music&riots FREE | Nº 04 | SUMMER ISSUE
MILK TEETH VOLUMES FIELD DIVISION MAPEI AMANDA X ARCHITECTS BLEED THE PIGS HOTEL BOOKS
AGAINST ME! A BRAVE NEW WORLD + TRADE WIND
MARMOZETS TRAP THEM FIELD MOUSE A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW FEED THE RHINO MAKTHAVERSKAN WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM CORROSION OF CONFORMITY
MORE REAL AND DIRECT THAN EVER
PERSONAL AND AGGRESSIVE, THIS IS A WAY OF LIFE
SUICIDE SILENCE THEY’RE BACK AND NOTHING CAN STOP THEM 1
FEATURES 06 LISTS // UPCOMING RELEASES 08 10 12 18 22 20
INTRODUCING - FIELD DIVISION Pure feelings into indie folk tunes ROUND UP - Zola Jesus, Karen O Blonde Redhead, Pharmakon... HOT NEW BAND - MILK TEETH A band that brings the 90’s grunge INTRODUCING - KESTRELS Upward growth on their way NEU // VOL.4 - Hotel Books, Mapei, Bleed the Pigs, Tashaki Miyaki Q&A - WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY?
“It’s us as a band being at the top of our game, bringing in Eddie who is going to be scrutinized and he’s well aware of that.”
Mark Heylmun - Suicide Silence
INTERVIEWS 24 HOTEL BOOKS
30 32 36 44 46 50 60 64 66 72 74 80
TRADE WIND FIELD MOUSE AMANDA X A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW MARMOZETS MAKTHAVERSKAN FEED THE RHINO TRAP THEM VOLUMES CORROSION OF CONFORMITY EYEHATEGOD WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
“... it’s about getting older but also having to feel young and still feeling confused like you’re not grown up yet.” Mike Haliechuck - Fucked Up
AGAINST ME! Interview with Laura Jane Grace
REVIEWS ALBUMS REVIEWS 86 Mastodon, Suicide Silence, Lana Del Rey,
‘68, Islander, Death Grips, Rise Against, First Aid Kit, Every Time I Die, J Mascis, Morrissey, Jenny Lewis, Mongol Horde, Cory Branan
REPORT 110 LIVE NOS Primavera Sound 2014, Serralves em Festa, Godflesh, Architects, Kylesa
118 CINEMA Palo Alto, Draft Day, Locke, Very Good Girls, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Sex Tape
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR...
music&riots magazine musicandriotsmagazine.com
FREE | Nº 04 | SUMMER ISSUE CEO/EDITOR IN CHIEF
Fausto Casais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Andreia Alves (email@example.com) Tiago Moreira (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fausto Casais, Andreia Alves, Tiago Moreira
CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS
Nuno Babo, Nuno Teixeira, Sílvio Miranda, Ricardo Almeida, Tiago Marinho, Sergio Kilmore, David Bowes, Mariana Silva, Fausto Mendes Ferreira, Nuno Nogueira, Rui Correia, Ana Filipa Carvalho, Rita Sedas, Rui Santos, Daniel Ferreira, Carlos Cardoso, Cláudio Aníbal, Myke C-Town, Ellery Twining, Luis Alves
Andreia Alves, Ricardo Almeida, Rafael Cordeiro
COVER PHOTO Ryan Russell
Fausto Casais (email@example.com)
HUGE FUCKING THANKS
Mike Cubillos,, Lauren Barley, Keith Morris, Aaron Beam, Frank van Liempdt, Deathwish Inc, Head Up! Shows, , Thrill Jockey, Neurot Recordings, Mute, PIAS, Sub Pop, Sargent House, Stephanie Marlow, Amplificasom,Nuclear Blast, Metal Blade, Laura Jane Grace, Nick Allport, Henry Rollins, Dylan Carson, Epitaph, Earsplit, Matador, Spinefarm, Southern Lord, Tell All Your Friends PR, Riot Act Media, Team Clermont, Bloodshot Records, Roadrunner Records
SEND YOUR PROMOS TO:
“Because some music is harder to make than other music, and in the end it means more. I don’t know if any makes sense to you, but it makes sense to me. It makes sense to my heart. Some bands are though enough to make it on 3 chords & an atittude. Some bands are though enough to be tender... Some bands are too tough to die. The Ramones were one of those.” Stephen King Tommy Ramone, the original drummer for the Ramones and the band’s last surviving original member, died on July 11 at the age of 65. RIP Tommy, Gabba Gabba Hey! Your Editor, Fausto Casais
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LISTENING POST Goat
Sub Pop Available on 22.09.2014
UPCOMING RELEASES 04.08.2014 COLD WORLD ADULT JAZZ SPOON TWIN PEAKS COLUMNS ENTOMBED AD NACHTMYSTIUM WOVENWAR THE ROSEBUDS A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW
Foundations of Burden
UPON A BURNING BODY MIREL WAGNER BOTANIST ADEBISI SHANK FKA TWIGS THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
CASTANETS CORY BRANAN PALLBEARER BEACH DAY KING 810 HE IS A LEGEND
Southern Lord Available on 18.08.2014
How the Gods Chill (Deathwish Inc.) Gist Is (Spare Thought) They Want My Soul (Epitaph) Wild Union (Grand Jury Music) Please Explode (Relapse) Back to the Front (Century Media) World We Left Behind (Century Media) Wovenwar (Metal Blade) Sand + Silence (Western Vynil) Sea When Absent (Lefse Records) The World Is My Enemy (Sumerian) Cellar Children See the Light of Day (Sub Pop) VI: Flora (Flenser Records) This Is The Third Album of A... (Sargent House) LP 1 (Young Turks) Get Hurt (Virgin Emi)
18.06.2014 I Am King
Deathwish inc. Available on 01.09.2014
Decimation Blues (Asthmatic Kitty) The No Hit-Wonder (Bloodshot Records) Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore) Native Echoes (Kanine Records) Memoirs of a Murder (Roadrunner) Heavy Fruit (Tragic Hero Records)
The Gaslight Anthem Get Hurt
Virgin Emi Available on 11.08.2014
Electric Wizard Time to Die
Spinefarm Records Available on 29.09.2014
The Tyranny of Will
Relapse Available on 15.09.2014
Primitive and Deadly Southern Lord Available on 01.09.2014
25.08.2014 J MASCIS MARK LANEGAN CYMBALS EAT GUITARS TY SEGALL FAMOUS LAST WORDS OPETH CASSIE RAMONE MERCHANDISE COLD SPECKS THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS THE WYTCHES CAYETANA
Tied to a Star (Sub Pop) No Bells on Sunday EP (Heavenly Recordings) Lose (Though Love) Manipulator (Drag City) Council of the Dead (InVogue Records) Pale Communion (Roadrunner) Time Has Gone (Loglady) After the End (Matador) Neuroplasticity (Mute) Brill Bruisers (Matador) Annabel Dream River (Heavenly Recordings) Nervous Like Me (Tiny Engines)
Ides of Gemini
Old World New Wave Neurot Available on 15.09.2014
BLONDE REDHEAD CODE ORANGE EARTH COVES HALF JAPANESE KRIEG YOB THE COLOR MORALE
Barragรกn (Kobalt Music) I Am King (Deathwish Inc.) Primitive and Deadly (Southern Lord) Soft Friday (Nettwerk Records) Overjoyed (Joyful Noise Recordings) Transient (Candlelight Records) Clearing the Path to Ascend (Neurot) Hold On Pain Ends (Fearless Records)
#### Albums that are in Red already reviewed in this issue ####
INTRODUCING // FIELD DIVISION
If you are looking for a band that convey the purest feelings into indie folk songs with the breathtaking landscapes as a backdrop, you should totally listen to FIELD DIVISION. Evelyn Taylor and Nicholas Frampton create this splendid soundscape in their music and they are about to release their first EP, "Reverie State". We caught up with the duo that talked about their inspirations, creative process and what we can expect from this debut release. Words: Andreia Alves
You guys are originally from Des Moines, Iowa, but right now you’re living in Nashville, Tennessee. Did this change of scenery help to get your music going? Evelyn: I think the change of
an you tell me when and how you started Field Division? Nicholas: Well, it wasn’t really
like a direct starting point. There was however a night about a year and half ago where Evelyn and I were hanging out and she wanted to play some songs for me, which I didn’t even know that she wrote songs at the time. I was interested in hearing them and so she played a couple and from that point on we have just started working together. 8
scenery really helped us focus on what we wanted to do with our lives. Nashville is like the center of music and that’s why it’s called “Music City”. There’s just music everywhere and creative people. It just really forced me to start writing more and recording things, you know, taking music seriously because that’s what I feel I want to do with my life.
You display in your social networking all these pictures of landscapes, mountains, trees, etc. Is the nature one of your main sources of inspiration? Evelyn: Yeah! Mother Nature is
probably one of the our main sources of inspiration. I used to do a lot of photography and landscapes are my favorite. I’ve always loved to read about nature
and write about it. Nicholas: I would say - reflecting on the songs that we write - that some of the more reflective and serene moments are definitely meant to create that imagery of nature... Just working in an organic feeling for the music.
How do you usually write your songs? Evelyn: So far, I just bring Nick
a song on an acoustic guitar and then he makes it so much better and we collaborate. But since we’ve finished an EP, we’re gonna start sitting down more together and just start from zero.
It’s been a while since you released your first single, “Faultlines”, a song that really blown us away with its beauty and grace. What can you tell me about this song and how it was conceived? Nicholas: That was actually the first song that I heard Evelyn play. I didn’t even know she played
interesting process, because it went from just Evelyn and I working on two songs together and not really having a lot of outside input, to got together with two other guys and recorded the other three songs. I don’t know if you can really tell a clear difference between the different arrangements, but I think they came out as a great product and it’s a cohesive piece.
What can we expect from this EP as a whole? Have the other songs the same feeling and vibe of “Faultlines”? Nicholas: Yeah, I think there’s a little bit more
diversity. “Faultlines” has a really heavy backbeat and it’s more folk acoustic guitar-driven and that will remain the same on the other songs on the EP. It’s mainly acoustic guitar-driven, but there will be definitely some more 80’s vibe and more kind of dancier songs, just different grooves... And there’s also a couple of songs from the EP that we’ll be kind of more stripped down and show how we actually write.
Musically, what has been your biggest influences nowadays? Evelyn: For me it has always been Fleetwood Mac and
in the recent years I’ve been listening a lot to Fleet Foxes, Local Natives, The Beatles... Those are my main ones. Robin Pecknold is like my favorite songwriter and also Stevie Nicks. Nicholas: I gain inspiration from a lot of the same artists and as well. 70’s rock’n’roll bands like the Eagles and Tom Petty. Those types of writers and musicians are what I get my inspiration from.
I read that you are going to release a cover song very soon and it was written by one of our favorite writers alive. Can you reveal it to us? Nicholas: Evelyn basically said it. [laughs] It’s a Fleet
Foxes’ song. It’s called “Lorelai” and it’s on their record Helplessness Blues.
music, then one night we were hanging out and she played “Faultlines” for me. It was the first song we worked on. That version of “Faultlines” is actually quite cool and we have it coming out on our EP, in August and it will also have “Faultlines” a bit updated and reinvented along with another five songs that we kind of tracked in the last couple of months.
I also listened to a song that you played in a live session called “Hollow Body”. Are you planning to release a studio version of it? Evelyn: Yeah, that’s actually one of the songs on the
EP. I’m really excited about it, because it reminds me a lot of Iowa - the sound, the imagery and the story.
As you said, this August you’re going to release your debut EP. Have you picked up already a title for it? Evelyn: We have a title, it’s going to call Reverie
State. We picked up that name because it was a time of reflection for us.
When are you going to release this cover? Evelyn: I don’t know... We are finishing it up right now
and we might release it before the EP its out or anytime this summer, because there’s no set up plan for it. We’d like to release it as soon as possible.
Is there any artist or band that would you like to collaborate with someday? Nicholas: Yes, a lot! [laughs] I guess moving to Nashville
has been kind of inspiring, because we came from Iowa where the market is completely different. So going to Nashville, we’ve been able to kind of rubbing shoulders with people that we have been listening to or been inspired for years. It kind of makes that window a little wider and it kind of made us realize that we could collaborate with those people and there’s a lot of people that we would like to collaborate with. Evelyn: Robin Pecknold! [laughs] Nicholas: I would like to just hang out with Joshua Tillman. Evelyn: Oh, me too! He’s currently performing under the moniker Father John Misty.
How was the whole process of making this first EP of yours? Nicholas: Actually, “Faultlines” and “Hollow Body”
were primarily tracked just with Evelyn and I by ourselves in the studio space. Then the other three full arrangements that will be on the EP were recorded in another producer’s studio. It was kind of an
Self-Released “Reverie State” EP will be out on October 28th
New Album in October
harmakon a.k.a. Margaret Chardiet announced her next album, Bestial Burden, which will be released via Sacred Bones this October. On the album’s inspiration and theme, Chardiet said: “After seeing internal photographs taken during the surgery, I became hyperaware of the complex network of systems just beneath the skin, any of which were liable to fail or falter at any time. It all happened so fast and unexpectedly that my mind took a while to catch up to the reality of my recovery. I felt a widening divide between my physical and mental self. It was as though my body had betrayed me, acting as a separate entity from my consciousness. I thought of my corporeal body anthropomorphically, with a will or intent of its own, outside of my will’s control, and seeking to sabotage. I began to explore the idea of the conscious mind as a stranger inside an autonomous vessel, and the tension that exists between these two versions of the self.”
“Bestial Burden” will arrive on October 14th via Sacred Bones 10
There’s a new project in town. Aaron Beam and John Sherman from Red Fang and Louis Jucker and Luc Hess from Kunz (plus former members of The Ocean Collective and actual members of Coilguns and The Fawn) joined forces to create Red Kunz and they will now release their new album entitled Teeth, Hair & Skin. The album will be released on August 15th via Hummus Records and Division Records, two Swiss labels that have joined forces with Lausanne Sessions. This is the 4th release of these sessions that have seen, amongst others a collaboration between swiss math
BLONDE REDHEAD The natural next step
YC’ trio Blonde Redhead will release their new album called Barragán on September 2nd via Kobalt Music. The album was produced, engineered, and mixed by Drew Brown (Beck, Radiohead, The Books, Lower Dens, Sandro Perri) and recorded at Key Club Recording in Benton Harbor, Michigan and The Magic Shop in NYC. Barragán marks the beginning of a(nother) new phase for the trio. Blonde Redhead’s relationship with 4AD has drawn to a close, and so the band’s 9th album emerges through a refreshed network of business relationships. There is continuity, however, in the presence of Drew Brown, who was a key member of the team during the making of their lastest effor, Penny Sparkle (2010). It was Drew who persuaded the band to head out to Key Club Recording in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where they encountered an amazing trove of vintage synthesisers – it was, in Kazu Makino’s words, “analogue heaven.” And the absence of distractions quickly paid creative dividends. “The street outside the building was completely deserted,” she says, “there was literally tumbleweed rolling past – it was like being in some abandoned town… I slept a lot, and when I woke up I started playing all of these keyboards - and that’s when I realized we had something; you know, it was going to be hard to fuck this one up.” According with the press release, Barragán is the most stark, elemental, stripped back album Blonde Redhead has ever made, relying on shivers of analogue keyboard twists and the off-kilter, slinky rhythms of drummer Simone Pace to carry the voices of singers/ guitarists Kazu Makino and Amadeo Pace.
Every Time I Die
rock warriors Ventura and David Yow from Jesus Lizard. Swedish band GOAT have announced the release of their new album. Commune is the the followup of the 2012′s debut album World Music. The band has also unveiled the first single of this record “Hide From The Sun”. Commune is out September 23rd in North America via Sub Pop, September 24th in Scandinavia via Stranded Rekords, and September 22nd via Rocket Recordings in the rest of the world.
“Barragán” will arrive on September 2nd via Kobalt Music
The sister duo Colette and Hannah Thurlow, 2:54, announced that they have signed with Bella Union and are going to release a new album soon. LA duo Vow are about to release a new EP, called Make Me Yours. As with their debut EP, this new one features once again Touché Amoré guitarist and, one-half of Andrew Thomas’ ambient guitar duo, Wife, Nick Steinhardt on guitar. Steinhardt, who interestingly enough introduced Andrew and Julia Blake to each other, also took charge of
all visual aspects relating to the band’s EP. Make Me Yours is out August 12th on The Native Sound Ten year gap since the duo Jesse F Keeler and Sebastien Grainger aka Death From Above 1979 debut is broken – a new record is out this September. In a recent interview, Grainger said: “We’re putting out a Death From Above record and if the press is like, ‘It’s not what we expected’, or however they react to it, it’s like, ‘We’ll you’ve been fucking asking for it’.” Physical World arrives on September 9th via Last Gang Records.
NOT NEW BAND // MILK TEETH
Hailing from Bristol, UK,
MILK TEETH is a four piece that brings back the
ferocious and restless 90's grunge and punk, praised to this day. Without being too stuck on the Seattle grunge scene, the group has been putting out some rad tunes and their debut EP "Smiling Politely" was the starting point of this insane sonic trip. Newly signed with Venn Records, Milk Teeth have released a new single, "Vitamins", that's too good to not being listened to. We spoke with three of the four members - Josh, Becky and Chris that introduced us to the Milk Teeth world! Words: Andreia Alves
hat did lead you to start Milk Teeth? Becky: I knew Josh from college. Josh and Olly [drums] had a little project going on and they have started writing stuff for Milk Teeth initially. Then they asked Chris to join because he’s good at riffs. [laughs] Then they asked me to join, because I worked with Josh in an old band of ours and he knew I could play guitar.
You guys formed this band less than a year and have already released such great tunes. Do you remember what was the first song you wrote together? Chris: I think it was “Vanilla”. Josh: Yeah, it was just a single that we released. Becky: We released it a long time ago. Chris: We haven’t played that anymore. [laughs] When I saw your name’s band, it came to my mind the song with the same title from Japanese Voyeurs, which they’re also from the UK. Do you know them? Chris: Yeah! That was pretty much it. We just liked that song and liked that name.
Becky: Also Josh still has a baby tooth. [laughs] Really? How old are you? Josh: 17 years old. [all laugh] What bands/artists did inspire you while shaping your sound? Chris: Sonic Youth, Green Day... Josh: Yeah, old Green Day, Nirvana... Becky: Smashing Pumpkins... Josh: Drake! [laughs] Becky: I like old punk like Vitamin X and stuff like that. Dead Kennedys...
Chris: I like anything that’s really catchy so I’m a big sucker for pop music. [laughs]
Becky: Chris is a big Miley Cyrus’ fan. [laughs] Chris: The new album is great! I read somewhere that you guys recorded an EP called “Fuck” but I’ve never heard it. Was the first EP by Milk Teeth? Josh: Yeah. When me and Olly started the band, we
recorded three songs under the name and then when the band properly started we got rid of it. So that Fuck EP is just me and Olly and that’s why is not there anymore. It’s not actually the band, just me and Olly, and then we choose the name. Chris: I think it’s on the YouTube... Josh: Yeah, there’s a song from it on YouTube.
Your EP “Smiling Politely” gives us this 90’s grunge and punk nostalgia and you make it sound so fresh and renewed! How was the process to get this EP done? Chris: It didn’t take us long to get the songs done. Josh: They just sort of came out and if we don’t like it we don’t do it, but if we like it we do it.
Chris: We don’t write just one style, we just write
writes lyrics to go with it; I write a song and I write lyrics to go with it, and then if Chris writes a riff, we will sit down and work out what lyrics will go together. So it’s like 50/50 share.
You have recently released a new single and video called “Vitamins”, which is a really energetic song and it’s your first release on Venn Records. What can you tell me about this song and this new limited cassette tape release? Josh: It’s the first time that Venn Records have ever done a
tape release, because we released our last EP on tape and it went down so well that they did a limited cassette tape of this single. There’s also a B-side on them [“Kevin Malone”] which it’s exclusive to the tape only. So we technically released two songs. Chris: We wanted the single to be free and so it’s free to download, but if you get the tape you get the other song as well.
How did you guys get into the Venn Records family? Josh: It was our manager that did it pretty much. He deals
with that kind of stuff and so he sent them some tracks. He’s been friends with them for a while and he wrote to them. They liked it and that was it. Chris: It was a good thing to be able to work with them and they have really good bands with them. Becky: I really dig Marmozets they are also on the label and we all listen a lot to Gallows. It was crazy to be on their label.
“We’re all 90’s kids and so we grew up with kind of similar influences and those kind of bands.” Becky
what comes out. We don’t try to write a certain style of music. Josh: Yeah, we don’t try to write 90’s tunes. It just comes out sounding randomized just like that. Becky: We’re all 90’s kids and so we grew up with kind of similar influences and those kind of bands. Chris: We wrote that EP in a month, maybe... And then we recorded it in a week and that was that really. It just came out.
Josh and Becky, how do you usually write your lyrics? Do you guys write them together? Becky: Not really. Josh will come up with a set of lyrics or I will come with a set of lyrics and then we’ll write them down. Josh: Yeah, a lot of the lyrics were like rush off and Becky added that songs in the end and it’s been more like a team thing. Usually though when one of us comes with a certain lyrics, we don’t change much about it but we share the amount of lyrics together. Becky writes a song and she writes lyrics to go with it; I write a song and I write lyrics to go with it, and then if Chris
Are you guys planning to do more releases soon? Becky: Yeah, we booked in to record our next EP on the next couple of months and probably book together a house sometime at the end of this year when its finished. We just need to record the songs.
What about tour plans? Chris: We have a weekend coming up in July and a lot of
shows, but this summer we’re gonna be relatively free so we can practice for recording and hopefully do a quite few tours next year. Josh: Hopefully do a European tour... We have nothing really booked yet. Becky: We got a few shows over the summer and so we’re gonna stay busy playing to get ready to record.
Do you recommend us any new bands from the UK? Chris: Hindsights! We just did a tour with them and they are the best. Their new album is gonna be fantastic.
Becky: Yeah, they are amazing. Josh: Crooks as well. [laughs] The guys are really good mates as well and they are a good band to watch live for sure.
Becky: Weak Nerves are amazing. Chris: One of the dudes in a band called Forest got on one
of our shows and his band is really good. We played with Pipe Dream as well and they were really cool. Pretty much most of the bands that we play shows with are worth checking out. They are really good bands.
Limited edition Milk Teeth cassette tape includes immediate download link for MP3 files. Only 100 ever made! Out now via Venn Records www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
ROUND ROUNDUP UP // SWANS
Karen O first solo album “Crush Songs”
eah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O is going to release this year her debut solo album, Crush Songs, via Cult Records. About Crush Songs: “When I was 27, I crushed a lot,” Karen O said. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever fall in love again. These songs were written and recorded in private around this time. They are the soundtrack to
what was an ever continuing love crusade. I hope they keep you company on yours.” Recorded in 2006 and 2007, the record is an intimate collection of lo-fi, bedroom recordings in the vein of Karen’s Oscar-nominated “The Moon Song.” Cult label founder Julian Casablancas says, “So excited, lucky and proud to be involved with such a classic album, I just wanna listen to it all day. Karen is an all-time great.” Crush Songs will first be available as a limited, special vinyl
Cassie Ramone, ex-Vivian Girls and member of The Babies, is going solo now and will release her debut solo record The Time Has Come this summer. All songs of the album were recorded and mixed in various apartments in New York and Los Angeles by Ramone and mastered by Jay Heiselmann. Ariel Pink plays bass on several of the album’s tracks and wrote this press release bio: “This is Cassie’s first record. She used to sing and play guitar in Vivian Girls. She recorded these songs by herself over the last year or so. She hopes you like the record. Goodbye.” Summer Issue
edition incorporating Karen’s own personal drawings, handwritten lyrics and more. In addition to this limited edition, the album will be released on standard vinyl, CD and digitally from September 8th.
“Crush Songs” is out on September 8th via Cult Records.
Weezer have unveiled the release date for their forthcoming new studio album. Everything Will Be Alright in the End is out September 30th on the new label Republic. This new album was produced by Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, who worked with the band on the Blue and Green albums. Whirr have announced the release of their second full-length for this fall along with the lead single. Sway arrives on September 23th via Graveface and it was recorded at Oakland’s Atomic Garden with Deafheaven’s Sunbather producer,
Esben and the Witch new album in September
sben and the Witch have announced the release of their new album. A New Nature arrives on September 1st via their own new label, Nostromo Records, and it follows two excellent studio albums - Violet Cries (2011) and Wash The Sins Not Only The Face (2013). Their new and third album was recorded by Steve Albini at his
Chicago studio Electrical Audio following a successful Pledge Music campaign earlier this year. “Blood Teachings” is the lead single of this new effort. About this record the band said: “We wanted to create a record that had a level of purity to it. To strip away the layers and loops and see what lay beneath. To keep things naked, unadorned and raw. The three of us, in a room, making noise. We looked to create a more primal record, full of human emotion and sonic
intensity. Drawing on themes of endurance, strength, determination and self-actualisation. Themes that have always inspired us but perhaps, only now, a few years down the line, a few years of touring under our belts, we feel we have the confidence and maturity to explore and shout about.”
Jack Shirley. Shellac have announced the release of a new album which follows 2007′s Excellent Italian Greyhound. Dude Incredible arrives on September 16th via Touch and Go, and was recorded over the last few years at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. The press release states that “There is no comma in Dude Incredible; like Sir Duke or King Friday, for example.” And also states that “the band will continue to play shows or tour at the same sporadic and relaxed pace as
always… There is no correlation between shows and record releases .” 4AD confirmed that mysterious experimental musician Scott Walker and drone metal outfit Sunn O))) would release a collaborative album. Well, this effort is called Soused, and it’s due to release on September 22 in Europe and 23 in North America. According to a press release, Sunn O))) approached Walker about appearing on their excellent 2009 album Monoliths & Dimensions,
which Walker declined, but in 2013, he approached them with new music he’d written specifically for a collaboration. This awesome collaboration has five tracks and 50 minutes long, it was recorded in early 2014 and features Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley, Greg Anderson, and Tos Nieuwenhuizen. It was produced by Walker and his long-time partner Peter Walsh with assistance from musical director Mark Warman.
“A New Nature” is out September 1st via Nostromo Records.
ZOLA JESUS “For me, it feels like my true debut...”
ika Danilova a.k.a. Zola Jesus has shared more details on her new album Taiga - which will be out on October 7th in the US and October 6th in the UK via Mute – and “Dangerous Days” was the first track unveiled from the new album. Taiga follows 2011’s Conatus and her 2013 orchestral collection Versions. Nika’s fourth album was recorded and produced by herself; the album was written on Vashon Island, Washington, and mixed in Los Angeles by Dean Hurley (David Lynch, Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse). Nika explained the album’s title in a press release: “It represents a feral, untapped world that could happily exist without us. There are taiga forests in Northern Wisconsin where I was raised, and also in Russia where my ancestors are from, so it also feels very native… For me, it feels like my true debut, because it is the first time I have felt so open and liberated.” Liberated in the present and connected to the past, this album is a transition for Zola Jesus. Taiga is at once challenging and accessible, and is undeniably branded with what Nika terms a “piercing ambition.” Such encompassing purpose, she explains, would be impossible without a newfound sense of artistic self. The album is a declaration of that purpose; one faced with jarring clarity in both its content and production. Nika summates, “For me, it feels like my true debut, because it is the first time I have felt so open and liberated.”
“Taiga” will be out on October 7th in the US and October 6th in the UK via Mute.
Death Grips have used their Facebook page to announce that they are no longer a band. They just posted a note announcing the breakup of Death Grips, along with a photo of that note written on a napkin. Here’s what they said: “we are now at our best and so Death Grips is over. we have officially stopped. all currently scheduled live dates are canceled. our upcoming double album “the powers that b” will still be delivered worldwide later this year via Harvest/Third Worlds Records. Death Grips was and always has been a conceptual art exhibition been
a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision. above and beyond a “band”. to our truest fans, please stay legend.” Even though the band have called it quits, they still are going to release their double album the powers that b later this year, but have canceled all upcoming tour dates. The former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has announced the release of his debut solo album Hesitant Alien this September. On recording the album with producer Doug McKean, Gerard said: “I wanted to
New album will be her last
make the small things sound big. My intention was to make 100 percent uncompromised art, using the currently least radio-friendly instrument, the guitar... I drew a lot of influence from shoe-gaze and Britpop. I want the record to sonically galvanize people.” On his lyrical inspiration “[They were] a struggle, beginnings, finding a newness in the mundane and the abstract. I looked to the Britpop poets like Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn, drawing upon everyday life. I also experimented
with the abstract, and looked at Frank Black’s work both with the Pixies, and as a solo artist. There was no concept and no call-toarms.” MINSK have begun work on their new full-length record, the first in over 5 years. The album is being recorded at Earth Analog studios outside of Champaign, IL throughout July/August and is being produced by long-time collaborator Sanford Parker. The as-of-yet titled album will see an early 2015 release via Relapse Records.
olk singer legend Vashti Bunyan announced Heartleap, her third album and first since 2005’s Lookaftering.Bunyan has revealed a few more details about Heartleap - specifically, that it will be her final album, “The whole point of the album was finally to learn a way that would enable me to record the music that is in my head, by myself,” she said in a press release. “I neither read nor write music, nor can I play piano with more than one hand at a time, but I have loved being able to work it all out for myself and make it sound the way I wanted. I’ve built these songs over the years. The album wouldn’t have happened any other way.” Heartleap also features contributions from Devendra Banhart and Vetiver. It was recorded over seven years, with the first song written in 2007 and the last one written in March of this year. It’s out October 7 in the U.S. via DiCristina and October 6 in the UK via FatCat “Heartleap” will arrive on October via FatCat
INTRODUCING // KESTRELS
In 2012, released their album "A Ghost History", a turning point in the band's career, but it was with their latest release - the excellent "The Moon Is Shining Our Way" EP - that the Halifax's trio has been receiving a proper attention. With more confidence and motivation regarding to their music, Chad Peck, the frontman of the group, talked with us about Kestrels' new EP, how they have evolved their music over these last few years and what we can expect from their upcoming full-length. Words: Andreia Alves
ou guys have released quite awesome material since 2009 and now you’re about to release a new EP. Tell me a little bit of how Kestrels became a band and how has been since then.
We’ve started in 2008 probably. I had an apartment with a loft and we turned it into a recording studio and we’ve started making some songs there, but just like a side project because we had other things that were going on at the time and then we put out a record [Primary Colours, 2009]. We did ok and we started to tour locally, and then we released our second record that is called A Ghost History and that was the one that got us signed with Sonic Unyon Records, which it was a big step for us. Then we started touring internationally like SXSW, Liverpool Sound City... You know, all the big festivals and touring in the states. Our new EP is coming out and so things are great right now. [laughs] We’re just gonna continue to tour and it’s gonna be incredible. It’s exciting.
Your latest release was the LP “A Ghost History” in 2012 and since then you hadn’t released any new material until now. So when did you start working on the new songs?
I think we started... I mean, we had a few ideas around shortly after A Ghost History, but we just focused on playing as many shows as we could and as getting as many places we could. I had a few demos that I had kind of stuffed away and then we spent most of the last 6/8 months of 2013 working on the 15 songs that we’ve recorded so far. We met in Toronto with this guy Alex Bonenfant, who produced METZ’s debut record and that was amazing. It was a rewarding experience for us. Then I came home and I did a bunch of the singing and guitar parts in my home studio. We worked on it for almost like a year to try to get it really good.
“The Moon Is Shining Our Way” is a 15-minute great EP and there’s a bigger vibe relating to My Bloody Valentine and The Smashing Pumpkins music. Were those bands direct influences in the songwriting for this EP?
I actually met Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine last November, it was kind of crazy. [laughs] Me and my manager went to see My Bloody Valentine in Montreal and we met all the band afterwards. That was a pretty cool experience for sure, he’s definitely one of my idols. I hadn’t thought about The Smashing Pumpkins being an influence... I mean, I certainly listened to them a lot when I was younger and I still do today. Probably it’s because how big the guitars sound, that’s definitely kind of like The Smashing Pumpkins like the record Siamese Dream and My Bloody 18
Valentine’s Loveless - I sort of see them all connected. I really like Billy Corgan’s lead guitar playing as well, so I kind of use those moves myself.
What else inspired you when you wrote those songs?
I guess we really wanted to push ourselves like on A Ghost History we were doing everything by ourselves. This time we really wanted to work way harder to make it way better sounding record, because we knew we could and we just had to make it happen. So that was a big inspiration, just the need to get better. Other things... I really like Ringo Deathstarr, which it’s a band that we played with a few times. I talked to Elliot [Frazier] from that band about recording guitars and sort of ideas that were really helpful. We played with Speedy Ortiz a few times and they have grown up which is amazing to see. Touring with a lot of American bands like we did over the last couple of years kind of gave us a bit of edge that maybe we didn’t have before.
The first track unveiled off this EP was the title track “The Moon Is Shining Our Way” and the Moon is obviously the inspirational muse for this song. How did this song come about?
We did two sessions in Toronto and that song was in the second session. I probably wrote it in about 15 minutes. It was kind of those ones that just came. It just came fully formed in 15 minutes. [laughs] We sort of pushed the edges of our sound a little bit on some of the other
material, so that song is like a classic Kestrels’ song I think. [laughs] I sort of had the elements of everything we wanted to do. It got the Dinosaur Jr. sort of guitar sound and the ponding bass of The Jesus Lizard. My brother Devin [Peck], who plays bass likes those kind of bands and so it has this bass sound. I guess the inspiration for the lyrics came from... I’m a teacher and in my class we talked about the moon landing and we talked about that movie Room 237  that is about the Shining  theories and there was a moon landing element to that, which we talked about that and it was kind of cool. And then I read a novel called Moon Palace by Paul Auster - who’s one of my favorites and I guess it’s sort of the things that are floating around in my brain and it’s kind of a cool subject. [laughs] The other lyrics are more about being in our band and it’s a different approach.
As you’ve mentioned before, this EP was recorded at Toronto’s Dream House Studios with Alex Bonenfant, and also mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer. How was it to work with them like and what did they bring to your music?
We did the tracking with Alex and he sort of did the producing as well. He had a big hit with that METZ’s record
on Sub Pop. His studio is in downtown Toronto and it’s like the perfect place to make records. He was just like into us committing our sound instead of trying to feel like “Well, we’ll fix that later” but he was like “No, we’re gonna do it now. We’re gonna get it right.” It was kind of different from what we’ve done things before and it really made us perform better and made us push ourselves a bit more which it’s good. He’s super good at making decisions when it comes to how the sound fits together, so Alex was critical to us on making the record as good as it is. And Claudius [Mittendorfer] has known us for a long time and I’m really good friends with those guys of the band Ash from Ireland. Claudius works with them a lot and they share a studio space in Manhattan. We wanted to work with him forever and it finally worked out. I sent him the songs and I didn’t even give him much advices. I just said “Here they are!” [laughs] The first mixes are everything you hear on our record. He’s super professional, super friendly... I would call him on Friday nights when I was recording guitar on my house and he would answer the questions for me, which it’s really handy when you’re sitting with the headphones on for eight hours at a time. [laughs]
Does the cover art of this EP have some kind of symbology?
