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music&riots FREE | ISSUE 09 | FEBRUARY

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DANKO JONES KING WOMAN MENACE BEACH 36 CRAZYFISTS THE UNTHANKS MURDER BY DEATH WAR ON WOMEN

TORCHE

MOVING FORWARD WITH MELODIC HEAVINESS

ENTER SHIKARI NO SLEEP TILL’ ST.ALBANS...

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COWARDS VIA TANIA TWIN RIVER MARRIAGES LORD DYING DAVID BRONSON PURE NOISE RECORDS 1


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FEATURES UPCOMING - HOLLY MIRANDA

10 Sophomore effort in May RISING - DU BLONDE

12 New direction, name and sound INTRODUCING - VIA TANIA

14 Interview with Tania May-Bowers ROUND UP - Minsk, Stealing Sheep,

16 Marriages, Speedy Ortiz + more... LABEL PROFILE

20 Introducing Pure Noise Records NEU // VOL.9 - Oh, Rose, Novella,

24 Slutever, Simmer

INTERVIEWS 30 MENACE BEACH

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DAVID BRONSON KING WOMAN DANKO JONES 36 CRAZYFISTS ENTER SHIKARI COWARDS MURDER BY DEATH WAR ON WOMEN LORD DYING TWIN RIVER THE UNTHANKS

COVER STORY 60

TORCHE An interview with Jonathan Nuñez

REVIEWS REVIEWS 98 ALBUMS Sleater-Kinney, Alcoa, Bjork, Enter Shikari,

Belle and Sebastian, 36 Crazyfists, Colleen Green, Father John Misty, Jessica Pratt, José González, Natalie Prass, Harm’s Way, Lord Dying, Napalm Death, Sumac, Murther By Death, Torche, Title Fight, The Charlatans...

REPORT 120 LIVE Ash Is A Robot, Blackbird Prophet, Author &

Punisher, Quelle Dead Gazelle, Sensible Soccers

122 CINEMA Birdman, The Imitation Game, Selma,

American Sniper, Inherent Vice, Citizenfour, A Most Violent Year, Big Eyes.

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“I can’t say that we are going to be, or that we are a political band or anything like that, but we do have our beliefs.” Jonathan Nuñez - Torche WORDS FROM THE EDITOR

I know that this might be a bold statement, but Torche is a force of nature and we will for sure see these dudes getting bigger and bigger over the next few months. So, Torche is our cover feature, and we are fucking proud of that. Let’s talk now about our big, really big interview with Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari. Rou spoke with Dave Bowes and the result is an mind-blowing stripped down in-depth conversation with one of the most exciting bands of the planet. Still about this issue, that we’re so proud, we have an amazing pack of good talks, such like co-ed feminist hardcore War On Women; Mercury nominated British refined folk act The Unthanks; the dark country-rock heroes Murder By Death; the rock ‘n’ roll overlord Mr. Danko Jones and the comeback heroes from Alaska, the always great 36 Crazyfists... And much, much more... Have fun! Your Editor, Fausto Casais

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LISTENING POST

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FREE | ISSUE 9 | FEBRUARY

GALLOWS

Desolation Sounds Venn/PIAS Available on 13.04.2015 CEO/EDITOR IN CHIEF

MARRIAGES

Salome Sargent House Available on 07.04.2015

Fausto Casais (faustocasais@musicandriotsmagazine.com)

DEPUTY EDITOR

Andreia Alves (andreiaalves@musicandriotsmagazine.com) Tiago Moreira (tiago@musicandriotsmagazine.com)

ART EDITOR // DESIGNER

MOURN

Mourn Captured Tracks Out Now

SCREAMING FEMALES Rose Mountain Don Giovanni Records Out Now

Fausto Casais

FEATURES EDITOR Fausto Casais

CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS

Nuno Babo, Nuno Teixeira, Sílvio Miranda, Ricardo Almeida, Sergio Kilmore, Dave Bowes, Mariana Silva,Rui Correia, Ana Filipa Carvalho, Carlos Cardoso,Cláudio Aníbal, Myke C-Town, Ellery Twining, Luis Alves, Rita Limede, Ibrahima Brito, Stella Eliadou, Travis Boyer, Antigoni Pitta

