music&riots FREE | Nยบ 05 | OCTOBER 2014
A NEW PHASE ARRIVES, A NEW JOURNEY BEGINS
SHARP SOUND AND HONESTY, EVERYTHING COMES NATURALLY
PALLBEARER EMOTIONALLY PAINFUL,
FRNKIERO ANDTHE CELLABRATION
In-depth and frankly awesome interview with Frank Iero
UME MYRKUR CASSIE RAMONE RAGING SPEEDHORN JOHNNY ARIES WAR ON WOMEN JOHANNA SAMUELS OKKULTOKRATI
AVI BUFFALO SONDRE LERCHE IRON REAGAN PAINTED ZEROS IDES OF GEMINI CORY BRANAN THE WILD REEDS 1
FEATURES BIG PICTURE WITH...
08 Arcade Fire in New York 10 12 14 20 22 26
UPCOMING - ICEAGE Third album in October INTRODUCING - UME A lovely chat with Lauren Larson ROUND UP - Robert Wyatt, Grouper, Mono, Foo Fighters, Mark Lanegan INTRODUCING - JOHNNY ARIES The Drums guitarist goes solo ARTIST PROFILE With Kenneth Bachor NEU // VOL.5 - Doe, Springtime Carnivore, War On Women, Sleepwave
“... there’s musical heaviness, which I think this album has, and then there’s conceptual heaviness, which is a different kind of heaviness.” Dylan Carson - Earth
INTERVIEWS 32 CASSIE RAMONE
34 38 40 44 48 52 54 60 74 78 84
SONDRE LERCHE PAINTED ZEROS THE WILD REEDS CORY BRANAN PALLBEARER JOHANNA SAMUELS PRAWN AVI BUFFALO OKKULTOKRATI IRON REAGAN IDES OF GEMINI
118 RAGING SPEEDHORN
“I am trying to write intelligent, accessible rock songs with lyrical content that holds weight while fascinating challenging discussions and make a mark in popular culture.” Mish Way - White Lung
ANDTHE 62 FRNKIERO CELLABRATION
In-depth and frankly awesome interview with Frank Iero
REVIEWS ALBUMS REVIEWS 88 Goat, Sondre Lerche, Gerard Way, King 810,
Yob, Electric Wizard, FKA twigs, Avenged Sevenfold, Code Orange, Lights, Esben and the Witch, Finch, Black Moth, Darkest Hour...
REPORT 106 LIVE Earth, Converge, Vagos Open Air 2014, Slint, Guardian Alien, Andrew W.K., The Ocean...
114 CINEMA Boyhood, Guardians of the Galaxy, What If,
Frank, Wish I Was Here, God Help The Girl... musicandriotsmagazine.com
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR...
music&riots magazine musicandriotsmagazine.com
FREE | Nº 05 | OCTOBER 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, 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, Rita Limede, Ibra Diakhaté
Ricardo Almeida, Gerald Chau, Kenneth Bachor, Alex Woodword, Peter Davidson
here are so many good records in our collection, but we keep thinking that we need this one and that one and blah blah blah... The truth is that we need more original acts, we need Refused again, and if there is some caring soul that could bring Fugazi or Big Black it would be much appreciated... Or a new Converge album!!! I know that if I could go back in time, I would bring The Ramones back, even that British dude called John Lennon would be very welcome. In a matter fact, I could bring the young Beatles again and try to show them new tunes of some rip off of theirs, and I think that would be a blast having Electric Wizard showing their new album to that young gang called Black Sabbath... The truth is that Back to the Future and Groundhog Day really affect our imagination, but in a bad way. We can even say that both Bill Murray and Robert Zemeckis are two fucking bastards, because they have killed our silly dreams and expectations, thank god (sorry Lemmy for bringing you up to my stupidity and lack of ideas editorial) that Murray was killed in his own house during Zombieland and Zemeckis for trying and trying to give us something good since Back to the Future, but guess what, Gothika, House of Wax and Real Steel looks so damn good in your CV, because they sucked... Well, my last words were a bit harsh for Murray and Zemeckis, sorry about that guys! If you guys are reading this, the best way to make things right with me again is by listening to the new Iron Reagan album and scream out loud: Iron Reagan rules! Ok guys? Now, seriously, just buy me the new Earth record and we are even. This might be the most stupid editorial ever! But no one cares about what the editor might say or think... So sorry for that guys...
Your Editor, Fausto Casais
Fausto Casais (email@example.com)
HUGE FUCKING THANKS
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THE BIG PICTURE
ARCADE FIRE Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY 23.08.2014 Picture by: Kenneth Bachor
UPCOMING // ICEAGE
LISTENING POST Cavalera Conspiracy Pandemonium
Napalm Records Available on 03.11.2014
A World Lit Only By Fire Avalanche Available on 07.10.2014
Sondre Lerche Please
Mona Records Available on 23.09.2014
The Last Dawn & Rays of Darkness Pelagic Records Available on 27.10.2014
Back to Oblivion
Spinefarm Records Available on 29.09.2014
Southern Lord Available on 13.10.2014
FrnkIero andthe Cellabration Stomaches
Hassle Records Out Now
Kranky Available on 31.10.2014
PLOWS INTO A FIELD OF LOVE FOR THEIR THIRD ALBUM
openhagen’s outfit Iceage has announced the release of their third album Plowing into the Field of Love, which it will be out this fall on Matador Records. According to the press release, Plowing into the Field of Love is new, bold and forceful. It features piano, mandolin, viola and organ atop Johan Suurballe-Wieth’s razor-sharp guitars and the lolloping, a synchronized rhythm section of Jacob Tvilling Pless and Dan Kjær Nielsen. The record has a clear, uncompressed sound, and Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s desperate
vocals are out front, nakedly accountable for the words. Besides that, Rønnenfelt sings of what it is like to be out in the world, dizzy with its offerings, perched on a plateau of false confidence, bliss, fantasy and delirious self-denial. The autobiographical “Forever,” begins with a pretty repetitive motif over the words, “I always had the sense that I was split in two,” and climaxes with a sunburst of horns recalling the South African spiritual jazz great Mongezi Feza: “If I could dive into the other, I’d lose myself forever.” At the other extreme, the album evokes to a sort of euphoria, especially in the unexpectedly upbeat country number “The Lord’s
Favorite”. Yet desperation and loss lurks behind. This is an album about seeing, learning, and rejecting things, in a cycle that repeats and builds. The reference points are wildly varied, but the sound is uniquely and darkly Iceage as the record fights with itself, in the story it tells, and the sound it makes. It is the anthemic sound of a band in motion, unafraid of change, filled with curiosity, musicality and ambition.
Plows Into a Field of Love arrives on October 6th via Matador Records 11
INTRODUCING // UME
and you have so much stuff going on you need to know what you want.
Austin, Texas, power-trio was always a safe and good bet with their heavy rock. With countless awesome and monster riffs and a singer that is melodic, aggressive and versatile as hell they take the obvious step and without holding it back they found their voice. “Monuments”, their latest album, shows a band free of almost every restrains and with the levels of confidence reaching the sky. We spoke with Lauren Larson (guitarist and vocalist) to know exactly how they feel about it and what this new chapter really means. Words: Tiago Moreira
know that you and Eric Larson (bass) have been playing together since high school. How did you meet him and how that relation between you two evolved to reach this point that we know as Ume?
Eric saw me playing guitar, my first show ever was when I was fifteen years old in this noise/hardcore/ punk rock band and we started to talk. I was playing in a skateboard park in Austin, Texas, and the next thing I know we were playing music together. With Ume, when we initially started it was just a garage thing playing in front of a tiny audience. We’ve been playing ever since.
Can you talk a little about the period of time that goes from the creative process for “Sunshower” to the release of “Phantoms”, Ume’s debut full-length? How was it for the band and what have you learned that was useful to create on this new album, “Monuments”? 12
I think that with Sunshower we were really still trying to find a voice as a band. We were the type of band that was never capable of capture ourselves in recording, so I think with Sunshower and Phantoms we were trying to find that. We actually spent more time with those records than with Monuments. With Monuments I really feel that we’re coming to our own, with a lot more confidence.
Like you’re saying, the recording process for “Monuments” was a very fast one. How that shaped “Monuments” and what you make of it? I mean, working on a limited time frame.
Yeah, it was amazing. I’m the type of person that I’m always thinking, all I got to do is somehow try, so we do a few takes and I would say “we’re done”. Because this is the first time I feel that we’re showing how we sound like, it might quote on quote “imperfect in some ways”, but it’s raw, honest and it’s who we are.
“Monuments” is a very eclectic album. How important for you is to change gears, sort of speak, and how conscious were you before entering in the studio? If you are working with a limited time frame
Because you don’t have unlimited time, you’re obligated to take more risks and so I was able to let go all expectations of what people might have thought, in terms of how we sound like or what people expect from us. I think even though is an eclectic album of heavy songs, my goal is put my heart on the line with each one and capture the honesty, the power and the visceral element, in a certain way.
How do you feel “Monuments” fits in the heavy scene? It seems that you are stretching and redefine, a little bit, the boundaries rather than operate in a certain conceived way.
That’s always been the goal. For me, I always wanted to make music very passionate and aggressive… I’m a big fan of heavy music but I like rethink and reimagine what that means. I think there’s an emotional element in it that sometimes in heavy music doesn’t come to the forefront. I want to have a cathartic experience with my music and just because it’s heavy and aggressive that doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful. I don’t want to run away of making beautiful things, you know?
Yeah, I feel that nowadays people aren’t afraid to try new things and break molds. I guess these are some exciting times for music. Do you agree?
Yeah, absolutely! You see a lot of people breaking boundaries and breaking molds, and for me the way to go it’s always thinking outside of the box, or beyond genres and just play from the heart. Mainstream and popular music, and even indie, has been pretty basic, and I think that’s cool to have something a little bit more dangerous introduced in the music. I mean, it’s rock ‘n’ roll and it’s about freedom and all the anger. I think it’s cool to have that discharge of energy that’s associated with rock ‘n’ roll where you see people going wild.
Would you say that your way of singing is a big part of this sound that Ume has and it is redefining the heavy scene?
Yeah! Sometimes I wish I sounded like Lemmy from Motörhead but I’m 5’ 2” [157 cm] girl. [laughs] There are some constraints that you have to deal with… I’ve always loved different elements, or contradictory elements coming together, like having a super heavy guitar with more ethereal vocals is something that I’ve always liked. It’s who I am.
Do you think that you have found your voice with this new record?
Yeah, this is the first time that I have fully accepted this as who I am, this is my voice. I think working with Adam [Kasper, producer] helped me to learn that. There were times where I was really exposed and there were no effects to hide… Well, we’re a power trio so there’s not much space to hide. [laughs]
This was the first time that you felt comfortable as a singer? I know that you started as a guitar player.
Yeah, it happened through the process of Monuments. It was also the first time I felt like a songwriter too. In our previous records was just creating these different parts and try to make them work into a song while on Monuments I was writing and then share the entire song, not just parts of it.
band and how do you see the festival for bands like Ume and for the Texas scene in particular?
You know, we have done South by Southwest for several years and it’s the type of thing where sometimes you’re playing for ten people and then sometimes for a packed audience. I think it is really what Austin does with all these different people all around the world coming to the town to see all these different bands. I mean, playing in a place like South by Southwest it helps you to grow as a band, mainly as a touring band. There’s no soundcheck, always feedback, basically there’s no bullshit or tricks. You’re exposed and you have to work really hard as musicians. I mean, you even have to convince people to come to your show, in a way, because they’re so many bands playing at the same time. [laughs]
You guys being from Austin, Texas it’s almost undeniable the impact of a big thing like South by Southwest (SXSW) has on a band like Ume. How did the festival help the
Monuments is out now via Modern Outsider
ROBERT WYATT Releases a careerspanning collection
tarting out as a drummer for Soft Machine, sharing bills with Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, Robert Wyatt was blended Bohemian and jazz and brought it to the 60s rock scene. Now, and following last year’s archival release ’68, Robert Wyatt is ready to release a career-spanning collection called Different Every Time. Curated by Robert together with Domino and biographer Marcus O’Dair, the double album features disc 1 Ex Machina, the ideal introduction for the Wyatt novice, compiling tracks from Robert’s entire career to date and acting as a companion to O’Dair’s new biography, also titled Different Every Time (released by Serpent’s Tail on the 30th of October). Disc 2 Benign Dictatorships brings together the best of Robert’s collaborations and guest appearances, including some very special oddities and rarities available here for the very first time. The two-disc set arrives in North America November 18th via Domino and a day earlier overseas.
TV on the Radio have recently announced the release of a new album and now they have shared new details about it. Seeds is their fifth album is due out November 18th on Harvest Records and was produced by guitarist David Sitek. This is the band’s first album since the passing of bassist/producer Gerard Smith. Sleater-Kinney will release a 7xLP box set containing all seven of their studio albums remastered from the original analog tapes. Entitled Start Together, it will be limited to 3,000 copies. “The
FOO FIGHTERS Eighth album Sonic Highways in November
oo Fighters have confirmed the highly-anticipated follow up to 2011’s Wasting Light. The band’s eighth studio album of all-new material will be titled Sonic Highways and will be released globally on November 10th. The album was produced by Butch Vig and Foo Fighters and recorded in eight studios in eight different cities: Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and New York. It’ll be their first since 2011’s Wasting Light. Sonic Highways shares its title with the Dave Grohldirected eight-episode HBO series described by Grohl as a love letter to the history of American music. For the album and series, Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear wrote and recorded one song in each of these eight cities, delving into the local musical currents: how each region shaped these musicians in their formative years, and in turn the impact those people had on the cultural fabric of their hometowns. All songs feature local legends sitting in, with every lyric written in an unprecedented experimental style: Dave held off on putting down words until the last day of each session, so as to be inspired by the experiences, interviews for the HBO series, and other local personalities who became part of the process. Dave Grohl said that: “This album is instantly recognizable as a Foo Fighters record, but there’s something deeper and more musical to it. I think that these cities and these people influenced us to stretch out and explore new territory, without losing our ‘sound’.”
Sonic Highways arrives on November 10th via Columbia. Dave Grohl-directed eight-episode HBO series premieres October 17th.
set will include all seven albums pressed on colored vinyl and is accompanied by a 44-page hardcover book featuring never-beforeseen photos of the band, as well as a limited edition print.” Fans who pre-order Start Together can download “high-quality remastered files” of all the albums. Each remastered record is also available for individual purchase right now. Start Together is out October 21 on Sub Pop. El-P and Killer Mike are back, as promised. The rap group, known as
Run The Jewels, which released
the amazing debut self-titled last year is returning with their second studio effort. Named RTJ2, this second album will see feature contributions from Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. The album is due to release on October 28th via Nas’s imprint Mass Appeal. Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace will star on a new AOL On Originals web series called True Trans. The series will include 10
documentary-style episodes that explore the experiences of transgender people. Since she came out as a transgender woman in 2012, Laura has been an integral voice for members of the transgender community. The series had initially been titled “So Much More”, but the name was changed for copyright reasons. The new title comes from the Against Me! song “True Trans Soul Rebel”, which discusses the inner life of a transgender woman and the battles she faces.
MARIACHI EL BRONX are back
ariachi El Bronx – the alter ego of acclaimed Los Angeles punk outfit The Bronx – have announced the 3rd November release of Mariachi El Bronx (III) via ATO Records. The band recorded most of (III) at Haunted Hallow Studios in Charlottesville, Virginia, a surreal private countryside location with absolutely no cell phone reception,
but plenty of strange sculptures and miles of woods in every direction. Mariachi El Bronx – comprising Matt Caughthran, Joby J. Ford, Jorma Vik, Brad Magers, Ken Horne, Vincent Hidalgo, Ray Suen and Keith Douglas – spent two weeks there, recording with producer John Avila (Oingo Boingo), who co-produced (I) and (II) with the band. DJ Bonebrake (X) guests on marimbas on “Nothing’s Changed” and harp virtuoso Willie Acuña (Mariachi Sol de Mexico) joins the band on “Raise The Dead.”
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead recently announced their new al-
bum, titled IX will be released in Europe on the 20th October and the US on 11th November. The band stated that: “From the crowded streets of Phnom Penh to the vast empty landscape of West Texas …we have cut through …burned through…and followed through to reach you… From the heat of the desert …to the heat of your city’s sprawling squall… This transmission is here to transport and ruin you. It is the release of your mortal coil…Just let the rain wash it away from the mountains... down to the
(III) will be available via ATO Records in all formats, including day-glo orange vinyl, Fans who pre-order (III) will receive a download of “Loteria”, a track that does not appear on the album, plus 8 to 1, a short film that the band members shot entirely on their iPhones.
Mariachi El Bronx (III) arrives on November 3rd via ATO Records
motherfucking sea … wash it away … blow it all away and check this moment out.” Kayo Dot are going to release their new album this fall and have unveiled the first single, “Library Subterranean”. Titled Coffins On Io, this new album will be out on October 16th from Flenser Records and as the frontman Toby Driver says “The sound is kind of like a sexy combination of Type O Negative, Peter Gabriel, Sisters of Mercy.” Driver says there’s also an element of sexuality in Coffins On Io.“Basically
GROUPER new album in October
iz Harris – aka Grouper – has announced the release of her new album Ruins. This new album is the followup to 2013’s The Man Who Died in His Boat. Most of the songs were recorded in 2011 and they were put together in Aljezus, Portugal. She shared this statement about the album: “Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a
residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. I’m still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time I’d sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasn’t recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old
estates and a small village. The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.”
the vibe that we’re going for here is inspired by 80s retro-future noir— Blade Runner,” Driver explains. “I wanted to make a good record to put on while you drive across the desert at night under a toxic, post-apocalyptic atmosphere,” he says, adding, “there’s a weird underlying theme of murder, shame and death.” Pianos Become The Teeth have announced the release of their third studio album Keep You and confirmed that they are now part of Epitaph Records family. “I took
a less unbridled approach to the songs this time around,” vocalist Kyle Durfey said in a statement. “That’s what I felt the songs called for and in my heart it matched the tone of the record. The album is about things you want to say to people but you can’t for some reason whether it’s because they’re not in your life anymore or they’ve passed away.” Old Man Gloom will release a new album this year. Entitled The Ape Of God, their sixth studio effort and the successor of
2012′s No, is due to release on November 11th via Profound Lore Records. Orange Goblin are back with a brand new album. The successor of the amazing A Eulogy for the Damned – their upcoming and eighth studio effort – will be released next month with the name Back from the Abyss. The album was recorded earlier this year in London and it reunites the band with producer Jamie Dodd, and it was mastered at Turan Audio in late July.
Ruins arrives on October 31 via Kranky Records
MARK LANEGAN New album brings Krautrock and some 80’s new wave
ark Lanegan has announced the release date for his new album Phantom Radio. This new effort will be released on October 20th via Flooded Soil / Heavenly Recordings. Lanegan’s chief compositional tool on Phantom Radio was his phone – specifically an app called Funk Box. “I didn’t bother to hook up my 909 and 808 this time,” he says, “because the app had ’em. I’d write drum parts with it then add music with the synthesizer or the guitar.” The album grew organically from these synthetic roots, taking in Mark’s ongoing love of Krautrock and also ’80s new wave show on Sirius satellite radio, his favoured aural companion as he drives around Los Angeles. “They have a few good shows but the ‘80s one in particular I like,” he says. “That’s the music that was happening when I started making music. And although the Trees drew on Nuggets psychedelia, 13th Floor Elevators and Love, we were actually listening to Echo And The Bunnymen, Rain Parade, the Gun Club. A lot of British post-punk. We loved that stuff. I just waited until I was in my late forties before I started ripping it off.” Photo: Steve Gulick
Phantom Radio arrives on October 20th via Flooded Soil/Heavenly Recordings 18
Japanese instrumental kings ready to unleash their new and double venon in October Los Angeles hardcore band The Ghost Inside has announced the
release of their fourth album, Dear Youth, on November 17th via Epitaph Records. The album was coproduced by Jeremy McKinnon and Andrew Wade. The German band Downfall of Gaia is back with their third album which follows the release of their highly-acclaimed 2012′s Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes. Entitled Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay, the new album is a story about time and its relentless sides.
The natural next step
he Japanese instrumental rock outfit Mono is about to release not one but two albums. The Last Dawn and Rays of Darkness, titles of the albums, will follow their acclaimed album For My Parents, released back in 2012. The twin albums were recorded concurrently, yet conceptually and creatively they are worlds apart. They are two sides to a story, but they remain hand in hand. Themes
Revered indie rock outfit The Jazz June announce first album
in 12 years. It’s titled After The Earthquake and will be released on November 11th via Topshelf Records. This album was recorded with producer Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.) at Gradwell House this past spring, with Steve Poponi (Young Statues) engineering/mixing and Dave Downham (Dowsing, Into It. Over It.) mastering. Jen Wood, the woman who started her musical career more than 20 years ago with the Riot
that have permeated Mono’s previous output are revisited through the conjoined albums: hope and hopelessness, love and loss, immense joy and unspeakable pain. Whilst one hand soothes, the other wreaks havoc. The “light” side of this chapter in the Mono story is The Last Dawn and in direct contrast, Rays of Darkness is an altogether more ominous and brooding beast. Why two albums instead of just one long album? The guitarist Takaakira “Taka” Goto explains, “There were black and white sides inside of me,
like darkness and hope. I felt they could not exist on the same album.” Both albums were recorded in May 2014, in Pennsylvania, USA, produced by the band and engineered by Fred Weaver. The albums will be available via Pelagic Records on October 24th (GAS) and October 27th (UK + Rest of Europe).
Grrrl duo Tattle Tale, has a new album. Wilderness, the name of the upcoming album, is described as a powerful collection of ten pianobased pop songs that showcase a refreshingly more bold and vibrant voice in Wood’s singing style; one that hasn’t been heard on her previous albums. Wilderness is rich in swells of beautiful soundscapes, gritty electronic melodies and a haunting timbre that slowly moves throughout. It is her first release since 2010’s Finds You In Love, and marks a sharp departure for the
marks a sharp departure for the Seattle-based musician. Even though they have released their fourth album Cope back in March through Favorite Gentlemen/ Lomo Vista Recordings, Manchester Orchestra announced the release of a new album. Dubbed as a “reimagining” of the band’s original album, the new album is titled Hope and it stands as an entire acoustic reworking of their previous record. While it’s due for release on CD and vinyl formats on November 18th, it’s available in digital formats now.
The Last Dawn & Rays of Darkness arrives on October 27 via Pelagic Records
INTRODUCING // JOHNNY ARIES
JOHNNY ARIES Starting out on UK's outfit Two Wounded Birds which it's now disbanded, Johnny Aries has since played with The Drums and began his solo project. Moving from UK to New York city was a big and inspiring step for Aries. That change of scenery gave him a new willingness and need to start making music again and "Unbloomed" is his solo debut album. Aries answered some questions about this new solo act as well his personal thoughts about music. Words: Andreia Alves
first got to know you when you played on Two Wounded Birds that aren’t active anymore - and now you’ve joined The Drums. Tell me a little about yourself and your musical career.
Well I’m from England originally and my first band Two Wounded Birds released a record and a few singles between 2010 and 2012. While I was playing with Two Wounded Birds, I also played with The Drums and ended up moving to NYC after my band split.
So last year, you moved to New York and that had obviously an inevitable impact on your life. How much do you think that living in New York changed your perspective on things of everyday life and as a musician?
Moving from England to New York was a huge deal to me and I think it has really opened my eyes! It’s finally given me hope of happiness in the world. I think it’s been good for me as I have been able to expand my horizons creatively which is always what I wanted to do. Everything here is very inspiring.
Was this change the main reason for you to start to work on this solo album?
I think I fell out of love with making music for a while after my old band split. To come to a new country and absorb everything it has to offer definitely gave me a new sense of freedom. It really allowed me to shed my skin and feel like I was making music again for the first time.
This album has a different vibe from your other projects for sure: it’s quite melancholic but with an upbeat dreamy energy, like an entire new identity from you. Do you feel that way about this solo project? It is very melancholic I have to agree. I feel it’s allowed me to have a new identity and attempt things which I never would’ve considered doing before when making music, like the use of synthesizers and different drum machines. I was stuck in a very archaic way of thinking when it comes to recording and equipment. The next record after this will be a continuation of that!
“New York is very inspiring, it can be just people watching, an image or a view or skyline or a sunny morning” influences. Tell me a little bit more about your musical and non-musical influences for this solo project.
I definitely enjoy The Smiths and The Cure. It’s very melodic music with a lot of emotional weight so naturally it appeals to me. I have always loved the voice and songs of Roy Orbison. Musically they are definitely influences. In a non-musical way, New York is very inspiring, it can be just people watching, an image or a view or skyline or a sunny morning.
All the songs of your album “Unbloomed” were written when you got to New York. How was the process of getting these songs done?
The process of writing these songs came about very naturally after I had spent quite a bit of time in New York and allowed myself to absorb it all. I didn’t put myself under any pressure, I just wanted to enjoy making music again and that’s a good place to be.
How was the recording process for this album?
I recorded this album in Brooklyn and at home. It was a very enjoyable process.
As a whole, what does “Unbloomed” represent for you?
This album represents for me a clean slate whilst allowing myself to hope for the future finally. Content wise, it deals with the last few years of my life and I’m happy to have channeled that into this record.
Are you planning on touring Europe?
I would love to do a European tour. We shall see.
Besides the release of your debut solo album, The Drums are going to release this September a new record, “Encyclopedia”. Can you tell us a little bit of what we can expect from it? Expect great songs!
There’s a touch of The Smiths and The Cure on your songs, and I read that you said that Roy Orbison and Morrissey are some of your musicandriotsmagazine.com
Unbloomed is out now via Frenchkiss 21
ARTIST PROFILE // KENNETH BACHOR
Based in Brooklyn, NY, KENNETH BACHOR is a photo editor/photographer that caught our attention by his remarkable photography work. In the beginning, Kenneth used to shoot local bands in high school and from there crossed over into portrait photography. Between his work as photo editor in major publications and doing amazing photo shoots of bands like Dinosaur Jr., Mac DeMarco, The Men, Kenneth has always been inspired by musicians, urban life, visual art, and pop culture, which reflects on his creative sense. He is currently working with ABC News as a photo editor and also shoots live shows. We talked with Kenneth to know a little bit more about his work and why photography and art in general are so important to him. Words: Andreia Alves 22
Picture: Melinda Bachor
hat first drew you to photography?
I was first drawn to photography, because my parents were always super into music. So growing up, I was constantly studying album art from artists like Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and Pink Floyd. My mom had this book, The Illustrated “New Musical Express” Encyclopedia of Rock, which was a big thing for me at an early age. Hipgnosis and Storm Thorgerson’s work was a huge influence, showing me that photography could be viewed and presented from this certain alternate perspective. Music videos were also huge for me, I clearly remember George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You” and the Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey.” As I was growing up, I’d go to museums and art galleries more and more, then from there I was attracted to certain photographers, which shaped my sense of visual aesthetic.
What was it like when you start taking pictures?
When I started taking photos, I had no idea what I was doing. I just dove into it head first, which I think is the
best way to approach things sometimes. I attended Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey for music production. Once I started getting into the classes as a freshman, I recognized my brain wasn’t wired that way and saw that path wasn’t for me. I picked up a camera, since I had grown to appreciate photography as a medium, and thought that I could do it myself. The first concert I photographed was for my school newspaper, it was John Mayer’s tour with Sheryl Crow. I shot that with a point and shoot, which was awful! From there, I quickly learned how to operate a DSLR and figured out what I had to do in order to get a good image in a more professional way.
Who are some of your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence you?
Off the top of my head, Larry Clark, Anton Corbijn, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Bob Gruen, Mark Seliger, Katy Grannan, Jeff Wall, Richard Avedon, Danny Lyon, Danny Clinch, Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andy Warhol, Bob Richardson, Bill Brandt, and Robert Mapplethorpe are all huge influences. Also, Dennis Hopper was an excellent photographer. Newer photographers I admire include Jason Nocito, Harper Smith, Nabil Elderkin, Bryan Sheffield, Mads Teglers, Guy Aroch, Peter Hapak, Geordie Wood, Patrick O’Dell, Frederike Helwig, Nick Haymes, Ellen von Unwerth, Juergen Teller, Autumn de Wilde, Dan Martensen, and Petra Collins. This specific list of people influences me, because they were, or are, doing their own thing and have approached photography in their own way. That’s what it comes down to. With each of them, I can look at a photo, not knowing who took it right away, but can be able to identify it as an image taken by one of those photographers. In photo, making your own mark like that through an image is a very special thing to achieve.
Your photography work is associated with musicians and urban life. What did lead you to that?
Music and art are my life, so when the two intersect for me, that’s golden. There was this show on NYCTV in the 2000s called New York Noise, which played a lot of great music videos and focused on interviews with indie musicians in New York City. In high school and college, I watched that religiously. Normally for me, musicians are easy to photograph, since I’m a musician myself. Normally I’ll talk to them about gear or studio techniques, and psychologically I think that helps them relax and leads to better images, since there’s that common ground. I approach things from a documentary perspective, I like being a fly on the wall, if that makes sense. My parents are from Hoboken and Jersey City, in the New York City area, so I was always around urban life growing up. It’s what’s around me and what I know, urban life is never stagnant and is always changing in some way, therefore it remains interesting in my opinion.