We use to debate about the cover art for a long time, but this time was super easy. Our drummer Paul’s fiancée Emily took that photograph and all of our records did have some sort of some film photography, like we have straight-up pictures on every cover. We were just sort of looking and it was like the second attempt we made for the cover that we thought “That’s the one.” We just all agreed that it was the cover for the record. There’s not too much symbology... I guess it involves a lot of time in the airport like in the past eight months. [laughs] Besides that, it’s just a picture that we liked.
I read that this EP is a teaser for the full-length that you’re going to put out next year and you’ve been recording new songs for the LP at Dream House Studios as well. Why did you decide to release only this EP instead of just releasing a new album?
We had 15 songs that we recorded in the past year and we kind of felt that we like all of them. We didn’t think that were any that were not so good, so we figured that 15 songs
are too many for a full-length and we’ve been away for a little while with new music. We thought we would come back with a four song EP - sort of like a teaser for what’s gonna come later - and to be back on the road and start playing shows again... You know, getting publicity and remind people that we’re still doing things. We’ve always done a full-length and then a single or a full-length and an EP in that order... We’ve always seemed to work that way, so... [laughs] It just seemed to fit the timing. We didn’t quite have the full-length ready to go at this point, so we knew we had to go on tour again. That’s how it came as an EP and then a full-length.
What can you tell me more about these new songs that you’ve been working on?
The biggest change from our last record - and I think it’s pretty clear on the EP as well - is that my brother Devin is our new bass player and he’s like a monster when it comes to play bass. [laughs] The songs have really strong bass lines and really rhythmic sort of bass sound, so it really frees me on the guitar to do a bit more guitar wise instead of just start playing more rhythm guitar. So that’s one of the coolest things we’ve been doing. The bass is almost like the bass and rhythm guitar so that the guitar that I play is a bit more spacey and sort of loose in some ways, which it’s kind of cool. We definitely have our slowest song ever recorded on the full-length. It’s this kind of a long, epic song. It’s like a jazz odyssey thing, but it sounds like us doing a different version of us - if that makes any sense. [laughs] There’s a few songs that are not punk songs but they are faster and shorter. Our first single of the fulllength will be really short - with 2 minutes - and has this catchy, super fast hooks after hooks. We’re really excited about that one. There’s less guitar stuff and there’s more textural stuff. I got an old moog synthesizer and I’m using that a bit to give texture. The singing is a lot better than it was on the last records. The whole record sounds bigger and a little more cohesive. I can’t wait for it to come out. We worked very hard on it so I’m glad that is almost done. [laughs] “The Moon Is Shining Our Way” EP is out now via Sonic Unyon
QUESTION & ANSWER
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY? W
ell, actually Tom and I have just started a record label, Other People Records, that we are putting out Trade Wind stuff, so we’ve been listening to a lot of our own band and we have three bands right now putting out a record soon, and so we’ve been listening to a lot of that. There’s a three piece girl from Australia called Avaberée and they’re awesome, so we’ve been listening to a lot of that. Also another band called Tommy Boys from San Francisco that they just hit the studio and their album is incredible. There’s this kind of instrumental/ experimental band from Florida called Sea Cycles and they’re incredible, and then also my friend Luis has this kind of pop thing called Mystery Skulls and I’ve been listening to that. I’ve been listening to a lot of Stick to Your Guns [laughs] because that’s been mixed now and so I have to listen to that to make sure everything is exactly how it needs to be. Besides that, my friends in a band called Backtrack released a new record recently called Lost In Life and I’ve been listening to that a lot. I listen to Terror pretty much all the time. [laughs] Jesse Barnett (Trade Wind, Stick to Your Guns)
’ve been listening to a lot of Broder Daniel. They don’t exist anymore, but they were really big in Gothenburg and in whole Sweden maybe from ‘95 until 2008... There’s also a band called Bad Cash Quartet... Gustav Data (Makthaverskan)
’ve been really into this band called Shovels & Rope recently. They have a song called “Birmingham” that I think it is fantastic. I’ve been listening to a lot of Robyn Hitchcock, to the song “NY Doll” in particular. It just blows me away, it’s a great song. And I also recently discovered Cody Chestnutt and I’ve been listening to a lot of him. I’ve also been listening a lot to Pg Lost lately. Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) 20
icholas: I’ve been listening to The War On Drugs lately. The new record Lost in the Dream really makes me feel nostalgic and it’s amazing. The new Beck record is also great. Our buddies Desert Noises from Utah, they are fantastic.
velyn: I’ve been listening to the new Jonathan Wilson album. Nicholas and Evelyn (Field Division)
NEU // VOL.4
NEU! HOTEL BOOKS TASHAKI MIYAKI BLEED THE PIGS MAPEI
HOTEL BOOKS Where? California (USA) Who? Cam Smith, Jordan Leal, Dan Colasanto For fans of: La Dispute, Listener, Enablers
here’s not really much that we can say, or even better, that we want to say about Hotel Books and that’s because Cam Smith – the vocalist, lyricist and poet of the band with who we had the pleasure of talking on the phone – he’s the kind of guy that really doesn’t need an announcement. He can do his own talking just fine and that’s more than enough for us, the listeners. This band from Porteville, California was started back in 2011 and since the beginning their mission
became very clear when they stated “It’s not about sharing finances, or even art, it’s all about sharing love. This all started because we believe Love exists, and you deserve to experience it. We believe in God, and we believe in Love. But also, we believe that if you don’t believe in God, you still deserve to be loved. Love is not exclusive.” They do just that while playing something that we could call post-rock meets punk/hardcore meets shoegaze, with spoken word – the centerpiece of the entire thing. They just released their new double EP, I’m Almost Happy Here But I Never Feel At Home, and… that’s it! Read and listen.
INTERVIEW // HOTEL BOOKS
an you tell us how Hotel Books came about?
Basically Hotel Books began in September of 2011. I was playing in another band; I ended up quitting that band… I wanted to move on and start something different. I thought I would just do a spoken word poetry to kind of fill some time and then my best friend Matt said that he wanted to play guitar in that new project, so we wrote a couple of songs and went on a little tour. I realized that was what God wanted to and that was what I wanted to do. Three years later we’re still doing it, now with a different lineup of guys with whom it has been amazing to tour with. Our music just really started with “Hey, this would be a fun thing to try”, and now this is consuming my life in a very good way.
So you knew that you wanted to have this spoken word poetry thing since the beginning, right?
Yeah! I mean, I was trying to play in punk rock bands. I was in college at the time and living in San Diego area just trying to play in a punk band and I kind of get tired of trying to do that, so I thought I would… You know, I think what really intrigued me with punk and hardcore music was that people were just getting up and pouring everything, every drop of energy into it and I thought that I just wanted to find a way to do something like that, so I started to do spoken word poetry and… yeah, right from day one I knew that I wanted to do spoken word but I didn’t realize it would become my main thing but now that it is, I’m really happy.
Funny that you mentioned punk rock. It seems to me that there is a bunch of elements of punk on Hotel Books’ music. Do you see it that way?
Yeah, man. Well, I hope so. I think that all cultures of just like… I guess it’s a culture of what I call mild mannered and prosody or you know, it came from this generation of kids that were just like… You know, I’m not writing songs about tragedy, I’m not writing songs about these devastating things. I’m writing songs about the stuff that I 24
gotta deal day to day and that was kind of what intrigued me about the punk culture. It’s just a bunch of teenagers getting up there and saying “I have a voice. I have something to say and maybe I’m not here to rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe I’m here because I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, but what I’ve seen is still important to me and I’m going to write about it.” I think with Hotel Books I try to take that mentality and saying like “I’m not going to try to force people doing something. I’m not going to try to do anything other than something that represents what I’ve experienced. That’s all that I’m going to take to the table.”
That’s the beauty of punk rock. What really matters is the message that you have.
Yeah, I think it was Kurt Cobain that said that “punk rock is a mindset”, you know? I know that sometimes, with any movement in music it gets bastardized and it gets taken away, the truth is taken away by people who want to represent it in a new light… I mean, every good punk band had a financial backing, every good punk band had some sort of capitalism means to get the job done, and I think it’s cool that now we live in a generation where that mindset can move beyond a genre. You don’t have to play just three chords and fast drum beats to be a part of that culture, to be a part of that mindset. I think that’s a really beautiful thing that we have now.
I’m curious about the band’s name. Why Hotel Books?
It’s funny, when I picked that band name I didn’t really think too much of what the alternatives would be, but most people assume that means bibles because when you go to a hotel they always have a bible on their rooms. But that’s actually not what Hotel Books means. Hotel Books is a metaphor for my life. I feel like my life is like a hotel where people come and people go, and some people come and trash it and want to party, want to have a good time and find a place to sleep, but then other people come wanting to spend time there and enjoy themselves and some people except me to cleaner up while other people take care of themselves. That’s kind of how I felt my life was and… I write my poems in a book so these are the journals entries, these are the books about my hotel life.
“I write my poems in a b
these are the bo
I know that you guys live in different places. How does it work in terms of creating new music?
Well, Jordan [Leal, guitarist] who’s the main songwriter of our new album - the one that comes out in July -, he lives in Phoenix, Arizona while I - the guy responsible for the lyrics - live in Central California, so we’re about eleven hours away from each other. And our drummer Dan [Colasanto], who wrote all of his own parts as well, lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. So, Jordan and I can kind of hang out every once in a while because we are only eleven hours away from each other so sometimes I’ll just head to Phoenix for a week or two, my girlfriend and I just go upstate and hang out… But actually this new EP what happen was we were on tour in March and every time we had a day off, especially when we were at a friend’s house, I remember the most… I guess the biggest memory of writing was when we were in Denver, Colorado, staying at a Dan friend’s house and we just set up the equipment in his bedroom and just tried to write songs and recorded it what we’re coming up with.
watched my parents move out of the house I grew up in and moving to their own separate houses while we were writing the record and really kind of took the mindset because you know, I don’t know what home is anymore other than this band, living with these people, etc. People surrounding me, that was my home and I wanted to write a record that was like, “I’m not happy here but I’m at home.” I just took the opposite because this record is about all the negativity that got me to the positive.
Poetry is the central piece of Hotel Book’s music. Have you been writing poetry for a while now, right?
Yeah, I was in sixth grade and my English teacher, Miss Holly, said that we could get extra credits if every Friday we write a poem, she would give us ten points of extra credit, and I realized that I liked to write lyrics and my dream when I was a kid was to be singer of a band, so I used to write lyrics all the time and then I just started using the lyrics as poems… It was a good practice, writing a poem per week, and my very journal entries sort of look more and more like poems and by the time I got to high school I had probably two thousand poems. I just started reading through them all and turn them into these eight songs that became our record.
What do you take from it? I mean, poetry.
book so these are the journals entries,
ooks about my hotel life.” [laughs] We recorded the record in California, Jordan and I did and then we sent the parts over to Dan and he actually tracked the drums in Massachusetts, so we did kind of long distance. But as far as touring goes, Dan usually just flies to California, I pick him up in Bakersfield at the airport and we drive down the Southern California and Jordan meet us there and then we just grab the van and hit the road.
Let’s talk about this new double EP, “I’m Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel At Home”. The title reflects your situation as a person?
Yeah. This is a double EP as you know, and the title of the EP that we released in December of 2013 is I’m Almost Happy Here and that title comes from the book Ender’s Game [Orson Scott Card, 1985] where Andrew “Ender” Wiggin says to Valentine [Ender’s sister], “I have to leave.” She asks “Why?” and he replies “Because I’m almost happy here.” It’s basically him saying, “I’m stuck in this comfort zone and I can’t be productive in the comfort zone. I’m almost happy here and once I’m happy I won’t try.” We kind of adopted that mindset. I was going to a rough patch with this girl I had a crush on and things didn’t go my way and I think a lot of guys have this thing of saying “I hate this girl, she broke my heart”… I wanted to take a different perspective and say “You know what? It’s not her fault. It’s more, I’m stuck on this and I’m letting everything affect me.” I guess I just started fighting for happiness and realized that I just needed to find peace. So, we wrote a record about that and then we wrote a part two called But I Never Feel At Home, that’s kind of the journey that got me through there and we actually used the living room of the house where I grew up to record that part two. A lot of stuff is happening in my family and things are changing… I
I think that every band has their own way of expressing themselves. I’m not here to say that anybody’s doing it wrong but what really got me with poetry is the ability of saying what I want to say and I’m not hiding behind a chorus or a melody. I don’t have any pretty sing along that will help people connect with the music. I think with a lot of bands, their approach is to catch people’s attention with a chorus or something. I have chosen not to do that by using poetry. I think just yelling to a microphone the way that people can connect is just through the words since they don’t really have anything catchy to grab onto. I mean, I’ve heard melodies that changed my life forever but I think for my band I decided that I was just going to cut out that and just let the listen connect with the lyrics.
Would you say that love is the main theme in your lyrics?
Yeah! I mean, without love there’s no reason to be in Hotel Books. We don’t really do this for ourselves. We love it, like going on tour or recording records is a lot a fun but the fun isn’t worthy… I mean, financially is a little bit rough but at the same time if I was doing this for myself, you know it sucks to miss my sister’s twelve years old birthday or missing my grandmother’s memorial service or my uncle’s memorial service. The only reason we do this is because it’s worthy when we know that we can share love and it seems like with our lyrics and everything, whether if we’re writing happy songs or sad songs I think what we’re trying to do is tear down the wall that people built and tear down any reserves that somebody had so that way their heart is completely open to receiving life. Words: Tiago Moreira
“I’m Almost Happy Here, but I Never Feel At Home” is out now via In Vogue Records musicandriotsmagazine.com
NEU // VOL.4
TASHAKI MIYAKI Where? Los Angeles (USA) Who? Lucy, Rocky, Lil D For fans of: Jesus & The Mary Chain, Echo Lake, Summer Twins
ashaki Miyaki are a Los Angeles-based band that was formed from a jam between two friends. Lucy (vocals/drums) and Rocky (guitar) started to jam together and then asked a friend who had a home studio to make some recordings. The result was the song “Somethin Is Better Than Nothin” and the cover for Everly Brothers “All I Have To Do Is Dream”. They had a pretty good feedback so they kept on doing music. Most of the people that get to know their music wondered about their name, that actually came out in a pretty fun way. One night after a few drinks, Lucy was trying to say the name of Japanese director Takashi
Miike, but instead it came out as Tashaki Miyaki, so they thought it was a good name for the band. Inspired by Japanese culture and artists like Neil Young and The Velvet Underground, the duo - now a trio with Lil D on bass - creates haunting lo-fi psych-rock tunes with some dream pop into the middle. They released a bunch of covers of artists as Father John Misty and Bob Dylan, and released their charming self-titled debut EP in 2013. Early this year, Tashaki Miyaki have released a 7” single, the dreamy-cosmic pop song “Cool Runnings”, along with a Chris Bell cover “There Was a Light” as a B-side and it was released on the band’s own Blonde Dog Records.
BLEED THE PIGS Where? Nashville, Tennessee (USA) Who? Kayla Phillips, David Hobbs, Taylor Carpenter, Christian Smith For fans of: His Hero Is Gone, (old) Neurosis, Murder One
he Allman Brothers Band, Hank Williams III, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash and Townes Van Zand. What they all have in common? Nashville, Tennessee! It’s undeniable the impact of Nashville on the music scene in these last six decades. Now Nashville can be proud, once again, with four musicians that last year decided to form a new band under the influence of the legendary Oakland’s metal outfit, Neurosis. Bleed the Pigs (influence taken from a Neurosis song) is a quartet that, like their “big” influence, is starting out with a sound that’s hardcore at its core but proudly sludgy. Releasing two EPs in a five
months period – Mortis Fatum in January of 2014 and Overcompensations for Misery in May of the same year –, with the DIY stamp on, they managed to create the same type of impact that a few years ago His Hero Is Gone created when they arrived upon the scene. Creating music that is undeniable bleak and with heavy doses of rage, they we’re able to create something very unique – Kayla Phillips’ vocals are to blame – and walk at their own pace. But it’s not only their music; it’s their will to talk about things that really matter, from discrimination to rape… The sociopolitical issues are on the table. After all we’re talking about hardcore.
NEU // VOL.4
MAPEI Where? Stockholm (Sweden) Who? Jacqueline Mapei Cummings For fans of: M.I.A, Azealia Banks, SZA
orn in Rhode Island but based on Stockholm, Mapei - a.k.a. Jacqueline Mapei Cummings - is a rapper/singer that has started making music and rapping since an early age. When Mapei was 22, she started freestyling at different clubs in Sweden and a scene grew out of that. She combines rap with Liberian folk and soul music, indie electronic elements, and the darkness and melancholy of Sweden had influenced her a lot. “Video Vixens” was her first hit song in 2008 and afterwards she signed with Downtown Records in 2009, which led to the release of her debut EP The Cocoa Butter Diaries at that same year.
After a 4-year hiatus of traveling around the world, Mapei returned in 2013 freshly inspired with the release of a new single “Don’t Wait”, a well-crafted catchy pop song with R&B rhythms where she sings more - and damn well - than she raps. She recently released another great single, “Change”, that will be a part of Mapei’s debut album. Hey Hey will be released on September 23rd via Downtown Records (USA) and Columbia (UK) and she stated that this first fulllength will have plenty of both rapping and singing. She has also cited Radiohead, Donna Summer, Irene Cara, Diana Ross, Missy Elliott, Brandy, Queens of the Stone Age, and Michael Jackson as influences.
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SPLASH YOUR INTERVIEW // TRADE CASH!!!WIND
Two guys, two bands, one project in common. One is Jesse Barnett from Stick To Your Guns and the other one is Tom Williams from Stray From The Path, and together they formed
TRADE WIND. Between touring together and
sharing a great friendship, these two fellows wanted to do something together, something different... With Trade Wind, the duo explores a different musical approach that they are used to with their other bands and the result is the brilliant debut "Suffer Just To Believe" EP. During a vacation in Los Angeles, Jesse Barnett spent some time talking to us about this new project and what else he has been up to. Words: Andreia Alves
oth you and Tom have different bands, but you guys decided to start a new project together that’s a totally different musical approach. How did the idea of starting this band come about?
If you see one of our iPods, you would see that it’s never just one style of music. We listen to everything. Tom and I wanted to work together, because we’ve always been good friends and our bands were always on tour together. I think we wanted to book together some sort of musical project. We are both big fans of Deftones and we were like: “Let’s start something with a kind of rock vibe”. This was three years in the making. He showed me a couple of his riffs that he had and I play guitar in the band as well and so I showed him some stuff that I had as well. It just kind of happened. We have done a couple of tours together, and on the tours that we were doing together - during those three years - we worked on stuff and then finally we just booked time to do the EP. We got together 30
and we just did it. It was incredibly easy, which it was refreshing for me [laughs] because anytime I go and do a record with Stick To Your Guns or helping someone with a record is always the most stressful kind of situation to be in. With Trade Wind was like the easiest thing ever, especially because we had almost no time, you know? We had about 5 days or so to kind of bang this thing out. I’m extremely happy with the results. I think we are both a little surprised with the reaction that we are getting from people.
Trade Wind is surely a different outlet for you and seems like a more cathartic way to experiment a new territory. What was like to explore and dive into a different musical side of you? It’s awesome. It has always been there, but just because I’m with Stick To Your Guns - I don’t wanna say I’m stuck in a box - but Stick To Your Guns can’t come up with a record like what Trade Wind just did. People would be like: “What the hell?!” [laughs] I have my thing with Stick To Your Guns when I’m with Stick To Your Guns. I always had this other side of just messing around and never actually did do anything with and I think the
same goes with Tom, you know? We were both able to explore those things and do something in a completely different way and use a different part of our brain that we don’t normally use. I think I can speak for Tom here as well. It was very nice to do that and not feel pressure. There was no record label to please, there was no one waiting for this record - no one even knew that it was happening. We were able to go in the studio and do whatever the hell we wanted. There was no one to impress but us, you know what I mean? I think that part was really nice to deal with and very free flowing because of that.
So nobody knew about this project until now, right?
No one - except our girlfriends. Tom was actually living in New York at the time and I’m from Orange County, but I live in Montreal so that’s about a hour flight. I flew down to New York and we talked about it, so no one really knew... I mean, people knew we were working together on some stuff, but no one really expected anything. People were like: “Ok cool. Tom and Jesse are working on something” and that came
awesome with the help of Will Putney [producer] and Randy. They were really supportive and really helpful throughout the whole process as well. It was awesome.
Was with Trade Wind that you wrote for the first time a song with this different musical side? Personally I’ve been doing acoustic stuff, but for me and Tom this is like the first ever I’ve done anything with him. I don’t know if he has ever been in other projects or anything - I haven’t heard if he has - but this is the first time actually that we’ve done it for real and show the world: “Ok, I have this side as well that I can do.”
Listening to the songs of the “Suffer Just To Believe” EP, it’s just clear how you introduce your inspirations, such bands like Deftones or Foo Fighters. What else did inspire you?
I think the time that we had and we had a lot to go into as well, I didn’t really come in very prepared which is very normal for me and Tom came in very prepared which is very normal for Tom. Basically, when you’re doing a record, you normally do a pre-production so that you can map out how the songs are supposed to go. I don’t like to do pre-production and so that was kind of scary for Tom, because he had no idea what my lyrics were, he had no idea how I was going to sing, he had absolutely no idea how I was going to come out... Until it was time to actually do it! [laughs] That was a bit frustrating for him, but I think he was happy with the result of it. I think the fact that we had no time to do it and we just had to force ourselves to kind of get something out, we tend to be our own worst critics, so if we had time to think about it we would be like: “Oh, I want to do this differently... Oh maybe we shouldn’t do the song or whatever” - we had no time! We were just forced to push it out and I think because of that time it gave us some sort of inspiration that really forced us to: “Alright, this is what it is.”
“Suffer Just To Believe” EP is a really great debut of yours and the lyrics are pretty profound and emotionally perfect for the sound atmosphere. How was the process of getting these songs done?
When I was younger, I read a lot of poetry books and I loved my English class. I’ve always loved words. On
Stick To Your Guns I’m always saying something, you know what I mean? I always have a very direct-to-thepoint message that I’m trying to convey and with Trade Wind I get to be a little bit more metaphorical and use more the words - more in an articulate way if that makes any sense. I don’t necessarily have to say anything that’s direct to a point; I can use the words to form a sense that sounds nicer than it really is, like paint a more colorful picture than with Stick To Your Guns. With Stick To Your Guns, there’s always some sort of message behind that at the beginning of the song and by the time the song comes around I wanna make sure that I said exactly what I was trying to say. With Trade Wind, there isn’t that necessity to do that, so I get to really explore the different parts of me, musically and lyrically, and I think that’s great. Tom helps me on some lyrics as well, which is fantastic, because I would be stuck, and I wrote a lot of the songs and a lot of the lyrics in the studio and so I would be like: “I’m stuck with this one part and I don’t know what to do...” and he would come in and help me. He would say a line and that would help me finish the rest of the song. It’s all about the way that it sounds.
keyboard on it that Tom did as well and I did the vocals.
How was the recording process between you guys for this first EP? Did you record all the instruments?
Tell me a little bit about your record label, Other People Records.
We recorded everything, except for the drum parts that were played by Dan Bourke from Straight From The Path, and he saved our asses. I think that was great, because we were looking for a drummer to do this and I thought maybe our drummer George [Schmitz] from Stick To Your Guns could do it. We would had him flown out to New York to do it, but Dan was already in New York and so we brought Dan in. He has such an awesome style of playing. Besides Stick To Your Guns’ drummer, he’s one of the best drummers I’ve seen. He’s incredible and got such a unique, groovy style. I think his style of playing really helped add to create the Trade Wind sound. We could just get anybody to come in and do exactly what we wanted, but Dan came and kind of just did: “Back the fuck up, I’m gonna do my thing.” [laughs] He was just awesome and he gave definitely a big contribute on how the EP sounds. He did all his drum parts in about a day and so that was awesome. Besides that, Tom and I did the guitars and the bass; there’s a little bit of
Are you guys planning on doing live shows with Trade Wind?
We would love to! That’s definitely something that Tom and I talk a lot. We definitely want to play some shows, especially with the reaction that we’ve gotten from people and I think that helped to push that side. The reaction has been awesome and people are saying: “Oh man, I really want to see this live. I really want to see this!” So that kind of let us think that maybe we’ll do it, but it’s so hard because I’m living in Montreal and I have my insanely busy schedule to secure on, and Tom now actually lives in Los Angeles and he got his schedule with Straight From The Path. To be able to find both our bands some time off is a bit of a stretch, but I’m sure that people can look forward to it sometime. [laughs] Maybe a full US tour, we might do UK, Australia... We might do something like that or it may be something like a New York show or LA show... But right now there’s really no plans to play, which it’s unfortunate because I really would love to.
I started it by myself maybe like a year ago. I was just going to do it on my own and then I brought Tom on to do it, because he has a completely different brain. He’s a very hard worker - not that I’m not a hard worker - but he’s the go-and-get-it. He makes a lot of things happen which it’s great. We have all these bands now that we are ready to release. Trade Wind EP was the first release and after that it will be the band Tommy Boys, experimental band from Florida called Sea Cycles and Avaberée. We’re always looking for new bands. It’s really cool and it’s another project that I have. [laughs] But it’s really fun and I’ve always wanted to be on the label side, because I was always on the artist side arguing with the labels and now I’m on the label side. [laughs] Now I’m arguing with all the bands. [laughs] It’s good to see the different perspective of it. “Suffer Just To Believe” EP is out now via Other People Records
E S U O FIELD M Formed in 2010, Field Mouse are the duo Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral - now they have expanded into a four piece. The two decided to start a band together and they can surely make great dreamy shoegaze songs. But the Brooklyn's duo wanted to push forward their sound and the result is their first full-length, "Hold Still Life", an incredible and bold new approach of the band. In a fun chat, Rachel and Andrew told us all about their official debut album and what it is like to be a musician in the city that never sleeps.
Words: Andreia Alves
ell me a little bit of how Field Mouse was formed. Rachel: We met in music school in Purchase
College, which is a university in New York. Andrew started to play guitar and bass on my songs during my last year of school and then we kind of formed a band out of that.
“Glass” was the first song that I’ve heard from you. Your dreamy shoegaze approach is really sublime. How is usually your songwriting process? Do you guys write the songs together? Andrew: We generally write together.
Sometimes I come up with a riff, like with “Glass” I came up with the guitar parts, kind of wrote them all out in order and recorded them. Then Rachel wrote the melodies and music to that. A lot of the times, the dreamy shoegaze texture can come before there’s even a song and it kind of applies to the song afterwards. But the other half of the time, Rachel writes a song and then I kind of act a little bit more like a producer and add all the reverb and stuff.
I really enjoyed the covers you did of Deerhunter’s “Helipcopter” and Twin Peaks theme’s “Falling”. What other songs would you like to cover someday? Andrew: We constantly talk about covering
songs and I feel like we should probably stop. [laughs] I think it will be different once we have our record out. It’s coming out in July, but right now there’s only six songs online that people can hear and two of them are covers. [laughs] We talk about covering songs all the time. The other day, I said I wanted to cover the entire Garbage album’s Version 2.0. Rachel: That probably won’t happen. [laughs] Andrew: Yeah, that probably won’t happen... Rachel: We cover songs in practice a lot. We cover a lot of Smashing Pumpkins for fun.
It would be very interesting to listen to that. Rachel: [laughs] Yeah, I’m ok with that. Maybe
Andrew: Yeah. We also did for Halloween a
cover set as a band called The Anniversary, which it’s a band that we are just in love with. Rachel: We love them! Andrew: They kind of made two records and then stopped before something major happened, but they’re kind of our heroes. Rachel: Also we covered a song from a movie for Record Store Day. The movie is called That Thing You Do! and we cover the song “That Thing You Do”. There is another cover.
Yeah, you were on the Faux Real Record Store Day compilation to celebrate the Record Store Day. The compilation has only covers of songs from movies, right? Rachel: Yeah, movies and TV shows! The
concept was to cover songs by bands that don’t exist in real life, but exist in movies and TV. There were a lot of cartoon bands and movie bands. We went for “That Thing You Do”. First of all, I think it’s a great song and my high school band covered it when I was 14, so I thought it would be fun to do it as an adult.
Did you buy something from Record Store Day that you wanna share? Rachel: I want to say yes, but I’m so broke and
I just didn’t go out. [laughs] But I supported it in everyone’s else life. Andrew: I got one! Kanine Records has a compilation called “Non Violent Femmes”. It’s a compilation of different female bands in Brooklyn and I bought that.
During these years as a band, you have released some pretty good 7” and also an album titled “You Are Here” that I’ve never heard in full. Is it still available for listening? Rachel: It was for a while. That album is what
I was making during the end of college and at the very last minute I kind of decided to www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // FIELD MOUSE last minute I kind of decided to call it Field Mouse, but we hadn’t really formed the band yet. So once we did, we decided to kind of put it away for now and work with the new material and with new members. We’ll probably release it under a different name or something, but it exists and I have about a 1000 copies of it. [laughs] Andrew: It will probably be released as Rachel Brown solo record maybe. The songs are good, but they are just different. It was before we’ve even had an idea what the band would be and so it just doesn’t really sound like us.
You have now new band members on board, Saysha Heinzman [bass] and Tim McCoy [drums]. What can you tell me about how they joined the band? Rachel: They are friends of ours
that are just the best people ever and really good on drums and bass as well. [laughs] We’ve just started jamming together. Andrew: Yeah, there’s just so many people making music in Brooklyn that you end up knowing a bunch of guitarists, bassists and drummers just by going outside. Rachel: And every drummer is in like 15 different bands. [laughs]
“Hold Still Life” marks for sure a new step for your music, it’s a more solid and intense record with new elements, like synthesizers. Do you feel that way about this debut album? Andrew: Yeah, absolutely! It’s
definitely a lot more aggressive, I guess. Everything is like a big distortion fuzz song, there’s not too many songs like super dreamy... It has a little bit of that but it’s just much more like a burst of energy. Rachel: I would agree with that. [laughs]
What did drive you for the creative process of these twelve songs? Rachel: A lot of the inspirations are
about trying to feel like a human in New York City, which I have decided that I think it is impossible, but the songs are pretty much all about that whether or not they’re also about other things. The common theme is kind of like existential New York... Just existential crisis in a city, I think. That’s the major theme. But that was not intentional, just an insight and that’s what it seems to be about. Definitely some pretty standard breakup songs... 34
Andrew: I would say it seems almost
like a diary entry of the past year of your [Rachel] life. Rachel: Wow! [laughs] Andrew: [laughs] It’s like a picture of where you were in 2013. Rachel: That’s pretty true.
You did a Kickstarter campaign to fund your new record and the amount of the goal was exceeded! Rachel: Yeah, that was crazy. We
knew we were going to do it... We were just gonna do it on our own and try to make it sound ok - which is how we’ve been doing pretty much everything - but I think we just realized one day we should try a fundraising for it and see if we could do it. We just went for it, because we wanted to make a studio album using all the gear we wanted. Andrew: We were preparing to make the album and to do a little bit of it in an expensive studio; then do the rest in our apartment and practice spaces. But then we just realized that we just wished to have extra money just to do the whole thing in a real studio... Rachel: ...and mix it and everything! Andrew: We just kind of went for it with mixed feelings about the whole fundraising idea, but it turned out great.
How was the recording process of this record? Was easy for you to record 12 songs straight away in a proper studio? Andrew: Yeah! We actually did drums first, but we did about 18 songs. I forced everyone to do 18 songs [laughs] because I knew that at least 4 or 5 of them would just not gonna work. I wanted to be like when we discovered a song that wasn’t working, we didn’t have to discuss about it. We could just leave it wherever it was and maybe pick it up later. So I think it ended up being really kind of stress free. Although there was more recording to do, we just didn’t let anything get us down. We recorded the drums, then spent 4 days recording guitars and bass, and another 4 days doing vocals and then it was pretty much done. It was very painless and wonderful.
Is there any song on this record that you like the most? Rachel: We all have different
Andrew: Absolutely. My favorite
didn’t make the record [laughs] because no one else liked it and then when we sent it to friends, everyone said that one shouldn’t be on the record.
Rachel: Listen... [laughs] The song is fine, it just needs more work. Andrew: Ok, we’ll work on it later. [laughs] Rachel: I think my favorite is the first track, “A Place You Return to in a Dream”. Andrew: Our bassist’s favorite track is “Two Ships”. Rachel: That’s the weird one. Andrew: It is the weird one. I think our label likes that too. Anything that is like under three minutes and fast I like. On the Kickstarter campaign, you’ve said that you were still hoping to release the record on a label, which it really happened. How did you get in touch with Topshelf Records? Rachel: We sort of knew them... Andrew: We have a lot of mutual
friends, but still we’ve never met them. Rachel: Yeah, we haven’t met them personally. We sent the album around to a lot of people. We really agree on a lot of the same things like their view on the music industry and stuff like that... Andrew: We kind of grew up in the 90’s understanding how a record label is like a home and I think something that I know I did - and I think Rachel did it too - is that you look at the record labels and you would trust their taste of music. I would buy records that were put out on like in near 2000’s and if an album came out on Vagrant Records I would probably just buy it to see what it was like, because I trusted the label and I felt like I got that sense of home kind of feeling from them which it’s really amazing.
What’s next for Field Mouse after the album is released? Any plans to come to Europe? Rachel: I would love to go to
Europe. I think we’ll probably put on a US tour first. Andrew: We just wanna tour as much as humanly possible I think. [laughs] Rachel: And physically possibl too. Andrew: Just touring until we are crying and want to be home - be home for a week and then do it again. [laughs] Rachel: We really love touring. Andrew: Yeah. Last year, our first kind of big tour - which it was six weeks - really worked out well. We all got along and didn’t mind being cramped next to each other for six weeks, so it gave us hope that it was something that we could do a whole lot without freaking out.
“A lot of the inspirations are about trying to feel like a human in New York City...” Rachel
How is like the Brooklyn music scene nowadays? Andrew: It feels like is changing a little bit...
Rachel: It’s definitely active. I
think it’s changing, because more and more people - including myself - cannot really afford to be musicians and live in New York. So it’s sort of sparsing a little bit more, I think... But there are always inflexible people too. Andrew: In the central part of Brooklyn where the young people congregate, there’s like maybe 20 to 30 music venues in a relative small amount of space that all have shows every night of the week. It’s very active. Rachel: It’s really active if you like going to shows and there are great DIY venues like Silent Barn and Death By Audio. Andrew: They are more expensive every year. Rachel: Yeah! It’s just the price issue and I think that’s complicating what it means to be a band from Brooklyn. I’m moving to Philadelphia tomorrow for example. [laughs] This city is about one hundred miles from New York and it is a lot cheaper. [laughs]
It must be very expensive to live
in such a place like New York. Andrew: Yeah, it’s staggering. Rachel: So you think that’s a weird
duality: people who want to come to New York, make music with each other and meet people and go to all of these cool shows, but also have to work a 9 to 5 jobs. You have to work like crazy to afford to live in New York and that’s what I personally found. Being a full-time musician and having a full-time job is very, very difficult. Andrew: A lot of bands have moved to Philly. It’s kind of a thing like there’s probably a lot of bands that are still New York based - or living in New Jersey or living outside of it - just to be able to not have to work a crazy amount of hours... Rachel: ...and being able to go on tour without freaking out.