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Andreia Alves, Ricardo Almeida, Falk-Hagen Bernshausen, Alex Woodward, Alex Swan

GENERAL INQUIRIES

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ROYAL THUNDER

Crooked Doors Relapse Records Available on 08.04.2015

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ONLINE ADVERTISING

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SIMMER

Yellow Streak EP Dog Knight Productions Available on 30.03.2015

LIGHTNING BOLT

Fantasy Empire Thrill Jockey Available on 23.03.2015

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, Napalm Records, Mona Miluski

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HARM’S WAY

Rust Deathwish Inc. Available on 10.03.2015

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All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without our permission. The views expressed in MUSIC&RIOTS Magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff.


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UPCOMING // HOLLY MIRANDA

HOLLY MIRANDA IS BACK!

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olly Miranda has announced that she signed with label Dangerbird Records and will be releasing a new album on May 19th. “It’s been a long time coming and I’m so beyond thrilled to be releasing my new record with Dangerbird! I love Danger and I love Birds, so I think this is going to be a perfect fit. Hope to see you on the road in 2015! xoxoxo Holly” Dangerbird founder Peter Walker said, “Holly is one of those true, real artists who is infectious to be around. Her passion is so deep it comes through in every note she sings.” On the creative process for new material, Holly Miranda reflects, “I had a dream that I was going to rent a house in Joshua Tree and go write by myself for a month. I’d never been there before, but I woke up the next day and booked the first house I found and left a few days later. It was about getting away from the chatter of Los Angeles and reconnecting with myself and nature. I had a bit of writer’s block after the last record, I wasn’t having fun anymore and I really needed to get back the core of why I started making music 17 years ago.” she says. On her self-titled sophomore release, Miranda nods at her singer-songwriter roots but also pushes herself in new directions. She co-produced the album with Florent Barbier. “This is the most honest thing I’ve ever made; it’s very raw and is a contrast to what I’ve done in the past,” she says. After writing in Joshua Tree, she headed to Brooklyn, New York in the winter of 2012 to record most of the album, enlisting the help of bandmates Timmy Mislock, Maria Eisen and David Jack Daniels, while taking turns herself on piano, drums, guitar and bass. “There’s a Motown vibe to some of the songs” she notes of the recordings. “I wanted it to feel like the band was playing the songs live. There’s also a few that are more electronic and ethereal,” like the song “Come On.” She recorded that track in Los Angeles with David Andrew Sitek, producer of her 2010 release The Magicians Private Library. Holly Miranda is back! New album expected on May 19 via Dangerbird Records www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine

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NEWS 12

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METZ will release II, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed S/T debut on CD / LP / DL worldwide May 4th & 5th through Sub Pop Records. The album, featuring the highlights “Acetate,” “The Swimmer,” “Wait in Line,” and seven others, was recorded at various studios throughout Ontario, Canada, and produced and mixed by the band with assistance from returning engineer Graham Walsh. You can now listen to “Acetate” through the pancake-fueled not-the-video

directed by multimedia artist Travis Millard (Dinosaur Jr.). American grindcore/hardcore punk trio Magrudergrind sign to Relapse Records. Formed in Washington, D.C. in 2002, Magrudergrind have released two full-lengths and a series of splits, EPs, and compilations over the years. Now the band has entered the studio to record their highly anticipated first new material in over five years with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Torche) at God City Studios in Salem, MA. The full-length record will be mastered by


