, they know this time the decay doesn’t lie in grayish post-industrial towns gone ghostly. In fact, our towns have never looked prettier. In the midst of all the chaos and noise going on in here, the words feel very, very true and will certainly resonate with anyone struggling to make a decent living in these sick times of the “Animal Laborans”. We’re a sick and exhausted society where at the end of the day most people are just preparing meal containers in between sleep and another shift, too tired to focus their eyes and minds on something rather than the pathetic little glowing rectangles attached to their hands. We’ve been dumbed down; we loved it. Now we pay the price. RICARDO ALMEIDA
ENDON Boy Meets Girl ENABLERS Zones
Exile On Mainstream
Pete Simonelli is an extraordinary wordsmith and songwriter. His prose and poetry alongside the experimentation and improvisation of the Enablers’ unique approach bring something new to the table. His dashing and passionate narrative flow hypnotizes the listener and everything sounds big and impressive. Zones is the sixth Enablers record, and perhaps their most relaxed and effective piece. Just when you thought you’d worked out their cerebral musical style, they pushed the boundaries again. The depth and detail are remarkable, the album is incredibly eclectic, and by the end, everything makes perfect sense. Enablers are such an underrated band; they deserve more praise and every single one of their albums needs your full FAUSTO CASAIS attention and devotion.
There’s always something special about a band truly testing peoples’ limits. Boy Meets Girl doesn’t capitalise on the genre-melting antics of previous efforts but rather takes the most scathing parts, wraps them in swathes of fuzz and barbed wire and then throws it at the listener with as much unrestrained hostility as they can muster. ‘Heart Shaped Brain’ and ‘For You’ contain the core elements of great punk – high octane, scuzzy guitars and a huge dose of fuck-you sneer for good measure – but the emphasis always remains on how much grime they can bury it under, and just how inhuman Taichi Nagura can make his voice sound – but with ‘Doubts As A Source’ they truly create their masterpiece. An impenetrable miasma of industrial noise, skewed electronics unapologetically scornful sludge, it’s not for the weak of spirit but then again, neither are ENDON so maybe this is just them at their most honest. DAVID BOWES
FRANK IERO & THE FUTURE VIOLENTS Barriers UNFD
Frank Iero is back with a new solo record along with his new band, The Future Violents. Barriers is his third record that explores once again a certain period of his life. This time around themes like regret and mistakes are often mentioned as a way to show that life is too short and we should learn from everything that happens in our lives. Recorded and mixed by the great Steve Albini, this is another kickass and brutally honest effort, full of energetic rock riffs and contagious rhythm section. Frank is always reinventing his music and the proof is the way he keeps challenging himself throughout his feelings and what it means to him to be alive.
CAVE IN Final Transmission
he tragic death of Caleb Scoffield was an earth-shattering moment for many heavy music fans around the globe. Scoffield left behind an impressive musical legacy with his bands Cave In, Old Man Gloom and Zozobra, and the roar of his bass guitar playing and vocals are absolutely unforgettable. So, to hear that Cave In and Old Man Gloom will keep moving forward, creating new music and honoring Caleb’s legacy, is a rather heart-warming announcement to hear. Friends have come together to pay tribute to Scoffield in shows as well, and it’s great to see Hydra Head, long-time friend and collaborator Aaron Turner’s label, releasing the record. Though I firmly believe that, when reviewing an album, one’s personal feelings about a tragedy in a band must be set aside for a clear and analytical listening exercise to ensue, it’s very difficult not to be touched by the way Caleb is saluted to throughout the record. The opening title track, Final Transmission, is a simple acoustic guitar demo that Caleb sent his bandmates with a rough idea for a new song (being, indeed, his “final transmission”), and the intimacy of the track sets the tone for an emotional experience. This, the fact that Caleb’s bass is extremely audible throughout the whole album (becoming one of its best elements too) and the return to Cave In’s space explorations in the vein of Jupiter (perhaps their greatest achievement) all contribute to a great send-off to the beloved musician. Despite the enveloping sound and spacey atmosphere, the record is somewhat marred by a strange lack of hooks, mostly subdued and underwhelming guitar-playing and vocal performances, and occasional disquieting production choices (“Lunar Day” is a very odd moment in the middle of the track-listing, for instance). The second half of the record is, by far, its best though. Starting with “Winter Window”, the fog in some of the mixing and songwriting quickly begins dissipating, and emotion is also more nakedly exposed to the listener. “Lanterna” has some real bite to it, especially in its shifting structure, menacing guitars and sonic clarity, and although “Strange Reflection” is a very conventional verse-chorus-verse type of song, its directness is immediately rewarding. And finally, there is “Led to The Wolves”, by far the album’s most aggressive track: driving bass, down-tuned guitars, and an absolutely explosive ending. The destructiveness of the album’s grand finale, coupled with the band’s return to form for the most part and to the sound that it has always done best, creates an album that might be flawed, but is still a beautiful tribute to a friend, guaranteeing that Caleb Scoffield goes out not with a whimper, but with a bang. BRUNO COSTA
EX HEX It’s Real Merge
The shiny, jagged rock riffs of the American all-female trio EX HEX burst from the speakers within seconds of the play button being pressed and confirm that we are indeed in the presence of ladies who like their rock’n’roll loud, lairy and full of no-fucks-given attitude… It’s just a shame the rest of the music had gotten the memo. By no means not a bad album It’s Real is, however, a missed opportunity that proves that riffs do not a masterpiece make. The album is middle of the road at best. The vocals and lyrics are delivered with an almost tired, lethargic sigh and the whole album seems to be stuck in second gear whilst climbing a hill. The mechanics are all there, but the engine is struggling and the smell of smoke is becoming overwhelming. I really wanted to love this album, I was prepared, ready, itching for an explosion of bombastic noisy riff-mongery that would blow my socks off – instead – I was faced with a damp squib that tried to blow the piggies house down and instead, was met with breezeblock barrier that barely registered the presence at all. A missed opportunity. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
Just when you thought you knew what to expect from a band that you have spent your youth listening to, the band decided to up the ante leaving you slightly gobsmacked at the end of their new album. Thirty eight minutes; that’s all Darkthrone needed with Oldstar to make me hit repeat and listen to the album all over again trying to understand what happened there. Vocals, definitely Culto? Check! Drums, surely that’s Fenriz? Check! Let me quickly check the front cover… Nope that definitely looks like Darkthrone and the band name is on there. In that case, let me introduce you to one of Darkthrone’s most diverse releases. Produced by Sanford Parker (hello crystal clear bass and drums!), Oldstar maintains a feeling of old-school black metal luring you in and making you feel comfortable before it hits you with its rock n’ roll (or shall I say black n’ roll?) vibes. That said, this album is not an easy listen. It may take you a few spins before you’re able to unfold every single layer and mood that Darkthrone have managed to pack in there. Culto’s vocals are remarkable and not just for their diversity in style but for their different attitudes throughout the album. Not many vocalists have the ability to channel so many different genre elements from both their throat and their mind. The simplistic guitar licks stay with you for hours after the end of the album proving that there’s no need for frivolities in music in order to pack a punch. How can these two keep coming up with ideas to shake up a genre that many think is dying a slow death? I’m not sure but I know you’re going to like it! ANASTASIA PSARRA
FURY Failed Enterntainment Run For Cover
Fury returns with Failed Entertainment, their sophomore album and debut with Boston-based Run For Cover Records. The new batch of songs show that they are leveling up their game, from their growth as musicians to the inventive and spectacular songwriting. Failed Entertainment is mature and strong effort, sounds heavy and it’s fucking personal, well-crafted on the highs and lows of life. They stick true to their roots, the typical blend of old-school hardcore of acts like Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits are still intact, but this time around with a more melodic structure, at times remind us the diversity and refined approach to melody of bands like Fucked Up and the 90’s legendary act Fugazi. FAUSTO CASAIS
EARTH Full Upon Her Burning Lips
hen Dylan Carlson loosed Hex upon the dusty, barren stereos of droneheads back in ’05, it wasn’t just a welcome return to one of rock’s most iconic and understated guitar players, it was a complete overhaul of everything that Earth stood for, transplanting those colossal slo-mo riffs to a frazzled, sepia-tinged America long gone and buried. The next few years saw Carlson and long-standing collaborator Adrienne Davies build a monolith on those stalwart foundations, but where to go next? Following a hiatus (thankfully shorter than the one that preceded Hex), it seems the answer is backwards – and what a stroke of genius that has turned out to be. Carlson has been renowned as a master of tone, able to wield and adapt subtle nuances of sound and timing to paint vivid landscapes and temporal snapshots, but his skill as a melodic songwriter has been somewhat downplayed since the rifftastic days of Pentastar. ‘Datura’s Crimson Veils’ recaptures this lost wonder and adapts it to meet the warmer, crackling tone of recent years, a feat that celebrates three decades of innovation while standing proud and unique. Likewise, ‘Cats On The Briar’ toys with repetition and hesitation to create an unpredictable composition that retains the familiarity of a song ingrained since childhood. So, it’s unmistakeably an Earth album, but beyond that it contains hints of the proto-Black Sabbath of their genesis, fusing the lethargy of the blues with a darkly menacing strain of psychedelia that toys with the senses; ‘Maiden’s Catafalque’ may be the shortest song on offer but it’s also the most affecting, those elongated chords just swimming around the skull for its duration. It’s been a long time since Earth felt so free with their sound, so willing to experiment with structure and mood, but it seems that all it took was 5 years away from the game for them to deliver perhaps the most ‘complete’ album of their career. If they can ride this wave into the future, we can expect nothing but magic from now on.