Rachel, since you are moving to Philadelphia, it’s not gonna change anything on Field Mouse, right? Rachel: Pretty much... I mean,
What have you been listening to lately? Rachel: Oh, Andrew wants to
answer this first. [laughs] Andrew: [laughs] I would say that the things I’ve been listening to recently are the Cheatahs debut record, I really like it; there’s this band called Ringo Deathstarr that just put a new record out that I love; Pity Sex are the best... Rachel: This is not really fair, but I’m gonna say: my friends’ band Cymbals Eat Guitars made a record that isn’t out until August, but he sent it to me and it’s awesome! Everyone should buy when it comes out. That’s pretty much what I’ve just been listening to. Andrew: I was looking through my phone to see what albums I’ve been listening to and there’s Nothing debut record Guilty of Everything, also No Joy, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart...
we have a practice space in Brooklyn that we shared with some other friends and we’ll keep that. It’s really an hour and half drive, so it’s not a big deal. I’m excited about it. musicandriotsmagazine.com
“Hold Life Still” is out now via Topshelf Records 35
Formed in late spring of 2012, Amanda X are three friends - Cat Park (guitarist), Kat Bean (bass) and Tiffany Yoon (drums) - that decided to start a new project on the warehouse where they lived in Philadelphia. Since the release of their first EP “Ruin The Moment” that there was something charming and powerful about this trio. They have just released their debut album “Amnseia” and their musical progression is really impressive. Just before the album’s release, we caught up with the girls to talk about the early moments as a band, how it is to be a musician in Philadelphia and what “Amnesia” really means to them.
amanda x Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Peter Murray
INTERVIEW // AMANDA X environment as well. You can tell a friend like “Oh, I just played with the other band”, “Oh I started a new thing” or “Do you want to play a show?”
Does living in Philadelphia inspire your music in some way? Kat: Yeah, I don’t feel afraid. I
onsidering that none of you are called Amanda, what can you tell me about your band’s name, Amanda X? Cat: It’s from the Simpsons.
[laughs] You know when Bart calls Moe and he’s like “Hi, I’m looking for Amanda... Amanda Hug N Kiss.” The name is from that and then we changed it to Amanda Xoxo and then that was too cute. [laughs] So we just decided to use Amanda X.
You girls formed Amanda X in late spring of 2012 and then released an EP in September. Tell me a little bit of how you got together to start this band. Kat: Tiffany and Cat lived together
in a warehouse in Philadelphia and I moved back probably in 2011 and I started to hanging out in the warehouse. There’s a bunch of people in here that just stay together and they all make really great music and stuff like that. Cat approached me one day and said “Do you want to play bass in this band that I’m starting?” Tiffany has been teaching herself how to play drums and Cat has been practicing and playing bass in another band, so we all kind of pick up new instruments. I played acoustic guitar occasionally and stuff and then we all just started playing together. It was nice in a way of how it just worked out perfectly.
There are such great bands coming from Philadelphia and you are one of them for sure. What’s your favorite thing about the Philadel phia music scene nowadays? Kat: I feel like Philadelphia is very
unique, there’s so many people living not in apartments but mostly houses, and houses with basements and houses that might not even be a house… it’s like an arcade and a lot of people feel moved, feel like put on shows or like have their fans bands play. I know so many people and we all share the same friends and all those friends are probably in one way or another involved musically as almost as incestuous, in a way. It’s a very supportive 38
know that some people are timid when they first start making music and they know that people are going to hear it and they crafted it in a certain way, so they want to appeal to people but I feel like when it comes to us we don’t try to sound a certain way or sound a way that is popular or anything like that. We just want to make music. Tiffany: What we were talking about was how we all support each other’s bands and there’s a strong community of musicians in Philly and we’re all fans of music before we all sort of playing music. We all go to shows, that’s how we all meet as musicians, the most of the times I feel it’s the feeling that we get from Philadelphia, but the music is inspired by our friends and being able to do art through music, like musically or whatever. We’re all sort of from Philadelphia’s region. Kat has moved away for a while, but we are from around here.
What other influences did each of you bring to the band? Cat: I read a lot of comics. I listen
to a lot of doo-wop and soul music. I also went to art school… Tiffany: I did music photography for years from DIY house shows to giant festivals. I like… what I look forward when I look at bands or I watch a show, I like bands that are very honest and true to their music because it sounds different. Kat: For me, it’s just a lot of reading, honesty and maybe a personal or kind of like a friend feelings or something like that but should hold that moment and then stretching it out the experience and then hold on to it for a second. I like to share that with other people and, all kinds of people.
“Ruin The Moment” was a great introducing of your band with pretty damn cool songs. How was it back then when you wrote and recorded those songs? Kat: It was about two months in
to play with each other so it was like a little bit of bitterness for the EP in a turning way, I guess. But we all were learning how to play with each other and a lot of the
songs weren’t even finish when we recorded them, so what you’re hearing is almost like as it was brought into the practice room. Cat: And we recorded it in our house. Kat: I think it was sort of a big experience that we all had with each other, because we had a jam and play music together before, but recording with anything anyone it was a big experience. Tiffany: Cat and Kat had played in other bands before and I had not... well I played in one band before but we never recorded before [laughs]. So this was my first recording experience and I felt like... Well Cat had played guitar before, also she had played a lot of bass in other bands, so Kat was playing bass, I was learning drums and Cat was more acquainted with the guitar. We were all individually getting to know our instruments and it was like our first time again and then learning to do it all together and we all got to know each other better as well. Cat: I think writing a song is very different than recording a song, it was our first experience recording together. Kat: We recorded the whole thing live, so we were all playing at the same time - except for the vocals - and I think that feeling is important for that EP and you can kind of hear that. There’s the drums, guitar and bass. We’re all there in that moment sharing a live experience together.
You are really about to release your first full-length called “Amnesia”! So, why “Amnesia” to titled this first studio effort? Kat: For me it’s about moving
on... It’s like to forget about some things because a lot of the songs that I wrote are about my exes, so I need to forget about it. [laughs] It’s like you experience something, you write a song and you kind of elaborate on it and that feeling or feelings on that take me to places where my brain goes and keep wanting to kind of quiet them…
Listening to the first single “Guatemala”, you seem much looser and more confident with your sound and your instruments. Musically, what can we expect from this album compared to your previous EP? Cat: We recorded it better. [laughs] I haven’t recorded
“We are always learning and trying out new things. I think the songwriting is a lot more advanced and the playing is more advanced as well.” Kat outside my house for maybe six years, maybe financially but sometimes... We just wanted to put more effort into it, so that’s why we decided to go to Uniform Recording with Jeff Zeigler and I’m really happy with it. His production on it was 100 times better. We still recorded it live and we wanted to maintain that charm, but everything just sounds phenomenal. He did production for The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Nothing... He was working on Nothing’s record at the same time as our record. Jeff does great things. Kat: We are always learning and trying out new things. I think the songwriting is a lot more advanced and the playing is more advanced as well. Tiffany: I think the record has more atmosphere into it and more texture... There’s more of a presence into it and more commanding in a way. I think it was
a little bit harder sounding maybe. There were songs that were not finished that we finished right before we started tracking them all together, like the track “Nothing Wild”. We finished that song right before we recorded it. [laughs] Kat: We had an idea and jam it but not a full song. Even now I’m not even sure if I play it the same way on bass than when I did when we recorded it, but you know, everything is always evolving and I think that’s what is beautiful about this project, it’s that we are evolving together.
Is there any particular meaning behind the cover art’s needlework? Kat: I did the cover art. Originally
I was going to do a hook and latch, like a rug of it... I wanted to be like a craft of some sort of amnesia kind of like you do; repetitive, monotonous, like a Zen garden to quiet your mind, like something peaceful and calm. In
the art itself is like there’s an intention in it, because you’re constantly being pulled back and forth… I wanted to be almost tangible like when you listen to the record, you just feel an attachment into it.
You have been playing shows with awesome bands during these few years, but you haven’t come to Europe yet. Are you planning on doing a European tour soon? Cat: I want to come to Europe!
[laughs] We’re doing an East Coast tour now... Kat: We’re doing a US tour out to the West Coast but I believe we’re gonna do Europe next. It’s gonna happen. [laughs]
“Amnesia” is out now via Sitlbreeze Records 39
When we first listened to Fucked Up 2011's "David Comes to Life", there was no doubt that it was one of the best records of that year and they caught the attention of many people, becoming a band of massive critical acceptance. So the thing was: what can we expect now from a new Fucked Up record? The answer is actually simple: another great piece of art. "Glass Boys" is not a rock opera record, but it is an introspective approach into the Canadian's punk outfit, where they deal with themes of growing old in the punk scene while trying to stay true to their younger self and youthful ideals - it's for sure a natural progression for the group. We talked with Mike Haliechuk to know more about this new album and a lot more! Words: Andreia Alves
FUCKED MORE REAL AND 40
UP D DIRECT THAN EVER www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // FUCKED UP
ne of my best live show experiences was seeing Fucked Up playing on Optimus Primavera Sound last year. Do you remember that show?
Yeah! That show was nuts because we had to go straight to the airport after the show. We basically walked out the stage, got into a cab and went to the airport. We tried to play earlier, but we had to play at 3 in the morning or something.
What did stand out the most about that show?
It was a good show and we also got there late. I saw 10 minutes of My Bloody Valentine. Then we went on stage for soundcheck and there was no one there and we all got very worried. But as soon as we’ve started playing, and i think we were the only band playing at that point and it was so late, but it was great.
Did you enjoy the My Bloody Valentine’s show?
Yeah, it was great. There is this one song that I like from the new record - I don’t remember what is called - but that was the song they played just when I was there.
Seeing “David Comes to Life” songs played live was really amazing and your energy was so contagious. So after releasing that epic record, was easy for you to start working on new material? Yeah. We wrote all those songs in 2009 so it was such a long time ago that we all changed very much and it was easy to come back. We wanted to do something different and I think this record is quite different than the last one, which is good.
Did you guys feel any pressure of becoming a band of massive critical acceptance, like going from underground to mainstream?
No, I think a lot of people had expectations what this new record would be like, because the last one was a little weird and with a big story. But you don’t pay attention to that stuff when we’re writing, because it’s easy to put distance between because we read reviews but they all happen years ago and then we just really think about 42
it. We knew we wanted to go in a sort of new direction and I think it was easy to do that.
started writing the “Year of the Snake”, but it probably be delayed again with that.
What do you feel it has been the highest moment of Fucked Up progression?
“Glass Boys” is out now and as you claim, it’s a more personal record than the previous ones. This album is not like a rock opera concept album like “David Comes to Life” is. How was the songwriting process this time around?
I think for the most part is that we are able to make a living. We don’t have a boss, we don’t have to go to a job and I think the best part of being musician is just being able to make up your own destiny and just having more control of your life; being able to go to places and just knowing that there’s no one bossing you. You are the one in charge and I think that’s the best part.
What was also epic was the new Zodiac singles series that you released last month. How was the making process of the “Year of the Dragon”? I think we wrote it when we were taking a break from writing the songs for the new album. We recorded them all at the same time, but we were writing probably a song for the album every day for like a couple of months and we just got sick of that. We wanted to go in a new direction but still wanted to be creative and get work done, so that’s when we had time to do sounds that were different from what we were doing for the record. We wanted to do something more like Metallica and sounding like metal and it was something that we liked for a long time. That’s how it came about.
“Year of the Dragon” is much more aggressive and it suits really well with Damian’s voice. Yeah for sure! That’s a thing that a lot of people talk about how the music makes no sense with his voice - which I don’t think it’s true - but I think this song in particular serves Damian well and I think it works because it’s so aggressive and our sound has been getting more melodic over the years.
According to the timeline that each Zodiac singles series is released, the next one will be “The Year of the Snake”. Can we expect in the next year the “Year of the Snake”? We started writing it. Probably will be delayed and come out the next year, because we’ve already written the “Year of the Rabbit” and that’s recorded and needs to come out at some point. We skipped it over by accident. We’ve
We wanted the record to sound a little looser than the last record. The last one was very long with a lot of content and very straight-line than this one. The sound on this record feel a little bit looser, groovier maybe, and it has separate two separated drums’ tracks which is something we’ve never done before. It’s a lot shorter too and we just tried to pick the best we did in the last couple of years. I think it sounds a little different but I like it.
So was this new record like a cathartic process for the band?
Yeah, sure! It was the first time that we actually tried to talk about how we feel about being in a band without putting it behind a character or some obscure reference or something else.
So what is the meaning behind “Glass Boys”?
It’s about growing up and becoming a whole person with responsibilities and the people in our band have families and kids and we’re still occupied at this position. We’re in a band, this musical thing that you think is reserved for young people or people that are younger than us. So it’s about getting older but also having to feel young and still feeling confused like you’re not grown up yet.
Musically, you stated that “Glass Boys” sounds more like “old” Fucked Up.
Yeah. I think the songs are shorter, punchier and have more energy. We tried to make it sound like warmer, you know? It’s a bit faster which is like our older music, but there’s like a groove. It’s us but more succinct than we have been.
You said that you had two separated drums’ tracks on the recording process. Tell me more about that.
It took forever. It took a really long time and it was the thing that took the longest - recording two
“... it’s about getting older but also having to feel young and still feeling confused like you’re not grown up yet.” Mike and the meaning behind Glass Boys speeds but then also syncing them up. We just did it because when we were writing we realized a lot of the songs didn’t work at two different speeds and we weren’t sure which speed we would want to stay with. So then we just thought: “We might just record the both ways”. We were able to get the record in both versions - the fast one and the slow one - so people will be able to choose which one they like better or which version they prefer to listen to.
Is there anything else that you guys did differently on the recording process?
It was pretty much the same as usual. Usually what we do is we all write together and then me, Jonah and Josh we go and do the drums and the bass together. This time we went to Chicago at Electrical Audio and then everyone else in the band sort of did their parts individually. Me and Jonah did all the mixing and production stuff on our own in Michigan in a place called Keyclub. That was good and it took forever, but it was worthy and it’s kind of how we do things usually.
You had also Bill Skibbe (Austra, Wild Belle) on board helping you with the production of the record,
Yeah, he was great. I worked on a record by a band called Austra that is also from Toronto. They did a record with Bill and we made friends in the studio and how he worked, so we just decided to do most of our stuff with him too, and he was great.
What’s the concept behind the statues on the cover art?
The statues are just about what I was saying before to you. The statues represent age, grace and strength I think. Those Greek statues like gods and powerful working men, but I think the ones we picked are all that. The one on the cover is meant to represent how that kind of thing can also represent vulnerability and being fragile which is sort of what the record is about.
I think the first band I helped out was Austra and that was when their first record came out which it was in 2011. I don’t really do typical production, I don’t know how to use Pro Tools or anything. I just sort of help bands like arrange songs, make decisions and stuff like that. So maybe in 3 or 4 years, I worked with Elsa, a band from Toronto called Moon King... We are just finishing producing the Absolutely Free record, which is a band from here too and their record will come out in the fall.
Are you putting out some other records in the near future?
The next one is another 12” by Elsa, which we did the first record for them last year and we just finished another 12” with them, so hopefully it will be out maybe at the end of the summer.
Besides Fucked Up, you’ve been producing some records that you put out on your own label, One Big Silence. When did you start working as a producer? musicandriotsmagazine.com
“Glass Boys” is out now via Matador Records 43
INTERVIEW // A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW
After eight years as a band, A Sunny Day In Glasgow continues to surprise everyone with each record released. Even though the members of ASDIG live now in different cities of the world, they managed to write a new album and the result is the simply wonderful "Sea When Absent". Ben Daniels and Jen Goma were kind enough to answer some questions about their latest effort and told us how the distance can be a work in progress.
Words: Fausto Casais
and surprising musical atmosphere. What did inspire you while writing this album? Jen: That’s a good question, what did inspire us while
Sunny Day in Glasgow started in a Philadelphia bedroom in 2006 and now in 2014 you are in a great place and released an excellent new album. How do you feel about these 8 years as a band? Jen: Well I can only speak of being in the band for the last 5 years but, it’s been a treat. We have a good time together and we’ve all grown a lot together. Ben: It kind of freaks me out to think about doing this for 8 years. I’m not sure how it happened and I try not to think about it.
In what way do you think your music has progressed since the release of your debut album “Scribble Mural Comic Journal” in 2007? Jen: Someone had asked a similar
question for another periodical - how is Sea When Absent different from SMCJ? and I think the easiest answer is the people in the band. Ben is the only one who is still in the band from that album and Sea When Absent is an album we all spent a lot of time making, so it sounds like all six of us who are in the band now; me, Ben, Josh, Annie, Adam and Ryan.
“Sea When Absent” is a new step forward regarding to your unique, dreamy writing, where you expanded the songs to a whole new refreshing 44
A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW
writing this album? A lot, I guess is the short answer. We wrote this record over the course of two and a half years so, eventually even the record itself began to inspire the writing. There’s not really a good way to tell a succinct and interesting story about making the album. There are a lot of little short stories and jokes and demos. For example, today in the van we were listing to an old demo that had Ben singing but, since he can’t sing in my register he pitched his vocals up to get the point across. It’s a really hilarious demo that would never exist if we recorded the entire album within the first two weeks. We started tracking and never had to exchange ideas via email. I guess all I can think of are the facts, it took us a long time and so we had to get creative in the middle and towards the end of making it.
Why ‘Sea When Absent’ as the title of this new record? Jen: I just liked the sound of it. Ben: It was Jen’s idea and it really worked as a succinct
summation of a lot of the ideas in my head while making the record. I was glad to hear it.
Most of the songs on this album have this parenthetical title thing, was that intended to be like a hidden meaning? Jen: I don’t think of it as a hidden meaning. I think this is true of songs and a lot of other things, they are about more than one thing at a time. Ben: That, and I just enjoy that kind of title.
The members of ASDIG live in different parts of the world and it must be pretty challenging for you to often get together and write music. How was it like to write these new songs and how do you deal with the distance when it comes to the band? Jen: Well, the distance was a new thing for us when we started writing the record, so we had to figure out what
combination of scheduling studio time and working remotely would make this all come together. We’ve been talking about how it’s going to happen next time and we don’t really know how we’re gonna deal with the distance after this tour, it’s good to be together now though.
Nowadays, a lot of bands turn to fundraising to help them out. You guys did a Kickstarter campaign for this album back in mid-2012 and it was a great success. What did lead you to give a shot in fundraising with your fans? Jen: Well the main reason was that we really
needed the money. [laughs] We didn’t have any money from a label or any angel investors so, we needed it to get this thing started. And we’re really grateful for the Kickstarter backers, we couldn’t have done it without them and it was a great head start on the album financially. We really undershot how much we’d need to make the album though! Don’t Kickstart us to be your financial planner. Ben: Yes, Kickstarter was a wonderful experience but we would not have done it if we had the money.
I read that you were never all in the same place during the recording of the album, so how was the recording process and how long did it take to have it done? Jen: Well, there are 6 of us, so since we weren’t
tracking anything live there was no need for all 6 of us to be in the same room. There were times where 3 to 5 out of 6 of us were in the same room. And there were definitely times when we were just recording things by ourselves at home, in ran the gambit. Ben: Yeah this story has been taken to an extreme. Lots of us were in the same room at the same time.
You had once again the producer Jeff Zeigler on board. What did Jeff bring to your sound this time around? Jen: Jeff engineered our album and he has a lot of
amazing equipment in his studio. Ben mixed the album so it still definitely sounds like ASDIG, but we did harvest a lot of sounds in his studio with his crazy nice equipment. And it’s hard to say exactly how he influenced us and the recording of it. I mean we could point to mic placement or something like that but, when you’re hanging day in and day out with someone working on a record it’s hard to know where your ideas and their ideas begin and end, but it definitely sounds like Jeff recorded it. We were at his studio all the time so, there’s no way he didn’t have an effect on the sound of this record.
What’s next for A Sunny Day in Glasgow? Jen: We’re playing in San Francisco on Tuesday! And then continuing our tour across America.
What’s your favorite record of 2014 so far? Jen: Under Color of Official Right - Protomartyr Ben: It’s technically from the 90’s I suppose, but I really love that new/old Aphex Twin record.
“Sea When Absent” is out now via Lefse Records www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
Made up of two sets of siblings: Sam, Josh and Becca Macintyre, and Jack and Will Bottomley, UKâ€™s Marmozets is shaking the ground. The young band not only has shown talent but also an incredible hard work ethos resulting on multiples praises all around the world. We spoke with Jack Bottomley (guitarist) about the upcoming debut album, their relentless tour schedule and more. Words: Tiago Moreira
H IN REVOLT musicandriotsmagazine.com
INTERVIEW // MARMOZETS
You will release now the debut full-length album in 2014. The truth is that you had enough material to do it two years ago. “Passive Aggressive” and “Vexed” together had 12 tracks and 51 minutes running time. Were you aware that it would be better to wait for the right moment?
want to start by asking you how did you guys start and what have been some of the difficulties that you have been facing in these last three years?
We haven’t really had any difficulties. Everything has moved at the same pace. It’s all about consistency at this point.
The band has been growing more and more every year. How much of this growing would you blame on the hard working ethos of the band? It’s all down to working hard and having a great team behind us as well.
It has been easy to deal with the normal love/hate relations between the brothers while working your asses off?
We literally never fall out about anything. We’re all incredibly sarcastic and constantly take the piss out of each other. But it’s funny at the same time and at the end of the day we all know it’s just a joke!
I’m wondering about the importance of honesty for the band. I mean, most of the times with family it’s easier to be honest since you know the other person very well. Was it easy to find the identity of Marmozets? Yeah, it’s almost as if we know what each other is thinking at times. We’re two sets of siblings and we’ve known each other for years and years. It’s always the best to be honest about anything.
Would you say that you guys are still trying to really find the true identity of the band?
Nobody will ever know exactly what their true identity is. Stuff like that changes. You’ll find a lot of bands go through phases or stages; we have as well. We’ve really honed in on our sound for the album and are very proud of it. So I guess we’ve found our current identity. 48
When we recorded the first EP we didn’t have any of the Vexed stuff written. We just played the songs on Passive Aggressive live for ages before recording them. An album at that early stage thinking about it, wouldn’t have been a mistake as such, but, when it comes to the album that we’re releasing now we wouldn’t have been able to brand it as our ‘debut album’ and those 2 EPs are so different in sounds and textures anyway. We couldn’t have seen it being an album.
“Nobody will ever know exactly what their true identity is. Stuff like that changes. You’ll find a lot of bands go through phases or stages, we have as well... I guess we’ve found our current identity.” You’re about to go on a 27 dates Vans Warped Tour. I feel that you guys are very happy, proud but at the same time it seems that you see this just as another opportunity of showing the Marmozet’s music to people and with a clear consciousness that you need to work hard and not fuck around. Am I right? Yeah we are mega happy. We know it’s going to be tough work. But we’ll treat it on a day by day schedule. But yeah, it’s gonna be sick.
Want to talk about the new material, the new EP. How important was for the band to write tunes like “Born Young And Free” and “Move Shake Hide”? I mean, they seem important pieces on the evolution process.
Yeah it was “Born Young And Free” that was the first step into our next direction if you get me. I remember
playing that song live for the first time at Radstock festival in Liverpool. The crowd instantly went nuts for it. It was an amazing feeling to see a crowd REALLY get into it rather than trying to work out what time signature we were playing in. It’s more about the songs now for us rather than making it fun to play. Of course we’ve kept the technical edge.
Let’s talk about the upcoming album. How was the creative and recording process? I know that Becca faced some health issues. It was a lot of fun. We recorded it pretty locally to where we live. The studio was great, working with Larry again was amazing. We did a series of pre-production sessions to sort the songs out, wrote a couple, scrapped a couple in that process as well. Recording everything music and instrument wise was amazing. But when it got to Becca’s vocals she was struggling, I think she had a chest infection or a throat infection, or both and something else mixed into it. Either way, she had to record her vocals with Sam at a different studio in London. All worked out in the end.
What can you tell us about the upcoming debut album? How would you describe it?
Songs, riffs, vocals, drums, riffs. It’s massive.
Marmozets did the first headline UK tour in September of last year. What was the impact of that experience and what have you learned with it?
Yeah it was cool to do our own headline. The crowds weren’t huge but we expected that. It was a good time to do it; we could road test the songs etc.
You guys signed with Roadrunner Records last year. How that came about and how it has been the experience of working with them?
It’s been amazing to work with Roadrunner. They’re so good to us, we hope we can return the favor. “The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets” arrives on September 29th via Roadrunner Records
THIS IS NEW, FRESH
Makthaverskan is a feminiza woman with the power - and mix between post-punk an honest lyrics. They have well-deserved surge of attenti band that introduced us to
hank you so much for talking with us. You joined Makthaverskan while you were recording the new album, right? Yeah. I joined Makthaverskan in 2011 or 2012, I don’t know. [laughs] I think it was 2012 in the springtime.
Tell me a little bit of how you guys got together to make music.
It all began when the members met each other through the school, I think. They wanted to start a band because everything was so boring in Gothenburg. They did it to have some fun and then the music was the easiest choice I guess. That’s how it began. [laughs]
And how did you join the band?
I joined the band because me and Hugo [Randulv, guitarist] play in another band together that we started in 2011, then he asked me if I wanted to join a show in a festival in Sweden, which is also made by one of the gang of our record label in Gothenburg called Luxury and he had this important festival which is in the heart of Gothenburg. Makthaverskan were going to play and they asked me if I wanted to joy as an extra guitarist, because they thought their sound needed that, so I joined for the show and after that I was asked if I wanted to join the band for full-time.
Your band’s name Makthaverskan means “the woman with the power”, which is a feminization of the masculine-gendered “Makthavaren,” a Swedish word that means “ruler” or “the man with the power.” So why picking up such peculiar name that doesn’t even exist in Swedish?
No it doesn’t exist in Swedish, but the male word for it exists - it’s called Makthavaren - that is a man with a position of power. They just thought that the name sounded cool. I think that a Hugo’s friend came up with the name, I think... [laughs] They thought the name was great and they just took it. [laughs] 50
H AND SOUNDS DIFFERENT...
ation of the masculine-gendered Swedish word â€œMakthavaren,â€? which means the it's the band's name from this impressive new Gothenburg's group. Their music is a nd dreamy pop of the 80's with the strong vocals of Marja who writes brave and e recently released their excellent new album "II" in the States and a new and ion is surrounding them. We caught up with Gustav Data, one of the guitarist of the o Makthaverskan's world and told us all about this new album and much more... Words: Andreia Alves
INTERVIEW // MAKTHAVERSKAN
It’s obvious that the 80’s are a big part of your music. Were bands of the 80’s a strong influence to shape your sound?
Yeah, I guess they were in a way. We all like the pop music of the 80’s. For the new record we wanted a more dreamy sound, because the first album was basically a bunch of songs collected together and put out in an album. But this is like our first album. From the beginning to the end, it was meant to be an album. The first album was just like a collection of songs basically, so this is more like an album this time around and we wanted to have a kind of dreamy 80’s vibe attached to it.
You released your new album in 2013 via Luxury, but just now it has been given its proper and bigger attention because of the US release via Run For Cover Records. Yeah we are having a great feedback from the album right now, because of Run For Cover Records we got some interviews and I think we’ve been like “Hey, check out this album”. [laughs] It may look like a small notice like in the media... we also had our album on Pitchfork for streaming, they did also a review of the album and we’re going to do an interview with them as well. There’s been a lot of more attention now since we released the album in the US. It’s really unbelievable, actually, and it’s very weird. [laughs]
How did you guys get in touch with that label?
I think they contacted our manager who’s the guy behing Luxury Records. I think they just asked him if we wanted to release the album in US and they wanted to do the release, so that was great.
Your band was on hold for a bit during the gap between the first and the second album with a lot of unforeseen situations that you went through. When did you guys complete and record the whole album?
We released it in 2013, but we’ve actually started recording the album in Autumn of 2011. We were in this good studio, but the deal was that we could only be there when there was time and they didn’t have other people recording. It actually took us one and a half year to make the record [laughs] and then on the first time we were 52
recording we felt like: “Yeah, it sounds good,” but when we came back - like a half year later - it was like: “This song is too fast... It doesn’t sound that good”. We needed to re-record again. That happened sometimes but then we completed the album in September or October of 2012, so it took us a really long time to make the record but that was just because we didn’t have that many dates in the studio.
Do you think that these different periods of time helped you to elaborate more your songs in a way that you didn’t notice in the first time?
Yes, I think so. I personally think that time is a really good thing to get some distance from the songs for them to grow, because if you like to rehearse and to go to the studio to make an album, you’re so focused on the songs that you think that the songs are pretty good. But as it happened to us, we had to re-record the whole album in a row. Just because there was so much time between the sets, I think it really made the record even greater. I think it was a really good thing.
“II” has a greater emotional depth shown by Marja lyrics which goes really well with the post-punk and dreamy pop approach. How was the songwriting process for “II”?
Some of the songs were actually made in 2010. Maja moved to Berlin and everything was a little kind of put on hold so we didn’t rehearse that much. Our songwriting process usually is like someone in the band comes up with an idea for a song, then we try to put it together and we discuss a lot - discuss about how we want it to sound. If something doesn’t feel right, we try to rearrange it to sound like Makthaverskan. [laughs] So the songs were done maybe in 2012, except the song called “Something More”. We actually wrote that song the day before we went in the studio and it turned out really good.
Tracks like “No Mercy” stand out with such raw and straight-to-thepoint lyrics and Maja has such an astonishing voice and sings whatever goes in her mind, which is great. How does it work the dynamic of the band while writing songs together?
Maja lives now in Berlin, so usually me, Andreas, Hugo and Irma rehearse and we are like: “Oh this is a cool sound for a song, it sounds cool,” then Maja writes the lyrics
and after that when she’s here in Gothenburg we rehearse together and we complete the songs like that.
About “No Mercy”, what can you tell me more about the song and how it came about?
It was made... Oh I don’t know how it was made! [laughs] But I think it was while rehearsing and that song is in some way the essence of Makthaverskan. It’s a little bit of a weird song... I mean, I think the lead guitar sounds like a rodeo guitar or a cowboy guitar. [laughs] It’s very atmospheric and it’s very poppy, but it still has a great touch of punk as well. The lyrics are super “in your face”. [laughs]
So is there any song of this album that stands out the most for you?
Actually, I think it is “No Mercy”, because it feels like we hit the spot where the essence of Makthaverskan is. It’s a really challenging song about Makthaverskan and it may answer the previous question. [laughs] I think it contains so much punk and atmospheric things that we wanted to be in the song; the lyrics are straight to your face and it’s a very honest song, like there are no compromises, we just do it. [laughs] That’s a song that I think stands out the most of Makthaverskan’s newest album.
All the artwork for Makthaverskan is made by Irma [Krook, bassist]. How is usually her creative process for the records cover arts? Do you guys share ideas with her about that?
Yeah. We try to discuss first what we want the record cover to be like. I think that Irma is super talented and we continue to do the artwork like it was on the first album. We discuss it on our like Facebook thread - we discuss what we want the album cover to be like. We wanted it to be a bit mysterious. We thought that it would be cool to make the album cover look a bit like an old Greek statues, so that’s the thing with the drawing and the piece of clothes she’s wearing. We also discussed different kinds of artwork that we like. It’s called “The Silence of the Lambs” because of the butterfly on her mouth, and we also thought it looked really mysterious and cool because of the crow with a hat. [laughs] I don’t know who came up
“The first album was just like a collection of songs... This one we wanted to have a kind of dreamy 80’s vibe attached to it...” with that one, I think it was Andreas. It’s a bit nonsense and it’s also very mysterious. We usually discuss it in a group and we give suggestions - 99% is always super great - but then if we want to change something we say: “We want it to be more like bla bla bla...” [laughs] So that’s basically how we do it. [laughs]
Do you have any tour plans for the rest of the year?
This summer we’re just going to play in Gothenburg, but then we’ll probably do some stuff in this fall. Hopefully we’ll do it.
You said earlier that you got into Makthaverskan because of Hugo, who is also in your other band called Westkust, and you’re going to release an album. Westkust is more poppier than Makthaverskan and you also sing. Yeah, extremely poppy and I sing in Westkust. [laughs] We’ve just recorded the first phase of the songs and so we recorded the basic things of the album - like the bass and the drums. I don’t know when we’re going to finish the record. Have you heard our Junk EP and our 7” singles “Summer 3D” and “Weekends”?
Yeah, I listened to all that! Great
artwork by the way, the one with a skull and flowers.
[laughs] It’s Philip [Söderlind] who does the artwork and plays the drums in the band. There’s a difference between the EP and the singles and I think that this record will have an even more poppier sound. Me and Julia [Bjernelind, vocals] are singing now 50/50 on this record, so that’s basically the newest thing, I sing a bit more. [laughs]
Do you have in mind a date to release this record?
Oh, I have really no idea. The thing is I had some problems with my ears, but they are getting better now. We’re going to continue recording the album when my ears are good again and hopefully we’ll complete the album this summer. Everything takes so much time [laughs] like after you finish the recording, you have to master it and send it to pressing, so it takes a lot of time. I don’t really know but it’s going to be great.
Do you recommend us any new bands from Sweden?
There’s a band called School who released music on Luxury. They are releasing some songs and I think that they are going to make an album. They are a really good band and
they are good friends with us. Actually the guy who produced Westkust and Makthaverskan’s II is in that band. They are cool and they’re called School, but they have a really uncool google thing. [laughs] You can’t google “school”. You need to look it up on Luxury. But School is an extremely good band that I highly recommend.
What has been on your playlist lately?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Broder Daniel. They don’t exist anymore, but they were really big in Gothenburg and in whole Sweden maybe from ‘95 until 2008. They are one of the best bands I’ve ever heard. It’s a band that I’ve been listening to since 2005 and I always come back to them. Their greatest albums are Cruel Town and Broder Daniel Forever. There’s also a band called Bad Cash Quartet. Those are basically the two bands that I always come back to. They are from Gothenburg but they don’t play anymore. “II” is out now via Luxury in Europe and Run For Cover in the US
Against Me! is a band that always showed a real attitude, shared important ideals, and most of all, made excellent music. In these 17 years of career, they have released a ton of great punk songs with important messages on every single lyric, all written by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, known before as Tom Gabel. Having dealt with gender dysphoria since childhood, Laura Jane Grace came out in a Rolling Stone article as a transgender woman, in 2012, which it was a major change in her life. "Transgender Dysphoria Blues", their sixth studio album and the most personal album of the band to date - we couldn't imagine a better way to Laura show how she dealt with all the insecurities and tough times she went through. We had the pleasure to talk with Laura Jane Grace about her transition, how it affect her band and much more... Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Ryan Russell
A BRAVE NE
INTERVIEW // AGAINST ME!
fter you came out in that Rolling Stone article two years ago, what has life been like for you? It just continued on, you know? Things are really good right now. It’s great to be out on tour and great to have a record out. The band feels like it’s the best place we’ve been in years and we’re having a lot of fun. Not having to live a life that has come part analyze where you have to keep a part to yourself a secret is really freeing and really takes a lot stress off.
