music&riots FREE | Nº 08 | JANUARY
CANCER BATS BLUENECK DARK TIMES WAR ON WOMEN GREAT SALE DAY FRONT PORCH STEP ONES TO WATCH FOR 2015
BLOODSHOT RECORDS 20 YEARS OF “INSURGENT COUNTRY” AND STILL MAKING A DIFFERENCE
TAKING BACK SUNDAY
AT THEIR BEST AND STILL INNOVATING
YOB NOTS BAPTISTS KISHI BASHI BRANT BJORK ANAAL NATHRAKH DESPERATE JOURNALIST FOREVER CAME CALLING THE LAST INTERNATIONALE
2014 THE YEAR IN REVIEW 1
facebook.com/atojband | atoj.bandcamp.com facebook.com/MemorialRecords | memorial-records.com 2
FEATURES BIG PICTURE WITH...
08 At The Gates in Glasgow UPCOMING - CANCER BATS
10 New album in March
ROUND UP - Sumac, Alcoa, War On
12 Women, Poison Idea and more... INTRODUCING - BLUENECK
14 An interview with the band LABEL PROFILE
18 20 Years of BloodShot Records NEU // VOL.8
26 Ones To Watch for 2015 2014 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW
86 Albums, Movies and much more... INTERVIEWS 38 KISHI BASHI
40 44 48 50 54 58 62 72 78 82
BRANT BJORK DARK TIMES NOTS BAPTISTS THE LAST INTERNATIONALE FOREVER CAME CALLING FRONT PORCH STEP DESPERATE JOURNALIST YOB ANAAL NAKTHRAKH
COVER STORY 66
TAKING BACK SUNDAY An interview with Adam Lazzara
REVIEWS REVIEWS 96 ALBUMS Einstürzende Neubauten, Marilyn Manson,
Soundgarden, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Menace Beach, Wu-Tang Clan, Chumped, Circa Survive, Smashing Pumpkins, Girlpool, Hookworms, Snowpoet, Doe, Antemasque, Hanni El Khatib, Loscil...
REPORT 110 LIVE Jesus And Mary Chain, At The Gates,
Behemoth, Mono, Helen Money, Tryptikon, Decapitated, Grand Magus, Breton
118 CINEMA The Interview, Still Alice, Mommy, The Theory Of Everything, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, Nightcrawler, Foxcatcher
“We made the record without a label and without find any kind of outside influence, so it’s really just the five of us and that’s something we’re very proud of...” Adam Lazzara - Taking Back Sunday
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
is here, finally! Christmas is finally gone, new year’s eve done, review of the year done and tons of new records arriving... This is our first edition of 2015 and with that arrives all that cliché issues, like our silly but awesome review of the year and our little list of new bands and artists to follow with careful attention this year. We also have the pleasure of having Taking Back Sunday on the cover of this issue. It’s one of the best bands in the world and it’s with great honor that we receive these cool dudes in our humble magazine. By the way guys, happy new year and we will be back somewhere in the middle of February... Have fun! Your Editor, Fausto Casais
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FREE | Nº 08 | JANUARY
SLEATER-KINNEY No Cities To Love
Sub Pop Available on 19.01.2015
CEO/EDITOR IN CHIEF
MARILYN MANSON The Pale Emperor
Cooking Vinyl Available on 19.01.2015
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Andreia Alves (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tiago Moreira (email@example.com)
ART EDITOR // DESIGNER
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Anchorless Records Out Now
Time And Trauma
Spinefarm Records Available on 16.02.2015
CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS
Andreia Alves, Ricardo Almeida, Falk-Hagen Bernshausen, Alex Woodward, Alex Swan
Relapse Records Available on 23.02.2015
Fausto Casais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH S/T
Neurot Recordings Available on 16.02.2015
Rise To Infamy
Throatruiner Records // Ruins Records, Available on 09.02.2015
HUGE FUCKING THANKS
Mike Cubillos, Lauren Barley, Frank van Liempdt, Deathwish Inc, Head Up! Shows, Thrill Jockey, Neurot Recordings, PIAS, Sub Pop, Sargent House, Stephanie Marlow, Amplificasom, Epitaph, Earsplit, Matador, Spinefarm, Southern Lord, Tell All Your Friends, Riot Act Media, Team Clermont,Bloodshot Records, Roadrunner Records, Joan Hiller, Eros Pasi, Rude Records, Pure Noise Records, Nothing, Memorial Records, Biruta Records
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A M A T T E R O F FA IT H
A VA IL A BL E FO R FR EE A T H Y B R ID C IR C LE .B A N D C A M
P .C O M
AT THE GATES THE COMEBACK OF THE YEAR Garage, Glasgow 06.12.2014 Picture by: Falk-Hagen Bernshausen
UPCOMING // CANCER BATS
CANCER BATS ARE BACK AND THEY’RE “SEARCHING FOR ZERO”
ancer Bats are set to release their fifth album titled Searching For Zero on March 9 via Noise Church, March 10 in the US via Metal Blade. Produced by legendary and multiplatinum producer Ross Robinson (At The Drive-In, Slipknot, The Cure, Sepultura, Glassjaw), Searching For Zero is according to their press release simultaneously the most melodic, yet menacing Cancer Bats release. Inspired by both Robinson and their metal idols Black Sabbath, whom they cover extensively under their alter ego, Bat Sabbath, the 10 songs that make up Searching for Zero boast a more raw and organic tonal signature than any previous Bats release. Ross Robinson brought a bare-bones aural aesthetic to the material, capturing a sound that unites the thrashy metal-tinged hardcore of the bands previous releases with a meaty lo-fi intensity, found only in their live shows amongst the sweaty masses. The melodic elements both musically and vocally were inspired by the band’s love and admiration for Black Sabbath. “In learning all those Sabbath songs, I ended up having to figure out how to really sing,” laughs lead vocalist Liam Cormier. “In the studio Ross was the one really pushing me to use that new voice I had discovered.” Thematically, Searching For Zero comes from a place of heavy contemplation for its creators, and at times, that contemplation grew grim and dark. “We were coming out of what was a really heavy year for all of us, with a lot of challenges, non-stop touring and the deaths of people really close to the band. With all of these things we’ve had to deal with this past year, we were all at the point of saying “No More Bullshit”, we’ve dealt with everything, nothing is standing in our way,” Cormier explains about the headspace he shared with his bandmates. “We’ve found our absolute zero, where there can no longer be a negative, and from that point, everything moving forward can only be positive” And that positivity – that willingness to change what you can and let go of the rest – is the source of resolution. “There are real reasons we do this,” Cormier says assuredly. “We love being in this band, and we love the people that we’re lucky enough to share this with.” In support of their forthcoming album, Cancer Bats have just announced a co-headlining UK tour with While She Sleeps for April 2015. Tickets and album bundles for the tour are on sale now.
Searching For Zero arrives on March 9 via Noise Church and March 10 in the US via Metal Blade musicandriotsmagazine.com
SUMAC Another all-star lineup
project this way comes umac is a new band that features an all-star lineup of core members Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), with Brian Cook (Russian Circles, Botch, These Arms Are Snakes) in place for studio and some live performances. Having recently formed, Sumac are excited to release their debut album, The Deal, which will be available on February 3rd from Profound Lore Records on CD and Digital formats and via SIGE on vinyl. Sumac came to fruition when Aaron Turner had the urge to once again create colossalsounding music, bringing back the heaviness that he incorporated in Isis as well as what he’s currently creating with Old Man Gloom into a wholly new and different direction. A goal for the band to strive for was to write some of the heaviest music Turner had ever written, and he found the ideal partner with Baptists drummer Nick Yacyshyn. One of the best drummers in heavy music today, Yacyshyn showcases and expands his drumming talents even further with Sumac. The duo recorded six new tracks in Seattle in late summer of 2014 which would become The Deal with Mell Dettmer (Wolves In The Throne Room, Sunn O))), etc.). There, they were joined by Russian Circles/Botch/These Arms Are Snakes bassist Brian Cook who laid the pulse down for the album. The album was then mixed by Kurt Ballou (Converge) at Godcity Studios and mastered by Mikka Jusslla at Finvoxx Studios in Finland and the end result is an absolutely crushing album.
The Deal arrives on February 3rd via Profound Lore Records 12
Lana Del Rey is already planning the follow up to last year’s Ultraviolence album. In an interview with Billboard, she revealed the name of her next LP will be Honeymoon, and that she’s already written nine songs for it. According to her, this new effort sounds “very different” from Ultraviolence but “similar” to 2012’s Born to Die. Rammstein singer Til Lindemann has formed a new project in collaboration with renowned guru and producer, Pain and Hypocrisy
ALCOA A very new and
invigorating chapter in Derek Archambault’s life he sophomore full-length from Alcoa, Parlour Tricks, arrives upon a very new and invigorating chapter in Derek Archambault’s life. The singer and guitarist, who also fronts the rising hardcore/punk band Defeater, has had an intense time since Alcoa’s 2013 debut Bone & Marrow; he got married, for one thing; for another, he had major surgery with a hip replacement after a debilitating injury. After a successful campaign on crowd-funding site PledgeMusic (resulting in the recently released covers EP, Thank You), he had the imminent surgery, got back on his feet, and immediately began working on new music with both Defeater and his alt-rock/ country-leaning Alcoa. Recording near his home, in Portsmouth, NH, provided a warm and familiar environment with bandmate and engineer Mike Moschetto, etching out a slightly twangy and honest sound with shades of wistful, jangly 90’s alternative rock acts. Originally started as a solo/side project, Alcoa formed just over 10 years ago when Archambault was on the road with one of his bands and wanted to do something a little different. The Alcoa project had remained on the backburner until 2013 when Archambault teamed up with a troop of musicians (including his now wife, Alyssa Archambault) and recorded and released their debut LP Bone & Marrow to great critical acclaim. Since its release, Alcoa has shared the stage in various forms along the East Coast with an array of bands. Alcoa spent the greater part of this year penning what would become their newest endeavor, Parlour Tricks, which is scheduled for release on February 24th via Bridge Nine Records. Additionally, Alcoa will embark on its first-ever US tour, supporting Front Porch Step, this coming February and March.
Parlour Tricks arrives on February 24 via Bridge Nine Records
mainman Peter Tägtgren. Currently named “Lindemann”, this will mark Til Lindemann‘s first major project outside of Rammstein. Rust is the new album from Chicago’s Harms Way. This new effort was recorded at Bricktop Recordings by Andy Nelson (Weekend Nachos, Dead In The Dirt), mixed at God City Studios by Kurt Ballou (Converge, High On Fire), and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Obituary, Nails). Terror are currently at Orange County’s BuzzBomb Studio
recording what will be their sixth full-length album, The 25th Hour. Knuckle Puck signed with Rise Records and will release their debut LP this Summer. “Today is a very exciting day for us and is truly a milestone for Knuckle Puck. We are ecstatic to announce that we have signed with Rise Records, who will be releasing our debut full length coming out next summer. We all personally feel that Rise will be a bountiful new home for our band and will only continue to help us be the be
band we want to be. Thank you everyone for your diligent support that has led us to this point”, says guitarist Kevin Maida. LA’s Retox are back in February with a brand new studio album, it’s called Beneath California and it will be available on February 10th via Epitaph. Meanwhile from Melbourne, Australia’s Feed Her To The Sharks have released “The World Is Yours”, the first track from their new album, Fortitude, coming February 10th.
K C E N E BLU
one of the UK’s best kept secrets Hailing from Bristol, the band has already released five records, which includes the most recently piece of great work, King Nine. There is something quite unique in their music and over the years they have shown that with well-crafted and thoughtful tunes. Duncan Attwood and Richard Sadler were kind enough to answer our questions about their new effort and much more. Words: Andreia Alves // Picture: Ben Green
014 must have been an amazing year for you guys. So, how would you describe it in general? Duncan: It’s actually been a relatively quiet year for Blueneck really. We played just 6 shows and were mainly just putting the finishing touches to King Nine... but it’s been a good year, the shows we played were all great and I’m 100% happy with how the album turned out. Rich: Calm and enjoyable! We’ve limited the live shows to just a few festivals we were passionate about and spent the rest of the time finishing off and promoting the record. That’s quite quiet by Blueneck standards. With five albums under your belt, how do you see the evolution of the band’s musical progression to date? Rich: From the inside it’s hard to be objective about progression. But we’re a very different band in
terms of personnel, setup, experience and even where we all live I now live in London, whereas the rest of the band live in the Bristol areas, - compared when we recorded the first couple of albums. However I feel now with King Nine that we’ve made a statement of intent about what we’re capable of these days. It’s freed us up to the point where I feel we can take Blueneck in any direction we would want. Your new album King Nine is for sure a great, well-crafted record. How was the whole response to this album and what do you take from that? Duncan: I’m actually quite surprised that the response to the album has been so positive. I expected a lot of people to be disappointed in the direction we took. King Nine is a record that took 3 years in the making. How was the whole process to get this record done? Rich: The process was the most patient and careful we’ve ever followed. We were in no rush as we were committed to getting every aspect of it - songwriting, production, arrangement, artwork
- to the very highest standard. Not having a deadline was a new thing, but one that paid off. It was actually a lot of fun. Once “Man of Lies” was written and arranged in the summer of this year we knew we had the final puzzle piece of the album. What were the main inspirations when you were writing this album? Duncan: I had personal inspirations that helped me write the songs... we tend not to elaborate too much on that, or what each song means to me personally as we believe that the listener should make up their own mind as to what each track means to them. Duncan, your songcraft and singing are finest with every record released. How was your approach this time around? Duncan: I think I’d say I felt a lot freer in my songwriting for this album... right from the start, I decided that I wanted to make a record that I would enjoy listening back to over and over. Something that perhaps showed more of my melodic influences... I wanted to make a record that was a lot more accessible. Rich was also totally
INTRODUCING // BLUENECK significant challenge to recreate in a live setting.
“... I feel now with King Nine that we’ve made a statement of intent about what we’re capable of these days.” on board with this way of thinking and we ended up working really well together. Are there any particular themes or ideas that are key to understanding this album as a whole? Rich: As Duncan has mentioned, he tends to keep to himself the exact inspiration behind the music and lyrics. But I think most people when they listen to or read the lyrics tend to mention themes of familial loss and responsibility. You described King Nine as a quiet labour of love. What did you love the most about making the album? Duncan: The best days making King Nine were when you’d go into the studio with Mat (Mat Sampson, our producer) and not really know what we were gonna work on. Rich: There were so many aspects to enjoy but Duncan is right - the spontaneous moments are usually the most satisfying. We had the time to make the studio a bit of a playground. Lasse Hoile did an amazing artwork for King Nine. How did this collaboration come about and how did the visual idea come up? Rich: We’ve known Lasse for a
few years, we’re mutual fans of each other’s work and have similar interests and passions. We’d let him hear an early version of King Nine and he was keen and kind enough to want to get involved. We knew that Lasse was going on honeymoon in the summer in the South American and that would be an opportunity for him to take some unusual photographs that would emphasise some of the record’s themes... Particularly the absence of life where once it was. As you see, they are incredibly evocative... And some of the most unusual honeymoon photos you’ll ever see! It must be a great life experience to see King Nine songs live. How does your live performance differ from your studio work? Rich: The live experience is very, very different. The studio environment is very controlled and relaxed, and our live shows tend to be a bit more chaotic and usually louder and more energetic than I think a lot of people would realise. We’re yet to debut many K9 songs live though... This wasn’t an album that was written via the usual band setup. Instead it was written and arranged in layers, which means it will be a
What’s next for Blueneck in 2015? Duncan: We’re not sure yet. We’re talking about the possibility of doing some shows... but it requires a bit of thought first. There’s a couple of tracks that we didn’t finish off when we were making King Nine... I’d like to finish those off at some point. Rich: It’s a good question! We’re trying to work that out ourselves. If and when we get back to playing live we want to make sure that we can recreate King Nine, which will be tricky. As Dunk says, I’m sure there will be some recording... That’s something we’re unlikely to ever stop doing. Besides Blueneck, do you have other projects or outlets that you spend time with? Duncan: I have a young family... I’m pretty busy most of the time so my main outlet is music really. Music and film. Rich: Not really - Blueneck is the main focus apart from my family and home life. I also play too many video games, which is my guiltiest pleasure. What are your favorite records and films of 2014? Duncan: I kind of fell back in love with Mogwai when they released Rave Tapes... that’s a great record. It was also the 30th anniversary of Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair – it’s got a special edition re-release, that album is highly influential to me. Movie wise, I loved Gone Girl and Nightcrawler. I’ve not yet seen Interstellar... I have a feeling I might be one of the few people that won’t like it. Rich: I loved the new albums by Keaton Henson, East India Youth, James Yorkston, Death From Above 1979, Carlos Cipa, Beck and the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack. That Mogwai album was great too. On movies, I loved Under The Skin, Inside Llewyn Davis and Gone Girl. Interstellar I just found frustrating, particularly the Hans Zimmer soundtrack. After Inception’s amazing score I was hoping for better.
King Nine is out now via Denovali 15
POISON IDEA ARE BACK!!! onfuse & Conquer is the first new Poison Idea album to be released since the passing of iconic guitarist Tom “Pig Champion” Roberts in early 2006. “What can I say? We’re all happy with the record,” reports Jerry A., on the completion of Confuse & Conquer. “It’s a group effort; we all had a part in writing the songs. We’ve been screwing around for too long. We had to hang back and see whose heart was really in this thing we’ve been doing for thirty years and who was bullshitting. We have a lot of touring to do next year, to
Grunge-punks Title Fight have revealed the details behind their upcoming third full-length album, Hyperview, which is due out on February 3rd via Anti-Records. Bassist/vocalist Ned Russin stated, “We were looking at bands like maybe Dinosaur Jr. and the Beach Boys — we were looking at the moment where they found something that had never been done before and was now being done well. We were just chasing that energy.” Brooklyn’s A Place To Bury Strangers have announced their fourth record, Transfixiation, which will be
make up for the last one being cancelled due to people with the wrong priorities. Everybody in the band now lives to play and make music; that comes first. It always has, it just took a long time to filter out the flakes, and keep the diehards. So these guys know how to make this ship float. As far as I’m concerned, it feels like being reborn, having a second wind, a hardcore revival, and just discovering meaning, all at the same time. To put it mildly, we’re happy, I’m happy, and this is just the start. No stopping from here out.” Poison Idea currently includes Eric “The Vegetable” Olsen, back
on lead guitar. He was the first real lead guitarist in the band and the second player after Pig Champion, and he played on the 1987’s War All the Time LP and 1988-released Filthkick EP Recorded by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust) and mastered by Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise), Confuse & Conquer is being slated for a Spring 2015 release through Southern Lord Recordings, who, in conjunction with TKO, has been reintroducing deluxe versions of POISON IDEA’s back-catalog over recent years... Pull The Thorns From Your Heart is expected in Spring
released on February 17th via Dead Oceans. A product of two years of constant touring and recording since the release of 2012’s Worship, Transfixiation is a boldly experimental step forward. Chromatics have announced their new album, Dear Tommy is the follow up to 2012’s Kill for Love. It’ll be out “in time for Valentine’s Day” (no official date has been announced) via Italians Do It Better. Prolific veterans Soulfly are heading back to the studio to record their 10th studio album. This time the
WAR ON WOMEN DEBUT ALBUM IN FEBRUARY eminist punk act War On Women have announced a February 10th release date for their debut fulllength, War On Women, via Bridge Nine Records. Featuring 11 tracks, this S/T record was recently recorded with J. Robbins at the Magpie Cage (Against Me!, Coliseum, Lemuria). Vocalist Shawna Potter has “…plenty of material to pull from when it comes to writing lyrics,
considering the pervasive sexism in modern America”, she commented. War On Women formed in 2010 by several veterans of the Baltimore rock scene, including members of AVEC and Liars Academy. Describing their sound as “thrash rock meets riot grrrl”, War On Women write songs too inventive and too loud to be overshadowed by their equally powerful messages. The band’s furious live sets capture all of the brevity and intensity of hardcore
punk with another level of lyrical and musical sophistication. War On Women’s songs attack sexist attitudes and institutionalized patriarchy women everywhere still face in the 21st century with humor, intelligence, righteous anger and monster riffs.
band choose British producer Matt Hyde, who has previously co-produced Slipknot’s fourth album All Hope Is Gone. Björk is currently working on her follow-up to 2011’s Biophilia. After being in the studio with Arca, another collaboration has been announced: British producer and Tri Angle artist Bobby Krlic, otherwise known as the Haxan Cloak. Back from a short retirement, The Prodigy are back with their sixth album, The Day Is My Enemy, on the way - out on March 30th via
their imprint Take Me To The Hospital through Cooking Vinyl, to be precise. They’ve also confirmed that it’ll feature collaborations with Sleaford Mods and Flux Pavilion. On 23rd March (moved from an initial February release date), British folk trio The Staves bring out their new album If I Was. Justin Vernon (and friends) helped steer sessions for their second album, recorded across a series of trips to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Maine have announced
they will be releasing their new album American Candy this spring. Senses Fail are officially done with the recording process of their highly anticipated new album Pull The Thorns From Your Heart. The record is set for a summer 2015 release date through Pure Noise Records. Garage rock The King Khan & BBQ Show are back and they’ve announced their new and fourth LP Bad News Boys for release on 24th February via In The Red Records.
War On Women S/T debut arrives on February 10 via Bridge Nine Records
20 YEARS OF COUNTRY” AND A DIFFE 18
LABEL PROFILE // BLOODSHOT RECORDS
F “INSURGENT STILL MAKING ERENCE musicandriotsmagazine.com
Bloodshot Records was founded twenty years ago in Chicago, Illinois. The label has, since 1994, established a boundless home, releasing music that is pop, punk, country, folk, blues, rock, bluegrass, and everything in between and beyond that, always focusing on artists “who work over American roots forms with chains and velvet gloves with little regard for formality or protocol, who aren't afraid to molest and caress these forms and take music into uncharted and exciting waters.” Their twenty-year anniversary was our excuse to talk with founders Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw. Words: Tiago Moreira // Pictures: Jacob Boll
hat was the catalyst for starting Bloodshot? Rob Miller: Boredom, naivete, a complete lack of self-awareness for what we might be getting ourselves into. You know, the usual recipe for starting things. We also felt that the underground roots scene in Chicago, which was being categorically ignored by everyone at the time, deserved some sort of documentation. It also seemed like a good way to cadge some free drinks and guest list spots around town. Do you still remember why the name Bloodshot was chosen? RM: I looked in the mirror one day and there it was. It also has a good sound to it and looks good as a logo, though with that name also comes a lot of demos for death metal and gangster rap. Also, two songs that were on my frequent playlist at the time were Wynonie Harris’ “Bloodshot Eyes” and X’s “Nausea,” so I guess it was rattling around in my brain in a few ways. To celebrate Bloodshot twentieth anniversary you will release While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records, a compilation that brings together 38 artists performing 38 songs. It’s a huge project. Can you talk a little bit about it? RM: The great aspect of this record is the energy and creativity of our
staff, all giddy music fans, brought to this. Given my tenure here and my personality bent, it’s hard for me to self-promote, look back or take a compliment, so their enthusiasm was humbling and the array of artists they reached out to showed a bravado that I greatly admire. The breadth of talent, and the speed with which they responded, was really startling. To think that what we’ve done would have resonated with people in so many dark corners of the sonic spectrum is so humbling and exciting. And the choices the artists made were largely organic and oftentimes deep catalog and surprising. Some were rather faithful and some were total reimaginings. Perhaps one of the most interesting projects on Bloodshot’s catalogue is the Bloodshot Revival. Can you talk about that project and tell us how hard it was for you guys to release all those records? Nan Warshaw: The first eight titles in the Revival series (Rex Allen, Spade Cooley, Gov. Jimmie Davis, Pee Wee King, Hank Penny, Hank Thompson, Johnny Bond, and Sons Of The Pioneers) came about when a friend who had acquired a huge catalog of transcription acetates approached us about releasing them. These recordings were made for radio promotion, generally live in the station in the 1930s-50s, special recordings that were leased to the radio station, at a time before record labels mailed out promos to radio. Of course we jumped at the opportunity to release these amazing never-before-heard high quality recordings by legendary country and western artists. The Sundowners are a piece of Chicago country and western history. They welcomed hundreds of musicians and celebrities to join their nightly liver performances at the Sundowners Ranch, The Bar RR, from the late 1950s through the late 1980s. Their many guests including Fats Domino, Sting, John Entwistle, Mickey Mantle, Robert Duvall, Don Gibson and many more. It was the Sundowners open minded embrace of the Mekons that paved a road toward country music for many Jon Langford projects including The Waco Brothers and Pine Valley Cosmonauts. The tracks on the Sundowners album Chicago Country Legends were recorded live between 1960 and 1971. We’re honored to carry forward this music
LABEL PROFILE // BLOODSHOT RECORDS of Chicago’s history. Your roster can be described as eclectic. That causes marketing difficulties? RM: Not only is the roster eclectic, the music they perform cannot be easily put into one category. Since the beginning of Bloodshot, stores, radio stations, writers and club owners have often had difficulty defining or putting a label on what we do. For me, that’s always been the interesting part, exploring the music that exists between the genres, that mixes and mutates it a little and develop something brand new.