HEALTH Slaves Of Fear
Loma Vista Recordings
Post-industrial pop was a new one for me, even with my eclectic tastes, so first listen to Health’s new opus was a startling revelation to my well worn and roadtested ears. A heady blend of New Order’s dark synthy rock and the blastbeat noise experimentation of Atari Teenage Riot – but fronted by someone who has more than a passing love for Postal Service’s inventive songwriting wiles. From first song to last I was caught in a fever dream of pure adrenalized ferocity and new wave electro ambience, all the while that deliriously comforting vocal lead you a merry dance around the houses – one hand full of sweets and treats and the other brandishing the butchers cutlass… Danger and desire, intertwined in beautifully macabre fashion. This album has a little something for all tastes and tribes – anger, beauty, boredom, bliss, depravity and delusion – it is a melting pot of idea and execution, and absolutely excels in what it sets out to achieve… And that is a massive achievement in and of itself in these days of fleeting, ephemeral musical disappointment. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
FULL OF HELL Weeping Choir
As soon as you press “play”, it’s rather clear that you are listening to a Full of Hell record: the demented screams, the blast-beats, the frantic guitars and bass, and a hopeless pitch-black atmosphere. For an album that is described in its press release as the band’s “most explosive album to date”, the record sure lives up to the description, though there are also mid-tempo (“Thundering Hammers”) and power-electronic (“Rainbow Coil”) affairs to be found here. Highlights on the record include the opening fury of “Burning Myrrh”, the shifting dynamics of “Aria of Jeweled Tears” and “Angels Gather Here”, and the eerie doom and sudden beauty of “Armory of Obsidian Glass” (probably the album’s best moment). With “Weeping Choir”, Full of Hell are not trying to reinvent the wheel as much as they are gathering some of their biggest strengths and putting them into a lean and mean package. And it is as effective as ever. BRUNO COSTA
IOANNA GIKA Thalassa
Beautiful and mesmerizing - these are words which perfectly describe the music produced by Greek-American artist Ioanna Gika, formerly of Io Echo and now releasing her debut solo album entitled Thalassa. Named after the primeval spirit of the sea in Greek mythology, the album was actually written in Greece, but in less than desirable circumstances: forced to go back during a period of family grief and romantic dissolution, she used the pain of losing loved ones – some of which she never said goodbye too – to create a powerful and highly introspective work of art. It’s fair to say nothing really prepares us for the moment we are separated from those we love unconditionally, being left with nothing but sweet memories of the times happily spent together. To Ioanna, watching a place once filled with joy and childhood innocence turning into a traumatic temple of despair was certainly heartbreaking. It was also, on the other hand, an opportunity to dig into the deepest corners of her soul and achieve pure artistic greatness. The best part? One feels she is just scratching the surface of her potential. As I write these lines, I am reminded of a recent interview with acclaimed Venezuelan artist Arca where he discussed how a song born out of unadulterated vulnerability is a poetic and fascinating concept, and how important it is to let the feeling of sadness enter our lives so we can embrace it and evolve. In a way, that’s exactly what Ioanna did here: had she never dealt with this unfortunate tragedy, she probably would not have given us this wonderful diary of a painful yet creatively fulfilling spiritual journey. It might sound strange, even crazy, to claim the record needed an element of misery, but inspiration often comes from uncomfortable sources- one just has to follow the trail it leaves behind. Throughout these ten songs, sung in Greek and English, we are introduced to a passionate artist with a voice so delicate it becomes impossible not to get goosebumps all over our body. It’s not just the voice, though; the synths – those marvelous synths - the programmed drums, the strings, they all fit together like pieces of the same puzzle to form an impressive collection of sonic paintings. Sometimes exploring the world of synth-pop, other times presenting brooding atmospheres reminiscent of dark wave bands, the album manages to be both diverse and cohesive, never limiting itself to one genre (in fact, Ioanna’s main concern seems to be coming up with specific moods that fit each piece), a decision which allows the young singer-songwriter to tour with Deafheaven, DIIV or Garbage without ever feeling out of place. Goth Queen? Pop star? She is all that and then some; she is Ioanna Gika – remember the name. JORGE ALVES
Harriette Pilbeam, the Australian singer and bassist known as Hatchie, might be your new favorite pop idol. This girl has shown her genuine songwriting since day one with this project. She has everything to make you feel amazed and in love with her songs. Her debut EP, Sugar & Spice, released in 2018, was a sugary and dreamy pop effort, sounding like a much cleaner and poppy version of Alvvays or even My Bloody Valentine. Keepsake is her long-awaited full-length and it’s everything you wished for: dreamy and catchy as hell melodies with a new wave and danceable approach. She explores her emotions to a much deeper level as well. Even though it feels that each song could be a potential single, as a whole, the album doesn’t feel so cohesive and it doesn’t achieve its fullest potential, but it’s good though. ANDREIA ALVES
HELMS ALEE Noctiluca HALEY Pleasureland
Some artists stand out for their audaciousness and attitude, and HALEY is definitely one of them. You have may known her as Haley Bonar, but last year she changed her legal name to Haley McCallum and now she releases her music as HALEY. To coincide with her new life’s chapter, HALEY’s new album is another big step into something greater. Pleasureland is her most defiant and bold effort to date; it’s an entirely instrumental record and completely different from anything she has ever released. It may come as a shock at first not having HALEY’s voice in any of the songs, but overall it is a stunning and bold sonic experience with haunting melodies and important messages ANDREIA ALVES behind them.