How has been the transition so far?
You know, it is what it is. [laughs] It has its ups and downs.
How did the people close to you react to the news?
They were all very supportive. I was expecting the worst and didn’t really know what to expect at all. But I received nothing but support from our fan base and from the rest of my band, from my mother and my brother in particular. They were very supportive. I think that once people realize that is like you’re not saying that you’re a completely different person, that you’re just saying something they didn’t realize about you. It’s not like you’re telling people: “Oh, I actually have different tastes of music, I don’t like the movies that I used to like and my sense of humor isn’t the way that has always been.” Once they realize that your personality is still you, then people get it.
It took a lot of courage and bravery from you to come out, because it was something that you’ve been struggling since you were young. When did you know it was time to take that step?
I guess probably when I was 28 or 29 years old it kind of started to hit me that this was just something that was always gonna be true about myself and never change. It was something that I needed to address because it was really causing problems in my life and affecting me in a really negative way. When you’re younger, 56
you don’t understand what you’re going through and then it’s easier to think that this is just something about growing up or something I will grow out of it or this isn’t really me or whatever. When you’re older, you realize that it’s not gonna change.
I know it may sound silly, but when you pick up the name Against Me! for your band, were you thinking about what you were already going through?
I wish I could remember the exact moment when I chose the name Against Me!, but to be honest I don’t specifically remember. I was 17 years old in 1997 and I think it really had to do with kind of feeling like being a teenager and especially where I was living in South Florida at the time, which it was a really repressive place to live and not very friendly. Getting beat-up at school, getting arrested by cops, getting fucked up all the time and becoming aware politically and feeling like the world was against me. [laughs]
For a lot of people, you became a true, inspiring role model, because of your gesture of courage but what you did is also a statement by showing that you should not be afraid of being yourself. How do you feel about this and all the great feedback from your fans? I’m not trying to be a spoke person or anything. I’m not trying to represent it like I have all the answers. I can only speak of my own experiences and I want to put myself out there to hopefully educate people on this issue - to be a trans voice - because sometimes trans people are really unrepresented in the media and I think that it deserves to be heard. But that’s kind of what I did anyway, you know, I’ve been in a band since I was 17. You put out records, go on tour and support those records. Sometimes you do interviews about those records and most of the time when you’re doing an interview you don’t really focus on the music that much. So that’s something that I’m open to talk about again, because I want to educate people, also I want to feel more connected with the community and hoping that the people that I meet and have met through the social media stuff and everything like that mean the world to me.
You are going to be featured on The AOL reality series “So Much
More” later this year. What can you tell me about these series?
Basically it’s just a kind of camera crew coming on tour with us and following us around on tour as we go from place to place, and then really focusing on telling other people stories, like people and fans that I’ve met through social media like Facebook or Twitter or whatever who are also gender variant and also people who are transgender or genderqueer that I look up to and have been an inspiration for me. It’s a chance for me to ask them the questions that I wanna know the answers to. [laughs] I really don’t want the focus to be on me as much as on other people. There’s definitely a backdrop of us being on tour and everything like that, it’s kind of the context of what I’m doing anyway and that gives me the opportunity to meet all these people. It’s not like a reality show, it’s the real world. [laughs]
On Against Me!’s previous records, you have songs with pretty direct lyrics about your condition, that suggested you needed to become a woman, but no one ever suspected that. Were those lyrics a way to prepare people of how you were feeling?
Yeah, for sure. It was something that kind of gradually progressed, because literally everything on Against Me! record has references and talks in some way - at least in some couple of songs - about gender experiencing and gender dysphoria. At first, it was something really kind of veiled and wrote in metaphors. I think I’ve got braver as the records went on and became more direct and then I was also amazed that people weren’t picking up on it. I just kind of kept going and then I got to the point where with the new record it was all I could really feel inspired to write about. I just kind of have to use writing as a way to work it out.
Did writing these songs helped you to face your fears and go through the transition?
Yeah! I mean, for me writing a record and my band were what I leaned on to deal with the stress and anxiety of going through transition. If I didn’t have that outlet to turn to, I don’t know if I could handle it so much.
You said to the guys of the band that this new record would be a
“I guess probably when I was 28 or 29 years old it kind of started to hit me that this was just something that was always gonna be true about myself and never change. It was something that I needed to address because it was really causing problems in my life and affecting me in a really negative way.” collection of songs about transsexual prostitute, but actually they weren’t. So how did they react when you told about your gender dysphoria?
I think they were initially shocked, but once they processed it, it was kind of business as usual like: “Well, see you in practice tomorrow” and “We’re gonna go on tour on this day and let’s keep going.” Nothing changed.
With that said, both Andrew Seward (bassist) and Jay “Son of Max” Weinberg (drummer) left the band. So, what happened to them?
Jay had only played with the band for a second really. We never recorded a record with Jay or anything like that and there was an age difference with Jay. He was 21 years old and we’re all already in our 30’s. He didn’t really give us an explanation or anything like that. I woke up one morning and I saw on Twitter that he was leaving the band... I think Jay is a fantastic drummer and I wish him the best,
but to be honest I haven’t talked at all to him. On the other hand, we’ve played together with Andrew for like 10 years and Andrew’s family just got to the point for him that he just wanted to do something different. He’s married and has a kid, and I don’t think he could mentally draw himself anymore to be gone on the road like we are.
“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” is by far the most personal Against Me! record and it’s your first record as a woman. How was the creative process for these songs? I’ve started writing the record in 2009 right after we finished White Crosses. So I would say that is more like 70% of the record was before it came out and 30% was after it came out. Making this record and everything was what I really leaned on as an outlet to just deal with what I was going through.
Did you feel any kind of pressure putting out this record, knowing that two of the members had left?
Yeah, definitely! Until the end of it - when we were recording it - it was kind of like me and James were alone in the studio just knowing that: “We have to finish this record. We don’t know what’s gonna happen after that. We don’t know if we’re gonna have a band to tour, but we have to finish it!” So it became that kind of thing where that was the only goal. Anything beyond that we were hopeful but had no guarantees. So again as I said when we’ve first started talking, to be out on tour right now and having things going really well is pretty amazing.
The “FUCKMYLIFE666” track is pretty powerful and the title as well. What is this song about? To be honest, the title is kind of disconnected from the song in a lot of ways. There’s another song on the record called “Dead Friend” that is about our friend Pope who used to tour with us and unfortunately passed away. “Fuck my life” was something that he said all the time that was like, he
INTERVIEW // AGAINST ME! would get frustrated and we would walk away with his hands up in the air saying “Oh, fuck my life!” The title was kind of an homage to him. The song itself is about your fears of going through the transition and the changes you’re gonna undertake in a way that can affect your relationships.
The track “Two Coffins” was written for your daughter. How is she dealing with your transition?
Yeah, I wrote that song to my daughter. She is young and I think is easier for her. I think that as long as she knows that I’ll always love her, I’ll always be her parent and I’ll always be there for her, I don’t think anything else really matters, you know?
You have now on board Atom Willard (Rocket From the Crypt, Offspring) on drums and Inge Johansson (Refused, (International) Noise Conspiracy) on bass. How did you hook up with them?
Atom played in a couple of bands that we played shows with over the years. When Jay quit, he quit two weeks before we went on tour in Australia that we had to go on, so we didn’t really know what we were going to do. I sent a tweet on Twitter and Atom responded that he could do the tour with us. He learned the songs in time, we did practices, went on tour and things just went really well. We hit it off and he played drums on our record. We came back to record the drums after the Australia tour and then it just kind of kept going to the point that I asked him: “Do you want to be in the band?” and he was into it. Then with Inge was kind of the same thing where we found out we needed a bass player and we didn’t know what we were going to do. We’ve known Inge from playing shows with bands like Refused and (International) Noise Conspiracy and having a couple of mutual friends. He sent me a message on Facebook saying that if we needed a bass player that he was available for that. He is a great person. Without even trying him out, it was like: “Yeah, you will be great.”
You had also Fat Mike (NOFX) playing bass on this new record. How was working with him like?
It was incredible! That ended up happening when we were almost done with the record. I built a studio in Florida that we have been working at and right as we almost 58
“Making this record and everything was what I really leaned on as an outlet to just deal with what I was going through.” done a tree fell through the roof of the studio and destroyed it. We were like: “Oh fuck! Now we need to go somewhere else to finish the recording.” [laughs] I’ve started thinking about what studios I knew out there that might be possible be open and then I was like: “[Fat] Mike has a studio in San Francisco, I should give him a call.” And then we ended needing a bass player, so since we were recording there, I asked him: “Do you want to play bass on a couple of songs?” and he was into that. So, it just kind of all came together. I’ve known Mike since I was probably 21 or 22 years old and I’ve been listening to NOFX since I was 13 years old. So even though I know him as a friend for so long, there still always a part of me that’s like will always be a fan of him and he’ll never get over that. He’s been one of the most supportive people of my band that I’ve ever met. He has always been honest, fair and straight-up with me. I have nothing but respect for Fat Mike.
You produced this new album with mixing help from Billy Bush. How was it like the experience of doing it on your own?
For the past two records, we had the amazing opportunity of working with Butch Vig who’s like an incredible producer and I really felt like there are experiences I learned a lot from. So coming out on that, first of all I knew what I was going through personally so I didn’t want to go into a studio and work with a stranger and work in front of them; and then I really felt like I wanted to test out what I’ve learned from working with Butch and kind of apply the theories of my own and have the chance of doing that on my own. It’s definitely not something that I want to do for the rest of my life or anything, but I really needed that experience for this record.
You also released the album on your own label, Total Treble. How was it like to start the label and how is it going so far? Learning a lot [laughs] but there’s
been some good and there’s been some bad, but that’s the case of any record label that we’ve been on. We just did that for the US release and in Europe we released the record through Xtra Mile Recordings and then Australia we released through Resist Records. But in the US is been cool.
Are you planning on releasing other records from other bands through your label?
Hopefully, maybe down the road. Right now we’re just really focusing on being out on tour and promoting this record, but that’s something that I would like to do eventually for sure.
What are your upcoming tour plans for this year?
Right now we are in the US until the next month. After that we come over to Europe for a month and then after that we are back to the US. We just kind of plan on touring the rest of the year hoping to make back to Europe again in the fall.
How was the first show you did as a woman?
To me, it was like any other show. I didn’t try to overthink that. It was also a little weird just because it wasn’t our own show. We were out on tour with The Cult and it was the first show we did with them. It was like the most unideal venue ever where’s like seated and it was outside. [laughs] That was kind of a bad show and other people would have putting a stigma on it that I was really trying to play into.
What’s your favorite record of 2014 so far? I’d say The Menzingers’ Rented World.
“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” is out now via Total Treble
FEED THE RH
They are considered as one of the UK's most incendiary live bands and have released two impressive albums - but now they probably released their most ambitious and bolder album to the date. "The Sorrow And The Sound" is another prove that Feed The Rhino know exactly what they are doing and shows their progression as growing as a band. We caught up with Lee Tobin, the fearless voice of the group, that talked all about his band's new effort and why it is a major celebration for them. Words: Andreia Alves
ON AND FROM THE HEART
ow has been this year for you so far?
It’s been really good, actually. Started off really well. We had a bit of time off last year obviously to write the album. We’ve been touring a lot, but we needed a kind of slight break just to concentrate on a few things and in a way just kind of spend a bit of time at home with our families and stuff like that, because we’ve been relentlessly off over the last few years. So we wanted to take that time off and we wanted to move into 2014 and really sort of hit the floor running, you know? We started off the year by playing some shows; we were on festivals and we sort of went out to get back on the scene; we’ve had some few headline shows and just tried some new material from the new album. The beginning of the year has been great and we’re gonna play at Download which is one of the biggest festivals over here. Very exciting times.
This is the second time that you’re going to play at Download, right? Yeah, this is the second time that we’re playing!
Are you guys excited to returning to play there?
Yeah, definitely! Playing in a festival with the sort of reputation that this festival holds in this country and the bands that get put on that festival, you know, to be a part of it is really a massive thing - especially if you’re a UK band. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // FEED THE RHINO
You guys are one of the UK’s most incendiary live bands and it’s been four years since you formed Feed The Rhino. How do you usually prepare yourselves for a show and how much it has changed since you started?
I’ll be honest with you, there’s no specific ritual before a show. We are not one of those bands that sort of sit down and go through those paces. Everyone else does that sort of 5 minutes to themselves before they go on, but we’re really close. We’re best friends and we’re completely all about feeling and all about the music. We grew up listening to grunge, so the grunge era bands like Alice in Chains or bands like Pantera bring so much passion and feeling. It’s something that’s really organic about us. When we go play live, a lot of people that come to see us say how intense we are as a band, but the truth is that is just the five of us having fun. We don’t wanna lose that feeling that we had when we used to go watch bands when we were younger and what music did for us. Personally, I love being in the crowd and doesn’t matter how small or big the venue is - or how small or big the crowd is - I love seeing the fire in people’s eyes, you know? I think that place is sort of a preparation of going on and playing shows. Just trying to be as much organic as possible, let happen what happens and hopefully we can carry on - I’m sure we will. We’re not a band that is into any sort of fashion. We don’t do this for the patchs on the back and the fashion side of it; we do this because we purely love music and I think that’s where our performance comes from.
As a band, what has been your most memorable experience ever?
It’s all been a massive experience, because when we first started this band we didn’t expect anything from it. We didn’t expect anyone to take any notice of us and we didn’t expect to be playing on shows that we’ve played or even played with bands that we’ve played with. I mean, look at Download for instance. The first time we played at Download Festival, Black Sabbath were headlining. [laughs] How many people would turn around in a lifetime and say “We shared a festival with Black Sabbath”, you know? The biggest metal band pretty much on Earth. Every experience is a great experience for us. We don’t take 62
anything for granted. We take each show that comes. For me the best experience is just going out and see people that are really into us and our music. When you look back and try to pinpoint a specific experience, I don’t think you really can, because it’s all so brilliant and it’s a good ride. As long you keep an open mind and you keep it pure at heart, the experience will always be good.
You guys have released your third studio effort “The Sorrow And The Sound”. So what aspects are new on it?
I think if you are a Feed The Rhino fan - I don’t like to use that term ‘fan’, I think it’s horrible [laughs] - but if you are someone that listens to our music and you’ve listened to Mr. Red Eye (2010) and to The Burning Sons (2012) and you enjoyed the albums, then you’ve seen the progressions there. You’re gonna find small elements of those two abums in The Sorrow And The Sound, but what where we’ve come from writing the albums as people - our personal lives, the progression of growing as a band and stuff like that - and all of that has been putting into the effort of writing this new album. But this album compared to those two had come together so much more natural. It was so natural, it was really organic and really easy to write. We were writing down riffs and then they just worked. We were writing down ideas and they were flowing. I suppose when you write an album and you’ve got back feeling attached to it, then that’s what your sound is. So I think what you can expect from this album is everything you’ve heard before but just better and bigger. And something in a way not wanting to be as a band I suppose, because we’ve kind of just let all unfold but where we are as a band now in this album is for me the best Feed The Rhino that we are so far, you know? That’s what you’re gonna get on the album, you’re just gonna get everything. It’s gonna be full pace, there’s gonna be stuff that’s gonna sort of shock you - not shock as “Oh no!!!”. [laughs] There are some songs on there that are really nice curveballs and outfitted with work. I think this album is something that came out naturally and hopefully there’s a lot more to come from us, but we really feel satisfied, very proud of this album and we hope that the people that follow us really like
what we’ve done with it.
I read that you moved to Cotswolds from Kent, UK and it was a change that you needed. Did that affect the making process of this record?
Yeah, I think it had some effects on it but I think everything that has happened over the last year to these five members of the band is all positive. It’s like everything worked to help us to create this album and it’s not just me, it’s not just the fact that I moved away or anything like that, I think everyone had that slight change because we’re not young kids anymore, we’re already on our thirties. We’re a lot more mature than we were five years ago and I think every little thing that has happened in this band is definitely working towards better things musically and the atmosphere of the band. We’re all really happy with all the shows and got a really good feeling from them. We’ve been really happy and satisfied than we’ve ever been in this band. For me personally, the move has definitely helped me clear my head, so it’s been a good move for me.
Did that change how you wrote these new songs and lyrics?
Yeah, it did. Like I said, I feel a much clearer state of mind and puts a lot of things in perspective, you know? A few years ago I was in a position where I was in this slightly darker place and I think you can kind of hear that in The Burning Sons. When we wrote that, I was in a little bit more contained place in my head, I suppose. I think that albums always come out the way you feel at that time. For me has opened my mind a lot more and gave me a better perspective, like I sound a lot happier now and you can really see that has come across lyrically in the songs.
So are these songs more upbeat and more positive?
Yeah. I mean, it’s a strange one, because when you and I listen to the song it might do something to you different than it does to me. What this album captures is the intensity, the groove, the passion, the sincerity of the band... I think it captures everything that we are as five people. I think everything that has happened had definitely got big effects on it.
While you were writing these songs, were there any bands or
“... this album is something that came out naturally and hopefully there’s a lot more to come from us, but we really feel satisfied, very proud of this album...” records that did inspire you in some way?
Not really. We’ve always stuck to our own music. There’s a lot of bands that we listen to and that we’ve been listening to since we were kids, but Feed The Rhino is something that we’ve kind of kept to ourselves, whatever we write is what we’ve come up with. As I suppose, people in bands or musicians or whatever you wanna call them always listen to bands - new bands, old bands or whatever makes you happy. I suppose you’re always gonna have some sort of influence, whatever if it’s a band you’ve listened to when you were younger or a band you’ve been listening to now. To be fair, there’s not a lot of influence that we take into this album. This is something that we can really proudly call our own.
As usual, Oz Craggs [bassist] did the production of the record. How was it this time around?
It was really good. Oz is a great person to work with for two reasons: the first one is that he’s like a phenomenal producer, he’s outstanding and really good; the second one is that he’s in the band, he helps find the music. [laughs] He knows us inside out. Working with him is different, because obviously when he goes and sits down in front
of the desk and he starts doing his job and starts working on the album, he has to kind of separate himself from being in Feed The Rhino, because he still has to do his professional job in the album. We’ve all got a great relationship, we’re all really close and it was really good this time around. I mean not sounding that the other times weren’t - they were good as well - but like I said, this album really comes together quite naturally so it wasn’t as stressful as The Burning Sons was.
“Black Horse” is probably one of the most epic, cinematic sounding tracks you have put on record. What can you tell me about it? “Black Horse” is one of the curveballs on the album. When me and James first sat down and start to think about the idea for that song, he came out with a riff, started playing and I’d started singing it. We had some certain ideas about it, but this song is really personal to me. I thought we didn’t want to deal too much into it obviously because of my own assumptions to the song. To hear that song for me is a really proud moment, because it’s a quite different song for us. It’s a lot rockier but it still has the Feed The Rhino-esque to it. The vocals are cleaner. That song was written about a time that I really
struggled to get myself out of and I’m really proud of that song because it celebrates me breaking out of a certain time in my life... Breaking out and moving on, you know? I think you can hear that in the song, and people are saying good things about the song then I know what I tried to get across lyrically and melodically - what the band tried to get across as a song - has obviously worked.
Is this new album like a celebration for you guys?
Yeah, definitely. Any album is a celebration. It’s a great achievement and it’s a celebration. You get bands, you start a band, you get bands breaking up - I mean, we are on our third album. We may not be playing all over the world, we may have plans to tour on 5000 capacity venues, but we’re really proud of where we are as a band. We think in ways we overachieved, so to be on our third album, to write something that we are so satisfied with and really happy is a massive celebration for all of us.
“The Sorrow And The Sound” is out now via Century Media/Siege of Amida 63
INTERVIEW // TRAP THEM
The news that
TRAP THEM were releasing a
new album, the spectacularly-titled “Blissfucker”, made everyone with fond memories of banging heads and crushin skulls to a ratty copy of “Sleepwell Constructor” feel a little bit tingly. Well, back they are, albeit with a couple of new faces in tow, and guitarist Brian Izzi has offered up his thoughts on the band’s new additions, horror scores and that album title.
Words: David Bowes
t looked quite ropey for the band a few years ago, so how does it feel having a new album and playing shows again?
It’s good. The break was much needed as we did a lot for a while. We were constantly going, playing and recording, and things started to become complicated with people living everywhere. It was getting hard to stay excited and keep the band going, but this break got us excited to want to do another record. Now, we’ve played a couple of shows and everything we’ve got coming up feels pretty good. We’re playing with a lot of friends’ bands and it should be fun.
There are two new additions to the band, namely Galen Baudhuin on bass and Brad Fickeisen on drums. How was it that those two came to join the band?
Our old bassist Steve had been out of the band since about the summer of 2011, and we were on a break anyway. I had been 64
playing with Galen on some other stuff - nothing that’s been released, just hanging out and writing demos - and it’d been really good so he hopped in on bass for some of the shows we did last year. Then Chris Maggio, our old drummer, ended up joining a band in his down time as he likes to keep busy and he also lives far away, and Brad was a logical choice to fill in. He’s really good, he lives around here, and he’s even played a little on Converge’s Axe To Fall, plus he’s in The Red Chord, so we asked him to do the drums. Then the vibe between everybody was so good, and that’s the only reason we considered doing some more shows.
“Blissfucker” is a title that seems to sum up the album so well, but it’s still a very strange word. Where does the title come from?
The title comes from Ryan McKenney’s mind. We have an interesting relationship in the way we’ve done all these records. We’re the founding members of the
band and we’ve been doing it this way since 2002. He comes up with all the titles and all the lyrics, I do all the music, and we don’t really know how it’s all going to sound. He might get the demos of the songs and I get a rough idea of what he’s going to sing on it, but there’s a definite trust between the two of us. I know he’s going to do some cool shit, but I really like that album title. Blissfucker... I think it’s really cool. It’s hard for me to explain it because I don’t know exactly what it’s supposed to mean but it’s one of those words where you get a reaction immediately in your mind. It’s definitely an in-your-face aggressive title, but I don’t think it has an exact d efinition. The closest I can think of is that ‘the Blissfucker’ is ‘the ruiner’, that kind of thing. Everything good gets destroyed. I think that’s the common theme at the core of the title but other than that, I’m not Ryan so I can’t really answer that one exactly. I don’t know if he would, either.
as long as we continue to make records. That’s the theme that stays but I always try to drop in some new ideas from album to album while keeping a seamless flow on the record. You can listen to the first record and the new one and still tell it’s the same band. I just focus on my songwriting, to try to keep being better while at the same time not over-thinking it either.
The name Trap Them originally came from Trap Them And Kill Them, right?
That was the name we used on the first EP; the demo EP that we made back in 2002. The band just slowly morphed into a live thing and a bigger idea but back then we were just going to be this pure grind, all the time, and that’s what that demo was like. Actually, a lot of songs on that demo got reworked into our first album. But yeah, that was the first name. It’s a pretty intense name.
Were you a big fan of the movie?
“I just want to be true to it and I want to continue that as long as we continue to make records.” You’ve almost always worked with Kurt Ballou, “Blissfucker” included. It seems with his work that he leaves a mark, a way that you can tell who produced it, while keeping a strong sense of the band’s identity. What’s the key to that?
I think he doesn’t have one singular style. He has a style overall but I think he dials in for certain bands. This is the seventh record we’ve done with him, between EPs and LPs, and it’s been fun to develop along with his style. He’s always been really good but he just keeps getting better and better. It makes for a good match-up, both for Trap Them and for Kurt. Also, we don’t spend a huge amount of time there, especially at this point where we’re so comfortable with him. We don’t mix the record for a week or anything like that. It’s pretty easy to work with him because we know where the goal is and it’s like a balance of it sounding disgusting and slick at the same time. We try to strike that balance.
“Blissfucker” really does seem to represent the Trap Them sound so well. Are there any links between this and your previous work, apart from the sound?
Being a fan of bands that’ve been around for a long time, I think it’s important, especially with bands like this, not to stray too far from what the band sounds and feels like and what the band has always meant. I just want to be true to it and I want to continue that
Actually, I’m not a big fan of that one particularly. It just has a good name. A good, solid title that’s pretty aggressive but the director, Joe D’Amato, has better movies than that. We shortened it because every time we said the name we shortened it to Trap Them and then, wanting to expand the band into something a little different, we felt that Trap Them was something a little more mysterious. If your band is called Trap Them and Kill Them, your band is always going to have to be grinding. You have to be the most intense, 100% of the time, and it kind of pigeonholes you so Trap Them is just a little more open. We still have a lot of that element, and I love that style of music, but it left us open to not have to do one thing.
Considering the band’s horror roots, do any aspects of horror soundtracks fit into your own songwriting?
Yeah, definitely. I collect soundtracks and I’m pretty obsessed with listening to them a lot, I guess it allows me to relax when I get home, and I’ve been getting into working with that - nothing I can talk about but I have some options to work on a couple of short films. It’s nothing heavy, nothing sounding like Trap Them, but pure soundtrack-sounding stuff, and a few of the pieces on the new Trap Them album were pieces of music that I was sort of working on as part of that. Ransom Risen was a whole piece played with just a creepy-sounding guitar; no drums, no heaviness to it. Also, for Bad Nones, I just had my recording, which we then imported into Kurt’s studio and built up, made it heavy. We added drums, worked it all through and basically erased the track that I brought. So I have stuff that I am going to do, but I’ll be keeping that separate.
There was talk a while back about releasing all of the band’s lyrics to date in a book. Is that still going ahead? It’s still something we talk about and I know it’s still something he really wants to do, and when Ryan wants something to happen, it will happen. It’s just a matter of the logistics of printing the book and how many to make. It’s the time to make it happen because it’s not going to be just text on pages, there’s going to be some big design work with lots of visual stuff too, so it is going to come, we just don’t know when.
“Blissfucker” is out nov via Prosthetic Records
INTERVIEW // VOLUMES
Angeles released their debu Back in 2011 when this band from Los ectic tastes of the band m ecl the by ly on t no se pri sur by en tak s wa ause of their complex lyrics. N very heavy-based way but also beccul mination of a huge hard wo sophomore album, “No Sleep”, a mo re. We talked on the phon that wants more and wants to showis moving around the US touri vocalist and lyricist, while the band ing Vans Warped Tour. Busine This time, they were do Words: Tiago Moreira Your debut album was a success. Did you feel any pressure writing this new?
t seems that you guys made a conscious decision of touring with different type of bands. How’s that working out and what do you take from it?
I think for us works out really well because we’re this really versatile group of guys. Each of us has a different sound, each of us listen to a different sound of music. We don’t just listen to metal so to tour with different bands and to have the opportunity of walk around all day and hear these different genres… we really appreciate that and it’s something that I’m really into it. For us it works really well. I think we could tour with probably any band and make it worth, probably.
But isn’t hard sometimes?
Yeah, sometimes it is hard. We’ve done some tours with some acts that don’t have really work so well but I mean, the experiences are always good to walk away with… Sometimes it is hard, sometimes you tour with a band and you’re out of your ball part, it’s a political thing or you get forced to do a tour that you didn’t want to do, and that’s always rough. I mean, we went through an experience like that but even if the shows may have not been great the tour, the behind the scenes with the other bands, it has been great. They accepted us and everything. They’re always good experiences in the end. 66
Yeah, there was tremendous pressure. Basically it took a long time for us to write this album and that added on the pressure too. I mean, you’re really putting out an album that everyone is waiting for, your sophomore release… That’s a big deal. We tried to find time to write the album while touring and just that was a tremendous pressure, trying to find the right balance. So yeah, there was a lot of pressure writing this album but we finally have it done. There was a delay or two with the coming out but it’s all legal reasons or things like that, that were out of our hands, but now that’s finished and comes out in five days… What better way to put it out there on Vans Warped Tour? The pressure is over, we survived it and now we are just trying to see how it goes.
Did you guys have a pretty good idea of what you want to do on this new album or there was a sort of defying moment that made the pieces all fit together?
I think we pretty much knew what we wanted to do. We wanted to show this whole other side of the band that a lot of people don’t know that even exist. We wanted to let people know that we’re not just a metal band, you know? Yeah, we can get heavy but there’s also another side. We just really wanted to let that show. There’s not a theme on the album, it’s basically an album with twelve songs about hands-on experiences. Pretty much just real life issues that we’ve gone through as a band and that I’ve gone through personally. The
other album, Via, was very conceptual and kind had this trippy vibe, with a positive concept, like being spiritual and all of that. That was four years ago, now we kind of grown up so we’re trying to stay away from that and to show the real Volumes.
That makes sense. Lyrically speaking, this new album seems way more straightforward than “Via”. Did you guys want to make your point across more clearer this time around? I know that many fans were asking you to breakdown the lyrics of “Via”.
Yeah, the first album was… lyrically where I was at, I was just trying to make the most intricate conceptual lyrics I could make. I didn’t really care if the reader, the listener got it or not. I only cared about myself which ok, call me selfish but I thought like that were some of the best lyrics that I’ve ever written and… who knows if I will ever write good lyrics like that again but for me that time and that moment, I was just cultivating my artistry, I was focusing on my ability to do that and I didn’t care about pleasing anyone else, including my band, my management and my fans. I was just trying to have fun, basically, and with that all the lyrics came up the way they did and they are all encrypted and encoded. It is hard to read, it is hard to get what I’m trying to say. That’s cool and that worked for us at that time but now I feel that the new era of Volumes is very straightforward, lyrics that people can read one time and know what they mean. We’re trying to be songwriters on this album so that’s what I think it’s working for us right now.
ut album, “Via”, the world members displayed in a Now they return with their orking ethos and a band ne with Michael Barr, the ing relentlessly, as usual. ess as usual.
Would you say that the new album’s title reflects the hard working ethos of the band? I mean, you guys seem to be going on non-stop.
Yeah, that’s kind of how the name came about. We weren’t trying to promote anything with this album and we didn’t have any theme so basically the best title that we found to describe the album was No Sleep. I was kind of sitting around and I thought, “We don’t sleep” and it just stuck around in the back of our minds. We just wanted something that best represented the band. We feel that those two words just hook
“... I feel that the new era of Volumes is very straightforward, lyrics that people can read one time and know what they mean.”
people in and if you don’t know Volumes, if you’re not familiar with what this band is, those two words can grab your attention. About the hard working ethos that you were talking about, it came from the past four years of touring in a band, making minimum money, only getting recognition by word of mouth, and that can really mess someone. In a world where people want to make money and be famous, the No Sleep is kind of us dealing with being a band, being a group of guys that try to have success.
It seems that you adopted a more pop-centered approach on this new album. How that changed the creative process?
Yeah, we brought in a producer, Brandon Paddock, which was a big step for us – he’s a dear friend of ours and an amazing human – and his background is mainly pop. He works with indie pop bands and huge pop artists (Avril Lavigne, Selena Gomez). For him to come and work with us, I think it was a big leap of faith to him as well. In the end it worked out beautifully and I think his idea and approach for our record really brought us to a new level that we were looking for. We were looking to turn the page to kind of redefine the band sonically and I think he did that perfectly. It terms of the creative process, having that element basically woke us up. We were used to just try on doing things on the fly and making it work in the studio but with this album we kind of got schooled. We went to the sessions with the same Volumes mentality but coming out of the sessions we learned a lot about ourselves: how to work in the studio, how long you need to sit in the studio and work on your stuff. You know, there were times we worked 14 hours per day. The creative process of this new album was a big learning experience.
“No Sleep” is out now via Mediaskare Records musicandriotsmagazine.com
THEY’RE BACK AND NOTHING CAN STOP THEM 68
ad for Suicide ro h g u to , g n lo a n e e It's b 2, they lost their 1 0 2 r e b m e v o N In . Silence cker in a tragic Lu ch it M st li ca o v d e belov ving everyone a le t, n e id cc a e cl y rc moto le event. Shortly ib rr o h is th y b d te a devast e group did a ise th , th a e d 's ch it M r e aft him and to ra to te u ib tr in w o sh l a memori 's family, which s ch it M t u o lp e h to y e mon al guest vocalist ci e sp f o ch n u b a d feature more special for n e v e t h ig n e th g in mak Suicide Silence ll r, e b o ct O st La . e n o every rmida of All Shay e H ie d d E t a th d ce n annou list and that the n't ca o v w e n e th s a w Perish c again. "You Ca si u m e k a m to y d a were re record and it's to w e n ir e th is " e M p Sto ortunity p p o e th d a h e W . ch dedicated to MitHeylmun, one of the guitarist talk with Mark out how has been everything of the group, abd how this new record is an nowadays an oment for the band. important m
know you must be tired of answering this and I totally understand it, but how have you guys been since the awful time you went through?
Well, there’s been a lot that we’ve gone through and a lot of different things that happened. I mean, we’ve just done so much through a process. I think we all fought to be where we’re at right now: feeling good about the pain, having a good record and getting ready to be on tour and play shows. We’re just ready to play, meet everybody again and being amongst the metal community. It’s been rough to get here and it just feels good right now to be excited about releasing a record and being busy, you know? Answering the phone for an interview while I’m setting up my wah pedal. [laughs]
Words: Andreia Alves
Last March, you’ve released “The Mitch Lucker Memorial Show (Ending is the Beginning)” which was recorded in December of 2012 and it might have been a night you’ll never forget. How was it to play with all those special guest vocalists for such important event for you?
That show was gnarly. It’s crazy to look back at it. We started putting together that show as soon Mitch passed. We wanted to raise money for his family, for his daughter in a show in tribute to him and we wanted to make it as big as possible, as awesome as possible and do something that he would be proud of and agree with. It’s hard for me to even look back and really remember the show. It was such a hard time. We were very shocked, so getting that show set up and getting over with was kind of where we were at that point in our lives like we didn’t really know where we were. Being able to just be surrounded by all of our friends and putting that together was really therapeutic and really good, but at the same time it was the scariest
thing because we didn’t know if the band would ever play together again. So, we were really kind of scattered brain and we were just happy that the show went as well as it did. I think that Mitch would be proud.
Eddie Hermida, who’s now the current vocalist of the band, was one of the guest vocalists on that show but you didn’t know that he would join the band at the time. When did you know that he was the one that should take charge of the vocals in Suicide Silence?
The memorial show didn’t really serve for any kind of try out. It was kind of like we were all a little nervous, we were kind of out of our minds and really shocked with the situation and I honestly don’t really remember too much of that show. It’s kind of like a blur. When we decided to move forward with the band and started really being serious about continuing with Suicide Silence, Eddie was the only name that actually was a serious name that we brought up. Before Eddie was brought up, it was all like nobody made sense. There was nothing that made us excited that actually make us go “Wow, we’re gonna do this”, you know? That’s the thing we’re gonna do, but once Eddie’s name came up it was like: “You know what? We have known him forever and he’s such a good dude.” When we did the memorial show, he was the first person to come down here. He lives like seven hours away. He drove down here and he was one of the first people down here to rehearse and hang out with us. He was really affected by Mitch’s passing and once we thought about him to take the reins, join the band and write music with us it made sense. We told him and when he said yes we’ve just started going and we’ve been going ever since and here we are.