You went from SPIN’s associate photo editor to photo editor at Rolling Stone and now you’re a photo editor for ABC News, working on images for breaking news stories and photo essays. Tell us a little bit about these work experiences. After I graduated college, this was during the U.S. recession in 2009, I was able to get an internship
with Rolling Stone. This is where I first learned how to become a successful photo editor for a major publication, it was definitely a fruitful experience. After that, Rolling Stone called me back for a little while to freelance as a photo editor, then it was in 2010 when I started SPIN, which was my first real job out of college. When I started at SPIN, it was great because they still had their monthly magazine and it was a small staff of creative people who were extremely smart in their roles. With that job, I was versatile and involved with a bunch of different projects where I was learning on the spot, which was great. Today you have to be more flexible than ever, since employers expect you to balance numerous varied tasks. I was at SPIN for 3 years total, from 2010-2013, which is a long time to be at one place nowadays. Every minute though, I was learning. Towards the end of my time there, SPIN went through an acquisition and there were unfortunately a lot of major changes that affected the brand. It just wasn’t the same anymore, but I’m glad through the course of my time there I got to take part in photo direction for shoots with my favorite bands and assigning talented photographers. In addition, I worked as part of SPIN’s brand redesign and relaunch of its print and digital properties. I wouldn’t have gotten that experience anywhere else, so I’m glad I was there at that time! After SPIN, I was lucky enough to go back to Rolling Stone for a little while, freelancing as a photo editor on both the print and digital sides. The photo and art departments there are the best in the business, they’re hard workers and excellent people. Seeing their process and how they do things is always a treat, since they work so well together in an efficient manner. When I was back at Rolling Stone for that time, I mainly worked as a photo editor on their Paul McCartney special issue. To go through all of those archival photos of McCartney that his wife Linda took was a thrill, as was seeing my name printed in the issue. Since December 2013, I’ve been with ABC News as a photo editor. Working in the newsroom is a very different experience than being at a magazine. In the newsroom, it’s a constant flow of urgent stories that cross a variety of topics, so you really need to be on your toes. It’s a lot of pressure, but extremely rewarding to work there, especially during breaking news. I always loved photojournalism and grew up watching ABC News. Peter Jennings was someone who I admired deeply, his work ethic was stellar. At ABC, it’s a driven team of great people who work quickly, yet accurately, to bring the news to its readers everyday.
You have taken pictures of bands/artists such as Dinosaur Jr., Mac DeMarco, The Men, Painted Zeros... How do you normally come up with the ideas for the photo shoots?
Concerning shoots, I think less is more. That’s my motto in life, I never want to overcomplicate things. So for portraits, it’s normally just the subject, my camera, and myself. I want the images to be about the person, or people, I’m shooting in this documentary-type way that lends itself to minimalism. I think the best ideas usually happen in the moment, it’s more fresh. So I may have a loose outline of what I want to do and go from there, but no solid plan because I want to maintain a level of spontaneity. 24
1 - Bloody Beetroots // 2 3 - Lisa Dengler // 4 - The Me 6 - Mac DeMarco / You can visit Kenn
Dinosaur Jr. - J Mascis // en // 5 - Waka Flocka Flame // // 7 - Tom Elmhirst neth’s work in here
Among your works, which one is your favorite and why?
I really enjoy my portraits of Mac DeMarco. He was such a sweet guy and his smile is priceless, you can’t take a bad photo of him! Besides Mac, Waka Flocka Flame was great to shoot, he’s like a big teddy bear and has a great sense of humor. Shooting Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, of the Bloody Beetroots, was cool because he had just released a song that he worked on with Paul McCartney, so I got to ask him about that. That shoot was also for Jay Z’s Life+Times, which was a rare opportunity and therefore a special assignment to me. One of my favorite shoots was Tom Elmhirst, who became a friend of mine. Tom is an insanely talented mixing engineer, who worked on Arcade Fire’s Reflektor, in addition to working with Beck, U2, the Black Keys, Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Haim. The shoot with The Men was special, since that was my first magazine cover.
Besides photography, what other things are you interested in?
Besides photography, I play guitar and have been dying to get back into a band! I have like 6 guitars, my favorite is my red ‘66 Fender Mustang. I’m really into biking, next month I’m doing the 75 mile course of the Century Tour here in New York City. I’m always down to go to a museum or see a show. I was raised down the shore in New Jersey, so the beach is a favorite. Lastly, I enjoy discovering new places to eat and good coffee is a huge part of my life.
What are some tips/advice you would give to a freelancer photographer that’s starting out?
I’d say to stick with it, even if it’s against the odds. As long as you have your mind and drive, the possibilities are endless. Sure, not everything goes smoothly, but if things were to go just up, I think that would be boring! You need some challenges, because out of that come new opportunities. The best thing to do when you’re starting out is to always have your camera on you and shoot. Make a list of your favorite photographers and try and begin to pinpoint what aesthetic you like. When you shoot, review your images and try to make little stories out of what you’ve shot with variety. From there, you will start to discover what your personal style is when it comes to shooting.
Do you recommend us any new bands or artists that you are into lately?
I’ve really been into No Joy, Weekend, and Painted Zeros for starters. My favorites include Beck, Sonic Youth, David Bowie, LCD Soundsystem, the Clash, A Tribe Called Quest, Nirvana, the Strokes, John Frusciante, the Ramones, the Beastie Boys, Talking Heads, Mission of Burma, and stuff like that. I’m really into obscure things as well, like vintage Bollywood funk film soundtracks and old school dub/reggae, stuff I’ll pick out at a record store that I’ve never even heard of. I’ve been listening to Ornette Coleman a lot recently, I saw him in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park this past summer, which was huge. Nina Simone is a legend. Also, Brian Eno is an influence. Besides those artists, I’ve been listening to St. Vincent, Warpaint, Arcade Fire, Phoenix, the War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, JEFF the Brotherhood, Beach House, Kanye West, and Sleigh Bells. musicandriotsmagazine.com
NEU // VOL.5
NEU! DOE SPRINGTIME CARNIVORE WAR ON WOMEN SLEEPWAVE
DOE Where? London (UK) Who? Nicola Leel, Jake Popyura, Matt Sykes For fans of: Pavement, Sleater-Kinney, Weezer
his band’s name is pretty simple as their music is, but it is awesome as well. Nicola Leel (vocals, guitar), Jake Popyura (drums, vocals) and Matt Sykes (guitar) are Doe and they are from London. Some of their inspiration come from acts like Sleater-Kinney, Helium, Plumtree, Superchunk, Pixies, Breeders and Pavement. Although their inspirations are pretty obvious, they sure know how to write a great indie punk song. They combine indie pop melodies with a frenetic punk riffs, along with Nicola’s sweet, priceless voice. For the last couple of years, the trio has been releasing a handful of
EPs and DIY cassettes that caught the attention of those who are always looking for new cool stuff. Their first self-titled is quite remarkable for the pop-punk chorus and catchy riffs, as well as their following releases. Most recently, they announced a UK tour with Pale Angels this fall and they also announced a new release. This time around they’re going to release an album, which is a collection of their EP releases. It’s titled First Four (because it’s their first four releases, duh!) and it’s gonna be out early October through Specialist Subject Records. The LP will be available on 12” vinyl plus download and the first 150 copies will be on blue/green coloured wax.
NEU // VOL.5
SPRINGTIME CARNIVORE Where? Illinois (USA) Who? Greta Morgan For fans of: Gold Motel, The Hush Sound, The Like
ou may know Greta Morgan for her bands like Gold Motel and The Hush Sound or even for her collaboration with Vivian Girls/La Sera singer Katy Goodman, but now we introduce you Springtime Carnivore, her musical alter-ego project. She has been releasing some excellent tracks that evoke summer days along with a delicate dream pop and looming psychedelia. It was announced recently that she will release her self-titled debut album this fall. According to a press release, the album crackles with warmth and employs faded strings, blown-out drums, fuzzy guitars, and pawnshop keyboards to adorn widescreen vocals. It builds
on a foundation of classic folk and pop songwriting, synthesizing those roots with capricious production that turns and careens unexpectedly, casting her melodic songs in varied light and from surprising angles. The songs sound familiar and utilize classic approaches, but are skewed and distinctly modern. There’s an index card tacked to the wall of Morgan’s rehearsal space. It reads “no cheap tricks,” and its command is heeded on Springtime Carnivore’s 14 heavenly songs. Her forthcoming eponymous debut was produced by Richard Swift (Foxygen, The Black Keys, The Shins) and herself, and is set for release on November 4th via Autumn Tone Records. The lead single its titled “Sun Went Black”.
WAR ON WOMEN Where? Baltimore, MD (USA) Who? Shawna, Brooks, Nancy, Evan, Sue For fans of: Bikini Kill, Refused, Helms Alee
owadays, it seems like people don’t inform themselves about social matters and the sexism still is very constant on our lives. Oh well, but there are bands that use their voice and music to call out to these kind of issues in our society. That’s the case on this Baltimore’s outfit. Formed in 2010, War On Women are a coed feminist hardcore punk band by veterans of the Baltimore rock scene, including members of AVEC and Liars Academy. Describing their sound as “early Metallica meets Bikini Kill,” the quintet writes intervention songs that attack the sexist attitudes and institutionalized patriarchy women
everywhere still face in the 21st century. The band’s message of equality comes through intelligent, furious and direct lyrics taking the intensity of hardcore punk to a whole new level, where singer Shawna Potter breaks the news with her powerful voice. In 2012, War On Women released their debut EP, Improvised Weapons, on Exotic Fever Records, and it couldn’t be a better way to introduce their sound and attitude. This summer, the group has signed to Bridge Nine and they just finished recording eleven new songs that will be released in early 2015 on their yet-to-be-titled debut full-length. More information on War On Women’s new album must be announced very soon.
NEU // VOL.5
SLEEPWAVE Where? St. Petersburg, Florida (USA) Who? Spencer Chamberlain, Stephen Bowman For fans of: Falling In Reverse, Escape The Fate, Underøath
pencer Chamberlain, ex-frontman of Underøath, has a new project and the name is Sleepwave. Featuring him and co-collaborator Stephen Bowman, this new band is a different approach from the former Underøath singer. It’s a more straightup rock but still it has its intensity and velocity. Drawing inspirations from bands like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Filter, Chamberlain and Bowman combine their mutual interests into rock songs with classic song structure and melody. Speaking of the project, Chamberlain said: “When starting this project the only thing I had in mind was energy, honesty and passion,
three things I thought had been missing from modern rock n roll. I believe in music and I’ve seen it change millions of lives including my own. This is just the next step in sharing the universal language to as many people as possible.” After signing to Epitaph Records and completing a massive tour with Taking Back Sunday and the Used, Sleepwave released their debut album Broken Compass this September. The album was produced by David Bendeth (Bring Me The Horizon, Of Mice & Men) The singles “Rock And Roll Is Dead And So Am I” and “Through The Looking Glass” are the perfect example of the brutal atmospheric rock sound built in this new adventure of Spencer Chamberlain. There’s life after Underøath.
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INTERVIEW // CASSIE RAMONE
CASSIE RAMONE When some bands split it's hard to see them vanishing, although their music is gonna always be remembered. That's the case of the Brooklyn threepiece Vivian Girls. Lucky for us, the girls continued making music: Katy Goodman with her solo project La Sera; Ali Koehler with the punk band Upset; Cassie Ramone with rock group The Babies, but now she made her debut solo with the awesome "The Times Has Come". Cassie was kind enough to answer to our questions about her solo album and told us how has been life for her since the Vivian Girls split. Words: Andreia Alves
“The Times Has Come” is such an easygoing record and it’s as honest as it can be. How was the whole writing process for these songs?
Kind of the same as it is for any of my songs. I write some chords and lyrics and then the rest of it more or less comes to me, including a sonic template. This group of songs is one where I felt like a more acoustic approach would be nice.
What did inspire you the most for such stripped down lyrics?
Most of these songs were actually written about three years ago. The record is more or less about this one specific time of my life where I was going through some heartbreak and isolation.
arlier this year, it was official the Vivian Girls split, which you girls gave your three last shows at The Church on York (L.A.), Death by Audio and Baby’s All Right (NY). How was it like those shows and what do you miss the most about the band?
The shows were very sad and emotional for me. The crowds were amazing but it was hard to see it go, especially at the New York shows. What I miss most about the band is the camaraderie and the touring and all the crazy stuff we did. That kind of adventure doesn’t exist much in my musical life at this point.
Katy Goodman has released a new album on her solo project, La Sera. Do you girls still talk about music stuff and exchange ideas? We play each other our new music whenever we have it, but that’s about it. We definitely still talk all the time though.
When did come up the idea of recording a solo album?
A while ago. I actually recorded another solo album four years ago and then it was scrapped. I started working on solo recordings again once activity with my other bands was dying down.
Ariel Pink plays bass on some tracks of the record. How did he get into your solo adventure?
I sent him these songs in January and he wrote back saying how much he liked them, and then I was in LA in February and it was his idea to play bass on some of the songs. So I went over his house with my 8 track one night and we just recorded all night long.
All songs were recorded by you, which it’s pretty amazing. How was it like to do it all by yourself?
It was a really fun learning process. I’ve never really recorded anything by myself intending it to be more than a demo, so when I recorded this stuff I was like “Ok I want this to sound like my demos but better.” I would say that the highs are higher and the lows are lower recording alone, because when you nail something it feels great knowing you did it all by yourself, but there have been many times during the recording of this thing that I had to stop for weeks or months at a time because I hated it so much. When you record with other people it motivates you to keep going.
How would you describe this record in few words?
I can’t really say, it’s hard for me to describe my own music.
You’re going on tour with King Tuff this fall. What are you the most excited about it and what can people expect from your live shows?
I always love touring and it’s been about a year since I’ve done it, so I guess I’m super excited to hit the road in general. I’m also really good friends with Kyle and his band
“The record is more or less about this one specific time of my life where I was going through some heartbreak and isolation” so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them! Right now my shows are just me playing acoustic guitar through some effects pedals. I try to make my shows as anti-coffeeshop singer/songwriter as possible.
Any chances of seeing you live in Europe? I hope so!
After closing the chapter with Vivian Girls and releasing a new record with The Babies in 2012, what else have you been up to?
Not much. I’ve gotten really into reading tarot and I’m working on designing my own tarot deck right now.
Besides that, what other stuff do you love to do?
Half the time it’s stuff like cooking and watching reality TV. The other half of the time it’s stuff like drinking and getting into trouble.
By the way, what’s your favorite record of 2014 so far? Overseas by Tonstartssbandht.
7 CASSIE RAMONE The Time Has Come
With Vivian Girls out of the way and with The Babies on hold, Cassie Ramone had the time to record her debut solo album, which is a collection of songs she had written for a while now. On The Time Has Come, Ramone’s fragile vocals and stripped down lyrics are the highlights of this “lo-fi” indiepop melodies filled somewhat with reverb and a tambourine to set the pace. It’s a pretty intimate, simple but warm album, showing that Ramone knows how to write a damn good song.
SONDRE LERCHE When musicians write passionately about something so close to the heart, it always turns out to be some kind of a masterpiece - but there are always exceptions, of course. To be more specific, Sondre Lerche has been releasing great music over the years but his new album "Please" has set the bar really high. In this new effort, we see Lerche accepting his divorce and embracing a new phase in his life, dealing and struggling to get over the pain. Without hiding any of the most deep feelings, Lerche assumes a position of an artist who's taking over his suffering and the inevitable loss. We couldn't miss an opportunity to chat with Lerche about this amazing album, which he was really kind by opening his heart to us. Words: Andreia Alves // Pictures: Marius Hauge
INTERVIEW // SONDRE LERCHE
ow has been 2014 for you so far?
It’s been exciting, hectic and I’ve danced a lot.
You have recently released your seventh studio album “Please” and it represents a rough time you went through. It’s a very personal record indeed and its seems that you really needed to take it all out in your songs. Is “Please” as a whole a cathartic record?
Absolutely. The music is the place where frustration, disappointment, confusion and hurt can be sorted through, ventilated and ultimately turned into something useful, fun, even uplifting. The catharsis happens the moment the songs mean something to the people listening.
I read that “Please” was written and recorded in the period following your separation from your ex-wife Mona Fastvold and it’s your divorce record. How was the whole process to get the record done?
I didn’t really think much about getting it done. I just did it. I had already started recording and writing, and then the shit hit the fan and the process took an unexpected turn in that. I became extremely productive, motivated and being in the studio with my friends made me happy. We approached the recording with reckless abandon.
It’s impressive when musicians/ artists transform their suffering into art and that’s what you did with this new record. Was it easy for you to write such personal, tough songs?
Well, if I think about what I went through, I guess I wouldn’t say it came easy. Most of the songs were already half finished, but they needed motivation, words, force and that’s what all this drama provided. And that just happened, like a survival mechanism. Songwriting is what I do, and I guess I needed it more than ever, all of a sudden. But while the songs are personal, they are not explicit - I need them to have room for the listener and the listener’s emotions and stories too. 36
So why choose the word ‘Please’ to be the title of this record?
It means many things, and I wanted one word, a word to go with the cover painting by Lars Elling. It’s the best word, it’s the worst word, it’s the more polite word, it’s the most common word.
Musically, “Please” has a more noisy and dark approach. Would you agree with that?
Some of the songs, yes. It’s a bolder sounding record. It’s a bold record.
This album was recorded between your hometown of Bergen and Brooklyn. How was it the recording process? It was scattered and more fun than ever. I wanted to only focus on one song at a time, and collaborate with different folks, known and unknown, without much regard for the record as a whole. It was liberating.
“Bad Law” is such hypnotic,
crazy and energetic song and the words “When crimes are passionate, can love be separate?” get really stuck in the head - it’s an excellent introduction of your new record. How did this song come about?
I didn’t really know if “Bad Law” would be any good till the last minute. It came from a whole different process than I’m used to. We recorded the riff and the beat, and then I tried writing a song on top of that for over a year until it started vibing. But it was hard to see if I could pull it off, vocally. That song was a surprise until the very end.
What can you tell me about the painting on the cover art?
It’s by Lars Elling, a Norwegian painter that I got in touch with. When I told him about the album, he simply sent me the cover painting without saying a word, and I knew the moment I saw it that Life Study would be the
“...music is the place where frustration, disappointment, confusion and hurt can be sorted through, ventilated and ultimately turned into something useful, fun, even uplifting”
cover. He’s a tremendous painter.
What are your tour plans after the album’s release? We start the world tour in New York September 23rd and end in Asia at the end of November. It’ll be a bumpy, fun ride. The band and I are so psyched to play again.
Last year you did the score for Mona’s directorial debut movie “The Sleepwalker”. What can you tell me about that and how was the creative process for it? It was a very rewarding process for me and Kato Ådland, who I composed with. It gave us a whole
new context to work within, a whole new tone to figure out, where we could feel like strangers again. I was part of Sleepwalker since the very first draft of the script, so it’s a project that was close to my heart, and I’m glad to see the film being received so well across the world.
Do you recommend us any new bands that we should listen to?
Verdensrommet, Bloody Beach and Hooray For Earth are really good, relatively new bands you should hear.
of things, I’ve been so absorbed with Please. I think Mac Demarco has two of the best songs of 2014, with “Chamber Of Reflection” and “Passing Out Pieces”. I’ve listened a lot to S. Carey’s album. Bloody Beach has a good album. Benji by Sun Kill Moon is quite special. That Lewis record is compelling. And some of the Avey Tare record is quite strong. It’s too soon to say.
What’s your favorite record of 2014 so far? I’ve just heard bits and pieces
Please is out now via Mona Records 37
INTERVIEW // PAINTED ZEROS
Formed by the talented Katie Lau,
are a group from Brooklyn that writes great grunge-meetspunk-meets-pop tunes. Lau wrote by herself their latest release, the debut "Svalbard" EP, which is an amazing 5 track EP that shows the promising future ahead of this band. We caught up with Lau to get to know more about how Painted Zeros came to be and what's in store for them. Words: Andreia Alves // Picture: Kenneth Bachor
project about three years ago. I started having an idea that I wanted a band of my own because I have been in some bands before and I decided I wanted my own project when I was 20/21.
alk me a little about yourself and how you got into music.
I’m 22 years old and I live in Brooklyn. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City. From a young age, I started playing classic violin when I was 8 or 9 years old and I took lessons of violin until I was 17, played in the orchestra college, but I always really wanted to play guitar. So I taught myself how to play guitar when I was 11 and started writing songs basically for myself when I was probably 12 or 13 and I didn’t want to show them to anyone. [laughs]
When did you start working on this project? I started writing songs for this 38
Why the name Painted Zeros for your band?
It’s a reference to a Sonic Youth’s lyrics from the song “Teenage Riot” on Daydream Nation. There’s this part of the lyrics “He acts the hero / We paint a zero / On his hand” and I just thought it was really cool. I think there are a few different layers of meaning, because on one hand there’s the relationship between the performer and the audience, even when there’s a stage that people are expected to stand up in some way. I always hated that because anyone can make music. In high school, I was really into the punk scene in my hometown and it was very DIY approached music, at weekend nights we were seeing punk bands we knew all the songs and it
was just like the coolest feeling. Painted Zeros sort of represents the symbolic break on our society to destroy that kind of hierarchy.
As you said, in high school you were into the punk scene. Which bands did inspire you while you were growing up?
So many bands... I mean, I guess my parents didn’t really grow up listening to not much music and it was always playing pop on the radio, which I think there are definitely elements of pop while I write - I love a lot of the pop music, - but I got into punk bands, like political punk bands and some kind of shitty ones, like AFI. [laughs] And then I kind of went like more hardcore bands like Minor Threat, riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill and I really like Against Me!. I really like them. Also classical music has always played a really huge role in my life.
You have now by your side some new players on your band. How
Are you gonna keep doing that recording approach for upcoming releases?
Yeah, I think so. I hope to go into a studio because there’s gear that will be so much better than whatever I have by myself. I’m pretty particular about the way I want things to sound. I really like the freedom to be myself, I’m kind of a control freak. [laughs]
Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Why did you choose that name to be the title of this EP?
Svalbard is a really crazy archipelago of Norway and it’s very sparsely populated, it’s like an intense landscape. There’s a lot of snow, mountains and there’s also this crazy initiative there called Global Seed Vault and I was just thinking how music could be lot of times super escapist. There are so many layers in any piece of music when it comes to the intention behind of what was written and all the tone melodies. Music reflects in a sort of idea of a futuristic seed vault, like the way to describe an EP, because the EP is like a courier of songs, at least for me, like it describes a period in my life where it was kind of relevant. So I think that really grows on me.
The album art for this EP was made by Helen Hofling. Tell me a little bit about her art and what did inspire her to create such astonishing piece of art.
I just think she has a great style. She really likes our music and we’re really good friends so we get along together. She kind of knows of what I want to see as a visual reflection. I sent her the EP before - there weren’t even final copies of the songs - and she just made that for me which is awesome. She has a really cool style and she does really great collages too. I’m really into her visual aesthetic.
What’s next for Painted Zeros?
did they get into Painted Zeros?
Jared and I went to school together and we’ve been friends for a very long time now. He plays drums and so it was natural that I would ask him to play with me in a live band. About bassists, we had a bunch of bassists and we actually have a brand new one. He’s just great. He just moved to Brooklyn from Rochester, he’s a really good bassist and his name is Jim.
“Svalbard” EP is really amazing and it’s louder and frenetic than your previously released songs. It’s really impressive how you did it all by yourself in your practice space. How was the whole process of getting this EP done?
I used to share a practice space with some of my friends and they had an eight channel interface in there, so I would bring my laptop and the songs were already in my head. The recording process for me was like I recorded the drum track first, then I recorded the guitar and bass and sang over it, and then I mixed it and added little things here and there. It was really fun. It’s just as important to the songs, at least for me, to be able to have a kind of complete control of it... Change your sound exactly how you want it is a really cool thing to do, to be able to do it all. It’s pretty awesome. [laughs]
I have a full album that I’ve completely written and have made a demo of it. I’m recording it right now, so right now my plans for this year is to keep playing as many awesome shows as possible and record the album. There’s a lot of gear that I need to buy. I need to buy an interface now because the friends - which I recorded with their interface the audio for Svalbard EP - they’re not on the practice space anymore, so I don’t have a decent interface. I just have a tiny one which I can make some demos.
What can you tell me about this album that you have already written?
It’s a collection of songs that a lot of them are about love and relationships - break ups in particular - so it’s going to be a more elaborated album [laughs] and definitely some chillest songs than the ones on Svalbard EP. I’m gonna rerecord “Call Back” [from 2013’s Call Back //] for this album, because I recorded the drums on my laptop so I can’t wait to make a better job on making it sound better.
Do you have in mind any release date for the album?
Honestly, once I get the interface, it can be done in months, you know? So let’s see how it goes. [laughs] I’m really excited to get the album out there and I’ve been writing new material too and it’s been kind of tough having drum and bass players, because I have to teach them all the songs and that takes a while. I love to play live. Play live is just as important to me as having really good recorded material.
Svalbard is out now, was already reviewed in our last issue and you can listen to it here musicandriotsmagazine.com
Kinsey Lee (vocals/banjo), Sharon Silva (vocals/guitar), Mackenzie Howe (vocals/ guitar/banjo), Nick Jones (drummer), and Nick Phakpiseth (bass): the three-piece converted to a five-piece, known as The Wild Reeds. This band from Los Angeles has managed to deliver us with something “that it has been done before but it’s not very common” for a while now, with their harmonies-driven music. With “Blind and Brave”, their new record, there’s a completely new and exciting chapter to be discovered. We spoke with the girls to know a little bit more about this band that’s doing it right and touching our hearts. Words: Tiago Moreira
the wild reed 40
here’s an interesting story behind the name of the band. Can you tell us all about that? Kinsey Lee: The Wild Reeds came from
an old fable called “The Oak and the Reed”. It’s a story about an oak tree, in a field of reeds, and what happens is that this oak tree is speaking to the reeds saying “I’m sorry God created the way he did, because every time the wind blows you bend and sway.” The reeds answer the oak tree by saying “Well, we are a lot stronger than you think we are”, and so what happens is that this big storm comes and the oak tree falls over and it’s unable to recover and the reeds are still standing. So, it’s a story about strength and we kind of relate that to ourselves because we started the band when we were really young, like 18 or 19 and every time we walked into a club… Just being women, and being young women, people would look at us and ask “Where’s your manager? Who’s the head of the band? Where’s the band?” Well, we’re the band. [laughs] Sharon Silva: The name sort of shaped us in a way. We really didn’t know all that was to come thus far as challenges in the music industry and just kind of being novices. So, every time those kind of situations would happen we would think about the name and the story and realize that we need to have endurance and perseverance, and we will eventually get to where we want to be.
The members of the band have each one more than one simple role and Kinsey said “I’m whatever The Wild Reeds needs me to be.” That’s how it worked since the beginning? Do you think that type of mentality is the result of the band starting with just three people? Kinsey Lee: Yeah! In the beginning,
before we were The Wild Reeds, we would just sit out on the grass, Sharon and I played music together, and I would sing harmonies for her and I would play backup for her. I remember of us playing in an open mic and we were there backing each other’s up. Really what happened since the beginning is that we are fans of each other’s music and we would just fill in and support each other in whatever way needed. That’s what we continue to do. We write music together, we write music
INTERVIEW // THE WILD REEDS apart and when the songs come to us and they inspire us we just kind of fill where we think is appropriate and we really all make the song what it is.
After releasing two records, you decided to bring two guys into the band – Nick Jones (drums and percussion) and Nick Phakpiseth (bass). How did you meet the guys? Kinsey Lee: So, originally Sharon
and Mac went to Azusa Pacific University and I went to Citrus College, which is a community college right across the street from each other… That’s how we met each other. When I was in school, in Citrus, in the music department I met our bass player, Nick Phakpiseth, and we clicked pretty easily and he early on started to support the band, coming to shows and he would fill in whenever we needed a bass player. So, when the time came and we wanted to add more members to the band, Nick was our first choice. Nick Jones we met from… He was in another band at that time, when we met him. We were playing a show together as a three-piece while they were playing there as a five-piece and basically what happened is that their band parted ways and we were looking for a drummer. He heard that we were looking for a drummer, through some friends, and he came and tried out for the group. He showed up to our practice with our sticker already on his car. [laughs] He was a fan already when he joined the band so it was pretty cool to have him jump on and it has been really great as a five-piece.
Hiring these two guys was a conscious decision to try to create something more song-oriented and more layered? Mackenzie Howe: I think the
benefits of adding the guys are that now we can make songs reach the full potential that sometimes dynamically we… I mean, I was in the band forever so I can’t speak for what it used to be, but I know that dynamically when you want a song to get really, really big or really, really intense or to get really, really quiet, having a percussion and rhythm section just makes all the difference and I feel that we finally reached our full potential with five people and we can still always just go back to just the three of us, which is really, really nice. We can do both if necessary. Kinsey Lee: I think that having the 42
five-piece band has made us more appropriate to play with a lot of the groups that we play with it now. When we are out on the town, when we’re on these large venues, having, like Mac said, the dynamic… It can get so large and we’re able to capture a room instead of having to play only small venues, where people are really attending to the music… This way we can capture attention instead playing small venues where we already have the attention.
Playing as a five-piece was something that you wanted for a while now? Kinsey Lee: You know, we actually
didn’t decide to have a five-piece band until we started writing this new record. We were comfortable with the three-piece. It was a good decision economically for a while. When you are young on the road, you can travel in a small compact car. We went up to the West Coast a couple times and now we’ve toured with the full band a couple times but we had to get a larger car. We have a big van now and it’s more expensive but the benefits out way the costs. When we started to recreate the new band with the new sound and the producer that we wanted to get – before we got the producer we decided to have a five-piece band… Like Mackenzie said, we’re very versatile. If we need to play a room for less than 100 people we will scale it down to the three-piece and do an acoustic show. People really enjoy that because it’s something different. But when we have like an audience of 300 people or more, we want to play as a five-piece. We really want to capture the audience.