Crank up your Verellen amps, boys and girls, Helms Alee are back! The band’s new album, Noctiluca, delivers on the usual dirty riffage and Melvins-esque noisiness, but now also with an added element of shifting dynamics, tempos and structures (“Interachnid”), as well as a surprisingly beautiful element of melody (“Spider Jar”, “Be Rad Tomorrow”, “Illegal Guardian”, the latter being a highlight on the record), thanks to both the instrumentation and soaring female vocals. It is, however, strange how the record drags at times: probably because the best tricks up its sleeve are all revealed early on. Still, it is a somewhat refreshing entry on the band’s discography, and it opens the band’s sound up to new possibilities that might be perfected down the line. For the time being, we are left with a solid release. BRUNO COSTA
HORSE JUMPER OF LOVE So Divine Run For Cover
Sometimes we need to feel the dynamics slanting beneath our feet, because there’s a landscape for the mind to walk through in order to escape the emotional and almost absorbing complexity of experience or relating ourselves with a specific album. Well, Horse Jumper of Love’s sophomore effort is one of those specific efforts, a hypnotic and richly detailed piece that sounds carefully and consciously measured, with a relishing immediacy that clashes with the mist of harmony that constantly thickened and dispersed. So Divine is not an easy effort, it might challenge you, but if you are into acts like Pinegrove, Silver Jews and Built to Spill this will be a mandatory pick.
LINGUA IGNOTA CALIGULA
Following the brilliant self-released All Bitches Die opus in 2017 (re-released by Profound Lore Records in 2018), Lingua Ignota returns with Caligula, one of most powerful efforts that you will hear this year. Disturbingly demonic, empowering and with a terrifying vengeful approach, Caligula will make you uncomfortable and will force you to deal with your and Kristin Hayter’s psychological monsters that lurk under the bed. With everything else straddled somewhere between the extremes already mentioned, it’s an uncomfortable listening. This raises Caligula far above the simple world of any sub-genre moves, because it’s not quite common nowadays to be able to witness such visceral emotion, honesty and this kind of rare expansiveness through art or music. Hayter’s voice is very unique, from screaming to very gentle singing she manages to combine them very naturally. Her taste for elementary dynamics – very loud to very soft, very sharp to very soft – are almost disconcerting, but her strength and purge is more self-assured than ever, she continues to follow her path and deserves your full attention. Accompanied by Sam McKinlay (THE RITA), drummer Lee Buford (The Body), percussionist Ted Byrnes (Cackle Car, Wood & Metal) and with guest vocals from Dylan Walker (Full of Hell), Mike Berdan (Uniform), and Noraa Kaplan (Visibilities), all good souls in the making of this effort, highlighting the benefits that a diverse workforce can bring in order to create this well-balanced and epic effort. Caligula is a storm of noise and lullabies of experimentation that will spin around today’s underground scene, perhaps even beyond that. FAUSTO CASAIS
onestly, I have to say that Lungbutter’s debut album is a genre-bending gem. Honey has the ability to engage your intellect and to communicate with such immediacy that it’s easy to feel confrontational and with frantic energy levels, but at the same time introspective and sometimes too comfortable in the constant sonic discomfort and turbulence of their very peculiar experimental noise. When you are free to express yourself whatever you want, it can actually become a weight, but it’s easy to perceive that with Lungbutter everything feels conscious and artful, it almost seems that when limits are not imposed, somehow your expressive range becomes richer. With their debut LP, Honey, Montréal trio Lungbutter offers a relentless and twisted deconstruction of cerebral experimental noise, that breaks boundaries, flirts with punk and sludge, but with this thrilling tension that reminds us acts like Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, The Melvins or even Nirvana. Honey is one of the exhilarating and brilliant albums of 2019, 33 minutes full of cathartic bliss and pure joy. FAUSTO CASAIS
JADE JACKSON Wilderness
La Vida Es Un Mus
On Jade Jackson’s second full-length album, Wilderness, she once again successfully straddles the genres country and rock, but the fling to folk is the key ingredient for her powerful, gripping songs. Once again with Social Distortion’s Mike Ness on the production duties, Wilderness is a conceptual piece build from an autobiographical perspective, a brilliant showcase for her emotional range. The comparisons between Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams with Jade Jackson are real, but there’s a light and life in Jackson that really stands out from the legends above. From self-doubt to mental and physical health, Wilderness is masterful and powerful effort, the perfect follow-up to Jackson’s 2017 FAUSTO CASAIS debut album “Gilded”.
If you’re looking for a proper punk label to follow and you are not familiar with La Vida Es Un Mus, you may start clearing your schedule now and go listen to bands like Kaleidoscope, Rat Cage and Rakta, for instance. Finding kindred spirits among labels such as Static Shock or Iron Lung, the London-based record label is not only keeping punk alive but actually making sure it remains interesting and fresh. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the “good production” on the new Khiis album. This think is as punk as it gets and if you crank it up I promise you’ll still get the rawness you need to get your i-only-listen-toreal-punk scene credibility. This is youthful and definitely very cohesive hardcore-punk, always at full power and with great hooks. Cool fact: Their previous ep, 2017’s Saboor, is entirely sung in Farsi. RICARDO ALMEIDA
NEBULA Holy Shit
Heavy Psych Sounds
US stoner rock pioneers Nebula return with their first studio album in ten years! Since their inception it’s fair to say that Nebula were way beyond the classic stoner rock tag, they were capable of raising the riff to an art form and created something eclectic that cross bridges between Sabbath’s heaviness, Lemmy-era Hawkwind and that classic primal blues-based fuzz rock. Holy Shit is a return to form, once again they were able to cook a spectacular groove-laden ride of psychedelia, grunge infused and jam-orientated binge of classic proportions. This comeback represents a vital point to a genre that somehow is doing the same old things for the past 10 years. It’s good to say that Nebula are FAUSTO CASAIS still Nebula, cheers to that!
MONO Nowhere Now Here Pelagic Records
en albums in is a bold time to be making some changes, but that’s exactly what has happened in the MONO camp. With the departure of Yasunori Takada in 2017, they lost a major part of their perfectly-honed dynamic and, with his replacement in the more hard-hitting, brusque Dahm Majuri Cipolla, Nowhere Now Here could have been a makeor-break record. Still, thanks to a focus on stronger, more dynamically invigorating compositions and to Steve Albini’s mastery of the heavier side of the spectrum, it is an album that slots neatly into their evolution. There are frequent nods to the distant past, with the title track’s fire and bluster swirling ecstatically around Taka Goto and Yoda Suemetsu’s twin-guitar cyclones that have been part-and-parcel of the band for two decades, but it’s the subtle shifts in sound which gives Nowhere… something of a true identity. The most apparent is undoubtedly Tamaki Kunishi’s understated vocals on “Breathe” which, although it isn’t the first time they have attempted this, definitely provides a more human element to a band who have always sounded more like the wild beauty of a blizzard that of any human construct. On the other hand, the increased presence of more conventionally melodic constructs, especially those which drive “Far and Further” and “After You Comes The Flood”, sometimes threaten to push the band back into generic post-rock tropes, but it’s to their credit that even with their new dynamic, they have been so seamlessly integrated that they loan their power to the music’s flow, rather than stealing the spotlight. Anyone looking for a major style change from MONO will have to wait, but those who have lapped up the emotional roil and chill of their releases thus far will undoubtedly be walking away from this record happy, moved and eager for another spin.
ORVILLE PECK Pony Sub Pop
3 is the appropriately named third studio effort from all-female punk collective NOTS, a title that also references the recent lineup changes which saw Alexandra Eastburn leave the band and the group, becoming a trio. Having successfully adapted to the new format, the three remaining young ladies crafted ten solid and super exciting songs, all of them with enough power to make us bang our heads, tap our feet, smile and think “damn, these girls rock”. Musically speaking, the album is a dynamic, passionate statement influenced by post-punk, noise and, perhaps most importantly, the legendary riot grrrl movement. Each of these songs, featuring thunderous bass lines, memorable guitar melodies, loud voices and seductive synths, evoke the same ruthless and wild spirit of those bold women who revolutionized the industry back in the day- yes, they did that, fucking accept it – ,and even if this is a simple celebration of female artistic expression (which is still a political act, when we think about it), the feeling of that awesome early ‘90s era is definitely here, with the resulting sound being both nostalgic and fresh - a throwback to a different time, but in a contemporary manner. In the end, yes, they don’t produce anything groundbreaking, but they do create something good and worth listening to, and that is all that matters. With this album NOTS sound more confident than ever, as if they realize they have evolved as musicians without becoming boring and losing the irresistible, marvelously intense energy that has always defined them. 3 might not be a game changer, but it is a cohesive and honest work developed by three (there’s that word again!) talented and strong women who deserve to be heard. Highly recommendable!