“... that’s always been the interesting part, exploring the music that exists between the genres, that mixes and mutates it a little and develop something brand new.” Rob Miller about the ecletic roster of Bloodshot Records and the marketing around that subject
Vinyl is the favorite Bloodshot’s format. How important was the resurgence of the format for you? RM: It’s a triumph in some ways. In an age where everything is getting smaller and more disposable, it’s gratifying that vinyl is becoming appreciated again. Personally, I’ve always preferred the sound and the feel of it. It also speaks, I think, to how impersonal digital music is, how it doesn’t feed the soul. When you look at someone’s record collection, or their bookshelf, it’s much more telling than 50,000 or 500,000 or 5,000,000 songs on your hard drive. There’s a commitment there, an aesthetic dimension lacking in digital formats. Bloodshot has more than 225 releases. That represents some headaches with your huge back catalogue, or the limited pressings solve those “problems”? RM: Yes, it is a headache and, sad as it is, some of our lesser selling albums are now out of physical print – we just can’t afford to repress something if it only sells a dozen copies a year. But, everything is remains “in print” digitally. How often Bloodshot does repressing of sold-out records? RM: If there is a demand for them, we keep them in physical print. What’s your position in the MP3/ streaming/illegal downloading thing? RM: Ok, streaming is super convenient. We get that. You can have 70 billion songs at your disposal anytime, anywhere. Like almost everything else in the internets, if people use these tools to experience more music, or discover music they might not have ever come across, then it’s a win/ win. You find something new music
to listen to, the artist gets a new fan and some revenue when you carry your streaming love into the world of an actual purchase. Trouble is, people don’t do that. And these streaming services pay micro-pennies. It is unsustainable and it all comes down to: Do ALL OF US, as a society, value music? Besides, we like artwork, photos, liner notes and shit. And the whole “cloud” thing seems a little suspicious to us. It has a chilling Orwellian innocuousness to it. As for outright piracy, each time someone does this, they are depriving the artist of income for their creative efforts. We’re not talking about Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber or Jay-Z here. We’re talking about struggling musicians who drive around in crappy vans, who keep crappy day jobs, and spend
long periods of time away from their families and friends, all to bring you interesting, fun, and un-crappy music. A couple of hundred lost sales to these bands represents a significant dent in their ability to tour. Recording studios aren’t free, you know. Neither are vans, hotels, gear, gas, etc. So, if you love independent music and want to support it, you are harming that which you profess to love by swiping music for free and passing it around to all your friends. It is not a victimless crime.
While No One Was Looking: Toasting20 Years of Bloodshot Records is out
“Records and artists are important for so many different reasons... Below are few records that have been the soundtrack to certain years of my life...” By Nan Warshaw
The Old 97s “Wreck Your Life”
“The recording holds up today and the songs endure despite having been recorded in a few hot-as-hellChicago-summer-days in a punk studio in an attic without air conditioning you can hear the boyish intensity and sweaty energy. In the US, this Old 97s record launched their hard touring career.”
Waco Brothers “Cowboy in Flames”
“The rowdiest and most concise statement in the punk-meet-country boxing ring. This is whiskey-fueled top shelf bar-band rock, sing-along social democracy anthems, and a place where hard country crashes headlong into punk and forms a great and giant monster.”
Firewater “The Golden Hour”
“This album is crafted by musicians from both sides of front lines where bombs are dropped and children killed and the powerful gain; yet these players cohabitate and grow songs together amongst the carnage. It is world punk music that swings. Witty and biting social political outrage.”
Roger Knox & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts “Stranger in My Land” “This may be the most culturally
significant album Bloodshot has ever released. Roger Knox is an Aboriginal Australian country singer, the biggest name within the community. During WWII Country & Western music made its way to Australia with the servicemen. It struck a chord with the voiceless indigenous people who adopted the genre to make it their own turning it into protest music, and telling their tales of life in the outback, the migration to the cities, alienation, drinking, prison, children ripped from their parents, oppression and brutal racism. These songs are political, but they are personal stories of inspiration.”
Bottle Rockets “Bottle Rockets / The Brooklyn Side” Deluxe Reissue
“These re-issues are a quintessential drive through your town. You see the gas station where you first met your love, and the overgrown hill you hiked up to watch the moon rise. But it’s the same place that holds memories of everything lost in the house fire, the year when the river flooded its banks into the streets and basements, your neighbor needing to go to the food bank. It’s your brokendown car, and when you longed to go back to your girlfriend after you screwed it up. It’s that American southern rock muscle with mid-west humility and the value of hard work.”
guitar leads shine, and his stellar vocals are pure, rich in dynamics, and consuming.”
Lydia Loveless “Somewhere Else”
“This is the album where Lydia Loveless stepped up (and out of genre pigeonholing) to the heights of great rock singers and songwriters, into the spotlight where her rich and dark songs have staying power. The first time I saw Lydia I saw a small young girl with too high heels and thick black eyeliner, singing up into a mic Lemmy-style, and full of angst – and what came out of her was a balls-tothe-back-of-the room classic country voice. From there, and her first Bloodshot album Indestructible Machine, she toured thousands of miles and her songwriting talent has developed and broadened that far too.”
Various Artists “While No One Was Looking; Toasting 20 Year of Bloodshot Records” Robbie Fulks “Gone Away Backward”
“Robbie Fulks is usually much too diversely talented for his own good, so this stylistically focused album is a huge achievement, plus its immediacy is captured by Steve Albini’s recording. Calling it country and folk does serve the common character’s plaintive tales well, but the songs unfold their storyboards into wide vistas, where Robbie’s often sparse yet brilliant
“Notable due to the improbability of achieving 20 years as an indie music label. But more importantly, this record is a humbling reflection of the rich array of bands that have been touched by Bloodshot music; these diverse artists chose to cover song by the better known names of, Justin Townes Earle, Ryan Adams, Murder By Death, Old 97s, but also the deeper catalog artists from Devil In A Woodpile and Andre Williams to Charlie Pickett and Dex Romweber Duo.”
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NEU! ONES TO WATCH 2015 Emmy The Great Natalie Prass Girl Band Slaves L책psley Adventures Phantom Banditos Mourn Puro Instinct
ONES TO WATCH FOR 2015
Emmy The Great Where? London (UK) Who? Emma-Lee Moss For fans of: Slow Club, Peggy Sue, Laura Marling
mma-Lee Moss, also known as Emmy the Great, is a Londonbased singer-songwriter that was born in Hong Kong. Interested in music from a young age, she developed a liking for bands such as Weezer, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Lemonheads. Emmy released her debut album First Love to critical acclaim in 2009 with follow-up Virtue in 2011 winning
equally impressive praise. Her songwriting approach is impressive and introspective; there’s something quite magical in her tunes. Emmy The Great returns now with a new 4 track EP titled S due to release on Bella Union in January. Written in cities - Salt Lake City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, LA, New York and London – during an itinerant period in Emmy’s life, the songs track the resulting personal changes and invite us to explore the rapidly advancing world around us. The recording proces was split between LA, with Ludwig Goransson (Haim, Childish Gambino), and London, with Dave McCracken (Oh Land, Beyonce). MIA’s MD Neil Comber mixed the final results. 2015 will surely be marked by this release of Emmy The Great.
Natalie Prass Where? Nashville (USA) Who? Natalie Prass For fans of: Cat Power, Lydia Loveless
atalie Prass is a Cleveland-born and Nashville-based singer-songwriter. She studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music but then she decided to move to Nashville in 2006 and attended to Middle Tennessee State University, where she took a songwriting program that taught her a lot about how to approach it. The Music City is for sure one of her mainly inspirations. Her music
blends soulful pop of the 70’s with a deeply retro vibe; her voice is the perfect match to these powerful and stirring songs. Natalie was part of Jenny Lewis’s touring band - which she played keyboards - and she has collaborated with her longtime friend Matthew E. White on her forthcoming self-titled debut album. When the time came to record this full-length, Natalie returned to Virginia to work with Spacebomb Records, a label able to realize big visions and lush productions within the rustic charm of its attic studio. Her album will be released on 26th January and it was produced by Matthew E. White and Trey Pollard at Spacebomb studios, in Richmond. An astonishing record is what we expect.
ONES TO WATCH FOR 2015
Girl Band Where? Dublin (Ireland) Who? Dara Kiely, Daniel Fox, Alan Duggan, Adam Faulkner For fans of: Iceage, Metz, The Wytches
o, they’re not a girl band. They are four guys from Dublin and it may seem difficult to look up for them on the Internet, but the effort is all worth. They are made up of Dara Kiely (vocals), Alan Duggan (guitar), Daniel Fox (bass) and Adam Faulkner (drums). Girl Band was formed in late 2011 and the guys’ influences ranging from bands such as Bad Brains, James Chance and the Contortions, Neu and
The Chemical Brothers. There’s a great mix on their songs: they blend noise rock with incendiary riffs and some texture, dissonance and frenetic feedback. Dara’s energetic and intense voice is in fact a plus to their noisy and loud soundscape. The guys have released some rad singles like their debut “In My Head” with Any Other City Records; “France 98”, a 6 track release with Any Other City Record and also the single “Lawman”. Last September they released another single, “De Bom Bom”, on Any Other City, which is backed with a cover of Beat Happening’s “I Love You”. They have now signed a record deal with Rough Trade Records and the details will be reveal soon.
Slaves Where? Kent (UK) Who? Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent For fans of: Royal Blood, Death From Above 1979, DZ Deathrays
ou don’t need a big band to make good noise or give a damn wild show. You just need to know how to make music, and if you have the right partner, even better. Slaves are a two piece from Kent, UK, whose chemistry is enough to make something good out of it. Starting out around early 2012, Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent have been constantly on the road showing
what they got and the response has been awesome. Isaac is the one who shouts and sweats while playing the drums standing up and Laurie is the one who delivers fast and noisy riffs from his guitar. Together they make this fuzzy garage punk that makes you go nuts with such electrifying vibe. Their first release was the minialbum Sugar Coated Bitter Truth, released through Girl Fight Records in July 2012, and it was really well received. In 2014, the duo got signed by Virgin EMI Records and they have recently released a new single titled “The Hunter,” which will be released physically as 7” on January 12th. 2015 seems a promising year for these guys as they’re prepping their debut album.
ONES TO WATCH FOR 2015
Låpsley Where? Liverpool (UK) Who? Holly Låpsley Fletcher For fans of: James Blake, London Grammar, Ghostpoet
olly Låpsley Fletcher is the 18-year-old female artist behind this project. She’s from Liverpool and started it around Christmas 2013. Having taken up lessons in piano, guitar and oboe while younger, she started songwriting when she was just about 12. Her passion for electronic/dance music was something that happened naturally when she used to see her
favorite djs, producers and artists in Liverpool, which was and still is an inspiring city for her. Artists like James Blake and Ghostpoet are huge inspirations and she started to do her own thing by herself. Singles “Station” and “Painter” show her introspective and captivating electronica, provoking a much more appealing and interactive connection with the listener. Her first gig was at Glastonbury 2014 leading to her signing with label XL Recordings. By being one of the most talked about artists in UK music of this year, 2015 will be definitely another great year for Låpsley. Her newest single “Falling Short” is the first taste from her new EP titled Understudy and it will be released on 5th January 2015.
Adventures Where? Pittsburgh (USA) Who? Dom, Reba, Joe, Kimi, Jami For fans of: Drug Church, Tigers Jaw, Pity Sex
e all love the brutal and awesome music created by hardcore band Code Orange previously known as Code Orange Kids and they have shown with their latest record I Am King their super ability to make an explosive record. But since 2011 some of the members of the band shown other side of themselves musically. Bassist Joe Goldman, drummer Jami Morgan, and guitarist Reba
Meyers - along with mutual friends Dominic Landolina and Kimi Hanauer - started a side project called Adventures. With this band, they approach a much softer side creating 90’s indie rock tunes. Freshly signed to Run For Cover Records and with a handful of EPs under their belt, the band’s latest release came as a split single with label mates Pity Sex, which they offer a new track “Flowing Through” as well as a cover of the Turning Point classic “Behind This Wall.” Adventures have announced the release of their debut. It’s titled Supersonic Home and it will be out on February 17th 2015 via Run For Cover Records. The group has also revealed a new song off the record called “Your Sweetness”.
ONES TO WATCH FOR 2015
Phantom Where? Helsinki (Finland) Who? Hanna Toivonen, Tommi Koskinen For fans of: The xx, Caribou, Aphex Twin
hantom is the project of singer-songwriter Hanna Toivonen and producer/sound designer Tommi Koskinen, who have been creating cinematic, jazz-influenced trip-hop and electronic-inflected alternative pop since 2012. Helsinki-based, the duo’s first release was the single, “Scars,” that took them to perform at a variety of festivals around Europe, including
Flow Festival in their native Finland and Ireland’s Electric Picnic, along with playing coveted support slots for both Bonobo and SOHN in Helsinki. Their next single “Kisses” only came to increase the buzz around this duo. This December the duo has released a new single, “Shadows”, through VILD Recordings - a new Helsinki-based music company run collectively by Finnish indie artists, whose mutual, forward-thinking ideology makes them the perfect partners for Phantom. As the duo explains: “It really supports our DIY mindset that has been present since day one of Phantom. VILD collective is a great example of rethinking the artist’s role in the fast changing music industry culture.”
Banditos Where? Alabama (USA) Who? Corey, Stephen, Mary, Randy, Jeffery Daniel, Jeffery David For fans of: Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Dillon Hodges
ashville-via-Birmingham, AL group Banditos came together in 2010 but had met years earlier. Starting out as a two-piece, they grew into a six-piece and each one of them has very eclectic tastes. They are Corey Parsons (vocals, guitar), Mary Richardson (vocals), Stephen Pierce (vocals, banjo) Daniel Vines (upright bass), Randy Wade (drums) and Jeffery Salter (guitar, lap steel).
Banditos’ music has this blend of old-school country with a classic rock ‘n’ roll that stuck in our head and one of the reasons is the powerful and vibrant Mary’s vocals while Corey does co-lead vocals. They released a six-track EP in 2012 that shows how tremendous and catchy their tunes are. They released their first full-length The Breeze, recorded in Nashville at the Bomb Shelter, but they only sold it on the road and so it’s not even their official debut album. During a show this last March, Banditos caught the attention of the great fellows of Bloodshot Records and now they have signed with them. With this news came the announcement of the release of their official debut album sometime in early 2015.
ONES TO WATCH FOR 2015
Mourn Where? Barcelona (Spain) Who? Carla Pérez Vas, Jazz Rodríguez Bueno, Antonio Postius, Leia Rodríguez For fans of: PJ Harvey, Sleater-Kinney, Sunny Day Real Estate
oth born in 1996 in El Maresme, Spain, Jazz Rodríguez Bueno and Carla Pérez Vas formed Mourn. The duo draw inspiration from artists like Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Ramones, Sebadoh, Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney among others, and started to write raw and acoustic songs and releasing them on their YouTube channel catching the attention of their homeland’s record label SONES.
Earlier this year, the duo recruited two new members drummer Antonio Postius and bassist Leia Rodríguez - and headed to the studio to record their debut full-length that was recorded live in the studio in two days. Besides catching the attention of Sones, New York label Captured Tracks fell in love with this Spanish foursome signing afterwards with them. They will release the eponymous debut album as a special edition in vinyl and includes a bonus 7″ on February 17th 2015. The young quartet shows genuine talent and a promising journey ahead with such early age. They describe themselves as “Four nerds playing music and shit at the doors of hell” and that’s ok with us.
ONES TO WATCH FOR 2015
Puro Instinct Where? Los Angeles (USA) Who? Piper and Skyler Kaplan For fans of: Grimes, Gems, Ace of Base
ack in 2010, sisters duo Piper and Skyler Kaplan were under the name Pearl Harbor and they released the beautiful Something About the Chapparrals EP, but then they changed their name to Puro Instinct - which it’s a much better fit to their magical and hazy music. Their hypnotic and shimmering attitude caught the attention of Mexican Summer and in 2011 they
released the debut full-length Headbangers in Ecstasy. Afterwards the duo released a new single “Dream Lover” in 2012 and “Stella’s Suite” earlier this year. These releases show how creative their psychedelic pop approach is and haunting vocals are; they really shine through their music. Kaplan’s sisters are currently working on their forthcoming album and have already released a delicious taste of what’s to come. “6 Of Swords” is a mesmerizing track that sparkles with their sensitive lyrics and mellow melodies. This single was written, arranged and produced by themselves and mixed by Sam Mehran. It’s hard to resist to the dreamy and beachy vibe that these sisters transmit on their tunes.
I H S A B I H KIS .
.. s is m o t lt u c fi if d is t a h So damn good t Words: Tiago Moreira // Picture: Kaden Shallat
Kaoru Ishibashi, also known as Kishi Bashi, was one of the founding members of Jupiter One and played with of Montreal, Sondre Lerche and Regina Spektor, before going solo in 2011 and opening for Sondre Lerche, Alexi Murdoch, and of Montreal. In 2012 he released his debut album, 151a, with the help of fans via Kickstarter and now he releases his sophomore album, Lighght. We spoke with him to know what’s behind his pop music that has an urgency to lean forward and conquer new places.
ou are a classically trained musician. I’m interested to know what came first in your life, the pop/ rock stuff or the classical stuff? What’s the impact they had on each other? Probably the classical stuff because I started really early when I was about six, but then as I got serious in classical, like in highschool I played a lot of chamber music… I was also an adolescent so I was into heavy metal, Nirvana, kind of everything that a teenage boy in America would be listening to. Regarding the impact they had on each other… for a long time I saw them as two very separated things and later on I got into jazz and contemporary composition and I saw that as being very different from the bands I was listening to. But I think now… I use all my training and all my knowledge to just come up with songs, like when I make pop songs I just tap into everything I know. It’s all one thing for me now. The project Kishi Bashi has evolved through the times. At first you were just thinking about singing in Japanese and play the violin. Can you talk a little bit 38
about the evolution that the project went through since inception? When I started to really dig into the sound of the violin I was kind of pushed… You know, I had a rock band called Jupiter One where I was just playing guitar and singing and that was fun but it wasn’t going anywhere, because there were some creative difference and that was being a little bit stressful for me, so what I did was decide to play violin to see how much sound I could create with just the violin. At that time I just wanted to see what I could do with it… just an album or an EP. It would be this orchestral music with my voice… obviously I don’t do that in my albums. [laughs] That was the start, the first idea. Basically I try to really push the sound to see if inspire new music. The Japanese part was… I think I just wanted to add Japanese as a percussion sound, like an instrument. Was it hard to find your way as a solo artist? Yeah, it was difficult. I don’t know, a lot of people are really excited which really fuels my drive to create new music because… you know, I did a Kickstarter campaign [successfully funded on December 21, 2011] for my debut album, 151a, which was very successful and people, that I didn’t even know, were really excited with the this new music I was making that was very orchestral and kind of personal and I kind of got pushed by that to
see a future in this. Now I do this full-time, it took a while for me to really have the confidence to create this kind of music. I know that you have traveled a bunch of times to Japan. What’s the impact that Japanese music and Japanese art in general had on you and on your art? I don’t know about Japanese music in general but it’s definitely a part of me because I’ve grown up listening to it, but I think that as far art is concerned it’s extremely influential in the way I perceive art. There’s an all Asian way of perceiving art. In Japan, for example, they have this visual assault where they try to really get your attention but then it’s also balanced with their type of art that has the simplicity and calmness. It’s amazing all these dynamics in Japan and it kind of created a very vibrant art scene. There’s a very vibrant and avantgarde music scene, like really creative people… and it’s a really good place to live. It’s hard to make a living with music but it’s a great place to live in. If I’m correct “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!” was initially just a 30 seconds piece of music for a commercial. How that transition – 30 seconds commercial to a song that’s now in your latest album – happened? It was kind of challenging, basically. [laughs] I wrote for this commercial in Japan and then I just forgot about it and then…
INTERVIEW // KISHI BASHI
“... I do this fulltime, it took a while for me to really have the confidence to create this kind of music.” One thing that I really enjoy in your music it’s how you, in my opinion, use the voice just like another instrument. It’s way more than a voice delivering a message. Do you see it that way? I do, yeah, definitely. Initially, when I started my project, I was really experimenting with the vocals and that’s why I used Japanese a lot. I could sing in English and I could have another instrument, instead of having just another guitar or synth I could just sing in Japanese under it and if you don’t speak Japanese it just sounds another instrument because you don’t understand the words, you are just paying attention to the music element in it, you know? That’s the approach I took. I think I was inspired by Regina Spektor… she does that a lot too. She has a lot of vocals, made-up words and weird vocal sounds that I just noticed that she would do and she said to me “Yeah, I do that. It’s fun.” [laughs]
they’ve put my name on the commercial, like in a corner, and people were asking “Who’s this artist? Where can we find this song?” Well, there’s no song, so my manager in Japan was like “I think you should finish this song. At least put it out.” Luckily I had the time and I finished the song. It’s tough because it’s basically the pretend catchy chorus of a pop song, of a non-existent pop song. [laughs] I had to go back and work on it. To be honest it wasn’t that hard but it was definitely challenging, and since I really wanted to grow my audience in Japan this was kind of a good opportunity to do it.
I want to ask you about “Q&A”. The song has some verses in Japanese. Why have you decided to have lyrics in both languages? I do that because I like to kind of surprise people and I think to… my core audience is still American so I like to surprise them and use some exotic elements and it adds a second layer of meaning to the song because the lyrics are sort of related. If you understand Japanese the song gets a little bit deeper on a multi-cultural level. Sometimes if I want to just to do something crazy with the vocals I use Japanese because most the times it sounds stupid in English. [laughs]
How was it the experience of recording Lighght? It is a very eclectic album. I recorded it at home, for the most part, but this time I hired an engineer to come help me record because I’m basically an amateur. Recoding by yourself is a kind of lonely process, you know? You can’t take a break and it’s pretty intense because if you play with a band you have time to relax a little bit while the others are recording their instrument and stuff like that, but if you’re doing everything by yourself and recording everything yourself… it’s a pretty intense process to go through.