These new songs were created as a five-piece or as a three-piece? Kinsey Lee: You know, every song
is good with one instrument with voices, for us. The harmonies are the driving force in The Wild Reeds. So, if the song isn’t good with a guitar or a banjo, and voices, it’s not going to be good as a five-piece band. We tried to start things off very stripped down and then we started to adding layers. Once the song is complete (an instrument and voices), then we start adding layers. “What can we do for rhythm? What can we do for this?” Mackenzie Howe: That’s also why some songs on the album don’t have any percussion or bass on them. We tried and we just felt that those songs were able to stand
alone by themselves, without these things that it may not need.
Last year you started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $16.000 to make this new record, and you managed to raise $8.528. How was it that experience? Kinsey Lee: It was our first time.
The first two records, they were done without a producer, with the help of friends. This new record that we made with our five-piece band, it’s our debut as a fivepiece and we wanted to make everything that it could be and the songs… They were meant to be done in a studio and so when we started the campaign we had some doubts. These days without a record label you just have to front the money out of your pocket and it’s very difficult to do that as an independent band. Everybody in our band has day jobs, everybody is working really hard but we don’t have an extra $10.000 to lay in around. Nowadays bands that make people their record label, the people become their funding. So, if people believe in the music they will buy your record in advance because they want to support it. We were very fortunate to have a lot of support from our fans, family and friends to get the album created and… Yeah, I would say that it was a very successful experience. It took us a year to get it out but we’ve really wanted to do this right, we didn’t want to cut any corners and we’re really, really proud of what we have now.
How did you manage to raise the rest of the money? Playing shows? Kinsey Lee: Yeah, we would play
private shows and you know… You don’t make a lot of money playing public shows anymore. Yeah! I mean, it was a lot of money. Almost $8.000. Sharon Silva: That’s why it took so long to actually print the records. Of course, this is now a year later that we’re releasing it so we were able to set an extended payment plan and have some help. We just kind had to wait until we got it all. We’re still waiting for the final pressing. There are many, many expenses that you don’t anticipate so we were trying to cover all the bases and obviously we fell short by a lot but we’re really, really happy and relieve to make as much as we did. I mean, that’s a pretty
“...it makes me really happy to hear that was the feeling that you got from us, that it all goes together because that’s something that we worked really hard on.” Mackenzie Howe
high goal. Most indie bands, at least the one I’ve seen, they try to raise as much as we managed to raise.
direction we wanted to take and he really helped us shaping them. It was really cool and we’re still friends, one year later.
You had this dream of working with Raymond Richards (producer). How did you meet him and how was it working with him? Mackenzie Howe: Actually we
The lyrics seem to be highly personal and in a way shared by all you three. I mean, it seems that there’s a connection between you three no matter what. Mackenzie Howe: I think that’s one
were playing a show and a guy approach me and said “Hey, I don’t know if you’re looking for a producer but I know someone who would be really, really good with your kind of music. Here’s his number and here’s his card.” We look him up and we’re fans of some of the things he had done before and so we just went ahead to see how much he was asking, if he wanted to do our record and just talk to him. We met with him and we really liked him, and his wife, and his house, and his studio… We really believed in what we were doing so we were able to work something out to be able to do the record with him. I think for all of us it was a positive experience because we never had a producer before so we were new to everything and he was so patient with that. He was very patient with us just figuring it out a lot of these songs, not knowing really what
of the biggest goals of this band. It’s to make sure that it isn’t really a lead singer and if someone writes a song the girls back them up and the harmonies are one of the main parts. But it makes me really happy to hear that was the feeling that you got from us, that it all goes together because that’s something that we worked really hard on. Our voices are all very different… I’m new, it was and it still is hard for me to blend with them and I think we have our age and being women in common in our stories but our lives are very different, we all come from different places and so at the end of the day I think it’s literally like an invisible glue or like an essence that makes us really into one unit. Because we are so different and our voices are so different and our songs are different, we don’t want to just sound like three singer-songwriters just backing each other up. We want to sound as one unit but we also
don’t want to have a lead singer so I think we’re trying to do something that it has been done before but it’s not very common. We’re not following anyone’s footsteps in that sense. We just have to keep going and hope the people understand what we are going for. I think what you said was pretty appropriate. Kinsey Lee: I think the reason why our music sounds like it comes from all of us is because we’re all good friends first, and we all understand the songs that come to the table. We all understand the experiences that people go through when they write the songs. So, in a way we all are experiencing the same emotions… I mean different emotions but same situations. So, when we’re singing a really passionate song that Sharon wrote we all know exactly what happened, we all know the emotions that were put forward from her side and we’re able to add to that in a very personal way and in a very personal perspective.
Self-Released Blind And Brave is out now 43
CORY BRANAN "... too punk for country, too country for punk, too Memphis for Nashville, and probably a little too Cory Branan for anyoneâ€™s damn good." Well, the quote above basically sums up what Cory Branan and his music are all about. Lyric-driven by an appetite to say whatever it is on his mind, Branan has been a fabulous singer-songwriter over the years, but not everyone hasn't seen how brilliant this guy is. "The No-Hit Wonder" is his fourth album and without being too much cheerful or too much gloomy, he has created beautiful melodies along with remarkable lyrics. Branan was kind enough to spare some of his time to talk with us about this amazing new record and how was the whole process. Words: Andreia Alves // Pictures: Nicole C. Kibert 44
irst of all, I want to give you my congratulations for your new record, it’s fantastic and it’s one of the musical highlights of this year for sure! So what are you the most happy about this new record?
I’m always happy that somebody wants to put another one out, you know, it shocks me. [laughs] I’m happy that it exists at all. It’s nice to have a little more straightforward record out and I think it’s straightforward, but I have very broad definitions of what roots of country and folk all mean. I think it’s a little less all over the place like from my last record. It probably still all over the place but I think it’s pretty straight.
Did you start working on this new album right after you released your previous album “Mutt” ?
I was touring a lot of course after the record came out. I started recording this record last year and got most of the record done really fast and then there was a big break in between where I toured and got sick. [laughs] I had some allergies here in Nashville and I couldn’t sing very well for a while, so there was a little break in between before I finished the record. The most part of the record was written and recorded all around the same time. There are some older songs that found its way on the record. My first couple of records were four years apart and now it’s gonna be every year and half or two years out on my label. They want to put out records. [laughs] So I had a big batch of songs that I didn’t record, so when I go do a new record I’m suppose to take what I’m writing at the moment and then see if any of the old ones find a home on the record. There’s a a lot of old ones that people ask me to record them, I hopefully get to that eventually.
“The No-Hit Wonder” is much more upbeat and fiercer than “Mutt” and it sets a completely different mood on your songs. What did inspire you to create such cheerful, great tunes?
Yeah it’s funny because I’m not a cheerful guy in general [laughs] but a lot of bad things had happened in the last few years, but also I have two wonderful kids, I got married to a wonderful and strong woman. So yeah, I have this ridiculous happiness in my life and it’s kind of messing with my world. [laughs] A lot of that is shown on the record and a lot of the content is not happy - there’s not always the case of the lyrics - but definitely after losing my father and some www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // CORY BRANAN other family members and having started my own family... definitely the home, the road and this life is different and it looks different to me, it means a different thing to be gone with 20 shows a year. Before it was like a no brainer to be a lifer to say “I’m gonna do this for the rest of my life”. Now it’s like “I’m gonna do this for the rest of my life” but it’s more of the choices has weight to it and I think I deal with that a little bit in some of the songs.
Did your songwriting process changed along with your life changes over the last few years?
Not the process... I mean, the process is a generous word for the way I write. [laughs] It’s pretty much a piece here and there, you know, definitely with the six month old boy in the house there’s no such thing like schedule anymore. [laughs] I try to write on the road more now, which it’s something I’ve never done. The shows take my energy out and creativity out and I try to it on the shows. I’m just trying to get to where I can do that easily, because that would be a prime time that I would be able to have that kind of space and silence. I’ve just never been able to do it, but that’s what I’m gearing towards.
One of the things that make your songs so special is that they are so lyric-driven. Do you usually come up with the lyrics first or afterwards coming up with the melodies?
A lot of time just the lyrics, not always. I have more trouble when I come up with a melody in my head and setting lyrics to that melody. That’s trouble for me. [laughs] But I write the better melodies away from the guitar and piano, you know? If you play guitar or someone plays an instrument for a long time, the hand wants to make the same shape and you want to follow the same roots. So it’s really nice to write away from an instrument. On this record, I woke up with “C’mon Shadow” in my head and it was just the melody for that one and the lyrics sort of presented themselves, but usually it is very lyric-oriented. The lyrics and the way you would say them suggest some melody to me. I’m not very gifted with like someone backtrack, like these big, huge melodic skips and these really dramatic musical intervals. A lot of my melodies are very linear just so they accompany the words instead 46
of just like “Oh, look at this interesting melody.” Also I’m not a tremendous singer. [laughs]
Earlier you mentioned the track “C’mon Shadow”, that has this awesome ukulele sound on it and it’s something different in your music.
Yeah that was a first. I bought a ukulele and I’ve been playing it. All the songs that I’m writing now I try to play them on the ukulele or I’ll play them in one position on the piano with one hand. But the ukulele, if you take it down to just that chord and the melody you’re singing, you will know if you have a song or not. If it doesn’t hold up on that, you don’t have a song, you know? But it can make it sound like something on the ukulele because there’s no big accompaniment and then you know you’re onto something.
Are you trying to explore new instruments on your songs?
For that song, it was needed that - the sound of that old times sort of happy wishful sound. I play a little bit of banjo and I play some piano, but I would just rather be a better player. [laughs] I play all the acoustic guitar on my records and I play electric on some of the older records, also I play a little bit on this record. I play lead and I’m proud of my guitar playing, but when it comes down to put a record out I just know such great, brilliant guitar players and musicians and I’m like “Why would I do this?” unless I want it to be my style like Neil Young is cronky or whatever. Unless I want that, I just get great players. I’m not in the business of serving my ego. I definitely want the song to be the best it can be.
I said before that this new record is much more upbeat, but there are also downbeat songs like “The Only You” that has pretty tough and awesome lyrics, even though is a song about heartache. How did that song come about?
That one is actually pretty interesting, because the first part of that - the first lines before the drums kick in - is a sketch of a song that I had laying around for several years. I used to sing this as an alternative intro to the “Miss Ferguson” song [The Hell You Say, 2002]. It was just sort of a funny idea I had about a guy missing a girl. The idea is “I’m moving on, but not you”, you know? I thought that this song deserved a full
treatment as a song and so I wrote that maybe a week before I went into the studio. I like when a song has a little bit of balls as far as a guy sings to a girl that kind of thing, but the attitude is what I think it’s more real life than a lot of love songs. [laughs] It’s a little bit of “fuck you” and “I miss you” kind of thing, but I like songs that have humour in the sadness. Life comes at you all at once, so I like when a song does it too.
The song “You Make Me” is like the opposite of that song.
Yeah, that’s definitely about my wife. Some of the imagery, it’s not a cryptic imagery, like the red door and the halo, that’s actually our wedding. We got married by the crossroads in Mississippi where the 61 crosses 49 where Robert Johnson ha supposedly sold his soul to the devil. We got married down there. Some of those lines, we actually were in the middle of a big field and we had a big barn door and we were surrounded by cotton fields. So that’s actually a pretty cryptic imagery for it. I was writing about “What are you gonna do with mystery of something big as love or marriage?” So the red door is kind of love and you go on and just kick it down and walk on through it. [laughs] It’s a pretty personal cryptic image. I usually try to be very clear with my lyrics, that one is buried in there and it’s sort of for me and her, and now for people who will read this interview. [laughs]
On the cover art for this record, you are leaning back and you look so relaxed and also sleepy with this kind of poster look artwork. Where did this idea come from?
Do you know the old Hatch show prints that we have here in Nashville? They use to do all the prints for The Grand Ole Opry, you see all the Elvis old ones and all the Johnny Cash ones, but there are sort of like the way the front of that record looks that real explosive looking on the corner and it usually says “one-nightonly”, like a circus flyer or something. I thought it would be funny to have that look but with me asleep, facing away from the camera. [laughs] But the back of the record is like a punchline. [laughs] So that’s sort of the visual joke going on there.
“I like when a song has a little bit of balls as far as a guy sings to a girl that kind of thing, but the attitude is what I think it’s more real life than a lot of love songs...”
You had quite of a great guest musicians on this new album. What can you tell me about their contributions to the songs they’re in?
I have my buddies singing on all my records. For this record - since I stick a lot more about home and it sort of ended up being more of a roots record, - through the years of touring I’ve just become buddies with some really great people and especially because I live in Nashville now they all live around the corner, so it was really easy to get them on the record. [laughs] I was really lucky about getting my friends on the record, but I always try to make sure there’s a reason, you know? I don’t get my friends to sing on records just to have them there. I always think about who will complement what song. The song “Sour Mash” with Tim Easton that’s kind of a whole early Tennessee Three type of sound. Tim’s got this beautiful, harmony voice but he’s still got grasp in his throat while he sings, so he got that grit and that’s hard to find a singer that has grit and such a beautiful, harmonious voice. I knew he would be perfect for that song. Jason [Isbell] was perfect for “You Make Me” and “The Highway Home”, and Caitlin Rose and Austin Lucas on “All the Rivers in Colorado” too. Everybody
was really great. Meeting Craig [Finn] from Hold Steady was kind of a fluke. His guitar player is a friend of mine and so they were in town doing a record and Steve Selvidge [the guitar player] came to sing on my record and Craig was with him. So I met Craig and literally 15 minutes after I met him he was singing on my record. [laughs] He was really kind. I’d written all those parts that are at the end of “The No-Hit Wonder” but I didn’t want to sing them all by myself, so I thought: “I got a part that’s perfect for you.” I’ve always been a fan and he was nice enough to give it a shot and he didn’t even know me. That’s the one exception that I have an almost stranger singing on my record which is great. [laughs]
I read that recording this album with producer Paul Ebersold and a group of Nashville finest players took just three days.
Yeah, recording the music took about three days, but it did take me a long time to get back in and finish up the vocals and we cut one last song. We cut “Sour Mash” in the end and that was a big gap in time. It was like six or seven months because I was on tour, the producer was switching studios, I was in Australia... So by the time I got back in, it had been a quite a while and
so this record would probably be sooner out if I hadn’t got sick. [laughs]
What are your upcoming tour plans?
I know it’s a lot of states stuff in the fall. I don’t really have any representation in Europe, so if I come over it will probably be as an opening act for someone, so I’m still looking for a representation worldwide. I would love to go to Portugal, but I definitely need to go back to places that I haven’t been as well like Germany, UK... It’s been a couple of years now since I’ve been there. People were really kind to me there and I really did enjoy touring Europe.
What’s your favorite record of 2014 so far?
I think so far is this Adam Faucett’s record. It’s called Blind Water Finds Blind Water. He’s just one of those guys that he doesn’t even need a microphone, he plays it so loud and this is a really cool record.
The No-Hit Wonder is out now via Bloodshot Records 47
pallbearer EMOTIONALLY PAINFUL, BEAUTIFULLY CATHARTIC
The world was taken by storm when in 2012 this band from Little Rock, Arkansas, released their debut album, “Sorrow and Extinction”. All of a sudden everyone was kneeling down before what we can call a doom metal band. Maybe that’s because Pallbearer’s music is way more than that. Now it’s time to continue and evolve. With their sophomore album released last month we grabbed the opportunity and we talked with Joseph D. Rowland – vocalist, bassist, man of the keyboards and lyricist. Words: Tiago Moreira
INTERVIEW // PALLBEARER
I guess the other good thing out of it is how a situation like that can push you forward, and I don’t mean necessarily as a musician but mostly as a person because if people dig your work you start to believe more in yourself.
Yeah, I can definitely see that. I’m not going to say that it’s not nice to have people enjoying my art, that’s obviously nice to have. [laughs] People out there that have an appreciation for it. Like I said, that was never the purpose but now that’s here, I’m thankful for it.
orrow and Extinction was a critically and fan acclaimed album. What was the impact of that recognition for the band and for this new album?
Well, I guess the impact definitely provide us with the opportunity to get ourselves out there a lot more, in terms of being able to be at least a nearly full-time touring band. We had never really planned on being able to go out for a month plus at a time. We assumed that tops we might play regional shows or if we’re lucky maybe some festivals here and there but I mean, it definitely provides us the opportunity to do the band, like I was saying, in a semi full-time way, and also provided an impetus to push ourselves further creatively for the new album too, you know? Knowing that the album did have such a… I won’t say lasting impact because it has only been two years but we still have a lot of people saying that Sorrow and Extinction really had a strong impact on them and in their lives. The fact that it was able to affect other people too was important and humbling to me.
Was there a weird feeling attached to all these changes and recognition?
Yeah. It was definitely surprising because it’s not something that we had any expectations out of. We wrote the album; Bret [Campbell, vocals/guitar] and I started the band just out of necessity pretty much. It was a kind of an outlet for us, kind of a manifest of ways of dealing difficult things that we were going through in our lives at that time. There was never really any intent of being a critical success or anything like that. We didn’t even figure that so many people would dig the album. It was weird and surprising but what can we do? I think we just have to roll with it and keep doing what we do. 50
“Foundations of Burden” seems to be more down-to-earth than “Sorrow and Extinction”. Does it feel that way?
[pause] I don’t know, man. To me I don’t feel like it has as narrow focus as Sorrow and Extinction. I feel there’s more ground being covered lyrically and musically on Foundations of Burden whereas Sorrow and Extinction had a pretty… the whole album kind of deals, or focus on mortality and the inevitability of it. Bret and I shared the writing a little bit more on this album, lyrically speaking. He wrote the lyrics of half the songs and I wrote the other half. We are coming from a different place and trying to achieve different things within the scope of the band, lyrically. I don’t know, maybe down-to-earth can be a way to describe it. I don’t really want to speak for what Brad wrote but for me I drew, once again, from personal experiences and also trying to interpret some dreams that I was having during a time of some difficulties in my life. I definitely feel that there’s sort of an unreal quality to Sorrow and Extinction. There’s like an atmosphere that feels like dreamlike, really slow and almost doesn’t sound like... when I’ve gone back and revised it, in comparison to the new album, it almost feels like a record being played back at the wrong speed. There’s just something in there, the whole record has a sound to it, and it’s like this monolithic and trudging sound. I don’t feel that’s present as much in this new album even though there are some parts that are even slower. In that regard I can totally see the new one being more down-to-earth and actually created by like humans and not like some sort of weird dream creatures. [laughs]
One thing is for sure, this new
album is more ambitious.
Yeah, for sure. I would definitely say that’s more ambitious. We challenge ourselves to write better songs than we did on Sorrow and Extinction. I think we’ve grown up more as musicians and as people since we wrote that record. I feel like if we didn’t challenge ourselves, what would be the point? I didn’t want to write Sorrow and Extinction 2, you know? [laughs] It needed to be its own thing this time and I still feel that it has an epic feeling to it but it’s like a different kind of epic, I guess there’s a different feeling on this record.
Using more melodies and dynamics, was it a conscious decision?
Absolutely. We’re approaching this in a very compositional style, we’re not a band who just wants to write like three heavy riffs and make that a song. There are some bands that can pull that off. Personally there’s very few that I think are very good. I find it incredibly boring. That’s a style that I really only think that a few bands that play doom metal per se that are actually good at. Most of them… I couldn’t care less about.
“Words Apart”, the opening track, seems to talk about the importance of balance. That’s indeed the case?
Yeah! There are a few themes going on in that song… I don’t like to talk too in-depth what the songs are about. I feel it’s important that people have their own interpretations of the songs because if I explained why there’s nothing left for people to like take ownership from it for themselves. There’s definitely a theme about balancing light and darkness and not letting obstacles get in the way of what you love and what’s important.
Could it be used to describe Pallbearer? I mean, “Without light the dark encloses all (…) without dark the light burns out our eyes and turns each of us to ash”.
Absolutely! That’s something I’ve been saying since Sorrow and Extinction came out. We always… There’s no black and white. There’s always like shades of everything and we definitely aren’t a whole negative band. There are elements of hopefulness and some positivity there
“I feel it’s important that people have their own interpretations of the songs because if I explained why there’s nothing left for people to like take ownership from it for themselves.” too, even though sometimes the lyrics might seem downer and depressed. There’s always that look ahead for something beyond. So yeah, absolutely, it’s definitely a little bit of a sweeping statement about what we’re about, in a way.
How was it working with Billy Anderson?
It was great. He’s a legend for a reason. He has an incredible talent and skill producing and he had a bunch of great ideas to help us make the sound clearer and more defined that would it been if we just had gone solo with the ideas that we had, like some small changes to the way play things… Not necessarily changing notes or anything, just playing chords in a different way or layering things differently to open the sound and help the dynamics to come out even more. He was definitely of great value and I would love to work with him again. I consider him to be a friend on top of working with him in a professional capacity. It was fantastic the entire experience and very different. We were basically living in the studio and working fourteen hours a day for a month straight. It’s a pretty growling environment. [laughs] We would sleep there, wake up, work for fourteen hours, go to bed, wake up and do it all over again… that same routine for thirty days. It was quite a bit different from the experience that we had on Sorrow and Extinction that was done periodically over a course of a year, like two or three days here and two or three days there.
What are your thoughts about this new experience? Did you enjoy working non-stop?
It has some disadvantages and some advantages. It was a struggle sometimes to maintain sanity but there were definitely some enjoyable aspects of it. And this time around we were dealing with a deadline. We had to get an additional week of studio time and we were mixing until literally like an hour before our time was up. A little stressful at times but it worked.
Do you remember what you guys were listening back when you were creating and recording this new album? The album was created over a two year period so it’s hard to say exactly what I was listening but I remember of listening, while recording the album, things like Sun Kil Moon, Wovenhand and… I’m always
listening to 2.54. The XX is my favorite band and a band that I really, really respect the level of like atmosphere and feeling that they’re able to capture. Even though we may not necessarily sound like The XX, it’s something that I’m always trying to achieve in the music that I write, from my perspective. Other than that, we’re always listening to Yes, King Crimson… We’re big fans of Steve Hackett [Genesis].
In a world eager for labels, Pallbearer managed to run away of a bunch of labels. Do you ever think about what made your band’s music being so important that decreases the importance of labeling it? The only thing that has really stuck with me, as I’ve been trying to figure it out myself, I think there’s a human element to the lyrics that people can relate to. It’s something that everybody has to go through at some point. But I don’t know, I’ve never been able to pinpoint what is exactly that makes people lash on so much. I don’t know if I will ever figure that out and honestly I don’t know if I want to.
Foundations of Burden is reviewed in this issue, and is out now via Profound Lore Records musicandriotsmagazine.com
INTERVIEW // JOHANNA SAMUELS
The New Yorker who grew up in Los Angeles. The girl who used to sing in school choirs and obsessively learned to play the songs of her musical heroes by ear. She started to write her own songs at age 18, alone in her bedroom.
JOHANNA SAMUELS the 25-year-old is releasing her debut album, “Double Bind”, making pop music challenging and compelling, at least one more time. We spoke with Samuels to know about all these things and more. Words: Tiago Moreira// Picture: Sean Ryan Pierce
digest everything and I needed an outlet. So, it started to be like a diary and then I was just playing. I started really writing that first thing I’ve put out in Paris. I had this mini-keyboard and I realized that I could build all these sounds and garage bands were just kind of becoming a thing… It was really through recording that I fell in love with writing my own songs, and then just kind of having this diary where I can make rhymes out of my feelings. [laughs]
How much did it take you to start performing live?
It was weird because when I wrote those two first sets of songs I was alone, abroad and lonely, so I just, without even thinking, put them out on the internet. I think once people started to hear those there was more of a pressure for me to start sharing it more. People responded well to it and they were asking when I was going to play them live, so that
ow was it for a native New Yorker to grow up in Los Angeles and then go back to New York?
It’s weird. I’m currently in the middle of both. When I was growing up in Los Angeles, I was always like, I identified as being a New Yorker and I was always saying “I hate L.A.” [laughs] I mean, I love New York but I also have developed a total appreciation for Los Angeles. I didn’t realize how good I had it with the weather, like sun all the time but I really think they’re really similar but in a polar opposite ways, if that makes sense.
Do you think that had an effect on you as a musician?
I definitely do. I think that even though they are both very different, they’re both very big cities in a sense there’s so many people that is really easy to feel isolated in both places, for different reasons I think… In New York you’re surrounded by people all the time but you can still feel lonely and in Los Angeles you can go days without even seeing people, if you really want to. [laughs] But it’s very cinematic.
You sang in school choirs from a young age. That’s where your interest in music began?
Yeah, I guess I always loved music and my parents love music and it was a very musical house. I took piano lessons but I was kind of stubborn and I refused to learn how to read music so my teacher would just let me sing. I think it really started when I found this Beatles box set in the CD player and I just became obsessed with them. I was just a freak. [laughs]
Do you remember what were you looking for back when you started to write songs in your bedroom, at age 18?
I definitely didn’t know if I wanted anybody to hear them, but I think I was sort of starting to work stuff out… I was always learning how to play other people’s songs, by ear. Just listening to the CD and try to emulate what they were doing in the piano. That always gave me a huge pleasure but I guess there’s something in being that young but old enough… I was away from home and I was really starting to 52
“I fell in love with writing my own songs, and then just kind of having this diary where I can make rhymes out of my feelings.”
seemed the next step. It took about a year, I would say, to book a show, and… It was so scary. [laughs] I remember of having just panic attacks like months before the show. But once I was playing with other people… It just became so much more fun.
“Giant Fantasy Life” was the first step. Do you remember if you were happy with the final result at the time? I think I was happy that I made it. I was working a full-time job and it was made over the course of year, maybe over a year. I feel that I get very spontaneous, when I make
something is like “It’s done,” put it out and then I hear it one year later and “Oh my god, I want to change it.” [laughs] But I think at the time I was happy with it, but obviously I made it under a very limited… I didn’t have a lot of money, I didn’t have a lot of equipment and I didn’t have a band. I always want to make something fuller and intricate. I love when things swell and get quiet and then explode that kind of thing.
It didn’t take long for you to start working on this album. Did you know what direction you wanted to take with “Double Bind”?
I don’t know. I guess Giant Fantasy Life had a similar wish but I couldn’t execute it as well and in the time between the release of Giant Fantasy Life and Double Bind I was putting together a band, trying to figure it out our sound live and I was also writing these sounds, so really was just focusing on doing it with the band and collaborating. I think you can hear those things on
a record when band mates are friends and they have the freedom of like grooving with their own melodies and make something that’s a group collaborative effort.
Can you talk about the work that you and Fen Ikner [drummer and producer] did after recording the basic tracks? “Double Bind” is a very layered album, with a lot of textures, so probably those details at the end were not only crucial but also challenging.
That’s my favorite part of all music. I feel like those little pet sounds can be the most important things on a record. Again, it took a year to put it all together so by the end when we got to do that fun part, we were super excited. Those little things came easy and some of them came by accident. Me and Fen, we were always thinking about how it would be sequenced and placed together. For example, “Double Bind” wasn’t even a song but we wanted a song that ended in the first chord of “Your Door”. I wrote it in like fifteen minutes, and recorded it at home, and then I sent to him for the mixing.
Did you have two specific emotional demands in mind when you chose “Double Bind” as the album title?
For sure, yeah. The all record is really for my family and again stepping away… You know, not just for my family. I think it’s me kind of bargaining how to have a love relationship with people who… It’s really hard to separate yourself from kind of demands of what people want you to be and need you to be, especially when you’ve always been that away, you know? I kind of was at a breaking point in terms being an individual and, quote on quote, adult, and kind of having these repeating patterns that I knew they stood back to me before I knew how to be an adult but it was just coming from me at this point and I needed to address all these dynamics so I could break a cycle within myself. So, I can have the people that I love so much in my life but be able to take care of myself.
Double Bind is out now and was reviewed in our last issue www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // PRAWN
Formed in Ridgewood, NJ in the summer of 2007, have been putting out some great stuff and doing a lot of tour. Some say that their music is an "emo revival", but we sure think it's more than that. They draw its influences from indie, emo, rock and post rock creating impressive songs with pretty honest lyrics. We caught up with Jamie Houghton - the drummer of the group, - and we talked about their latest releases, especially their remarkable new album "Kingfisher" that takes us even deeper into Prawn's world.
Words: Andreia Alves
ou guys were recently on a summer tour with Into It. Over It., The Hotelier, and Foxing, and you played “Ships” in its entirety. How was it? Any funny story?
The summer tour was probably our best US tour so far. We started the tour supporting Into it. Over it. We’ve known Evan from IIOI for quite sometime now but have never toured with him. It was awesome being on the road with them and seeing how well that band is doing now. Evan and the rest of the guys are extremely nice and a deserving bunch of dudes. We also knew the guys in Foxing prior to the tour. We were good friends before the tour started but, after the tour ended, we now can consider them some of our best friends. The Hotelier were on the same dates as Foxing so we were all a silly-happy-bunch.
For those who are getting to know your band now, tell us a little bit about yourselves and how Prawn was formed. Prawn is a band that draws influences from indie, post rock, 54
emo, and punk. Myself and Tony [Clark, guitar/vocals] basically grew up playing music together and Tony met Kyle [Burns, guitar/ vocals] through a summer job. We started taking Prawn seriously around 2008. We all went to different colleges so we would write music during breaks from school and then tour during the summer. We signed to Topshelf Records in 2011 and have been releasing records with them ever since. Now that the majority of the band has finished college we are trying to tour as much as possible, and take music full time. We also enjoy partying a little too much.
In a lot of publications that I read about you guys, they label you as “emo revival”, but your music goes beyond that. What do you think about that?