Like some kind of demented, peyote smoking outlaw cabaret member. A camp, psychedelic cowboy or some sort of Cirque De Soleil cast members dropped off in some backwater western town with glitter encrusted twin six-shooters and a bag of magic mushrooms Orville Peck takes the country and western/rock’n’roll hybrid sound that so defined Roy Orbison and – to a certain extent – Johnny Cash, and has spun it on its head to create something truly unique and magical. Employing sexual politics, gender, sex and love into his lyrical imagery and dressing like some sort of S&M version of the Lone Ranger he has created a perfect marriage of character and musical output that would make Bowie proud. Understanding music and showmanship sometimes needs, craves and demands spectacle he has created a heart pumping, urgent and captivating album full of country tropes, but filtered through acts that no doubt are inspirations for peck – such as Joy Division, Morrissey and Beck. It’s a thrilling, confusing, beguiling and brilliant listen from an act who is 100% true to his own sense of self and vision, and you will either fall in love or dismiss outright. I can’t see any fence sitters after even a single listen. I adored it, even if it was because it was such a weird, camp, exuberant surprise. There are worse reasons to fall in love.
PELICAN Nighttime Stories Southern Lord
Nighttime Stories is Pelican’s first full length in six years and also marks the band’s first release written front to back with guitarist Dallas Thomas, who took over guitar duties upon founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec’s departure in 2012. Pelican’s heavy and expansive sound is still intact, but it’s the explosive summits of distortion, the layered textures that sway and thrust into this sonic climax that really clinches everything on Nighttime Stories. There’s always something cerebral on the way they communicate to the listener, the savage, almost dazzling departure from post-rock world was far too obvious since ever, but trying to label or even understand Pelican’s sonic pathway on Nighttime is challenging experience. The emotional angst is a fine comeback to Pelican’s younger years, this new effort sounds a bit darker, but in the end it’s just another straight-forward, fine and immersive effort from the Chicago outfit. FAUSTO CASAIS
PETROL GIRLS Cut & Stitch PEDRO THE LION Phoenix Polyvinyl
Over the course of almost two decades, David Bazan has become somehow a figurehead of a scene that always elegantly blended emo and country-folk with indie rock. 15 years later Bazan returns with Phoenix and directly to his introspective self with the confessional and emotional vibe that made Achilles’ Heel, Control and It’s Hard to Find a Friend such influential touchstones. This new effort is a stellar achievement, Bazan’s straight forward vocals and arrangements are easy to recognize but still sound ahead of their time, hyper modern but crooning enough to make you feel miserable, melancholic and introspective about life and stuff… Phoenix is in no way a departure from FAUSTO CASAIS his other albums.
Ian Mackaye once said: “I think anger is a really beautiful thing when it’s put to work”. Petrol Girls are one of the few bands that keep rage against the machine. Cut & Stitch is probably one of the most relevant political and feminist statements in years, there’s a clear perspective on a bunch of issues, from feminism to environmental issues, from mental health to a so needed political change. Petrol Girls defiant attitude is inspirational as a whole, vocalist Ren Aldridge powerful and penetrating voice challenge us all, raises the essential questions and points out to the path we should take to somehow be part of this slow political change. Raw, brutal and straight to the point, every track on Cut & Stitch burst with passion, energy and powerful lyrics. This an extraordinarily-talented punk effort and a triumphant political statement. Well done! FAUSTO CASAIS
PLAGUE VENDOR By Night Epitaph
By Night is the follow up to Plague Vendor’s brilliant 2016 debut full-length Bloodsweat. Produced by the great John Congleton (St Vincent, Xiu Xiu, Chelsea Wolfe) and recorded at the legendary East West Studios (Brian Wilson, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop), this new offering is a frenetic and bold, with a ‘fuck you’ attitude and raw emotion. Tempered by The Hives’ frenetic guitar jangle and audacious hooks, MC5’s impressible energy and Refused’s punk intensity, By Night is a bit more polished that Bloodsweat, but overall is a powerhouse of an album that will stay with listeners for years to come. It’s a damn good old twisted garage punk rave-up. Cheers to that!
he wait is over; Rammstein’s new untitled album has landed and you will headbang while listening to it. You will headbang a lot. Regardless of whether you can understand a word they sing or not, you’ll feel the lines and the grooves grabbing you from the face right from the very first track. Eleven tracks that skilfully marry sleazy hooks with anthemic choruses and haunting melodies. Does it get cheesy in places? Yes, it does but would you even be here if it didn’t? Foreigners around the world unite and sing along to “Ausländer” before you come crashing down a bit later down the road with “Puppe”, a track in which Till doesn’t hold anything back manipulating his voice to emotional extremes. Many vocalists can write dark lyrics but very few have the ability to deliver them in a way that will engrave them on your imagination for years to come. Rammstein do Rammstein and they do it disturbingly well. Don’t try to resist, just give into it.
DISSECTING PUCE MARY’S LAST YEAR AMBITIOUS AND INTENSE EFFORT ‘THE DROUGHT’
he Drought, the new studio effort by Danish noise artist Puce Mary, is yet another intense and emotionally dense journey that takes the listener to the limit. On this record there is a conscious decision to make the vocals more intelligible, which makes sense as the album deals with themes of inner turmoil and alienation, influenced by the writings of Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet. Still, the music ends up being the main storytelling device, as each track creates a dark and unsettling atmosphere. It often feels like the soundtrack to some crazy and ultra-bizarre horror movie, the sounds of a truly nightmarish cinematic vision. However, as challenging as the album is at times, there is certainly beauty underneath the darkness. Between the harsh noise we hear bits of melody and some spoken word, and one feels the Copenhagen-based musician is confronting her demons in order to perhaps achieve some sort of closure, even though the scenarios she describes are so bleak we’re not sure that’s even possible. This is not an easily digestible work of art, but rather one which forces us to slowly process its complex nature. One thing is for sure, though: Puce Mary continues to prove she is one of the most ambitious and creative artists in experimental/alternative music today. JORGE ALVES
PRIESTS The Seduction of Kansas Sister Polygon Records
he second album from Priests, The Seduction of Kansas is an essay of sorts on the current state of America. In particular they are interested in exploring as lead vocalist and lyricist Katie Alice Greer describes it as “the manufactured mythology of Americanism”. My first impression listening to these guys made me think of Blondie. In fact there is a definite Greenwich Village in the 70s vibe about these guys. They mix punk with rock n roll in a way that will make you pause and take notice. They are self consciously critiquing the culture of which they are a part, seemingly without any irony. This is a clever album. The more you listen the more it gets under your skin. This is an album that grows on you, it’s complex and it’s fascinating. Greer’s vocals are spellbinding, reminding me as I said of Blondie, but also a little of Tori Amos. Her voice draws you in an holds your attention. It is captivating. The rest of the band are great too, providing a sound that acts as a perfect frame for Greer’s voice. I recommend giving this album a listen, I think it will gain the band many new fans. JACQUELINE LADEMANN
PUCE MARY’S ‘THE DROUGHT’ IS OUT NOW ON PAN
RUSSIAN CIRCLES Blood Year
he Chicago trio have always expressed through their music a high level of passion and commitment. This combined with the maturity and intelligence of their sound has seen them be at the receiving end of some well-deserved praise and has helped them built a strong fanbase around the world. Over the years, Mike Sullivan, Dave Turncrantz, and Brian Cook have created countless moments of magic through noise, distortion and atmospheric heights. With this new set of dynamics that are both unpretentious and fucking mind-blowing, they have once again delivered one of the most straightforward and diverse efforts of their career. Brilliant captured by Kurt Ballou at Electrical Audio in Chicago at Steve Albini’s world-famous recording studio where they’d tracked Enter, Geneva and Memorial, Blood Year is an effort crafted with the same energy of a live show. It sounds bleak but tremendously heavy; the intensity of their trademark atmospheric sound is a powerful force, switching relentlessly between carefully exquisite and merciless (almost savage) bangers. Blood Year is an overwhelming treat for the listener’s senses, we dare to say! FAUSTO CASAIS
RATKA Falha Comum
Nada Nada Discos
In the last few years we’ve been witnessing a kind of revival of music that dives deep in those old psych rock albums. Brazil is no strange place for psychedelic music, and throughout history many cult records were born in that country. Everywhere from the Brazilian Deaf Kids and Fumaça Preta to Tame Impala in Australia, the Black Angels in Texas and 10000 Russos in Portugal, psychedelic and kraut influenced rock seems to be growing like mushrooms. The same could be said about post-punk and darkwave, but what makes this so exciting is that we’re not listening to flat uninspired copies; these are amazing bands exploring and breaking new ground, and great records are being released every month. Coming from Brazil, these girls have been blending post-punk, psychedelic and krautrock like no other — psychedelic witch punk would be a more fitting descriptor for what Rakta do. Falha Comum shows us the band at their thickest; it’s detailed, adventurous, mature and will surely bring Rakta to new heights.