Lighght is out now via Joyful Noise Recordings 39
BRANT BJORK Brant Bjork is a restless man, that's for sure! He is best known as the drummer and founder of Kyuss, but besides that he released music with Fu Manchu, Mondo Generator, ChĂŠ and mostly recently with Vista Chino - which he's joined by John Garcia and Nick Oliveri, all previously members of Kyuss. But besides all that, Brant has an extensive and remarkable work as a solo artist. With that said, there's no doubt that Brant has always mind and body to keep on making great music and that's what happen recently with his new backing band, The Low Desert Punks, and their new album Black Power Flower. We had a lovely chat with Brant about his new band and his epic career. Words: Andreia Alves
like “Hey man, let’s take it serious and let’s see if I can do it and call it a job.”
ou have an extensive catalog and you have such an epic career. How does it feel to look back to all the great music you have created? Wow, it’s a bit weird sometimes when I look at it all. [laughs] But in a lot of ways I’m an artist and I’ve always been an artist person and I’m just creating... I’m just being creative. My music is kind of therapy for me and I feel like I’m just beginning. I mean, you take someone like Muddy Waters and someone like that and they have like 19 recordings. I’m pretty sure I’m going to write a lot of records like that, so the guys like me go to work and they make records and that’s what I do. Even though you are going to play the new songs, you also play old material in your live shows. Is it easy for you to pick up a particular setlist nowadays? I don’t know if easy is the word, but it’s just kind of something that we’re able to put together and it has to make sense. I got a pretty big catalog and put out a lot of music over the years. I kind of analyze my songs and my catalog into the songs that are classics that I’ve been playing live for years, songs that I haven’t played live and that it could be fun. I just try to play a little bit of everything. With that said, you left your job as a house painter to dedicate yourself to music. Do you see it being a musician full-time as a job or rarely does it reach to that term? It depends on the moments over the years when I had to get it as a job. It helped me focus and it helped take it serious on a level that allowed me to be in full-time. Being an artist, I’m a dreamer and I got my hands in the clouds a lot of times. There were moments that I was like “Oh man, I got to get a job! I got bills to pay,” so I just kind of said “Music is my passion but it is also something I think I can do and I’ve always done it, so let’s see if I can roll this into a way that I can make a living.” That’s what I did and part of that was by changing my perspective like “I’m not just a punk rock kid trying to get rad on my drums or be in a cool band” and it was all of the sudden 42
I read somewhere that you said it was uncomfortable and nerveracking for the first time you went solo, so after 15 years do those feelings ever come back to you? No, not all. I think in the beginning was uncomfortable and nerve-racking not because it was something I didn’t want to do obviously. It was the kind of nervous that you get when you know you have to do something, you know? Going solo for me was something that I had to do to evolve as an artist and I wanted to do it, but there was work involved. Sometimes that work can be nerveracking and make you nervous, but a very horrible place to be when you’re a solo artist and sometimes for an artist to be vulnerable is really a challenge that kind of solves out, you know? But now it’s just... probably years ago I graduated and I graduated on that too... This is where I am and this is what I do. I’m here now so I just have to get back to work. [laughs] One thing that it’s really interesting is that what used to be hardcore or simply rock ‘n’ roll became stoner rock and a scene of its own. Nowadays there are countless bands that have been influenced by your body of work, so how do you feel about these new bands and what are your thoughts about the progression on this particular genre? In the most general perspective, rock ‘n’ roll started as a busy thing to kind of be a cycle that evolved and evolved and it kind of reinvent itself and evolved and evolved. Rock ‘n’ roll really evolved and stoner rock seems to be a new generation of bands. I think it’s a very natural cycle of rock ‘n’ roll evolution. You can trace the lyrics all the way back as grunge or pop rock or 70’s rock or glam rock and now it’s stoner rock. I think it’s natural and awesome and exciting whether or not I was part of pushing it forward. I think it’s something that just can naturally happen. Let’s talk now about your band The Low Desert Punks. Tell us a little bit about the new band and what led you to start it. I’m always thinking about my solo stuff - even when I was working with Kyuss - and so when it came
the time to transition back to my solo work, I had a group of guys that I’ve been thinking about. Drummer Tony Tornay, I grew up with him and know him for most of my life, so we worked together over the years and we’ve been friends for many years. It’s just a rock solid drummer and I always loved that about him. Dave Dinsmore is my bass player. I’ve been friends with Dave for many years, best of friends and we made music together. We played together in Ché, this side project back in 2000 [Sounds of Liberation]. And there’s Bubba DuPree, which Bubba is kind of the wild card. He’s kind of an underground punk rock icon in the United States. He was the guitarist and founder of Void that were from Washington D.C., the kind of hardcore punk bands from the 80’s. I’ve always loved his guitar playing and I’ve met him over the years and he was very cool and we kind of hit it off and I thought “He would be the ultimate lead guitar player.” As what it turns out, the starts align and we all got together. We rehearse for like a week the new songs and then we just recorded them, and that’s the new record. There was no pressure on making this record, it just came out naturally, right? Yeah, it was natural pressure. [laughs] I don’t mind a little pressure. I think a little pressure is good. I think when it gets squeezed a little bit it’s alright. The thing with pressure in certain situations like making a record and putting a band together is that it can be actually a positive thing, because it allows you to not bullshit yourself. It forces you to really focus and that’s what we did and it’s awesome. The new record is fantastic, the band is great and we’re all really proud. Last year you released with Vista Chino your debut album which is awesome, and now you released this one. What can you tell me about the writing and recording process for Black Power Flower? Well, I took the money that I’ve made from Kyuss Lives! and I used it in the ultimate dream for myself, which was building an all-analog recording studio out in the desert and that’s where we recorded this new record. The process was kind of all the same - of course it’s a little different from record to record - but my process has always being kind of a new
INTERVIEW // BRANT BJORK form of distance of how I do things, which it’s write the material, demo the material and I’ll do it by myself and get it with the band. Then we’ll just set up the tape machine, roll tape and start recording basic tracks live. That’s how I like to do it and that’s the way I’ve always done it, since the days back in the 80’s when we were first making records. That’s how we did it at that time and that’s how I do it to this day just because it seems to be a natural spirit of things when you’re rock ‘n’ roll, feel like rock ‘n’ roll definitely got your vibe and that’s only what takes. That’s my personal thing. It’s obvious that rock ‘n’ roll is the base of your songs on this new record and there’s some funk elements on there too. What else did inspire you while you were writing these songs? A lot of things inspired me. Of course in the world of music there are a lot of different genres. I like a lot of jazz, blues, funk, rap music... I mean, let’s be frank, that’s what we’re talking about, I listen to a lot of that and even though I’m a rock ‘n’ roller of course, rap music is definitely something that is part of my foundation and will always be part of my music. And then things outside of music, whether books or movies, anything that just kind of gets my motor running. “Low Desert Punk” was a song off of your Jalamanta album and it became the name of your indie label, so what’s the significance of you using that name for this new band? [laughs] You know, back in the 90’s I had some time in the desert and we were young in this whole big picture. I was just trying to put on words quickly and emphasize it quickly. It could be about me, it could be about them, it could be about us, it could be about where we’re from, it could be about what’s happening... It’s just a simple name. It can mean many things, it can mean something very specific to me and what specifically means to me is just soul and effort, and so it’s not something that I feel it needs to be only a name of a song or a name of a record label or a name of a band... It’s something that I’m going to be using forever, you know? It was built for that. One thing that I would love to hear someday is your solo record
“... even though I’m a rock ‘n’ roller of course, rap music is definitely something that is part of my foundation and will always be part of my music.” entitled Jacuzzi, which it never got released and it’s an instrumental record. What can we expect from Jacuzzi and is it going to be released in the future? I recorded Jacuzzi out in my desert house and this was before I built my studio, so I recorded it in my house and I think it was in 2009 or 2010. I was in the middle of recording of a solo record and during half way through that session my engineer producer and good friend Tony Mason and I kind of stumble upon this just kind of this vibe and the vibe kind of called through us in the middle of the recording session. I started to write songs on the spot and perform songs on the spot based upon this vibe. I called this Jacuzzi and it’s just an instrumental record and it’s really celebrating more of my jazz approach. I just kind of put it on the shelf because it wasn’t long after the recording and when we got back together, so that kind of
consumed my life in the next three years and where obviously to what I am at now. Jacuzzi was just this thing that kind of happened and it was awesome, and then it just was kind of put on a shelf. I hope to get it out, it hasn’t been released for no other reason. I’ve just been so busy and haven’t been able to do it. We wanted to get it out and we’re going to release it. We’re just waiting for a window... Sometimes a window is open and we’re not afraid to jump and then that window is closed and we’re ready to jump so we have to wait. It’s just a game of that and I think the windows will be open and we’ll be ready to jump.
Black Power Flower is out now via Napalm Records 43
They are frenetic and they are from Oslo. They are a trio and they play noisy and melodic punk rock. Dark Times are all that and much more than that. Starting out without knowing how to play any instrument, their motivation was stronger and then a new band was born. Give is their debut album and it has blown us away. We caught up with the band to know better their story and their music. Words: Fausto Casais // Pictures: Torgeir NordbĂ¸
RAW, LOUD, UNPRETENTIOUS AND STRAIGHT TO THE POINT... musicandriotsmagazine.com
We also thought we were way too old. When we took instrument classes at AKKS, we got better of course, but we also understood that playing in a band is only as hard as you make it yourself. Anyone can do it. Sebastian was always more experienced on guitar, he had been playing for years, but didn’t have a band at the time. When he joined us though, he was very attentive to our ideas and probably improved a lot of them. Sometimes our general lack of technical skills is an advantage, because we just try stuff out, even if it might be “wrong”. Bands who focus too much on technique are so boring. All three of us write songs, and the songs come from our different understandings of music, so they can sound quite different sometimes, but we like to think we make it work.
ell us a little bit about yourselves and how you ended up making music together. Dark Times are AK on guitar and vocals, Sebastian on baritone guitar and Rikke on drums. AK and Rikke started the band with our original bass player Anne, when we all realized we wanted to learn instruments and start a band. We took classes through an organization called AKKS, which is dedicated to promoting women in all aspects of the music industry. They helped us get started with equipment, a practising space and some of our first live shows. We all knew each other from working at Oslo’s college radio station, but when Anne left to study in San Francisco we asked Sebastian to join us. We’ve been playing together for about 4 years now, releasing a demo, two EPs and now finally our debut album. When you met each other, you couldn’t play any instrument but then you started to learn how to do it. How do you feel now playing your own instruments and how does that influence you creatively? Rikke and AK had tried out playing guitar on and off for a few years, but only alone in our rooms, and never thought we were anywhere near good enough to play in a band. 46
You have this frenetic noisy and melodic punk rock approach which is ferociously rad. Musically and non-musically, what did inspire you when you started to write songs together? We were always inspired by bands from the British and American punk/post-punk underground in the 80’s, both by the music and the ideology. The riot grrrl scene is inspiring in its own way, but not really an (active) influence on our music. But really, anything we listen to is an inspiration, and anything new becomes influencing too. But more than any musical inspiration, after listening to so many bands for so many years, we just really wanted to try playing in a band. Turns out it was really fun so we kept going. As your band’s name suggests, do you get often inspired by your dark times to write a lyric or a riff? Yes. Nothing is more motivational as anger. But over time I think we calmed down a bit too, and write about happier stuff, or just more confused stuff. Give is quite an awesome debut! When did you begin to write the songs for it and how did it go? We worked on the songs for over a year, and when we had about enough material, we started the process with recording. We have never been very critical of ourselves and usually use everything we write, although this time two recorded songs were left off the album. When it comes to
songwriting, we have this mix of recklessness and cluelessness that works out quite well for us. What do you think it was the most challenging thing about making this album? It took time, we all have stuff to do in our lives, and when we were in the middle of writing and practicing songs we were less than fully motivated. We also played enough shows to keep us busy practicing old songs as well, so eventually we decided to say no to all shows that weren’t too good to pass up and just concentrate on practicing and finishing up for recording. You recorded the album in a 400-year-old old log cabin in rural Norway, with producers Pål Bredrup and Trond Mjøen - which it must had been an unique experience. So, what can you tell us about how was the whole recording process? We have worked with Pål on everything we’ve recorded, and he suggested we bring Trond in as well. We decided to get out of Oslo and go somewhere we could really focus, and left for Rollag, AK’s tiny hometown, to use her parents log cabin from 1693 on their farm. It’s really beautiful, and it’s been added on a bit and has electricity and everything we needed - except of course all the recording equipment and instruments that we had to bring. Also it’s basically in the middle of nowhere so we were not disturbed. We all slept there for 3 nights and worked all day for 4 days, and while a few ad hocsolutions were needed, we got the drums, baritone guitar and some guitar and vocals down. The rest was recorded in Oslo shortly after. The cover art for this record is quite impressive and it was created by German illustrator Maren Karlson. What’s the meaning behind this piece of art? You should really ask her that, as we gave her full artistic freedom. But we have worked with Maren before and love her style and themes. She’s told us that she was inspired by the story of Gulliver’s Travels, only three giant women arrive in a strange land except one giant man - or is it the inhabitants that are tiny? We interpret her artwork as a comment on tropes about feminism and strong women, and
INTERVIEW // DARK TIMES
“Nothing is more motivational as anger. But over time I think we calmed down a bit too, and write about happier stuff, or just more confused stuff.” we like that it’s confrontational and unapologetic. There’s humour in it as well - it’s just really cool and we are very happy she wanted to work with us again. What are your upcoming tour plans? We are traveling around Norway in the coming months, and we’re trying to get to Sweden and Denmark. Maybe Germany in early spring. If you book us, we will come. Anyone who recognized this almost-quote is cool.
You guys are from Oslo, so how’s the music scene over there nowadays? It’s pretty cool, there are a lot of good bands and things are happening. There are a lot of shows, combining touring band with local bands, thanks to promoters like Svart Samtid (our friend Håvard) for instance, who also sets up shows in a lot of different and interesting places. There are also a lot of shitty bands. Like anywhere else, probably.
What do you like to do on a tour day off? We haven’t toured a lot, but if we ever did have a day off on tour we’d like to eat a lot of good veggie food.
Do you recommend us any new bands that we should totally listen to? From Norway: Urbanoia, Blood Suckers, Pox, Haust, Okkultokrati, Kommunalt Svømmeanlegg, Staer,
Modern Love, S.L.Y.C., Signal, Vilde Tuv. From anywhere else: Institute, Vexx, Weed Hounds, Tony Molina, Voight Kampff, Naomi Punk, Meatbodies, Hag Face. What’s your favorite record of 2014? Rikke: Tony Molina - Dissed and Dismissed. AK: Can’t choose. Right now it’s a tie between Iceage, Angel Olsen and Sun Kil Moon. Sebbe: Total control - Typical System.
Give is out now via Sheep Chase Records 47
NK IN OLD SCHOOL VINTAGE PUFO RM ITS PUREST, MOST RAW proach. A p a k n u p e g ra a g e m o s e w and aw ra a h it w rums) led is (d h n p o m ts e a M W e m o tt o fr rl p a u h ro C g d n w n (guitar) a n Nots are a ne a m ff joined o H r) e e iz li s ta e a th N n n y e (s e rn tw u e b tb s n a o E ti longtime collabora ich Madison Farmer (bass) and Alexandra titled We Are Nots and we to this new band, whNovember they released their debut album o are Nots! later on. This last t up with Natalie and Madison to know wh caugh s Words: Andreia Alve
ell us a little bit about how NOTS came to be. Natalie: Nots has had a few formations, two different lineups as a three piece and now the new four piece lineup that we have on the album. Charlotte (drummer) and I are the only consistent members through all of the changes. You are or were on other projects besides NOTS, so what did mainly inspire you when you started to shape NOTS sound? Natalie: Nots is really open to experimentation, especially now that we’ve expanded our sound to include the synth presence. The sound is mostly shaped by our relentlessness to jam things out until they make sense. We’re really open to try new things in every song while keeping a consistent repetitive drive with the vocals and bass lines. 48
How much does the Memphis music scene influence your music? Natalie: The Memphis garage/ punk scene is a pretty tight knit community of wild musicians and artists who are mostly very supportive of each other’s endeavors. Living in Memphis has a huge influence on the way I write, the city is tense and very charged. Totally full of characters too. It makes me want to create, to participate in some way. There’s room for that, which is inspiring in its own right. There’s a whole lotta room for DIY here. How do you usually approach the songwriting process for this band? Natalie: Usually I bring in a basic song structure written on guitar and we jam out the other parts together and write additional stuff until the song is the way we want it. Sometimes we’ll start with a bass line or drum beat and build it up from that. Other times I’ll have recorded everything on my 4 track at home and I’ll take it to practice and we’ll all work up the song; we’re pretty open to different ways of songwriting and experimenting with what a song can do.
We Are Nots is for sure an introduction of your band in the best way possible. It’s raw, awesome garage-punk. How was the whole process to get this album done? Madison: I joined the band about a month before recording started, and we all worked really hard to be ready to go into the studio prepared. The urgency in learning the songs was a great help in being relatively tight from the beginning. I think we practiced almost every day for a month, recorded the album, and then sat back and thought “Well, I hope we pulled it off!” Natalie: Yeah, it was pretty intense and I think you can hear that in the record. But we had fun doing it too, it was a crazy time. I think Doug did a really good job capturing our live energy on the recordings, you can feel the intensity pretty well. The album was recorded this summer in Memphis with Doug Easley. How did go the recording process? Madison: I had so much fun recording with Doug. I had this plan in high school to move to Memphis one day and work at his studio. So getting to record there kind of blew my mind. We tracked most of the instruments live and only did a couple takes of each song. It was intense, but that’s an emotion we all wanted
INTERVIEW // NOTS
to convey anyway. Natalie: Yeah, recording with Doug was a great experience and since he tracked every song live first, no energy is lost. The cover art has reference to the film Hellraiser! What can you tell us about that? Natalie: Alexandra Eastburn, our synth player, is an incredible visual artist and she had made these series of collages a long time ago, and I asked if I could use one for the album design, so I went through and picked Hellraiser, because I thought it reflected the feeling of the album the best. I think it really captures it in a really raw visual way.
What’s next for NOTS? Madison: I can’t wait for the next tour. We’re playing a few venues and with some bands that I hold in extremely high regard. Natalie: Yeah, tour is gonna rule. When we get home we’re gonna work on writing and recording new songs. What’s been on your record player lately? Madison: I’ve been listening to records by some of my favorite sets from Gonerfest this year: Nathan Roche, Connections, Marked Men, Obnox... plus Low Life, The Bats, Vexx, Ar-Kaics. Natalie: I’ve been listening to a ton of Can and Sun Ra. Some old
country is mixed in there as well, some Dolly and Porter. For some reason as soon as it got cold those records were all I wanted to listen to. What’s your favorite record of 2014? Natalie: I can’t choose a favorite, but I’m really into Georgio murderer’s primitive world 7”. Madison: Not ready for that question yet!
We Are Nots is out now via Goner Records 49
A GENUINE AND EMOTIONAL WAKE UP CALL... 50
Formed peopleâ€™s att the success recorded b political and
s t s i t p a B
four years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, these guys have been grabbing tention with their precise hits, and the incisive, dissonant, discordant sound. Bloodmines, sor of their debut album, Bushcraft, is yet another ruthless slab of hardcore â€“ once again by the great Kurt Ballou (Converge) at Godcity Studios â€“ with the urgency, intelligence and d social awareness they are known for. Andrew Drury (vocalist) was kind enough to answer a few questions that we had for him. Words: Tiago Moreira // Pictures: Ryan Walter Wagner
he experience of creating Bushcraft and the experience that you guys went through because of Bushcraft helped shape this new album in any way? We had a lot more time to work on Bushcraft than we did with Bloodmines. We still wrote the songs using the same general process, though. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bloodmines has roughly the same length as its predecessor, Bushcraft, but this new one seems even more urgent. That’s a fair read? Yup, I feel that there is more urgency in the new recording. It probably sounds more urgent, because we were pressed for time! It wasn’t necessarily intentional. “String Up” has very graphic lyrics. It’s a condemnation of the entire political system as a whole or more the right-wing type of politicians that have a huge inclination for all types of discrimination? It’s definitely directed at right wing homophobes. Anyone living in this day and age that discriminates against the LGBT Community doesn’t deserve to live. Especially if the person discriminating is someone in power. 52
In which way do you see the connection between religion and politics nowadays and how much of a leach religion is for the contemporary society? Well, to start, religion has no place in politics. Most of Vancouver’s policies and regulations that affect our everyday lives are controlled by the Provincial Government, which basically has a Neo-Liberal agenda. We are semi-lucky to have this situation. It could be much better, but it could also be much, much worse. The Federal Government’s jurisdiction supersedes the Provincial Government’s ruling, so they could essentially come in and do whatever they want at any time. Our Federal Government here is Conservative. Our Conservative Government has a money-hungry, faith-based agenda that shits all over any free thinking, Earth conscious people. We know that people in most other countries have it much worse than us, so I’m sure that it’s hard to sympathize. We don’t want anyone’s sympathy, though. I hope that lyrics filled with disdain towards our current living conditions can transcend borders and be applied to whatever is pissing our listeners off. Anger is anger. I try to keep my lyrics slightly cryptic, so that they can be used to explain or degrade multiple situations. The title track seems to talk about the human degradation in order to achieve profit. Have you found that as an active band? That is basically what Bloodmines is about. Like, have we endured degradation as a band to achieve profit? I think that’s what you’re asking. If that’s the case, then no! We play music to play music. We know that we’ll never make enough money to support ourselves playing this style of music. No, I wanted to ask if you were ever in a position where people tried to profit from your own degradation, in the context of a member of Baptists? No, luckily that hasn’t happened.
Religion, politics, capitalism… These things are still very present and active. Do you think that we can say that in 2014 there are still millions of people enslaved – not talking just about people in Africa or Asia? Everyone is a slave to something. You’re talking about some of the bleakest aspects of the society. Would you define yourself as a Carlin, or with a more active role? I could definitely be a lot more active in making changes! I wouldn’t consider myself to be a spectator, though. I hated the way our Foster System works here, so I became a Foster Parent. We have a lot of songs that revolve around that. That was the biggest sacrifice that I’ve made in my life, but I feel like it was the right thing to do. It causes me so much stress and heartbreak, but I feel like I can provide a way better placement for these kids than most local agencies. It’s not the first time you have worked with Kurt Ballou. How different was this experience, recording Bloodmines, compared with the previous one? It was awesome. We all already knew each other and how we all work together, so it was straight to business. Kurt seemed even more relaxed than the first time, so everything went very smoothly. We ate a lot of pickles and laughed our asses off the whole time. Couldn’t have had a better time. Well, except I hurt my knee skateboarding on the third day and couldn’t walk. I had the opportunity of seeing your Rain City Session on YouTube. It seems that you were really comfortable. How was the whole experience? It had a private party vibe, so it was very comfortable. We knew the majority of the people in there. We had no idea that there were going to be that many cameras, though. That came as a surprise. Those guys did a bang-up job.
Bloodmines is out now via Southern Lord
INTERVIEW // BAPTISTS
“Everyone is a slave to something.”
Delila Paz, Edgey Pires, and Brad Wilk (former Rage Against the Machine dummer), are walking on a revolutionary road under the name The Last Internationale. Recently theyâ€™ve released their newest album, We Will Reign, on Epic Records, a record with plenty of commentaries on the social and economic matters. We sat to talk with guitarist and founding member, Edgey Pires, to know a little more about the band and what is it that makes them to want to raise their voices so damn high. Words: Tiago Moreira
the last inte 54
ou guys were on tour with Robert Plant. How was that like? That was fuckin’ incredible, man. It was a totally surreal experience. We’ve been huge fans of Robert Plant growing up, because of Led Zeppelin, obviously, and just to be on tour with him and see him every day and talk with him… it felt surreal to me. For us was a huge honor for him to choose us to tour with him, not just in Europe but also in the States. How the Robert Plant’s fans reacted to your music? It was amazing; I think it’s the best so far. It went really, really well. Every single city I was amazed of how each show was like… incredible. I don’t have any complaints about any of these shows.