Yeah, we’ve definitely been getting bunched in with the emo revival lately. When we first started out, “emo” was still a bad word, so when we started hearing it we kind of had a cold shoulder towards it. However, a lot of our favorite bands also get labeled as emo. The emo revival has also started bringing a lot more attention to us as well as
our friends’ bands. I’ve personally always thought of us as an indie rock band that had post rock influences, but I can see how we get the emo tag.
Earlier this year, you released the “4 Way Split” that was done with Frameworks, Kittyhawk, and Droughts. How was the creative process for this split? We actually were asked if we would be interested in being on the spilt. Tony was working on some solo songs at the time so he brought those over to us and worked them in as Prawn songs. We were super excited to be a part of that split because all the artists on it are great bands.
At the same time, you guys released a split with Joie de Vivre. What can you tell us about that? We met Joie De Vivre while we were on tour in Europe. They booked a Euro tour through the same booker that we did and we ended up being on the same show in Toulouse, France. All of Prawn were big fans of Joie prior to meeting them so we were super excited to be playing with them.
of your band, both lyrically and musically. I read somewhere that Tony Clark wrote some of the new songs while sailing and there’s actually a sea theme around those lyrics. So how was exactly the songwriting process for this record?
Thanks again. The song writing process was basically the same as we always do it except we had a new bassist and Kyle moved to guitar. Tony did write lyrics while sailing in Greece; his mom lives out there. He ended up going on a big sail trip with her and I know he came up with a lot of ideas for the record while sailing. As I said before, we spent a lot of time with each song. We live demoed some songs and then tweaked and edited them from there.
“Prolonged Exposure” is one of those tracks that stands out for such profound and honest lyrics, and it’s about Tony’s father. After releasing several great records, has it became easier for you to talk and write about more personal matters?
To make a long story short, we hit it off, played a ton of foosball, and indulged in a lot of adult beverages because it was Tony’s birthday, as well as Steve’s birthday, who is the former drummer of Joie De Vivre.
You have recently released your brand new album “Kingfisher” and it’s really amazing. Comparing to the all your prior releases, how would you describe now Prawn sound?
Thank you for the kind words! I think it’s the record we’ve been trying to write since the beginning with some new influences we picked up along the way. Tony really spent a lot of time working on the lyrics and vocal melodies for this record and personally, I really think they are the stand out point. We all dedicated tons of time and hard work to the record. That definitely had something to do with us all living close to one another and we had a practice space that was accessible almost 24/7. Musically, I think the record came out much darker and cleaner than previous releases of ours.
“Kingfisher” is a remarkable, beautiful musical achievement
Well I can’t speak for Tony, but yes that song is about his father and I think it’s the first time he’s ever written lyrics directly about him. It’s probably my favorite song on the record. I love how the instrumentation complements the lyrics and the direction of that song.
“Halcyon Days” shows your most post-rock side. How did this song come about?
All of Prawn listens to post-rock and we’ve always incorporated it into our music. When we first wrote “Halcyon Days” we kind of knew it was going to be the closing of the album. That song actually came together quite fluidly. We just kept building off of parts that preceded one another, and when it came to ending the song, we really liked the idea of closing the album the way it started.
What’s the track of the new record that best defines Prawn as a whole band and why?
If that question was directed at any other release I could probably answer it. This is probably cheating, but I really think Kingfisher as a whole defines Prawn as a band. I feel like on past releases we’ve meshed the genres or influences into a single song. But on Kingfisher I think we focused and dedicated one sound or genre to each individual song.
by Mike Kalajian at Telegraph Recording. How did go the recording process?
The recording process was one of the toughest times we’ve had recording but was definitely the best it’s ever been. It was tough because we had a tight time frame due to budgeting and the touring schedule we had going on at that time. I had actually never been so prepared for recording than I was for Kingfisher. We had my drum parts finished and me on a metronome about a month before I was scheduled to go into the studio. Tony had to do a crazy 48 hour session because he had to do his guitar parts then vocals before we left for a tour with You Blew It!. Needless to say we got a little crazy that night. We also had the pleasure of working directly with Greg Dunn this time around. Greg has mixed our work in the past but has never engineered a record for us. Greg and Tony really meshed well when it came to ideas or auxiliary instruments. Greg has also been a great friend of ours for a long time, so it was awesome hanging out with him in the studio. We basically spent half the time working and the other half eating pizza and drinking way too much beer. Greg has been working closely with Mike Kalajian, so when it came to get the record mastered, he highly recommended Mike.
What’s next for Prawn?
We really just hope to tour as much as possible for Kingfisher. We’d love to get over to Europe again soon and we’d love to travel to other continents as well. Kyle has wanted to go to Japan since we started this band. Once touring slows down we’ll probably start writing again.
What’s your favorite record of 2014 so far?
That’s a tough one. I’ve been in love with Bombay Bicycle Club’s record “So Long, See You Tomorrow”. Weatherbox’s “Flies In All Directions” and Braid’s “No Coast” I’ve consistently listened to since they came out. I also just listened to the stream of Interpol’s new record “El Pintor”. Their first full length, “Turn on the Bright Lights” is one of my favorite records so I’m always keeping an ear out for those guys.
This new effort was produced by Gregory Dunn and mastered musicandriotsmagazine.com
Kingfisher is out now via Topshelf Records 55
SHARP SOUND AND HONESTY, EVERYTHING COMES NATURALLY
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why a band is having alent is just a tiny part from a 29 dates world ould notice that in her n us what’s going on in ths ago what some like antasy.
want to start by asking you: how were these last two years, I mean from the release of “Sorry” to the release of this new album?
Yeah. I mean, things started to come out, in my head… You know, I always was in a band because I just love being in a band and it wasn’t about assuming that there was going to be a career or anything like that. So when Sorry came out we started to receive a little attention, doing well and making some money and people were also interested in what we were doing. That made a huge difference, obviously, in our lives and the way that we looked at the band and then the Domino signing happened, which is really impactful, obviously, because by default more people will be aware of us. I mean, it’s simply distribution and being on a bigger label. That was exciting… [pause] But you know, we’ve been touring since day one because we’re from Vancouver and there’s nowhere to go but to go on tour down to the States. Touring was just what we had to do so for us… You know, we have done everything ourselves already. Not so much the momentum change of how we have to work and how much time we have to tour or anything like that because we were always working hard. I guess it just got a little bit easier, you know?
Did you notice that some things have changed? Your perception changed during these last two years?
Yeah, like suddenly we had a publisher and we had this person who wants to book these shows… Suddenly we had people investing, deciding they could make money out of us and investing in our work. That’s all that comes down to. It’s business. They support and they love what you’re doing but they also realize they can make some money out of you and have money to pay their bills, and that’s fine. It’s a simple transaction and I have no issues with that, it’s just how things are. That was one change, the one was that we had a team and we had to play bigger festivals and we got paid more, we could stay in the hotel and everything. Just the little things, you know? So, everything has been going really good and I have no complaints. I’m quite happy. Riding it out until no one cares anymore and found another blonde chick yelling that they can like…
You had vocal problems last year. What happened and how did you manage to recover and be 100%?
Basically what happened was that I was taking really bad care of my voice and singing incorrectly and doing drugs that fuck up your throat, and drinking, and not taking care of myself… singing very, very incorrectly. I got home and I knew I needed to keep going on tour and all this kind of stuff and so I had to do something serious with fixing my voice so I went to this woman that actually my doctor recommended it to me, she’s like a speech therapist and a vocal coach and… she really helped me but… basically what I think she did was to reinforce the confidence in me and I feel like vocal issues, even if you have polyp, which I did, that stuff is 90% mental. It’s mostly in your head and you need like to reinstate and rediscover your confidence again. Now there are certain things I do before www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // WHITE LUNG going on stage, like vocal warm-ups or whatever. It’s intrinsically dorky and you feel like a nerd but at the end of the day with all the touring you just need to take care of yourself.
Another important change in your life was you dealing with the issues with certain substances that you had in the past. Were you afraid of reaching a point of no return? Yes, but there was always something in my head that pulled me away from it and just having this awareness to realize when is time to stop, and it is not easy but you can’t… I don’t know. I want to be able to experiment with those kind of things for the rest of my life and I don’t want to get to the point of no return or whatever.
Can you talk a little bit about the title, “Deep Fantasy”?
We named the record before we even started writing it. Anne-Marie [Vassiliou, drummer] wanted to call the record Fantasy and I already had the image of my mom that I wanted to use but there’s this other Vancouver band that we know that had released a record called Fantasy so I didn’t want to use the exact same name, so as we started to write the content and as my lyrics came up, Deep Fantasy just became the title. It was a line that’s in the last song of the record [“In Your Home”] and it made perfect sense. We actually wrote an open letter that was put together with the first 100 copies of the record where we explain what that means.
How was it, the process of creating and recording these new songs?
It was different because we got rid of our bass player, so we had to write the record just the three of us as oppose to the past where we always wrote stuff as a four piece just jamming things out. Instead of just playing and seeing if any part is really interesting to start working on the actual song… it didn’t work like that. Kenny [William, guitarist] worked on some parts at home and he only showed me stuff that he thought was good enough to be on the record. It really allowed all of us to bring our best material forward and also I moved half way through making the record. I left Vancouver for a while so we were writing in isolation and then coming together and work really hard trying to complete those ideas/ 58
parts. It was more like a collage studio thing… We did a lot of work in the actual studio. Jesse Gander [producer] had a big hand in how that record sounds and a lot of things that I did vocally. It was a completely different process but in the end worked way better for us… And Kenny had to play the bass and the guitar so we would be practicing, and he would be hitting the bass notes on the E string as well as playing the high parts, so he ended up playing these weird chords progressions, because he was trying to give me the root notes so I could see where the bass would be going and try to write my melodies, and that resulted on the record having a sicker guitar sound because the way he had to play because of our situation.
That actually explains a lot. On “Snake Jaw” you’re talking about body dysmorphia. It’s terrifying to think how dismissive this society is towards that and, well… mental illnesses in general. How do you feel about that?
It’s basically what I’ve said, a lot of the time the struggle for me is not… [pause] Obviously I understand how much dieting and body issues affect my gender. The struggle more for me is not that I feel taken away of me or unaware of it but I know I will still participate in that. The way I look at myself in the mirror, sometimes I will scrutinize my own body and… I know better. I’m not stupid, but I’m still falling victim to that and we all really do because is something that has been ingrained in our heads since we were six or seven years old. I think for me, personally, growing up doing ballet and figure skating very seriously, you’re judge not only by your athletics but the way you look and I think that’s a different kind of… it creates a different kind of self-reflection in a sport like that. I mean, figure skaters are like ice Barbies. It’s just something that I really wanted to write about because I can’t name one woman in my life that wasn’t affected by it. I just thought it was something really important to talk about and I think it’s something that should be more discussed.
Can you talk a little bit about “Sycophant”?
I was crashing at my friend Louise Burn’s house during the recording of the album and she had Richard Hell’s I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp. I started reading it and
kind of could not stop. Hell, he’s such a solid writer. I would re-read certain sentences over and over, and I started thinking about all the men I was involved with last year and how I always felt like a monster compared to them, like I was scaring them constantly. I really worked hell up in my head like this ultimate junkie punk dream, he just seemed like a type of man that didn’t exist anymore.
Kanye West said, in his famous interview with Zane Lowe, “I know how to make perfect but that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to crack the pavement and new grounds… sonically and society, culturally”. Where do you stand on this issue? Are you trying to find perfect or just to “crack the pavement”?
“I am trying to write intelligent, accessible rock songs with lyrical content that holds weight while fascinating challenging discussions and make a mark in popular culture.”
I am trying to write intelligent, accessible rock songs with lyrical content that holds weight while fascinating challenging discussions and make a mark in popular culture.
The “Face Down” video is fuckin’ awesome. How was it shooting that video? By the way, I love your fucking Volvo.
Pierce McGary (who is a dear old pal of ours and also plays bass in Mac DeMarco’s band, another dear old pal) made the video. The thing with our music is that it’s serious, but we aren’t very serious people. I want our videos to reflect us rather than the content we make.
What’s the deal with Hether Fortune (from Wax Idols)? Will she stay in the band and help create
the next record? What happened with Grady Mackintosh?
We got rid of Grady because things had been very unhappy for many years. I can not think of a time when things were just good and comfortable. You can not make music with someone who you don’t like and who clearly does not like being around you. That’s not what this is. We aren’t Metallica making St. Anger and look, even that record sucked. Grady was a solid bass player, but her personality did not work with the band and she was very unhappy too. Hether stepped in to play on this year’s cycle of touring. I know she wants to stay in the band as long as she can and we like having her on stage with us.
Courtney Love and Kathleen Hanna but to be honest it seems that your singing is way more influenced by Mia Zapata (The Gits). Do you agree?
I love Mia Zapata. Mia and Cristina Martinez and Jennifer Herema. Dirty rock. The Courtney thing... I mean, I wrote that one piece and I do adore Courtney Love and really loved her when I was a teenager, but this whole idol worship thing stamped to me gets irritating. Should I dye my hair brown and stop wearing lipstick so the comparisons stop? Truthfully, I don’t sound like either Courtney or Kathleen.
It’s well known your love for musicandriotsmagazine.com
Deep Fantasy is out now via Matador Records 59
INTERVIEW // AVI BUFFALO
- a.k.a Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg released his excellent eponymous debut album with only 19 years old, followed by the great media praise and a lot of tour dates including the best summer festivals in the world. Four years later, "At Best Cuckold" is his second effort that was obviously inspired by all the experiences and situations he went through over the past few years. We caught up with Avi to talk about this new album and what has changed since his debut release. Words: Andreia Alves // Picture: Renata Raksha
t had been a while since we heard any new music from you, since the release of the single “How Come/Good I’m Wishing” in 2011. What were you up to during that time gap?
I spent a lot of time writing a lot of music and working on learning other music. I learned some more instruments and I practiced guitar, which it’s my primary instrument, and I also learned more how to record people. I just kind of combine everything into a lot of learning and working, but ended up making another record.
When you released your debut record, you were 19 and now it’s been 4 years since then. What were the advantages and drawbacks of starting making music at a such early age?
I guess the advantages are like... I 60
have started a learning process and if you choose to use it to your advantage you can get more done and know more than a lot people of your age and that’s good. There’s not really any drawbacks, as long as you do it in the right way. If you’re doing music and you’re successful and you’re young in any way, you have to use that to learn something else and try to get better and better. I think that’s just sort of what everybody should do and I started playing guitar when I was almost 13, I got into it then. I guess that was kind of late when you think that a lot of musicians start playing earlier, so I kind of start late in that sense, you know? But then I was still very young, it just depends...
During that gap of time between the first and this second album, what do you think it has changed the most in your point of view as a musician? I think I listen to a lot of different music so that changes how I’m gonna end up making sounds or writing songs, but then I think it’s just reflective of the different things that I’ve been into the past years.
Since your debut album, the band’s lineup has gone through some changes. Did that affect the making of the new record as well the live shows? On this new record, there’s two main drum and bass players. This guy named John Anderson on bass and then Sheridan Riley on drums. The three of us did a lot of like a band trio or a rock trio arrangements as a song, like there’s the three of us playing live, so that definitely influenced the sound of the record.
How was the writing process of the new songs of “At Best Cuckold”?
Usually pretty self conscious. Sometimes I have more of an objective or plan, other times I really just sit down with a chord instrument and then write anything and sing along with it until I have the thing done. Also the recording is a big part of the writing process for me, like when I’m doing overdubs and adding layers or mixing... just doing anything and the recording can be a part of the writing process.
not a tribute or a ballad, it’s just like the ballad is a type of songwriting and it’s been here for a long time. I feel like these days in some places ballads are still very prominent but then in some ways they are not. It’s something that people don’t really focus on as much these days and so I kind of wanted to highlight this kind of songwriting that has actually to do with a lot of songwriting in the world. It’s just an influence, I think.
What were the aspects and situations that inspired you to write the lyrics of this album?
It was most from life situations like relationships, friendships and life experiences.
On “Overwhelmed With Pride”, you sing “These birds seem so fucking free, they’re nothing compared to me.” What can you tell me more about this particular song?
That song is probably the most extreme consciousness song on the album. That one is kind of about dissing birds, just kind of being like “Wow, birds can fly but their brains are really small” but that doesn’t really matter, I guess.
So how long did take to put all the songs together? Well, it took me a while because I just kind of kept writing songs and so I had about 20 more songs to choose in order to decide what would be on the record. It went down to pick up 10 songs and I really just went off to which songs were more completed - like which recordings were more completed, - because I have a lot of songs that I had written that could be on the record. It kind of depends, mostly if what was completed was what made sense in the context with the other songs.
In the press release, you said that this record it’s kind of your tribute to the ballad.
It’s not really. There’s aspects that are influenced by the ballad as the type of song. It’s a pretty all over the place track really.
I was trying to figure out what you meant by that and the track “Two Cherished Understandings” for example has this kind of ballad style with heartbreaking lyrics. Yeah. I feel in some way that it is
The recording process for this new effort started on New Year’s Day of 2013. What can you tell me more about the process? We did the basic tracking of the record on tape in a studio in San Francisco, but I’ve been doing demos for years before that. There’s a recording in August of 2012 that predated that. Definitely the writing and the recording process started way before that. But the first day was in 2013 and we started doing tape tracking and then eventually advanced that to digital so we could sort of work on a computer. That’s what I would call “half-analog record”, then turned it into digital and finished it digitally in analog, and mixed a lot of it in analog so that could end like that.
Overall, what’s the song that stand out the most for you?
I really like “Oxygen Tank” a lot just for the recording and the song itself. I’m just proud for being able to get like a full arrange of sounds on that song. I also really like “Overwhelmed With Pride” and “Memories of You”. I really like all of them in different ways honestly. It’s like I’m really into it, it’s just
“If you’re doing music and you’re successful and you’re young in any way, you have to use that to learn something else and try to get better and better” kind of that there are certain ones that I like of the flashier parts and stuff. Each song has their kind of reason and there are a lot of songs that were chosen from the way i sing for sure. I picked the ones that really mean a lot.
Besides music, what other outlets you would like to explore more?
I think art and sounds and visual art is something that I’ve always done, so I’ve been working on that. I’m getting more and more into dancing and I’ve been doing a lot of dance performances, like kind of improvised ones with the sounds that I’ve already made and that has been really fun exercise, really important.
Will you do a dance performance in one of your upcoming music videos?
Yeah, hopefully. I would love to and it would be fun to do it.
What have you been listening to lately?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of classic radio. I listen to a lot of hip hop and... Just a lot of music. I’ve been working on rehearsing music all the time and I’ve been recording some other people’s music, so I’ve been listening to a lot of this guy’s music named Kevin Litrow, it’s so good. He has a project that’s called N.O.W. and he’s a really great songwriter and musician. I’ve been listening to him a lot and also Glen Campbell and Dionne Warwick. I have been listening to Bob Dylan lately the past few days. It’s a great consciously listening to a lot of Bob Dylan just because I was depressed about a breakup, so I wanted to listen to some intense and bitter Bob Dylan’s songs. I like classical music a lot and I like a lot of new hip hop. Just a lot of stuff.
At The Best Cuckold is out now via Sub Pop Records
In-depth and frankly awesome interview with Frank Iero Words: Andreia Alves // Picture: Justin Borucki
INTERVIEW // FRNKIERO ANDTHE CELLABRATION
You may know
FRANK IERO for being one of the
guitarist of the extincts My Chemical Romance as well as the vocalist of Leathermouth and Death Spells - and you also may pronounce wrong his surname - but now it's time to know him as an individual artist. Without the intention of doing a solo due to the MCR breakup, Iero has always been a restless soul and a creative musician. Living with a bacterial overgrowth of the lower intestines, he started writing songs while he was in pain so that he could keep himself motivated, even though it was a difficult process. That was basically the thought process behind the entire record, so what can you expect from this solo album? It's easy and simple, "Stomachaches" is raw, honest, brave and cathartic, and has all the ingredients to make this album captivating and unforgettable. In a fun chat, Frank Iero told us all about his new adventure and how has been life since MCR came to an end. Welcome to Iero's fascinating world! 64
ince an early age that you’ve been a pretty active musician and went through a lot of bands, with My Chemical Romance as the one that stands out the most. Since the band call it quits last year, how has life been for you?
Life has been busy and crazy, I thought I would have more downtime but... I don’t know if you can really prepare yourself for time off or anything like that until it actually happens and all of the sudden a million things come in at once. I’ve always had this problem I guess [laughs] where things will come up and if they sound really fun and interesting to do, I’ll automatic say yes without giving any second thought, whether I have time to do it or not. So I find myself saying yes to all these things and thinking I’ll have a lot of time, but then all end up kind of coming at the same moment... so it’s been busy but I guess kind of fulfilling in a creative sense, you know, which it’s nice.
I got sad when I heard about the breakup, because I really liked your music.
[Laughs] It would be different if it never happened at all, than you could be sad [laughs] but us as a band and together with the fans and that relationship I think we all had a good one. We’re doing alright.
Gerard Way is also releasing his first solo album this year. Do you guys often hang out and exchange ideas about music?
No, we don’t do that. We talk about normal everyday stuff, but we don’t really do the music thing anymore. [laughs]
One of the things that you’ve done over the past couple of years was a song for the soundtrack of Tim Burton’s reboot of Frankenweenie [“This Song Is A Curse”]. How did that come about?
It was a while ago, so when that came up it was kind of when they were doing this movie, I’ve been a fan of what Tim Burton does in general and I’m a fan of the original short. When I heard about it, they were looking for music for the feature and I showed interest in coming to see an early version of it. They set up a studio kind of thing and a lot of people were there to see the unfinished film to feel inspired. At that time, we [MCR] were on a process of building a studio in L.A. and when we all discussed about it, was kind of “We don’t know if we really have time to do this,” but I said “Well, I really want to see it, so I’m gonna go.” [laughs] “If I think it’s something that we should really make time to do, I’ll let you guys know and then we’ll see if we can.” So I went and saw it and loved it. It’s a phenomenal movie and just because I’ve seen that early on was really thrilling for me. When I was on the theatre, I wrote these things down like quotes and ideas that I had, I got really excited about it. When I came back to talk with the guys I was like “The film is phenomal. I think if we have the time, we should really do this. I have some music ideas.” They were uncertain about it, so I said “If we don’t have time to do this as a band, I would really like to do it myself.” They didn’t have any objections and so the next day I just ended up writing the song and it was easy as that.
Besides that, you did a song/video (“B.F.F”) with your twin daughters [Lily and Cherry Iero] which it’s really lovely and they must be a huge inspiration for you. Did being a dad somehow change your perspective on life? Yes, absolutely! Without a doubt, it’s an absolute life changing experience. I think it would be a hard quest to be the same person after that. Having the opportunity to be able to write with them and record with them was incredible. I’m so happy that I was able to pull off that and that’s something that I will forever remember and cherish.
“It was rough and it was therapeutic at times. It was a long process of writing and recording, but that’s also how it took me to go through with it. It was rewarding I guess at the end of it, strangely rewarding.”
INTERVIEW // FRNKIERO ANDTHE CELLABRATION
Normally when a musician starts a solo project after being in a band for a long time, the solo project tends to be something different from the previous band, but that’s not your case. It just kind of happened, right?
Yeah, it just happened. It was something that I did for myself and it was more about getting through how I felt physically than writing a record and start a new band. For me, the endgame was just to feel human again and after that, once I finish all the stuff, like the step back and the body of work… I guess it’s something more. I don’t know about the all “everything happens for a reason” kind of deal maybe, but it’s nice to have something that shows all the pain that I went through, you know? I’m a true believer and art being created for yourself, for the sake of creating... but I felt that it was ultimately to release it into the world and hopefully affects other people. So that’s kind of what I had to force myself to do and put it out into the world.
So why give the name “Frnkiero andthe Cellabration” for your solo project?
[laughs] I wanted something to signify that it wasn’t just me and my guitar. I wanted people to be aware that it was a full band. I came up with a mean for the accompanying instruments and just behind the instruments. I thought it would be a good idea to call something celebratory and kind of take away from the fact that I don’t really see myself as a very good quintessential frontman. I figured that if people think there’s a ‘Cellabration’ coming that it takes some of the heat off of me to entertain.
Let’s talk now about your massive debut solo album “Stomachaches”. Even though it’s a great record, it was gradually written while you were in pain. Tell me a little a bit about that process and how it was for you. It was rough and it was therapeutic at times. It was a long process of writing and recording, but that’s also how it took me to go through with it. It was rewarding I guess at the end of it, strangely rewarding.
The songs from “Stomachaches” were kind of a therapeutic method that it really worked out for you. Would you say that this album is an example that we can make art 66
through our pain?
Yes and not necessarily... I think it’s more like you can make something good out of something like that. I don’t think you necessarily have to draw creativity from pain. I like to think that you could create an act stage. Does it have to necessarily happen? No! [laughs] But I like to think it can.
Musically, what did inspire you while you were writing these songs?
Life, really. Looking back, I had to kind of look at the record in a different way since it came out and I feel like doing a lot of press kind of forced you to do that, because people ask you questions that you would never ask yourself. In that process, I thought about the past a lot, and I’m not just talking about the past like three months ago, I’m talking about my childhood and everything. There are a lot of life experiences that either I went through myself or I witness first hand. I feel like it’s very much a folk record, where there are these stories of people and what they went through to get to where they are today.
Another thing that’s really impressive about this album is that all instruments were recorded by you, except the drums, which were played by Jarrod Alexander [former MCR touring drummer]. How was it like the recording process?
Lonely! [laughs] Most of the drums were recorded by my friend Jarrod who’s such a phenomenal musician. He’s always playing his ass off and he’s spectacular. But there are some songs that were written later on. There’s a song called “Joyriding” that I wrote kind of late in the process and I ended up having to play the drums myself. So there’s that and then, there’s a song called “Smoke Rings” which also came way later. That’s actually all programmed drums on that song. Each song was kind of different, but for the most part I would demo by creating a patch work in a program then I would mostly play bass to that. That’s how a lot of the core of the songs was created. I don’t know why. People would ask me “Why would you do that?” and I have no idea. [laughs] But the only thing that I can think of is that it’s an instrument that I haven’t necessarily played a lot in my life, and so doing it was inspiring to me and that’s how some songs came
about. The guitars for me, at least, were kind of another vocal and that’s why I feel like it’s probably mixed the way it is. It’s like just another layer on top but for me I think the drums and bass were the real core of this record.
“Weighted” seems a song about celabrate and live life no matter what and that chorus is so damn catchy. How was the writing process for this one in particular?
“Weighted” was a song that came to me... I guess the chorus, melody and vocals came to me early on and I ended up actually demoing that song in a hotel room in Canada. I think we were in Montreal. I’ve doing another project with my friend James Dewees that is called Death Spells. We had done a short tour with our friends and we found ourselves in the middle of a day off in a hotel. I think some of the guys went to the movies and I ended up kind of hanging back because I had this song in my head for a couple of days and I wanted to see if I could take it out. So I remember lock myself up in the bathroom [laughs] and I had borrowed a mic I think. It was one of those things that I didn’t have a bass, which it was weird, because I had written it and I knew that it was based upon that, it was like I played my guitar on it to my laptop and then very horribly changed the voice register of the instrument down like a bunch of octaves to try to make it sound easier, and then just kind of went from there, you know? Little by little it started take shape as a song, but then when I came home from tour I demo it again and I remember sending it off to Gerard and he being really excited about the potential of that song.
The video for “Weighted” has this dark-comedy vibe and it must have been really fun to shoot the video. How was the filming experience for this video?
[Laughs] Yeah, it was fun, very hectic though. I came up with the idea and I wrote the concept for it... It’s funny because I’ve met John Carlucci who is half of Ghost + Cow Films a long time ago. I did a video with James for Reggie and the Full Effect where I was Frankenstein in it and it was the first song, “J Train”, so John directed that video, he was great to work with. He was just really fun to be around and our sense of humor is kind of similar
“I feel like it’s very much a folk record, where there are these stories of people and what they went through to get to where they are today” and so we hit it off right away, but after the video we kind of didn’t really stay in touch very much. Maybe a year or two ago, I was like “Well, I’m doing this new thing”, and we exchange pleasantries and that was the end of it, then when I wrote this concept and I thought “Oh man, I think John will get this!” because it can be horror based. I just felt that he would be perfect for it. So I reached him out and said “I don’t know if you still doing this thing, but I have this idea and I think it would be perfect for us.” Also our mutual friend Tate Steinsiek, who’s just an amazing artist and he’s stuff is unreal, he was actually on “Face Off” and shoot at one place but got cut out. [laughs] So anyway, I talked to them and we actually did two videos in two days. The first video was for “Weighted” and the second video is for “Joyriding.” All worked out so well and we shoot the videos so quickly. We didn’t have the biggest or the best budgets, but if there’s any way we could make this work, I don’t think anybody else could do it like the way I see in my head as the way we would do this together. John found a way to make it work. There are a lot of great people that did a lot of amazing work in exchange of almost nothing to
make these videos happen, so I’m very grateful for that.
in a near future we can make that work.
For the live shows, you have already a touring band that is formed by friends of yours (Evan Nestor, Rob Hughes and Matt Olsen). So what we can expect from a Frnkiero andthe Cellabration live experience?
By the way, how are things with Death Spells? Are you guys working on new stuff?
I have no idea! [laughs] It’s one of those things I’m worried that the band is really just starting and that’s scary and exciting at the same time. I don’t know what that means or what that entails. This is the first time we’re doing this together and honestly it’s the first time that these songs have ever been played in a band. I wrote them and recorded them by myself, so now this is the first time that they are ever played and it’s a very scary position to be in, but at the same time I really wouldn’t have it in any other way. You’re gonna expect to see a band formed before your very eyes. [laughs]
Are you planning on touring Europe soon?