SURACHAI Come, Deathless SPIELBERGS This Is Not The End
By the Time It Gets Dark
After introducing themselves to the world with an EP entitled Distant Star, Norwegian power trio Spielbergs return with their debut album, a collection of powerful, heartfelt punk/indie rock anthems reminiscent of Japandroids, No Age or …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Sure, what they do is not innovative, but who cares- it’s irresistibly catchy and it makes you wanna listen to the record over and over again. What we have here is the perfect soundtrack for those magical summer days spent with your closest friends living life to the fullest - a beautiful and sweet explosion of energy and youthful passion. This is Not The End is a truly exciting debut created by a promising young group; definitely a band to watch out for in 2019. JORGE ALVES
Prolific Chicago/L.A.-based musician and producer Surachai returns with Come, Deathless, his newest album since 2016’s Instinct and Memory. Assisted by drummer Aaron Harris (ISIS, Sumac) and keyboardist Joey Karam (The Locust), Come, Deathless brings some minimalism and primitivism into a cacophony of sound manipulation, dynamics and textures. There’s little in the way of conventional experimentalism and noise, but the way Surachai blends these two elements, along with many others, needs to be carefully examined and dissected. Along with Author & Punisher, Necro Deathmort and Prurient, Surachai is part of a new generation of noise makers that are using sound as a vehicle to defy classic conceptions of how music should be perceived and explored.
TEETH OF THE SEA Wraith Rocket Recordings
London-based post-everything-andwhatever trio Teeth of the Sea are back with their fifth album Wraith. Exploring the dichotomy of their very own experimental and cinematic weirdness, Wraith is the trio’s most ambitious and irreverent effort. Built over this haunted and eerie Morricone meets Survive’s Stranger Things work, Wraith grows on you easily, becoming some sort of hypnotic and out-of-order trip into their drifting crescendo intensity. There are obvious roots on experimentalism, both electronic and psychedelic, but there are also branches which extend into uncharted territories, both emergent and urgent. This new effort sees the band strip things back substantially, because there’s the same range of sounds and experimentalism; however on this occasion the atmosphere they create is even bleaker, where euphoria and surrealism bring along a new set of dynamics into their vivid and fearless sound. Recorded in London at Soup Studios with Giles Barrett, Phantasy Sound with Erol Alkan and their own The Facility, Wraith is the kind of blowout you expect from the trio’s artistic approach, the perfect sound representation of Teeth of the Sea’s unique irreverence and distinctive creativity. FAUSTO CASAIS
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS In League With Dragons Merge
SUNN O))) Life Metal
It’s been a long time since anyone dared to throw a black metal comparison when it comes to the shockmasters of doom (Black One was over a decade ago, don’tcha know) but there’s always been a loose link there – the esotericism, the love of Norse mythology and a canny reliance on the power of theatricality. Life Metal sheds their one remaining foothold in that world, the mighty pipes of Attila Csihar, and the results are a record that is in keeping with all the hallmarks of a great Sunn O))) record while being an invigorating, even uplifting sonic artefact. There is a radiant warmth that permeates it even at its densest, Greg Anderson churning out some of his breeziest post-Goatsnake riffage while SOMA does what he does best – submerging every inch of sonic space with steady waves of feedback and distortion. This has been used to devastating effect in the past, but here it serves to capture some of the duo’s live magic, that transcendental gift that has allowed their shows to be generally accepted as a religious experience. The presence of Hildur Guðnadóttir shapes the album in large part, in spoken form with the liturgical theatre of ‘Between Sleipnir’s Breaths’ and with her cello and haldorophone accompaniment to ‘Novae’ acting as balancing force to the track’s massive stature, her subtle insistence the yin to Anderson and O’Malley’s all-engulfing yang; Anthony Patera, meanwhile, provides a lush pipe organ fulcrum on ‘Troubled Air’ that accentuates this album’s focus on melodicism, albeit melodies executed at the speed of glacial erosion. Sunn O))) have always been able to utilise collaborators in unique ways to more fully develop their alien sonic landscapes, and this is no different – what Life Metal has done, though, is captured the pure, distilled essence of those sonic druids at their finest. With another record from these sessions still to come, 2019 might be the year that cements them as something more than mere amplifier worshippers, and might even make them gods in their own right.
Some albums just have magic stitched into it’s very fiber. Albums like Tommy, The Wall, Grace and News Of The World – they each contain that thimbleful of mojo that means nary a moment is wasted and the first second of sound to the very last is a adrenaline soaked journey of discovery and nuance. In League With Dragons is not Tommy. It’s not even Quadrophenia… It’s Barely a Sheer Heart Attack. Instead, what it is a red headed kid with freckles being picked on by the bigger kids, who snaps and knocks out his bully with a single punch – forever eternalizing themselves as one of those unforgettable anecdotes that survive in legend, is retold again and again in hushed reverent tones – but will never be as good as it would if you were there, in person to witness the gorgeous moment. That is to say… The Mountain Goats and, more importantly, this album are definitely worth the whispered praise, they are most definitely deserving of being the gossiped about band around the work water cooler. They are hype worthy and this album deserves every single line of praise said about it. It’s a solid, memorable, repeat listen of an album that gives the big boys a run for its money and who will look great on the record shelf next to those big hitters… But, you feel that this may be their one big, haymaker of a punch. It’s a perfectly produced-not a second waster-uppercut to the music scene which, I feel, is their one big album, before a slide into obscurity and the footnote of history. A burst of brilliance, bolted from the blue… burning out seconds after the album ends. No moment wasted as it plays, but no fuel left for the return to earth. Worth your attention, and the cult status is no doubt destined for, unlikely to burn as bright again.