I want to talk a little bit about Brad [Wilk, drummer and former member of Rage Against the Machine]. How was the first experience of playing with him? I mean, you hope for the best but you don’t know if the chemistry is there, you know? Yeah, but I knew that it was going to work before we got in the room together. I think a lot has to do with the fact that I’ve been listening to Rage Against the Machine for so many years now. I was literally a little kid when I first heard RATM, so that band is in my blood by now. When we first got together we spoke for a couple hours before we got to playing and then when we played everything just clicked right away from the beginning. We only rehearsed for two weeks and then we went to the studio with Brendan O’Brien [producer] and cut the record in two weeks. How was it, the experience of recording the album with Brendan O’Brien [Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, RATM, Korn, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, etc.]? Terrifying? No, not at all. Well, before the session started, before actually got to go in the studio with him I remember being in the passenger sit and I was so sick to my stomach, I couldn’t say more than five words, I felt like I was going to throw up and shaking, because I’ve grown up listening to this guy’s records and I didn’t have any idea how he was going to be like in the studio. I mean, I have more experience in the stage that I have in the studio. I’m a touring musician more than a studio musician, but there I was, going to one of the best and biggest studios in the world, to work with my favorite producer in the world. Man, I was really sick and nervous. I started asking myself, “Should I go in there today?” [laughs] But when we did go in there within seconds I felt fine. Brendan has a tendency – I guess because he has been doing this for so long – to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Within seconds I was comfortable and just focused on the performance part of it that I left the rest up to him. I just trusted in myself and he made me feel that confidence too. Every day he would build our confidence and make sure that he gets the best performance out of us. Some of the songs were recorded in like just one or two takes and that’s because of him, because he made 56
the environment right just for us. The album’s title, We Will Reign, is talking about the common people, the working class people? Yeah. I mean, it’s interpreted in different ways but that title it’s not like the band itself will reign or something like that – that has been done a million times. It’s more, like you said, the working class will reign. We will be victorious. It’s a hopeful title. [laughs] It could be realistic, I don’t know. Let us see where the social movement will lead us but it’s definitely a hopeful title. How was to write the album in terms of fitting all the lyrical themes in just one project? It wasn’t formulaic in any sense of the word. Some of the songs have been written in the past four or five years – “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Indian Blood” was one, and “Killing Fields” was another. The songs have evolved over time, of course, to what they are today, but almost all the songs on the record are completely brand new, and a lot of them were written since we went to Los Angeles, like a year and a half ago, and a couple of those songs were actually written right before recording the album. We rented a cabin in Big Bear Mountain, California, and we were just writing song after song, every single day, and we chose the best songs for the record and then we went right into the studio and just recorded it. Since the lyrical themes of the album are mostly about social and economic issues, I would like to know your opinion about two current events. The first one: the midterm elections [2014, in the US] which resulted in the largest Republican majority in the entire country in nearly a century. [laughs] I’ve always argued that it’s not like the Democrats are any different than the Republicans or that they actually held more power than the Republicans. It’s the same party, essentially. Whether it’s run by Democrats or Republicans, or whether you have Democrats or Republicans in the White House, not much has changed. We’re still oppressed; the poverty rate is as high as it was since the Great Depression. I mean, things are terrible in the US, and it’s actually pretty bad in a lot of parts of Europe too – I
could see that from some cities that we visited – so whether it’s run by Republicans or by Democrats, we don’t hold hope for the future in any of these politicians. A few years ago people believed in the Democrats but now they’re a fucking joke. They’re always talking how the politic is controlled by money and they actually spend more money than the Republicans. Exactly, and Obama is a horrendous president. I’ve never supported him, even when he was first running. I understand why people believed in Obama. People need to believe in something to hold some kind of hope. After two terrible Bush administrations it was kind of the dark ages of American politics. The problem is that in America we have a twoparty system, it’s not like a representational system where you can vote for a third party and you vote counts, so you have to choose between two of the lesser evils, and that propagates the system that we have. What about the Ferguson case? What are your thoughts on that? Obviously it was a cold blooded murderer, the officer didn’treceive an indictment, which to me is a great injustice, and I think people in Ferguson are right to protest and rebel in any way they see fit. What about Fox News trying to change things around by saying that white people are being persecuted? They’re a fuckin’ joke. They are on this delusion that white people are like the minority and that the Hispanics and blacks are taking over the country… it’s a very racist argument and it’s a mainstream one. Fox News is racist as its core; they use some kind of subterfuge to kind of cover it up in a way. The other news stations aren’t that much better, like CNN and CNBC. There are some news programs that are better than others, obviously, but overall they are all owned by the same corporation, Clear Channel owns most of the media in the US. What do you aim for with The Last Internationale? What’s the goal? What we want to do is something unprecedented that has never been done in history, and I think
INTERVIEW // THE LAST INTERNATIONALE
“America is at peace but if you look at the war that’s in there, if you look closely, there’s an underline war there that’s not so peaceful...” that’s the way bands with serious goals for social transformation should think, because we haven’t transformed society yet; we haven’t abolished capitalism. I mean, we were talking about all the shit that we hate and we want to overthrow. We don’t like the status quo. I believe that for a band to be truly influential and change society they have to be mainstream. You can’t be an underground band just influencing a couple hundred of people. I mean, some bands can be on the top of the world and have all this mainstream influence but their strategy and tactics are all wrong and so they don’t have any influence on people. With fame, being mainstream, comes a great sense of responsibility and what you do when you get up there is what truly matters. In this record you’re talking about slavery in the contemporary world. Can you elaborate on that subject?
I agree with Cornel West, he wrote a book recently and in there he says that “Poverty is the new slavery.” We went from having chattel slavery to having wage slavery, and the illusion of having freedom comes with the fetish of money where you receive some kind of compensation for your labor but what they don’t see is that you’re only getting paid part compensation for your labor; you’re not due to get paid for your labor power. They buy your labor power in the market and then they give you a fraction of what you’ve created. The money is a fetish, adds to the illusion of freedom and the fact… look, capitalism presents us with a lot of choices, we know that, so you have the option to work for McDonalds, Burger King, etc., and you can tell your boss to fuck himself and quit the job anytime you want, but that’s a perversion of freedom. Martin Luther King calls it a “negative freedom”
because there’s still a police state as you’ve seen in Ferguson, if people get out of the line or they start to demand too many rights, or they demand their basic human rights, which we are denied in the United States, then the police state will come and they will start to shoot you down. So, we are in a state of negative freedom, and negative peace. Relativity speaking, America is at peace but if you look at the war that’s in there, if you look closely, there’s an underline war there that’s not so peaceful and that is when families are getting evicted, which is an old time habit now, or when a kids go to bed hungry or starving. To me these are all acts of violence and some of the most violent people in the United States are people that work on Wall Street.
We Will Reign is out now via Epic Records 57
"What matters most is how well you walk t Came Calling inspired themselves to create t fulfilling year for the band and Joe Cande
through the fire". This is the best way to describe how Foverer their amazing new album, What Matters Most. 2014 was a elaria talked to us about this second effort and much more. Words: Fausto Casais // Pictures: Matt Vincent
How was it like the writing process and what did you do differently this time around? There was a writing process! [laughs] On Contender it was just a collection of songs we had written over the entirety of our band’s life to that point. On What Matters Most we sat down and wrote together in my fiancée’s parents second home and when we felt had the ideas we went into pre production and spent another 2 weeks pulling 16 hour days in a practice spot that the awesome gentlemen in Strung Out let us use. Kyle Black also pushed me really hard to write better lyrics and better melodies. He challenged me and I needed it.
ow has been 2014 for you guys? This has been the best year of our band’s career so far! We have had so many great tours and our new record What Matters Most came out in October and the reaction to it has been pretty awesome so far. It’s been an awesome year. How did go the Pure Noise Records tour? It was hands down the best tour we have done to date. Every show was crazy, everyone was so amped. The energy in those rooms was incredible. You guys released last October your second album, What Matters Most. How do you feel about the album’s great response? It’s been incredible honestly. On the Pure Noise tour was the first time we played some new songs live and they went off... Honestly even harder than some of the older stuff and that has been such a cool thing to see happen. People seem to like the album and it charted on the Billboard top 200 which is really cool. We have been humbled by the support. Did you feel any pressure to make this second album? I think I’m a very neurotic person when it comes to writing and I kind of became super obsessed with making sure this album was what I wanted. There is always pressure to keep up with your former self but I think we knew what we had to do and we pushed each other to our limits in the best way possible. We sat in a rehearsal space for 16 hours a day until we felt we had something special.
What bands or records were you listening to while making this record? The Heist by Macklemore; Where You Want to Be by Taking Back Sunday; Futures by Jimmy Eat World; Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard; Commit This To Memory by Motion City Soundtrack; Sticks And Stones by New Found Glory. I listened to a lot of records I grew up on because those were the sounds I loved. To me the songwriting on these albums is impeccable. The production is outstanding and these are some of the records I have always influenced by. Also Macklemore is a fucking genius! Lyrically, what did inspire you for What Matters Most? The name of the album comes from a Bukowski collection titled What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through The Fire. To me it just speaks to the person that I strive to be and that is someone who doesn’t let all the negative stuff hold them back. So that idea and as weird as it sounds death. I lost my grandfather as we were writing the record and I had this overwhelming feeling of loss and resentment towards myself. I’ve spent the last couple years chasing this dream and it’s giving me so many amazing memories but I’ve been a ghost to the people I care about the most, when you lose someone close to you, you question everything that you’re doing. “Should I have been around more?” “Am I making the right choices?” “Have I been selfish?” I had to sit down and examine myself and what matters to me and this album is me dealing with those questions, in the most honest and
unadulterated way. The album is about finding yourself in the midst of an “existential car crash” and not letting “the fire” define you. Kyle Black produced your new album. How did go the recording process? Kyle and I love a lot of the same producers so we got along magically. He is always ready to work and full of so much creativity and positive vibes. I love working with him. A truly talented producer. You released the video for the track “Defenseless”, which is super awesome. Can you tell us a little bit about the song and the video as well? We had so much fun shooting this video and it’s exactly what is and Eric Teti had in mind. A visual representation of the band. We are just goofy guys who love to laugh. [laughs] What’s your favorite track off the new album? Probably “Rather Be Dead Than Cool” it’s the catchiest and the most “different” song on the record. It also has the sickest guitar solo!!! The cover art of this new album has this homeless person sleeping on a bench with his feet on fire. What does that picture represent to you? Walking through the fire. You’re seeing someone at one of maybe their darkest moments, which is a mirror of the record lyrically. Overall, what matters most for you guys? Family, I don’t know where I would be without mine. What’s next for Forever Came Calling? We have some really cool things coming up in the spring that we are so excited about! Some really cool touring opportunities! What’s your favorite record of 2014? 1975 - 1975. It is perfect pop songwriting. I can’t get over how awesome that dude’s voice is. I love it!
What Matters Most is out now via Pure Noise Records
INTERVIEW // FOREVER CAME CALLING
“There is always pressure to keep up with your former self but I think we knew what we had to do and we pushed each other to our limits in the best way possible.” musicandriotsmagazine.com
Drawing inspiration from his own emotions and feelings, Jake Mcelfresh is the man behind
FRONT PORCH STEP He writes about what he feels in a stripped-down acoustic way. He has already released his first album titled Aware and more recently a new EP, Whole Again. It is certain that Jake's music gets you strictly to the heart. We talked with Jake about his solo project, the new EP and his desire to be in a hardcore band and in a rap project. Words: Andreia Alves // Pictures: Adam Elmakias & Shaun Marcus
ou played on Pure Noise Records tour of this year with State Champs, Handguns, Forever Came Calling, Heart To Heart and Brigades. How was the tour for you? That was one of the funniest tours I’ve ever been in my life. It was just a blast. I think that everyone that came to that tour and heard about that tour were surprised because rarely six bands going on tour together and all get along. We all did get along and we all became the best of friends if we weren’t already best of friends and I love every dude and everyone of those bands like my brothers, so it’s awesome.
You began this solo project in 2012 and your music represents exactly how you feel and you don’t feel ashamed of writing that down. Was it easy for you to spill your heart out in such stripped-down, honest musical approach? It was easy to write at first and it has become easier now because I’m used to it, but it was easy to write Aware about how I feel and thinking anyone will hear it. I knew that people hear it because I played shows in bars and stuff, but I never knew that people would hear it in the scale that they’ve heard it now. I think Aware sold over a 13000 copies now and I’m also including he people that have stolen it, you know what I mean? Well, let’s do it on Spotify. At least 13000 people listen to my music and that’s very weird.
Your songs are emotionally-driven with a style of acoustic music. What did mainly inspire you when you start to writing your songs? It’s strictly emotional honesty. It’s just whatever I’m feeling at the time upload music just how I feel and how the music feels. I have to feel what I’m writing for my work be good in my mind, so it’s really whatever I’m feeling at the time with random situations and how it goes. Last year, you released your debut album Aware and it had such a great response. How do you feel with all the great feedback you had? It was awesome. It’s mind-blowing and I don’t really know how to react it just because, like I said, I never thought I would sell 2 copies and much less 13000 copies. I try to stay as much humble as possible and just appreciate every single person that comes up to me and every single person that tweets me or comments that they have enjoyed my record, you know? I try to take that to heart and I try to say like “Ok, those people liked my record and now I’m gonna go back and make an even better record next time.” Aware is filled with honest and heartfelt songs, especially the song “I Won’t Say That I’m Ok”. Was the whole process of making this album an emotional challenge and a cathartic process for you? Definitely singing “I Won’t Say That I’m Ok” in the studio. I wrote that song in the night my grandmother died and I played it basically in total three times. I played it in the night she died, I played it at her funeral and I played it in the studio. I never played it live, I refuse to. It’s just for her, but I did that part of the end of the song and that wasn’t planned. I just decided to do it. I did that part and I was sobbing for a good hour. I had to take a break and it was a two hour break, because when you cry your voice strains, like they put strain in your throat and so I was taking another break. This was a really hard song to record and it really means a lot to me. You recently released your new EP Whole Again, which is yet another release full of honesty and also sweetness. How would you describe this EP? I had a lot of fun writing it, so I would say that this EP is honest, 64
emotional and meaningful. What “Whole Again” represents to you as a musician and as a person? It’s titled Whole Again because it’s about my current girlfriend going into my life and it’s not saying like I became better for her, but she definitely put a foot on my ass and made me want to be a better person, if that makes sense. It’s about her just making me realize it, her making me realize that I’m worth a lot more than I thought I was, giving me a little more selfconfidence. Like I said, making me whole again, making me feel like a person again. Was your girlfriend your mainly inspiration for this EP? Not for everything on the EP, because obviously she’s not dead, so she wasn’t the influence for “Heaven Sent”. That song is about nobody. But the title-track “Whole Again” is definitely influenced by her. About the title-track “Whole Again”, it’s the only track off this EP that has drums and electric guitars and it’s for sure the central piece of this EP. Can you tell me a little bit about this song? It was a blast. Me and Alan Day from Four Year Strong worked with this guy called Adam Rourke and he was awesome. We all three just kind of bounce ideas off each other and it was a blast writing this song. It was really fun. On this EP, you did a cover of “I’ll be Home For Christmas”. Why did you pick up that song to cover? I think “I’ll be Home For Christmas” is one of my favorite songs of all time and more lately because I’m always touring and I’ve been missing home a lot. It’s definitely about how much I miss my family when I’m on the road and I’m really happy that I will be actually literally home for Christmas this year, so that’s cool. You’ve mentioned earlier about Alan Day of Four Year Strong. He produced the EP and Adam Rourke and Ace Enders also were on board on this EP. What it was like to work with them? Adam, Alan and Ace were awesome! They’re great and supernice dudes and they’re all extremely phenomely talented.
When you are an artist, it’s always cool to meet up with other artists and bounce ideas off each other, because you kind of get to take their brain and it’s just really cool to be able to write with people that are so highly respected in my mind. I know this sounds cliché, but do you plan on having someday a full-band on Front Porch Step? I honestly don’t know. It’s all up in the air right now. It’s a possibility but it may not be. Are you currently working on new material to be released in 2015? I’m always writing new music. There’s always stuff in my head. I’m actually trying to write for other people right now. I just want to write all the time, so that’s what I’m trying to do. That’s safely all I can tell you about 2015 right now regarding musical writings. I read that you would love to be in a hardcore band and to do a rap project. Is that something that you are planning to do in a near future? Yes! I don’t know when, it could be four years from now. I definitely want to be in a hardcore band and I definitely want to do at least a hip hop EP. Right now, I’m really trying to focus on songwriting for Front Porch Step and write for other people, so I’m just trying to prioritize right now. Overall, how would you describe 2014 for you? Unreal, honestly. Anything that has happened this year I did not expect to happen and I’m just kind of blown away by everything. I’m just trying to keep a level head and stay humble and appreciate every blessing that has been given in this life. What’s your favorite record of 2014? Right now I take Forever Came Calling’s What Matters Most.
Whole Again EP is out now via Pure Noise Records
INTERVIEW // FRONT PORCH STEP
“I have to feel what I’m writing for my work be good in my mind, so it’s really whatever I’m feeling at the time with random situations and how it goes.”
AT THEIR STILL INN
Talking about Taking Back Sunday remarkable music career, but we gue millions of albums and influenced iconic and charismatic vocalist an most recent and 66
G BACK SUNDAY
BEST AND NOVATING Words: Andreia Alves // Pictures: Ryan Russell
y is going back to Long Island in 1999 and mention every single moment that they fascinated us with their ess they don't need much for a detailed introduction. Their legacy is big enough to show that. They have sold d other artists. It's impressive to see a band to renew themselves but stay true to their roots. Adam is the nd he was the one who spoke to us. In a frank chat, we talked about Taking Back Sundayâ€™s career and their d awesome record, Happiness Is, which is also their first release for Hopeless Records. 67
that’s kind of the feeling that I get whenever I hear those songs and when I’m playing them. In the past, you guys worked with a major label, but now you are signed to the amazing indie label Hopeless Records. How is it like to work with them and be part of their family? For us to be in Hopeless Records is great, because there’s a lot of freedom there. There’s a lot of trust, so it’s really nice for us to work with a small team that has a lot of heart and it’s willing to trust your decision as a band and that’s one of the biggest things. it’s like a really rewarding thing to have to be gone from home so long but then also be able to see people connecting with what we’re doing. It’s really nice.
ou guys are heading to Europe/UK in a few weeks for a tour with Marmozets and Blitz Kids as supporting bands. What are you most excited about this last tour overseas of the year? We’ve been in Europe a few times before, but there’s still a lot of places that we didn’t have the chance to go to and so this time we’re gonna have that opportunity, so that’s very exciting for us. I think in general being able to have our music kind of help us around the world, it’s really something special. In general, how was 2014 for you guys? Good! We’ve been very busy over the past year and then we released Happiness Is and we’ve been able to play a lot of that live. It’s just been getting a great response, so
Taking Back Sunday were formed in 1999 and since then you’ve released great music and doing amazing live shows. Doing a career retrospective, what’s been the highlight of your musical career? You know, it’s hard to pin down just one time or one thing, because it’s been a bunch of great stuff that happened to us. Just being able to keep it together and have them connect with what we’re doing. It’s not secret now because we’ve been around a while, so we’ll see people anywhere from young teenagers to folks in their middle late 30s coming to our shows and to be able to bring so many people that are in such different chapters in their lives to gather and join the same thing at the same time I think it’s a really big accomplishment. I would say that’s one of the highlights for me overall. It’s amazing that when I listen to Tell All Your Friends (2002) or Louder Now (2006) they seem in some way so current nowadays, like they are timeless. How do feel when you look back to those records now? For me, when I look back to those records it’s like I guess I get to see our growth process as a band, you know? I mean, that’s what sticks out the most to me, just kind of the way we write songs as opposed to now. Even the subject matters, it’s kind of like going through an old yearbook - like a school yearbook - and just put them through with one of those,
This last March, you guys released your sixth album Happiness Is - which is the second record with John Nolan and Shaun Cooper on board, - and I read a quote from you talking about how it didn’t feel like Taking Back Sunday anymore unless you could get Shaun and John back in the mix. If they weren’t back in the band, do you think that Taking Back Sunday wouldn’t be where they are right now? Yeah! If John and Shaun weren’t in the band now, I don’t think we would still be a band. A lot of the praise that we got with the other lineups it was a lot of times good kind of forcing things to happen, because not everyone was getting along that great. So yeah, I don’t think those last two records would have happened if it weren’t for them rejoining the band. Happiness Is is probably your most personal record to date. With that said, do you think your lyrics have become more personal over the years? Well, I feel like they’ve always been very personal. I’ve just kind of done less proud with them, I guess it would be the way to put it. For a long time I really thought that the more cryptic I was being through what I was writing that the more people could relate to it, and then what I’ve kind of found over the years was that at times it’s alright to be very direct and that’s one of the things that we did a lot on this new record. When you guys approached the writing of this album, you were trying to be more opened up about certain things that you guys have gone through, right? Yeah, or just be clearer, you know? Just so it would be easier
INTERVIEW // TAKING BACK SUNDAY
“We made the record without a label and without find any kind of outside influence, so it’s really just the five of us and that’s something we’re very proud of...” to people to understand. You had a quote about this record stating, “I was more focused on being myself than trying to sound perfect.” What did you mean by that? With that process, I guess it was more of just trying to capture more the emotion or the raw feeling behind the words rather than the perfect note. I was more focused, because for me looking at some kind of form of expression was the sound that always worked best within Taking Back Sunday. Why did you choose Happiness Is to be the title for this album? The only reason we chose it was because that’s where I feel like all of us kind of are the most comfortable in our lives right now and it just kind of spoke for the band as a whole. We made the record without a label and without find any kind of outside influence, so it’s really just the
five of us and that’s something we’re very proud of, which kind of led to the title. Do you feel that Happiness Is represents how happy you guys are together as a band, as musicians and as friends? Yeah, yes I do! I think it’s a very good representation of where we are. I feel like there’s always a lot of room for growth, you know, but there’s never a time to where I feel like anybody with anything that they’re doing with their lives is like there aren’t areas to make it better, you know? But that’s something that where I was tried to and it’s kind of that pursuit to where we really find ourselves content. With all that said, how do you keep things fresh and new within the band? For us, whenever we go in to write, we never go in with any kind of preconceived notion. We never sit down together and say
“Oh well, we need a song that sounds like this or even a song that sounds like that.” We just kind of go in and try every idea that everyone has. As time goes on, our musical taste changes and so there’s always different influences that kind of pop up every time we get together to write, because we never want to do the same thing twice. I think that’s one of the things that keep things fresh for everybody. This time around, the recording process was divided into two sessions. One of them was with Mike Sapone, in Long Island and the other one with Marc Jacob Hudson, in Michigan. What was it like this recording process for you guys? For us, when we were doing the demos for the record, we had done half of the demos in Michigan and then we had done the other half in Long Island, because as we were doing that we were still touring and travelling a lot, so it just worked
out that way. When it came the time to record the album, we figured that those demos turned out so well on both those places that why not just actually record them there. And it’s nice too that it kind of kept the recording process really fresh for us too, because we recorded it half in Michigan and then I think we had close to a month off. There was time to sit back and reflect on what we’ve just recorded there and also it gave us a chance to get our heads around the rest of the record that we were about to going into record. It was nice to have that time. In a certain way, this recording process was like a breathing room for the songs to work organically as you guys wanted, right? Yeah, this process was very much unlike anything we’ve done before and I can definitely see us doing something like that in the future, because I think as you’re working on a record or as you’re working on anything, you tend to be really wrapped up in it and so you’re very close to it and it’s sometimes hard to find the space and time to take a step back and look at it objectively. That was something that we had the opportunity to do, which I think helped the record greatly. What’s the song of Happiness Is that stands out the most for you? Well, it’s hard... It’s like if you had 10 kids and someone asks you which one is your favorite. [laughs] For me on Happiness Is, it changes, you know? There are some days that one of the heaviest songs like “They Don’t Have Any Friends” I can’t just get enough of it. There are other days that something like “All the Way” is my favorite or “Like You Do”. It’s tough to just take one, because I feel like it’s constantly changing. I know there’s a meaningful story behind the album artwork for Happiness Is. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Our guitar player Eddie [Reyes] has this very large black panther tattooed on his arm and I was asked about it one day and then I told them that we were going to put serious meaning behind it. It was kind of from that moment on that the black panther kind of became something that all of us in the band wanted almost like a mascot, so turns out we all ended up getting these black panther tattoos and 70
then we started to incorporating it in our merch and all of that. One thing led to another and that’s kind of how it ended up in the album artwork of Happiness Is. It’s kind of funny to look back on it when it all started because of this tattoo that Eddie got. [laughs] On the day of the album’s release, you guys unveiled the track “How I Met Your Mother,” a B-side taken from the “Flicker, Fade” 7” vinyl. What can you tell me about this song in particular? “How I Met Your Mother” came about when Eddie had this main riff of the song and then he brought to the band when we were writing and everybody loved it. We just kind of worked on that song around that riff and it wasn’t so layered, like the words for that one took a while. I had probably six or seven different versions and it just took a while to find the right one. It was tough because when we were sequencing the record, we were trying to figure out what flow the best and what seemed to be the best. It was hard to leave that one off, but it’s a really strong B-side I think. Besides releasing Happiness Is, you collaborated with Itch on his debut solo album The Deep End, more precisely on the track “Homeless Romantic”. How did this come to happen? That came about when his manager Michael Kaminsky, a good friend of mine asked me about this. I guess they had Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy singing on the majority of the record and then with that song they wanted to find someone that didn’t sound quite as pretty. [laughs] So I guess my name came up and they called and it seemed like a great thing, because I like what that guy does. I said yes and they sent me the song and I just kind of did my part and sang on his record. Do you have any other projects or outlets that you would like to approach in the future? I’ve always had my own kind of songs kicking around, so I would really like to put those together and release them one day, but now my focus is mainly on family, Taking Back Sunday... It’s quite difficult to find time to bring all that together, but that’s something that I would like to do
in the future. When it will happen? I don’t know, but it will happen. What’s next for Taking Back Sunday in 2015? For the first half of the year, we will be finishing up touring - kind of finishing this tour cycle for Happiness Is - and then I would see us just putting our heads down and get some new material together. What’s your favorite record of 2014? That’s a tough one, because there has been a lot of great records. There’s this band called J. Roddy Walston & The Business and they put out a record called Essential Tremors that it’s really great, so I’ve been listening to that a lot. There’s a guy named Benjamin Booker that put out a record that it’s really good too. It’s funny because actually I saw him on Later With Jools Holland and so I found him on that show. [laughs] He’s pretty great. According to a picture on your Facebook page, this Halloween you guys dressed up as the superheroes of Avengers and you were dressed as Thor. Is he your favorite superhero? [Laughs] Oh, no, I wouldn’t say he is my favorite. I just think it worked out because I have the longest hair in the band. I ordered those costumes a month before that tour even started, because in Halloween we always do something really at the last minute, you know? But this time we were prepared and ready. I think my favorite superhero is probably Spiderman. He is the coolest, I think. [laughs] It’s funny that you like Spiderman, because your song “This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know)” [Where You Want to Be, 2004] was featured in the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. Yeah! We were actually really surprised when they said that they were going to use it, so that was a cool thing to be part of. Happiness Is: The Complete Recordings arrives on February via Hopeless Records
INTERVIEW // TAKING BACK SUNDAY
“As time goes on, our musical taste changes and so there’s always different influences that kind of pop up every time we get together to write, because we never want to do the same thing twice.”