I can tell you that we’ve kind of paused because of the different projects that we are working on. James is working again on Reggie and the Full Effect and I’m doing some tour with this record, so unfortunately we had to put a hold on that, but I do look forward to have a record out there in the world. Hopefully in the near future.
What’s your favorite record of 2014 so far?
Shit! [laughs] There’s a few actually... Against Me!’s new record Transgender Dysphoria Blues, it’s phenomenal! A Letter Home by Neil Young, I think it’s incredible... I was going to do a bucket list and now you put me on the spot. I can’t think of anything else [laughs] but I’m gonna go with those two though.
I would love to. I know right now that we have our UK tour and that’s the closest so far. There was talk about a small European tour after that but it looks like it’s not gonna happen unfortunately. Hopefully musicandriotsmagazine.com
Stomachaches is out now via Hassle Records 67
EARTH Words: David Bowes // Pictures: Samantha Muljat
There are Earth. The bands hav America directin continuing somewhe
A NEW PHASE ARRIVES A NEW JOURNEY BEGINS 68
e few bands who have contributed to heavy music to the same degree as ey’ve been credited with creating a genre, inspired more bands than said ve albums and, since their 2005 return, they’ve revitalised the sound of the an west, English folk and doom in their own minimalist vision. We talked to ng force Dylan Carlson before their recent Glasgow show to discuss their g development their eighth album “Primitive & Deadly”, an album that sits ere between the sound of a hard rock band operating on the fringes of a genre and that of masterful sonic explorers.
INTERVIEW // EARTH
ow does it feel being back in Scotland?
Good, thank you. I’ve probably said it before but my grandmother was from Fife so it’s always good being back here. It always feels like coming back home a bit as we visited a lot back when I was a kid. Also, the crowds are always good.
Was it up north that you usually visited?
On that trip I mostly did the Borders, Strathclyde and Ayrshire. We wanted to get farther north but the time didn’t let us, so hopefully next time it will happen. Although on the first solo tour, we did play all the way up to Aberdeen.
You’re now living a lot more cleanly than you used to. Do you find that touring is a bit easier now because of this, or is it more of a strain?
I’d say it’s easier because now I just show up, play the show and go back to the hotel. I don’t stay out much. It’s funny because sometimes people offer you stuff – they’re not doing it to be mean, they’re just being friendly – but you can just say, “No thanks,” so it’s not that big of a deal. Nowadays, it’s not like it used to be; it’s not everywhere. It seems like a lot of bands - a lot of older bands - don’t do it anymore either.
What was the hardest thing for you to give up?
Well, it’s weird because there’s the drugs, but then there’s also the lifestyle. It’s funny, but going to jail helped me realise that I don’t really want to keep going this way. Once you start going to jail, you tend to keep going back, and Seattle’s not a very big city so they know who you are. It was then I realised that everything good in my life has come when I put music first. It’s like that old saying – ‘you can’t serve two masters’. You just can’t. Being on tour, you don’t want to be carrying stuff across borders. It just makes life more awkward as a whole. If you just want to do that, that’s fine, but it’s a full-time job. If you want to do 70
anything else you have to grow up and put it aside. The work is the important part. The music, or whatever it is, that’s the important part. I think it’s obvious from the amount of work that I did on SubPop back in the day that I’m a lot more productive now. I’ve done more records and toured more since getting my act together. I’m not a ‘12-step Program’ person or anything like that, although I don’t have anything against it. It works for some people. I got out of jail, got a job and worked – I had the same job for seven years – then I just started doing music again on the side. Eventually I was able to leave that job and now I’m able to just do music. I’m very lucky. Not a lot of people vanish, come back and have anyone care; not a lot of people get that opportunity. There’re so many talented, amazing musicians out there and not all of them get the chance to play music for a living and tour for a living, so you just try to be grateful for what you have. And I’m grateful for the fanbase, or whatever you want to call it; Earth fans, Earth people, dirtheads, or whatever you want to call them, because they’ve been really generous and allowed me to keep doing this.
When you returned, you came back to a number of bands who cited Earth as a major influence, with Sunn O))) probably being the main ones, as well as people like Mogwai. Did you ever see much of a connection between what those bands were doing and what you had done with Earth?
I think they did the same thing I did, in that they took their influences and bands they really liked and did their own thing with it. I was always kind of funny when people were telling me that I invented this. To me, music’s like this continuum that’s been going forever. No one really invents anything, it’s more that you sort of channel music. To me, it’s more of a channelling thing where you tap into something that resonates with you, you do your version of it and some people like it, some don’t. It’s interesting too because back when Earth 2 came out, it didn’t do that well. People didn’t really like us all that much. Critics liked us but that’s never really translated into financial success, and then to come back and people are, like, “Oh, Earth 2, Earth 2!” That’s kind of strange but they’ve been very
generous in their praise, and obviously Greg started Southern Lord, and we’re on Southern Lord, so he’s been good to us too.
The new album is, in short, bloody incredible. You’ve said that this is your ‘rock’ album and in many ways it’s a revisiting of “Pentastar”.
Well, it’s similar to Pentastar in that I set out to do a rock record; I was jokingly referring to it with somebody as my midlife crisis record. I’ve been listening to a lot of the music that I grew up with, like UFO, Scorpions and AC/DC, because I started out as a real metal and rock kid. Some of the Angels... records were very improvisatory and folky, so I started the solo thing to kind of do that
“I’m grateful for the fanbase, or whatever you want to call it; Earth fans, Earth people, dirtheads, or whatever you want to call them, because they’ve been really generous and allowed me to keep doing this.”
and leave Earth free to do whatever it was going to do next. That’s kind of what this is. This writing is more based in hard rock and the songs are definitely more composed than the looser stuff of Angels... The idea with the vocals actually started because of one song, “Rooks Across The Gate”; I wrote it with vocals because that was originally going to be part of this solo project but then I rewrote it as an Earth song. I’d wanted to work with Mark (Lanegan) for a long time, since we’ve known each other for many, many years and we’d never quite been able to work together, and I heard he was available. So he heard that one, and then he heard some of the other tracks and said, “Oh, can I do another one?” So he wrote the
lyrics for “There Is A Serpent Coming”, which are amazing lyrics, and I think he’s a great singer.I know Rose Windows from living in Seattle now, and they’re on Sub Pop; I think they’re a great band and really like Rabia (Shaheen Qazi)’s voice, and Randall (Dunn), who mixed the record had worked with them. She wrote the lyrics for the song “From The Zodiacal Light”. Plus, we hadn’t had vocals since Pentastar; we hadn’t had vocals in the ‘new’ version of Earth, or since we’ve been back. It’s funny because we’ve done instrumental music for so long but the first thing we ever did had vocals, and so did Pentastar, so it’s not like I’m opposed to them; it’s just sometimes I feel it, sometimes I don’t. The songs were originally written as instrumental songs
so that’s how we do them live, although we were lucky because we were playing with Rose Windows so Rabia sang a song with us on stage, and then hopefully at some point Mark will sing some songs with us too. We’ll see.
One of the terms used when talking about this new album that it is acting as the closing part of a cycle. Is there anything that you’ve done with Earth that you feel lies outside of that cycle? I don’t know. I think there are certain elements that need to be there for it to be Earth, but as long as those are there I think there’s a lot of room to do something different. I just don’t understand the idea of
INTERVIEW // EARTH creating the same record over and over again. I don’t have a grand scheme of what I’m doing, it just sort of comes. Each record slowly gets written in bits. We just start writing about a year or six months before we record and whatever comes out is going to be the Earth record, although obviously it depends on who I work with on the record. To me, they’re like slices of time that you can’t recreate. It’s the same as what I like about the live thing, which is that you’re creating this moment in time that won’t happen again, and every time is different.
So you’re not one for revisiting old material?
Yeah, well we do older stuff in the set but it’s always slightly different because of different line-ups. I think we’re at the point too – not that we’re a big band or anything like that – but people want to hear certain stuff. We don’t just do new album material, although part of the set is just that, but there’re always some obvious favorites that we do, and then every now and then we bring out an old song that we haven’t played in a while. That’s what people want to hear. Not that we’re at that level, but it’d be like going to see Black Sabbath and they don’t play Paranoid. It would be annoying.
The first time I read Blood Meridian, I began to pick up on a lot of the track titles from “Hex”. The titles on the new album also seem to have that Mccarthy-esque quality. Is he someone who still has a bearing on your work? It’s funny, because I haven’t read anything of his since then. The inspiration for the title of this one is the line in the song that Mark wrote. Once I had the Primitive & Deadly thing, that’s sort of where the theme began to fit. This album’s goal is different to Angels...’s, which had a very concrete theme. That had a big idea to it, whereas with Primitive & Deadly, it has a sort of looser theme; the state of the world that we exist in, or the world that’s coming. With previous albums, I always felt like I had a lot more to talk about whereas this record, to me, is all music; it’s a rock and roll record. Just listen to it.
The cover art reminds me of the art for 70s prog albums, stuff like Yes. How did that come about and 72
did you have much of a hand in the direction of it?
That was done by Samantha Muljat, who is the new art director at Southern Lord. I wanted that kind of Hipgnosis-era cover, or Zeppelin IV; one of those sort of album covers. That was the discussion I had with her and she did a great job with it, and it fit the theme of the record. Plus, she did a really great job with the sigil on the inside and all that kind of stuff. Back in the Sub Pop era, I was much more of a control freak about designing the covers but now I tend to let people do their thing because I like what they do. I feel that if I let people do that then it’ll come out better than if I try to micromanage.
The new album, in one sense, is your heaviest record in a long time, and you’ve said as much yourself. How do you typically define heaviness in music?
I think there’s musical heaviness, which I think this album has, and then there’s conceptual heaviness, which is a different kind of heaviness. I definitely think this is a heavy record, like a rock or heavy metal record whereas maybe Angels... was more conceptually heavy. I think within that word there’s a broad spectrum of things that can be done. There’re other ways to be heavy than volume, though I think in this case volume is definitely the defining moment involved. Like the title, Primitive & Deadly; I wanted it to be this really punchy, bang you on the head kind of deal.
Are there any things you’d like to add?
We’re doing a US tour September 3rd to October 5th and then we’ll be doing a big European tour that starts the last week in January that runs to the 1st week of March, so 6 weeks. Hopefully they’ll be repressing the Gold soundtrack since that sold out rather quickly. There’s a new record I did with Rogier Smal that we have on tour called Elephanto Bianco; me and him did a duo tour in October and we recorded that in Manchester, and then the Kickstarter thing should be out in summer, early fall. Oh, and I’ve already started writing some new Earth songs. Primitive And Deadly is out now via Southern Lord
Primitive and Deadly Southern Lord (2014)
itting somewhere between the arid desolation of Hex and Pentastar’s wall-of-sound distortion, Primitive And Deadly is both a solid rock album and an evocative mood piece that conjures scenes of an America past yet not quite forgotten. Dylan Carlson retains his Morricone-like sensibilities throughout yet allows himself more room for embellishment, “Even Hell Has Its Heroes” possibly one of his showiest moments to date as he embarks on a hard, distorted blues saga that sees him channelling his inner John Lee Hooker to a backdrop of solemnity and American decay, although the most notable departure for Earth may well be its use of vocals, Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi (Rose Windows) giving the trio a voice for the first time in two decades. Both have an innate smokiness that puts them on even footing with the desert haze that the band radiate, though Qazi’s rich, slightly menacing turn on “From The Zodiacal Light” fits the album’s air of subtle threat almost perfectly. From the staccato doomrush of “Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon” to the elegant Lanegan-helmed comedown of “Rooks Across The Gate”, Primitive And Deadly encapsulates everything that Earth has embodied throughout their long and varied career, sonically potent yet filled with a longing that will resonate just as long as the chords do. In short, a staggering work. DAVID BOWES
“... there’s musical heaviness, which I think this album has, and then there’s conceptual heaviness, which is a different kind of heaviness.”
OKKULTOKR NORWEGIAN NOISE TERRORIST CREW UNLEASH THEIR FERAL STRIKE Hailing from ‘Ugly fucking Oslo’ and members of the Black Hole Crew which includes Haust, Årabrot and Blackest Woods, Okkultokrati have been taking the familiar sound of classic black metal and twisting, mangling and contorting it through filters of New Wave freeze and hardcore inferno before reaching a zenith with this year’s Night Jerks. We caught up with vocalist Black Qvisling, a.k.a. Henning Wisth before the band’s show with Converge, to discuss recording in churches, musical evolution and the dark side of New Age spiritualism. Words: David Bowes
INTERVIEW // OKKULTOKRATI
ow has it been playing with Converge, and to Converge crowds?
It’s been great. I mean, they’re very open crowds. They’re there for Converge a lot of the time but it’s not like they’re running away when we start playing. People sit somewhere between disgust and shock but they’re paying attention.
I know that they can be quite fickle sometimes. Do you ever feel like you have to work harder to win them over?
We don’t care. We just play and do our stuff - if people like it then that’s great. Still, we can’t change the hearts and minds of everybody and we know that. If people come around later then so be it but we’ve got our mission and we’re doing it without any interference. We don’t need any interaction from the audience, actually. If people start booing we might feed off it but still, we’re going to do our stuff anyway.
You have a sound that could best be described as a crossover, equal parts hardcore and metal. Do your crowds follow this trend or does it tend to lean one way or the other?
I don’t know. Potentially, it’s quite possibly the greatest thing ever where you could have both crowds, but also there’s the chance where you could fall flat on your face and hit neither of those, so we’re riding a very fine line. I guess that’s the way we enjoy it. We enjoy the challenge and tripping ourselves up – not taking the easy way. Trying to bring the best of both worlds – the energy of punk and the ferocity of primitive metal.
Do you come from a primarily hardcore background?
We’re all a bit different, actually. I come from a very DIY background. That was my main interest for a long time, things being as obscure as possible and being really involved and personal, from the packaging to the whole experience of recording and stuff. Pål (Bredrup) comes from a very metal background, from his home town of Notodden in Norway, a small town up in the mountains where Emperor are from. We all met in Oslo under different circumstances, and by pure chance and dumb luck we found each other and started this 76
band, and it quickly became a beast of its own. I think we were listening to similar music at the time but it was quickly evolving – making songs, recording, getting stuff out and doing it in quick succession. We made things happen for ourselves very quickly. That was part of the charm as well, the feeding off the energy of just making things happen and we haven’t really stopped until last year when Pål got this muscle sickness, so that was the first time we had some distance to what we were doing. That’s probably why the new record is a bit different as well. It has some of the more recent things we’ve been listening to – more colder-sounding stuff and obscure synthesizer music, which was coming up from a period where we almost only listened to The Ramones and Slits and The Misfits, which was like our punk rock record. I think Okkultokrati are a band that has a process of being inspired by things going on locally and you have to challenge yourself to actually make something happen. There’re so many terrible local bands growing up and around you, bad rock and roll bands - the worst, simplest kind of misogynistic bullshit. You want to challenge that or you want to blow those bands away, to destroy those guys.
Do you think the success of you guys, as well as bands like Årabrot, is a sign that people outside of Norway and started to recognise the Norwegian heavy scene for more than just black metal?
I think it’s a process. I mean, there hasn’t been a lot of black metal coming out that’s worth listening to since the 90s. It’s pretty much like a museum object. People hold that music in very high regard and I can understand why because a lot of the best records from that time are great, but there’s no reason to try and copy that. You have to take those influences and shape them into other cool stuff, mix it up with something; something unexpected. I think people want the easy way. up and around you, bad rock and roll bands - the worst, simplest kind of misogynistic bullshit. You want to challenge that or you want to blow those bands away, to destroy those guys. People are pretty much flock animals. They need someone to tell them this is cool before they can embrace it themselves, and black metal is very safe. It’s raw, you understand what’s going on immediately, and there’s a lifestyle package attached to it as well. So black metal will
always have its fans and I don’t think that will be going away any time soon. You will always have nostalgic acts trying to recreate that stuff, but maybe someday people will find out there’s more than that.
The other thing you are involved with is Black Hole Crew with Haust and Årabrot. How did that initially come to be? Norway is a very small country. Things could be cliquish but you often feel a kinship with other bands doing a similar thing. Årabrot had been going for a few years when Haust started and even if they were from the west coast of Norway, we lived in the same town and knew they would play a lot. You sort of gravitate towards like-minded people, people pushing the boundaries of music, and we found out that we were influenced by different stuff but it came to a similar kind of expression. Kjetil Nernes from Årabrot is a great guy and he’s very inspiring to work with. He comes from this aristocratic approach to music and fine arts, blending it with this low culture of AC/DC and T Rex and this sludgy, visceral thing, and that’s always inspiring, so Årabrot has been a catalyst for good stuff happening with us as well. It’s evolved into a deeper friendship, and even if Kjetil has moved out into the Swedish nowhere we can still keep in touch and plan stuff together. We went out and visited him; he lives in what used to be a church, a missionary house. It isn’t anymore but he lives there, him and his girlfriend, and they invited us to come out there and record because he has all this fantastic equipment, and a church room built for sound, with a huge organ and everything. So we went up there in March, put up a lot of microphones in the room and recorded these songs, which initially were meant to be an EP because we thought we had better have some stuff out before this tour, and to chronicle the evolution of the new songs as well. While we were there we found out that all these songs we were playing and rehearsing and quickly evolved into more than an EP. We thought this was a full-length album – the weirdest one so far. A bit more challenging for somebody maybe coming off the Snakereigns album but for the people who stick with it and give it a chance, I think it gives a greater reward.
It’s an album where there is a
“Okkultokrati are a band that has a process of being inspired by things going on locally and you have to challenge yourself to actually make something happen.” definite sense of distinction, even after only a few listens.
A lot of that is to do also with our new guitarist Milton (von Krogh). He comes from this almost nihilistic garage rock background. His band, Pirate Love, put out a few critically acclaimed records in 2006 and 2011. They were this up and coming psychedelic garage band, playing big tours in Europe and the US before hitting a snag in the last couple of years. Pål got to know him on the Årabrot tour last year, when he was playing keyboards for them, and Milton was the sound engineer for Gerilja, who were also on that tour. They bonded and found out that had similar approaches to music, and similar tastes. He’s been coming in and he also helped produce the new record, bringing in a lot of finesse; he has a unique ear for frequencies and an ear for detail on both the equipment side and for everything else. It’s been a little nudge up quality-wise for a lot of what goes into the smaller details of the sound that’s submerged way back inside, but it’s there and kind of disturbs your inner ear a bit.
How did you come to discuss largely occult and esoteric themes in your music? In Norway, it seems like the focus is often on
fantasy and folklore.
I guess that boils down to Pål and me being interested in that kind of stuff. It felt very natural, especially with the first record, where the running theme was “What if there is a darker side to the New Age movement? With astral projection and aura photography, what if you had the darker side of that energy which was out to hurt you?” Most of that is about healing, progression, mindfulness and that kind of stuff, but what if that energy turns sour somewhere, or if there’s some snapping point? That interested me and I wanted to delve more into those themes so I read a lot of books about it at the time; Pål has always been a fan of UFOlogy, and the mystique surrounding it. I thought it would be a good match to bring those two together in a darker way. So that was the start of things, and I guess it fits the music in some way.
Are Norwegians generally quite open to concepts like these?
I wouldn’t say that, because it’s really far out. In music, culture right now is going in the direction where it’s mostly superficial as opposed to before when movies were mostly superficial and got darker, and now it’s at the point where a lot of mainstream culture is very dark and depressing. The big payoff is about
disappointing you, like The Wire, with music going the complete opposite direction. Everything is supposed to be quite poppy and dancy, because that’s the way we use music right now. It’s very immediate and it needs to be catchy, needs to hold your attention even after only a few seconds. It’s interesting to have music going in the other direction but still playing with pop music themes and making it catchy, because we do love pop music. We do like catchy music. I guess it’s all about contrast; trying to mash up things that don’t really belong together but make it interesting. Make it challenging not only for ourselves but hopefully for the audience. They may not get it at first glance but who cares?
What do you see happening next? Do you have any immediate plans for the band?
Yes we do. We’re already making new songs for the next record. It’s probably on a similar tangent to what’s happening with the new record but there will be some surprises, I’m sure.
Night Jerks is out now via Fysisk Format
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Are you looking for some thrash metal fury blended with the hardcore punk intensity, but without being the same lame thing you listen to over and over again? Well, here's your opportunity to meet one of those bands that will hit you in the fucking face with their angry tunes. Featuring members of Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour and Cannabis Corpse, Iron Reagan are a supergroup that makes superpowerful songs without taking any bullshit. This September they released their new album titled "The Tyranny Of Will" and you won't find this year a better record that's so in-your-face like this one. Tony Foresta chatted with us about how insane was the making of this new effort, which is dedicated to Dave â€œThe Living Skullâ€? Brockie, the late Gwar frontman. Words: Andreia Alves
INTERVIEW // IRON REAGAN
different from the other.
ron Reagan is for sure a supergroup and since 2012 you have been putting out some killer releases. Tell us a little bit of how this band was formed.
Basically, it was me and Ryan Parrish [drummer]. We grew up together, we sort of started playing music together with high school bands when we were in school. I had my punk band, he had his metal band and we used to play shows together. We’ve just been friends for a very long time. I’ve always wanted to do this project Iron Reagan for years and also I wanted to do something with Ryan for years, it just never really clicked until both of us kind of stopped being so busy. He had just quit Darkest Hour and Municipal Waste kind of went really hard on touring cycle and we decided to take a little bit of time off and so we could write new music. I just had a lot of spare time as so Ryan. I explained to him that I wanted to do this Iron Reagan project and then we got Paul [Burnette, former bassist] on board and Phil [Hall, guitarist] just heard about it and he was like: “Man, I got a million riffs, so what the hell I’m gonna do with this?” It was going to be a project and it was gonna be this thing that we were gonna do for fun and play small shows around Richmond, but it ended up building so much momentum and it was so fast. We ended up getting a line up change with two guys that went really crazy. [laughs]
Musically, Iron Reagan is more aggressive and furious than your other band, Municipal Waste. Do you feel that this new outlet of yours is a different way for you to approach music in a whole new level? 80
Yeah, I just like staying creative. It’s a different beast, it’s like working with people with different experiences creatively. It’s really exciting and it’s a lot of fun, not only as maybe easy to work with and more passionate about both projects I have, because I’m learning new skills and the older I get I’m still learning more of how to play songs and just how to have a better time of it. It help me gain appreciation to everything I’ve been doing musically and it made more interesting singing songs.
Iron Reagan’s sound is a blast of hardcore punk with thrash rage with short duration. How is it like to write a song in this band?
With this band is different, because now we have five songwriters in the band. Most bands usually have just one or two guys and the rest kind of follows, but this band everyone kind of writes down and brings ideas. Everyone has a voice and everyone listens to each other. It’s a really good communication process. Phil has so many different song ideas. Iron Reagan was basically on the road for six months straight this year and we’ve been working really hard and we did half of this new record on the road while we were touring, which it was really crazy. [laughs] We actually had a set up in the van when we were writing songs. We actually had guitars in there and we recorded tracks just like demo stuff. It was like song ideas and we were passing the guitars around, writing stuff back and forth. When we had a couple of weeks off between the next tour, we would go to the practice space, then patched out the rest and worked on stuff, and then we left to tour again with the songs and we just kept moving. Even some of the lyrics and concepts, we came up with it on tour. It was pretty crazy how fast this band can pop out songs, because we all work so hard at it and everybody loves the band. It’s something that we are almost obsessed over sometimes, so we are constantly correcting stuff out musically. It’s super fun. [laughs]
It must be really fun, and what’s more awesome is that each song is
Yeah, each track is different. There’s a lot of slow shit... well, is not what other people think [laughs] because there’s a song that’s pretty upbeat, but there are longer songs. There’s a four-minute song [“Four More Years”] on the album, I don’t think I’ve ever done a song that long in my life. [laughs]
Early this year you’ve released the “Spoiled Identity” EP and I noticed that some of the tracks had some cool references like Robocop on “Cops Don’t Like Me, I Don’t Like Cops”; I Spit on Your Grave on “I Spit on Your Face/Grave”; and a Charles Manson quote on “Court Adjourned”. In which way did those movies and Manson influence your writing process? I think it was more of the intensity of it. Those movies on a Hatch Shell always stuck with me as a kid and growing up, it’s just shocking, you know? It always left a mark on me and so it’s kind of inspiring musically and stuff like that or even to remind people or to kind of shake things up a little bit. About Charles Manson quote, it was Ryan [Parrish] that did that, he wanted to put that in that song. [laughs]
You released your so-awaited second album “The Tyranny Of Will” this September and each song of this new album is even more intense and you take no bullshit. You were saying that you did half of the record while you were on tour. Tell us a little bit more about that and how you managed to get all the songs done.
I think we did nine songs when we went on tour with Gwar. We wrote at least over half of the album before that tour and the rest of it on the tour. When we came home, we had two weeks at home to record it and that was when we released the Spoiled Identity EP. We had only two weeks of time off from the Gwar tour to go tour with Exhumed, so we had to drive all the way across the country to meet Exhumed. So what we did with the two weeks we had when we came home instead of taking a break, we were just working everyday and finishing writing the album. We worked really hard on it. We went back on the road and we were just treating the songs on the road and writing lyrics and
“It’s really exciting and it’s a lot of fun, not only as maybe easy to work with and more passionate about both projects I have...”
INTERVIEW // IRON REAGAN just working everything out, and then came back to home from that tour and then recorded the album. It’s crazy because we honestly never stopped working until we finished the record. We went back on another tour after we recorded the album; we tracked the album and we were editing the record from the van. We had Pro Tools set up in our van and we were editing it while we were driving down the highway. [laughs] It’s crazy, I know that, but we were so worked on tracking the record and we worked very hard to make sure all the stuff sounded good, and then when we sent it to Kurt [Ballou] to mix it, he had everything in the row. There were a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of hard work on the record, but we are totally happy with it. Kurt did an insane job mixing it. We sent him the record and he answered everything and I think that’s why it is a lot heavier than the other records. I think it’s the heaviest sounding record I have ever sang on. It sounds crazy to me. [laughs] I love it!
So was all the editing done in the van?
Yes, just the editing. We did all the recording and tracking in Phil’s studio, but that was in a short period that we had between tours. Once we tracked everything, it was getting edited while we were on the road in the van. It was a really weird process, but then once we finished editing we sent it off to Kurt and we were still on tour while Kurt was mixing it. I know this sounds so confusing, but we had to stop in a studio to tour again and in the middle of the tour in Portland, Oregon. We had to sequence the record in the studio and we went and sat down with another guy and actually sequence the record like how long the time is between two songs and stuff like that. We sent that back to Kurt and we kept on playing shows and then Kurt kept on mixing it. It was really crazy. [laughs]
Were some songs written in the order of the tracklist? I ask this because they seem in a way linked to each other as they start and as they end...
Yeah, we did our songs live anyway, like The Ramones did, you know? [laughs] We wanted to do it on the record, but then we weren’t sure exactly what songs were gonna work together and once we figured it out how to put that 82
together was just like a punch in the face, just like “1,2,3 GO! 1,2,3 GO!” [laughs] We intended to do that.
Your lyrics are straight to the point about social and political matters. What did inspire you the most when you wrote those lyrics?
“We try to lyrically ma not about telling pe
Ryan helps me to write a lot too. He writes a lot of lyrics. There’s a lot of bullshit going on around here and I’m sure that happens where you guys live too. That was a good subject matter for us to kind of write angrier music. Ryan is very vocal about his point across and that helps me and it’s inspiring for me in us working together. It helps us to write songs like that when we can get our point across, but it still makes sense. It’s not pushy and not bossy because I like political bands, I like when bands care with what they are singing about but I also don’t want to push my beliefs on other people, you know what I mean? I just want to say it and not be too pushy, because that always intimidated me when I was younger and people would try to do that. We try to lyrically make something simple and it’s “in-your-face”, but not pushy, it’s not about telling people what they need to believe in and what they need to do.
I read that this album is dedicated to Dave “The Living Skull” Brockie from Gwar and you have a song titled “The Living Skull”.
Yeah! He was alive at the time when we wrote this song about him. It’s like a funny song that it was like a joke. He used to sing in Gwar and the last year we toured with Gwar for a really long time. We were out for about nine weeks with them and he actually helped us out writing a couple of the songs, just lyrical ideas and stuff like on “Bill of Fights”, “The Living Skull” and song titles that he came up with. I think “Just Say Go” is one of his few. He really loved the band. He was kind of the sixth band member. If we played, he would be on stage throwing bottles of liquor or beer at us, you know, giving us drinks and just being a part of the show. When he passed, it was heartbreaking for us and still is pretty weird being without him... So I’m glad that we had the chance to dedicate the record to him because he sure was a really big part of our band. We played on his memorial show last August.
You have Luna Duran as a guest vocals on the track “Consensual Harassment”. How did this collaboration happen?
The song’s lyrics are totally ridiculous. [laughs] That was kind of one of the fun songs on there. There’s a lot of serious songs like we talked earlier; there’s a lot of social issues and political stuff on there; there’s also the humor factor. I have to put myself into the songs or it just not gonna be real to me. It can’t just be serious and brutal all the time, that’s not the person I am, you know? That song [“Consensual Harassment”] is a really funny song. That’s actually Phil’s girlfriend singing. [laughs] She was hanging out with us and we were like “We need a girl to sing on this part.” I was like “I want something like a
ake something simple and it’s “in-your-face”, but not pushy, it’s eople what they need to believe in and what they need to do.”