SLEATER-KINNEY The Centre Won’t Hold Mom+Pop
ime sure flies… 24 years have already passed since SleaterKinney put out their iconic self-titled debut, the passionate statement of two artists associated with the queercore and riot grrrl movements - Carrie Brownstein as a member of Excuse 17, Corin Tucker with Heavens to Betsy. If you grew up in the ‘90s, or are at least familiar with that era (and if you’re not, we will not say “shame on you”, but we recommend you educate yourself, it is worth it), then no introductions are needed – you know who they are and have certainly listened to them, right? Still, one always felt, even during that early period, that Sleater-Kinney- originally
a mere side project created by Brownstein and Tucker - was more than a simple continuation of the fearlessly feminist punk l egacy of their former groups. Sure, their ideals did not change, and thank God for that, but their sound kept evolving, with the trio (also featuring, at the time, drummer Janet Weiss, who recently left the band), gradually exploring new territories. Undoubtedly ambitious, it really was a shame when, out of nowhere, a hiatus was announced, but that only made the band’s eventual return (with the great and critically acclaimed No Cities to Love, released in 2015) seem even more special; they were back, goddammit!!! The wait was finally over! Fortunately, we can also celebrate the release of their latest record, because it’s
simply amazing, albeit extremely bold… in the end, though, it manages to sound like Sleater-Kinney, even when it really doesn’t. Why? How? Well, let’s just say that even for a band who avoids creative stagnation like the plague, their new musical chapter represents an extremely big artistic evolution; luckily for us, it pays off. There are many different elements on this record, but one thing we immediately notice is how danceable (even thought the closing track is a beautiful ballad), and melody-driven a lot of these songs really are. That does not mean the album itself is filled with happiness - in fact, the lyrics are quite introspective -, it just means these strong, powerful rhythms are used as a weapon against those feelings of loneliness, anguish and uncertainty. Could they play
loud, angry music and achieve the same goal? Yes. But maybe they don’t feel like it; maybe that made more sense to them back in the day, when they were younger. We also cannot forget who produced the album- none other than Annie Clark, better known as St.Vincent. Impressed with her professionalism and imagination, the band decided to hire her full time, and it is clear she was instrumental in encouraging the “girls” to follow their creative impulses instead of ignoring them. That explains, partially, why this is their most accessible (on the surface, at least) and diverse studio effort so far, a pop-infused collection of songs where elements of hip-hop and electronic music, among other things, also coexist (just listen to “Ruins”, for example), all this filtered through their unique brand of rock.
If, by now, you’re wondering if Sleater-kinney have become too soft, the answer is no. The passion and hunger that made them famous is still there and, in many ways, they are still punk rock – I mean, if we really think about it, they are doing what they want, how they want, without giving a damn about what people (might) think… isn’t that attitude more punk than anything else? All in all, The Centre Won’t Hold is a fascinating work of art: brave, exciting and dynamic, eclectic yet cohesive, one you either love or hate, but one you won’t soon forget.
SPOTLIGHTS Love & Decay
From a sturdy, rhythmic Viking rowboat beat of drums and bass, builds a dreamy, repetitive and sumptuous blend of multi-layered, thoughtful and weighty post-rock – ‘Continue To Capsize’ starts the Spotlights new album in perfectly formed fashion. A cacophonous, blisteringly dense recording. It has poise and nuanced emotional queues and big, meaty heart – and throughout it employs vocals as though you are being beaten and pummeled with one fist, and stroked and coddled into a sense of calm by the other hand… A confusing dichotomy, which leaves you pulled and torn and swayed and shaking – but always hungry for more. By the time you get to ‘Until the bleeding stops” the music has been slow building, treks up a rocky hill. Suddenly you are mountain climbing with riffs and bass-lines that carve huge cavernous gouges into the landscape and shake the foundation of the world. It’s no wonder Faith No More’s Mike Patton signed them to his Ipecac label, they are a wonderfully creative, artistically independent, aesthetically inspired prospect. I can see this being replayed for many years on record players across the bedrooms of students, aging connoisseur muso’s and literate critics alike. Love & Decay sounds like the kind of music a band operating at the top of their game dream of making. A real achievement and ANDI CHAMBERLAIN one to be applauded.
THE GET UP KIDS Problems Polyvinyl
Dreamy, sunny and addictively catchy. Tallies’ self-titled debut album is charming, carefree and instantly likable, even if sometimes we can easily draw comparisons with Beast Coast, The Sundays and The Smiths. Built on several sound layers, killer guitar hooks and unconventional pop melodies, overall this is a great effort in its scope, with ambition and attention to detail, but also sounding strangely mature for such young band. Sarah Coogan’s vocals are sugar sweet and the way she addresses serious issues like anxiety, relationships, growing up and global warming takes the album to another level. Tallies’ debut album doesn’t push the envelope, break any new ground or bring anything new to the music world, but they are bringing something fresh to the whole dream-pop, surf-rock tingled with elements of shoegaze (or whatever) scene.
The Get Up Kids have always tried to pushed themselves towards unexplored paths and sonic worlds, and over the years they easily flirted with their very own creative experimentation. Problems is The Get Up Kids first full-length in 8 years and the follow-up to the band’s last year comeback Kicker EP. Well, let’s say that Problems is a nostalgia trip and welcome return to the band’s classic good old emo punk energy, where everything that embodies the essence sounds daring, refined and with a new sense of creative freedom. If you are expecting introspection, heartfelt lyrics, a bunch of riff-driven and anthemic choruses with sing-along-ready melodies you’re absolutely right! Problems has the ability to connect to the band’s past, but also sounds new and at the same time seems that they’re having fun, almost like a celebration of what they managed to achieve FAUSTO CASAIS through life and music.
THIS GIFT IS A CURSE A Throne Of Ash Season of Mist
This Gift is a Curse have crafted one of the most venomous and intense efforts of this year. There’s no other way to say this, it sounds like a fucking earthquake and it’s fucking exhausting, there’s blood and flesh running through their sound, but that will easily lead to the contemplative well of your mind and soul. A Throne of Ash is fucking aggressive and relentless brutal, where black metal clashes with the bludgeoning roots of hardcore, all packed with terrifying soundscapes and ferocious growled vocals. This Gift Is A Curse new opus is a painfully raw and sounds filthy, and it’s exactly that makes it such a necessary and rewarding experience. FAUSTO CASAIS
WEAR YOUR WOUNDS Rust On The Gates Of Heaven
Initially conceived as a solo project of Converge founder Jacob Bannon, it evolved into a five-piece band and this is the first time Wear Your Wounds wrote and recorded as a full band. Currently comprised by Jacob Bannon (Converge), Mike McKenzie (The Red Chord), Adam McGrath (Cave In), Sean Martin (Twitching Tongues), and Chris Maggio (ex-Trap Them), they were joined in the studio by Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe) and Gared O’Donnell (Planes Mistaken for Stars). Along with recording and engineering by Kurt Ballou and the additional touch of the magical hands of Sanford Parker. Rust on the Gates of Heaven is a massive effort, guided by the atmospheric tension of the band’s melodic complexity and exploratory dynamics, a post-everything masterpiece that plays with you, makes you uncomfortable, sometimes numb and overwhelmed, but it will make you feel pleased at the same time. Bannon and his peers are breaking away into entirely new territories and they have managed to create an unsettling cathartic affair, a moody and emotionally driven effort that goes around the harrowing collection of the band’s dense yet fascinating heaviness, fully loaded with careful doses of experimentation and genuinely lush sound. With an all-star lineup like this, it’s quite normal to have high expectations, especially when over the years they all have been part of something special in the underground scene, with some -if not all of them - pushing the boundaries, changing lives and keeping the scene interesting. Thanks guys, expectations fulfilled! FAUSTO CASAIS
Four years ago, Torche released Restarter, but for some reason it failed to meet expectations. With that in mind, I’m not saying that Restarter was bad effort or anything, but it was easy to notice that the whole recording process surrounding the album was a bit too stressful and probably too challenging for them. Now, the Miami quartet returns with one of the most accomplished efforts of their career. There’s a sonic immensity that easily traverses new paths and sonic layers, with the ability to sound fresh, sharper and with more angular turns. There’s a bit of monotony in the way Admission is built, but that also helps to emulate the way the whole album flows. In a sense, there’s more melodic diversity, it’s heavy and full of peaks, which is essential in order to shift focus to the album’s unique emotional intensity. Admission is not a flawless effort, but somehow, Torche have managed to create a cohesive and refreshing record. FAUSTO CASAIS