Desperate Journalist are four friends that de Even though they're in other bands, these L ful tunes, which they are often compared w frankly they can do their own thing and sti digitally their self-titled debut album and we them. Jo, Simon, Caz and Rob talked with
y and different
ecided to get together and start a new band. Londoners create quite unique and powerwith acts like The Smiths and The Cure, but ill sound refreshing. They've just released e couldn't miss the opportunity to chat with h us about their new band and much more.
seemed to work and then it continued to seem to work and it just carried on. Jo: Yes, it was pretty organic.
ow would you describe this year in general for you guys? Jo: We got a lot done, and so we finally recorded our debut album and released it digitally. We played at the London Calling festival, which it was good. Caz: We did a lot of gigs and released several things. Jo: It’s kind of a picked up the pace a lot this year, which is good. How does it feel to have people all over the world connecting with your music? Caz: Obviously it’s good. It’s exciting but it feels a bit strange at the same time. I don’t quite realize that people listen to our music in other countries, because we can’t see them. Simon: It’s a little bit like this interview, where we can’t see you and we’re not really aware of how many people might be listening to our music and where they might be, so when we find out that there’s people listening to us, it’s always nice to hear. You guys formed this band in 2013, so how did you guys get together to start the band and what did lead you to do that? Caz: We’re all friends to start with and we were all in different bands at the beginning, and then the bands kind of stopped. We just decided to try to play together. We rehearsed together at the beginning and it was really good. We managed to write a song and so we thought we could start a band. [laughs] Am I getting it right? [laughs] Simon: More or less. [laughs] It goes back to me and Rob really. Rob: Simon and I have known each other for years and years. We moved to London together. I played in bands with Simon before and seen Simon and Jo in a band before. I particularly liked Jo’s voice and so I kind of wanted to try to do something with her at some point. I guess by the circumstances it just worked out to be fortuitous enough, which it that’d be possible do so. We did it and it kind of
One of the most frequent questions you must have answered is about your band’s name Desperate Journalist, which comes from a Peel session Cure track (“Desperate Journalist inOngoing Meaningful Review Situation”). But why did you guys choose that particular name for the band? Jo: We took ages to decide what our band was going to be called until it started to be kind of a joke. [laughs] We all like The Cure obviously and that particular song was something that resonated, because it’s quite bitter and also quite self repricating at the same time. We thought it was a nice kind of vibe to go for. [laughs] That’s generally it and we also had to decide on something because it was just getting ridiculous. [laughs] Simon: I guess what she is talking about it, it was that we kind of feel a bit like growing into the name in a way. Jo: Yeah, that’s true. [laughs] Simon: It’s not a chosen name in some ways, it’s a little bit randomly. I guess people picked up on us a bit more and it kind of takes its own meaning, which it’s quite nice. So it ends up being something that we sort of like agree with and believe in it in a way. Everyone has described your music as a mix between the indie pop of The Smiths and the post-punk of Savages, which it’s a great mix by the way. Do you each have your own personal word to describe your music? Rob: I think some of this is quite accurate really. I guess there is a bit of tension in some ways between Simon and Caz playing bass and drums and doing quite a post-punk thing, and me pulling in much more a sort of The Smiths and R.E.M. type of direction. And then there is Jo like howling over the top. [laughs] It can go either way. [laughs] I think there’s always pretty much in everything we do, sort of this innate tension between this sort of post-punk rhythms, this sort of more The Smiths’, more folk rock kind of stuff that I’m interested in playing. I think there’s something
about post-punk version of The Smiths kind of fits and I’m fine with that and I kind don’t give a fuck what people compare us to, to be honest, as long as they either like us or get it. [laughs] Jo: I think that’s an accurate description. [laughs] I agree with that. Rob: There’s other thing that’s quite important. A lot of people do mention The Smiths in particular and that doesn’t irritate me in particularly. I think one of the good things about it is that nothing else really sounds honest anymore. I think it’s also quite unique sound that people haven’t really heard from maybe like 10 or 20 years in modern music and I think it’s quite difficult for people to lash onto anything but something like The Smiths to describe it, because no one is used to hear people playing guitars like that, vocals like that and drums and bass like that, all put it together. I think it’s important that they are actually playing songs. One of the really important things we try to do is that whatever the sound is dressed up as like gothic, post-punk or whatever we always try to have an actual song, which I think for me it’s not about like Savages. They never quite delivered that in that album, they didn’t have the “songs”. We do deliver that, and it is kind of in the forefront, how arrange stuff and where the sound ends of being is always actually around the song as opposed to trying to be a certain thing. Jo: Yeah, it’s not kind of trying to be a certain style, which I think a lot of bands have set out to be post-punk and have achieved but nothing else. I think we’re always just trying to write good meaningful songs, which it’s in the stir of post-punk but not just the sort of sounding or looking like a post-punk band. Hopefully that’s effective. [laughs] How it is usually your songwriting process as a group? Simon: Normally what happens is Rob will start off with some guitar ideas and he’ll play us what he’s got, so he might play us two or three different things and we’ll say which one we would like to work on and then we just take it from there, build up the bass and drums. Then when we got the music, Jo will write the melody on top of it. Jo: The melody usually comes
INTERVIEW // DESPERATE JOURNALIST
“One of the really important things we try to do is that whatever the sound is dressed up as like gothic, post-punk or whatever we always try to have an actual song...”Rob before the lyrics. I got occasionally bit of pieces of lyrics, but I was more into the melody because I think it’s easier for me to write that way. Rob: Me and Jo write kind of as a band in a way, so there will always be a basic song there and like a basic sort of sound. To be honest, the longer we go on the more it’s got us into a point where you kind of know what you’re gonna do. And so you walk in with something and you probably know who’s gonna like it and potentially what they might do with it. [laughs] Simon: And I think that equally they’ll know the bits of it and probably go “Rob, you’re just being a dick at this, stop doing that” or that sounds too much like something else or whatever it might be. I guess when you’ve been together for a little while and playing together in this kind of same way, you just get that sort of unspoken language where you kind of know what each one is doing, but essentially we kind of write as a band really. Jo: I think for the majority of the process everyone is there for it. The early bits of it are from Rob on his own, but when he comes to us from that point is all kind of collaborative in general.
Jo, when it comes to write your lyrics, where do you draw your inspiration from? Caz: Feelings. [laughs] Jo: Yeah. [laughs] Just being a very emotional and sensitive person. [laughs] A lot of the songs that I write are about memories that I have and sort of bit of pieces that come back into my brain, because I have a very patchy memory. It’s kind of keep holding things that I think I might forget. That sounds massively over romantic, but I think it’s just whatever is going to trouble me or make me particularly emotional at the time. [laughs] It’s bits of pieces which is quite vague, but I don’t know how else to describe it, really. [laughs] Last November you released digitally your self-titled debut album which it’s for sure a phenomenal debut. How do you feel about the great feedback you’re having? Caz: It feels good! [laughs] Rob: I think it’s particularly good, because we did so much of ourselves... I mean, we got to record in a nice place, but essentially from pretty much since the start to finish literally: from writing this album, to
recording it in the way we wanted to, to mixing it the way we wanted to, to get it mastered the way we wanted to, and deal with the artwork and all that sort of stuff. The whole process was basically what we wanted to do and it was a difficult process. It was a bit tortuous at times, but - I probably speak for all of us - we are quite proud and beginning to feel a little bit vindicated rather the approaches we take. I think you always will be nervous when you put that much of yourself into something with that much work. I’ve done virtually nothing else for a year, really… well, other than write that bloody album. [laughs] It’s nice when it comes out and people are starting to sort of like it and picking up on it, because as I said when you put that much of yourself in something, I think whether people like it or not almost becomes a comment on what they think of you as a person. [laughs] Jo: And particularly a bunch of the lyrics that I’ve written, they are kind of trying to make something good out of something that I found really upsetting or awful, and so the fact that they can now become a thing that made people happy in a way is great and really as nice as positive.
I read that this album was recorded over five days at Soho’s Dean Street Studios and almost entirely live, so how did go the recording process for this album? Rob: A lot of it was a reaction to circumstances. The first bunch of songs that we recorded when we did Cristina - our first EP - we weren’t even recording that as an EP. We just recorded them because we had a day in the studio and we thought we would might be able to go away with recording four songs in one day, which we just managed it. It kind of went like that. This album was recorded in five days altogether over a period of a year or maybe six months or so. We basically went to the studio and we recorded pretty much everything we had written and just tried to record as much that we had written in that time as possible. I was particularly very keen on having something that was very live and just sounded a bit like us. I wanted it to sound a bit polished, a bit like have been done in the studio and not like sort of rock as Libertines’ album or that type of thing. I wanted it to sound proper but I wanted to slightly capture the sound of an actual band playing. There are overdubs on there and acoustic guitars, which I can’t play at the same time when I’m playing the electric guitar. [laughs] There are backing vocals and stuff like that, but the basics was staying there and trying to play three or four songs in a room in a day and capture as much as we possibly can. To be honest, we kept the majority of it live. Simon: There are no keyboards. Rob: For me, at least, it was kind of a reaction against a lot of the indie bands of these days that people are fucking peace or something where everything almost sounds like is being created in the studio by the producer as much as being created by the band themselves. I always just wanted to hear how that sort of stuff is like, how much of that really was the band, especially when you hear early stuff that is so completely different. Honestly I don’t think I was that sure having that commercial edge. I thought it sounded good, so I just wanted to capture what we sounded like. Jo: I think that serves the purpose if you’re trying to do a specific thing, but for us it wouldn’t be proper at all. Rob: That’s not to say that I don’t 76
think it would proper in the future. It might well be a bad thing, it was just for what we were doing - particularly the way the songs sounded and the way they were at the time. I think it was the best way to approach and I’m really happy. There were bits of pieces, and mistakes really. I guess any normal person would take out, but some of it is just kind of the charm of it, just having the band playing and making it sound like some of those early records that I really like, as early R.E.M stuff and Echo and the Bunnymen, in particular their first album... It just sounds like it’s a band playing and that’s one of the things that I really enjoyed about listening to recording music. Is there any song that you enjoy particularly to play live? Jo: We all have different ones. Caz: I like to play “Organ” a lot, because at the moment we close the set with it and it’s always very intense and energetic when we get to the end of the set. It’s very exciting and loud. I really like that. Simon: I would say the same. Jo: I like playing “Eulogy”, because it’s the jungliest one. [laughs] It gets really fast and I like sort of the energetic stuff. Rob: I think I like different ones on different days. I always like the idea of playing “Control” more than actually enjoying playing it, because it’s so bloody hard. [laughs] When I get to the end of that song, I always feel very pleased with myself. In January you’re going to release your debut album in physical format. After releasing the album, are you planning to do a European tour? Jo: I hope so! Caz: I would love to! Jo: We’re not sure about any arrangements for that at this point, but it would be something that we definitely loved to do. Rob: One of the cons is that we can’t afford it. [laughs] We lose so much money doing even just normal gigs here. It’s difficult to do it sometimes. Caz: We’re on a label, but it’s not like we’re on a big label giving us loads of money, so it’s pretty tight. [laughs] Rob: We have to try to self-fund everything we do and also plan a lot ourselves which it’s quite difficult. But we hope to be out
to promote the record as much as possible we can. Simon: I definitely think we should go to Europe sometime... Maybe in spring or in summer, but we’ll have to see what offers we get. Caz: It would be very exciting. Do you recommend any new bands from London or anywhere else that we should listen to? Simon: There’s a band called Dressmaker who are really good live. It’s very noisy and quite intense. They’re a lot noisier than us. Jo: I really like two bands who are actually London based. One is Shopping that are like this post-punky kind of Gang of Four kind of thing, and the other one that is amazingly named as
INTERVIEW // DESPERATE JOURNALIST
“A lot of the songs that I write are about memories that I have and sort of bit of pieces that come back into my brain, because I have a very patchy memory. It’s kind of keep holding things that I think I might forget.” Jo Ravioli Me Away that sound the same sort of thing. Those two bands are sort of the new bands I have seen recently and been really excited about. Rob: I can’t think of anyone else beyond Ravioli Me Away. I haven’t seen many new London bands that I cared too much about recently. Caz: I can’t think of anyone either that I really like from London. The ones I like are quite big already, like Eagulls, Cloud Nothings but they’re not from London obviously. What’s your favorite record and film of 2014? Caz: I really enjoyed the film 20,000 Days on Earth. It’s a really intense and interesting documentary.
Simon: That would be my film as well. Jo: I haven’t seen any films from this year... This is going to sound very pretentious but I watch a lot of old films when I have nights in on my own. The one I’ve seen recently is called Daisies and it’s like a Czech psychedelic feminist farce from 1966 and it’s one of the most amazing films I’ve ever seen, so that was my discovery of this year. Caz: We Are The Best is also great but it’s from the last year. Jo: It’s a Swedish film and it’s about these three girls that formed a punk band and it’s about friendship and being in a band. It’s lovely. Rob: I don’t really like films. [laughs] Caz: My favorite album is Here
and Nowhere Else by Cloud Nothings. Jo: I have two favorites: Here and Nowhere Else by Cloud Nothings and Say Yes To Love by Perfect Pussy. Caz: I really liked the Conor Oberst album. Simon: The most recent Manic Street Preachers album called Futurology is definitely my favorite of this year. Rob: My favorite is the Eagulls new album - not the 70’s band. [laughs]
Desperate Journalist arrives on January 26 via Fierce Panda 77
yob BEAUTIFULLY EMOTIONAL /////////////////////////////////////////// BRUTALLY DREAMY
Formed back in 1996 in Eugene, Oregon, Yob has since then created a body of work that surely puts them as one of the leading bands of the slow, heavy and emotional-driven music scene. Guitarist and vocalist Mike Scheidt shared some thoughts with us about Yobâ€™s latest album, Clearing the Path to Ascend, and helped us understand what Yob is really about. Words: Tiago Moreira
t seems that you were in a different place on this record as opposed to Atma, at least it seems that way when I hear both records and kind of compare them. Well, I’m not really good at that. I think in each record I kind of am where I am and I don’t revisit it a lot. I mean, I play the songs and… I think our new record is a little more personal, maybe… well, it’s all personal. I’m writing about what I want to write about and with I resignate with deeply, that’s what moves me to write anyway. Yeah, there’s an emotional content and weight in the album that maybe it’s a little different than the previous records, but I don’t know. I approach every album and I try to make sure that each one has a cohesive vibe in itself so by the very nature of that, if I’m doing that correctly every album has its own feel, they’re all different. Maybe we’re just getting better in being us too, in all these years later we’re probably able to dig a little deeper each time. About the album’s title… what’s in the way that needed to be cleared? I tried to talk about this stuff in interviews and it always comes across a little funny because really what I write… your drive as an artist is therapeutic in nature, it’s a way to feel better and I think for me it’s no different but sometimes it’s a little less veil and more straightforward and tackling my inner stuff. I can say things like it is trying to rework habits and ways of thinking that no longer work and that had become obstacles – maybe they worked in the past but not anymore -, so it’s part of trying to grow and become healthier, but say too much and it starts to fucking it up, you know? If I say too much then I take away the listener’s own perception, and I don’t want to color it too much, I’m already all over it. I mean, everything is all me – at least as far as the lyrics go – so I don’t want to talk more about it. When someone else listens they bring something new to it and that’s really refreshing for me. I’m one of the persons who thought there was a female guest vocalist on this new record. You have definitely a wide vocal
range. Is it easy to know when to stop and not deliver something that can be over the top? You gotta take risks, you know what I mean? As an artist playing safe… we all get really bored with that. I try to make musically sound choices that are pushing the emotion that I want to push with the voice that best encapsulates that emotion. Sometimes it has to be screamed; sometimes it’s a very clean, pure sounding voice, and everything in between. My approach for some people is already over the top, is too many different things. Some people just like the screams and some people just like that clean and pure sounding voice, you know? I have no problem with that, but when I get behind a microphone I need a variety of things. I like to have a dynamic range for myself. I like different kind of vocals and I think I couldn’t settle just on one. With these lengthy songs that Yob is known for, there’s any space for thought out scrutinization or do you treat the songs as a live organism that kind of grows for itself? All of that is true, to be honest. I’ve never had any problem writing really long songs. I’ve never been able to successfully write a short song for Yob. I’ve wanted to because I just grew up listening to these 7” records and back in the old days we could go in the stores and buy these 7” records – not just record stores but stores, where you could buy not only music but other things, like clothes and shit like that. So, I always wanted to do that but I never managed to be able to do it. When I try to write something with 5-6 minutes it always sounds like an intro to me, it never sounds complete for Yob, so writing long songs is easy but it is all scrutinized. I’m not saying that I’m some great guy at it but I do my best to scrutinize every move, making sure that things are changing, the dynamics, and even if the riff is repeating a bunch of times there are things that are changing – whether it’s drum beats or vocals structures or slightly changes in the riff to keep it moving and evolving – because otherwise it can get stale and really quick. Talking about shorter songs, it seems that the hardcore punk
"I try to ma the emotio roots run deep in Yob. Do you feel that Yob has something in common with hardcore punk? In the early days of hardcore punk there was this spirit of adventure in the music and bands were really trying to come up with new stuff and new approaches, and unique takes. They were not trying to emulate. I mean, they weren’t trying to emulate 60’s hardcore punk because hardcore punk didn’t exist at that time. Hardcore punk in the 80s was a brand new thing, they were pioneers, there was nothing before that was like that, you know? For what Yob does (we definitely have influences on our sleeves), it’s really important to bring something to the table that is really unique to us and that has some kind of spirit of
INTERVIEW // YOB
ake musically sound choices that are pushing on that I want to push with the voice that best encapsulates that emotion." exploration and pushing. I guess that’s what we have in common with the hardcore punk. As far as I know you were happy working with Profound Lore. Moving away and start working with Neurot was just a need for a change? Yeah, we just need a change. We change every few years, work with new people and try new things. It makes things fresh for us and keeps us challenged. Over the years we’ve between working with Neurot and Profound Lore… those are really positive experiences and we tried to learn over the years working with new people and we always try to make sure that we have a really solid foundation in common, that we have at least
very similar goals, that’s artistically friendly, and that both parts can deliver what was promised. We had no problem with Profound Lore, in fact I’m still working with Chris [Bruni, Profound Lore’s owner] with VHÖL and I’m sure I will work with him even more in the future. We’ve been talking with Neurot for years and I’ve known Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till for a good chunk of time… I think it was probably just a matter of time really before we did something. We just hold everything that they do in such high regard. Everything just came together and it became really obvious that it was what we wanted to do.
more questions to be answered? I don’t know if the questions ever get answered. I think that sometimes you come up with a few theories and hypothesis that are satisfying for a time but then things change and then you have to ask again, so I think it’s kind of a process. I don’t feel any sense of arrival, but for doing what we’ve done, for as long as we have there is a certain assuredness in knowing who we are and what we do and that we have also a sense of adventure and want to try to push and do new things.