Bikini Kill song but with metal parts” and she was like “Oh fuck! I just watched that Bikini Kill movie. I want a Bikini Kill song.” We thought it would be fun, I gave her the lyrics and she just did the vocals. She was really awesome and she did that in the first take. We were all like “This is fucking great!” [laughs] So we ended up keeping her on the record. It was really cool.
“Four More Years” is the longest track of the album. How did this song come about?
Oh, I don’t remember. [laughs] We have 24 songs on this thing and I don’t know. [laughs] We knew we wanted to do and we didn’t want to just be a total fast record like the last one and like almost every record I’ve ever done. I just
wanted to have some heavy shit in there and Phil wanted to write some heavy riffs. That one came about and we all were really stoked about it. We didn’t even know how long the song was so when we tracked it we were like “Oh shit! It’s a long song.” We weren’t purposely trying to write a long song, it just felt that way, you know? It just had that feeling... and it’s one of my favorite songs on the album and there are a couple of longer, heavier songs on there too, like “Broken Bottles”. That one was also a really interesting one because it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever sung on. It also has other vocals on it but even the part that I’m singing it still is just a different sounding riff that most thrash fans are not used to. It was pretty cool.
What’s your favorite record of 2014 so far?
Oh shit! That’s a good one. [laughs] I like the new Floor record, it’s really good. I always listen to a lot of the older stuff. [laughs] I have been listening to lately to that Floor album and also Night Birds’ “Killer Waves” 7”, that’s a fucking killer album. I’ve been listening to Obliterations too that is really awesome. These are the ones I can think of right now, sure I’m forgetting something. [laughs]
Tyranny of Will is out now via Relapse Records 83
Words: David Bowes // Pictures: David Lee Dailey
Ides Of Gemini, the mysterious trio of vocalist Sera Timms (Black Mare Horseman), guitarist J Bennet and drummer Kelly Johnston, creates doom that isn’t quite doom. It is at once timeless, thoughtful and emotional, a unique form of expression that belies their LA roots and puts them at the forefront of what heavy music can achieve in terms of depth and weight. J Bennett and Sara Timms took some time to speak with us before the release of their latest full-length “Old World New Wave” to discuss their curious blend of the vintage and the progressive. 84
irst off, I wanted to say thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for the mag, and for the new album. I can definitely see it beginning to make the same impact on me as “Constantinople” did. J: Thank you for the interview. Glad to hear you enjoy the album!
I guess a good place to start would be to find out how you all are and what is happening with the band at the moment. J: I think it’s safe to say we’re all sweating a lot because it’s
hot as hell here. But we’re also getting ready for our upcoming record release show in Los Angeles and negotiating some tour options. Hopefully we’ll have something cool to announce soon.
With “Constantinople”, you adopted a very specific songwriting process, namely that Sera writes the lyrics and J. writes the music. Has anything changed with this new album? J: Not really. I’m still writing the musical foundation and basic arrangements for the songs. Then Sera & Kelly add their parts and we iron the songs out as a band. Sera still writes all the lyrics, but this is the first album for which Kelly wrote all her own drum parts. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // IDES OF GEMINI
This will be your second album with Kelly Johnston on drums. Given that you started out composing for a drum machine, how does writing for the two compare and do you feel you’ve become more in sync with Johnston’s style with this new material? J: Writing with a real live human
being is obviously a lot different than working with a machine, but I think it’s safe to say we’ll take the human over the machine every time - especially if that human happens to be Kelly. She’s improved immensely as a drummer since Constantinople. These days she knows instinctively what is going to work - and what Sera and I are going to like - for each song.
The title for “Constantinople “came within a dream, and while that fit well with the feel of the album, “Old World New Wave” seems a title very in tune with the band’s sound as a whole. How did this title arise? J: I’ve had the title Old World New
Wave for a long time - long before Constantinople came out. I knew the second album would be the next musical step or “new wave” for us, so it made sense to me this album is definitely a transition from an old world to a new one. We sequenced the album in the traditional vinyl sense of an A side and a B side, so the songs are split up accordingly - the “old world” songs on the A side, the “new wave” songs on the B side. That obviously doesn’t translate to someone listening on a CD or computer, but hopefully they can still notice the musical transition: “White Hart” is the last “old world” song and “May 22, 1453” is the first “new wave” song.
You’ve said in the past that Ides Of Gemini was intended as a showcase for Sera’s vocals. Since her work as Black Mare acts in a very similar fashion, has the dynamic or focus of the band changed in the run-up to “Old World New Wave”? J: Not really. As far as I’m con-
cerned, Ides Of Gemini is still very much a showcase for Sera’s vocals. I write songs specifically for her voice, which might be different than how other bands work. I suspect many bands - at least the ones in which the singer is not writing the music - write whatever they feel like writing and then leave their vocalist to figure it out. 86
But because Sera writes the music for Black Mare, I’d say that band is just as much a showcase for her music as it is for her vocals possibly more so, since she has already Ides Of Gemini to sing in. She might disagree with me there, but that’s how I see it.
One word that really springs to mind with this album is ‘fluid’ – it has a sense of progression, and of oneness. Did you have any set agenda in mind as to how the songs would fit together while they were being written? J: That’s very nice to hear - thank you very much. We didn’t start thinking about the sequence too much until most of the songs were completely finished and we’d been rehearsing them for a while. With few exceptions, we knew pretty early on which songs would be on the “old world” side and which ones would be on the “new wave” side, but figuring out the specific sequence beyond that took a little time and finesse. Personally, I think album sequencing is as important as the songs themselves. Finding the magic sequence is its own artistic pursuit. We go through the same process every time we put together a new set list for live shows. You have to think about how each song flows into the next.
A concept that is repeatedly discussed when talking about slow, heavy music is that of religion and ritual. Words like liturgical are often bandied about, and in listening to “Old World New Wave” it’s hard to shake those themes. Is there an overarching spirituality, lyrically or otherwise, in your music? Sera: Generally speaking, I write
the lyrics pretty intuitively and tend to figure out what they mean on an intellectual level later, and how they all string into the overall concept. This record deals with the theme of opposing forces within the psyche, and the attempt to recognize and integrate both sides. Specifically there is a protagonist embodied by the Emperor archetype of rational thought, law, order, control and ego. Throughout the album, his shadow feminine or anima seeks recognition through dreams, and archetypal Goddess voices such as Black Moon Lilith, Kali, Tanit, etc., as his ego disintegrates and he is forced into awareness of his anima while his Old World identity structure is falling apart. This album deals with the alchemical stages of calcination
where the ego is burnt away, into dissolution where the New Wave of the unconscious, non-rational feminine forces wash over all the old structures.
Sera, you recently directed a striking trailer for the new album, and watching that definitely stirred up some of the same feelings that I got from listening to the album. Are the images in that video tied in any way to the themes encapsulated within your music? Sera: Thank you. Yes, the video is a
symbolic descent into the darkness of the psyche where the shadows hang out.
While the title could be taken in a more abstract or conceptual sense, I feel it also works well in purely musical terms. Who are your definitive old world and New Wave artists? Sera: Maybe one day we’ll let you
see our record collections…
Sera, you also work with the design company Deer And Unicorn, who also seem to take a very old world approach to art and design. Is there much overlap between these two avenues of expression? Sera: I have moved my visual art
over to gossamerwhite.com, and there is overlap as I often design the artwork for my musical projects, and have done a couple of Ides videos now. The main overlap I see in most of my work, whether musical or visual, is that it strives to take you (and me) to another realm.
One of the best photos I ever saw of you was a shot of you in furs with a fox draped over Sera’s shoulder. How did that shoot come about and did you ever receive any backlash over it? Sera: We have friends in vintage,
Victorian places and they like to dress us up sometimes. We received one disgruntled comment, and I believe an “unlike”…to each his or her own. We all have our own truths.
What does the band have in store for the future? Sera: We have a record release show
in Los Angeles in September, and tour plans in the works. We’ll also be playing at Intronaut’s 10th anniversary show in December and will be releasing a 7-inch this fall. Old World New Wave is out now via Neurot Recordings
“... we knew pretty early on which songs would be on the “old world” side and which ones would be on the “new wave” side, but figuring out the specific sequence beyond that took a little time and finesse.”
1 REPULSIVE | 2 Pure shit | 3 terrible | 4 must avoid | 5 average | 6 good effort | 7 good | 8 very good | 9 EXC
CelLent | 10 pure classic
Rocket Recordings/Sub Pop (2014)
orld Music’s frenetic fusion of vintage psych, funk and afro-Caribbean rhythms came in like a Technicolor artillery shell two years ago, and though its successor has plenty of what made Goat’s debut such an exhilarating listen, it’s a less intensely focused creation, opting for a more diffuse spreading of these incendiary components to make for a listen that is no less exciting yet broader in scope. Opener “Talk To God” and the ass-shaking delirium of “Goatslaves” more than match up to anything they’ve done thus far, the rapid percussion and grimy blacksploitation basslines of the latter a knowing nod to high-speed chases down San Francisco streets and rooftop showdowns, and it’s these moments that are perhaps the easiest entry for new listeners. The high energy, sharp shrieks and raucous cries are immediately infectious and quickly get into the bones, prompting ecstatic dancing and a general feeling of elation. It’s the unpredictable inclusions, though, that make the album work as a whole. The gentle lilt of “The Light Within”, a slice of 60s idyll that breaks out in shamanic insanity and wide-eyed soloing, and the middle-eastern garage-psych jam that is Bondye are positively reserved in comparison, but in spreading their sounds across wider plateaus and allowing their influences to bleed and intermingle, the music becomes more magnetic, drawing the listener further down the rabbit hole while still maintaining that stranglehold on the body. It’s controlled, but it still captures the feel of a period where restraint was an alien concept: the guitars are rendered as searing, buzzing machines of mind-melting proportions, the melodies embody a world without borders where America, Africa and Asia occupy a shared backdrop of musical expression and the darkness of Jim Jones and Charles Manson can have as much of a presence as the sunny Haight Ashbury vibes. Yes, there are moments of shade amongst the light but they can do little to dispel the absolute warmth of this record. Not a repeat, nor a retread, but a bold step towards the pure bliss that music can bring. DAVID BOWES
9 AVENGED SEVENFOLD Waking The Fallen: Resurrected
ALEX NAPPING This is Not A Bedroom
ABSTRUSE Outer Space-Inner Void Self-Released (2014)
Punctum Records (2014)
Hopeless Records (2014)
Part of a two-part series completed by Inner Space-Outer Void, the latest work from multi-instrumentalist Substant is a staggering, sometimes disconcerting explosion of thrash, cinematic tension and electronic miscellanea that shifts poles and reference points like Mike Patton on a merry-go-round. Adopting neo-classical and avant-metal structural frameworks, it’s dizzying but insists on leaving just enough threads of melody hanging to keep listeners from being lost in the whirlwind of sound, while a certain flair for dramatic lulls and rapid descents into pandemonium leave impressions of a playfully perverse spirit that’s often lost in metal. Fans of Celtic Frost and Arcturus’ more abstract work will find this an engrossing and immersive work, as will anyone looking for an album that operates outside of the sphere of normality.
Austin,TX-based quartet Alex Napping is one of the best kept secrets of the current American indie scene. This Is Not A Bedroom is both woozy and intoxicating, where Alex Cohen poetic, dreamy and charming vocals lead us to their own path, in a exposed and emotional tale of fucked up love and dreams, giving a meaning of what wandering youth really means. Delicate but yet fierce, Alex Napping brings that Pavement meets Broken Social Scene meets Speedy Ortiz early 90’s esque back, where the stripped back vocal melodies and the ringing guitar riffs, bring along the way a clearly and introspective look of what we all have been debating over the years, life really is a fucked up emotional journey.
In a time where Nu-metal was almost dead, emo was taking over teens and Killswitch Engage game changing Alive Or Just Breathing defined what Metalcore is today, there was a Orange County gang that was too metal for hardcore and too hardcore for metal. Waking the Fallen - built in the hardcore community but totally inspired by what Metallica, Misfits, Pantera and Iron Maiden did in the past - was a defining moment in what Avenged Sevenfold sound like today, as one the biggest selling bands in the world today. This reissue was the turning point in metal, and an asolute treat for fans, with a DVD, never before heard tracks, demos and much more... This is a must own album for any A7X fan.
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Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Misfits
Speedy Ortiz, Broken Social Scene
Celtic Frost, Arcturus
AVI BUFFALO At Best Cuckold
BABES Babes EP
Sup Pop (2014)
Harvest Records (2014)
BLACK MOTH Condemned To Hope
Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg is the guy behind Avi Buffalo, he’s the guy who does all these great songs that are catchy as hell. In 2010, Avi released the eponymous debut album that put his music on the radar of many music publications. Four years later, he introduces us his long-awaited second album. In the press release, he says that this album is kind of a tribute to the ballad, and it makes perfect sense since pretty much of all the songs on this record have this kind of structure à la ballad style and the lyrics are really intriguing and captivating. On At Best Cuckold, there’s the eventual progression of Avi’s songwriting skills. Overall, it’s a well-crafted effort with more thought put into it.
Ok... Let’s start by saying that real pop music is awesome. About Babes, vocalist Sarah Rayne makes it clear that the hormonally charged pop music of Babes is simply an extension of the hormonally charged people who make it – herself, along with birth brothers Aaron and Zach and figurative blood brothers Bryan Harris and Jeffrey Baird, and after several listenings we totally figured out why they’re horny as hell... And we also totally understand their hormonal, sexy and sometimes pervert sound. Well, when things are so damn clear and so fucking stripped down, we find ourselves lost in their own game, and thinking over and over again about this awesome freak show, that gives the absurd of life a real meaning. This is pop music, let’s dance and celebrate!
Black Moth’s long-awaited second full-length is what we can call a seductive and sleazy voyage into a different shape of stoner/rock. Condemned to Hope was produced by Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Cramps, Grinderman) and recorded by legendary Leeds engineer Andy Hawkins, and even the artwork was entirely created by prog art legend Roger Dean, nothing was random in this new album, everything was in depth regarding those little details. Crafty melodies, infectious riffs, where the young and magnetic vocalist Harriet Bevan is leading us to a unique journey where L7 meets Electric Wizard meets Black Sabbath meets The Stooges. Quite possibly one of the best stoner/rock albums of this year.
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The War On Drugs, Real Estate
New Heavy Sounds (2014)
Good pop music, dancing and sex...
L7, Black Sabbath, The Stooges
6 ALLAH-LAS Worship the Sun
Innovative Leisure (2014)
AMERICAN HI-FI Blood & Lemonade
Rude Records (2014)
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS Lose
The second LP from the Los Angeles band could be renamed as Worship the Sixties. Actually, Worship the Sun it’s like a flashback to Beach Boys and the The Kinks era so is not really a surprise that these bands are influences to these boys. It’s a summer record, so chilling and smoothing as a long walk on a beach by the sunset or after surfing in LA. The “Artifact” song can perfectly reflect the whole psych-retro album/ band.
Blood & Lemonade is American Hi-Fi’s 5th LP and their first since 2010’s Fight the Frequency. After spending these last years as the musical director for Miley Cyrus and drum player for her touring band, frontman Stacy Jones spared some time to make a new record. Blood & Lemonade is an efficient, well produced record filled with rock pop tunes and catchy choruses. It’s been a while since they released the hit song “Flavor of the Weak” and they’re still filled with good energy.
Lose is the third album by Cymbals Eat Guitar. It’s a more straightforward and acessible record comparing to the previous ones. Joseph D’Agostino is much clearer in his lyrics about mixed feelings and emotions, in particular about losing a dear friend of his, Benjamin High. More direct lyrics and upbeat rhythms, Lose has plently of noisy rock songs with an nostalgic vibe put into it. These songs are liberating and filled with memories to which they want to remember of.
THE COLOR MORALE Hold On Pain Ends
FOUR YEAR STRONG Go Down in History EP
This new effort from The Color Morale is the perfect receipt for those whose soul is confused and lost. Hold on Pain Ends is a continuation of Know Hope, and is lyrically based around the stories of fans that vocalist Garret Rapp met in the past year and a half. Cathartic lyrics, a new sound, polished and somehow innovative sound. They still have Craig Owens (Chiodos) and Dave Stephens (We Came as Romans) as guest vocals. It’s not great but it’s a honest take of a band that are aiming for big things.
After a two year absence, the German sludge/doom band led by Jan Oberg (former drummer of The Ocean) releases this brand new masterpiece Withered. A storm of heavy stoner riffs, into a progressive madness, deep lyrics and perfect aggressive vocals are what you get. You hear now and then Mastodon’s influence (more likely on their earlier carrier) or even Red Fang’s, but Withered is a diamond to slowly lapidate until you get completely addicted on.
Worcester, Massachusetts, popcore beard-punks kings are back with their new EP, Go Down in History. This is also their first release with new label Pure Noise Records. Four Year Strong still sound like nothing else out there, this EP is heavy and catchy as hell, full with energy of the band’s earlier records and filled with that classic old-school Four Year Strong gang vocals. A great appetizer for what we are truly expecting, their next full-length...
Fearless Records (2014)
Pelagic Records (2014)
Pure Noise Records (2014)
HE IS LEGEND Heavy Fruit
Hailing from North East of the UK, Fractions were formed between friends with a love for electronic music, featuring current and ex members of UK hardcore band Lavotchkin as well as local producers. The five-piece brings with this EP a great combination of synth pop tunes with a glimpse of 80’s Goth vibe, atmospheric guitars and ethereal vocals. Tracks like “Burst” and “Breathe” are surrounded by a fascinating wall of sounds and beautiful harmonies.
For those that aren’t followers of He Is Legend, the band’s roots reach back into late 1990s when they began writing and performing around North Carolina while still in high school. Heavy Fruit, their fourth full-length studio album and their first since coming back from hiatus in 2011, is still in the vein of what they did in the past with a blend of styles with a fusion of heavy rock riffs with some psychedelic stoner moments and passages in such different tracks.
Featuring former members of The Hara-Kee-Rees, Samsara Blues Experiment and Grandloom, Labyrinth remains in the same line of their debut work from 2012: psychedelic rock with a huge influence of Deep Purple. Yes… but as long as their first album was heavier and darker both on melodies and riffs, this one is even more 70’s on the guitar solos (that guitar burns!) and on the drum riffs. It is more roller and cosmic visions, pure retro.
Edils Recordings (2014)
Tragic Hero Records (2014)
This Charming Man Records (2014)
BLONDE REDHEAD Barragán
Bella Union (2014)
Caroline International S&D (2014)
NYC’ trio Blonde Redhead is back with their 9th album Barragán. This new effort is the natural next step for the trio and the most stripped back album they ever made. Barragán is filled with layers and elements, but also full of twists and classic cliché elements, which matches perfectly with their layered creativity. The band still blends sweet harmonies with their own rhythmic originality, but it’s the singers Kazu Makino e Amadeo Pace that really give their own sonic exploration a new glorious journey to the listener. Blonde Redhead is once again changing their own game, it’s really impressive that after more than 20 years as a band, they are still pushing their own boundaries. Well done!
There is a certain aura in Albumin, the fourth album of Celebration. There’s even more than that, there is a clear sense of harmony and technique that is enough to be a album with innumerable charms. But there is also a hell of an oddity in some of the hard choices, particularly as a whole, with significant disparities in the harmonics, from the first to last song. But then, there is such a certain aura and a technical accuracy which translates into an expansive rock, limpid and accurate, a truly torn that transports us to a number of free wills and ambitions. It has surreal songs like “Razor’s Edge” and “Chariot”, true musical hallucinations. It is disorganized, it is true, but it is also a great return of Celebration.
Christopher Owens, the frontman of the ex-indie cult band Girls, returns with a second record which seems one those soundtracks to have at home in Christmas time or in other festive day. The album starts with two country songs “My Troubled Heart” and “Nothing More Than Everything To Me” with no charming, some overrated choirs, into some pop vulgar lines that add nothing to the name of creativity itself. The lyrics are poor and full of clichés (aka “Over And Above Myself” song). The rest of the work extends this mediocrity to the end. A New Testament is a bad record, although Christopher Owens had made visible efforts they were not enough this time.
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CHRISTOPHER OWENS A New Testament
Siouxsie, Cocteau Twins, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Joan of Arc, Helium, The Strokes
Girls, Mac DeMarco, MGMT
CODE ORANGE I Am King
Deathwish Inc (2014)
THE CONTORTIONIST Language
eOne/Good Fight (2014)
DARKEST HOUR Darkest Hour
Code Orange are probably the most exciting band in the current hardcore scene. The blending of genres is fucking explosive and everything sounds different than everything else, where creativity seems to have no limits. How the hell can we label the sound of Code Orange? Art-Hardcore anyone? The answer is not easy but the listener should lead his artistic interpretation wide open, for sure. I Am King is heavy, chaotic, experimental as fuck, where the musical deconstruction is the law. Produced by Kurt Ballou, this is an essential listening for anyone with the slightest passing interest in the aforementioned or gritty art-hardcore as a whole, and for around 33 minutes prepare yourself for an intense breathtaking and cathartic experience.
The Contortionist are a collective force, where self-realization and creativity are full of sophistication, giving Progressive rock a new methodically, organically and heavy context. Language is an ambitious and conceptual effort, with a philosophical vision and where everything revolves around balance between classic songwriting and gifted musicians, and where their intuitive form of expression gives the listener a well and calculated blend of The Dillinger Escape Plan math esque with the classic masters like King Crimson, Rush and Yes. If you are fed up of the same bullshit prog names, you should listen to this masterpiece and find out that there is life outside of the same old established prog bands...
Darkest Hour’s highly anticipated, self-titled eighth full-length is the Washington, DC-based band’s first for new label Sumerian Records, and quite possibly their finest record to date... Despite the fact the band has been active for nearly 20 years, these guys still know how to push the right buttons in order to please their most hardcore fans. This new effort blends in perfection clean vocals, huge and strong dynamic melodies with their heavy and brutal heritage. We can say that this was a bold move, but they achieved something quite beautiful. Once again we are pleased to see a band pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone and giving birth to the most diverse, modern and brutal album of their careers.
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Birds In Row, Converge, Loma Prieta
Periphery, King Crimson, Opeth
Sumeria Records (2014)
Killswitch Engage, Of Mice & Men
Time To Die
Spinefarm Records (2014)
“If the Grim Reaper enjoys a nice Sunday barbecue, this is probably the kind of rock n’ roll he will be playing.” If the name Electric Wizard is not one of the very first to pop out when doom is the subject matter, something must be terribly wrong with you guys. Ambassadors of the genre, Electric Wizard have just released a monument to loudness, distortion and low-end; Time To Die is one of those records one simply is not allowed to listen to with moderation; this thing is meant to be played loud, and I mean ridiculously LOUD!! This time the music seems to be even more unconventional, that being: instead of having choruses that one can easily catch and sing along to, and a rather conservative song structure, as we did on the
previous record, with Time To Die it’s all about coming up exactly with the right tone, the right amount of distortion, tons of low-end and just letting ourselves enjoy the ride, immersing in the maleficent realms of Electric Wizard on a journey to hell – careful not to piss yourself when Mr. Satan gets in the room. Electric Wizard’s witchery has been going on for 21 years. Dopethrone, dating from 2000, – considered by most as their most relevant release – sounds quite different from their 1995 debut record; two years later they’d put out Let Us Pray, which also parts ways with anything they’d done
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Black Sabbath, Menacing LOUD music
before; the same goes for the 2010 album Black Masses, where they tend to explore some kind of retro psychedelic rock sound, but also diving into more atmospheric fields – always with that fuzzy low-end Wizard signature sound. One could say that Time To Die favors this last tendency, one of experimentalism and atmosphere, full of misanthropy, hatred and twisted fantasies. The album also features a lot of sampled audio excerpts, dealing with drugs, suicide, occultism and rock n’ roll. If the Grim Reaper enjoys a nice Sunday barbecue, this is probably the kind of rock n’ roll he will be playing.
Time to Die, I Am Nothing
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 The Physical World Last Gang Records (2014)
Pelagic Records (2014)
ADA Global (2014)
In 2006, two years after the release of their debut album, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, the Canadian duo known as Death From Above 1979 decided to split up, because of disagreements between the two. They split pretty much convinced that “the band won’t happen again.” Jump to 2011 and they reunite. Jump to 2014 and they release their sophomore and much awaited new album. The Physical World is a hell of a comeback! Even though the band doesn’t seem to have evolved in all these years, the truth is that they still do it amazingly and all the craziness, great hooks and energy stays untouchable. Not only they managed to honor, by not fucking it up, the DFA 1979’s legacy but they also delivered another great record. What more can you ask, really?
German avant-garde Dioramic built their name on successful releases like Phase of Perplexity (2004) and Technicolor (2010) before undergoing some major line up changes and shifting around members to accommodate drummer Anton’s successful side project Zedd and bassist Jochen’s entrance into college. Supra reflects the evolution of the band, with songwritings that truly mind-blows your head with heavy, intricate and catchy music. I’ve found this so weird but at the same time so good, in a moment is so heavy and in another is so calm. And the voice of Arkadi Zaslavski suits perfectly in these types, having also backing vocals of other elements that field the power of the lyrics.
Emarosa is back! 4 years after the selftitled album, Versus is the first effort with Bradley Walden at the helm, with a totally different style and different range from his predecessor (Jonny Craig) but that doesn’t mean he can’t give the group a strong voice. Versus is probably the most enjoyable and eclectic record of Emarosa, offering modernized takes on the sound that made Versus’ tracks fit the familiar structure of Emarosa’s previous works is thoroughly enjoyable. It’s a fun album that jumps to unexpected places while never straying too far from what we loved about Emarosa, in which proved to be future-proof. It’s just as pleasurable for old fans as it is for new audiences regardless of the who, when, or why, Versus is a pleasant surprise.
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Japandroids, Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Muse, Deftones, Oceansize, O’Brother
Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds
EMPIRE! EMPIRE! (I WAS A LONELY ESTATE) You Will Eventually Be Forgotten
ENTOMBED A.D. Back To The Front
Century Media (2014)
Nostromo Records (2014)
After 12 splits and four EPs since their last LP, Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)’s new album finally arrived, almost half a decade to get here. This new effort from husband and wife duo seems even more passionate, rousing and astonishingly focused, their sonic approach is cleaner and less louder, but we still have some harsh tracks, like “Foxfire” and “We Are People Here. We Are Not Numbers”. Regarding the lyrics, there are some changes, this new effort is less poetry inspired and more autobiographical, like a big book where this personal inspired short stories keep pumping out track after track. By the way, there are some similarities with 90’s emo legends Mineral, but when Chris Simpson guest vocal, we can’t hide our silly fanboy mode smile of satisfaction.
If you see the name of this band and think “what a rip-off from those Swedish guys”, hold your horses! Entombed A.D. is essentially the same as the last incarnation of Entombed, minus original guitarist Alex Hellid. 7 years after Serpent Saints - The Ten Amendments, the renamed band has now returned to its early Death n’ Roll sounds of the mid nineties with Back To The Front. Songs like “Pandemic Rage”, “Waiting for Death” or “The Underminer” show us that there’s still some creative fire burning among the remaining elements, but overall Back To The Front, doesn’t really seem to bring anything different to what Entombed did, and better by the way, when Hellid was still in their ranks. Enjoyable, but only for a few listens and especially for fans of the band’s mid ‘90s period.
After releasing two excellent records within five years, Brighton’s trio Esben and the Witch had set different plans for this third record. The title itself describes this new effort perfectly, which it’s a new ground for them. It’s clear the ambitous and bold attitude that the trio took to work on this. On A New Nature, we see them at their rawest and purest form. Having Steve Albini as producer and successfuly acheived their PledgeMusic campaign’s goal, the trio expanded their sound to a more direct and stripped down sound. Tracks like “No Dog” and “The Jungle” take us into their cinematic post-rock blended with a noisy postpunk. There’s no doubt that Esben and the Witch reached to an maturity point of taking control of their music.
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Topshelf Records (2014)
Mineral, Into It Over It
ESBEN AND THE WITCH A New Nature
Old Entombed, New Entomed or whatever
Chelsea Wolfe, Swans, Marriages
FRNKIERO ANDTHE CELLABRATION
Warner Bros. Records. (2014)
Hassle Records (2014)
Stomachaches is Frank Iero’s first album since his iconic former band, My Chemical Romance, broke up in March of 2013. Frnkiero andthe Cellabration is the name of his new project, it is not like anything My Chemical Romance or even Iero’s other band Leathermouth has released, there is a true sense of DIY ethic in it, to start Iero plays every instrument on the album except for drums, which were handled by ex-MCR drummer Jarrod Alexander. Stomachaches is exactly what the music scene needs: spontaneous and raw punk, where the lyrical content is both emotional and deep, where aggression meets poetry meets spoken word. Iero’s passionate and cathartic songwriting style is quite unique, especially when perfectly manages melodies with that classic punk angst. Frank Iero proves that he is more than an iconic rock figure and much more than just a rhythm guitarist, this is not fresh start for him, but a new chapter as a musician. Frank Iero gives punk his own state of mind, where happiness, frustration, sadness, mellow or romantic feelings are all part of the same story.
There is a reason why art is so damn random and vast, Hesitant Alien is a form of art, an uncompromised exercise where Gerard Way is the artist that makes us travel into his own influences, making “small things” sound so big! Hesitant Alien is a different kind of thing, not radio friendly at all, heavily centered on guitars and full of great songs, like lead single “Action Cat”, pop/rock at its finest, piano Britpop American esque inspired ballad “Brother” and the catchy Simon and Garfunkel vintage esque in “How It’s Going To Be” to name a few. Gerard Way found a new way of sound, in this cocktail of shoegaze with Britpop meets 70’s glam and even 80’s post-punk, where the songwriting was clearly inspired by his own heroes, such as David Bowie, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker and even Frank Black comes to our mind. Gerard Way stripped down his MCR costume, Hesitant Alien is a diverse, abstract, mature, distorted and well produced effort, and where the lack of clichés and trending concept albums is what make this so real, pure and cool as fuck...