One of the things that is very important for your band is your fans, so how did they react when you announce Eddie as the new singer?
It was as expected, honestly. I don’t expect everybody to just feel like excited that we’re continuing but I understand the other hand of it. The reaction was all over the place. There were people that completely disagree, there were people that completely support it, there were people that were in my opinion the smartest
INTERVIEW // SUICIDE SILENCE ones that were like: “Let’s see how this works out and let’s hear the new music.” But for the most part is positive and the most of the negative kind of came from people that I feel like they were making the decision based on their gut and instincts and haven’t heard any music. Now that we have a new record coming out we can really show them why we’re working and how much they can vibe with it and get behind of what we’re doing, because we’re still doing it for them.
In my humble opinion, Eddie is a great fit for the band and I’m really glad that you guys have continued making music. Now with Eddie on board, does it feel to you like a reboot for the band? Yeah. We hit rock bottom, like we didn’t know what we were doing. There was this time where we only saw each other once in a month and for us as a band we didn’t go a month without seeing each other for at least seven years, so for a good while we were always working and always doing something. We hit this bottom, we didn’t have the band and we didn’t know what was going on. We all really realized how much we needed it, how much it was something that kept us feeling good about ourselves and doing good things like writing music for people to enjoy. Without us taking joy of creating we can’t give to anybody anything to enjoy. We were feeling that and so Eddie saying yes and joining the band was definitely a big reboot for the band and for everybody’s lives in general. It was a big deal.
The first show ever with Eddie was at Soundwave Festival, and I saw the video of the wall of death and it gave me the chills. How was the moment to get back on stage with Eddie?
It was insane. It was extremely nerve wracking and we were all nervous. I think we just have respect for the fact that we’re about to do what we’re gonna do, but at the same time we got on there and it was right back to where we wanted to be. Looking over to Eddie and seeing him really taking on it just fit right in with us and get on that level of giving 1000% and just losing your mind. We were really enjoying it and that’s where we were at. We were enjoying the fact that we were on stage again.
Your new album is out now and it’s 70
“I think we all fought to be where we’re at right now: feeling good about the pain, having a good record and getting ready to be on tour and play shows.” called “You Can’t Stop Me” and I read that you guys said that this album is the nastiest, heaviest, most disgusting work you’ve ever done. So what can you tell me more about what can expect from it?
I suggest get the whole record, put it on from the beginning and listen to it all the way through. There’s a lot of versatility in the record, there’s a lot of old school Suicide Silence’s vibe, a lot of moods... We just kind of really dug deep into our tricks and done everything we could really pull out and maybe show some stuff that we haven’t done before that still remain Suicide Silence and make it sound like us. It’s us as a band being at the top of our game, bringing in Eddie who is going to be scrutinized and he’s well aware of that. He has to do his best performance of his life. You are going to listen to a band that is on fire and a vocalist that wants to prove to everyone that he can fill this position in Suicide Silence.
How was the approach on the songwriting process between you guys this time around?
I would say that the songwriting came together as the best that we’ve ever really done. I think we were all prepared to write it because of the situation and we really wanted this record to just speak for us and that’s pretty much what it does. We didn’t want to write something and make people be like: “What? Is this the new Suicide Silence record?” We wanted to get in there and we wanted to write something that people could listen to and be like: “This is them!” This is exactly what I want and just from past experiences of hiding, the best to way to get the best music out of us is throwing us all in a room together and just jam and see what comes out, because we all have such versatile writing styles and influences. So when you get us all in a room together, you start to get the most blending of styles and we might fight with each other, we might get mad and yell, but at the same time some days we
get in, write a song in a day and just turns out to be golden.
I read that one of the songs - the title track “You Can’t Stop Me” - incorporates some lyrics of Mitch. What can you tell about this song and what it is about?
We had written a couple of songs musically in our home studio and Mitch had came, said that he had recorded guitars and he had an idea of the way that the music would sound. This was in October of 2012. He wrote some lyrics and on that day we didn’t end up actually reading those lyrics, but we all have decided to more forward and we were in the jam room - this was in August of 2013 - and we got these lyrics and they were called “You Can’t Stop Me”. We were meeting up to write new music for a new album and “You Can’t Stop Me” was pretty much the foundation of all around inspiration to continue writing music and continue doing exactly what we were going to do. It was just an attitude even to say that’s a real life that was ended. But this song was called “You Can’t Stop Me” and it was written by our singer who had passed away almost a year ago to that point and the song is about being unstoppable and that’s what gave us the influence to write the whole record.
You went in the studio with Steve Evetts (Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan), which previously worked with you on “The Black Crown”. How did go the recording process this time around? The studio process was all work. We wanted to get the record done and we wanted to make sure that was getting the attention that it needed. We really just prep down and we worked our asses off. The record is done and we did it as best as we possibly could. We enjoyed the process. We were really happy to be back in the studio together and working on stuff and having these new songs. When we were finishing the
record, I think everybody was a little bummed out for we were actually done, like: “It’s over.” We were having such a good time working on the record, but when we finished it, it was a little bittersweet.
You have some guest appearances on this new album - The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato and Cannibal Corpse frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. How did that colabs come about?
We went on tour with Cannibal Corpse on 2011 in South America and we basically went party with them where we were just drinking in the hotel and we were like: “We want you [George Fisher] on our next record. Whatever it takes, we give you whatever just for you to sing in our record.” And he basically said: “Fuck that! You don’t have to give me any money. I’m singing in your next record for free!” [laughs] And we were like: “Well ok... Cool!” and that happened. It happened pretty much the same thing with Greg [Puciato]. Recently when we were in Soundwave Festival, the record was getting mixed and mastered and our producer kind of just put in the ideas bank for the certain song that would sound really good if there were two voices. Eddie could come in and do another voice here and make it sound like a battle back and forth. We were on tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan and we thought: “Let’s just ask Greg. We got him right here and we know he lives down the street from the studio. Let’s see if he’ll do it.” We asked him and he was totally happy to do it. He went home after Soundwave and recorded the vocals. Both George and Greg vocal parts are so cool and really are the reminiscent of their bands, so it brings different vibes for us.
one of his favorite all time bands ever is Hatebreed and it was one of the first songs that we pulled out of the hat. We jammed the song with Eddie and it was really fun. We used to jam with Mitch and it’s a little bit reminiscent of the situation that we were in, you know? Singing with someone who is no longer here.
In June, you are hitting a European tour, which includes festivals like Rock Am Ring, Download, etc. What are you most excited about it?
Everything! European festivals are so much fun. I mean, the food is always really good. [laughs] Like
I was saying about playing that first show, when we played that first show in Brisbane we had this recharge of memory of what it is to play on stage and we haven’t had enough yet and we want to be on stage. We want to play and we want to give to these audiences the best shows that they can possibly see. We’re gonna play some music we haven’t played before, because it wasn’t done yet and we weren’t ready to play new stuff. This time around we’re gonna play new music from You Can’t Stop Me. “You Can’t Stop Me” is out now via Nuclear Blast
I’ve noticed that a cover of “Last Breath” of Hatebreed is included as a bonus track. Why cover that song in particular? We covered Deftones with Mitch, we did an Alice in Chains song and we did a Rob Zombie song. But we always like to do a cover in every album and this one we used to play on sound check all the time. We just jam “Last Breath”, it’s an easy song to set the speakers and get the sound sound good. Then when Eddie joined the band
INTERVIEW // CORROSION OF CONFORMITY
Back in the mid-80’s, Corrosion of Conformity were the hardcore band to be into. If you didn’t have that nuclear skull patch on your denims then you might as well have handed in your punk card, but since then they’ve been called stoner, sludge and heavy metal, they’ve been signed to labels huge and not-so-huge and they’ve come dangerously close to calling it a day. On the eve of the release of their ninth album, the appropriately-monikered “IX”, we caught up with vocalist, bassist and founding member Mike Dean to talk rock history, awkward touring schedules and the perks of being a three-piece.
Words: David Bowes // Photo: Fabiola Santini
ou’re just about to release “IX”, and your last album was self-titled. Is there some kind of stripped-back message at play here, what with not having album titles, per se?
We weren’t looking for titles, we were more looking for a title that would find us and I just liked the impact of this. I think I might have been listening to a lot of Black Sabbath’s Volume 4 and I kinda got the roman numerals stuck in my retinas there. I thought it might look good and it’s the ninth studio record so we called it IX, though once that decision was in motion I noticed that we’re still in the era of Down IV, with the roman numerals, under the various instalments, so I was “oh, great!” I don’t know, though, I’m not that great on titles. Deliverance never had a title until the last minute and that song, “Deliverance”, was going to be a throwaway until those guys suggested that I have something to sing on it. When I did, the theme of it kind of fit the situation, where the band was almost about to cease to be right on the verge of arguably their, at the time, most important record to date and we were kind of delivered from that by a lucky twist of fate. There’s some poetry and symmetry to that but this time we weren’t encountering any of that kind of serendipity.
Your self-titled album was released only two years ago, which is the shortest period between albums that you guys have ever had. Did the writing for this one run particularly smoothly?
Well, we’re just trying to be prolific. We had actually hoped to get it out a little sooner but we just got busy with various auspicious distractions. I spent a lot of time going on the road with Vista Chino, which was a great opportunity, and great fun, and that kind of directed me away from the struggle a little bit. We actually did produce an EP between the self-titled and this record, the Megalodon EP, and that was kind of an online-only thing. We’re in the process of making that up as a vinyl-only release at some point soon with some unreleased tracks as well. That’s kind of what I’m in the studio working on.
Given this is your second album in your current line-up, have you settled back into working as a three-piece, or was there never really any problem in that respect? It comes pretty naturally to do the three-piece thing. The only thing to remember is that each instrument has its place and there isn’t really anywhere to hide. You can’t hide behind a wall of guitars. When things are going well, and you’re playing the correct thing at the correct time, it has the potential to sound brilliant and clear but if you make any kind of gaffe, it’s right there. There’s more space to try things and it’ll actually come across, whereas in a four-piece you had to choose your spots and listen more, play in a more complementary way. Either way, we definitely had a lot of ideas between the three of us so it wasn’t like it was hard coming up with material or anything like that. I’m thinking 72
at some point soon we’re going to revisit the four-piece Deliverance line-up. I don’t have any official timeframe for any of that happening but we’re getting indications that it’s time to work that out on the calendar with all concerned – Pepper Keenan, Phil Anselmo, Jimmy Bower, Mike Williams. See what the Eyehategod and Phil and the Illegals tour schedules are looking like and plan our endeavours around that. We still want to be one step ahead with our plans but we don’t want to do anything that’ll overshadow our efforts at the moment because we’re proud of our record and we think we’re going to get some good response from it.
How does it feel being on Candlelight compared to the major label days?
The whole landscape of doing music as a business has changed so much so it’s hard to make a direct scientific comparison but you could tell at the time that Sony had the vibe of the Roman Empire on the verge of collapse. You could see the signs. A child could have walked in there and seen the unsustainability of that endeavour, and we could see going into it that we weren’t going to live up to their ridiculously inflated sales expectations, so the idea from the start was to get the most that we could out of the situation. Not necessarily financially but just to enjoy the ride, do some things that might be good for our
ION OF CONFORMITY “I think we achieved more perfection than people would achieve if they were trying to attain perfection.” careers, try to experience some things and expose ourselves to the cultural assets that they had. We made a point to accept their financial help, and to go record at Criteria recordings in Miami where Tom Dowd recorded Derek and the Dominos, and Cream and Aretha Franklin, even if the room that those were recorded in is now the tape storage room, and to go to Electric Lady in New York to mix at Eddie Kramer’s studio that was originally commissioned by Jimi Hendrix. We were able to try to get a historical perspective of rock. We enjoyed that ride, and while that’s not going to happen on Candlelight, they have their niche, they’re willing to make an investment in us and we’re grateful.
Bassists tend to be overlooked in bands whereas vocalists are often the focal point. How does it feel to move from the background to the fore, so to speak?
I’m just happy to contribute however I can. There was a time when we first started the band where being the vocalist was a dirty job that someone had to do. We kicked a couple of singers out back in our hardcore days because they didn’t really represent us, then I did it for a while and found out that I can do two things at once, if I really need to. Then later on, after I quit the band and came back, we primarily had Pepper doing the vocals and I enjoy being in the company of us, I enjoy
focusing on the bass. I mean it’s what I do in Vista Chino. To do that right, that’s a lot of fun. It’s gratifying, but I like the idea of coming up with songs and getting them across with vocals. That’s a challenge to pull it off every night, but it’s also something I enjoy. Whatever the job is, we’ll get it done.
What’s your general process for writing lyrics?
Sometimes, I keep a little book where I put down some lines that come to me, or else I’ll inventory a few turns of phrase that I like, or even just a concept that’s not really in verse or song format. Just a couple of little things, and then I mostly ignore those and never look at them again. Essentially we’ll start writing, everybody will come up with a couple of riffs, or I’ll have a basic verse and chorus, some turnarounds, a couple of tricky parts, something like that, bring them to the guys. See how it’s going to play out, make some space for vocals. Then I’ll sit with it and try to come up with some lyrics, and most of the time that’s real stream-of-consciousness. I just let the gibberish flow, and look at the gibberish, and sometimes it looks like the universe is trying to tell me something. It looks almost like a coherent message in the chaos, and you find that thread and you try to refine it and try to do it in a way where you take your time with the phrases and most of it line by line
is pretty cool turn of phrase. That’s something I really learned watching Pepper coming up with lyrics under the gun. A lot of people will do this, where they’ll sing some gibberish to get the melody and then come up with some lyrics after the fact, and that’s usually what we do. I don’t sit there like some great songwriter, where I’ve got something to say, and I’ll sit down and say it. Mostly, it’s just the music is something that we want to get off our chests and the singing is an extension of that.
You cover a huge amount of ground on “IX”, and it almost sounds like you’ve tried to condense the last 50 years of heavy music into one album. Is it important to have this spread of styles to you?
Well, it’s a tall order but we do what we do where we can. We can’t climb that entire mountain in one 47 minute release but we’re just trying to find our way, and I think it turned out pretty well. I think we achieved more perfection than people would achieve if they were trying to attain perfection. Those are the efforts that really get the soul sucked right out of them, in my experience.
“IX” is out now via Candlelight Records
EYEHATEGOD PERSONAL AND AGGRESSIVE, THIS IS A WAY OF LIFE 74
INTERVIEW // EYEHATEGOD
It has been a fuckin’ terrible waiting. It took fourteen years for us to have a new Eyehategod’s album. It’s undeniable the impact that the New Orleans band had and has on the today’s heavy scene. In our second time interviewing the legendary Mike IX Williams, the spokesman of the band that delivered classics like “In The Name Of The Suffering” (1992), “Take As Needed For Pain” (1993) and “Dopesick” (1996). In a pleasant conversation, we had the chance of talking with Mike about the importance of the blues, Dr. John and the city of New Orleans on Eyehategod’s music and what’s going on with new self-titled album, how important it is for the band that has been thriving with their honesty, friendship and persistence that allowed them to go on even after something so fuckin’ terrible like Joey LaCaze’s death, the amazing drummer that helped change the face of the heavy scene. With this interview we would like to play our tribute to Joey’s life that unfortunately ended last year. Rest in peace, Joey.
Words: Tiago Moreira // Photo: Dean Karr
on House once said, “Ain’t but one kind of blues and that consisted between male and female that’s in love. And that means two people, supposed to be in love when one or the other deceives the other through their love. Sometimes that kind of blues will make you even kill one another or do anything that kind of low. It goes here, this side [the heart]. That’s where the blues started.” Would you agree if I say that Eyehategod is all about that?
I totally agree with that. We get a lot of influence from the blues. Son House is one of our favorite artists. I love Son House. Son House is amazing, along with John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt, [Mississippi] Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson and so many others. I totally agree with that. I mean, I think we get a lot of our philosophy from that blues because we grew up in the South.
Yeah. I mean, I think the blues is a better term to describe what Eyehategod has been doing than rather the term sludge metal. The blues is in your DNA by now. It totally is. It has been, you know. I mean, along with southern rock with bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, The Outlaws and other bands like that. But also hardcore punk rock and even stuff like noise rock, totally abstract type of music. All of that is a part of us, you know? But the blues definitely plays a big part in our lives.
We’re talking about influences. Bands like Black Sabbath and Black Flag are often named as influences for Eyehategod but I have serious doubts that someone like Dr. John hasn’t influenced Eyehategod. I mean, it seems that is all about the vibe. The sound may be different but the vibe is there. He did have a huge impact, yes! Dr. John is great. We’re huge Dr. John fans, everybody in this band loves Dr. John. And yeah, I agree with you about the 76
vibe. Along with Dr. John there are bands like The Meters… The Meters is kind of where the beat comes from. It’s like the beat kind of drags a little bit, you know? It’s kind of slower than the rest, kind of behind of the guitars a little bit. So yeah, we can’t get away from that stuff. Even if we wanted to… But there’s no problem because we don’t want to get away from that stuff since we love it. That music is all over the city so it’s just there for you to grab it, you know? It’s just there along with the blues and all kinds of jazz too. Different kinds of jazz, different kinds of music including the good old rhythm and blues. All this stuff we’re talking about, it all goes to your DNA. Without you even realizing this amazing and magical stuff becomes a very important part of who you are.
Do you think that the Eyehategod’s roots, that we’re talking about, are often overlooked by the fans?
Yeah, usually that’s what happens. Of course! I mean, I’m glad that you’re asking me these questions because usually people don’t ask me these questions. They immediately go, “So, what sludge
“... I say all the time that Eyehategod is like John Lee Hooker if he listened to BlackFlag.” metal bands do you listen to?” And I tell them, “I don’t even know what that means.” We didn’t make that term, sludge metal. That’s not our responsibility. It was some journalist that said that and made that up. I think that a lot of people don’t have a clue what New Orleans is all about the vibe that this city has and… the culture, you know? It’s all very inspiring to us. We really love our city and we’re really proud of it.
Yeah, I remember when I was introduced to the term sludge metal. People were saying that it was all about despair, pain and suffering. Going back to the beginning of our conversation, that can be used to describe Son House and a lot of other bluesmen. They’re mad at life. They love life but they are angry with every shit they see around them. It’s all about the painful reality that we live in. That’s what I take from Eyehategod too.
Yeah, it is true. That’s the type of band that we are, we put that element into our music because that’s just life. You go through life… That’s what the blues is. It’s all about life and relationship. Maybe about drinking problems and
addiction problems… whatever. I think we have always been the type of band that sings about personal feelings. You know, all the time I say that Eyehategod is like John Lee Hooker if he listened to Black Flag. Those people [the bluesmen] were living in total poverty, those original guys barely had anything to eat. They were just waking up, start drinking, beat their wives and go to jail. That sure happened to us, so I can relate to the way those people felt.
Yeah, and New Orleans is fucking important. Everything that had happened in the city and that is happing as we speak. Eyehetagod would be a very different band if you guys were from Los Angels.
Yeah, for sure. People ask me all the time if New Orleans plays a big role in what we are as a band and the answer is: 1000% percent. And it does for a lot of bands. Your environment creates your art. It doesn’t matter if you’re painting, writing or playing music. It’s your environment that’s going to create that. Some bands try to be in a certain way, like copying other bands… They can’t do it correctly because they need to have the same
experiences, the way to look at it. And that’s not being an elitist about it. It’s just the way it is. You have to live the life to play a certain type of music.
You guys carried on after Joey’s passing. To be honest I was not surprised because, first Joey would probably curse you guys and call you pussies if you had stop and second, you guys are from New Orleans. You guys are used to play with the cards that are dealt.
Totally! That’s being from the South in general though, really. Anywhere from Mississippi, Alabama, even North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, etc. That’s just being from the South. We’re very tenacious people, you know? People down here, they don’t give up easily, because that’s another thing that’s in our DNA. The South was poor; it was total poverty for years. I think that’s still in our blood somehow, through our relatives. We just have to fight for what we want and we will not give up that easy.
I’m not sure but it seems that the South was always overlooked by places like Washington, L. A.,
INTERVIEW // EYEHATEGOD
New York, etc.
Yeah, of course. The South is still – if you watch TV today or any kind of media… You can make fun of the Southern people, it’s ok to make fun of rednecks and say they’re inbred, stupid, racists and all these things, which is not true. I mean, some people are and you’ll find a lot of that down here, believe me, but that’s not everybody here. You can’t generalize about that. It’s still, somehow, cool for people to make fun of that, and I think is pretty insulting.
I guess that’s because it’s the easiest way. I mean, just go with the idea that everyone in the South is a racist motherfucker. Yeah! It’s all just stereotypes, you know? And like I said, stereotypes are definitely true but you can’t say that the entire South is like that. There’s some fucked up stuff going on down here in the South, man. [laughs] I mean, there are some really racists rednecks motherfuckers that will kill you if they think you’re from some other city. But it’s like that all over the world; every place has its own problems. I’m talking about the problems of South because, like I was saying before, that’s what I know, that’s what I have experienced. I can relate to them.
Aaron Hill is the newest member of the family. How did he end up as an Eyehategod’s member?
Well, he was somebody that we knew from the scene down here. He still plays in like three other bands [Missing Monuments, Mountain of Wizard, etc.]. He’s just the guy that we knew, you know? He plays in bands with a bunch of friends of ours and… I didn’t know him that well. I had met him before and I knew who he was but Jimmy [Bower, guitarist] knew him pretty well. We tried out people from out of town, a bunch of people that were already in pretty established bands but Jimmy was like, “Trust me, man. Aaron can do it, he’s great, and he’s from New Orleans so he has that Southern groove in his style.” And he was a fan of Joey [LaCaze] too, he respected Joey’s work. I mean, Aaron has his own style but he plays in the Eyehategod’s style too. Basically he was somebody that we knew and he fits in perfectly.
And it seems really important for a band like Eyehategod to really relate to the person that you’re 78
Yeah, it is really important. That’s how we are down here. It’s like a big family, you know? We hang out as brothers and we fight as brothers. We argue with each other just like brothers do. You really need to have that chemistry when you’re in a band. You can’t just bring somebody to the band and not even be friend with the guy. I can’t be in a band and play with people that I don’t relate, like if it was just another job. I’ve been in bands like that before and I’ve always ended up quitting them because it doesn’t feel right. I want to be in a place where I’m surrounded by friends and I feel comfortable.
You guys started recording with Billy Anderson but that didn’t work out well and Steve Berrigan took upon the job and was the producer of the album. What happened?
We were just rushing things too fast for one thing. We finally got to where we were gonna go in the studio and we decided to fly Billy down here and as soon as Billy got here it was like, “We have a week to go in and record this thing and do the all record.” It was just too much. We work slower than that. We can’t work that fast. We just wanted to take our time and do it that way we were used to do things. Plus the fact that there were some personal problems within the band. I mean, Billy was having some problems… It was everybody. It was everybody’s fault, you know? The good thing is that we saved the Joey’s drum tracks. I know that Billy is very proud of that himself. I’m glad that we managed to save those drum tracks because obviously we had no idea, obviously, of what would happen.
That was my next question. Man, that is fuckin’ special. It’s like it was meant to be or something.
Yeah, that’s what I keep telling people. I mean, what a coincidence and how lucky is that because… We didn’t do any vocals. We just did drums, bass and guitars and then we ended up scraping the bass and the guitars. We totally threw those tracks out because they didn’t sound right to us. That’s nobody’s fault. But we did save the drums and just by coincidence, what ended up happening with Joey, with had those drums tracks to fall back on. If we hadn’t saved them and just erased the all things, Aaron
would be playing drums on the record. So, it’s good to have Joey’s last and final “statement”. It works like a memorial of sorts.
I heard that during the recording sessions with Billy there were some people there recording footage for a documentary. That’s true. I forgot to mention that. Billy had a documentary crew on the studio filming a story about his life, just him being an engineer. It just annoyed us. I mean, we didn’t know that that would happen, the filming. That kind of got in the way. They were filming us while we were trying to record. It was just annoying, really. [laughs]
How was it working with Steve Berrigan [producer]?
He’s an old friend of ours. I used to live with Steve, we had an apartment together ages ago, so I know Steve for a long time. He started doing recording and he ended up being really good at it. It was kind of an obvious thing and we really enjoyed working with him.
14 years and you guys return with a self-titled album. We’re back, we’re here and this is Eyehate fuckin’ god! Was that it?
That’s totally it. That’s exactly what we were trying to say. I just read a review of the record today and the guy said that it was a self-titled album because we had run out of ideas, which to me is a completely bullshit. It’s not because we run out of ideas, we have TONES of ideas. It was because of what you just said. You hit it right on the nose. It’s a new start, we had some bad things happening to us, we haven’t had a record in all these years, we got a new drummer, this is a tribute to our old drummer… It just seems logical to me. It’s like you said: this is Eyehategod, this is what we are.
The guy said you guys were running out of ideas because of the fuckin’ title?
Yeah, but the running out of ideas was not about the music. He was talking just about the title.
Oh man, that guy is the dumbest person alive. [laughing out loud] Yeah, it was the stupidest thing I ever heard in my life. I mean, I have notebooks
“The South was poor; it was total poverty for years. I think that’s still in our blood somehow, through our relatives. We just have to fight for what we want and we will not give up that easy...” filled with names. I could easily choose a different title. We could it call an endless number of things but with Joey passing away that seemed the right thing to do.
Last year I had the chance of interviewing you and Jimmy and I remember of Jimmy saying, “Man, you need to listen this record. Mike’s vocals are unbelievable”. He was so damn right. In my opinion this is your best performance as a vocalist ever.
Thank you. Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. Phil [Anselmo] was in the studio with me when I did my vocals. He gave me some advices here and there. Me and him, we worked on the Arson Anthem’s record together and I think that record was really important because I think you can tell that there was an improvement, like you can understand me better, you know? We just wanted to do it that way again. It’s still the Eyehategod vocals but you hear a little better what I’m saying.
Yeah, and in my opinion they are
way more dynamic now.
Yeah, I think they are too. That was a pretty conscious decision to be honest. After years and years of people saying to me, “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” [laughs] That was always the thing and I think with this record we achieved that.
You guys played the Dale Crover on the Housecore Horror Fest. That seems like something really special not only because of the event, I know you guys were really excited to be a part of it, but also because of how much important The Melvins are for Eyehategod and Dale was for Joey. Totally, man! That was an amazing experience. It was really cool that Dale did that. He wanted to do it; he wanted to do it in honor of Joey’s memory. We did the set… We even did a Melvins song, the “As It Was” from their first album [Gluey Porch Treatments]. I mean, I think I screwed up the vocals a little bit. [laughs] We only had three days to rehearse for that all show. But it was really cool; it
was like to give us a little boost to get back out there. We already had Aaron but we just wanted to do this thing with Dale and he agreed to do it. The Housecore guys asked us if we wanted to still do it, because we had plans to cancel it because of Joey, and they said that maybe Dale would play with us. “No fucking way. You gotta be kidding”, that was our reaction. Jimmy knows Dale for a while now, I don’t know as well as Jimmy but I met them when we were rehearsing and he’s a super cool guy… and a great drummer, obviously. One of Joey’s favorite drummers. So, the all thing was very special, and at the end of the set and Dale was dedicating the all set to Joey. It got emotional for a minute, man. I can’t describe how amazing and special that experience was and is for us.
“Eyehategod” is out now via Housecore Records and Century Media 79
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Words: Tiago Moreira
It was twelve years ago that the brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver started this project that reached a much deserved recognition with their works. I’m talking about all the studio albums released by the band – starting with “Diadem of 12 Stars” and finishing with “Celestial Lineage”, the last album released before this new one, “Celestite”. It was always way more than just black metal, in fact that was the element that made many people not having the slightest idea of what these guys were doing. There was always this intimate relation with the wild lands of the Pacific Northwest. The elements that we hear now with “Celestite” were always there… it’s not so far fetched. In fact, it makes sense. That’s what we talked about with Aaron Weaver, which led us to discover more things, exciting ones, that can help us to delve, even more, into the art of people that we can truly call artists. 80
making “C subterrane mix of “Ce “Celestite” pansion an previous w
Yeah, I thi rate. So, th our music graphical e more than the kind o songs or w and when
ou guys stated that Celestite”, you delved into the ean sonics that are buried in the elestial Lineage”. Can we say that ” is a record of self-discovery, exnd also the completion of a work?
ink all those things sound accuhe way our music works… For us is very spatial, it has this geoelement. Our music is a place n a sound or a body of work. It’s of thing that when we are writing working on music we close our eyes we’re listening to music we can
open our eyes again or open our minds, our third eye and there we are in our world, this magical world where the music of Wolves In The Throne Room comes from. So, Celestite is a deep exploration of that world and it’s coming out the music from a different perspective because we are not using the same sort of tools that we usually do – the guitars, the drums and the harsh vocals. We took those things away so it forces us to look at things through a different lens and so for that very reason it feels like a deeper journey because although many of the aspects are familiar a lot feels very new as well.
I agree with you. For me this album is way more visual than the other ones. It has, in my opinion, this cinematic feel. Do you see it that way?
Yeah, definitely. Soundtracks for films were very much on our minds when we recorded Celestite, specially Blade Runner, Dune… this sort of soundtracks for these very imaginative and visually arresting films that were big inspirations to us. That’s very applicable because in many ways is the soundtrack to a film that is playing in our minds.
Do you consider the possibility of writing soundtracks for movies?
Well, I don’t know. It would have to be a special project. I’m surely open to the idea, I think that would be very interesting but also I think if Wolves In The Throne Room does another record in the future I would want to bring back the guitars and Nathan’s vocals, because those are parts of our sound that were in no way discarded. We just put them aside for a while. I miss playing the drums; I want to be able to do that again if we work on another record.
INTERVIEW // WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
I was asking about the soundtracks because they have this thing that “Celestite” has: limitations. I mean, those limitations can be very important because they challenge the artists to push the boundaries and find new ways.
Yeah, limitations are incredibly important for artists because it’s right when you’re pushed against the wall, like when you’re at the edge of what’s comfortable or even stepping over the edge of what’s comfortable. That’s when you can actually do good work, that’s when you can come up with something that really has some power to it. I think that nowadays, specially with recording music on computers like most people do, things are just too easy and the possibilities are too infinite. With the computer software, the plug-ins, you can have access to every piece of recording equipment ever made. They’ve taken these original pieces of vintage equipment and used computers to create algorithms to supposedly replicate them perfectly and so you turn the knobs for this vintage LA-2A compressor, or whatever, on the screen and so it’s like you’re living in this fantasy world on the computer where anything is possible, and that’s just the worst possible place for an artist to be because you spend all of your time like trying to learn how to fiddle with this new thing or like “Oh, this song is pretty good but it would be better if we could like get this new synthesizer or we could learn how to use this new computer program.” You spend all your time just fiddling around with technology and you don’t get really into the music. That’s something that we’ve always tried to do in Wolves In The Throne Room, is try to keep the technical side of it as primitive as possible. Try to not use computers as much as possible. Try to play things with our bodies as much as possible in order to have that human element to stay intact.
But, it is easy to don’t get lost and fall over all those traps? I mean,you’re surrounded by all the technology.
Yeah, it is easy actually. Maybe it’s because I’m a little bit older than a lot of people who are more deeply immersed on that world of computers and internet. I mean, I don’t even text. I check my computer once a day. I don’t have a facebook page. So, this sort of 82
promise of technology making things easier and better, this seems like an illusion to me. To me, from the outside, it doesn’t look like things are easier and better in the world, at all. Things are more complicated, they look harder, they look like it takes more time… people spend all day staring at these little boxes that they hold typing their way with their thumbs, and the same sort of things that have infiltrated the world of music. But that just never been something that we have been tempted to do, if anything we’re reaching back towards the past, towards the old ways of doing things that to us feel more authentic.
You said that “Celestial Lineage” was completing the trilogy with “Black Cascade” and “Two Hunters”. Now with “Celestite” can we say that this is a trilogy that ended with two parts, “Celestial Lineage” and “Celestite?”
Yeah… that makes sense. Celestite is, you know, maybe the final nail in the coffin, you might say. Might it’s the prequel, maybe it’s… the obvious reference would be The Hobbit to The Lord Of The Rings trilogy - the books not the movies, of course. Celestial Lineage recording was so intense for us, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically that we felt as we had to honor that record and the two records that came before with one more piece of music that truly close it out. In the world of magic when you’re thinking of casting spells or do things in the magical world is really important that when you’re done to ground it out, to make sure that the magic is over, to make sure that the portal into the other world is shut. And in many ways that is what we were doing with Celestite, with honor and dignity ending the work that we did on Two Hunters, Black Cascade and Celestial Lineage, so that we can move forward into the future with clarity and purpose.
But don’t you think that more than that, “Celestite” opens new doors for you guys?
Yeah, definitely. In the recording of this album, we found a lot of inspiration and a lot of excitement because we taken a lot of time off. When we got home from our last round of touring for Celestial Lineage in 2012, Nathan and I put our equipment away in our practice space and focus in other things for a long time, well over a year before we even thought about music. Taken a very long break to kind of get some perspective and so Celestite was the way to honor
what came before but also rekindle the fire, finding inspiration and vision to carry us forward to whatever we do next.
Would you say that in the end “Celestite” asks more questions than answers?
Let me think about that. [pause] For me personally… yeah it definitely feels like backening, you know? I sense that this album as opened up something that will come to us in the future but I’m not quite sure what it is yet. I sense like there is a mystery in the future that has to do with recording this record and I can’t quite tell what it is going to be. I don’t know if it’s going to be musically or it’s going to be in my personal life or my spiritual life… I can’t really say it at this point. But it definitely opens up the possibility for something new.
People have been reacting to the new stuff of “Celestite”. I guess it is only fair because the first impact is something kind of huge. But to me this album doesn’t feel so far-fetched because I can hear the stuff of “Celestite” in the other albums, but back then these stuff were mixed with other things. It’s like now we can hear loud and clear that all aspect that was always present in the band. It’s clearer now what you have done in the past, you know? Yeah, that makes sense what you just said because I think that this album in some ways is taking away the veil, is revealing an aspect to our music that has always been there but we have never reveled to the public. Or in some ways we never reveled to ourselves because we never focused on it, it has always been in the background. So, that’s true. This album is just as much as a Wolves In The Throne Room record as anything we have done in the past but it’s coming out from a different point of view, but the energy and the intent and the spirit is the same.
Was there a sort of defying moment during the creative process that made all the pieces fit together?
[pause] Actually no. I think the all time it was a bit of a struggle. I think we recorded this album four times and then discarded the previous three versions. We recorded a lot of material that we didn’t end up using because we were,
“This album is just as much as a Wolves In The Throne Room record as anything we have done in the past but it’s coming out from a different point of view...” in many ways, exploring uncharted territory. On one hand it felt very familiar and on the other hand it felt very alien, and sometimes overwhelming. So, it didn’t really come together for me until we were putting together the actual final version of the record, doing the final mixing and the sequencing of the songs. It was only then that I felt like, “Yeah, this is done. This feels like a completed album.” But honestly it is always like that. There are always moments that feel like “This is perfect. This is exactly what should be happening”, but there are many, many more moments when it feels like a struggle or confusion or frustration and anger. Recording a record is really intense emotionally and psychologically because you have to get so deep into the material, you start to lose yourself a little bit, you start to lose your own sanity and so it’s only when the record is done, and I don’t listen to it for a while, that I can appreciate it. Like right now I haven’t even listened to the complete record since I approved the masters. It’s just too fresh, I’m still too much into the material. I want to have a good perspective on it.