RISING // DU BLONDE

DUNewBLONDE Direction, New Name and New Sound

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eth Jeans Houghton has unveiled the first taster of her new direction and upcoming album (due to be released on the Spring) on Mute Records with “Black Flag”. Anyone who knows Houghton as purveyor of offbeat baroque pop is in for a shock. “I feel no need to ease people in” explains Du Blonde. “Black Flag is a good representation of the direction of the album. There are a few quieter, thoughtful tracks but the general mood is one of finally cracking. The record is a powerful release for me. It’s the result of finally sitting down and taking a look at my life, what I was angry about, what I needed to change.” “Black Flag”, like much of the forthcoming album, was produced by Bad Seed and Grinderman member Jim Sclavunos, whose previous production credits include The Jim Jones Revue and The Horrors. “This is a new sound, a new project. Du Blonde is a new incarnation and one step closer to assuming my ultimate form. Having freed myself from the rusty and bloody shackles of Beth Jeans Houghton – both musically and spiritually – I felt it only right to step forth under a new name and let the rituals commence.” – Beth Jeans Houghton aka Du Blonde. The new moniker is a fresh start for Beth whose forthcoming album is a big change in musical direction. Whilst her 2012 album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose was a standalone piece of polymath pop, 25-year-old Houghton, has constantly evolved and reinvented herself – a musical and aesthetic chameleon always playing by her own rules. Black Flag is available sometime in Spring Via Mute Records

Pig Destroyer’s Scott Hull and artwork will be designed by Clint Nicolas. The album will see a release later this year via Relapse along with extensive touring from the band. Roisin Murphy has announce the release of her new album, Hairless Toys, on May 12th via PIAS. Her first album in 8 years, Hairless Toys was produced by Roisin’s long time musical collaborator Eddie Stevens. According to the press release, the album embraces a broad palette of genres yet is

consistently engaging and thrilling throughout. Alabama Shakes have announced the release of their new album, Sound & Color, out April 20th via Rough Trade Records and April 21st in North America via ATO Records. “We took our time to write this record, and I’m really glad we did,” says lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard. “We were able to sit down and think about what’s exciting to us. This record is full of genre-bending songs.” The album

was recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium studio. The band co-produced the album with Blake Mills - a young guitar wizard who has played alongside Lana Del Rey. Hailing from Buffalo, NY, Head North announced their new EP Bloodlines, which will come out via Bad Timing Records on March 24th. This six-song EP is the first release from Head North since signing to Bad Timing Records late last year. The band will be on tour this Spring with Have Mercy, Weatherbox, and You, Me, & Everyone We Know.

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VIA TANIA Vulnerable Disarming Beautiful... Via Tania and the Tomorrow Music Orchestra, coming out on 24th February, is the latest album by the Australian songstress, since the digital release of Fields in 2010 and it is every bit as captivating and unconventional as you’d expect. With Via Tania’s smooth, breathy croon against the melodies laid down by the Tomorrow Music Orchestra, the album is an enchanting amalgam of modern and classical that makes you feel like you’ve found yourself in a fairytale. Since the funding for the album was raised through a campaign via Indiegogo, we spoke to Via Tania about whether crowdfunding is the future for independent artists, inspiration, and about collaborating with an experimental music group. Words: Stella Eliadou

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ow did the collaboration with the Tomorrow Music Orchestra come about and how did the recording process differ in comparison with your previous albums? It was actually very simple. I talked to Charles Rumback, the drummer in Via Tania about how amazing the orchestra was - we played with them one night at the Hideout in Chicago. I said I’d always wanted to record with an orchestra, a life goal! And Charles asked Matthew [Golombisky] about it and the deal was done. Matthew was totally up for it and I had all these songs I was just about to record with the band and instead handed them over to the Orchestra. I guess on the whole it differs in


INTRODUCING // VIA TANIA

“Usually inspiration builds on inspiration just like practising your craft, but everyone is different and creativity is a good friend of mine.” made it part of their career will be able to do it easily enough but it’s not for everyone. The lyrics and melodies on the album - especially the single “I See You Tiger” - are ethereal and naturalistic - something out of a fairy-tale. Do you draw inspiration from literature/poetry? A little I suppose, but really just inspiration from nature and natural disasters and turning it into stories and tales. That was before I had a kid and read fairytales everyday, I fear for the next record. What are your current musical influences? I cannot stop listening to Iris Dement lately, love the last Zammuto record. I like James Blake and also Tsegué Maryam Guébrou.