As the time progresses – 16 years now – do you feel that there are www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
Clearing The Path To Ascend is out now via Neurot Recordings 81
ANAAL NATHRAKH MUCH MORE THAN JUST SIMPLISTIC VISIONAIRES
If you’re into extreme music then probably you’ve heard the music - or at least their name – of Anaal Nathrakh. The duo from Birmingham has been walking on an unsettling path for fifteen years now. Starting with their mind-blowing debut, The Codex Necro, in 2001 and going on increasing the violence, aggressive and dynamic levels, always welcoming new challenges and new adventures. The vocalist Dave Hunt, also known as V.I.T.R.I.O.L., was kind enough to share a few words with us about the band and their most recent studio effort, entitled Desideratum. Words: Tiago Moreira
owadays Anaal Nathrakh’s music is kind of an operation of only two people. That experience has been crucial to continue, to this day, an adventurous musical journey? Yeah, we do, absolutely. We write the stuff, we record, we do all the production, the artwork, and in most cases we take care also of the press releases. So, yeah we do everything. Strangely enough when we signed with Metal Blade they sent us all this info, like all their contacts and info about how they like to do things. Well, in there, there’s a section about delivering the album that says that you have to send the album in such date… musicandriotsmagazine.com
like a deadline. We were like “Lovely. Here’s everything that you ask, all at once.” [laughs] Because we take care of everything it was finished and we don’t have to wait for anyone, you know? It’s very straightforward with Anaal Nathrakh, very simple. Do you think that have the total control helped, in a way, the music? Yeah, I think so. I think that we’re able to have a very clear picture of what we’re doing and what we want to achieve, and achieve it with very little compromise. If you do things in a more slightly traditional way, like a lot of bands will write music and then they will go to someone else’s studio and someone else will produce it, and all that kind of stuff, then there’s a lot more variables, it’s a little bit like a machine with a lot more moving parts, whereas doing the way we do it’s a lot more work, it’s not easy, but we can make sure that everything is just the way we want it to be. People sometimes ask questions like “Are you happy with the way the album came out?”, and in our case… Yes! [laughs] If we’re not happy then it’s our fault, you know? The way I usually sum it up is: if you don’t think that it’s the best album that you’ve ever done, then you haven’t finished it. Having absolute control over everything… yeah, it’s a little bit hectic sometimes because there are a lot of things to take care of, but it means that we can be truly happy with what we put out. You said that the use of different elements on your music comes naturally and you don’t even think about it. Would you say that it’s a “side effect” of growing up listening to John Peel and others? Yeah, I suppose so. It’s a bit of a “chicken and egg” situation. Not sure if would be able to listen with an open mind to all the stuff John Peel would play if you weren’t already open minded… I’m not sure what comes first. But yeah, we’ve been always very musically omnivorous, we’ve never thought of ourselves as particular kinds of fans or consumers of music with any labels. We like or we don’t, no matter what. It can be everything, and that tends to be how we think about making music, how we think about write it. I mean, yeah there’s an overall feeling, or idea, or atmosphere that we want to get across – it’s very unlikely that 84
we’re gonna use Japanese pop or something to it – but as long as it gets the point across that we want to make… anything goes. The title of this new album, Desideratum, can assume a number of different meanings – e.g. miss, desire, hope, search, etc. What’s the meaning for you guys? Yeah, we say that you can assume very different meanings… that’s really the case. It’s kind of something that I could probably spend half an hour talking about but… [pause] it’s to do with the thing of desire. Desideratum is something that you want, or possibly something that you wish was the case. Not that we wanted something in specific. It’s a way of thinking about the concept of desire and what is involved in it and where it crops up and things like that. A couple of the broadest things… when I was a little kid my mom had a poem called “Desiderata” – the plural of desideratum –, and it’s a wellknown poem and… it’s a bit trite. I wouldn’t necessarily endorse the message of it but the thing itself, when I was a little kid it had a real feeling of calmness and peace to it, and I remembered that. I realized that sense wasn’t an option anymore; the world just doesn’t seem the same anymore. Nonetheless it would be very to recapture that. That calmness, that sense of peace. The fact that it’s impossible to recapture it, which says something about the way the world is, or at least the way it seems to be to me. It’s funny because most people don’t think about calmness when they listen to Anaal Nathrakh. No, the music for the vast majority of the time is quite the opposite of anything calm. [laughs] That’s part of what I mean by saying that… I can’t get that calm anymore. I sort of wish I could sometimes but the world is not in the right shape for it to be the case so I have to deal with the way things are right now. I mean, there’s a lot of other stuff. A lot of stuff in the album relates in some way – maybe a kind of lateral way – to this idea of desire, so it’s an attempt to come up with a title… it’s not a concept album but it draws together themes that are present in quite a lot of the songs.
Mick [Kenney, guitars/bass/programming] worked together with Gore Tech – an electronic music production company that works “for the future-phobic UK”. To the best of your knowledge, how was that experience and in which way it helped shaped the album ultimately? It was cool. I mean, it was integral to the way the album turned out to be. The thing with Gore Tech is that it’s easy for us to get along with, we’re not entirely dissimilar. He does something different, musically speaking, but has a background in metal. He knew who we were in the first place, he’s a fan of Anaal Nathrakh, and so we didn’t really have to explain things to him very much. Just give him a general idea and he gets the picture. But yeah, it was a matter of when Mick got sort of a skeleton version of the songs, very rough basically, he sent them over to Gore Tech and he put on what he thought felt right, and then we got that back it was a matter of picking up the best parts and sort of redoing the songs and cut them a little bit, and then put them back together in a way that made everything feel part of a whole. It’s not like this is metal music and there’s electronic music on top… hopefully, at least. It’s supposed to be a cohesive thing and it just has different aspects. Yeah, it was really cool. Gore Tech knows, definitely, what he’s doing with that kind of stuff – probably more than we do, at least so far. I’m very pleased how it turned out. It sounds really good. So, we can assume that the songs changed quite a lot with Gore Tech’s input, right? Oh yeah. They changed hugely. It would be a completely different album without Gore Tech’s input on it. It was not like he was writing the body of the songs or anything, but certainly… I think it lifts the album up. It adds a dimension, or at least accentuates a dimension that it might not have otherwise.
Desideratum is out now via Metal Blade
INTERVIEW // ANAAL NATHRAKH
"The way I usually sum it up is: if you don’t think that it’s the best album that you’ve ever done, then you haven’t finished it." www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
2014 THE YEAR IN REVIEW
Our Top 75 Albums Best Reissues & Comp. 2014 Best Movies and much more... 86
BRODY DALLE Diploid Love
75 Brody is back! Diploid Love shows a different kind of Brody, probably her most rich and mature effort to date.
A SUNNY DAY GLASGOW Sea When Absent Lefse Records
THE WAR ON DRUGS Lost In The Dream Secretly Canadian
74 Sea When Absent is another proof how this group writes refreshing dreamy/synthpop songs every time they release a new album...
73 A detailed work, open to various interpretations thatâ€™s here to be heard, because we all can learn a little bit about other lifes experiences.
KISHI BASHI Lighght
47 72 Lighght is what we can call a powerfull and some kind of new indie pop masterpiece. Uplifting as fuck, this is a true gem.
YOUNG FATHERS Dead Anticon
MAKTHAVERSKAN II Run For Cover
46 71 Dead is an impressive effort, that truly shows the true and artistic sound of a band pushing themselves and changelling the audience.
70 Everyone should pay attention to the lyrics and to the amazing frontwoman Maja Milner. This is new, fresh and sounds different...
ANAAL NATHRAKH Desideratum Metal Blade
69 Desideratum is a complex, ferocious sermon from true originals, and it ranks amongst their finest work to date.
2014 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW
AT THE GATES At War With Reality
ISLANDER Violence & Destruction Victory Records
Sheep Chase Records
JEN WOOD Wilderness
Radar Light / New Granada
This is not the kind of punk that we are used to, this is real and unpretentious, everything is short and straight to the point.
PHARMAKON Bestial Burden
Wilt & Rise is a relentless and ferocious exercise of pure and destructive noisecore, that never let us breed and really shake us completely.
PINK MOUNTAINTOPS Get Back JagJaguwar
This brings us back to that time when hardcore meant something, when aggression was the cathartic side of political and social frustrations.
BEING AS AN OCEAN How We Both Wondrously Perish Impericon Records
Sometimes the music element is only a vehicle to something bigger and this record totally stands out for that particular achievement.
LYDIA LOVELESS Somewhere Else
This album is about loose yourself to rock n’ roll, where nothing matters and where the word boundaries has no meaning at all.
RISE AGAINST Black Market
Jen Wood’s Wilderness is both compelling and vulnerable, but is also an ambitious effort, that aims for perfection.
The 34 minutes of Bestial Burden are tremendously tortuous, and most important: we can feel the honesty of it. Unbelievable!
VALES Wilt & Rise
IRON REAGAN The Tyranny Of Will
Visceral and raw, an album that’s full of staggering dynamics, intelligent and brave songwriting and with that bold attitude.
At War With Reality is their first effort in 19 years. They still sound epic, unique, fresh and heavy as fuck.
DARK TIMES Give
58 Somewhere Else is clearly a new start, a break free from the hard times and she finally found her own sound. Amazing!
TAKING BACK SUNDAY Happiness Is Hopeless Records
They are still on top of their game, always ready to start a fight against this corporate and shitty world. Respect!
57 These guys have the power to bring back some of that teenage feelings that will always remain with us. There are one of a kind!
56 MASTODON Once More ‘Round the Sun Reprise Records
Mastodon have created something that will rightly gather plenty of mainstream attention while remaining true to their sound and to their individual styles, and sure, people will complain, but who in their right mind cares? It might tread some old ground here and there but on the whole this is a great, memorable rock record with just the right mix of melody and musicianship, and if that’s not enough, then you’re asking for too much.
BEST EP OF 2014
KING 810 Memoirs Of A Murder
THE BODY I Shall Die Here RVNG Intl.
Modern metal sounds like this, this is an extraordinary debut, that will leave you speechless and will challenge you several times…
PROTOMARTYR Under Color Of Official Right Hardly Art
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Rocket Recordings /Sub Pop
ROYAL BLOOD Royal Blood
52 Royal Blood has a fresh and original sound to it. It’s short, snappy and easy to listen. For a first album, it is pretty impressive.
BOB MOULD Beauty & Ruin Merge
When Against! Me’s frontwoman Laura Jane Grace came out as a transgender woman, we witnessed an act of great courage and along with that came a bigger insight on the matter. In 2014, Against! Me released Transgender Dysphoria Blues, an introspective album of a true and honest musician, that with her own experiences showed no fear towards her transition and she’s a great example of “be yourself”!
LYKKE LI I Never Learn
Everything sounds rawer in Beauty & Ruin, as if the spirit of punk gave Mould some kind of new awakening regarding his new found “teenage” angst. Mould has now 53 years, and with this new effort he shows that age and experience has given him a more wise approach to express his feelings, showing that now he is more confident about himself than ever.
50 Exquisite and emotionally strong, I Never Learn is a poetic and cathartic experience. This is just too beautiful…
EX HEX Rips Merge
There are moments of shade amongst the light but they can do little to dispel the absolute warmth of this record. Warner Bros
LAURA JANE GRACE
Emotionally draining and beautifully damaged, this is their most oppressive and staggeringly ambitious work to date.
Full of chaotic moments that are kind of constrained by this idea of continuity and progression in a self-imposed pace.
BLEED THE PIGS Overcompensations for Misery EP Creating music that is undeniable bleak and with heavy doses of rage, they were able to create something very unique – Kayla Phillips’ vocals are to blame – and walk at their own pace. But it’s not only their music; it’s their will to talk about things that really matter, from discrimination to rape… The sociopolitical issues are on the table. After all we’re talking about hardcore.
49 Rips is simply a guitar, a bass, drums and a vigorous voice embracing the best of the rock. It’s raw and it’s awesome.
LITTLE BIG LEAGUE Tropical Jinx Run For Cover
48 All the tracks are so well-crafted with that 90’s indie rock feeling, which makes us feel nostalgic and emotional over a few listenings...
2014 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW
EMA The Future’s Void
A swirl of emotions in a record who is ambulating towards the bleakness and brightness never reaching either one.
MORRISSEY World Peace Is None Of Your... Harvest Records
On his 10th studio album, Morrissey feels like he has everything to prove. Delivering one hell of a masterpiece.
45 ††† is a proof that musicians can venture themselves in other musical worlds and you can see the evolution for these trippedout visionaries.
BRAID No Coast
GROUPER Ruins Kranky
The record ends up being a monument to the actual ruins, the buildings and the ones formed by what is left of a relationship – or something else, it’s none of our business anyway. Step by step Liz is emerging from the “underwater” register of her first works; slowly her voice is becoming more noticeable, overcoming the fear of being heard in such confessional moments.
GERARD WAY Hesitant Alien Warner Bros
An awesome comeback, they still sound so emo, but it sounds so damn adult that our teenage side never relates to that younger side...
DESPERATE JOURNALIST Desperate Journalist Fierce Panda
Swimming to a different tune, Desperate Journalist show that alternative music still sounds different and original. Noisy and fierce!
Diverse, abstract, mature, distorted and well produced effort, and where the lack of clichés and trending concept albums is what make this so real and pure.
MARISSA NADLER July Sacred Bones
LA DISPUTE Rooms Of The House Better Living
35 More confident, confortable than ever... In their most exquiste and mature effort of their careers. They still sound like different from all...
A genuine and emotional wake up call, a violent and darker look about humanity, corporate greed and this new found way of slavery that we live nowadays.
NIKKI LANE All or Nothin’
36 Marissa Nadler is a sublime artist and she owns a phenomenal voice. With July, she demonstrates the essence of her music.
With a honest approach, Kingfisher turns to be a much darker album, but the tremendous delivery to each song is impressive.
Lane’s poetic and almost outlaw unique way of telling chapters of her life is truly amazing, she is breaking stereotypes and liberating minds.
34 This record is a new step for Warpaint, which they show their musical growth and explore new elements on their music.
BEST MUSIC VIDEOS
JENNY LEWIS Just One Of The Guys
Directed by: Jenny Lewis
Bodies And Control And Money And Power Don Giovanni
Listening to this could be an absolutely threatening experience for some people, but let’s face it, the world needs artists like these, where the listener is thrown into a world of musical schizophrenia, paranoia and anxiety, that could scare us and give us some consciousness of the world we live in.
LYKKE LI No Rest For The Wicked
Directed by: Fleur & Manu
BIG UPS Eighteen Hours of Static Though Love
HALEY BONAR Last War
An album that portrays life in a realistic way, where are mixing feelings of joy and sadness, and in some way it feels kind of liberating.
One of our first big surprises of 2014. This is a powerful effort, where noise goes melodic in the most dark and messy way.
FUTURE ISLANDS Singles
OFF! Red White And Black
SONDRE LERCHE Please Mona Records
30 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.
ST. VINCENT Digital Witness
Directed by: Chino Moya
THE MENZINGERS Rented World Epitaph
Singles 80’s inspired vibe goes euphoric, emotional and heartfelt. This is what pop music should sound like in the future...
Directed by: The Admiral
28 Rented World can connect with the listener on a deeper level, providing one of the most cathartic experiences of the year...
RUN THE JEWELS Run The Jewels 2
Mass Appeal Records
27 Killer Mike and El-P serve us in an honest and unpretentious manner, 40 minutes of the best music, worthy to call itself “Rap” made in 2014.
2014 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW
CODE ORANGE I Am King
I Am King is heavy, chaotic, experimental as fuck, where the musical deconstruction is the law. Art-Hardcore anyone?
FRNKIERO ANDTHE CELLABRATION Stomachaches Hassle Records
Frank Iero gives punk his own state of mind, where happiness, frustration, sadness, mellow or romantic feelings are all part of the same story.
WEEZER Everything Will Be Allright In The End Republic
ANGEL OLSEN Burn Your Fire For No Witness Jagjaguwar
A distinctive haunting voice from a new artist that give us an amazing journey to the melancholy and the loneliness.
PERFECT PUSSY Say Yes To Love
22 Say Yes to Love is not an easy listening record, it’s both exhausting and deeply compelling, the perfect cathartic experience.
WHITE LUNG Deep Fantasy Domino
Everything Will Be Alright In The End sounds like a fan service and a huge return to the roots. Their best record in 18 years.
BEST REISSUES AND COMPILATIONS
ROBERT WYATT Different Everytime Domino
A flawless record, a record that we needed to hear, but smells like a classic that will make a huge impact on generations to come.
BOTTLE ROCKETS Bottle Rockets / The Brooklyn Side’ Bloodshot Records
BIKINI KILL Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Bikini Kill Records
20 THE HOTELIER Home, Like Noplace Is There Tiny Engines
This is a record that doesn’t come along very often, we must say that this is maybe one of punk’s best kept secrets. The Hotelier are bringing back what the 90’s emo had best, but they manage to go further, combining the sublime guitar work with infectiuos chorus and powerfull emotional twists.
SLEATER-KINNEY Start Together 1994 // 2006 Sup Pop
AGAINST ME! Transgender Dysphoria Blues Xtra Mile
Transgender Dysphoria Blues is Against Me!’s most personal record to date and it’s for sure an intense and cathartic effort.
ST.VINCENT St. Vincent
St.Vincent is a tremendous effort, full of ambition, in the most versatile album of her career. More polished and raw than ever, Annie Clark visceral way of singing projects an aura of complete perfection, this time every thing sounds too damn good to be ignored. St. Vincent is an hypnotic and innovative album, an artistic statement of pure geniality.
19 GAZELLE TWIN Unflesh
MARMOZETS The Weird And Wonderful... Roadrunner
Side One Dummy
MODERN BASEBALL You’re Gonna Miss It All
16 These guys made a refreshing and modern take where emo blends with that everyday issues about life and love.
PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH Keep You Epitaph
An awesome and emotional experience of atmospheric heaviness and weight through raw and honest emotion.
YOB Clearing The Path To Ascend Neurot Recordings
Clearing The Path To Ascend is a masterful and powerful work that sits Yob on the throne of all things heavy.
ARCHITECTS Lost Forever // Lost Together Epitaph
Lost Forever//Lost Together is a superior record from a gifted and talented band, in the most impressive and diverse record of their carreer.
ESBEN AND THE WITCH A New Nature Nostromo Records
10 We see them at their rawest and purest form. Esben and the Witch reached to an maturity point of taking control of their music.
LP3 is a wellcrafted, experimental, dense and immersive piece of art-rock, made by gifted and visionary musicians.
Run For Cover
Perfect in any way, flawless and well constructed. They’re young, wonderful and sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before…
On their second album, Elizabeth Bernholz goes dark in a bold and assertive artistic statement. It’s disturbing but fucking awesome.
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE Some Heavy Oceans Sargent House
Some Heavy Ocean portrays an amazing songwriter, that with only her lovely, eloquent voice and the sound of her acoustic guitar would be enough to fall in love with such introspective and heartfelt music. Emma’s delicacy and devotion are incredible and she surely made one of the best records of 2014.
2014 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW
GODFLESH A World Lit Only By Fire
A World Lit Only By Fire is Godflesh taking a good look of the past while staying in present always looking forward to the future.
WOVENHAND Refractory/Obdurate Deathwish Inc.
Wovenhand creates music with a darker atmosphere than most metal bands and rock harder than any pseudoSatanist you put in front of them.
XIU XIU Angel Guts: Red Classroom Bella Union
Intense, bold, raw, crazy and sometimes disturbing as fuck, this is heavy exploration of that intangible emotions.
LE BUTCHERETTES Cry Is For The Flies
Guilty Of Everything Relapse Records
Garage, punk, dirty grungy pop, this new effort brings back the wild, chaotic and confrontal side that we kind of missed.
TRASH TALK No Peace
Trash Talk Collective
This is the perfect soundtrack to the world we live in, they’re mad as anyone with a brain and some conscious.
EINSTÜRZENDEN NEUBATEN Lament BMG
A complex and rewarding work of art... which blurs the lines between comedy and tragedy in a most intriguing fashion.
SWANS To Be Kind Mute
02 What we get from this album is an intense ride through the most insane storm you could possibly imagine.
ark, beautiful, loud and introspective. That’s how we describe Nothing’s debut album, Guilty of Everything. After he had gone through dark times, frontman Domenic Palermo found in Nothing a new outlet to express himself musically. With a solid and incisive lineup by his side, they created beautifully noisy and impetuous songs with this dark but hopeful soundscapes. It’s simply a sonic trip through redemption, forgiveness and acceptance of the past, present and future. The record has a set of influences that goes from hardcore-punk to the shoegaze, evoking names like My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins, but they’re more intense and explosive. Having Jeff Zeigler as producer gave a neat direction to their sound. 2014 was a great year of great music and Guilty of Everything is for sure a tremendous and addictive debut album. These dudes from Philadelphia just did a effortlessly great album. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
Best Movies of 2014 20
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY By James Gunn
Funny, charming, riveting and heartfelt with a wellpicked 70’s music as soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy was definitely last year’s summer blockbuster.
09 INTERSTELLAR By Christopher Nolan
LIFE ITSELF By Steve James
NIGHTCRAWLER By Dan Gilroy TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT By Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
PRIDE By Matthew Warchus
WE ARE THE BEST By Lukas Moondysson
An urban noir comedy full of disturbing and relentless lack of boundaries regarding the human behaviour, where unsettling ambition crashes with amorality.
MR. TURNER By Mike Leigh
NEBRASKA By Alexander Payne
Beautifully shot in black and white, Alexander Payne masterpiece Nebraska is another bittersweet meditation about the futility of life.
07 HER By Spike Jonze
STILL ALICE By Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
GONE GIRL By David Fincher FINDING VIVIAN MAIER By John Maloof, Charlie Siskel 94
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB By Jean-Marc Vallée.C. Chandler January
A terrific movie, it’s a masterpiece of genre filmmaking, deeply cynical and disturbing as fuck, there’s no denying that it’s an entertaining movie.
2014 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW
MOMMY By Xavier Dolan
A film that explores the ups and downs of emotions, Xavier Dolan is a master in his own playground. Defiant, rich, menacing, disturbing and heartfelt...
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL By Wes Anderson Anderson renews himself with his peculiar way of telling a heartfelt story and always with a brilliant cast by his side. All the scenes are shot in symmetry with wide angle lenses and there’s this powerful contrast of colors; there’s such precision in each scene and every little detail matters, almost like every little thing is flawless to our amused eyes. Wes Anderson did it again and brought to life a story that will be cherished and really admired for a long, long time. Bravo!
IDA By Pawel Pawlikowski
A splendid achievement, a true gem in today’s European cinema. Perfectly written, splendidly acted, and beautifully photographed. Amazing!
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET By Martin Scorcese
A magnificent black comedy, a film that speaks to our times, with that classic story of rise and fall. Martin Scorcese did it again!
By Richard Linklater UNDER THE SKIN By Jonathan Glazer
This is that kind of movie that can be compelling, weird, intensely disturbing and bizarre. Visually stunning, this is art in its purest form.
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. 12 years in the making and 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.
1 REPULSIVE | 2 Pure shit | 3 terrible | 4 must avoid | 5 average | 6 good effort | 7 good | 8 very good | 9 EXCelLent | 10 pure c
here has always been a prevailing notion that war, especially in retrospect, is serious business. Despite its often absurd nature, to treat it with anything other than gravitas and maudlin sentimentality is seen as tantamount to spitting on the fallen’s graves, but at least Einstürzende Neubauten have had the foresight to view it for what it is – folly. Composed as a centennial piece for the Belgian town of Dixmuide, Lament pulls together artefacts of the first World War, as well as a few original compositions, and pairs them with a Dadaist kind of sincerity, creating a compelling narrative which is simultaneously unflinching and shot through with streaks of soot-black humour. There is a degree of whimsy (and an unsettling catchiness) in “The Willy – Nicky Telegrams”, a cut-andpaste tableau of the communications between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II, when soundtracked by a flighty tableau of synth, while “On Patrol In No Man’s Land” sing-song levity is a harrowing echo of the fatalism felt by one of the most unfortunate platoons to find themselves on the front lines, the African-American soldiers of the Harlem Hellfighters. In casting an unsentimental eye over the political make-up of Europe during the Great War, they are able to create something which, if anything, is even more tragic, and in the three-part “Lament”, they strike a rare moment of sombre horror by creating a piece which is undeniably beautiful, bookending it with the surreality of the album’s first half and the mournfully earnest second half, which finds the band examining the fallout of the war by means of haunting dirges and the candid tones of Blixa Bargeld. Though Lament is thematically a worthwhile listen in its own right, it is also a complex and rewarding work of art, an industro-surrealist tapestry which blurs the lines between comedy and tragedy in a most intriguing fashion.
FOR FANS OF:
The Birthday Party, Swans, Nick Cave, World War 1
Lament, The Willy-Nicky Telegrams, On Patrol In No Man’s Land DAVE BOWES
To The Stars (2014)
Caroline / Nadie Sound (2014)
AXXON N Heal
Following the band two previous albums, The Dream Walker is another journey into the wild side of the human mind. This time the story goes into Poet Anderson, a dreamer with the rare ability to be aware of his dreams while they’re happening. On their fifth record, Angels And Airwaves are going deeper and aiming for bigger and brighter things, for a start this effort comes accompanied by its own feature-length film, comic book series, novels launching in 2015, sounds great right? The Dream Walker is that kind of album that is not afraid to experiment, providing the listener some meaning to this conceptual achievement. Very polished and full of synths, The Dream Walker is an evolution, probably the darkest and organic album of their careers.
When you have a project with four members that played in bands like The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In (Cedric Bixler-Zavala & Omar RodrígezLópez,) you can look at it in two different ways. You can judge them based on their past, or you can judge just what they have to offer not forgetting their past. The self-titled debut album from Antemasque is a straightforward rock record with the details and little nuances that can be traced back to their past, simple as that. In many ways this is something completely different. Even if it would be a hard stretch to call it a masterpiece, the truth is that it’s a good and solid record that becomes really addictive, mostly because of the countless and wonderful hooks.