You were saying that during the recording and creative process, sometimes you get lost because it
is such an intense process. Is it easy to find yourself again in those moments? No. [laughs] Not at all. It’s always hard to come back to the physical world after being lost inside the universe of an album. Yeah, it is a real challenge and it is a challenge that all artists face, having to go into the depths of their own physiques to do whatever their work is and also have to maintain relationships with people or have their children, maybe have jobs that they need to earn money… It’s an ongoing struggle and a challenge.
Yeah, I guess you have to live two different realities at the same time.
Yeah, that is true and I’ve been working towards the ideal of integrating those two realities as much as possible, which I think that I’m able to do more than a lot of people just because my everyday life is just about as trippy as my musical life [laughs], in terms of the way that I live, but there’s still like a distinction between the two, especially with relationships that aren’t a part of my artistic or musical world. Going on tour in a lot ways is like going to war, like you have all these experiences with your comrades in the tour bus or in the van and when you get home your family doesn’t understand what you have been through because they weren’t there.
It’s funny because most people go to music to escape from reality but you are trying to incorporate reality into your artistic world.
Yeah, that’s true. The two reinforce each other. That’s a good point that a lot of people have lives that they hate and they use music as a way to get away, to escape. In some ways yeah, my situation is very different. [laughs] I have a life that I love and sometimes it is the music that I hate because it brings so much chaos and despair to my life sometimes; because the music forces me explore sometimes very dark and deep places… but what a blessing. You have to do that in life. You have to explore those dark recesses in your own physique. That’s what life is all about, is doing that work. Finding the weakness inside yourself, finding the suffering inside yourself and then work with it.
I want to ask you about the BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini. How that came about and how was it that experience?
Let’s see, why did we record that? Oh yeah, we were on tour, in London, and we recorded it live to be played on a radio show… I forgot the name of the radio show but it is the one that replaced the Peel Sessions in terms of showcasing bands, maybe kind of more on the fringes, more extreme bands. So,
INTERVIEW // WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM we had this recoding, this cool sounding record and Southern Lord wanted to put it out. Honestly we didn’t have that much to do with it. That was the last thing that we did with Southern Lord and it was maybe a bit of a favor to Greg Anderson [Southern Lorde’s owner and founder] because we were leaving the label to start our own imprint label and release music on our own in the future, so if anything we sort of let Southern Lord to put the record out as a favor to them.
The new album will be released on your own label, Artemisia Records. Was it the need of having complete control of band, band’s music and vision that made you guys start Artemisia Records? Yeah, that’s the primary reason but I will also say that working with Southern Lord in no way was ever any conflict in an artistic level. They would never say like, “Oh you need to have a different album artwork” the way a lot of metal labels do… If you’re on Relapse they’ll change your album artwork in a second, they will put a sticker on it without your permission, saying “For Fans of Cannibal Corpse and Slayer” or whatever. Southern Lord would never do that kind of thing and of course that’s not the kind of thing we would ever tolerate. So, we didn’t have any problems being on a label like Southern Lord but we are the kind of band who likes to do things on our own. We have a strong Do It Yourself ethic because we come out of a more punk rock background than a metal background and we have the ability and the will to do things. Nathan and I, we are used to do things on our own. We’re used to book shows, to drive the tour van, figuring things out without anyone else’s help, so it seemed very natural for us to take the next step and release music on own.
You will return to the stage to play songs off of “Diadem of 12 Starts”, “Two Hunters” and “Celestial Lineage”. Are you guys considering the possibility of making some concerts playing stuff off of “Celestite”?
Yeah, we talked about that and the person who is most excited about doing that is Randall Dunn [producer, engineer, mixer]. He really wants to help do that. I think that could be a really interesting thing but I think that would have to be in the future because Celestite is a definition of a studio project. There 84
was this improvisation in the studio and in order to do it live in a good way, in a compelling way we would had to do a lot of work in order to figure it out how to do it. I think it would be cool. I’m into doing that. Hopefully something like that will come together in the future… we’ll see.
You were talking about Randall. He, once again, was in charge of the production, recording and mixing. What makes Randall the perfect fit for WITTR’s or the almost perfect fit, I don’t know if you think he’s the perfect fit...
Sometimes he feels like the worst fit. [laughs] Other times he feels like the perfect fit but that’s just the way it goes making a record. It’s an intense relationship. But, what makes him the perfect fit? There are a lot of things that I really like working with Randall and one of them is that Randall commits himself to the music as deeply as the artist do. He’s able to drop in to the world of WITTR and be in that world just as intensely, with as much emotion and heart as we give to it. It’s a huge sacrifice on his part because he gets wrapped up in our crazy world and has to deal with the demons and with the spirits that we are dealing with.
Most producers don’t do that…
Yeah, I think that’s what great producers do, people that really give themselves to the project. The project becomes a part of them and that’s when the conflict comes in with producers. It’s because Randall is feeling very deeply about the project but these are our songs, this is our band and you’re an outsider. These sort of things happen in the studio but that what makes good music a lot of the times, is that conflict. That sort of difficulties in creative relationships can create really good results. I really believe that you have to suffer a good amount in the recording studio in order to come up with something that has any power to it. Another thing about Randall, he is a guy that really knows a lot about heavy metal but it’s not really is specialty. He always brought something to our recordings… is a different approach, a different recording approach that we would get if we would work with some of those “only metal producers” because those sort of producers can get very, very formatted with their techniques. They have the drum triggers they like to use, they have the drum sample they like to put on and they have their own amplifiers they like to use
because it has a tone that they are comfortable with… That’s not Randall’s approach. He likes to do things differently every time. He likes to shake things up. He likes to make it hard in the studio rather than easy.
Do you consider the possibility of releasing other stuff, besides WITTR music, on Artemisia Records?
We talked about it. I kind of doubt it because in a lot of way running a record label is just kind of a shitty desk job. Sending emails, going to the post-office and updating your fuckin’ facebook page or whatever people have to do for promotion nowadays… That’s the kind of work that Nathan and I are willing to do on our own to a certain degree, for our own music, but it’s not worth it to us take on anymore of that kind of work to release other people’s art, but we’ll see. I’m not totally ruling out the idea, we’re gonna see how it goes with the release of Celestite, ‘cause we’re learning a lot along the way, and then will kind of make those decisions in the future.
The cover of “Celestite” is amazing and, in my humble opinion, the perfect fit. What can you tell us about the artwork in general? How this came about?
Well, Nathan created the artwork with the help of our layout person, but Nathan conceived all the ideas and he put all together and then the layout person just helped a little bit with some of the polish. The artwork sums up a lot of what the music feels like to us. On one hand the music feels very celestial, very astral, it feels like planets and stars and galaxies, but it also feels like the earth, like moss dripping off the trees and it feels like the cold water and the rain, the weather, things that are very much of the earth. And of course, is our mission to synthesize the two, to try as human beings to walk between heaven and earth, to try to unify the opposites.
For me is the perfect fit because I see this record as an unsettling dream, you know?
Yeah, it’s a record that takes place in the world of dreams… Or the world of magic or the other world, the spirit world.
“Celestite” is out now via Artemisia and Southern Lord
“... limitations are incredibly important for artists because it’s right when you’re pushed against the wall, like when you’re at the edge of what’s comfortable or even stepping over the edge of what’s comfortable.”
1 REPULSIVE | 2 Pure shit | 3 terrible | 4 must avoid | 5 average | 6 good effort | 7 good | 8 very good | 9 EXC
Once More ‘Round the Sun Reprise Records (2014)
“Mastodon have created something that will rightly gather plenty of mainstream attention while remaining true to their sound and to their individual styles...”
astodon were a band who were once defined by their loftiness. They were the masters of the modern concept album, gradually insinuating themselves into the mainstream while sharpening both their songwriting chops and their technicality with each increasingly ambitious effort, but it seemed that they lost something of their charm with The Hunter, a more direct rock effort that saw them abandon cohesive concepts in favour of creating a collection of solid tunes. Its successor takes the same route but it seems that practice has made perfect as not only is this their most immediate release to date, but possibly one of their best. Opener “Tread Lightly” wastes little time in its assault, a concise sludger that breezes from verse to a soaring chorus in an instant, but it’s “The Motherload” that bears the right of being Mastodon’s catchiest song by far. It’s the huge hook buried in its heart, the propulsive melodies, the vivacious leads that add a classic rock sheen a la Thin Lizzy, a band they’ve always admired but only now are coming to match, but it’s a cracker that adds ‘stadium-rockers extraordinaire’ to their already impressive inventory.
While there’s certainly a new-found respect of radiofriendliness at work, thanks in part to Nick Raskulinecz’s crystalline production work, it sounds exactly how a Mastodon album should sound. “High Road” has plenty of Remission’s dizzying drumwork and murky riffing throughout while the eerie progression of “Diamond In The Witch House”, replete with yet another devastating vocal contribution Scott Kelly, is easily as ambitious as anything on Leviathan, but for every prog-metal trope, there’s a new slippery riff or stylistic detour. When Aunt Lisa’s demented yells and space-punk groove give way to girl-gang chants of “Hey ho, let’s get up and rock and roll!” you know that the Atlantans haven’t given up on reinvention just yet.
CelLent | 10 pure classic
Needless to say, this is hardly a sloppy endeavour, with all four stepping up their game to deliver the goods in a more concise style. The interplay between Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds in faultless, particularly on darker and denser cuts like “Chimes At Midnight” where they can play their assigned roles in a more complementary fashion, and if they weren’t already heading towards becoming a classic duo, they should be right about now, while Brann Dailor and Troy
Sanders continue to be one of the most formidable rhythm sections around. While Sanders still can’t come close to Dailor’s technical exuberance he has a stoic style which continues to shine here. Once More... was never going to be the album to bring the early fans back into the fold, but it does feel like a much more satisfactory, and substantial, album than its predecessor. Mastodon have created something that will rightly gather plenty of mainstream attention
while remaining true to their sound and to their individual styles, and sure, people will complain, but who in their right mind cares? It might tread some old ground here and there but on the whole this is a great, memorable rock record with just the right mix of melody and musicianship, and if that’s not enough, then you’re asking for too much.
8 A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW Sea When Absent
8 AMOUREUX Never Young As Tonight EP
Lefse Records (2014)
Hardly Art (2014)
Neurotic Yell Records (2014)
A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s fourth album, Sea When Absent, is another proof how excellently this group writes refreshing dreamy-pop/synthpop songs every time they release a new album, and this one is no exception. With the band’s six members spread across some cities of the world - Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Sydney to be more specific, - this new effort was built around sending back and forth emails and it was obviously hard putting them all together in the same room to record these songs. But the overall effect of this distance is impressive, because we wouldn’t even notice that if we didn’t know that info. The musical atmosphere on Sea When Absent is indeed refreshing with great arrangements.
Picking up the coolest indie/surf-rock bands over the last few years it hasn’t been an easy task, since there’s a bunch of new bands showing their goods as they begin their music career. Some of them are pure gems, others are just about the same lame thing. With that being said, I dare to say that USA has Best Coast and Canada has now Alvvays. The Toronto group is led by the frontwoman Molly Rankin that writes awkward-but-sincere lyrics and she has a tremendously sweet voice. Alvvays’ debut album is a dreamy soundscape, where it could’t be released at a better time of the year like summertime. Delightfully catchy tunes that are emotionally driven, it’s almost impossible to resist and fall in love with such nice band as Alvvays.
Amoureux is fresh female-led avantrock duo that totally caught us by surprise, and for sure will be on our radar in the future. Never Young As Tonight is the debut EP from the duo formed by Nicole Turley and Holiday J, here we have that weird and unconventional approach where there are no boundaries regarding creativity; where the post-punk, angular tropical rhythms turns elegant and the minimalist pop approach clashes where the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs are somehow invoked. But it’s that trademark sound that over the years we learned to love with bands like Fugazi, Talking Heads and even Roxy Music that really makes Amoureux stand out from the current synth-pop and post-punk scene. What a nice surprise, well done!
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7 THE ATLAS MOTH The Old Believer
Profound Lore (2014)
6 BLACK ANVIL Hail Death
Three years after their breakthrough An Ache for the Distance, the atmospheric sludge collective The Atlas Moth has returned with the non-less intense but much more melody infused The Old Believer. The atmosphere presented is the result of a stylistic intertwining between alt-rock, shoegaze and doom metal at times with an hint of the somberness so masterfully executed by Neurosis. “Jet Black Passenger”, “The Sea Beyond” or the brutal finisher “Blood Will Tell” are examples of the thoughtful equilibrium between dreamy passages and dark musical realms that The Atlas Moth are trying to consolidate as their fingerprint sound. However, even if the perfecting of this stylistic formula might still be a few records away, Giannopolos & Co. still sound like they have a lot to offer in the near future based on the intricacy, depth and warmth that their crossover in The Old Believer provides.
Kanine Records (2014)
Relapse Records (2014)
Beverly started as a new project of Frankie Rose - the well-known former member of Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls - with Drew Citron, who played in Rose’s live band for a while in 2013 and is also a former member of Ava Luna. With Citron as the main songwriter, the duo had started working on this first album last year and soon Beverly was more than a side project. Although Rose took part on this record, she had left the band to focus on her solo project, leaving Citron to keep giving her best as a very talented musician. Careers is full of great riffs with a 90’s garage rock vibe, but also 60’s catchy melodies, recalling sometimes The Breeders. A surprising debut and a promising ‘career’ ahead.
Black Metal has suffered from a sort of Papal Schism (no pun intended), because many bands have evolved their sound, incorporating elements from different genres in their own music and other bands insist on having a cavernous sound, and virtually non-existent production values. Other bands like Black Anvil sit comfortably in the middle taking the safer approach combining an aggressive sound, with great production values and the occasional detour into experimentation, to keep the more discerning metal fan interested. Even though the vocals are clearly Black Metal in persuasion, the riffs and rhythms are more consistent with a Power Metal influence. But being this a North American band, it comes as no surprise.
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The Breeders, Bleached, The Pixies
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In Humor and Sadness
eOne Music / Good Fight Music (2014)
If you are the kind of person that follows what’s going on the music documentary world, the chances are that you know the excellent It Might Get Loud where Jack White, Edge and Jimmy Page talk about the electric guitar and music in general. Well, in that documentary there’s a scene where Jack White explains why the hell The White Stripes was a band with only two persons. The reason? This band from the North Carolina called Flat Duo Jets, known for the fuckin’ intense shows and music – the most furious garage rock that you can think of. Well, ’68 is the same thing… but different. Josh Scogin (ex-The Chariot) and Michael McClellan took the obvious but not regularly taken road. The limitation of having just two people… it’s all about that and the fact that their debut album, In Humor and Sadness, is the irrefutable proof of how music can maintain the same level of intensity even if the gears are changing and the patterns fucked’ up. Not only taking influences from Jack White and Flad Duo Jets, but also incorporating the madness and eclectic taste of something so important like the Texas legends Butthole Surfers. Yes! Finally, there’s a band that is following those footsteps. It’s not easy. Au contraire, my friends. It’s only possible with someone like Scogin, a guy that’s always pushing his - already high boundaries and succeeding in the task. “I am the troubled waters, make no mistake.”
For the last couple of years Anathema have been shedding the metal sound and imagery for what fans and media call Progressive Rock, and for the most part they’re right. Anathema now belong in the prog world. Still, even after they distanced themselves from the heavier crowds, how is it that they continue to appeal to metal fans? Well, first the genres tend to intertwine, and second, they continue to inject a melancholic personal darkness in their sound, and metal fans respect that sincerity. Distant Satellites is pure, honest, with the ability to provoke strong emotional reactions. “The Lost Song” triad is a perfect example of this. “Part 1” opens the album with a powerful rhythm that makes hearts pound faster, “Part 2” slows it down to a more introspective mood, and finally, “Part 3” picks it up again, throwing the listener into a roller coaster of emotions. The lyrics are beautifully written and complement the mood perfectly. Furthermore, Anathema not only create a strong sensitive ambient, but they take their music even further in the second part, by introducing some electronic sounds that exist in Aphex Twin’s world. Just listen to the last three tracks, a complete deviation from Anathema’s usual sound that will still feel natural. When 2014 ends it will only be natural to speak of Distant Satellites as one of the top 10 records of the year, and other bands will have to work very hard to dethrone this beautiful piece of music.
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Pink Floyd, Anathema, Pink Floyd, Anathema, Pink Floyd...
Track 1 R, Track 3 G, Track 7 N
The Lost Song Part 1,2,3 CARLOS CARDOSO
BODY COUNT Manslaughter
BLUES PILLS Blues Pills
BLESSA Love Is An Evol World EP
Generator & Carmel Records (2014)
Nuclear Blast (2014)
Sumerian Records (2014)
Blessa are a Sheffield quintet formed in 2012 and they were described as a cinematic indie pop band when they released the first single “Between Times” - an atmospheric dream pop song with shoegaze elements, that was released with a video that has footage from Godard’s Masculin Féminin. Inspired by particular writers and a mix of different musical genres, this debut EP has more that we could ask for. The four tracks of this EP have more layered sounds giving additional texture to the breezy melodies. Olivia Neller’s vocals are simply the key to make everything seem more wonderful and special. Love Is An Evol Word stands out for the amazing arrangements and for a more dream pop-disco approach.
The multi-national quartet Blues Pills grabbed everybody’s attention when last year they released the excellent and somehow refreshing EP Devil Man, which contained what we can call their “trademark” song, “Devil Man” that finds space (with an “alternative” version) in this debut album too, along with nine more songs. This debut album keeps up with the promise of the past – Elin Larsson’s voice is still fuckin’ amazing and there’s still that soul-driven guitar – but doesn’t move forward, not even a little bit. Heavy blues bands have a big problem nowadays; they need to have something that sets them apart from the thousands of heavy blues bands out there. That’s where Blues Pills have failed. Very enjoyable? Yes! They just need to take a leap of faith and move forward.
Don’t take Body Count seriously, you’re not supposed to. When Ice-T first wrote “Cop Killer” he never meant to tell anyone to kill cops, it was just a story. By opening Manslaughter with “Talk Shit, Get Shot”, Body Count don’t want anyone to shoot people, they want you to listen to a groovy riff with hip-hop undertones. Just listen to “Institutionalized 2014”, an angry shout from the modern man with a punkish edge and great lyrics: it’s not about getting revenge, it’s a cathartic cry from the everyday bullshit of our lives. Body Count are able to distance themselves from other metal bands by not taking themselves too seriously. This isn’t 1992 and Body Count are no longer dangerous, censored by labels and radios. Their music is just fun.
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Chromatics, The Cure, Summer Camp
Suicidal Tendencies, Public Enemy, Ice-T
8 BRAID No Coast
7 BURZUM The Ways of Yore
Sargent House (2014)
Topsheilf Records (2014)
If Pink was the album that condensed the first decade of Boris’ exploits into one sort-of-easy-to-digest package, Noise is a summary of their entire career, dozens of styles seamlessly interlinked into new forms that the trio are only now beginning to explore. It’s punk, it’s pop, it’s post-rock but the genres themselves mean nothing in the light of their ever-improving songwriting ability, tapping into a new-found immediacy while keeping their ability to craft infinitely layered rock songs intact. Wata flits between guttural speed-chugging and gossamer tranquillity with no respite, Takeshi and Atsuo are rock-gods in their own fertile universe, and Japan’s most indefinable band continue to carve new niches in music for themselves to dominate.
Braid returns with its first full-length album in 16 years. These guys were a key part of the fertile Midwestern emo scene and this sort of comeback brings some kind of nostalgic and mixed feelings to surface. No Coast is an awesome comeback, they still sound so emo, but it sounds so damn adult that our teenage side never relates to that younger side that we all can keep locked for some time. The truth is that these guys still sound so unique nowadays, even when there are so many new acts copying their sound. If you guys never heard about Braid before, this is a good introduction to their classic and life changing albums from the 90’s. The wait is over, No Coast is a really very good effort and a hell of a comeback!
While it’s nice that there are some refugees from black metal’s golden period willing to actually evolve, the results of Varg Vikernes’ latest are, ahem, interesting. A strange collection of synthled ambiance, Nordic folk, psychedelia and spoken word, it maintains a steady, unwavering course as Vikernes explores his folklore fascinations through minimalism and repetition. While his brief dabblings with Oriental melody and Nordic chant make for curious listening, when it comes to cosmic soliloquy, Varg has it covered, his low voice splendidly geared towards narrative while simple melodies and a keen ear for composition and structure create some moments of rare beauty. While its length and lack of variation might go against it, this is still a solid album, though maybe not a Burzum one.
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Sunn O))), Melvins, Nadja
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Niggas On The Moon
Harvest / Third Worlds (2014)
Century Media (2014)
In spite of the casual belief that Angela Gossow was Arch Enemy’s soul, instead one should wonder who would be next to voice Michael Amott’s creations. For Michael this was a fight or flight moment. With the recognizable frontwoman gone, Arch Enemy knew that the smart thing to do was to instantly get a new singer, and so Alyssa White-Gluz came along from The Agonist. In War Eternal, she gives a less guttural performance than Angela would have ever given, but she proves her brutality by screaming like a banshee in “Never Forgive, Never Forget”, a track so fast and full of shredding riffs that it could have been on Carcass’s Surgical Steel. War Eternal isn’t a straightforward death metal act. It goes through pure melodic stages with tracks like “As The Pages Burn”, played at mid-tempo with great guitar solos that rarely go full-speed, or with “You Will Know My Name” and “Stolen Life”, some of the catchiest tunes that Arch Enemy have ever put out. “Time Is Black” even includes some orchestral sounds, that some magazines stupidly saw as attempts at Dimmu Borgir. War Eternal proves that the soul of Arch Enemy does not lie in the voice of one vocalist, or in the marketing trends of “female-fronted” metal. This is, like always, the brainchild of Michael Amott, the man that continuously shows he has no need for Carcass.
Niggas On The Moon is not only the new Death Grips’ album but also the first installment of a double album called The Powers That B. Since the Epic thing (a.k.a. pleasure for ages), the trio has been releasing their material without warning people. This new one was not different - thanks! After the brilliant Government Plates (2013), there were even more doubts regarding what the next Death Grips’ step would be. Government Plates came at a time where Death Grips were pissing a whole bunch of people and then there was the issue of the album presenting the darkest and most depressive atmosphere of the band thus far. Everything seemed to be played to cause discomfort to people, there was not much space to breathe. This time around there’s something added into the mix: Björk’s vocals are used on every track of the record. We don’t know if they were recorded just for this album or if it’s just samples of old Björk’s material that were “redesign” to hide their real identity. It doesn’t matter. With this new element, Death Grips were able to create something fucked up, as usual, but with the plus of having something that gives space to breathe and that walks through different paths reaching kind of new types of ecstasy – just check the fuckin’ anthems “Black Quarterback” or “Have A Sad Cum”. Once again they hit the nail on the head. Nothing new!
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Death Grips, Death Grips, Death Grips
Never Forgive, Never Forget; You Will know My Name
Black Quarterback, Have A Sad Cum, Big Dipper
7 CEREBRAL BALLZY Faded & Jaded
CAMERA SHY Jack-O-Lantern EP
7 CHANNEL ZERO Kill All Kings
Run For Cover (2014)
Cult Reccords (2014)
Metal Blade (2014)
Here’s another project of Nick Bassett, who is known for playing in bands like Whirr, Nothing and Death Of Lovers. Bassett is joined by his ex-bandmate Alexandra Morte, the former vocalist for Whirr, and together started to work on this new outlet. The duo creates lovely and cosy songs, where all words are written by Morte and all music by Bassett. Camera Shy’s debut EP is an acoustic dreamy pop approach with heartfelt lyrics and it’s possibly Bassett’s most laid-back and touchy project to date. Morte’s vocals play a major role in the songs, adding extra tenderness and affection as its shown on the track “Spin Me”. Jack-OLantern is a sweet debut and an easy way to introduce these two talented musicians.
NY Infant terribles punks are back! They sound much cleaner and less frenetic, courtesy of the producer, the amazing and visionary Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio. But if you guys think that these bastards have somehow slowed down, you’re very fucking wrong because they still maintain that skate-punk ethic where their sound mixes the raw aggression with that strange speed/velocity where Honor Titus insane bark-and-roar is the perfect way to communicate. There are no slowdowns in Faded and Jaded, the album is quite different from what we are used to, but the post-punk elements that keeps emerging in this record are not a surprise, they always stated their love for that genre! Well guys, this is a punk record, where we have fun and still gets down and dirty at the same time.
This is the sixth studio album (second since their reunion) by the band that is known by their fans as the Belgian Metallica. Even though they share some traits with their American counterpart the sound of this band, at least on this record, in more closely associated with bands like Corrosion of Conformity or Crowbar. They can be seen or heard as a more polished version of the aforementioned bands. They show on this record that they are a seasoned band, having been around for more than twenty years, capable of sustaining a mood with ease and class. One last mention to the top notch drumming of Roy Mayorga (Soulfly, Stone Sour, Amebix, Nausea), credited on this record as a session drummer.
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Trash Talk, Ceremony, OFF!
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COLLAPSE UNDER THE EMPIRE Sacrifice and Isolation Finaltune (2014)
In almost 30 years of existence, Sub Pop continues to release some of the best works made on the underground scene. They recognized the talent of Clipping, in a decade where many of the musical experiences are created around the rap parameters. Clppng is an amalgamation of musical geekness with a huge passion for rap. Distorted and minimal instrumental give space to complex letters by Diggs - the MC of the band - making this album an exercise of maximum flexibility in genre [rap]. As Kanye West did in Yeezus last year, Clppng responds with a brutal deconstruction of common instrumentation, exchanging traces of beats with electronic elements, but not forgetting the art of sampling. They respect the history by escaping from conventions and we have to appreciate the punk attitude.
The German post-rock duo released Sacrifice and Isolation but previously the singles “Lost” and “Stairs to the Redemption”, which are a metaphorical reflex of the record itself. A dark epic post-rock record, very visual, creating gloomy textures and atmospheres side by side with electronic elements, specially string ones. The riffs are really inspired ones creating a sense of repeated ideas, like post-rock genre does, that work out taking us into a strange parallel universe. We can notice some God Is an Astronaut vibes in their sound but Sacrifice & Isolation is rougher, somehow more intense. “Sacrifice”, “Stairs to the Redemption” - the heaviest song of the album - and “The Path” are the highlights of a very promising record in the post-rock world.
Cory Branan has been always too punk for country and too country for punk, and we can even say too Memphis for Nashville. Throughout his decade-anda-half-long career, Branan is more than a top songwriter, he is one of the fews troubadours of our time. The No-Hit Wonder is an album built on the basic human foundations where love, home, losses and dreams are the main inspirations. Featuring guests like Craig Finn and Selvidge of the Hold Steady, Jason Isbell, Caitlin Rose and Austin Lucas (“All the Rivers in Colorado”), and Tim Easton (“Sour Mash”), The No-Hit Wonder brings that old blend of that classic Replacements meets Hüsker Dü esque with that primitive Bottle Rockets sound, where a country rockabilly opens his heart and soul. Amazing effort!
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Sub Pop/Popstock (2014)
God Is an Astronaut, Russian Circles
Ratking, BLACKIE, Milo
CORY BRANAN The No-Hit Wonder
Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Bottle Rockets
EVERY TIME I DIE
From Parts to Unknown Epitaph (2014)
“With From Parts To Unknown, they refuse to step forward and it seems they worked really hard to deny how good songwriters they are.” There were high expectations around this new Every Time I Die’s album, mainly because Kurt Ballou (producer and guitarist for the legendary band Converge) would be at the party. After the very compelling Ex Lives, released two years ago, there were some doubts. What would be the next step of the Buffalo based band? They would continue their path on diversity and evolve or they would step back and infuse more urgency and rage into their music? Well, it’s neither and both at the same time. There’s an undeniably predominance of the moments where we feel that sense of urgency, where the band decides to build their songs upon rage and power. Starting with “The Great Secret”, where Keith Buckley shouts at the top of his lungs “Blow your fucking brains out”, giving a clear
message what the record is all about. From that very moment we’re presented with fiercely tracks of mass destruction – yeah, no doubts about the power of the guitars and the drums - and… the same bullshit, without any hint of dynamics. Yeah, we need to skip forward to “Moor” to find the first brilliant moment of the record, where a beautiful piano is introduced along with the amazing melodic and mournful Keith’s voice that suffers a quick change into a more heavy guitar-based theme that shows the real potential of Every Time I Die, with a monster of a riff that is built upon a great groove. We can find the good and exciting side of Every Time I Die again with “Old Light”, where Brian Fallon helps bringing something new into the table with this
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“The Gaslight Anthem meets Against Me!” thing, and with the final combo, “El Dorado” and “Idiot”. Other than those four tracks – there are some good moments here and there - there’s nothing really impressive. It’s really the other way around. There are enough bands just smashing things around. Even though is totally fine - and we know it will make hundreds of kinds crazy in that mosh pit - to write this kind of music, the problem is that ETID is an exceptional band with a brilliant singer. A band very capable of actually writing songs and make things very challenging. With From Parts To Unknown, they refuse to step forward and it seems they worked really hard to deny how good songwriters they are.
Decayin’ With The Boys, Thrist, Old Light
6 CROWN THE EMPIRE The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways
7 DOWNSET One Blood
DEAD AND THE PENGUIN Accidents Happen EP
Rise Records (2014)
Best Before Records (2014)
Downset LLC (2014)
Dallas, TX’s Crown The Empire are back with their long awaited sophomore effort. The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways is everything we could expect from these guys: good emo-pop anthems filled with that classic so-called metalcore esque. We could go saying that these kind of bands sound all the same, but that’s bollocks, and the answer to that is pretty damn simple, these dudes can really make good tunes and they really know how to click with the listener. Produced by Dan Korneff (Pierce The Veil, Paramore) and mixed by Kris Crummet (ISSUES, A Lot Like Birds), this sophomore effort is the natural progression of a band, that somehow still keep doing the things with that unique and different theatrical approach that really stands them from the rest.
Don’t misread this band’s name with the book by Andrey Kurkov if you search for them in Google - although I have no idea if it was actually inspired by the book. Death & The Penguin are a four-piece band from London and they were only formed last year. They cite bands like Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age, Biffy Clyro, The Mars Volta, Death From Above 1979 as main influences and their sound are a mix of those bands mentioned: they blend math rock, indie rock and and a bit of hard rock. Accidents Happen is their first EP released and each song has a quite impressive energy combined with sing-along chorus - they even covered PJ Harvey’s “The Words That Maketh Murder”, which turned out really cool. A great way to go, you guys!
Downset are fucking back and with a new fucking album, we couldn’t ask for more! In the 90’s, Do We Speak a Dead Language? was the perfect fuel to ignite our teenage angst. Four years later, Check Your People was that massive album that really helped to shape the sound of so many bands over the years. Well lads, the veteran pioneers of the true whatsoever crossover are back, and with this amazing comeback they bring the guns, in one of the most corrosive infusion of punk, hardcore and hip-hop of this year. Produced by Downset guitarist Brian Ares Schwager and mixed by Wesley Seldman, One Blood is Downset in their purest form, in a record that goes straight to our hearts, bringing back that classic hardcore/crossover vibe of the 90’s where Biohazard, Helmet and Downset were the law...
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Capture the Crown, Issues, Palisades
Biffy Clyro, Minus The Bear, The Mars Volta
Helmet, Biohazard, Sick of it All
FEED THE RHINO The Sorrow and the Sound
DRUNK DAD Ripper KIller
Eolian Empire (2014)
DIW Records (2014)
Siege of Amida/Century Media (2014)
Featuring a colourful name and cheerful artwork (just being ironic!), this American band plays a mixture of sludge metal with some jazzy licks. But their sound doesn’t stop there; they have also some punk, a bit of hardcore, crust, and even noise rock influences to boot. In most cases, the sound of a band that practices this sort of genre mash up tends to be an inaudible amalgamation of senseless noise.Fortunately that is not the case with this band, because everything seems to jive together perfectly. Even though this record is well constructed, due to its extreme nature, it will appeal only to the fans of this type of sound, but to them this will be a real treat.
Dylan Carlson is known by the groundbreaking drone outfit Earth which is responsible for releasing the classic Earth 2 album and change forever the face of the heavy, weird and noisy music scene. Carlson has been not only discovering himself through Earth’s material but also with his solo career. For the first time he creates a major soundtrack and for the first time he uses the moniker DRCARLSONALBION for a recording. Gold, composed for a foreign language western of the same name, sees Carlson focusing on his guitar, with minimum percussion, on an almost infinite loop. There’s a soundscape created but there’s a lack of layering that can be extremely tiring for the listener. The lack of diversity within drone is a huge problem with Gold.
After their excellent debut album Mr Red Eye and their sophomore infectious The Burning Sons, Feed The Rhino raised our expectations to a higher standard, that we even felt that we weren’t being somehow totally fair to the guys. But these bastards totally nailed it, everything sounds epic and totally blows you away. Songs like “New Wave” and “Give Up” gives riffs, hooks and huge chorus, and in the other way we have “Black Horse” and “The Sorrow and Sound” that are an emotional and intense display of power. The Sorrow and the Sound gives us a true experience, these guys have done a beast of a record and they deserve all the credit for it. It’s a game changing record for them and a ferocity modern rock masterpiece in today’s music scene.
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Rabbits, The Great Sabatini
letlive., Deftones, Gallows
FIRST AID KIT
JACK WHITE Lazaretto
Third Man Records (2014)
Columbia Records (2014)
The famous Swedish sisters in actuality return to release an album of originals, this time the third of the duo. Stay Gold describes exactly what you can find inside: the continuation of a path of gold, getting more than just be an addition to previous works. It is as if gold was gaining more and more carats each work, the result of greater maturity of sisters Johanna and Klara. Folk and country to the bone, the end result is perfect, clear, meaning that immediately captivates us and makes us differentiate this from any other band of the genre. Something perhaps in his own haughtiness of Nordic, but I prefer to believe they are hints of genius who simply reach a harmony that is not available to everyone. Listen Stay Gold until the end is embarking on a journey of happy memories and dreams, always with the safety and something warm as a backdrop. I find myself wanting to listen to each small detail, the vocal arrangements, variations of pace, the simultaneity of voices, the precision with which the notes flow, precisely this which is much more than technical, it is a gift that has a name and run in the genes of this family: it is called harmony. And at each hearing, a new discovery, a new rhythm so far unnoticed, a new sense of echoing a phrase. This album is simply enthralling.