Run For Cover
7/10 WHITE LIES Five VALE Burden Of Sight The Flenser
Death-infused Black Metal band Vale are a perfectly sane example that extreme metal is healthier than ever, it seems that every new year there’s always a bunch of new bands and projects that make liberal use of their creative freedom. On their debut album, Burden of Sight, Vale channel visions of our dystopian and grim future, an unforgiving reality where chaos reigns, an idea not far from what we’re already expecting and that some refuse to accept. Burden of Sight is brutal and violent, it’s genuinely intense, sounds unsettling and deliciously abrasive, almost like a creepier act of deliberate detonation of unconventional heaviness into this mind-melting cacophony of what the apocalypse should sound. FAUSTO CASAIS
Five is White Lies new album, and the perfect way to mark a decade of existence whilst cementing their new home at [PIAS] Recordings. The West-London trio are really pushing the envelope here. Not only are they venturing into new artistically territories, but it also sounds more expansive than ever, it’s like a new chapter on the bands’ creative path. For the new album they worked on new material with an old acquaintance in Ed Buller, Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails) returned to mix the album, and enlisted engineer James Brown (Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters) and renowned producer Flood to create their most ambitious effort ever, showcasing an adventurous but maddeningly complex and throbbing with confidence work. More intimate and with an added songwriting maturity, Five is without any doubt White Lies’ strongest album. FAUSTO CASAIS
This kind of hyperactive pop-rock that is missing from the airwaves all too much these days. Super speedy, highly caffeinated shoegaze-esque rock odditiesthat fairly pop from the speakers and make your heart race, your brow sweat and your feet tap. It is infectious, furiously paced and wears it's heart quite brazenly on its sleeve, so much so you can see every dent, scratch and bruise in the sinewy pink flesh. When the pace does adjust and slow, it is only in so much as to let the songs open up and bloom like spectacular flowers - all colour, texture and shade, before cascading head first into a throng of chest pounding anthemic beauty again. Music is seldom this raw, instant and immediate nowadays. Not for these guys to take it gently and coerce you with subtlety and grace - rather, it is a careening car screeching to a halt, smoke blowing from a rickety exhaust and a strange man pointing to you from a blackened window that rolls down ominously as he screams "GET IN". This is a band that demands that you commit now, and don’t give it a second thought... And you know what? It is fucking glorious ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
REVIEWED ON OUR NEXT ISSUE
CHELSEA WOLFE Birth Of Violence (Sargent House)
PHARMAKON Devour (Sacred Bones)
KATHRYN VETTER MILLER
WEYES BLOOD Titanic Rising
ALCEST Spiritual Instinct (Nuclear Blast)
8/10 WICCA PHASE SPRINGS ETERNAL Suffer On
here is something immediately disarming of Weyes Blood. An astute, alluring, seductive lounge quality simmers and boils under the sweet, whimsical vocal opening of Titanic Rising’s opening number ‘A Lot’s Gonna Change.’ The sudden, disorientating way it conjures the seventies in all its tobacco stained melancholia; the vermouth rings staining the molded plastic; the smoldering sensuality of the orchestration that propels the song forward on some mad trajectory. This is music that taps the veins of time and delivers just weirdly enough skewed nostalgia whilst spinning the golden ingredient of enough discordant futurist production to blur the line between classic and contemporary. It’s a dizzying ballet of old and new – two distinct styles wrenched in opposing directions, always living in glory thanks to that beautiful chanteuse vocal of Natalie Mering elevates these warped creations into a realm all of its own majesty. This is the kind of music that soundtracks Scorsese or Tarantino joints. The stuff of celluloid legend. Mering’s talent shining through in wave after wave of invigorating melody. Genuinely, this is an absolute beauty of an album. Classic, tempered and crafted with a stellar eye for detail – and just the right amount of weird to tip it into the area just below masterpiece. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
Run For Cover (2019)
Scranton, PA native Adam McIlwee returns with his second album under the Wicca Phase Springs Eternal guise and takes aim at the cozy niche carved out by his contemporaries Deathcab For Cutie and Bright Eyes – maudlin, emotive indie-pop with bursts of muted rock edge and huge slices of moody, pessimistic lyrical nuance. It swings wildly from the fringes of inventive brooding emotional bleakness to an almost self-parodying level of darkness and muddy sadness – but it delivers subtle, wonderful moment with each track. Similar to how Brand New deliver their self-reflective, introspective compositions – WPSE latch onto a “trademark” spine of sound and then run wholesale with it. Bittersweet synth beats are layered with keys and drum machine to build gentle, simple backdrops to Mcllwee’s clean, drawling vocals. The combination often works, sometimes it jars how sad the entire affair is – you wish for a brief, fleeting moment of optimism, but on the whole it’s a successful melding of style and substance. All in all Suffer On is a mildly beautiful album; sonically simplistic, feint layers of pretension, but it has a big heart – no matter how broken or sad it may be – and it is absolutely in the right place. It has a charming honesty to it that will find it a bold and loyal audience, and it deserves it too. ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
BORIS LφVE & EVφL (Third Man Records)
TOOL Fear Inoculum (RCA Records)
HESITATION WOUNDS Chicanery (Deathwish Inc.) musicandriots.com
SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL 2019 BIRMINGHAM (UK)
he landscape assaulting one’s mind as the words “alternative music festival” are thrown on the table has been spoiled by brand designers, business people and other career-minded individuals who dream of spreadsheets, Sunday afternoons at Ikea and trendy restaurants. The result: fertile ground for instagramers, scenesters and people who enjoy being offended. Out of trend, likes and shares, and some sort of forced-pseudo-eclecticism, line-ups are
filled with self-proclaimed artists who, in fact, are but mediocre performers. Transparency and integrity are scarce here. But, fortunately, there’s another universe far away from these places of make-believe. John, Paul, George and Ringo, in Liverpool. Ian, Bernard, Peter and Stephen, in Manchester. Anthony, Terence, John and William, in Birmingham. Who? Allow me to rephrase that for you: Tony, Geezer, Ozzy and Bill, in Birmingham. The same godforsaken industrial Birmingham that gave birth to groundbreaking artists whose influence we can only estimate is home to a festival that by now has achieved cult status. Supersonic is far, far away from being the quasi-dystopian marketeer’s wet dream
some so-called alternative festivals seem to be. Unstoppable in servicing those fueled by a relentless need for authenticity in music and honesty in performance, this Birmingham institution has been bringing actual forward-thinking art to its audience for the last 16 years, and 2019’s line-up was no exception. Leaving the Town Hall almost in tears, with a huge stupid smile on my face, after Neurosis closed their set with ‘Stones from the Sky’ is something hard to explain very few will understand. I challenge anyone to name someone better suited for the role of headliner than the Oakland veterans. This band is the embodiment of artistic integrity; their performance, one of the most powerful discharges of honesty and raw emotion one will ever see on a stage. However, being grateful and respectful to an audience doesn’t mean, necessarily, being gentle towards it. Some may ask what the hell is Kevin Martin’s, The Bug, deal with all that sub-bass and volume. I don’t know, maybe he is trying to prove one can get used to almost anything. Martin’s performance, with all the technical issues he had to deal with, seemed to draw some parallels with ‘real life’. Things started badly, but Martin kept going for it. With the help of Roger Robinson, Moor Mother, Miss Red and a super-encouraging crowd, the show was still effective; in the end, a testimonial of perseverance in the face of adversity.
SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL 2019
Someone who also seems to know a thing or two about one’s ability to take a beatdown is The Body. The duo proved to be something different from the very beginning, and their ability to dwell in the darkest, loneliest and most desperate corners of the human mind only finds parallel in their chameleonic and prolific personality. Unapologetic sonic harassers, The Body masterfully convey de bleakest states of mind in the most grotesque and filthy of manners, while, surprisingly, also being able to reach degrees of elegance and beauty that hardly match the two furry (but quite friendly) beasts behind the moniker.