The reference to David Lynch’s Inland Empire is one of the only info known about this English musician/producer that have adopted the pseudonym of Axxon N whose real name is Edwin Fry. Four years in the making and using, if not exclusively then heavily, samples, Heal, his debut album, can hardly be described as an ambient record, even if that happens a lot… in fact, it’s nearly impossible to categorize the two-hour work delivered. Definitely not an easy record to delve into and it’s near impossible to figure where Fry wanted to go with it. Heal is like a humongous puzzle than can stretch as far as delivering an haunting foggy / drone piece like “Time of Need” and then rattle the cage with “Panic Attack”. Heal deserves attention, patience, and time.
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
ANGELS AND AIRWAVES The Dream Walker
NIN, Depeche Mode, Interpol
Domestic Records (2014)
Royal Blood, Rush, Closure In Moscow
Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk, David Lynch
BLOODBATH Grand Morbid Funeral
BRETON War Room Stories
Cut Tooth/Believe Recordings (2014)
Asylum/Atlantic /Neon Gold (2014)
The departure of Mikael Åkerfeldt and subsequent drafting of Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes may have set the fans a-squirming but what Bloodbath have delivered is a formidable balance of groove and guts and a slap in the face to the naysayers. The spectres of Entombed and Dismember still loom heavily, but Holmes has brought with him a gothic sensibility that allows those buzzing riffs to shake off the soil of the grave and throw in some sharp and unexpected twists. Still, Bloodbath have always been about the oldschool, and they certainly don’t fail on that count here; the grooves are thick and filthy, it never pulls any punches and if “Beyond Cremation” doesn’t get a circle pit going around the coffee table then a funeral probably is in order.
London’s five-piece Breton released early February 2014 their great sophomore album. To record this album, the band had to move to Berlin and that added an extra flair into this effort. War Room Stories shows a band developing their sound into something much bigger, blending electronic music with hip hop beats and indie pop vibe. After more than half a year later, the group decided to make a reissue of this record with two brand new songs and nine bonus tracks. “Titan” and “Parthian Shot” - the newbies ones are worth the shot adding more glow to the record, as well the other tracks giving a more consistent and dazzling content to the listener. War Room Stories reissued is a pleasant and a little bit longer album.
2014 was a great year for Charlotte Emma Aitchison, better know for her artistic name Charli XCX. Having her song “Boom Clap” becoming a massive hit - mainly for being on the soundtrack of The Fault in Our Stars the new album’s release date had to be pushed back due to the unexpected success of the song. Putting that little detail aside, Charli is a badass pop star, she knows how to have fun with her music and she just wants to “break the rules”. With this third record, there’s a much vibrant and empowering energy going through these songs and that’s what she wanted to convey on them. If you want a soundtrack for your party with the 90’s as the backdrop, Charli’s Sucker is the perfect pick.
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
Entombed, Paradise Lost, Dismember
Citizens, Depeche Mode, Alt J
CHARLIE XCX Sucker
Sky Ferreira, Elliphant, MØ
9 CHUMPED Teenage Retirement
Anchorless Records (2014)
Did anyone see this coming? 2014 was a great year regarding emo revivals and massive pop-punk anthems. We get in touch with Brooklyn based band Chumped in November and it was love at the very first listening... Teenage Retiremet is a different gem, it’s a journey into adulthood, where we find ourselves our own path and that journey is so damn similar, providing to this humble writer his own nostalgia and somehow vulnerability. Full of charming pop-punk chorus, huge hooks, big melodies and great lyrics, Teenage Retirement deals with hope, heartbreak and regret, giving a new sense of adulthood in a genre that most of the time is known by its teenage angst. It was a big year for new pop-punk bands, there is a new breed of young bands that truly are shaking the shores.
FOR FANS OF:
Little Big League, Cayetana, Kittyhawk
Relapse Records (2014)
The California’s death metal/grindcore troupe Cretin is back after an eightyear brake, with the follow-up to their debut full-length album, the 2006’s Freakery. Stranger, the name of their second album is an undeniable proof that the good ol’ grindcore still stands after all these years. With a sonority that can be traced to the masters Repulsion, early Napalm Death and Carcass, the quartet delivers a kind of perfect soundtrack for this holiday. Extremely fast, with a razor sharp sound, these fourteen new tracks are stupidly demolisher, violent and unmerciful, subjecting the listener to a truly unpleasant experience. Yes, it has an old-school sound but that’s not debilitating, at least not with Cretin. Stranger has the agonizing sound of a demented happiness.
FOR FANS OF:
Repulsion, Carcass, Napalm Death
DIARRHEA PLANET Aliens In The Outfield
Infinity Cat (2014)
This six piece rock and roll band is definitely one to look out for. For their past four albums, they have proven that they’re worth people’s attention. However this last EP can be truly their breakthrough. Their sound is self-described as “pop played through the filter of heavy metal,” which can be argued that it is the key to the future. You can sense the influences of AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix in their sound but it is not a straight copy, which is something we as an audience praise. The album is well constructed and its production is really good. The flow is there and it’s a really easy album to listen to. Great!!!
FOR FANS OF:
DZ Deathrays, Japandroids, Weezer
6 CIRCA SURVIVE Descensus Sumerian (2014)
Circa Survive’s new album is a nice trip through the cliché and plagiarized filled music scene that we are presented today. If their audience were a bunch of American kids new to the rock music genre, this album would probably be the shit. But for a more mature audience of die hard rock/ metal appreciators this is not something to be impressed by because they have heard similar bands a thousand times. The musician’s potential is there but the band’s production is too Americanized which ostracises nonAmerican listeners. Their sound is too similar to many other American bands and appeal to an American audience only. This will hinder their chances of being truly successful. They are great musicians and the front men voice on this album is remarkable but they lack the originality and edginess needed to be a top band. They still use the same riffs, pauses, chorus, solos as the rock bands from the early 90’s which is a quite scary thing because it means we haven’t progressed. Come on guys just make the rest of the album as original as your front man’s voice.
FOR FANS OF:
Emarosa, Tides Of Man, Saosin
DOE First Four
EMMY THE GREAT S EP
Specialist Subject Records (2014)
Bella Union (2015)
Doe are a trio from North London that bring into their tunes the glorious and nostalgic 90’s indie punk. Their music is as good as it was back then: catchy chorus, girl-boy duet and enthusiastic riffs. Listening to their EPs gives us a sense of nostalgia and reminds of the great bands like Weezer, SleaterKinney and Pavement. The trio has now released their first full-length that contains all those EPs together in one single record as the First Four LP. For those who haven’t listened to their previous releases, this a great way to introduce the amazing tunes that these Londoners create. It’s catchy and dazzling. It’s easy to enjoy Doe’s music and there’s nothing new on this record, so let’s see what they have in store for future releases.
Emmy The Great is back with a new 4 track EP. Written in between Salt Lake City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, LA, New York and London, this new EP is the result of several personal changes in the life of the singer, where she gives the listener to experience and explore the fastest speed of the world around us. Ambitious and arresting, this new EP is both sweet and intense, but at the same time is engaging and liberating. Tracks like “Swimming Pool” - with Tom Flemming from Wild Beasts on guest duties - and “Social Halo” haunt us and give us some kind of mixed feelings of anxiety over this new found and self-aware world of ours. S is the perfect appetizer for what’s coming next, their much anticipated new full-length.
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
Sleater-Kinney, Breeders, Pavement
Laura Marling, Slow Club, Peggy Sue
ometimes anger is just the fuel to ignite the right words into menacing tunes, or perhaps the right words bring a more realistic look into subjects like sexism, fear, rage and empowerment. LA duo Girlpool comprises the
intoxicating vocals of guitarist Cleo Tucker and bassist Harmony Tividad with simple and straightforward emotions, in what we can call a perfect and unapologetic social commentary. Girlpool’s nature as guitar/bass two piece is quite unique, each song has its own identity, their own intellect and goal. Lyrically speaking, they don’t give a fuck
FOR FANS OF:
Upset, Tacocat, Childbirth, Bikini Kill
about anything, they really know where to aim, everything here is a fucking statement, tackling gender roles, sexism and not wanting to “get fucked by a fucked society.” With no resources, they raised their voices and achieved their own manifesto. Girlpool are exactly the sort of act that 2015 needs. Happy New Year!
Slutmouth, Jane, American Beaut
Castle Face Records (2015)
FRONT PORCH STEP Whole Again EP
Pure Noise Records (2014)
HANNI EL KHATIB Moonlight
The Memphis-base punks are back with a bunch of new and killer tunes! Cigarette Machine is a fucking loose effort, with sick riffs and with Chris Shaw sneering almost spitting type of singing, like that good old-school punk records that we grew up listening to in the 80’s. Ex-Cult is that type of band that unites the punk community, from post-punk to psychedelic, from skaters to that 80’s punk/hardcore fans. Raw and full of adrenaline, this new effort is a bold and a leap forward regarding their previous release, perhaps it’s too short but it’s packed with all the ingredients that really give the best sense of what old yet modern punk sounds like nowadays. Labels aside, these guys bring some savagery rock into their own punk essence.
Front Porch Step is the acoustic solo project of Jake Mcelfresh. In 2013 he released his first record called Aware and that’s when we got to know better this honest and talented musician. Growing up in the hardcore scene, Jake puts on his writings the rawness and honesty of hardcore along with the tenderness of indie pop. Whole Again is his new EP and he had Alan Day of Four Year Strong on production duties, which gave a better direction to these new songs. In Whole Again we see a man that sings directly from his heart and he’s not ashamed of it. He shows how intense and rough life can be through his own experiences and that’s something priceless. This is once again a work of depth matter and it’s totally worth the listening.
After Head in the Dirt’s release and almost a year of relentless touring, Hanni El Khatib needed some rest, some kind of isolation, time and the chance to take something different from all the different and packed experiment ideas that his mind was fighting into. After 30 days locked in hand-picked LA studio the Lair, the result is this marvelous effort, Moonlight is quite possible one of the best and most innovative rock albums that this new year will put its ears on. Full of confidence and his most primal stage, Khatib painted with his own inspiration and creativity his own musical landscape, once again freedom and challenging himself was the perfect catalyst to this modern masterpiece, where there are no kind of boundaries regarding the classic rules of rock.
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FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
EX-CULT Cigarette Machine EP
Jesus Lizard, Million Dead Cops, Stooges
Innovative Leisure (2015)
Bright Eyes, Saves The Day, Neck Deep
Brass Drum Of Death, The Black Keys
IN-DIVIDE The Passengers
This Is Core Records (2014)
JON HOPKINS Asleep Versions EP
Hookworms second album, The Hum, is not very different from Pearl Mystic, the previous record of the Leeds band. It is a turning point for MJ, the singer-guitarist and creative of the group. Pearl Mystic was a painful work for MJ due to his depression at that time. What we notice on this new album is a more aggressive riot and dynamic sound, a hopeful hypnodrone. Both records seemed connected by the parts I, II and III on Pearl’s set and now on The Hum’s IV, V and VI creating a limbo between the dark side of his life and the light side. The Hum is a massive record about overcoming that; it’s reflected on the powerful consistence of this work. Being now represented by Domino, one of the biggest indie label companies on England didn’t change anything, they’re still rebel.
In-Divide is a punk/hardcore band from Italy, still kind of new - they born in late 2013 - but already showing tons of maturity regarding their own songwriting. Clearly influenced by American and European punk-hardcore scene, these guys share their own influences but still maintain their authenticity, blending attractive melodies with huge choruses and with their core intensity packed with well balanced aggression. The Passengers is the sound of a band putting it all on the line for their music, showing their own collective effort regarding members former CV with other acts. An impressive debut from a band that is aiming for something big. Let’s see what the future reserves for these lads.
Jon Hopkins needs no introductions as a well-known electronic producer. After the success of 2013 record Immunity, he exceeded all the expectations upon him. Hopkins returns now with the EP Asleep Versions, a precisely chill-out, dreamer and psychedelic four-track versions taken from Immunity. Recorded in Iceland, the ice cold atmospheric landscape of the place is reflected on this work: the samplers imitate the wind, the ethereal choirs and some beautiful piano parts are deeply oneiric, reminding us the typical local winters. Conceived as a single work of music in continuous, like a classical piece of music, Immunity becomes a haunting and beautiful song and “Open Eye Signal” a celestial track. As a whole, Asleep Versions is a good example on how electronic versions can work out as meditative music.
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FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
HOOKWORMS The Hum
Foxygen, The Wytches, Traams
Boy Sets Fire, Sick Of It All, The Bronx
Moderat, Four Tet, Nils Frahm
The Pale Emperor
Cooking Vinyl (2015)
arilyn Manson is back! The Pale Emperor brings a change and somehow a new and reinvented Brian Warner. The Pale Emperor brings simplicity, maturity and even more melancholic in his own form of darkness. When we look back,
the past of Marylin Manson speaks for itself, where shock rock and the preacher that set the world on fire is no longer among us, instead we have a lucid and wise man, naked and more frail than ever. For the first time Manson seems in control of everything, even of himself, bringing some form of clarity and light into his own personal and musical roots. He has become a better player, dynamic in his own way, more bluesy and
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David Bowie, Tom Waits, Bauhaus
rock ‘n’ roll than ever. With this new album, Manson introduces his newest foil, Tyler Bates, the genius behind the Guardians of the Galaxy’s OST. This new found marriage gave Manson a new perspective and new direction regarding this new found path. The Pale Emperor is fashionable good, Manson sounds broken and stripped down, but you should expect some darkness to go with the freshly discovered light. FAUSTO CASAIS
Killing Strangers, Deep Six
OUT NOW OUT NOW
7 JOUIS Dojo
8 KING GIZZARD & THE LIZZARD Wizard I’m in Your Mind Fuzz Heavenly (2014)
Jouis first full-length record is full of jazz, folk and prog elements into some psychedelic of the 70’s. Produced by Phil Brown (who worked with Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin), Dojo is a technical quality work enriched with brilliant jazz-rock moments, reminding us a bit of Santana on his earlier career with his fluid guitar filling the grooving spaces (“Loop”). A space synth emerges now and then leading the music into some kind of prog-acid madness as we can hear on “What’s New Guru” or “Misty Maker Stomp” but the climax is on the last track of the record, “Universe Goggles”. Maybe the folk song “Rain” would be a better choice to end this record after this galactic overdose of music, but nevertheless Dojo is a good surprise and a worth hearing record.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are a 7 piece Australian band who endorsed the word fun like no other band have. The act put on the listeners plate tracks that includes blues harmonica, double drummers, flute, three guitarists and a heavily treated vocals. This may be their 5th album but the amount of fun put into it is still immense and the audience is able to capture that in almost every song of the later work. They may be a “joke band” like many Australian bands may like to self-title themselves but they know what they’re doing. This is proven if you dissect the album. You must be a serious guy to pull such a good album with so many components to it. The production doesn’t sound overcrowded like many bands with big lineups may sound. The composition is pretty solid and concise. The flow is never broken despite being quite a big album. Impressive!!
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Beetroot Records (2014)
Funkadelic, Talking Heads, Ramones
Crosby Still Nash, Midlake
8 LOSCIL Sea Island
Sea Island is the latest in Scott Morgan’s series of albums chronicling different parts of Vancouver, following Sketches From New Brighton or for example, First Narrows. This work is a pure hypnotic state, a coming and going space time journey where some few downtempos define the rhythm but what really is thrilling about his sounds on this specific work is the way how all the textures seem glooming and obscure in a way and one can understand why: Sea Island, once a place full of natural beauty is now an abandoned place, full of industrial waste. “Bleeding Ink”, the third track, is somehow perfect to exemplify this statement… a simple female voice singing to us about lost. Sea Island is a hymn to a destroyed place through miraculous samplers and notes. ANA CARVALHO
FOR FANS OF:
Tim Hecker, Ben Frost, The Sight Below
7 MENACE BEACH Ratworld
Memphis Industries (2015)
Naming their band’s name after a 90’s video game, Ryan Needham and Liza Violet started together Menace Beach. After some changes on their core line-up, they have now on board Nestor Matthews, Matt Spalding and MJ. Earlier 2014 they released the great Lowtalker EP that led to the praise they’ve got and ultimately to the release of their ambitious debut album. Ratworld is their first effort as full-length and it is as colorful as chaotic you can get. There’s no boredom while listening to this record. Ryan and Liza blend their distorted vocals into an upbeat indie rock with a lot of reverb and distortion. The 90’s music era is for sure in great prominence on this album but it gets twisted with the more modern music approach.
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Wavves, Pavement, Weezer
Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path
f there’s one thing that this career-spanning odds-and-sods collection hammers home, it’s that Soundgarden were never ones to be easily classified. The shrill proto-punk of Sub Pop Rock City, and the confused interruption of label co-founder Jonathan Poneman partway through, throws early shade and tongue-in-cheek defiance at expectations, though it’s hard to imagine they were
being entirely serious with their choice to cover Spinal Tap either. Outré weirdness aside, Echo Of Miles, in its comprehensive look at the Seattle giants’ b-sides, covers and rarities, is a fan’s treasure trove, dropping in tantalising titbits which rank amongst their finest material while demonstrating the metal and punk influences which paved the way for them, particularly in the band’s formative years. “Toy Box” is both an immediately recognisable relic from grunge’s glory days as well as a strong example of their obvious
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Sabbathian influence (perhaps even more so than their faithfully gloomy rendition of “Into The Void”), and for all that “Come Together” has been covered to death, Kim Thayil’s dissonant burr and the torrid wails of Chris Cornell claims it as their own. The third disc, though, is where the treats really are; swirling, psyched-out jams, sludgy alternate takes that turn classics like “Black Days” on their heads and the rarest of rarest - worthwhile remixes. It alone makes the venture worth the entry fee alone - everything else is just the icing on the flannel.
Into The Void, Come Together, Toy Box
ATOJ Atoj EP
ALEX HIGHTON Nobody Knows Anything
Gare Du Nord (2014)
Memorial Records (2014)
Soundway Records (2014)
Most of the times press releases don’t say as it is but this time around we’ve received one that nailed it: “Melodies, harmonies and words all come embarrassingly easy to a born songwriter like Alex Highton.” If that was clear with his debut, Woodditton Wives Club, with his sophomore album that just becomes undeniable. Nobody Knows Anything is probably one of the best pop records of 2014, a record that doesn’t just rely on the big moments and works his way through amazingly crafted details.
ATOJ arrive from Italy to mess up with our primary senses... Technically this new and self-titled EP is stunning, full with chaotic crushing riffs and frantic chord progressions. Six years after their latest effort, Athena, it’s overwhelming to see their progression, this is actually a turning point in their careers, where it seems that they have nothing to lose, betting everything on this. So, go into a dark room with a pair of good headphones on, lie on the floor and turn this up...
Batida is a project of Peter Coquenão, a Portuguese-Angolan musician and producer that on Dois continues the mission to revolutionize the West with the urgent rhythms of Africa. The expansion in this new effort is evident with the scope of collaborators - Duncan Lloyd (Maximo Park) and Spoek Mathambo - keeping Ikonoklasta as the landmark of the project. By bringing new elements of a broad spectrum of Afro and European culture, he conquered new sound and added organic additives that are quickly addictive.
CAVE PEOPLE Older EP
THE GROMBLE The Gromble
ED PROSEK The Riverbed EP
Stereophonodon Records (2014)
Ed Prosek Music (2014)
Philadelphia’s Cave People deliver on their debut EP honest and lucid songs through passion, emotion and heart. Songwriter David Tomaine pours out his emotions through his songs in this punk rock blended with this kind of emo folk vibe. All the five tracks have this sort of peaceful atmosphere attached to it, giving an extra mellow and soft touch to them. Besides that, Older is a pleasant listening and it’s meant to connect with those who relate to these tunes.
Californian singer-songwriter Ed Prosek is another gem of the folk world. California was his first EP and he dealt with the search for a home, but when he moved to Brighton (UK) he found his “real” home, resulting on the new EP, The Riverbed. Listening to this new EP, there’s this feeling of nostalgia and self-discovery and that’s something that perhaps Prosek wanted to convey in his music. His journey to find a home has led to this distinguished effort.
There are certain things that make this self-titled debut EP, by Californiabased The Gromble, worth-listening material. If music is about painting a picture then the band from Laguna Niguel succeeds in the task. It’s mostly a picture with a bright blue sky and a big shinning sun but more importantly is a trip down to memory lane, a nostalgic trip to the “best days”, wrapped in pop tunes with pleasant string and horn sections, and an attitude that draws us in.
JAMESON Carnivore EP
HERCULEE Pure Intuition
JAMES ROBINSON Start A Fire
Toothless Tiger Records (2014)
Auditorius BMG (2014)
Herculee is the solo project of Portuguese Herculano Saraiva, known for his work with other bands like My Friends & I and Emilbus. Pure Intuition is his first solo record and he writes a mix between acoustic pop rock songs with reggae vibe, which he drew inspirations from Bob Marley to Sublime. With neat tunes, Pure Intuition lacks of diversity but overall it’s a pleasant and chill out album where we see this musician enjoy life through his own music.
Picking up a banjo for the first time only two years ago, the Californian folk musician Jameson has already released his debut solo record Pronto and now this quite impressive EP Carnivore. Having taught himself, the banjo is the main instrument on his songs. Carnivore was written, performed and recorded by Jameson himself, with the help of producer Dallas Krusse and Rival Sons bassist Dave Beste. Jameson keeps surprising as as a songwriter and a musician.
From fronting Brighton-based alt-pop band Two Spot Gob to a solo career that embraces the singer-songwriter aesthetic, James Robinson is sort of challenging himself in what some times is not the most comfortable route. Start A Fire, his latest EP, unfortunately doesn’t excel at the difficult task of creating a more unique personality and character – something in need in these kind of “fragile” projects. Robinson seems too much attached to his influences – Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams. It’s not cold nor is it hot. Just warm.
LYDIAS SLEEP If You Travel Enough…
BMJ MARIO BAJARDI Inverse EP
Joy Shannon and the Beauty Marks are a Celtic pagan folk band fronted by the Irish multi-instrumentalist and amazing singer Joy Shannon. Mo Anan Cara is a conceptual work based entirely on the ancient Celtic calendar with a song for every holiday from Samhain to Mabon, complete with stories of the goddesses that govern each time of year. It’s not very often that we find something so beautiful, dark and melancholic, establishing a new level of artful elegant melancholia that can be both poetic and spiritual.
Lydia’s Sleep are from Setúbal, a city that has launched the best there is in Portuguese underground (More Than a Thousand and Ash Is A Robot serve as an example). Their debut album, If You Travel Enough… features sweeping ideas, rhythms controlled by the equations developed in three axes by guitars and voice. The “math-rock” of this band can extend the sound palette and imagine new landscapes to color a little more their city.
Electro-acoustic composer BJM Mario Bajardi delivers in this new EP six beautiful and breathtaking songs, including a Carlo Ascrizzi remix. Having just the track “Rest” with vocals featuring Eleza, the rest of the EP is both relaxing as thrilling with this cinematic and techno ambience. Mario Bajardi is magnificent as a composer and as a musician and he knows how to do a stately sound piece, but this EP is not beyond extraordinary, even though it’s a well-done effort.
JOY SHANNON & THE BEAUTY MARKS Mo Anan Cara
ONDE Electronic Contents (2014)
7 MOTHERKISSERS Cage The Water
SNACK FAMILY Pokie Eye
SINCLAIR Sweet Talk EP
Memorial Records (2014)
Lurching from an intensely bleak rhythmic with an explosive cocktail of random influences, Motherkissers sound like a blend between Mastodon, Incubus, 36 Crazyfists and Helmet, all at the same time. Cage The Water is varied and very solid effort that goes from crunching metal to soaring atmospheric and clean vocals. There is also a good sense of what a melody should be and should sound like. Besides some obvious clichés, Cage the Water is competent and strong effort.