The pallid king is back and heâ€™s coming alone. Each guitar sound produced is immediately recognized and every whiff of rocker voice awakens in us the automation of pleasure. Whatâ€™s to say about Jack White and his genius, his charisma and creativity? In solo or in any of his other projects, it is chilling to the scalp. Walking through a turbulent period of his life, that fact is easily observable in strength and assertiveness in the message, more atrocious and more marked. Filled with a natural dark energy, White channeled his pain for an interesting focus in detail and creativity which reach levels of excellence, beyond the unmistakable musicality with his guitar and vocals taking the honors once again. But there is something of blues and funk that makes it even more interesting and that associated with a lack of a clear path throughout the album, make the experience of hearing something schizophrenic. Psychoses will frequent place us singing to the furniture and walls while the remote control makes the microphone, in a kind of squeaky falsetto. It is precisely this lack of path that does not let this album be a fuller production, since each song follows and goes by itself, making the fuzzy message, even though musically appealing. A lazaretto or lazaret is a quarantine place, usually an hospital, and this album perfectly distribute a scream of freedom, incredibly loud and interesting.
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Laura Marling, Jenny Lewis, Fleet Foxes
The White Stripes, The Dead Weather, The Racounters,
Stay Gold, My Silver Lining
Lazaretto, Temporay Ground, Just One Drink
GLASS ANIMALS Zaba
THE FRESH AND ONLYS House Of Spirits
Mexican Summer (2014)
Caroline International (2014)
Brooklyn’s outfit Field Mouse has been releasing quite impressive songs since they formed in 2010. Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral created wonderful dreamy shoegaze tunes and did some pretty rad covers, but the duo decided that it was time to finally work on their first full-length and go further with their music. With the addition of two new members, Field Mouse set the bar really high with this Hold Still Life: it’s solid, intense and much more aggressive than the previous songs putting a bit aside the ‘dreamy’ and embracing the ‘noisy’ side. Inspired by her life experiences in New York, Browne’s lyrics are basically like an open book. Hold Still Life is a result of years of work and dedication of a promising band.
The Fresh and Onlys seem quite sincere in their efforts here on House Of Spirits. Being tagged as part of the burgeoning San Francisco music scene, which has not had this kind of attention placed upon the fair city in forty years, a new recording from the group should prove to be a moment. Unfortunately, this is the most contrived sequence of songs I have heard in decades. From the opener “Home is Where” through the final track “Madness”, this album masquerades as something that it is not. The second track “Who Let the Devil” mimics Icicle Works to a tee, and then the next song “Bells of Paonia” employ the obvious counterpoint to the preceding songs repetitive eighth note foundation with droning distorted guitar that is beyond their capability. This ill advised construct continues with “Animal of One” built around a lilting acoustic guitar coupled with reverb twang country guitar is such a sudden sea change after “Bells” that the center falls away. The listener is adrift, and the singularity of each songs inherent precision is lost amongst the overreaching intention.
Zaba is a return to the glory years of trip-hop, but not necessarily in a derivative or tertiary way. They possess the tribal underpinnings of the minimal electro soul that defined the period, and yet do not seem to have the depth of range to handle the entirety of the effort. Lauded underlings on producer Paul Epworth’s (Adele, Florence & the Machine) startup label Wolf Tone, Glass Animals create breezy flowing beats, lush textural templates, and succinct sounds, but as the record goes by, the same arrangement ideas keep cropping up, interrupting the flow of the interior dialogue between the songs themselves and the listener. The expansive “Walla Walla” is an exception, deftly changing moods to match the building intensity, but almost everywhere else we have the same tempo, the same rise and build, something that could almost be mapped out on the time grid in the machines. Perhaps this record provides them with a larger world view that could lead to a more expansive reality. We shall wait.
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FIELD MOUSE Hold Still Life
Topshelf Records (2014)
The Breeders, Pity Sex, Best Coast
Afghan Whighs, Stone Temple Pilots
Bomb tha Bass, David Mcalmont
Weird Smiling (2014)
THE HELL Groovehammer
Happyness is a South London trio that sure evokes happiness and other feelings with their tunes. They released early this year their eponymous debut EP - that received a great critical feedback - and now they released their debut album. All self-produced in the band’s own studio, Weird Little Birthday is a little treasure with songs as shiny as gems. Their indie rock approach can be quite delicate (“Weird Little Birthday Girl”) as rough and noisy (“Anything I Do Is All Right”), but the true essence of these songs is the interesting sense of humor on their lyrics and the musical palette they use in each song, creating different and soothing atmospheres. Weird Little Birthday is a very good debut album with introspective and funny tracks.
Oh shit, another act that we don’t know who the fuck they are, they keep their identities a secret! Well, we know that they live in Watford, and that they are punching listeners in every single track of this album. They really don’t give a fuck and that’s why this record sounds so good. It’s not a masterpiece but it’s a punch in reality and a close look to our today’s society. Musically speaking, Groovehammer is pure display of old school hardcore, where their infectious and aggressive lyrics are a modern manifestation that reality bites, after a few auditions we are singing “Everyone Dies” like crazy and saying fuck this and fuck that and that we don’t give a fuck about anything. Fuck this, we need The Hell in our lives!
This Glaswegian duo formed by Shona McVicar and Stina Tweeddale brings some light and sun in our cloudy life (yeap, today the sun is gone). Their unique way of sugary melancholy is so damn irresistible that we can’t take our ears from this album. Honeyblood are the perfect combination between that old school 90’s garage-grunge rock from The Breeders, Mudhoney, Veruca Salt and that sun-kissed surf-pop from acts like Beach Day and Best Coast. The combo of fuzzy guitars and precise drum beats matches perfectly with Stina vocals, there is some innocence in their sound and their lo-fi indie-pop sounds fashionable vintage. Honeyblood is a refreshing cut from today’s indiegarage UK scene, let’s see what comes next...
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HAPPYNESS Weird Little Birthday
Strong people that don’t give a shit...
Pavement, Yuck, Girls
Fatcat Records (2014)
Breeders, Blood Red Shoes, Best Coast
7 GULP Season Sun
Sonic Cathedral (2014)
Gulp was formed by Super Furry Animals’ bassist Guto Pryce with the singer-songwriter Lindsey Leven, and together they wanted to do something that involved their personal musical tastes. The result is a mix of cosmicpop music with classic electronic sounds and dream-folk vocals. “Game Love” was their debut single and received great reviews. Season Sun is their debut full-length and - as the title suggests - it has a summer feel (“Seasoned Sun”) but has also a cinematic touch on it, like a road trip with the desert landscapes as background and a spaghetti western soundtrack playing (“Vast Space”). This mix of musical genres is quite interesting, but you have to be in the right mood to dive into these soundscapes.
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Violence & Destruction Victory Records (2014)
Broadcast, Can, Blondie
7 HOTEL BOOKS I’m Almost Happy Here But ... EP
In Vogue Records (2014)
I’m Almost Happy Here, But I Never Feel At Home is a double EP but I want to call it an album. Porterville’s Hotel Books has been working their asses off to achieve this. Starting with three tracks that are centered on loss, the band sets the tone not only for the album but also for everybody that is just now being familiar with their sound. Using spoken-word with mournful, beautiful and very emotional guitars just like Enablers borrowed their sound to Jordan Dreyers’ voice – La Dispute’s vocalist. It’s all about the lyrics, and Cameron Smith is a poet with his heart in his hands, putting everything out there. It’s all about love. The world needs more stuff like this. Hotel Books’ music is more important than you might think.
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Guys, it’s all forgiven, nu-metal is back... Well it’s not that this genre was gone, but for some fucking bastards nu-metal was the root of all evil regarding heavy music. Truth to be told, the music media are trend whores, full of shitty opinion makers and pseudo haters. Well guys say hello to Islander, and Islander say hello to your future haters! Demonstrating a wide array of influences, from Deftones to Rage Against the Machine and somewhere over the path they pay tribute to the likes of letlive, P.O.D. and even Bad Brains. Islander’s crisp fusion of thrashing instrumentation and impassioned vocals are truly amazing, bringing a new kind of experience to the listener, where everything seems to be going to explode in our fucking ears and head. Violence & Destruction is visceral and raw, an album that’s full of staggering dynamics, intelligent and brave songwriting and with that bold attitude that turns every single song in an incendiary and unique experience. Tracks like “Counteract” and “Coconut Dracula” bring a new and different dynamics in that classic Deftones + letlive vs P.O.D. style, and “Pains”, “Side Effects of Youth” and “Criminals” (featuring Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D.) are infectious tracks that totally stick in our head, where heaviness clashes with that brain-burrowing melodies. Islander just entered directly in our best albums of the year so far, this is a game-changing record. Violence & Destruction is something that you are going to listen every day for months, maybe years...
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Deftones, letlive., P.O.D.
Counteract, Coconut Dracula, Criminals FAUSTO CASAIS
La Dispute, Enablers, deadpoets.
HOW TO DRESS WELL What Is This Heart?
Self Released (2014)
Victory Records (2014)
Tom Krell, also known as How To Dress Well, third studio album, What Is This Heart? is what we can call of radio friendly, mainstream type of material. The soulful rhythm and blues work as a disguise for the forward-thinking pop that is laid down over layers and layers of thrilling and exciting material that’s full of textures and tastes. Krell’s voice is a reminder that falsettos can have a pretty good use in this day and era, especially when followed by lyrics that talk about the oversaturated issues of love, heartbreaking and some despair but in a way that’s fresh and doesn’t feel corny at all. At first there are the doubts then, after investing time and heart, there’s the acknowledgement of something superior. “Pop, but not populist.”
The US outfit from Oklahoma City, Idre, arrives into the scene with their debut self-titled full-length, a two-track piece. One of the best and most shining elements of the album is the amazing voice of the vocalist and guitarist, Ryan Davis that has this crazy voice like Michael Gira meets David Edwards that’s supported by deeply involving atmospheres as if Neurosis and Godspeed You! Black Emperor were doing a big party with Swans and Earth. Their only problem with this debut album is the production that doesn’t reveal, right away, all the amazing details in it. But… watch out! This power-trio is, along with Bristol’s Sonance, one of the most promising outfits of the heavy, thoughtful, highly atmospheric and abrasive music. Their potential is… WOW! Fucking exciting.
Legends in the Latin-infused metal, are back with their seventh album, Till Death, La Familia. Their missive is very clear with this record, Till Death, La Familia serves as a tribute to not only the Latin community, but as a call to all brotherhoods to stay together. Well, since their debut album that these guys are showing an impressive strength as a group. They have their own sound, their own ID and with their own ability and creativity, they keep pushing their own boundaries, reinvent their own sound but still keeping their passion for what they’re doing all these years. Till Death, La Familia is a refreshingly melodic and brutal, that reinvigorates and supercharges that Latin-infused classic Roots tribal vibe.
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Domino/ Weird World (2014)
SOHN, The Weeknd, Prince
ILL NINO Till Death, La Familia
Neurosis, Swans, Ennio Morricone
Sepultura, Soulfly, Puya
JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD Make My Head Sing
ATO Records (2014)
J Mascis’ Tied to a Star, the follow up to his acclaimed Sub Pop debut Several Shades of Why marks Mascis return to a more intimate and stripped down album. Tied to a Star was recorded and produced by Mascis and mixed by John Agnello at Bisquiteen in Amherst, MA, and features guest appearances from musicians Ken Maiuri (Young@Heart Chorus), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion) and Chan Marshall (Cat Power). Dinosaur Jr. singer brings his acoustic mellow side to this new effort, where in his most humble way he keeps pushing boundaries and challenging perceptions is a huge part of what this artist is about. Tied to a Star is a marvelous effort from a unique voice and mind.
The intentions on Make my Head Sing are proportionately expansive, and expressive. First of all, producer Jesse Newport creates an incredible sound structure throughout the album, a wide spectrum which allows for low end punch and the crackle of mids and high tones in perfect symmetry. Mayfield displays concise explorations in off kilter guitar stylings, a singular trait which perfectly illustrates the stabbing emotions of the lyrical content. “Party Drugs” best exemplifies her insight- “I will be the most fucked up”- the glaring need within the new lost generation, looking for enlightenment in the loathsome depths of the bottom of the pool, rather than floating on the surface. “I will be here when you return”, the song’s final statement, sounds like a goodbye, rather than an anticipatory moment. Melodically sturdy, coupled with a specific depth of emotion makes this artist a contender- in the future. There are certain repetitive moments that need attention, most notably in the tempo structure, which is far too similar throughout until they try to break out of it, an obvious counterpoint that should be avoided.
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J MASCIS Tied to a Star
Sub Pop (2014)
Dinosaur Jr, The Doors, Bob Mould
Sharon Van Etten, Lydia Loveless
JENNY LEWIS The Voyager
Warner Bros. Records (2014)
Jenny Lewis is back with her third solo album, after closing that painful chapter of her life with Rilo Kiley back in 2011 and now beginning a new chapter in her career — and perhaps her life. The Voyager is a perfect album, a perfect pop and modern album, that kind of album that today’s pseudo pop stars don’t have the talent to produce, make or even think about. Each of the record’s 10 tracks are quite frankly the mirror of the artist personality, where memories, good decisions and bad decisions gain a voice. Well crafted and co-produced by Ryan Adams (sharing also the vocal duties) and with Beck credited as a guest, The Voyager is the finest record of Lewi’s career, her music is timeless and her voice is far from otherwordly.
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Rilo Kiley, Ryan Adams, Cat Power
LANA DEL REY
“Ultraviolence is not an easy album to ingest... It’s not excellent but it’s not bad at all, maybe there’s more about Del Rey than it meets the eye.” Long gone are the days that Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was known as May Jailer or Lizzy Grant, but now she’s mostly known as Lana Del Rey. When “Video Games” video hit Del Rey’s YouTube page, everyone was caught up with this wonderful, seductive singer. She was this new intriguing pop star on the rise and this was for sure the key moment of her career. After some rumors and controversy about her past or whatever it was about, the New Yorker singer made her major step by releasing the album Born To Die. Her powerful voice is the main instrument; her peculiar lyrics make everyone wondering what’s in her mind; and her music has this distinguish cinematic sound with pop culture in the mix. Lana Del Rey has been on an upward spiral of success and after
dismissing the idea of not releasing another album - because she had “already said everything [she] wanted to say” - she proves with Ultraviolence that she still had a lot to say. While promoting this new album, she did some controversy interviews and so the press has been around her neck lately - which it’s comprehensive, considering that she said “feminism is not an interesting concept” or “I wish I was dead already”. Despite all that bullshit, it’s with this new album that Del Rey’s shows her true artistry as a musician and as a person: she’s mysterious, unpredictable, enchanting, turbulent. Having Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach as the main producer, Ultraviolence is filled with ballads à lá 007’s flicks and
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Lorde, London Grammar, Banks
desert rock tunes with impressive guitar solos, giving an extra confidence in Del Rey’s voice and now she really knows how to use her voice as a mesmerizing instrument. Ultraviolence has some very suggestive song titles. Tracks like “Pretty When You Cry” and “Ultraviolence” keep showing her submission to a man’s love as she sings “He hit me and it felt like a kiss”; “Sad Girl” and “The Other Woman” are about the mistress’ eternal solitude. Her lyrics say a lot - directly or indirectly - and sometimes that’s the magic around this artist that makes us intrigued if we love her or if we hate her. Ultraviolence is not an easy album to ingest, but at the same time it’s as simple as it gets. It’s not excellent but it’s not bad at all, maybe there’s more about Del Rey than it meets the eye.
Cruel World, Brooklyn Baby, West Coast
8 JOHANNA SAMUELS Double Bind
KRESTELS The Moon Is Shining Our Way EP
A while ago the amazing country/punk singer-songwriter Scott H. Biram said that he hated to be called a singersongwriter just because people always “imagine a guy on a stool in a coffee shop singing acoustic songs and just being lame in general”. Don’t know why that came to mind. Perhaps because I’m an idiot and that’s how I imagine female singer-songwriters… well, Johanna Samuels’ debut album, Double Bind, is nothing like that. This 25-year-old L.A. girl makes pop music that screams for attention with the guts from the heroes of the past and the mind of someone that is smart enough to don’t lose the present and future. It’s super layered and emotional, hard to understand at first and easy to fall in love with.
The journey of Kasabian has been marked by consistency and coherence in the musicianship of the band and in the fifth studio album the picture doesn’t change. Cult band in the UK, Kasabian produces a rock so versatile that extends to other genres, whether indie incorporating elements, that identify the band, either new sounds, more electronic. 48:13 is precisely how much you can hear of good music, with new and more danceable than usual elements, proving that the band aims to achieve a more heterogeneous audience and maybe just expand the boundaries of their market. Personally and because the high bar that I have to evaluate this work, I wish the musical expansion had not been so dramatic. Being an album well done, is not necessarily a great album that sweeps us through.
Halifax’s trio Kestrels has been releasing great material since 2009 and their 2012’s album A Ghost History was an important step forward for the band, but The Moon Is Shining Our Way EP is probably their most solid and ambitious release to the date. Even though it’s a 15-minute EP, the four tracks are impressive and each one of them is full with great energy. The fuzzy and noisy riffs tangle so well with the addictive melodies. “The Moon Is Shinning Our Way” is a great example of the blend of the noise with a grand melody, but the track “The Double” is mesmerizing and how the moody riffs go with the transcendent atmosphere created there. This EP is only a taste of what’s about to come on their upcoming album.
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Sharon Van Etten, Fiona Apple, Lykke Li
Sonic Unyon Records (2014)
Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Kings of Leon
8 LAZER/WULF The Beast of Left and Right
My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins
MIREL WAGNER When the Cellar Children See the Light...
MARK LANEGAN No Bells on Sunday EP
Retro Futurist (2014)
Sub Pop (2014)
“Lazer/Wulf is an instrumental metal trio, which sometimes includes vocals.” Interesting, right? Well, this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding everything that surrounds this power-trio from Athens. The Beast of Left and Right, their debut album is written in palindrome – basically is the same backwards and forwards with two distinctive halves – and it’s what I like to call “The bastard son of Mastodon that was dropped on his head as a baby and has serious identity problems because he grew up listening to The Dillinger Escape Plan and is addicted to Soul Train.” That cool picture that you have on your head now just needs to have two pluses: the musicianship is unbelievable and Bryan Aiken’s vocals are too good to be true. This is fuckin’ huge!
As he approaches his 50th birthday, Mark Lanegan is one of the most extraordinary artists in current modern music, that’s a fact! No Bells On Sunday, will precede the release of a new studio album entitled Phantom Radio, scheduled for this Autumn. Well in this little appetizer we have five songs written during the same period the new album was made, but which were, in Mark’s judgment, “too goofy” to fit with the rest. No Bells On Sunday sounds firmly rooted across what we can call post-grunge anthems, where Lanegan works like the old crooner that is not afraid to show his own 80’s college rock side. If this was too goofy to fit in the new album, Mr.Lanegan is raising our expectations regarding to what Phantom Radio will sound...
Mirel Wagner is a Finnish singer-songwriter born in Ethiopia. If it may seem that Mirel’s background is a little bit tricky, her music does the favor of putting things very simple – at least on the surface. With When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day, the follow-up of Wagner’s self-titled debut album, there’s this weird feeling of confirmation. Confirmation of a talent that doesn’t need such a thing. Simple arrangements, a powerful and volatile voice, repetition of something “simple” and always beautiful to make the point across without any delays and an overall dark and very organic mood/atmosphere. Yeah, it’s pretty straightforward… 1 2 3 4. Just imagine the heaviness of Scott Kelly, Michael Gira and Townes Van Zandt with all the subtleties of Cobain.
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Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan
Screaming Trees, The Afghan Whigs
Scott Kelly, Michael Gira, Nate Hall
The Hunting Party
Warner Bros. Records (2014)
“The Hunting Party is a reasonable and loud album, but as a whole is not that much refreshing...” In 2000, Linkin Park released their highly-acclaimed debut album - the excellent Hybrid Theory - that was followed by 2003’s Meteora, another great album. But it was since the release of 2007’s Minutes to Midnight that the group began to change the approach on their music, exploring a more electronic/experimental territory and leaving aside the numetal-whatever-rock approach which led to their two most recent albums, 2010’s A Thousand Suns and 2012’s Living Things. After eighteen years of career, Linkin Park are considered one of the most successful rock bands of the 21st century, but the group decided it was time to make another change. On their sixth album, the six fellows wanted to bring back the heavy and aggressive stuff to their
sound and make a rock record, and I can only imagine how the older fans of LP were feeling when they knew that the band was going back to the “Hybrid Theory/Meteora” roots. But that’s not quite the case. The Hunting Party is not a going back to the original sound once heard in 2000’s, but the search of a new way to play that sound. This time around, Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson took the lead on the album’s production and Delson got to be more involved in the guitar parts - which it was something that it was lacking in the previous albums. These new songs have a mixture of punk, hard rock and even thrash, but still maintaining the pop sensibility with electronic elements. At first it feels like “let’s give it a shot”, but after some listenings it feels
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Papa Roach, Stone Sour, Alter Bridge
like a confusing mix of genres, where the band tries to be heavy but at the same it isn’t that much. But besides that, Chester Bennington goes back on delivering some angry screams about important issues like war and oppression. Another thing that is new on this new LP’s album is the guest appearances. Helmet’s Page Hamilton sings on “All for Nothing,” System of a Down’s Daron Malakian appears on “Rebellion”, rapper Rakim gives his take on “Guilty All the Same” and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello gives his touch on the beautiful instrumental “Drawbar”. The Hunting Party is a reasonable and loud album, but as a whole is not that much refreshing, even though it is a new phase on LP’s shores.
War, Rebellion, Mark The Graves
9 MONGOL HORDE Mongol Horde
Xtra Mile Recordings (2014)
MORRISSEY World Peace is None of Your Business
Harvest Records (2014)
MORTALS Cursed To See The Future
Why the fuck do we need bands like Mongol Horde in our lives? The answer is pretty simple, because it’s bands like Mongol Horde that have the art and the ability to keep the things real and interesting. They don’t give a shit about what people may think about them or their music, they just want you to listen to the tunes, or not, it’s your fucking call... Mongol Horde is the awesome side project from the guy who fronted Million Dead and lately has been on a solo ride as himself, yeap the amazing Frank Turner. They are from London, they sound like Refused, Converge and your mum... Yeap, it’s pretty cool and their goal is to “kill the fucker, slowly, with a blunt life...” Go fucking listen to this, and call your mum to have a listen too...
Morrissey is a big mouth, everyone knows that, but is that kind of big mouth the world needs, especially if we live in a corrupt world, with a strange desire for the lack of values. Of course we totally understand when Morrissey says voting is keeping the system alive, we disagree with that, but we totally understand what he means. World Peace is None of Your Business is pretty humble and so damn beautiful. On his 10th studio album, Moz feels like he has everything to prove, delivering one hell of a masterpiece. With that poetic, wise and sharp words, he attacks the ruling classes, the right bastards and all that hypocrites that still have some power in this sick society. Moz somehow says that “All the best ones are dead,” about that we say not all of them because we still have Moz on our side.
Let me make something very clear to you: there’s no point in comparing Mortals with Gallhammer. I know that two female bands playing extreme metal seem to be enough to start drawing comparisons but it really isn’t. Regarding the new album by Brooklyn’s trio – the second of their career – there are just two things that must be said: it could be way better and it shows how much potential these women have. The potential comes from the talent represented by the three musicians, whether in the brutal riffs, or the top-notch vocals or the unbelievable insane drumming. It could be way better just because of the production which hides the dynamics and deep cuts of Cursed To See The Future. Black, sludge, atmospheric and fuckin’ extreme. So fuckin’ nice!
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Converge, Frank Turner, Refused
Morrissey, Morrissey, Morrissey...
Coffins, Goatwhore, Buzzoven
9 OF ALLIES Tempers EP
NACHTMYSTIUM The World We Left Behind
Relapse Records (2014)
5 THE ORWELLS Disgraceland
Century Media (2014)
The World We Left Behind is the highlyanticipated Nachtmystium final album. Chicago psychedelic black metal legends Nachtmystium are ending their troubled sometimes misunderstood journey. This final chapter is a glorious effort, the band’s final recordings are nine tracks of uncompromising black metal, filled with soaring and complex solos, powerful rhythms and infectious riffs, where Blake Judd’s recognizable distorted growls are leading this goodbye. Lyrically, it deals with the relationship between an all-controlling addiction relationship with its user. The World We Left Behind is a genius effort where pop blends with Black Metal in pure perfection, giving their sound that unique trademark Nachtmystium grittiness that we have all over the years come to know and love.
Yorkshire four-piece Of Allies are another incoming band from the British alternative-rock scene that truly surprises with this debut EP. They have been together less than a year and have accomplished with this Tempers a notable place as one of the most promising bands coming from the UK. Tempers is composed by five energetic tracks that swing from gloomy to hopeful moods, but never loses the big guitar riffs and the catchy choruses. Rich Nichols delivers some great melodic vocals along with his dark and profound lyrics. Of Allies show with this EP a great amount of passion for what they are doing with their music and, with such solid and committed performance, they have so much more to show us.
The second album of the American band follows the same garage energy that characterizes their sound, so there’s nothing new around here. Short punk riff songs, high school atmosphere, energy on the vocals, a permanent fast rhythm and a furious attitude which came to the attention of the Arctic Monkeys - they have opened some gigs for the Monkeys this same year. The highlights are a few like for example, the song “Let it Burn”, a nihilism ode to the word or “Who Needs You”, another ode to the futility of the American society in some areas. The lyrics are nonconformist and “straight to the bone,” there’s no such lack of honesty in it. Disgraceland is a prototype of an old garage-punk formula that shakes but not much.
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Twilight, A Forest of Stars, Oranssi Pazuzu
Deftones, Lower Than Atlantis
Twin Peaks, Skaters, Fidlar
ANA F. CARVALHO
8 MOZART’S SISTER Being
Asthmatic Kitty (2014)
Talking about painters like Francis Bacon, Otto Dix and Mahler, the Canadian artist Caila Thompson-Hannant, also known as Mozart’s Sister, said: “I guess there’s an underlying darkness to them all that I find interesting.” Thanks, Caila! That’s exactly what I would say about Caila’s music, especially the sung words. The electronic music is danceable; the dance floor is definitely grit; it’s heavy centered on the vocal power and intelligence with a will to lock and push forward without losing any context and emotion. There are some resemblances between Mozart’s Sister and the fellow Canadian John O’Regan, a.k.a. Diamond Rings. They’re definitely a big plus and an undeniable testament of how good the Canadian “scene” actually is. Being is the first full-length of a career that has unlimited potential.
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The Black Market
Diamond Rings, EMA, Robyn
7 OVERKILL White Devil Armory
Nuclear Blast (2014)
In 2014 there are still at least a handful of classic thrash bands that are going strong and making good and solid albums. It just so happens that East Coast heroes/legends Overkill are one of those bands that have fought to maintain quality and deny to be “just a revival thing” that’s going on nowadays. There’s no denying the importance and quality of their last albums, Ironbound and The Electric Age. White Devil Armory, the band seventieth album in 34 years of existence, is another intelligent work by the legendary Bobby Blitz & Co. If the previous albums were the reborn, this one is the full-on teen fury and raw energy that made thrash so relevant in music in general. Fast and loud with a bunch of anthems… Overkill!
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So many things have changed since Rise Against formation back in 1999, they are now much wiser as a band and group, even their sound has changed... They still maintain that Rise Against punk pedigree, but nowadays they are more melodic than ever. But despite some differences regarding their own evolution as musicians and persons, they are still those Chicago punk activists from the heart to their soul that we all learned to admire and still have the power to inspire in this fucked up world that we live in. The Black Market finds Tim McIlrath and Co. still pushing their ecofriendly and political agenda, nothing new here, but it’s the way they keep doing this is quite remarkable. If only we had more acts like Rise Against and maybe punk rock still could raise his own voice regarding some serious issues. Tracks like “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore” and “The Eco-Terrorist In Me” are perfect examples that these guys still maintain their activist vein well alive, but “The Great Die-Off” and “People Live Here” shows that there are some personal issues and demons that McIlrath is more than happy to let go. Rise Against are different, and we can see that in their lyrics, in the more serious, introspective and deep album to date. After 13 years and 7 albums where they’ve become a Billboard charting band, that sold millions of records worldwide, we can say that they are still on top of their game, always ready to start a fight against this corporate and shitty world. Respect!
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Against Me!, The Menzingers, Pennywise
I Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore, People Live Here, Zero Visibility FAUSTO CASAIS
Exodus, Destruction, Death Angel
8 PAINTED ZEROS Svalbard EP
7 PASSENGER Whispers
PETER MURPHY Lion
Nettwerk Music Group (2014)
Black Bell Records (2014)
Painted Zeros is a Brooklyn-based project formed by the gifted-musician Katie Lau. She does everything on her own: writes songs, records everything in her bedroom or practice space, and produces and mixes it on of her laptop. Even though Jared Kaner (drummer) and Nolan Eley (bassist) have joined the band, this Svalbard EP was all done by Lau. She explores personal, deep experiences on her songs and so she wrote five rock songs tainted with shoegaze, post-punk and pop. It’s really impressive how she did it all by herself, without being monotonous and bringing always a fuzzy riff or a dreamy melody. Svalbard is louder and frenetic than her previously released songs and gives the hint for what future songs will sound like.
Whispers, the fifth record of Michael David Rosenberg, best known as Passenger is a melancholic folk-album, the musical line that Passenger is made of but surprisingly is full of “joyful” moments like perhaps no Passenger had album before. After the success of his previous album All The Little Lights due mostly to the success of the single “Let Her Go” putting Michael into the spotlights of the musical world, - Whispers is a step ahead work in Passenger’s career. There’s many ‘ups’ like “Hearts on Fire”, probably the most beautiful love song of the record; “Thunder”, a happy grooving song; “Rolling Stone”, a typical folk song; “Start A Fire”, an epic song magnified by the beautiful voice of Passenger, the most precious instrument of the record.
Many artists stick to their guns and only play what the fans expect to hear, several artists try to reinvent themselves, and set themselves apart from the bands they have been associated with, where they found success or at least a very strong cult following. A very limited number of artists have the capacity to break away from their trademark sound and create something very different from what the fans would expect. Peter Murphy will probably not receive many accolades from the Bauhaus fans, or his solo career thus far for that matter, but for other music lovers this record could be the perfect introduction to a career that has been as varied as it has been distinguished. With a sound that as very close resemblance to Killing Joke, in fact Youth produces and plays on this record, Peter Murphy created a bridge between his gothic roots and a more modern approach to his music.
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Pavement, The Pixies, Bright Eyes
ANA F. CARVALHO
Ben Howard, Kodaline, The Lumineers
7 THE ROOTS ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
Bauhaus, Killing Joke
9 ROYAL BLOOD Out of the Black EP
7 SEETHER Isolate and Medicate
Virgin EMI (2014)
Black Mammoth Records (2014)
Concord Music Group (2014)
The most cohesive band of nowadays just happens to have a huge knowledge of music history and makes its huge driving force of creation. Nevertheless, the first listening of the latest album of the legendary act comes a lot with what was done in How I Got Over and Undun. They try, again, to uncover new horizons in rap - through introduction of classic elements with sampling and production techniques, Black Thought and its multiple characters come out always with good quality, remembering great moments of storytelling, with interlocking and elaborated flows shared by the guest appearances of Greg Porn and Dice Raw. The sound on the album is very close to the live reality, a clear brand that does not detract from the quality.
Royal Blood are a promising British rock duo and their EP is definitely an exciting proof of their talent. The fact that can be surprising is this powerful hard rock sound is only made by a bassist and a drummer (in the first audition no one could tell that fact straight away). The riffs are heavy sometimes sounding like some Black Sabbath ones as we can hear in the first song “Out Of the Black” and thought out the whole record. The drum parts are catchy, rough and precise. “Little Monster” and “Come On Over” are sick hard rock compositions, full of a simplicity which includes some modern garage rock patterns now and then. Their debut album is expected as soon as possible.
It’s been a while since Seether released their first official album Disclaimer back in 2002 and in these 15 years as a band they had their ups and downs, specially the frontman Shaun Morgan that fought against his own demons. In early 2013, Morgan built a refuge in his New Hampshire home to write these new songs without any distraction and to embrace this new phase of his life. On the sixth album, it’s clear that the trio is closer than ever and with the help of the producer Brendan O’Brien they did some pretty neat songs. There’s tracks simmering rage, but there’s also tracks with a much more heartfelt feeling with catchy melodic vocals. Although there’s not much new in this new effort, Seether still alive and kicking.
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Common, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch
Mastodon, Drenge, Circa Waves
Staind, Chevelle, Stone Sour
8 ADULT JAZZ Gist Is
Spare Thought (2014)
AMANDA X Amnesia
BASEMENT Further Sky EP
Gist Is is a different way to celebrate weirdness in the marvelous and prolific world of the UK indie scene. This four piece from Leeds is another act that is reinventing a new sound, sometimes remind us Dirty Projectors masterpiece Orca, but still sounds new, only a few bands are able to do that nowadays. Track after track we keep thinking, how can we describe this sound? This strange feeling that we find something new and fresh, that sometimes could be both strange and beautiful at the same time.
Philadelphia’s trio Amanda X shows with this debut album a natural musical evolution. More confident with their instruments and writing skills, the trio explores more ways to stand out melodies and big riffs. There’s a more solid and textural approach in their songs as the vocals become much looser. Starting as a bedroom project, Cat, Kat and Tiffany are more sure about themselves as musicians and as bandmates. Amnesia is a record that is not forgettable.
Further Sky breaks Basement’s musical silence following their final acclaimed 2012’s LP Colourmeinkindess. Recorded in spring 2014 at North London’s Livingston Studio (The Clash, Bjork, Jesus and Mary Chain), Further Sky brings us two new songs and an amazing new approach of Suede’s “Animal Nitrate”, showing once again a band trying new things in their already alt-rock sound palette. Basement are a different band, and this new EP shows that they have no limits regarding their own creativity.
Run For Cover Records (2014)
CASTANETS Decimation Blues
COLD WORLD How the Gods Chill
(HED) P.E. Evolution
The new Castanets record, called Decimation Blues, is the music of a man who’s learned to live and build among the wreckage. Raymond Raposa is back with a new set, where countryfolk lives through experimetalism and where electro minimalist beats fight with their quirky and obscure synth pop identity. Decimation Blues, Raposa’s sixth release as Castanets, is meticulous, catchy and cathartic, bringing that Leonard Cohen vibe to his own freaky folk stylistic songs.
This is the first new material since 2008’s awesome Dedicated to Babies Who Came Feet First. How The Gods Chill is a 13 song amalgamation of Hip Hop and Hardcore. Do you guys remember that Urban Discipline from Biohazard and River Runs Red from Life of Agony? Well, if so, you already know what to expect with this new effort from Wilkes-Barre gang. Featuring everyone from Kool G Rap to Meyhem Lauren to George of Blacklisted, even Max B, Cold World new effort is an infectious melting pot of sound and spirit.
Rap punk-hardcore kings are back with their 9th studio release, Evolution. (Hed) P.e., as we’ve come to expect, still sound like a cocktail of hip hop and reggae with a new and intense portion of gritty, pounding and relentless rowdy punk. Evolution marks the band’s evolution over the years, they are still mixing punk, metal, reggae and rap like anyone else around, and nowadays bands have no qualms of mixing together different genres in their music. Respect!