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My Chemical Romance, The Get Up Kids, Leathermouth
The Smiths, Jesus And Mary Chain, Frank Black, David Bowie
Action Cat, How It’s Going To Be, Brother, Zero Zero
All I Want Is Nothing, Blood Infections, Joyriding
FINCH Back to Oblivion
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM Get Hurt
FKA TWIGS LP 1
Young Turks (2014)
Virgin Emi (2014)
Back to Oblivion marks the return of Finch with the band’s first fulllength album in over nine years. It’s undeniable that Finch back in 2002 What It Is To Burn helped forged what post-hardcore sounds like today. After reforming for the well deserved What It Is To Burn’s 10th anniversary, the obvious was about to happen, they decided that Finch was once again at his boiling point of creativity as a group and as a form of art. Back to Oblivion is the obvious third chapter that totally honors their legacy. This new effort is the most complex and challenging, regarding the band as group and artists. In the most introspective work till date, Finch are back to where they left, this is a new chapter and not a rebirth.
From a promising career as a dancer, in 2012 Tahliah Barnett aka FKA twigs opted for experimentation as a musical author. LP1 represents this still recent process of discovery of music and its intimate. It is a real brain museum and completely unique in a universe as vast as the current. Her artistic ability is immense and even cruel, thinking that this is still her first LP. Visual and raw in the lyrics using vocal nuances in beats of defragmented percussion, sensualize by its strangeness. That quality coupled with structures complexly simple (and here the hand of Paul Epworth, Sampha and Noah are really important) create a strong connection to the soul and body of the listener and easily make it the monument of pop in 2014.
The Gaslight Anthem isn’t a punk band anymore. Now they’re radio darlings and an arena rock band, despite the fact that Brian Fallon is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation and they’re still acting like old punks. About this new effort, it’s sad but we must say that it never sounds truly unique. Get Hurt could be the lost bside brother of Handwriten and the not so close cousin of that modern classic The ‘59 Sound. They still sound like The Gaslight Anthem, the Strummer element is still there, but it’s their Springsteen rock side that really makes us think that they are still trying to figure out what kind of band they want to be. Brian Fallon excellent vocal form is what somehow saves this poor and clumsy effort.
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Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, U2
Siouxsie, Frank Ocean, Portishead
Glassjaw, Thursday, Midtown
6 IN FLAMES Siren Charms
HALF JAPANESE Overjoyed
HOLY SONS The Face Facter
Thrill Jockey (2014)
The legendary Half Japanese are back and this is their first album in 13 years. Overjoyed is once again ignoring the basic rules of what musical conventions stand for, they still wave the DIY flag and still show that their unique way of aggression, even when they fully give a total deconstruction of what chords, melody and song structure should sound in a perfect and synthetic world. Produced by John Dieterich of Deerhoof, Overjoyed is a different asset regarding the band’s back catalog, showing that they still maintain their unique sound pedigree, but also shows a band that are totally aware of current pseudo and hype musical trends. A good comeback, and nowadays it’s hard to find a good, pure and frantic garage rock album.
Holy Sons is the music project of Emil Amos, a Portland multi-instrumentalist composer and singer and his alter ego too. Besides Holy Sons, he collaborates with the post-rock band Grails and he’s a compulsive songwriter. He has written more than one thousand songs since the beginning of his career. The Face Facter remains intimism; the lyrics are almost a self-critic vision of Emil about life, a bitter but sincere confession that arrives to us in his beautiful Neil Young’s voice “alike”. The highlight and opening track song “Doomed Myself” is an ethereal song due to the psych 70’s guitar line and full of inner sorrow. The Face Facter is a consistent record, faithful to Emil’s lo-fi ideas.
Well, In Flames have turned the page, they are now aiming for bigger things and bigger audiences. This may sound weird regarding the fact that In Flames are one of the pioneers of the melodic death metal, some purists maybe could call them sellouts, but that’s just bullshit, because they’ve changed. They still blend brutality with that classic twin-guitar harmonies and electronic elements, and they still sound different and sound like In Flames all over the place. Siren Charms has more melodic hooks and infectious riffs, and Anders unique vocals are more refined, bringing these Swedish titans to a more accessible territory. Overall, this is a very solid effort, they’re still capable of delivering some goods along the way.
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Joyful Noise Recordings (2014)
Neutral Milk Hotel, The Fall, Sebadoh
Grails, OM, Bill Callahan, Mark Lanegan
Deftones, In Flames, Passenger, Korn
IDES OF GEMINI
Old World New Wave
Memoirs of a Murderer Roadrunner Records (2014)
Neurot Recordings (2014)
A strong and unmerciful attack by a well-oiled machine that operates as a single unit: that’s the first impression that we have with the opener “Black Door”. Even when the band seems to work on opposite directions there’s this feeling that they are leaning forward, trying to reach a certain place. The guitarist Jason Bennett made the step forward and some of the lack of confidence on the guitar displayed in their first record, Constantinople, was surpassed with distinction making possible to deliver this beast that we know as Old World New Wave, their new album. If there was something missing in the somehow original sound of Ides of Gemini, they have definitely found it now. As always it’s undeniable the importance and magnificence of Sera Timms’s voice on Ides of Gemini’s music. With the spotlight always on her voice, Sera plays really well her role by being the driving-force, managing to reach unreal levels of epic proportions – “The Adversary” will be more than enough to prove my point. With drummer Kelly Johnston participating for the first time by writing her own parts, there’s a renewed vitality on the rhythm section that translates into a new level of depth and weight. Overall, Old World New Wave is as strong as the relation between the people wo have created it and an amazing gloomy/doomy record to be excited about.
Is this the most dangerous new band on the planet? Maybe. And why the fuck is that? Oh, well... Society and shit... And of course, they’re from Flint, Michigan. Flint? Yeap, do you remember Roger and Me from Michael Moore? Ohhh, now I remember that Flint, there are some serious issues there! So let’s start to describe Flint... The most dangerous city in America had 66 homicides in 2012, is also ranked as one of the most dangerous places for women. Drugs are also responsible for accelarate crime, including violent crime. Heroin use has increased dramatically among people between 18 and 29. Could you guys imagine what is like to grow and live in that fucked up environment? After reading this review, you must put your headphones on and listen to this fucking piece of art several times, read the lyrics and try to understand why King 810 is a perfect example of a broken society, where capitalism and corporate greed are to blame for. Listen to “Killem All”, “Devil Don’t Cry” and “Fat Around the Heart” and feel what desperation and hostility sounds like. Memoirs of a Murderer is complex, fierce and intelligent, we can even say that it’s a cathartic experience and where David Gunn’s lyrics bring a rawness and honesty vision of what survival and life means. Modern metal sounds like this, this is an extraordinary debut, that will leave you speechless and will challenging you several times...
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SubRosa, Royal Thunder, Purson
Slipknot, Nick Cave, Machine Head, Roger and Me
Black Door, The Adversary, White Hart
Fat Around the Heart, Killem All, Devil Don’t Cry
INTERPOL El Pintor
KIMBRA Golden Echo
IRON REAGAN The Tyranny of Will
Relapse Records (2014)
Warner Bros. Records. (2014)
Interpol’s first album in four years, El Pintor, is what we call a stylish and intense comeback, after a tumultuous four-year gap. Singer-guitarist Paul Banks, guitarist-pianist Daniel Kessler, and drummer Samuel Fogarino recorded and produced this new effort at New York City’s Electric Lady Studios and Atomic Sound after a two-and-a-half-year well deserved rest from touring. El Pintor brings the best of Antics with a polished new vibe from Turn on the Bright Lights, still with that magic of Joy Division vs Echo and the Bunnymen approach. This could be the strongest Interpol release ever, a mature effort, showing a group more focused and with a more refreshed approach to their unique trademark sound.
Fronted by incendiary lyrical Tony Foresta from Municipal Waste, Iron Reagan is a supergroup, also featuring Phil Hall of Municipal Waste and Cannabis Corpse, as well as Ryan Parrish of Darkest Hour together with members of Mammoth Grinder. Well you fuckers, this is pretty heavy and it’s an old school hardcore rampage, where chuggig riffary explodes in pure aggression, energy and fury. Political as fuck, The Tyranny of Will is the serious bastard son between Cro-Mags, Dead Kennedys and of course Municipal Waste. We must confess, this is huge and brings us back to that time when hardcore meant something, when the aggression was the cathartic side of political and social frustrations. Kids, this is what hardcore really sounds like.
Pop. Pure and unprejudiced. The second Kimbra’s album of is an ode to rich environments, tonalities and rhythms. Accelerated by nature, the beat of the whole album is the basis for a thousand dispersions, experiencing every 10 seconds. Kimbra, a New Zealand artist newly arrived to the music scene, sets up a promise because of the ability to mutate and experiment with a full range of sounds that give shape to a simple pop, along with the highly danceable letters. It is the dance, in fact, the greatest contribution to pop that Kimbra gives in this album. To pop and to all the 24 years old female chameleon fans. And it is through dance that this work should be properly appreciated, starting by exploring the feelings of joy and pleasure that the album awakens and expands.
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Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen
Robyn, Bjork, Roisin Murphy, Gotye
Cro-Mags, DRI, Dead Kennedys
KIND COUSIN Tremendous Hem
KING TUFF Black Moon Spell Sub Pop (2014)
Warner Bros. (2014)
Louisiana native Allison Bohl DeHart is the woman behind the formation of Kind Cousin. Allison was always attracted by singing and making music since an early age, but only after she studied filmmaking and being brought to a singer-songwriter showcase by a friend that she started revealing her graceful voice and delicate compositions. Joined by her husband Peter DeHart (from Brass Bed) and sound engineer Aaron Thomas, they recorded this album in an old chapel and she was able to create the perfect atmospheric sound with gentle indie-pop melodies. Tremendous Hem is mesmerizing and the way Allison uses her voice is remarkable, which it becomes the main instrument on these lovely arrangements.
King Tuff, a.k.a. Kyle Thomas, is the man behind one of the best heavyrock-electric-guitar-driven albums of this year, yeap, it’s really awesome and may cause addiction. On his third full-length, King Tuff is a nostalgic flick, both heavily weird and heavenly dark, where 70’s glams Marc Bolan esque blends with teenage sci-fi/comic-book culture, and where garage blends both 80’s metal with 60’s psych, yeah you heard it... it’s pretty nerdy and legendary! By the way, the guest spot goes to Ty Segall, he plays drums for the song “Black Moon Spell”, and the production duties goes to Bobby Harlow (The Go, Conspiracy Of Owls). Black Moon Spell is wicked, you may experience euphoria, demented visions, wet dreams after some listenings...
Lights is back with her third studio album, Little Machines. Good pop music is always very cheerful and so damn precise that every single time a single pops up in our brain we can’t stop singing and for a few days that song comes to our head several times, sometimes that could be pretty shameful if that pop songs are made by acts horrible acts like U2, Maroon 5 or even Katy Perry... Well, Lights are what we can call an electro pop princess, maybe that will be her damnation forever, every single time that we think about Lights we are always going to label her has the eternal synth-sometimes-emo-pop princess. Little Machines is a well crafted effort, catchy as hell, but lacks diversity, missing that big pop moment...
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MA’AM Records (2014)
Dracula, Goblins, Sun and Meatballs
Camera Obscura, Tennis
LIGHTS Little Machines
Foxes, Tove Lo, Warpaint
6 JOHN GARCIA John Garcia
Napalm Records (2014)
JOHNNY ARIES Unbloomed
French Kiss (2014)
The ex-vocal of Kyuss, Vista Chino and others, is determined to keep on the “stoner” rolling. Here he is with his debut and homonymous album filled with notable musicians - from Robbie Krieger, Danko Jones to Nick Oliveri. John Garcia is a stoner album but softer than Vista Chino’s musical conception for example. It’s less raw and much more “roller” and unpretentious. The desert rock thrill is in Garcia’s blood and it’s very welcome.
After calling its quits with his band Two Wounded Birds and joining The Drums as the new guitarist, Johnny Aries did a solo album. Moving from UK to New York was a big change for him and Unbloomed is the result of all the inspiration he gained when in NY. Aries brings a different vibe to his own work comparing it to TWB sonority. Melancholic pop is probably the best way to describe the record, where The Cure meet The Smiths on these gloomy pop melodies/lyrics.
Following a four-year absence, Krieg has returned with a USBM classic that leaves the big-hitters floundering in its wake. Endlessly ambitious and with a production that captures every screech in painstruck glory, embeds every malevolent groove at the forefront and renders each furious torrent of misanthropy as a wall of sheer, sunblotting blackness, it flirts with the progressive nuances of Neurosis while remaining faithful to its roots. One of the most exciting surprises of the year.
MUTILATION RITES Harbinger
Prosthetic Records (2014)
RED KUNZ Teeth, Hair & Skin
Hummus Records (2014)
SUNKEN MONKEY Party Scars
Black Metalers Mutilation Rites return with the usual fury, anti-christ and anti-politics typical in their songwriting and lyricism. Followers of music such as Darkthrone and Dissection, the comparison is inevitable. Harbringer is a blackened musical ambient, destructive filthy riffs, thunderous blast-beats drumming and it makes a tribute to chaos and destruction. It’s not the big scene but it’s a well played and hard demonstrated for the lovers of black metal.
Consisting of Red Fang’s Aaron Beam and John Sherman and Kunz’s Louis Jucker and Luc Hess (ex-the Ocean), these are the pillars of a new super group. It’s a masterpiece of five timeless, fuzzed and heavy tracks. “Transatlantic” is the first song and advanced single which moves in a spiral dimension and “Prisms” has the groovy bass of the 70s in feature making you enter into the feeling that you were transported to that time and you don’t want to go out.
Formed in the early 2000’s, UK’s fourpiece Sunken Monkey has been through some line-up changes and doing extensive tour over the last years. In the meantime, they released their selftitled debut album in 2009. Drawing influences from the likes of NOFX, The Menzingers, Rise Against and Four Year Strong, the group has now released their second effort that is replete with energetic pop punk songs and funny yet honest lyrics. Party Scars is a good, lusty record.
Bumface Records (2014)
THE TRAVELLING BAND The Big Defreeze
UGLY KIDS CLUB Head Games EP
THE WELL Samsara
Manchester five-piece The Travelling Band took a while to release the follow-up of their great 2011’s Screaming is Something. Three years later, here it is their new album. The Big Defreeze is an accessible album that doesn’t go much further than the other records released. It has the typical indie folk songs that the fans will surely love to sing along. Although there’s a good vibe and feeling put into it, TTB needed a little push to explore more their music.
Nashville electropop duo Ugly Kids Club eraned a pleasant feedback when they released their self-titled debut EP and now it’s time for their sophomore EP. Between the lush 80’s synths and the pop song structure, Head Games has four tracks that are truly catchy pop tunes that in the second listening you already know all the lyrics by heart and you are unconsciously singing them along with the haunting Aliegh Shields’ voice. The duo keeps making hypnotic pop songs.
Samsara is The Well’s debut album. Inspired by early ’70s psych, heavy rock, blues and proto-metal, the trio combines those genres and creates massive and powerful riffs. The Well have been compared to Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and this album as a whole is not surprising nor refreshing. There are so many bands with this exact musical approach right now that it ends up to be a unmemorable record due to the sound similarities to their contemporaries.
Sideways Saloon/Republic of Music (2014)
RidingEasy Records (2014)
Q & A with Myrkur... Words: Andreia Alves // Picture: Rasmus Malmstrøm
Relapse Records (2014)
yrkur is a Danish artist operating as a one-woman black metal band/project – nothing really new in this specific genre, where there are literally hundreds of projects with only one member, with Xasthur, Leviathan and Burzum (just to name a few) as a pretty good representation of the strength of this format. Myrkur’s self-titled EP is definitely influenced not only by the universe of the Second Wave of Norwegian Black Metal but the obvious connection that scene has with the Scandinavian mythology and, of course, the nature. Myrkur, in many ways, operates just like Gylve “Fenriz” Nagell, from the mighty Darkthrone, was operating back in the day with his side-project Isengard, where the nature and folk music were as important as the black metal. The only difference is in the way Myrkur uses her voice – in a more ethereal way, so less epic (at least in the traditional definition of the term) than Fenriz’s voice – and how she makes more use of post-rock/shoegaze in the riffs. Unfortunately there’s nothing new in terms of the music (read instruments), making Myrkur’s voice the only thing that really stands out, mostly because of the folk approach. A good effort of someone that has something special going on. Let’s just wait and see.
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Ulver, Isengard, Burzum
Ravnens Banner, Nattens Barn, Frosne Vind TIAGO MOREIRA
looked up for the meaning of the word Myrkur and it means “darkness” in Icelandic. When you choose Myrkur to be the name of your project, was it because it’s your name or because of its meaning?
Both. Well, I guess I could say that Myrkur means darkness but it is also something beautiful, so it’s kind of this nature here up in the north that is very natural and beautiful, but also very destructive and that reflects itself in my music.
When did you start working on this project?
This particular EP I could say that I worked on it for two years, but I have been playing metal for much longer and also classic music. I also play classical music but Myrkur is my band.
Myrkur has been described as one-woman black metal band and you do everything on your music. I play all the instruments, but I have a drummer in Sweden and his is names Rex Myrnur. Everything is done by me and with my drummer.
How is it like to do all the little details of your music by yourself?
I write my songs while I’m recording them, so I don’t write a song and then record it. It all happens at the same time. Maybe I do more than a couple of takes but that’s when I write it. That’s why Myrkur is very much like classic music sounding that has many different parts.
What did inspire you in the first place when you start to shape your own sound?
Mostly nature, classical music but also I look for a specific guitar sound and I listen to certain bands that I like. A lot hatred has also inspired this EP, but also love for what it’s pure and what it’s nature.
Your debut EP is mesmerizing. It’s really impressive how you combine the raw and intense riffs and the transcendent soundcapes with your angelic voice, it’s like the darkness and lightness walk together in the whole EP. How was the whole making process of the 7 songs of the EP? I don’t know. [laughs] I mean, I’m much alone when I’m doing it, but I’m mostly alone. When I record songs, sometimes I don’t remember
after when it happens. [laughs] So I don’t remember too much of the details. The EP is coming out and so I’m very happy about that, especially to come out in Europe.
All your lyrics are written in which language?
It’s Swedish, Danish, old north sort of classic Danish and bit of Icelandic.
That’s a pretty interesting mix of languages!
Yes! For me, the north is one place, so we come from one culture and one religion. Of course there’s differences between the countries now, but it didn’t used to be so much and to me it’s one sound now.
Thematically, what subjects did you approach on those lyrics? It’s hard to say, it’s more of the all together sound than just one lyrics.
“Dybt i Skoven” (Deep in the Woods) is an amazing track. What can you tell me more about this one?
I wrote in Danmark. I grew up by the forest, so I would say that this song is about what lives in there and also sort of evil.
What song of this EP stands out the most for you? I like “Nattens Barn” a lot, it’s the first single so I like that one. I love “Ravnens Banner”, the first song of the EP and that is the old Danish Viking flag. The original flag we had was called ‘ravnens banner’, so that one means a lot.
What’s next for Myrkur after the EP’s release regarding live shows?
I will be doing some live shows and I will have people to play with me, most likely Rex who plays on the EP and the rest I don’t know yet. But I have been playing with some people, so I want to have people playing live with me.
What have you been listening to lately?
Today I’m up in Norway for a week and I went to see a Edvard Grieg concert. He was a classical composer and he grew up in Bergen (Norway) - which is where I am, it’s a mountain town - and his house is now a museum and a concert hall. I went to see a piano concert yesterday of all his songs... not all of them, just the piano pieces. [laughs] He’s sort of the godfather of black metal, so you should look him up because you’re gonna like him. [laughs] So that’s what I’ve been listening to now this week.
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Brill Bruises
NICK OLIVERI Leave Me Alone
NIGHT SCHOOL Heart Beat EP
Schnitzel Records (2014)
Graveface Records (2014)
Brill Bruisers sounds like a bunch of friends reuniting and embracing a more electric version of theirselves, where the vocals sound more impressive than ever and are surrounded by the irreverent lyrics. The album doesn’t knock us out from-start-to-finish (especially when compared to the amazing Twin Cinema, from 2005) but it sure has a few lovely surprises, giving us a fresh approach and creating some more catchy pop tunes. Those neon tubes on the cover don’t lie: this Canadian indie band came back for good, with the jazzy Kelly Hogan contributing guest vocals on four tracks, and with songs such as “Another Drug Deal Of The Heart” and the title-track empowering our desires of change and happiness. If a band can do that nowadays, we should definitely give it a try.
Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Vista Chino, Mondo Generator, Dwarves and countless participations in other people’s records, these are some of the things that Nick has done throughout his career. The legendary bassist returns for another solo record, this time around with the hard edge that he is known for. Leave Me Alone, a self-produced album where Nick plays every instrument and that has special guests like Phil Campbell (Motörhead), Dean Ween, or Bruno Fevery (Vista Chino), is another high point on his 20 plus year career. A little bit like OFF!’s music, these nine new tracks are fueled by the hard edge of hardcore punk but way more rock oriented with that desert flavor that’s impossible to detach from Nick’s music. 29 minutes of pure high energy.
Californian three piece Night School is another new act that features the accomplished singer Alexandra Morte (Whirr, Camera Shy). Tender, alluring and feline, sounding like a sweet and noisy cocktail between Best Coast and Nothing, Night School brings a new vibe in what we call alternative synth, garage, post-punk, and the classic shoegaze elements. Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Atomic Garden in Palo Alto by Jack Shirley, this EP was inspired by the sad love songs of 60’s girl groups like The Shirelles, The Crystals and The Shangri-las. Four tracks filled with hypnotic guitar riffs and magnetic vocals, where classic pop songs blend in perfect harmony with chaotic punk and messy shoegaze. Well done!
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Neko Case, A.C. Newman, Arcade Fire
The Dwarves, OFF!, Mondo Generator
Best Coast, Nothing, The Sangri-las
NO BRAGGING RIGHTS The Concrete Flower
OKKULTOKRATI Night Jerks
Pure Noise Records (2014)
Fysisk Format (2014)
Topshelf Records (2014)
The path of No Bragging Rights has been a constant rising towards to an impressive progression. In 2012, they released Cycles which was an excellent record and the band itself says that it was then that they found their identity and it helped them to push their sound even further. So what to expect from this new album? Their best performance to date. The Concrete Flower is intense, fast, in-depth album. Mike Perez once again delivers lyrics as meaningful and personal as he shouts intensively each word. Nothing is written in vain. Every infectious riff and every heartfelt word have a purpose to reach our brains and hearts. Tracks like “Fallen Master” and “Brave Hearts” are exceptional songs. As a whole, The Concrete Flower shows a band that has struggled and fought against the ruthlessness of life.
Recorded in an old church occupied by Årabrot’s mastermind Kjetil Nernes - makes all the sense because the atmosphere that you get while listening Night Jerks is easily translated by the environment that kind of place can create – and with the help of new guitarist Milton von Krogh who helped with his background playing in garage rock bands, Night Jerks is probably the pinnacle of Okkultokrati’s career, where the aggressive sounds - you can think black metal because that’s always there – are enhanced by a diverse and multi-level universe that seems to have deep roots on the true alternative/underground and fucked up music from the 80s and 90s. From post-punk weirdness and noise manifestation to steamy industrial beats and an always extreme approach, the Norwegian outfit manages to push even forward the weird/experimental/extreme music scene.
After seven years as a band, Prawn have gradually shaped their sound into an interesting and compelling mix of genres. Actually, their music was several times labeled as the so nostalgic “emo revival”, but that’s a pretty lazy way to describe it. They make a blend of indie, emo, post-rock and with this new album they take further their sound, exploring even more their post-rock approach. In Kingfisher, we see vocalist Tony Clark exposing his vulnerable side and writingthe most introspective lyrics on a Prawn’s album to date. “Prolonged Exposure” is a great example of that, which he opens up for the first time about his father’s death. With this honest approach, Kingfisher turns to be a much darker album, but the tremendous delivery to each song is impressive and makes hard to not listen to the whole album again.
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Årabrot, Haust, Haraball
Heights, Stick To Your Guns
The World Is a Beautiful..., The Hotelier
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
Foundations of Burden
Fearless Records (2014)
Profound Lore (2014)
Well guys, let’s play a game called: “Name that rip off”. Unfortunately this is the natural next step from Chris Motionless and company, but the truth is that Reincarnate is not a bad album at all. Although the group has retained their metalcore roots, Chris Motionless and company with this new effort take the band to a whole new level, where the trademark goth vs metalcore explores a more sonically diversity, with In Flames meets Marilyn Manson meets AFI esque, but with somehow good and triumphant songs. There are some “what the fuck?” moments in this album, especially when Cradle Of Filth’s Dani Filth shows up for the AFI vs The Cure vs Cradle of Filth track “Puppets 3”, but against all the odds, they have nailed it perfectly. And what about that Five Finger Death Punch look alike that is “Unstoppable”? But the game changes when Maria Brink brings some dark bad romance with “Contemptress,” and when former MIW producer/ KMFDM member Tim Skold brings some of that industrial meets dance meets White Zombie for “Final Dictvm,” an exquisite and vintage chaotic anthem. Well, Reincarnate is very likeable, addictive and diverse, but sounds like we have heard these songs somewhere else before...
Pallbearer’s Foundations of Burden is a rich and modern approach to the traditional doom metal. Despite being new to the scene, this band has already left its mark with their debut album two years ago. This new release is here to solidify the band’s impact. It starts on a slow pace, but with a very intense gloomy feeling, that lasts through out the whole record, and that stays with you. With powerful, yet dragged riffs, a synchronized and hypnotic beat, and a raspy voice, their sound grows on you after only a few hearings. It’s a somewhat dirty sound, but there is beauty in it. Despite the record being fairly consistent, the songs “Foundations” and “The Ghost I Used To Be”, were the ones that stood out the most. The raw energy exhaled by “Foundations” makes it a track hard to forget. In its turn, “The Ghost I Used To Be”, is a ten minute epic doom metal piece, that captures the band’s full spirit. This is in its whole, an excellent record, and a very good candidate for one of the best albums of the year. It is another pearl that came out of the north American underground scene in the past years. However, they still have a long way to go to establish themselves as a classic cult band, but this release is an excellent step towards to that goal.
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Marilyn Manson, Afi, In Flames, The Cure, White Zombie
Contemptress, Final Dictvm, Puppets 3
Agalloch, Sleep, Candlemass
Foundations, The Ghost I Used To Be
TEARDROP FACTORY Trash in the Heart
SHABAZZ PALACES Lese Majesty
Sub Pop (2014)
Faux Discx (2014)
Graveface Records (2014)
Stop! Rewind. Let’s go back in time to the early history of rap. 40 years ago. Or maybe even further back. The Shabazz Palaces offer us a new path for the future in Lese Majesty. A whole full of meaning without pretension where they try to warn the world around us, a world full of diffuse voices as the MC Ishmael Butler (former Digable Planets). A voice that doesn’t stand out as one would expect in a rap album. On the contrary, engages in instrumental ambiences that evolve in time and in its abstraction it finds terms that make us earn the perception of what counts and make us think. Everything on the album is incredibly designed and coded. And that’s not the big plan?
In an era when pop and folk are constantly reinventing, rock has been losing the space formerly occupied in the music scene. This is a band that makes fast forward to this reality, bringing us new power guitar, raw beat and some noise which we have waited for. This is an English duo composed by the couple Andy and Tina, which leads to names like White Stripes, The Strokes, among others, but with a touch of new sounds and dynamics, possible only in reinventing rock as a living entity, surviving in a world dominated by pop. This is a very nice album that incorporates all the tear we wanted and still adds ethereal vocals, guided by a well-defined rhythm. It is perhaps in this domain that do not reach higher score, because the pace is so standard it’s hard to see where one song ends and another begins.
The inconsistency of Whirr is staggering to say the least. From a nice and promising Distressor EP, they went to release a debut album, Pipe Dreams, which was nothing more than a dull ten track effort – with the exception of “Home Is Where My Head”. Now they released their second album, Sway, and inconsistency comes to mind again. This time around, the band from San Francisco managed to build an album that’s not dull – there are some quite enjoyable moments in there – but with a serious lack of direction just like if they were drifting in circles in a sea that’s filled with clichés of post-rock/ shoegaze/dream pop/whatever. Whirr is the type of band that always creates high hopes but never manages to deliver. What’s next?
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Clipping, Digable Planets, Young Fathers
My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive
White Stripes, The Strokes
Profound Lore Records (2014)
YOB Clearing The Path To Ascend
WITCH MOUNTAIN Mobile Of Angels
Most of the times it is ridiculous to waste time discussing how good, or bad, a band really is when there’s something far more important to have in consideration: the album – a great album will never disappoint you. But now and then there’s a group of people that make that discussion really appealing when their decisions have an impressive progression and evolution. That’s the case with The Wild Reeds. Listening to the band’s discography can be an enlightening moment – watching 20 Feet From Stardom can help too - to see how they evolved and perfected the original idea and achieved this immense roller-coaster. Adding a drummer and a bassist, and starting with something so strong as “Where I’m Going” is more than enough to put the band up there with the “elite”.
After six studio albums, Witch Mountain can still be a pleasant surprise. Mobile Of Angels is a great classic doom’s record. The songs are epic (“The Shape Truth Shakes”), Uta Plotkin’s beautiful and powerful voice transforms the dark melodies into a sweet dichotomy between the evil and the good, metaphorically speaking. The solos are technically perfect, as we can hear in the song “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)”, a slow, sickly classic doom solo. Mobile Of Angels is very well written like melancholic poetry ready to hit your heart straight away. It’s a haunting album, one of those pieces of art where in the end you wanted the record to last more than six songs.