Equally disciples of sonic exploration, Dälek are more than used to bringing theirnoise-drenched approach to rap music to audiences that are more familiar with free-jazz or guitar-based music than anything else. At the start of their gig, the crowd wasn’t fully formed or particularly engaged, but it didn’t take long before the room was packed with people completely surrendered to the duo, struck by the depth, the texture and the overall experimental approach of their sound. One of the most relevant acts in today’s music, Dälek played an intimate, incendiary and superprofessional gig. It’s a crime their name isn’t more well-spread, but as Will Brooks himself puts it, ‘My heroes are barely mentioned / And perhaps obscurity is where I’m destined / But while I’m here I continue to speak in absence of fear / Formulating ideas indifferent to social norms / Willing to explore more / Consider yourselves warned!’ Now, writing reports is always an unfair task, for many artists and staff (a word for the friendly senior ladies guarding the side doors at the Town Hall) are left out due to article length issues. In short: Godflesh played a particularly solid set. Portuguese sonic adventurers HHY & the Macumbas hypnotized the crowd and might as well have been this edition’s revelation for many people — the same could be said about the psychedelic post-punkers Matters. The wild and youthful energy of Big Lad, the friendly posture and incredible creativity of
Hen Ogled, the subtle dreamy landscapes conveyed by Faten Kanaan, the punishing assault of Prison Religion, the beauty of Anna von Hausswolff’s music paired with her contagious performance, the good people and talented artists and crafters at the marketplace, and so on… In conclusion, urban areas tend to be not much more than an embarrassing reminder of what we, as a species, have come to be. But, there must be an upside to it, right? The arts aren’t just an escape. They’re a way to belong, a way for one to feel less alone and find his or her pack among a scary crowd. Supersonic succeeds on this matter, providing not only a medium for talented artists — veterans and emerging —, but also a safe harbor for individuals of all sorts. Many years have gone by since Michael Gira started the journey of his life with Swans, and if there is something to be learned there, is that there is a kind of truth to be found in the intangible; there is life, compassion and sense in sonic abstraction. It’s the “sonic truth” Thurston Moore was telling us about on ‘Where Does a Body End?’, the documentary about Swans by Marco Porsia. It’s what gets us through the days.
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY: RICARDO ALMEIDA
SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL 2019
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND PORTO (PT)
The annual pilgrimage to NOS Primavera Sound is nothing new for us, once again Porto opened the doors to one of the most diverse music festivals of the Summer. Saying that the place where this event happened is beautiful and mind-blowing is clichĂŠ, talking about the sunny days is also something that this writer is not going to do. Besides the fact that Shellac, Fucked Up, Viagra Boys, Courtney Barnett and Amyl and the Sniffers were probably on the wrong line up spot, with the wrong audience and probably in the wrong festival, that also reminds us that every single new edition of NOS Primavera Sound is ditching rock based acts on their line-up, keeping our expectations even lower for years to come and also killing that thrilling surprise effect on discovering new bands or artists, this year that award goes only to Jambinai (amazing performance). Almost every single soul was there for the same old boring headliners, to take selfies for the #instagrambullshitprofiles and to pretend that they were watching trendy artists that personally mean nothing for miserable souls like me. So, with that in mind, itâ€™s fair to say that Shellac played like Shellac, Steve Albini, Bob Weston and Todd Trainer were once again fucking brilliant, raw, loud and noisy, thank you guys! Fucked Up were untouchable, with one of the most spectacular and brutal sets ever to grace NPS, Damien Abraham is a unique frontman, one of the most real and charismatic artist of our days.
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND
Viagra Boys keep the party (for them and for us) going, this is a band that brings out the delinquent in everyone, the perfect band for a punk rock summer camp for drunk people that simply don’t give a fuck about anything, congrats guys. Amyl and the Sniffers show us that rock sucks less when they are playing, the Aussie three piece gave to the audience an intense, sweaty and chaotic performance, the hype is real and they fucking deserve it. Courtney Barnett on the other hand showed us that corporate rock sucks and 90’s grunge still kicks ass, a performance full of epic moments and sheer power, this is an artist that reaches new heights easily, always keeping it real and humble. Well, about Interpol… They delivered their hits in automatic pilot, nothing exciting or new, a band that shows nothing more than what we are already used to see, boring! One of the main highlights of this year’s edition of NPS was witnessing Built To Spill banging out their seminal album, Keep It Like A Secret, memorable enough for me and just a few that really know the band, the others fuck them, you don’t deserve the privilege to witness something like this! Pavement and Shellac (“Surprise”) are already confirmed for next year’s edition, for the first time in years there is one single reason to just go for one band, ok, for two bands. Pavement and Shellac! Let’s keep the positive vibe about next year’s edition because this is an event that totally deserves it. See ya next year!
WORDS: FAUSTO CASAIS PHOTOS: ANDREIA ALVES musicandriots.com
LYNCH: AN UNSOLVABLE CONUNDRUM
It was about goddamn time a good biography on David Lynch was written. The “first popular surrealist”, as he has been called, might very well be one of cinema’s greatest and most revolutionary auteurs, and his body of work is comparable only to a handful of other directors. And not only does David Lynch possess immediately identifiable characteristics in his cinematic oeuvre, but he is also what we could call “a true artist”, as he has also been deeply involved with painting, photography, design and music (having released a
collaborative album with Angelo Badalamenti last year). I went into “Room to Dream” excited but scared, as I do with any David Lynch property. “Eraserhead”, “The Elephant Man” and “Mulholland Drive” are some of my favorite films of all time, and in fact, I love all of his films with the exception of “Dune” (having read the novel, the adaptation is most definitely not up to par, though the studio seems to be the biggest reason why). But, thankfully, what I found was a compelling document on David Lynch’s life and ideas. One of the book’s most enthralling aspects is the way it is organized. Firstly, we get Kristine McKenna’s factual, to the point description of David Lynch’s life with testimony from collaborators, friends and family. These segments of the book tell us what happened without much opinion from the biographer, providing us with the facts. Then, once those segments are finished, David Lynch comes in with his reactions to each biographical description of his life, offering his own, personal insight into his art and his mind, remembering the happy and the difficult times alike without any sorrow in his heart and in a fascinating way (in a way
WITH KRISTINE MCKENNA’S EAGLE-EYED ATTENTION TO PURE FACTS AND DAVID LYNCH’S MUSINGS ABOUT HIS OWN EXPERIENCES, “ROOM TO DREAM” IS AN ENTICING JOURNEY INTO THE MIND OF THE SURREALIST RIDDLE THAT IS MR. LYNCH.
similarly to the also recent documentary “David Lynch: The Art Life”). The book is filled to the brim with interesting stories, and as we dive in and we understand the man better and better, we realize there’s no way this man is ever going to stop being a mystery in some respects, no matter how hard we try to get inside his mind, which only makes the reading of the book more compelling. “Room to Dream” is a fascinating book on a fascinating human being, responsible for planting the seeds of imagination and enhancement of the subconscious in many people and artists since the late 70’s (and still doing it). David Lynch’s unstoppable spirit is one that shall live on and echo in the halls of eternity. ROOMS TO DREAM BY KRISTINE MCKENNA & DAVID LYNCH IS OUT NOW ON RANDOM HOUSE WORDS: BRUNO COSTA PHOTO: DYLAN COULTER
CHELSEA WOLFE KIM GORDON VIVIAN GIRLS JENNY HVAL LINGUA IGNOTA PETBRICK BLANCK MASS DAUGHTERS HIDE CULT OF LUNA UV-TV ZONAL MEG & DIA KNOCKED LOOSE CHASTITY BELT
AVAILABLE ON DECEMBER 16