Asthmatic Kitty (2014)
Deathwish Inc. (2014)
Pavement Records (2014)
SLOW CLUB Complete Surrender
SPOON They Want My Soul
TY SEGALL Manipulator
Complete Surrender is the third album by the Sheffield duo Slow Club and this new effort is a musical step forward for them, but it’s also a bit of annoying through the whole listening. There’s this diverse-yet-not-fascinating sound: there’s strings and orchestral sound; Rebecca Taylor’s voice goes through a big gospel style to a more softer one; sweet folk and blues songs in the mix; and lyrics about heartache. Frankly, not completely surrendered by this record.
Spoon’s new album – They Want My Soul – is the first to feature the new member, Alex Fischel (guitar/keyboards) is not exactly what people might expect. It’s not their mainstream breakthrough record although it’s almost tangible the easy-going, radio friendly appeal of these songs that keep carrying the “tradition”, and sound, of a band that has released music for the last two decades. A multi-layered album that keeps on challenging the listener for almost forty minutes.
Oh shit! Another Ty Segall album... The prolific now L.A.-based fuzz-rock band is once again delivering the goods, and no, they are not saving rock music! They sound like millions of rock acts. There is nothing new here but if the pseudo rockers see this as the salvation of rock music, that’s cool for them, but I know what they are smoking... Manipulator is not bad, but after some hearings it can be boring as hell... Overall is an average fuzz-rock effort.
Caroline International (2014)
Drag City (2014)
SONTAG SHOGUN Tale
SLAVES Through Art We Are All Equals
Artery Recordings (2014)
Season Of Mist (2014)
Palaver/Luau Records (2014)
Jonny Craig is back with Slaves! The man’s natural gift for singing and for selfsabotage in Slaves’ debut, as Jonny takes center stage for the entire album, this is Craig’s most personal album, as he faces his failed relationships and self-destructive personality head on previous bands (Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa). The listener could ignore his past and focus on his stunning, emotive voice and the intricacy of the musicianship backing him up. But sometimes the lack of creativity seems to coast along hoping Craig will save the band (he actually does that and perhaps this is the best and most consistent vocal performance to date). If the band manages to add more variety and sound less formulaic on their next release maybe they will be one of the best bands in the post-hardcore scene.
Titan is probably one of the best and most complex albums made by Septicflesh. Since the band got back together seven years ago, their sound is getting better and better, and Titan is the proof of that. With interesting and evil sounding riffs, and good orchestrations, this record is a breath of fresh air in Septicflesh’s career, showing once and for all what they’re capable of. It is easy to listen to, and it stays with you since the first time you hear it. Songs like “Burn”, “Order of Dracul” and “Prometheus” are the highlights of the record, and will probably work very well when played live. However, despite being a fairly good record and a positive mark on Septicflesh’s discography, it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, although with a lot of quality.
NY-based piano, analog and digital electronics trio Sontag Shogun worked for three years (while living their lives in separate cities) to build up their debut LP, Tale. Collecting all kinds of crazy sounds, like a trek through a Columbian jungle, creating different textures and most importantly experimenting with all the data they managed to put their hands on. These nine tracks are laid upon repetitions of phrases and digitally glitched-out melodies, trying to create a modern age ambient piece or what they like to call lullanoise. Tale is indeed a beautiful piece where you can lose yourself in with all the details, layers, textures and colors. Their sense of melody guides the listener through relaxing and very enjoyable moments, avoiding dull moments during the entire experience.
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Cursed Sails, Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa
Fleshgod Apocalypse, Rotting Christ
Hydras Dream, Dag Rosenqvist
5 6 SPACE DAZE Follow My Light Back Home
STRAND OF OAKS Heal
Dead Oceans (2014)
Space Daze is the solo project of Danny Rowland, lead guitarist and songwriter of Seapony. With this new outlet, Rowland had the chance of having a different and innovative approach on his songwriting. In March of this year, he decided to challenge himself to write and record a new song every day for the entire month, and the result is this first solo full-length. 12 songs in 12 days and all produced by Rowland. Listening to Follow My Light Back Home for several times, it’s for sure a collection of sweet and catching indie pop songs that transmit the peaceful and shining summer days, and that really seems the main goal of these tracks. But from track to track, there’s a similar melody or the vocal signature stays pretty much the same, making the album a bit monotonous.
This is an interesting record, because Tim Showalter obviously went through a traumatic episode in his life, and lived to tell the tale. Heal is an appropriate title here, as Showalter gathers evidence to come to terms. However, as much as he reveals himself emotionally, musically the songs and ideas cannot keep up. Straddling a pastiche of post-punk, pop, and the more recent return to the traditional rock of the 80’s, the elements are all in place. And yet there is an inherent distance between the majestic vocal palette and range of Showalter, the lyrical intent, and the actuality of the totality. “You cheated on me, but I cheated on myself” he opines on the title track. It’s a terrific insight, the inverse of the traditional, and yet, the repetitive nature of the rhythmic bed and the limited guitar expansion offer no hint at the depth of the lyrical journey. The album dissolves during the second side, with slower tempos and slower intentions. In an effort to craft an epic record, the second side shows that formulas should not be emulated.
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Beautiful Strange (2014)
Seapony, M. Ward, Frankie Cosmos
The War on Drugs, Miracle Legion
THE SWAN KING Last So Long
War Crime Recordings (2014)
In Chicago, there’s a little group of guys, (former) members of bands like Pelican and Planes Mistaken For Stars, that worked with this other guy that you might know, Sanford Parker (Twilight, Minsk, Corrections House), and they all got together to work at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio. Pretty sweet, right? Well, it’s just like their new and second full-length. The Swan King’s Last So Long goes back to the 90’s to deliver something that after all is timeless and borderless. Eight tracks of what we “like” to call post-hardcore always guitar-driven and with a groove in the soul. Sure, the sound of Zafar Musharraf’s drums could be better and Dallas Thomas’ vocals could be more outrageous and frenetic but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy it. Au contraire!
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We’ll Go Machete, NoMeansNo, Unwound
You Can’t Stop Me
Temporary Residence LTD (2014)
Nuclear Blast (2014)
Suicide Silence have captured the attention of so many people around the world all over the years, where their work ethic, non-stop world tours and strong releases put them has one of most solid acts in the current metal scene. The strong and brutal debut The Cleansing caught everyone’s attention, their second album No Time To Bleed was a success and their masterpiece The Black Crown was Suicide Silence big explosion, being at the time the most strong rising name from Monte Conner new rebirth in Nuclear Blast. Tragically, Mitch Lucker life was cut short when he wrecked his motorcycle back in 2012. Losing an iconic and talented vocalist is very traumatic for a band, but these guys inspired by Mitch’s love for life and for theirs Suicide Silence legacy raised from hell with this new effort, in one of the most inspiring and strong music comebacks in years. You Can’t Stop Me is the group’s first album with new vocalist Eddie Hermida, frontman from All Shall Perish and close friend of the band. Hermida’s vocals are out of this world, he has the ability to take on Mitch’s screams and gives us something that is different from everything he has done previously with All Shall Perish. Musically, it’s tighter and heavier, the natural progression and evolution from The Black Crown, where ferocious riffs, brutal breakdowns and full throttle machine gun drumming are the law. As a bonus, we have guest appearances from Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato. You Can’t Stop Me is an essential listening! RIP Mitch, your spirit lives on and will never be forgotten!
Look and admire, Watter is another “super-group” for us to get excited about, with the multi-instrumentalists Zak Riles of the mighty Grails, Tyler Trotter and drummer Britt Walford from the legendary Louisville band, Slint. Their debut album, This World, is truly special and it’s far away from being just another “post-rock” album, as a matter of fact it’s like it creates its own bubble where there’s a whole new universe. With the power-trio’s ability of leap forward through crazy ramifications that not only see North but also love and embrace South, East and West, the band never seems to drop the ball; in fact they managed to create subtle movements of energy. There is an amazing work that insists to reach some kind of crazy peak on the top of the “bubble”, but what is even more amazing is how they are linked, the tracks, into each other and there’s not what we can call the zero level… just something near that… just one movement that contains a countless number of movements. And the strangest feeling… often times it seems that we’re on the deep end of some ocean, just like we were there in this crazy journey observing a new side of life and stuff that we can only dream about. Perhaps that’s the moment where we scream, “Lord I Want More”. Is the water an essential element of life? That’s not even a question!
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All Shall Perish, Whitechapel, Pantera
Cease to Exist, Warrior, Don’t Die, Monster Within
Rustic Fog, Small Business, Seawater
6 TAYLOR MCFERRIN Early Riser
7 UNITED NATIONS The Next Four Years
8 UPON A BURNING BODY The World is My Enemy Now
Ninja Tune (2014)
Temporary Residence LTD (2014)
In the words of Bobby McFerrin’s son - Taylor - this is an album that results from the combination of themes with a clear sense of creation, unfinished in the recent past exploration. In Early Riser, the traces of a multi-instrumentalist artist reveal a descendent trying to build bridges between jazz, soul and electronic music, but that falls into temptation to get too close of many his contemporaries. His father is present in the jazz theme “Invisible / Visible”, a clear influence and a slice of the cake, which as a whole reveals a penchant for contemplation and intimacy of the soul of Taylor. In an attempt to achieve immaculate production was a success and BRAINFEEDER releases, as always, another relevant work of the new black music.
Originally conceived as a frenetic side-project founded by Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly and with all-star members like Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo and Converge’s Ben Koller playing anonymously, United Nations are now more than a mere sideproject. Their membership and ideology have evolved into a full-time flagship for incendiary chaos. The Next Four Years is fucking chaotic, they are waving the Black Metal flag into their hardcore frantic, ferocious and unrelenting pedigree. If you are looking into something that has a bit of Thursday, elements of Pianos Become the Teeth and sounds like a punk bastard son of Deafheaven’s masterpiece Sunbather, this is your fucking call.
Upon a Burning Body made a stupid and childish promotional stunt for this new effort that almost ruined this release. The San Antonio based group’s debut offering, The World Is Ours, caught the metal community by storm with their Slipknot-Pantera-esque grooves and dynamic riffing and captivating hooks. With The World Is My Enemy Now, they are aiming for big things, they know that and they don’t give a fuck if anyone is calling them sellouts, this is fucking brutal and charismatic frontman Danny Leal has one of the most distinguishable voices in the current metalcore scene. These guys mean business and they’re here to stay with one of the most explosive and unrelenting storm of blast beats, angry melodic blending guttural roars anthems of this year.
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Deafheaven, Celeste, Thursday
Jungle, Teebs, Thundercat
7 VALLENFYRE Splinters
Slipknot, Pantera, Lamb of God
7 WOVENWAR Wovenwar
VOLUMES No Sleep
Century Media (2014)
Mediaskare Records (2014)
Metal Blade (2014)
What to expect from a super group spearheaded by Gregor Mackintosh of Paradise Lost fame, and featuring members and former member of Asphyx, My Dying Bride and The Haunted? An extreme Death Metal Beast filled with blast beasts and demonic guitar riffs. Hearing Mackintosh’s riffs and melodies instantly transport us back to a time when Paradise Lost were the undisputed kings of Gothic Metal. This band is the perfect outlet for Greg since Nick Holmes, even though he tries really hard, can’t return to his guttural glory. This project can appeal both to the fans of the bands involved and to the Extreme Metal fans in general. A well played and produced the record, that’s done with easy by seasoned players, that for many years have dwelled in the blood soaked Swamps of heavy music.
Los Angeles groove metal act Volumes are back with their highly anticipated sophomore LP. These guys are new on the scene, but the coldness blending the brutal thudding rhythms and that technical melodic groove are ridiculous venomous. No Sleep brings the insane fusion of these five guys musical backgrounds, ranging from jazz to pop, from classical to djent and from rap to metal, where this blend of styles oscillates between chaos and tranquility, giving the listener an experience full of intricate melodies and patterns. The more we listen to this album, the more progressive and innovative they sound, even when their sound is dense and meaty, their poppy elements bring some enlightenment to their sound.
In the spring of 2013, the former members of As I Lay Dying - Nick Hipa, Phil Sgrosso, Josh Gilbert and Jordan Mancino - made an important choice of their own: give a new direction to their musical life. Wovenwar is a new light in the heart and soul of the As I Lay Dying members, and with lifelong friend Shane Blay on vocal duties they entered in studio with legendary producer Bill Stevenson, where they collectively tapped into a sound that picked up where they left off, forging new territory altogether. Every track is packed with some kind of an atmospheric texture of distorted guitars filled with great melodic dynamics, huge chorus and Shane’s magnetic vocals serve as the perfect link between the musicians’ past and their new found future.
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Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride
Hacktvist, Monuments, Issues
Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour, Oh, Sleeper
REVIEWED NEXT ISSUE
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
Artemisia/ Southern Lord (2014)
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
Foundations of Burden
Billed as a companion piece to 2010’s Celestial Lineage, Aaron and Nathan Weaver have torn down an album hewn from stone and iron and reconstructed it in glass, taking the astral presence of Popol Vuh and Vangelis and draping it across their idiosyncratic black metal framework. It plays out like a post-apocalyptic fantasy, the human aspects of rage and beauty stripped from previous albums and leaving only the spirit of nature, redolent in its blackness and beauty. Using a goldmine of vintage synths and a handful of friends, it moves from starry bliss to frightening emptiness and back, layering the synths in such ways that they can shift between claustrophobic density and near-limitless expansion. While the album’s two centrepieces, the splendid vistas of “Turning Ever Towards The Sun” and “Celestite Mirror”, do the most to explore their new territory, turning the bristling drama of Zombi and funereal drone to mountainous ends, when concentrated in short bursts the effect is even more pronounced, with “Initiation At Neudeg Alm” cramming both the album’s brightest, most ethereal spurs and its most nerve-shreddingly dark emanations into the space of five minutes. Celestite has revitalised a band who once revitalised a genre, and in doing so has delivered their most unexpected, masterfully-realised album to date.
After the End
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
ESBEN AND THE WITCH
The Tyranny Of Will
I Am King
A New Nature
FOR FANS OF:
Ash Borer, Drudkh, Krallice
Turning Ever Towards The Sun, Celestite Mirror
BLONDE REDHEAD DAVID BOWES
Crush Songs 109
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND DAY 1 Parque da Cidade Porto 05.06.2014
, Words: Fausto Casais, Rui Correia // Pictures: Hugo Lima // Nos Primavera Sound First day of this year’s edition of Nos Primavera Sound, another year and another new experience, regarding the last editions we were very apprehensive about this year’s line-up, a natural set back of what summer Festivals have been here in Portugal. By the way, why the hell we must go “Portuguese style”? The VIP bullshit esque is there, the hipster fake and lame cult is there, but the main question is: Why people go to a Summer festival just because it’s cool to be there, when they don’t give a single fuck about the artists and the music...? I saw how miserable this bullshit, random and narrow minded audience could be, where the lack of passion for music and for what a Summer Festival should be was mandatory, just saying... Talking about what really matters, the music. Spoon were the perfect soundtrack for late afternoon, their old school Pavement vs Sonic Youth esque is always a joy to hear, their performance was not perfect but good enough to really warm the audience. Next is Sky Ferreira, a nice surprise regarding what we know about her. Her dreamy grungy pop 90’s vibe was a charm. We totally lost Haim, shame on us, and Caetano Veloso was simply superb. There comes the expected time for many on the 1st day of the festival - Kendrick Lamar - I dare to say that Kendrick brought a wide and unusual public to Primavera Sound, as we had not seen in previous editions. If there were doubts of about a Hip Hop headliner at this festival, those doubts were completely undone from the moment "Money Trees" started. On stage, the rapper appears in a band format (bass, guitar, keys and drums) that gives the show more strength and cohesion. The sound - at least at the location where I was - was always perceived, the instruments and voices. Bass and drums with great power and Kendrick without yielding a point where you could take his cadence and naturalness. The reaction of the audience was 110
effusive in response to the good rapper’s interaction throughout the show. This “good kid, m.A.D.d City” arrives in Portugal in live format, almost two years after its release at the peak of performance, hence most people have been wanting more (the show lasted about one hour). Convincingly proved with this performance that Hip Hop has everything to reach alternative festivals more often. The farewell was done with an encore where we did hear a piece of “Real” and “The Recipe” and judging by the words of Kendrick, we can hope to have him back soon: “I Will Be Back.” Long live the “King” Kendrick Lamar. 2 a.m. and Jagwar Ma start their show on the Super Bock stage, the last concert of the night. The Australian band is part of an eclectic musical movement in their country that has the notion of revivalism to join it. An era that I cherish a special affection - late 80’s Manchester with the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays - this Australian trio makes their adjustment introducing elements of the wrapped electronic psychedelic which translates into voices in excess delay and reverb. The fatigue was already visible in many public’s faces and despite consistent action they were not able to hold the people that were progressively s aying goodbye of a cold night in City Park.
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND DAY 2 Parque da Cidade Porto 06.06.2014 , Words: Fausto Casais // Pictures: Hugo Lima // Nos Primavera Sound
We started the day with space Can-psych boring esque rock from Chile Föllakzoid, and what a fucking waste of time it was... Next we ran to see Midlake, their folk rock were a good appetizer to go dinner after a few songs. We missed Television performing Marquee Moon and we ran again to see Warpaint. Playing a selection of songs from both 2010’s The Fool and this year’s self-titled follow-up, the Californian group gave a solid performance, their set is loosy improvised, where their sensual atmospheric sound ended perfectly with Bowie’s classic “Ashes to Ashes”. Slowdive were one of the main acts for this year’s edition of Nos Primavera Sound, their reformation was like a nostalgic slap in today’s
John Grant shoegaze copycats. Last year, My Bloody Valentine were a shitty nightmare, but Slowdive are a different thing, the vocal interplay between Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell and their unique trademark sound well combined with the smimmering guitar lines were truly magnificent. Next stop, Pixies... What can we say about Pixies nowadays? There were some classic moments there, lots of nostalgic feelings all over the place, but the lack of passion in their performance is a shame. Indie Cindy still struggles to make any real impression, the record sucks and their performance was poor and lacked passion.
NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND DAY 3 Parque da Cidade Porto 07.06.2014 , Words: Fausto Casais // Pictures: Hugo Lima // Nos Primavera Sound
And on day 3 we finally had something different, and finally we had some goosebumps, thanks to Neutral Milk Hotel. Even after 15 years away from everything, Jeff Magnun’s Neutral Milk Hotel still point at something bigger, weirder and more beautiful than most people can ever imagine. Judging by the lack of enthusiasm of the audience, this was also the first time many in the crowd had heard Neutral Milk Hotel, even when they’re a true influence on today’s modern indie music. 112
Dum Dum Girls Next we had John Grant, without any doubt the best concert of this year Nos Primavera Sound. John Grant is a unique performer, he truly knows how to charm an audience. His lyrics are brutally honest, deep and profound, drawing on his experiences with drugs, alcohol and his sexuality. John Grant is an amusing and unique character, even when his dramatic side clashes with his emotionally fucked up side. He’s a special talent indeed... The National’s suited frontman Matt Berninger was on top of his form, the singles dispatched very early, they even explored their back catalogue demonstrating what a truly special band they are. It’s weird that one of the most intense and heavy concerts of this year’s edition we saw came by alternative surf/rock Speedy Ortiz, showing the lack of heaviness in this year’s line up. Then Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent showed that she is more of a rock star than anyone played on rock radio stations nowadays, with one of the most flawless performances of the night. A special word to Slint, they are back and they’re still amazing...
St. Vincent musicandriotsmagazine.com
Hard Club, Porto 22.06.2014 Words: Tiago Moreira The sludgy/psychedelic outfit from Savannah, Georgia, has been walking on a bumpy road, losing the impact they once had with their excellent album Static Tensions (2009), but on the other hand they managed to climb to superior and more matured stages of songwriting with their two previous works – Spiral Shadow and Ultraviolet. They arrived in Portugal with a huge task on their hands, to show the brilliant songs of Ultraviolet live. The show started warm, but the band managed to surpass some of the initial difficulties and reach a satisfying level that showed some of the songs. Unfortunately Kylesa is a very limited band live – why the hell the two drummers if they can’t achieve the impact of one? – and it seems they didn’t figure it out that these new songs are really songs and not just stoner jams. They require more dynamics than those that the band seems willing to offer. At least, Laura Pleasants managed to succeed on the task of singing the amazing song “Unspoken”. Opening the show the band of the night: Lazer/Wulf. With a top-notch musicianship the power-trio from Atlanta, who is signed with Kylesa’s label Retro Futuristic Records, was throwing punches and kicks since the first second. An instrumental trio with a vocalist that is truly a frontman (Bryan Aiken gives you a fuckin’ show), a bassist that is really playing the fucking bass and not just following the guitar and a drummer that makes some impact! Imagine Mastodon mixed with The Dillinger Escape Plan and you will have an idea of how awesome and powerful their show was.
SWG3, Glasgow 02.06.2014 Words: David Bowes Having two of the 90’s heaviest bands in one room is always a treat, and though Godflesh don’t get off to the most incendiary of starts, once “Like Rats” gets going it’s punishment at its most pleasurable. With a set culled primarily from Streetcleaner and Pure, it eschews frills in favour of weight and finesse for blunt force impact. G.C. Green’s jagged metallic mighty bass sounds next to the grisly industrial crunch of Justin Broadrick’s guitarwork, though watching the two of them in motion does cement the delicate balance that the two of them continuously strike between animalistic fury and cold electronics. Extra credit goes to the finely orchestrated laptop work, filling in the gaps and embellishing their solid groundwork, but even if it was just Green and Broadrick, hammering out two-and-a-half decades’ worth of discord and rage, the effect would be just as staggering. Both contemporaries and collaborators of Godflesh, Loop have the impressive accolade of being even louder than them tonight, Robert Hampson’s even tone and staunchly repetitious rhythm work a harsh mirror of My Bloody Valentine at their noisiest. Joined by The Heads’ Wayne Maskell on drums, they waste little time in establishing a state of Kraut-hypnosis, the tight rhythms and undulating guitarwork pulling the room into a trance that even Hampson’s vivid solos can’t draw them out of. What can, though, is a series of technical faults that plague the band throughout the night, though only the mellow warmth of “Burning World” really suffers for it. That aside, there’s an atmosphere of ritual that most are glad they stuck around for and for everyone who waited decades to catch “Straight To Your Heart” in the flesh, it’s a celebration of volume and sound that was more than worth the wait. 114
HEAD UP! For The Summer Tour ‘14:
MORE THAN A THOUSAND, THE YEAR, MARTYR DEFILED Republica da Musica, Lisboa 21.06.2014 Words: Cláudio Aníbal // Pictures: Ricardo Almeida
Head Up! Shows nailed it with the poster for this event of one of the best bands in the music scene in the moment and the debut in our country Architects (UK), one of the best Portuguese acts More Than A Thousand and The Year and for to serve as the hosts of the night Martyr Defiled (UK). Martyr Defiled were the first to take the stage, always with an infectious energy not lacking circle pits and stage dives by the singer as well as the fans and even some attempts at a small Wall
Architects of Death in the restricted space of the Republic of Music. The singer has always been relentless pulling this band leaving the public an image of great energy and has a handful of good songs, this was a really great debut in our country Followed by the Portuguese The Year, who have entered with some delay because some technical problems, played only a small lineup but giving continuation to the energy of the band before leaving the public restless! And in the last song they invited the usual suspect Cláudio Aníbal of Ash Is a Robot to sing the last theme “Suck My Teeth”. More Than A Thousand were the next band and they began the show with a new theme from the latest
album the band Vol. V: Lost at Home - “Cross My Heart”, and basically the set was composed by themes of the new album and the previous Vol. IV: Make Friends and Enemies. More Than A Thousand never lost the audience, with infectious energy that never stopped in circle pits and stage dives, like it or not More than a Thousand is a very well oiled machine based on the work they have been developing and leading crowds will to their concerts, before the end of time to hear even touch “No Bad Blood” with Fábio from Hills Have Eyes. With public insane, this 1st action of the British act Architects start with “Gravedigger” from the new album Lost Forever // Lost
Together both public with band seemed in perfect harmony. The gig rolled around the new album Lost Forever // Lost Together, and counted some songs as the previous “Alpha Omega”, “Even If You Win You’re Still A Rat” (from the album Daybreaker) “Day In Day Out” (from the album The Here And Now) and “Follow The Water” (from the album Hollow Crown). They finished the action with “These Colours Do not Run” already in encore after the audience shouting “one more song”. This was a really good night LONG LIVE TO Head Up! Shows for bringing this awesome lineup! And let’s hope to check the surprises for next show they’re going to do with Close Your Eyes in October.
SERRALVES EM FESTA Serralves Porto 31.05-01.06.2014 , Words: Ana F. Carvalho // Pictures: Rafael Cordeiro
Factory Floor 116
Serralves em Festa is a two-day party that takes place in Serralves Museum in Porto and includes in its catalogue some performances, gigs, cinema, fine art exhibitions. MUSIC&RIOTS went there to see some bands in action. Let’s start with Duchess Says, a quartet from Montreal who showed us their moog rock personified in the energetic vocal Anne-Claude Deschênes. Due to some technical problems, her voice at some point became inaudible. And the impression we got was that Duchess Says is a "one girl band". Anna manipulates the attention of the crowd by screaming, moving herself into some sort of erotic dance which takes away the meaning of the music itself. Next, Factory Floor took the stage at 3 AM, when the mood is more drugs, alcohol and beats and in this sense they were perfect. Their minimal techno and electronic-acid samplers made the crowd go wild and at that hour of the night was inevitable that some fight club stupid scenes occurred. Next day, Dead Quelle Gazelle, a psychedelic rock duo from Lisbon, made a warm gig, in a way that the acoustic sound of the place was not recommended at all to a psychedelic band which played in the afternoon. Their sound simply couldn’t reach high on the volume but their attitude was professional. Sun Ra Arkestra a band doesn’t need any introduction. It was 19:30 more or less when the musicians got on stage, dressing colorful clothes and sympathy on their faces. It’s delightful to hear so much passion and technic on their free jazz improvisation grooves. It was the concert of the whole party. Finishing the day, we went to hear Holy Nothing, an electronic trio from Porto which combines analogue and digital, an interesting formula. Their performance was cool, energetic even if somehow confusing in some textures, probably due to the room they were playing in.
Sun Ra Arkestra musicandriotsmagazine.com
PALO ALTO 9 DIRECTOR: Gia Coppola WRITER: Gia Coppola, James Franco CAST: Emma Roberts, James Franco, Jack Kilmer, Nat
Wolff, Olivia Crocicchia, Claudia Levy, Val Kilmer, Jacqui Getty, Andrew Lutheran, Bo Mitchell, Bailey Coppola, Zoe Levin, Brennen Taylor, Colleen Camp, Timothy Starks, Micah Nelson, Janet Jones USA 2014
ased on several linked stories by James Franco, Palo Alto is a teenage movie for the ages, where the likes from classic cuts like Larry Clark’s Kids and Gus Van Sant’s Elephant are clearly invoked. Palo Alto is also Gia Coppola’s debut as a writer and director, where she gives us a closer look about today’s teen angst, capturing perfectly complicated ties, heightened emotions, and romantic highs and lows of adolescence. Gia Coppola struck up an e-mail correspondence with James Franco after the two met at a party several years ago in Los Angeles. At Franco’s request, she sent him some of her still photographs, many of which she took during her studies at Bard College. Months later, Franco sampled more of Coppola’s work at a small gallery show in Los Angeles. Struck by her unique sensibility, he began discussing with her a film version of his own story collection, Palo Alto, to be produced by his own company, Rabbit Bandini. Palo Alto is a very strong and solid first feature, regarding the fact that is Gia Coppola’s debut. Featuring some of the most gifted up-and-coming young actors working today, Palo Alto’s plot revolves around the shy, sensitive and popular soccer player April (Emma Roberts), that sometimes babysit for her single-dad coach, Mr. B. (James Franco), the intense and introspective artist Teddy (Jack Kilmer) whose best friend, Fred (Nat Wolff) is always pushing his own teenage boundaries and of course we can’t forget Emily (Zoe Levin), a promiscuous loner who seeks validation through her own sexual encounters. Coppola’s unique screenplay approach on that cliché teenage problems is so damn smart, she doesn’t let these kids off the hook for their stupid decisions, but she’s not judging them for their teenage behaviour. A movie that captures perfectly the vibe of late high school years and that’s not about the troubles of the privileged and bored, it’s quite something regarding today’s lack of ideas and courage if the subject is about real and serious issues.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
VERY GOOD GIRLS
DIRECTOR: Josh Boone WRITER: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, John Green CAST: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort,
DIRECTOR: Naomi Foner WRITER: Naomi Foner CAST: Dakota
Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Ana Dela Cruz, Randy Kovitz USA 2014
Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Sterling Jones, Lenny Platt, Boyd Holbrook, Ellen Barkin, Kiernan Shipka, Clare Foley, Clark Gregg, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss USA 2014
What came to my mind when I first heard about this film was the film-adaptation of Nickholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember - a neat and heartbreaking movie by the way. But The Fault In Our Stars goes beyond that romantic flick about cancer. Based on the novel by John Green, this film has the unavoidable cliché cancer drama but the sublime humor and heartfelt dialogues bring a natural magic to this flick. The chemistry between the two actors that play the roles of Hazel (Woodley) and Augustus (Elgort) - two teenagers with cancer that live the genuine first love turns it into an unforgettable journey. Far from being unique, The Fault In Our Starts is riveting and real, like this line from Hazel’s favorite book: “Pain demands to be felt.”
Very Good Girls is a delicate and heartfelt story of a friendship on the eve of its maturity test, where two New York City girls, Lilly (Dakota Fanning) and Gerri (Elizabeth Olsen) make a pact to lose their virginity during their first summer out of high school. The friendship is tested when they both fall for the same guy. Very Good Girls has that very easy nostalgic Summer movie vibe, but the strange coldness regarding their teenage characters sometimes rings false in its portrayal of sisterhood and teenage angst. By the way, when Elizabeth Olsen sings a Rilo Kiley song in an awkward open mic night was pretty cool, considering that former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis scored the music of this film. Very watchable, but lacks real emotions.
THE EXPENDABLES 3
DIRECTOR: Ivan Reitman WRITER: Scott Rothman, Rajiv Joseph CAST: Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner,
DIRECTOR: Patrick Hughes WRITER: Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt CAST: Sylvester Stallone, Jason
Patrick St. Esprit, Tom Welling, Dave Donaldson, Chi McBride, Zachary Littlejohn, Terry Crews USA 2014
Statham, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford USA/FRANCE 2014
On the exciting day of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when decides to trade for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal life and professional intersect. Ivan Reitman somehow brings that early-going dialogues, with urgent cell phone conversations across the nation as the countdown to the opening bell of the draft, adding tension to this day, where this could be a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL. With Kevin Costner giving his best performance in years, Draft Day is not Moneyball or Jerry Maguire, but it’s an excellent movie.
The franchise that relied on its 80’s action leading men is back again. There is no good story in here, it lacks exactly what this franchise tried to do, mixing young blood with the old guys that give this series a name. Plagued by directorial incompetence, the classic characters of this action series, Barney (Syslvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the team come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. The rest is the same and boring bullshit: guns, muscles and no brains whatsoever... This third movie lacks the enthusiasm of revivalism of the first Expendables and the funny elements of the second. Dear lord, let this be the last Expendables...
DIRECTOR: James Gray WRITER: James Gray, Ric Menello CAST:
Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jicky Schnee, Elena Solovey, Maja Wampuszyc, Ilia Volok, Angela Sarafyan, Antoni Corone USA 2014
DIRECTOR: Steven Knight WRITER: Steven Knight CAST: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Ben Daniels, Tom Holland, Bill Milner, Danny Webb, Alice Lowe, Silas Carson, Lee Ross, Kirsty Dillon UK/USA2014
This new Gray’s film is about an immigrant in the ruthless environment of NY in the 1920s. Ewa (Cotillard) is a Polish immigrant that is coming through Ellis Island when her sickly sister is quarantined by the authorities, which they are separated. Alone and desperate to reunite with her sister, Ewa meets Bruno (Phoenix), a wicked man that leads her to prostitution. But when she meets Bruno’s cousin, the magician Orlando (Renner), she finds her way out to free herself. Between this confusing love triangle and Phoenix’s astute performance, The Immigrant is a tragic story in such a difficult time and it has the gloomy scenarios for such sad storyline, but its lack of compassion and deeper emotions don’t let the film be more than that.
Steven Knight brings to this new film a simple concept but a complex story, which takes place inside a moving car with a man behind the steering wheel. Ivan Locke (Hardy) is a dedicated man to his job and to his family, but when he’s about to have the biggest challenge of his career, he receives a phone call that changes everything. Convinced that he has to do the right thing, he embarks on this lonely, life-changing car ride where that all dialogues are phone calls. On this 85 minutes of film, Locke holds the audience with Tom Hardy’s precise commitment to his role and the so familiar and unpredictable events that can happen in anyone’s life. A man, a car and a mobile phone were more than enough to create this compelling plot.
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
DIRECTOR: Matt Reeves WRITER: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver CAST: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke,
DIRECTOR: Jake Kasdan WRITER: Kate Angelo, Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller CAST: Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe, Nat Faxon, Nancy Lenehan, Giselle Eisenberg, Harrison Holzer, Timothy Brennen USA 2014
Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval USA 2014
Well, it’s that time of the year when bad movies grow like mushrooms, when even the more simplistic and most common plots are used. Sex Tape brings a boring married couple, the boring comes obviously from their sex life, that decides to spice things up and they make a sex tape of them having... guess what? Sex! Yes that’s it. Well, they wake up to find out that the sex tape they made the evening before has gone missing, leading to a frantic and idiotic search for its whereabouts. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are always awesome, even when they make bad movies, that’s a fact. There are some funny scenes, but this is another bad movie for a low-standard audience that will laugh about everything, even when they don’t know why they are laughing about. Sex Tape is a must avoid movie...
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an inevitable follow-up of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), where we’d seen the growth and uprising of Caesar - the genetically evolved ape. In this film, we see the Earth devastated by a virus unleashed a decade after and few humans have survived, but there’s a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar and their paths are obviously crossed. The apocalypse sets, the well designed apes and the way they communicate through sign language is impressive. But what it is more impressive is the plot around the nature of the human race and apes. Even when humans and apes behave at their worst, there’re those who stand out with their compassion and the search for both sides to live in peace. But the war has just begun...
SLINT WHITE LUNG ELECTRIC WIZARD SONDRE LERCHE PAINTED ZEROS NICK OLIVERI IRON REAGAN PALLBEARAR EARTH WOVENWAR HALF JAPANESE CURRENT 93 CODE ORANGE THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS CYMBALS EAT GUITARS AVI BUFFALO CORY BRANAN IDES OF GEMINI ‘68 MYRKUR
Featuring: Against Me!, Suicide Silence, Field Division, Milk Teeth, Kestrels, Field Mouse, Trade Wind, Fucked Up, Eyehategod, Corrosion of...