“Time to wake up.” The first, unassuming words of an extraordinary journey that marks a return to Yob’s colossal production and earth-crumbling riffage of yore, “In Our Blood” initiating proceedings with a Damoclean descent of sonic and emotional weight that shifts Mike Scheidt’s vocals from bellicose roars to forlorn wails as guitars tilt in time. While the first half of the album sounds like primo doom, a crawling descent through misery and hard riffing dipped in molasses and left to grind to a halt, what remains is as elegiac as it is stunning. Delicately ringing melodies resound amidst chaos, towering concrete riffs collapse into desolation and disquiet, and the album weaves its way not to a triumphant climax but to mournful closure. A masterful work that sits Yob on the throne of all things heavy.
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THE WILD REEDS Blind and Brave
Spirits of the Red City, Local Natives
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Pallbearer, Conan, Ufomammut
REVIEWED NEXT ISSUE OUT NOW
Mona Records (2014)
SCOTT WALKER AND SUNN O)))
Everything Will Be Alright in the...
These last few years were kind of exciting though devastating for the Norwegian songwriter Sondre Lerche. First he releases his great 2011 self-titled album, then his 2012 live album Bootlegs leading to a non-stop tour around the world, but then comes the devastating part, the divorce from his wife of eight years, the filmmaker/model Mona Fastvold. Well, it was really devastate for the musician, because he exposed all of his angriest, saddest feelings into this new album. Please is kind of Lerche’s divorce record, but it’s a bold one and maybe it’s one of those records that we see him so opened up about something so dear to him. Every single song has a particular lyric with so much meaning that every little detail matters, where the infectuous riffs, the catchy chorus and the multi-layered vocal arrangement sounds are so stunning in this melancolic atmosphere. The first single “Bad Law” is a proof of that with a cheery vibe with the words “When crimes are passionate, can love be separate?” There’s also some more heartbreaking tracks, like “Sentimentalist”: “Tying the knot…Dying to not rot…I’m no sentimentalist.” or “Legends”: “Now we’ll never know what legends we could be!” Lerche exposes himself so emotionally and intensely, but still he makes masterfully great tunes. Even though it was written in a very organic way, Please is for sure a cathartic record but it’s amazing how catchy and cheerful this damn record can be.
The Last Dawn & Rays of...
.5: The Grey Chapter
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Bombay Bicycle Club, John Grant, The Drums
Bad Law, Legends, Sentimentalist
Plowing Into the Field of Love
A World Lit Only by Fire
EARTH CCA, Glasgow 14.08.2014
Words: David Bowes // Pictures: Alex Woodword The current line-up of Earth has been one of the most formidable in the group’s history, Dylan Carlson, Adrienne Davies and Don McGeevy having meshed into an innate and intuitive musical force that allows for some ambitious interplay, much of which is made apparent in this intimate setting. “Badgers Bane” and “Even Hell Has Its Heroes” set the ball rolling in typically molasses-like fashion, with no end but for a shimmering horizon looming ahead as Davies moves in a parody of speed, raising high for each crash but delivering with a light swiftness perfectly attuned to Carlson’s melancholic air. He is capable of plunging a room into despair and dragging it back into the warming light of hope with equal propensity, and this is precisely what he spends much of tonight doing. Even stripped of Lori Goldston’s mournful contributions, Carlson’s sparse instrumentation lends “Old Black” only the faintest sparks of light, while “From The Zodiacal Light” burns much more brightly, Carlson coming to life as he holds his guitar aloft and elicits from it Earth’s most life-affirming moments, demonstrating a deft touch that would have seemed unthinkable only a few years ago. But while these showcase Earth’s songwriting prowess and their ability to meld rough-hewn riffs with moments of scene-setting splendour worthy of the finest auteurs, “The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull” and “Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon” are staggering depictions of a band capable of constructing colossal towers of sound, built on solid foundations and eliciting states of exultation and catatonia. Each are stretched and drawn out into endlessly sprawling forms, every crescendo diminishing only to rise again seconds later as Carlson locks himself into a droning, trance-like state of doom nirvana. These are the moments that define Earth, the ones that spawned countless imitators and acolytes, and it’s these vast swathes of sound that the room takes with them tonight, etched in memory and soul.
CONVERGE Martyrod Okkultokrati The Classic Grand, Glasgow 05.08.2014
Words: David Bowes // Pictures: Gerald Chau
Converge have always known what people want in a tour, and between the blackened thrash of Okkultokrati and Martyrdöd’s violent clash of sludge potency and vivid hardcore, things get off to a furious start. Okkultokrati are a decidedly oldschool phenomenon, an aggressive and brooding reminder of what Darkthrone once were and what Discharge will always be, and their uncompromising blasts of icy malevolence keep the hair swinging from the few crusties lurking amongst the hardcore crew. Their Swedish compatriots take things more slowly, tempering bursts of punk catharsis with tarry grooves that even sound unclean, but the end result is the same – sweat, elation and strained neck muscles. For release, though, no-one will ever match Converge. Every show doubles as therapy session, an opening salvo of “Eagles Become Vultures” prompting a frenzy of activity that crushes the first few rows with an efficacy that only a few hundred crap weeks could summon. Jacob Bannon makes the most of this energy, his wiry frame never stopping moving while each bark and scream he utters is matched by a few dozen more as he thrusts his microphone amongst the crowd, creating a sense of community from chaos and continuously toeing the line between vocalist and riotstarter with open-throated abandon. It’s a night that dwells heavily on last year’s staggering All We Love We Leave Behind, but also delivers plenty of reminders of past glories, from the white-knuckle, veins bulging fury of “Bitter And Then Some” to a surprising and tender rendition of “Grim Heart/Black Rose”, though the constants still remain – Kurt Ballou is an unparalleled, unpredictable guitarist, the technicality and precision of Ben Koller’s drumming is nothing short of breathtaking, and Jacob Bannon really knows how to work a crowd. There aren’t many bands that leave you wondering if they could ever put on a poor show, but Converge are definitely among those elite few. 108
GUARDIAN ALIEN Galeria Zé dos Bois Lisboa 02.07.2014 ,
Words and Picture: Ricardo Almeida
Guardian Alien is an avant-garde project curated by the challenging drummer Greg Fox – fairly known for his days in the “transcendental black metal” act Liturgy. Their self-titled debut record was released in 2011, exclusively on vinyl, and, since then, two other albums have been released. They have been dwelling in the realms of experimental music, rejecting convention in every way. The line up might vary a little when playing live, but the core element of the band is always there – Greg’s drumming -, sometimes accompanied by minimalist electronic soundscapes, sometimes under guitar-led psychedelia, sometimes in the midst of almost-free-jazz mayhem. Guardian Alien delivered an intimistic night for the few ones gathering inside the walls of ZDB, in the very heart of Lisbon’s night. There were three people on stage deconstructing Spiritual Emergency – Guardian Alien’s last record -, Greg on drums, Alex Drewchin struggling with the equalizers and effects processors in between whispers on the microphone, and Turner Williams Jr., dealing with machinery of the same nature. Some might have found the performance unbalanced, with all the energy and fury of the drum kit imposing itself over the curly waves coming out from the “electronic section”. As soon as one could find himself being taken by the music, a riffle would start shooting aimlessly. Well, that’s Guardian Alien, unless one actually knows all the technicalities of playing drums or messing around with synthesizers and that sort of stuff, one really needs to be in the mood to face a show of this nature – which, don’t get me wrong, can be an excellent experience. It’s not always easy to be “in the zone” with Guardian Alien’s music, and that’s exactly what makes it so interesting: one has to chase the vibe, to dive deep in it – it’s not really a passive activity. One last word for Galeria Zé dos Bois – that just turned 20 years old- , being one of the few places in Lisbon where one can always rely for great, and most of all interesting, concerts, among other activities. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
The Classic Grand, Glasgow 31.07.2014
Words: David Bowes// Picture: Gerald Chau
There is no such thing as an average Andrew W.K. crowd, and that’s because Andrew W.K. is far from average. Even with only a keyboard, a backing track and strutting hype man Blakey Boy to support him on his solo tour, he launches like into “It’s Time To Party” with the kind of enthusiasm normally witnessed when cats encounter expensive furniture, grinning gleefully and pumping his fist alongside his balding comrade before embarking on the first of 110
countless piano segues, showing off his classically-trained chops while never dipping far from his ‘happiest man alive’ persona. He’s a perma-smiling joker with limitless energy, working the room into a bouncing, sweaty frenzy while doing the same to himself, yet at no point does this ever seem like an act. Even as the first of the invading crowd-surfers transfer from floor to stage, he hugs them and sings alongside them, fully ssimilated as a valued part of the team. He has a knack for immediately creating a sense of community with a room, an exuberant blend of good-natured enthusiasm and undiluted bro-ness (not always a bad thing) that draws strangers into a relaxed
yet hyper-energized mob, and that’s why the word ‘party’ will always follow him. For all his enthusiasm and gusto, for the unbridled joy of “We Want Fun” and a newly-titled “We Love Glasgow City”, the memories of tonight will be the everincreasing presence of the crowd on stage, to the point where he is dwarfed by 40-or-so bouncing, smiling singing punters. It will be of him, frantically thrashing and flailing his fists to “I Get Wet” as the floor suddenly looks very empty indeed. At one point in the night, WK declares that, “This is not a show. This is one thing, and one thing only.” That’s right, this is a party, dammit, and tonight, Glasgow partied hard.
VAGOS OPEN AIR Quinta do Ega, Vagos 08-10.08.2014
Words: Rita Limede // Pictures: Ricardo Sousa Costa // Vagos Open Air
The opening act of the day was Gates of Hell, a band that has shown their value in the Portuguese underground scene. It was fast, energetic and had a massive wall of death. Next up was Kandia, who were probably the most out-of-place band in there. They’re nothing but a mediocre act with a dreadful singer, and the only good thing about that gig is that only lasted half an hour. Sylosis came next and didn’t disappoint. Soilwork gave a good show, but nothing memorable. Epica dazzled the audience, especially because of their lead singer. It was a rather magical moment, which transported me back to my teens. Kreator ended the night on a very high note, with one of the most brutal shows that the festival has ever seen. Chaos was the word of order on their awaited return, whereas they played all their classics.
Day 2 Requiem Laus started the second day. This
Portuguese act received a warm welcome, and gave their best. Angelus Apatrida was the band that followed. A group well known by the Portuguese audience gave one hell of a show, with lots of movement and brutality in the pit. Next up was The Haunted. Under a cloudy dark sky by sundown, Behemoth’s show was heartfelt and grim. At the top of their game, they presented a most memorable gig, which left us wanting way more. Annihilator was the act that followed. A brutal discharge of energy, a comedic detail in the middle (the hidden track “Chicken And Corn”), but mostly was an amazing show. Melody and anger met harmoniously during Opeth’s gig. However they broke the pace set by Annihilator, with a far too long version of “Atonement” in the middle of their set, causing some dispersion of the crowd.
Day 3 Opus Diabollicum were the special guests of the day. Murk was up next, and gave their best. The Quartet of Woah was intense, although it didn’t draw the crowd’s full attention. Vita Imana,
a rather unknown band for most, surprised with their great and lively performance. Paradise Lost soothed the mood and delighted us with some of their biggest classics, a good show, that unfortunately was marked with sound problems. Gojira ended the festival in the best way possible. Under heavy rain, the whales flew and it was mind blowing. This year’s edition of Vagos Open Air had 3 days instead of the usual 2, which, despite being exhausting, was a great bet. Once again it was marked by great shows, good ambience, lots of beer and amazing people. The true value of this festival is not only measured by the quality of the bands, but by the amazing spirited lived by everyone who goes there, and makes life lasting friendships. However, there are a few details that need to be improved, especially regarding the camping conditions. Overall was a great edition, probably the best so far.
Paradise Lost musicandriotsmagazine.com
THE OCEAN Audio, Glasgow 09.07.2014
Words: David Bowes // Pictures: Alan Swan
The Ocean, much like their namesake, are an immersive phenomenon, and last year’s Pelagial might well have been the epitome of this. A masterpiece of light and shade, of melody and density, it practically begged to engulf listeners whole and to be played as a whole itself, which is why tonight’s set is simply that from beginning to end, from the effervescent spaciousness of “Epipelagic” right down to the crush depth of “Benthic”, all accompanied by the watery beauty of Craig Murray’s visuals and the fluttering blues and greens that bathe the stage with their dichromatic light. Tonight is proof that highconcept technicality and emotional connection don’t necessarily have to be at loggerheads with Loïc Rossetti perpetually shifting from wounded bison to indignant crooner while Robin Staps twists dizzying riffs around sharply executed percussion and wistful melodies alike. “Mesopelagic” and “Bathypelagic II” offer the chance for the crowd to get involved, eagerly yelling alongside Rossetti as he hoists himself onto the bar, looming over the cupboard-sized room like an emaciated titan. They’ve always been an intensely physical live band, much to some venues’ dismay, and it’s still apparent, the sextet throwing themselves into every strum and palpably buckling under every crescendo. For all its energy, staggering guitarwork and monstrous heaviness, with “Demersal” truly feeling like a suffocating, light-obliterating experience to rival that of any sludge show around, this never really feels like a metal gig. The crowd seem content to let the band do all the work - there are no pits, the cheers are hearty as the set closes but few and far between elsewhere - but The Ocean take up the slack with gusto. Whether the audience came for an intense hardcore assault, a progressive odyssey or simply to bang their heads, they didn’t leave disappointed, and those who’d been touting Pelagial as the highlight of 2013 got the chance to feel mightily smug to boot. 112
The Arches, Glasgow 15.08.2014 Words: David Bowes // Picture: Peter Davidson
Being perfectly honest, Spiderland was perhaps never supposed to have been played live. Slint famously called it a day before those sublime 40 minutes were ever made available to the public, and yet hearing it now, it still sounds wonderfully fresh, and so very, very right. Rather than dive straight in to the Pitchfork bible material, “Glenn” is chosen to serve as an appetiser for the evening – no flashing lights, no movement, only the occasional “whoop” from a crowd member, immediately shushed into nonexistence, and the simple pleasure of repetition, metronomic and scathing by turns. The brittle harmonics of “Breadcrumb Trail” signal the serving of the main course, a moment of wish fulfilment for those saving up their pennies and hope for the past two decades, Brian McMahon’s measured delivery still an odd clash with the shifting, stuttering guitars, although as his cry of “Creeping up into the sky” is matched with sonic ascent, the night takes direction. All of Spiderland gets its airing tonight; “Nosferatu Man” screeches and lurches its way towards detonation; “For Dinner...” is the embodiment of pressure and restraint; a seated “Don, Aman” is haunting and tense, Britt Walford moving to centre stage and destroying the room with quiet desperation and explosive release. It’s perfect, and yet it’s flawed, which is just what should be expected from a band like Slint. The sickening scream of “I miss you!” as “Good Morning Captain” climaxes is potent yet not the soul-wrenching experience many fantasised about, but then what about “Washer”? The blast of distortion that launched a thousand bands hits like a shockwave here, thunderous and intensely physical. And then there’s Rhoda and Ron, two brief flurries of punk insouciance that show the band as those impetuous teenagers once again and reaffirm Tweez as the underdog album of choice. It’s easy to forget the time that has passed, but tonight reminded many that nostalgia is one thing, but a great show is something else entirely. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater WRITER: Richard Linklater CAST: Ellar
Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Elijah Smith, Lorelei Linklater, Steven Chester Prince, Bonnie Cross, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Jamie Howard, Andrew Villarreal, Shane Graham, Tess Allen, Ryan Power, Sharee Fowler, Mark Finn, David Blackwell, Barbara Chisholm, Cassidy Johnson USA 2014
Boyhood, a fictional drama filmed over 12 years with the same cast, tells us the story of a boy growing up, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who’s 6 when the story opens and 18 when it ends. Ethan Hawke (who has collaborated with the director, Linklater many times), Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter, complete the main cast. Due to the filming duration, the project was first named “12 years”, but Linklater changed it so it wouldn’t be confused with 12 years a Slave, and so Boyhood it was. Simultaneously radical and familiar, the idea was born after the director asked himself what was the best way to make a movie about the private emotions and childhood itself, without turning it into something so vague that no one could relate to. It was all about staying patient and looking at the big picture, but that’s not how things were done in Hollywood. “There was no real precedent for doing this with a cast and crew,” Linklater said. “There’s no such thing as a 12year contract in this business. So it was really asking people to take a communal leap of good faith and commitment.” Every event in Boyhood is always seen from the perspective of the kids, which is invariably very different to that of their divorced parents. For instance, when they first move out, Olivia is very grateful for the opportunity of getting a bigger place, but both Mason and Sam are desolated for leaving their home. Here lies the magic of this ambitious project: Boyhood has no precedents in the film industry, mostly because it gives us true family moments, true doubts, true teenage angst. As they grow up, we – the audience – grow as well, wrapped up in that struggling wonder what is life in its most pure form, with all its clichés, Kodac moments and temporal signposts such as a Britney Spears 90’s song or a Nintendo Wii. Whereas Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight played out over a very tight time frame, Boyhood was developed over more than a decade. Their similarity is in the attention the director pays to dialogue and character, and the importance of time and its antithesis. For instance, certain characters who play important parts in Mason’s life simply vanish as we move forward in time and in some situations there’s no follow up. Therefore, we can say Linklater‘s ambition was to show how time can change things, instead of showing how things can change with time. In summary, the greatness of the film lies in the smallness of its story: there is no straight narrative line or a borderline story of who Mason is or what he is about to be when he grows older. We can only see how time influences him, his family, his friends, his girlfriends… and all of us, eventually. As the film approaches the end, we are aware that Mason’s childhood won’t last forever and we’re sorry to see the movie is over as if we were a part of it ourselves – and therefore we (as we know it) are gone too.
WISH I WAS HERE
DIRECTOR: Zach Braff WRITER: Adam J. Braff, Zach Braff CAST: Zach
GOD HELP THE GIRL
DIRECTOR: Stuart Murdoch WRITER: Stuart Murdoch CAST: Emily
Braff, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon, Kate Hudson, Alexander Chaplin, Josh Gad, Mandy Patinkin, James Avery, Jim Parsons, Mark Thudium, Allan Rich, Ashley Greene USA 2014
Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bisset, Sarah Swire, Mark Radcliffe, Stuart Maconie, Ann Scott-Jones, Josie Long, Pauline King UK 2014
Actor and writer-director Zach Braff is back with his latest movie. Wish I Was Here tells the story of Aidan Bloom, a struggling actor, husband and dad who at 35 is still trying to find his true place in life. Once again Zack Braff brings a certain dose of reality to his story, where big issues like failed dreams, parenthood, marriage and even mortality seems to have a seat in this introspective and spiritual modern Garden State for grownups. Wish I Was Here is a good effort, from an actor-writer-director that truly knows how life works, Braff never try to be profound, instead he gives a serious but funny approach to those genuine dilemmas from common life. This is what we can call an intelligent and honest heartfelt tragicomedy.
While in the hospital dealing with anorexia, the standalone star Eve (Emily Browning) starts writing songs as a way of getting better. This leads her out of the hospital and to Glasgow, Scotland where she meets the dreamy indie musician James (Olly Alexander) and the funny character that is Cassie (Hanna Murray), two musicians, both following their own path of their own. In God Help the Girl, writer/director and Belle and Sebastien lead singer Stuart Murdoch creates a poignant coming-of-age story over the course of a long, dreamlike summer. This might be one of the best indie movies of this year, besides the fact that is made of disconnected parts. It’s so damn likeable and charming that we totally forgive its flaws. FAUSTO CASAIS
DIRECTOR: Michael Dowse WRITER: Elan Mastai CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall, Lucius Hoyos, Jemima Rooper, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Meghan Heffern IRELAND/CANADA 2014
DIRECTOR: John Carney WRITER: John Carney CAST: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, James Corden, Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld, Mos Def, Andrew Sellon, Mary Catherine Garrison, CeeLo Green, Rob Morrow USA 2014
A boy heartbroken by his failed late relationship meets this girl one night at a party and in that instant they bond like never before. The girl has a boyfriend and the boy falls in love with her, but even so they become best friends. What if these two friends become more than that? Can you picture this awkward yet so ordinary situation? That’s what this delightful and enchanting film is all about. With the charismatic and charming Daniel Radcliffe (Wallace) and the usual indie-romantic actress Zoe Kazan (Chantry) starring as the friends-to-be-lovers duo, What If is the story of these two characters that try to deny the chemistry between them, leading to a million questions and crusades, ending up to be a compelling and dreamy story.
John Carney, who wrote and directed Once, is back with another film that focuses again on songwriters and the way their life influences their own creativity and inspiration. Begin Again is somehow a bit different from Once. In this new flick, love, family, fail and new relationships, New York, creativity, record label bullshit and of course music are the key elements of this pleasant and somehow appealing indie comedy. Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo unusual, sometimes unexpected and unconventional characters gave a lethal dose of reality to a story full of that romantic-comedy clichés esque. Begin Again is not Once, but it’s an indie musical that breeds authenticity and sincerity, in a genre that sometimes lacks heart and chemistry.
REVIEWED NEXT ISSUE
DIRECTOR: Lenny Abrahamson WRITER: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan CAST: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Mag-
gie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, François Civil, Carla Azar, Moira Brooker, Paul Butterworth, Phil Kingston UK/IRELAND 2014
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
By Woody Allen
This new film by Lenny Abrahamson is a weird yet interesting approach; it’s mostly inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the comic persona of Chris Sievey. The film starts with Jon (Gleeson), a young wanna-be musician, that joins an eccentric band called Soronprfbs led by Frank. Frank is a mysterious and odd musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head performed brilliantly by Fassbender. When Jon joins the band, they move to Ireland to record an album and there’s a lot of mixed feelings and bizarre situations between them, which later on leads them to play at SXSW. It’s a quirky and weird film, but is utterly engaging and amusing, showing the deep melancholy and fragility of an amazing musician that doesn’t know how to deal with pressure and difficulties. ANDREIA ALVES
By David Fincher
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
DIRECTOR: James Gunn WRITER: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman CAST:
20,000 DAYS ON EARTH
By Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro USA/UK 2014
Here we have another Marvel’s film, another Marvel’s blockbuster franchise. But it’s unfair to just call this film a blockbuster, because it is indeed a hell of damn good one brought by Marvel. Peter Quill - performed awesomely by Chris Pratt - is an audacious space thief and after stealing a mysterious orb, he ends up meeting his yet-to-be-known alias: Rocket (Cooper), Groot (Diesel), Gamora (Saldana) and Drax (Bautista). Together they face the malicious Ronan (Pace) that want to possess the orb that holds the power to destroy the galaxy. Funny, charming, riveting and heartfelt with a well-picked 70’s music as soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy was definitely this year’s summer blockbuster, but was one of the best in years. ANDREIA ALVES
THE RIOT CLUB
By Lone Scherfig
SPEAKING WITH LEGENDS...
RAGING SPEEDHORN are back! The metal/hardcore outfit of this English unknown town called Corby, in the county of Northamptonshire, was responsible for burning houses and smash people’s faces back in the day when they were raging with their honest, highly relatable and aggressive music. After six years they return and people are showing love and respect proving that sometimes this business can be fair. We talked with Jay Thompson (guitarist) that in a contagious good mood was able to tell us more about what Speedhorn really and how it has been this reunion. Words: Tiago Moreira
ordon [Morrison, drummer] said that “The Hate Song” is the best song to describe Raging Speedhorn. Do you agree with him?
Yeah, I think that’s quite a good description of the band as a whole. I think especially at the time when we wrote that song. Well, we were quite angry young men. [laughs] From my point of view, Corby is quiet a boring sort of nothing town. There are no really opportunities and you’ve got to unload your frustration somehow… Most people do it by fighting over the weekends. [laughs] I guess we 118
decided to go with music.
So, Corby was really important to shape the band, right?
Absolutely! I think it kind of helped to take away the all fashionable aspects of the music that was going on at that time. I think a lot of bands were jumping on a lot of different scenes and kind of trying to be fashionable but we, because we were living in this place, just did our own thing.
That’s the positive aspect of living in places like Corby as opposed to live in big cities like London or something. Small places don’t give you too much to look at so you have to deal with the real stuff and that can be not only honest by also therapeutic.
Yeah, absolutely. Because there’s no sort of decent careers around there and it’s kind of a poor town so… To be honest we never imagined that we would get this big or this far with the band, especially with the way we sound and things like “The Hate Song” that are really hostile. We just played the music for us and I guess it has that pure feeling.
Exactly, and there’s this important thing about Raging Speedhorn: how relatable the music is. There are a huge number
of people living in the same type of situation. I mean, people tend to talk about the big cities and everything that surrounds that environment but most people have the same problems that you had.
That’s exactly right. Obviously with rock ‘n’ roll there’s this sort of glamorous side with the bigger bands, especially radio rock bands and stuff, but we could never relate to something like that. It’s like a complete alien world to us and like you say the majority of people just live a mundane life in a mundane town just like we do, dealing with the same frustrations and problems.
Do you think that’s why you decided to open the Sonisphere show with “The Hate Song”?
Yeah, definitely! I guess for our point of view that song is like our anthem or something and despite what we have been through - of course we changed quite a lot – in a way that’s still our definitive statement and we still sort of feel that way. There were changes in our lives, now we have families and everything, but we’re still angry with a lot of things and we still have kind of the same frustrations that we had when we were younger. I mean, sometimes
“To be honest we never imagined that we would get this big or this far with the band, especially with the way we sound and things like “The Hate Song” that are really hostile. We just played the music for us and I guess it has that pure feeling.” I think Gordon said that one of the things that made you stop with Speedhorn was that the music scene was changing at that time. Am I wrong or that’s actually true?
they just don’t go away, no matter what.
In 2008 you guys decided to stop. Can you tell us why you decided that was time to call it the quits for Speedhorn? I think we had been doing for so long and it just felt like a natural conclusion, really. When you’ve been doing for a while, you’re touring constantly… that just becomes your sort of way of life and I guess we were just tired, you know? It was a very smooth process, we just discussed the possibility of leaving at that time while we were all good friends because you see, if we were keeping pushing it and carry on things could just start to become a little bit sour and you don’t want to be in one of those bands that is playing for ten people, ten years down the line. [laughs]
Yeah, and sometimes when you’re doing it for a while it can become this nine to five routine. I mean, the record-touring-record-touring thing, you know?
Yeah! I think a big aspect of it is that when you’re doing this in a band that has this certain level you need to put your life on hold and you can’t have proper responsibilities or anything like that.
Yeah, that’s true. To be honest I think we had always a weird position in the music scene and it felt always a little bit weird, you know? At that time nu-metal was on top when we started, of course we sound nothing like that… Yeah, obviously the music scene has been in a massive transition over the last few years and I guess we were still holding on being like a big label band. We were trying to make it work that way and there was also a big amount of animosity in the heavy rock scene at that time. I guess we were pushing a little bit against the tide what’s good in a way but can make things ten times harder. I mean, we’re still proud of the last album but making it work at that time was way more difficult that we hoped but then you can say that in the end is just luck, you know?
Six years later there are good news and you guys return to play some live shows. You were trying to do this reunion for quite some time now, right?
That’s right. Actually since we split up we started to receive gig offers from different venues and different promoters but because we were doing different things – different bands and everything – it sort of didn’t feel right but as we kept talking about it (we’re all in contact with each other) it just felt quite natural to make the return. Frank [Regen, vocals] coming back was, of course, important and really nice.
Do you remember the first time you guys played all together again? How was it? I do, yeah. It was quite nerve racking, actually. Frank got a
small rehearsing room in Corby so we sort of just like reconvene there… Well, attempt to learn the songs again. [laughs]
Wait, the “reunion” was done in Corby? Fucking hell, that’s awesome.
Yeah. [laughs] Even though we live in different towns and outside of Corby we managed to get back in there. It was quite nice to restart there and revisit the old places where we used to be. It was literally a tiny practice room and we just sort of… It was quite the experience because we were just hanging around and chatting before we actually played anything but the moment we just blasted into “The Hate Song”, it just felt great.
What about the first show? Calling it special would be an understatement, right?
Oh yeah, definitely. For start it was amazing that we managed to have a sold out show in our hometown. I mean… Now that I’m thinking, we never played that much in our hometown back in the day. But yeah, you never know what’s going to happen even though that’s your hometown. You don’t know if people are still interested. It was a relief to have the venue sold out, to be honest. [laughs] It was really special, man.
The obvious question: there will be a new Speedhorn’s album?
Maayybe. [laughs] It’s possibly in the thought process. Basically what will probably happen is that we will maybe write some new material and see how it goes. I mean, we can write new stuff and can be shit. [laughs] There’s not concrete plans but it can happen. Don’t miss Raging Speedhorn tour with Sworn To Oath over the UK in December.
GODFLESH SHABAZZ PALACE ELECTRIC WIZARD ORANGE GOBLIN SLEATER-KINNEY FOUR YEAR STRONG UPON A BURNING BODY HALEY BONAR SALLIE FORD MIREL WAGNER LE BUTCHERETTES KISHI BASHI THE TWILIGHT SAD BAPTISTS MONO NO BRAGGING RIGHTS J MASCIS BLACK MOTH FINCH SLIPKNOT OOZING WOUND ANDY BURROWS AND MUCH MORE... 120
Featuring: Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration, Earth, Ume, Ides of Gemini, White Lung, Avi Buffalo, The Wild Reeds, Johnny Aries, Kenneth Bachor,...