Drive Music LLC (2014)
limited Noise (2014)
Nashville-via-New York artist Julia Sinclair shows in her debut EP cohesive pop songs, in an upbeat and optimistic approach. Sinclair herself mentioned that she has been in enough tough situations, with tough people, in tough cities, and she learned to laugh things off - that’s exactly what she conveyed in this EP, resembling a lot of the pop twins sisters Tegan and Sara. There’s something special on Sinclair’s music and Sweet Talk is pretty sweet.
There are many references that can make you understand what Snack Family is all about – Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Captain Beefheart are perhaps the obvious ones – but more than that is important to talk about what this fourtrack EP does to the listener. Pokie Eye is dangerous rock ‘n’ roll that doesn’t forget the importance of the blues, a devilish display of physical violence with their gut-wrenching rock that makes the blood pump – that sax is insane – so hard that you just want to lose your head. TIAGO MOREIRA
SNOWPOET Butterfly EP
VEILBURNER The Three Lightbearers
Butterfly is the debut EP by alternative folk act Snowpoet. Led by the core duo of London bassist Chris Hyson and award-winning Irish vocalist Lauren Kinsella, you can expect a combination of spoken word and melody in an improvisational effort inspired by the likes of Bjork and Ólöf Arnalds as well as poets like Sylvia Plath. Mastered by the legendary Tony Cousins, Butterfly is beautifully emotive and it’s also a lovely and an immersive listening experience.
The debut album from the US experimental metal duo Veilburner is as exciting as unfulfilling. In one hand they manage to create some moments, throughout the album, that are an absolute delight for the fans of the more adventurous type of music, but most of the times they fail to take their songs a step further by enclosing themselves in the saturated death/black “formula”. It’s disappointing because it’s clear the immeasurable potential of a band that knows how to use unexpected elements in their music.
7 SMASHING PUMPKINS Monuments to an Elegy
Monuments to an Elegy is the ninth studio album by the Smashing Pumpkins and it’s a part of the ongoing project, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope - which the band’s previous release Oceania (2012) was the first part of it. Billy Corgan was pretty much on his own for the whole making process of this new album, which he had Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) playing drums on all nine of the album’s tracks and Jeff Schroeder playing guitar. This new album is not a push forward for Smashing Pumpkins discography - or at least comparing to Oceania - but it is a well done effort for sure. With plenty synth elements and well-crafted guitar work, Corgan shows that his creativity still is at his peak and he can still write a great song.
FOR FANS OF:
Pixies, Weezer, Bush
TYLER CARTER Leave Your Love EP Rise Records (2015)
VIET CONG Viet Cong
Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit that Tyler Carter has done his own way by himself, even sometimes we really don’t give a fuck about this kind of transformations. Tyler Carter’s solo work has been anticipated for quite some time now, it’s far from what we are used to in Issues, but it’s the kind of move that we expected him to make. Leave Your Love is a pop effort, so damn poppy and cheesy like pop music can be sometimes. Messy and overproduced, but diverse and catchy as hell, Tyler Carter’s voice is quite unique, more soulful and coloured than we are used to in Issues, but it’s a different set and a different kind of approach. Leave Your Love can be Tyler Carter’s next step into the mainstream world of music.
It seems very fashionable for bands to combine post-punk with psychedelia, salty elements of noise and fucked up almost militarized drumbeat melodies. However not all the bands can achieve what these Canadians achieved, fucked up post-punk with a unique sense of what the melody should sound. Recorded in a barn-turnedstudio in rural Ontario, Viet Cong is a sharp and ambitious effort, their sound is willing to take a few risks, because even their harsh side is exhilarating as fuck. There is an obvious Joy Division pedigree here, but it’s their own post-punk deconstruction that stands out the most. Viet Cong is a seasonal record, perfect for this time of the year, it’s cold but menacing in his own delicate way.
If extreme music is the subject matter then at some point in that conversation there has to be a reference to UK’s blackened death outfit Akercocke - because of their impressive body of work. With three former members of that important band, this project that goes by the name of Voices is definitely a project that deserves some attention. London, their latest and second album, is probably their most ambitious effort, a concept album that sort of “describes” the city through some characters, a story, and a myriad of moods and atmospheres, always with a dramatic element attached to it. London is a roller coaster ride that doesn’t take any freedom from the listener… actually is the other way around. Just like a really good movie.
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FOR FANS OF:
Chris Brown, Issues, Hoodie Allen
Joy Division, Iceage, Interpol
Akercocke, Anaal Nathrakh, Blut Aus Nord
REVIEWED NEXT ISSUE OUT NOW
A Better Tomorrow Warner Bros (2014)
FATHER JOHN MISTY
I Love You, Honeybear
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC SLOTH
Brothers Of The Sonic Sloth
As a group, Wu-Tang Clan is one of Hip Hop’s main crews with several affiliates and millions of fans around the world. It’s noticeable the existence of external pressure around them to a new release. Unfortunately, RZA’s vision capable of shaping the 90s, has not yet found parallel in the new decade and the path traced for this album, is full of boulders that have hampered the process. On one hand, Raekwon was not available to join the project and titled it “mediocre” before its release; on an individual level there has not been an exciting work, except on the part of Ghostface Killah who just released an album in its own name and announced two collaborative albums for 2015 with BadBadNotGood and another with DOOM. The team’s democracy made its end: everyone gathered for an album that did not generate consensus and that is shown in the lack of inspiration and cohesion in subjects who had much to gain by the elaborate production of RZA. Wu-Tang Clan seems at the moment just a bunch of athletes on retirement age who are still trying to play, without awareness of their own capabilities. It is cool, but that attitude is not enough to warm hearts. “Wu-Tang is for the children” told us Old Dirty Bastard (R.I.P.). Not anymore, I would say.
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
Girls In The Peace Time Want...
Should The Light Go Out
MURDER BY DEATH
Time And Trauma
FOR FANS OF:
Wu-Tang Clan, RZA, Ghostface Killah
Ruckus In B Minor, Necklace RUI CORREIA
Big Dark Love
AT THE GATES TRIPTYKON
MORBUS CHRON Garage, Glasgow 06.12.2014
Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Falk-Hagen Bernshausen
hanks to the joy of Saturday night curfews, there’s barely five minutes between doors opening and Morbus Chron kicking off the evening’s entertainment, but at the very least it ensures that the eager have something to gloat about afterwards. With plenty of original ideas, stressing contorted and dissonant 90s death grooves over technical extremity and executed with the proficiency of a mad, if brilliant, surgeon, the Swedes set the ball rolling nicely. It would be fair to say that there are plenty here who think that Triptykon should have been given top billing tonight; Tom Warrior’s menacing croak and the towering scale of their riffs argue their case well. The weighty, shifting mass of Goetia sparks a flurry of bizarre slo-mo pitting in the crowd, but it’s the much-appreciated two-fer of Circle Of Tyrants and The Usurper that fires them up. Warrior grins and growls with convincing determination and as the riffs continue to spiral out of control, morphing to crush the crowd in new and unexpected ways, the thought arises – maybe they should’ve been given a bit longer. Then again, that would’ve meant less of At The Gates, and that’s just unacceptable. They utilise every minute with the intuition of true veterans, casually sneaking in the new material with the guaranteed crowd-movers to ensure that the energy never really falls, and Anders Björler’s sleekly executed yet innately memorable lead breaks provide a sense of continuity between the two. Tomas Lindberg’s bilious roar and inexhaustible energy reserves and Slaughter Of The Soul have always been a lethal combination, and tonight has plenty of both “Cold” is furious, “Nausea” becomes a soul-scraping primal scream session and the reaction to “Blinded By Fear” is a colossal tangle of limbs and unchecked aggression that is a marvel to watch. At The Gates’ strength was that they made no unnecessary moves; every song was vital, a milestone in the making, and this was proof that old standards still apply. 110
At The Gates
MONO HELEN MONEY Stereo, Glasgow 07.12.2014
Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Alex Woodward
he arrival of Helen Money is nothing if not low-key. She
steps up, plugs in and slides into her set without a word but, much like her music itself, what starts out as something minor soon grows to huge and overwhelming proportions. Though her past work with tonightâ€™s headliners was based on fragility and delicacy, here, might reigns supreme. Low, ominous drones and staccato melodies clamber atop one another, the propulsive pummel of sampled drums create a backdrop of violence and power, and her deliberate, tensely built constructs join elegance and frenzy in a strange and mesmerising union. Those same ingredients are all present with MONO too, their presence consistently striking up a balance between the cut-glass delicacy of their more introspective moments and the volcanic spewing of emotion which comes with each climactic upturn, but where Helen Money demonstrated utmost control, the Tokyo quartet simply bury themselves in the sound they are breathing at the moment of its creation; even seated, Goto Takaakira and Suematsu Hideki are an intensely physical duo, Goto in particular prone to fits of frenzy in which rapt seizures and colossal waves of tremolo and distortion go hand in hand. Together, they operate as a single body, each component as necessary as the last in driving the unit forward and displaying a beautiful sense of collective musical intuition. Wordlessly creating scenes which pull the audience into states of euphoria, melancholy and tumult, in giving themselves so completely to their creations, they themselves suffer, with Goto emerging from the evening soaked and exhausted. There are few bands around who can muster the emotional and sonic intensity that MONO can, and though they have always possessed this gift, with time they have only gotten more potent in its usage.
Heaven, London 02.12.2014 Words: Ibrahima Brito
Oh My God!!! What a brilliant performance by the two acts. If the audience was looking to be entertained that night they certainly were. It was a night to remember! The atmosphere in the club was amazing, you could not stop rocking your head to the infectious beats from both bands. We got bombarded with a play of lights as well as small clips of the band Breton on the background which was the cherry on top. There was so much going on that you could not have been bored and that’s a fact. The interaction between the group members and the public was spectacular. It felt like we were all part of the band and that they were thoroughly enjoying showing us their work. Fakear performance was just the perfect build up for Breton and definitely got the audience fired up and ready for the hour long concert from the later band. Being an already established band, the expectations on Breton’s performance was already sky high. But like it has been hinted before they fulfilled these expectations with the ease of a pro. Just like expected. But Fakear was the biggest revelation of the night and arguably the performance of the night as well. Even though his performance was short he showed everyone how good he is in creating music, mixing it and performing it. His first song “Hinode” was brilliant. The sampling was on point, the construction is almost envious, truly a masterpiece. His music prowess was further established with his other banger “Morning in Japan” where you can bluntly see that the foundation of his music is oriental music. But he turns it more upbeat and club acceptable. Truly work of genius. Breton, like it has been stated above, had some big shoes to fill. But they have done it. The band performed with a lot of energy and the chemistry was definitely there. The only flaws that can be recalled were that the concert was too long and by the end people were cheering just for the sake of it. It’s understandable that they want to show everyone their full album but it’s 21 songs. They should have shown only their best ones. There was also too much instrument changing among the bandmates which was odd to see. Despite that everything else was outstanding. They were feeling the music. Playing it well. Interacting with the public. There was nothing else that the audience could have asked for.
BEHEMOTH DECAPITATED GRAND MAGUS WINTERFYLLETH O2 ABC, Glasgow 10.12.2014 Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Alex Swan
Time being a finite commodity, tonight’s trio of support find themselves with a sever dearth of time with which to make their mark, something which Winterfylleth manage, but only just. British black metal with the frills taken off, they do a fine job of capturing the genre at its most glorious yet they struggle to make it their own, with only some canny last-minute servings of atmospheric splendour saving the day. Though divisive in the context of this decidedly necro line-up, Grand Magus fare considerably better. There’re plenty of nods to the good ol’ days of Ripper and Halford in JB Christoffersson’s slick licks and stellar vocal work, and the trio are never anything but prime Stockholm steel. It’s a beer-drinking, head-banging, air-guitaring party where all are invited, and dedicating Hammer Of The North to a Scottish crowd isn’t a bad move either. If there’s one thing Decapitated prove tonight, it’s the extent of their evolution. Vogg’s technical dexterity is largely sidelined, pushing onwards with a crowd-stirring groove, only to bring in those side-winding frenzies when they’d hit home the hardest. Bolstered by Rasta’s enthusiasm and ferocity it proves an effective, if occasionally unimpressive, measure but just as it seems they have built up a decent head of steam, the plug is pulled. Behemoth know what has been lacking tonight – theatre. A welcome step back to metal at its most ostentatious, they still demonstrate the skill and barbed ferocity which has made them one of the biggest death metal bands on the planet, their deft handling of both the searing mayhem of “Slaves Shall Serve” and “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” monolithic pomp enough to flip the room into fist-pumping ecstasy. Animated and blessed with enough menace to make their Satanic shtick convincing, Nergal is an effortlessly entertaining frontman, but it’s the incredible synchronicity that these four individuals display even while playing up to the crowd that delivers the night’s most memorable moments. Gifted and innovative death metal on one hand, Luciferian spectacle on the other, Behemoth don’t just have the luck of the devil – they surely have his approval as well. 114
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN Barrowlands, Glasgow 23.11.2014 Words: Dave Bowes // Photos: Alex Woodward
The Jesus And Mary Chain
t’s been just shy of thirty years since Psychocandy threw pop, psychedelia, post-punk and a dozen amps into a cement mixer and fed it to the decidedly bummed-out British public, but Glasgow will have to wait before they get to experience it again. In typically contrary fashion, a brief greatest-hits anti-encore teases the walls of a room the band are all too familiar with first, the insouciant pop of Some Candy Talking soon shattered with Reverence’s salvo of shrieking feedback and Jim Reid’s echoing cry of “I wanna die!” Town Of Tomorrow, a 1950’s public service movie used to tout the band’s hometown of East Kilbride, acts as an informative and irreverent primer for “Just Like Honey”, an eruption of volume and pop nous that echoes the band’s infamous glory days. Tonight, they are a much more focused proposition, Reid a noticeably changed man from the defiant frontman of yore as he casually drawls atop his brother’s air-raid guitars. Wild in appearance and skill, William was never the most technical of guitarists but here, he excels, hunched over his amp and occasionally dredging up tremendous surges of power that all but kill Jim’s efforts. For the largely middle-aged crowd, tonight is a revisit of their youth (minus the drugs - security made sure of that) but watching these five bury themselves in a tomb of white noise, it’s clear that this isn’t just nostalgia. The elegiac simplicity of “My Little Underground” and “The Hardest Walk” whiff of drunken romance are executed with an air of imperfection and, by extension, honesty, and it just reinforces how iconic an album Psychocandy was, and is. Tonight was euphoric, and depressing, and by the end it was deafening, and this was always how it should have sounded, even three decades on.
DIRECTOR: Bennett Miller WRITER: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman CAST: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd, Brett Rice, Jackson Frazer, Samara Lee, Francis J. Murphy III, Jane Mowder, David Bennett, Lee Perkins, Robert Haramia, Daniel Hilt, Bryan Cook, David Zabriskie, Frederick Feeney, Mark Schultz USA 2015
ike the director’s previous films, Moneyball and Capote, this one is based on true events, but unfortunately the fact were too much dramatized regarding the complexity of the story. Directed by Academy Award nominee Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher is a psychological drama that tells the story of Olympic Gold Medalwinning wrestler Mark Schultz, (Channing Tatum), who sees a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and a life of poverty when he is summoned by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont 118
(Steve Carell) to move onto his estate and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Based on actual events, this is a story of fragile men who seek some redemption and success, leading to that old-fashionable tale of obsession and tragedy. Let’s start with Mark and Dave, both Olympic Champions, and despite Mark’s individual success, he’s driven to instability, full of anxiety and with a character that self-punishes every single time that failure is upon him. Blinded by ambition, Mark has never been able to step out of his big brother’s shadow. One of the highlights of this movie is the magnificent Steve Carrel’s transformation, where he gives life to John Du Pont, an eccentric and loner multimillionaire, that desperately tries to gain the respect of his
disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave). When he starts coaching a world-class athletic team, he also lures Mark into dangerous habits, breaks his confidence and drives him into a self-destructive spiral. Foxcatcher is a cold movie, too much drama and too much lack of emotions of the characters, despite the magnificent and intentional darkness. This is not the kind of movie that people will relate to, that will love, it’s too damn disturbing at some point. Steve Carell performance is dark and full of that Oscar nomination cliché, and the movie is somehow that perfect achievement in cinematography that the academy loves. With Foxcatcher, Benneth Miller proved a point, showing to the world how American propaganda worked very well, sacrificing so much only for pride and glory. FAUSTO CASAIS
MOMMY 9 DIRECTOR: Xavier Dolan WRITER: Xavier Dolan CAST: Anne Dorval, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clément, Patrick Huard, Alexandre Goyette, Michèle Lituac, Isabelle Nélisse, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Viviane Pascal, Natalie Hamel-Roy CANADA 2014
Xavier Dolan is a gifted director, a mastermind of our times and a true voice of this generation. This is a heartbreaking and warm story of a feisty widowed single mom who finds herself with the full-time custody of her erratic, bigmouth and king of chaos 15-year-old ADHD son. As they try to make ends, they meet Kyla, the peculiar and traumatic girl across the street, offering her help. Together, they find a new sense of balance, and hope is regained. Mommy is exhilarating and exhausting, comes in layers and gives the viewer the perfect sense that there is a thin line between reality and life, and sometimes when life happens that can be defiant and menacing, both can be also rich and full of that real heartfelt depth. FAUSTO CASAIS
STILL ALICE 8 DIRECTOR: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland WRITER: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, Lisa Genova (novel) CAST: Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Kristen Stewart, Hunter Parrish, Alec Baldwin, Seth Gilliam USA 2014 There is no doubt that Julianne Moore did memorable performances in 2014; one of them was in this moving and appalling film. Moore is Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. After she’s diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, she goes through a taxing experience. Every single moment portrayed as Alice starts to lose her memories is frightening and her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is heartbreaking. Happily married with three grown children, their bonds are obviously tested, but it’s with her daughter Lydia (Stewart) that we see the toughest and most tender moments. After watching this film, we get this feeling of how terrible it is to lose our minds and all our memories of a lifetime. It’s with the splendid acting in Still Alice that makes this film and plot so special. ANDREIA ALVES
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING 8
DIRECTOR: James Marsh WRITER: Anthony McCarten, Jane Hawking (book) CAST: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior, Harry Lloyd, Alice Orr-Ewing, David Thewlis, Michael Marcus, Gruffudd Glyn, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney UK 2014 Based on Jane Hawking book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, The Theory of Everything is a look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Hawking. Redmayne and Jones are superb in their roles as the couple. Redmayne is tremendously committed to his performance as Stephen Hawking making this movie even more gracious and his chemistry with Jones is quite impressive. The film shows Hawking before he starts to suffer from a rare form of ALS to more recent days and in all that we see the challenges that the couple dealt together and individually. The Theory of Everything is an inspiring and hopeful film, and like Hawking once said himself “While there’s life, there is hope.” ANDREIA ALVES
NIGHTCRAWLER 9 DIRECTOR: Dan Gilroy WRITER: Dan Gilroy CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill
Paxton, Marco Rodríguez, James Huang, Kent Shocknek, Riz Ahmed, Michael Papajohn, Leah Fredkin, Jonny Coyne, Carolyn Gilroy, Kevin Rahm USA 2014
Nightcrawler is a dark and pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a sociopath bent on success, a restless and driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Dan Gilroy approach invokes an alternative version of the Network meets Taxi Driver meets American Psycho meets Robert Bresson and even Jean-Pierre Melville French crime films. It’s quite outstanding how this black comedy goes into this intense action/thriller movie as the film develops in this insane, dark and wickedly funny satire on today’s idiotic way of doing journalism. If there is any kind of justice or even some credibility regarding the Academy, this is a mandatory movie to be at least nominated for an Oscar. Impressive, disturbing and mind-blowing! FAUSTO CASAIS
REVIEWED NEXT ISSUE
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES 6 DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson WRITER: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens,
Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, J.R.R. Tolkien (novel) CAST: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Orlando Bloom, John Callen NEW ZEALAND/USA 2014
By Damien Chazelle
Here we have the last journey to the Middle-earth of J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson. When we saw back in 2012 the first part of The Hobbit, there was this feeling of a promising trilogy even though there’s only one book of The Hobbit - unlike to the The Lord of The Rings trilogy. The second part wasn’t as compelling as the first one, but even worse, the third and last part of The Hobbit didn’t need to exist, just simple as that. This film is visually stunning and full of wonderful moments, but overall it is basically occupied by one big battle. With no much new information even though it continues the story of the first two films, this film is just a reminder of how good it was Peter Jackson’s cinematic interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world. Farewell, Middle-earth. ANDREIA ALVES
By Clint Eastwood
DIRECTOR: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen WRITER: Dan Sterling, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, CAST: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang, Timothy Simons, Reese Alexander, Geoff Gustafson, Dominique Lalonde USA 2014
Ok, let’s start by saying that it’s the first time a movie was used as an excuse to start a war, fuckin stupid right? The Interview is the Hot Shots! and Airplane! of our time but with a strong satirical political agenda. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg comedy is a deliberate satire of when pop culture meets politics and beyond... Funny and smart, The Interview is also cheesy and stupid, but surprisingly pleasant and direct to the point. So, James Franco, Seth Rogen, USA, CIA, North Korea, Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang are the ingredients for this somehow pointless, smart and harmless plot, a perfect satire of how both United States and North Korea cool look both stupid and when the subject here is their intern and foreign policy. This is quite possibly the best comedy of 2014! FAUSTO CASAIS
By Alejandro González Iñárritu
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
By J.C. Chandor
GREAT SALE DAY is the new project by members of Basement, Your Demise, Unholy Majesty and Breaking Point. If you’re expecting something loud and fast, well, that’s not what you’re gonna get here. These dudes blend fuzzy-pop, 90’s punk rock and even a glimpse of grunge. Wild and Chunky is their debut album and we caught up with the drummer Ben Saker. Words: Fausto Casais
already listened to their new album? If I’m honest I haven’t personally; they kind of lost me after the Green Album. I know the others still listen to them regularly and like the new record!
ll the members of Great Sale Day are or were in other bands. How did you come all together to form the band? We’ve all been friends for a while and when the idea was mentioned it all made sense to do it together! Why the name Great Sale Day? It comes from a line in the film Despicable Me that we all really like. I read that when you guys were listening to Weezer, you felt the need to form a band with that kind of sound. What else did inspire you musically for the project? We wanted to do a record that was light, fun and good for summer. Bands like Weezer and The Get Up Kids were influences for us, and it’s also what sort of thing we enjoy listening to in the summer and listened to when we were younger! Talking about Weezer, have you 122
Wild and Chunky is a nostalgic trip to the 90’s alt-rock with a glimpse of grunge and pop punk and the whole album was made over around three days. How was the making process of the album? We wrote the LP over 4/5 practices, the first practice we somehow wrote 4 songs! It all came together really well and felt natural to write as we all worked well together and didn’t have anything to restrict us sound wise, so we just experimented. It was all really laid back and fun throughout, very little stress! This album was produced by Jason Fryre at Son of Sun Studios. What can you tell us about the recording process? The recording was really laid back and fun, we played a lot of Need for Speed on the iPad, ate Nando’s and hung out. Jason is great to work with. He recorded all the instruments on the last Breaking Point LP, so Fisher and
myself had worked with him before. He was really enthusiastic and into the project, offering feedback throughout and always looking for ways to improve the sound of the record. We’d definitely recommend recording with him, no matter what style of band you’re in! What’s your favorite song off Wild and Chunky to play live? We’re yet to play a show, so can’t answer that just yet! What’s next for Great Sale Day? Hopefully some shows, then maybe more writing! We’re all pretty busy with jobs and other bands, so we have no set plans as such. What’s your favorite record of 2014? For me I’d say the Renounced LP – The Melancholy We Ache (available on carry the weight records). It’s pure early 2000’s metalcore worship. Also the Insist demo is incredible too.
Wild And Chunky is out now via Close To Home Records
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Published on Jan 8, 2015
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