proportion of collaboration. In the past, it was single musicians one by one recording, but always what they wanted to, I’m big on that. This time it was the music by the orchestra, there was a tune or two I played on that’s it. Was it a conscious decision to divert from your previous direction and striking a balance with creating something as experimental as this while staying true to the previous elements of your work? I think my records have been and always will be strikingly different from each other, both in style and musical collaborators, but it’s never too conscious a decision it’s more just an inspired idea, the idea that sticks. You funded the album by

launching a campaign through Indiegogo. How did you find the process? Are fundraising campaigns the future for independent artists and did the process bring you closer to the fans? So, yes crowd funding, like anything, suits some people more than others. I had come out of an extremely quiet period, I was just nesting and had a young child and really not at all out there playing shows etc, so the people who supported me were mostly friends and friends of friends. Which is totally great, and fine. But you know some people get out there and do the telethon thing and it really works. Massive potential, but I think it involves just as much marketing as anything else. Same with it being ‘the future’ artists who it really works with and have

When writing or recording do you feel like you need to seclude yourself from listening to other artists to create something that is organic and personal - as you have with this album - or is inspiration from others important? I can remember being aware of that, not listening when writing unless it was totally different to my music. But I have not actually written for a few years. It’s my longest stint without writing since before I started at 15. But there is a reason, it’s easy enough with all the other things I do and I still get to express myself artistically quite a bit, but I’m doing an experiment to see what happens when I start again. Usually inspiration builds on inspiration just like practising your craft, but everyone is different and creativity is a good friend of mine. I’ll have to dig a hole and write though, there will be no Tuesday afternoon songwriting schedule it seems like it will be an all or nothing thing for a while. Via Tania and the Tomorrow Music Orchestra is out now via Narooma Records

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ROUND UP

STEALING SHEEP Bounce between fact and fiction for their new LP

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ot Real is the much-anticipated second album by Stealing Sheep, written, recorded and produced by band members Becky Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer at their studio in Liverpool, and due for release 14th April on Heavenly Recordings. The unifying theme of the new album is the interplay of fact and fiction; the edge of dreams and limits of reality. For this second album, they have concentrated on developing the sonic aesthetic of their music. “We were more focused about what we are trying to do. Everything has a reason for being there.” They’ve experimented with tuned percussion, programmed beats, trigger samples and worked with effected synths, utilising the guitar and lap steel more sparingly and introducing more processed sounds. They’ve drawn inspiration from 50’s exotica, electronic music and 80’s pop and been influenced by the likes of Grace Jones, Maya Deren, Eden Ahbez, Delia Derbyshire, Moondog and John Carpenter.

Not Real arrives on April 14th via Heavenly Recordings 16

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MINSK Six years later they rise from their own ashes

+ NEWS

Young Guns have announce the release of their long-awaited new album. Titled Ones And Zeros, the album will be released on June 8th via Virgin EMI Records. The band has also revelead the album’s artwork and tracklisting, and also brand new single “Speaking In Tongues”. The London-based band Novella have announced that they will be releasing their new record, Land, on May 5th via Sinderlyn Records. The quintet recorded the album in January of


ollowing a six-year slumber, Illinois enigmatic sound conjurors, MINSK, are ready to unveil the otherworldly fruit of their long-anticipated.new studio creation, The Crash & The Draw. Scattered between the sleepy city of Peoria and metropolis of Chicago and drawing inspiration from a remote Belarusian city that has been burned to the ground only to be rebuilt like a phoenix rising from its own ashes, MINSK has

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2014 with Jonas Verijnen (Moon Duo, Ballet School) and Joshua Third (the Horrors), and they also revelead a new single titled “Land Gone.” Leviathan, the one man black metal band of Wrest, also known as Jef Whitehead, has been, at its own pace, pushing the envelope since the late 90s. In 2015 there are two undeniable facts: Leviathan is one of the most relevant, important, and mesmerizing acts in the extreme metal genre, and they will release their sixth studio

been cultivating sonic exploration and alchemical outpourings since 2002. Recorded almost exclusively in The Prairie State, The Crash & The Draw was captured by the band alongside Sanford Parker (Twilight, Voivod, Eyehategod, Yob etc.) at Earth Analog in Tolono, mixed by Parker and MINSK at Hypercube in Chicago and mastered by Collin Jordan (Eyehategod, Indian, Wovenhand, Voivod etc.) at The Boiler Room in Chicago with additional vocal tracking by Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City, Old

album – twelve years after the 2003’s debut The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide. Entitled Scar Sighted, the upcoming full-length, has ten new tracks and it’s a document of a brand new chapter on Whitehead’s life. Lightning Bolt’s sixth album and first in five years, is a fresh take from a band intent on pushing themselves musically and sonically while maintaining the aesthetic that has defined not only them, but an entire generation of noise-makers. It marks many firsts,

Man Gloom, Floor etc.) at Antisleep Audio in Oakland, California and further tracking, editing, and mixing by Kevin Rendleman at Trash Rocket Audio and Aaron Austin at We Know Who You Are, both in Peoria. The record includes the striking cover creation of Orion Landau (Yob, Inter Arma, Red Fang etc.).

The Crash & The Draw arrives on April 6 via Relapse Records

most notably their first recordings made using proper hi-fi recording equipment at the famed Machines With Magnets (Battles, The Body, Marissa Nadler, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), and their first album for Thrill Jockey Records. Best Coast have signed to Capitol’s Harvest Records and have announced the release of their new album California Nights. This will be their third LP, as 2013′s Fade Away was considered an EP despite its resemblance to an album, and it will be out on May 5th.

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ROUND UP

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SPEEDY ORTIZ STARTING OVER...

peedy Ortiz have announced Foil Deer, the followup to last year’s Real Hair EP and 2013’s album Major Arcana. It arrives April 21 via Carpark Records. Sadie Dupuis wrote much of Foil Deer at her mother’s home in the Connecticut woods, where the songwriter imposed a self-regulated exile and physical cleansing of sorts, finding that many of the songs came to her while running or swimming alone. “I gave up wasting mental energy on people who didn’t have my back,” she says. “Listening to our old records, I get the sense I was

+ NEWS

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putting myself in horrible situations just to write sad songs. This music isn’t coming from a dark place, and without slipping into self-empowerment jargon, it feels stronger.” Many of the songs deal with a similar sense of starting over, editing out the unnecessary drama. “Boys be sensitive and girls be, be aggressive,” she sings on “Mister Difficult”. And while their debut album was recorded on the fly, Speedy Ortiz spent almost a month in the studio on Foil Deer. “The demos for our songs have always had tons of small details and production experimentation, but

Royal Thunder will release their follow-up full-length, Crooked Doors, on April 6th in UK/Europe/World, April 3rd in Benelux/GSA/Finland and April 7th in the US on Relapse Records. “It’s been too long,” said the band. “Thanks for being patient with us in delivering this album! We hope you are fond of it. Looking forward to revisiting familiar places and face.” The elevensong album was recorded throughout 2014, with principal recording done at Aria Recording Studio in Marietta, GA with producer Joey Jones. Belfast four-piece And So I Watch February

we never had any money to pay for more than a couple days in the studio, so the songs came out very live-sounding and guitar heavy,” Dupuis says. This new effort was recorded and mixed at Brooklyn’s Rare Book Room with Nicolas Vernhes (Silver Jews, Enon, Deerhunter), with the record mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, Haim, Beauty Pill).

Foil Deer arrives on April 21 via Carpark Records

You From Afar announce the release of Heirs. This is their fourth full-length studio album and will be released on May 4th via Sargent House. The band will also head out in support of the new record on a headlining European tour starting on April 28th through June 1st, with label mate Mylets as the opening act on all the shows. Lower Dens announced their third effort, titled Escape from Evil and is expected to arrive on March 30, 2015 via Ribbon Music. The album was produced by Jana Hunter and


MARRIAGES DEBUT ALBUM IN APRIL

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arriages have announced new album, Salome, that will be out on April 7th via Sargent House. The LA-based trio began in 2011 as a collaborative effort between former Red Sparowes members Emma Ruth Rundle (guitar, vocals) and Greg Burns (bass, keyboards). Showcasing Rundle’s exceptional playing more vividly than the dense architecture of the Sparowes could allow, Marriages’ departure from purely

instrumental rock, too, helped bring her to the forefront, revealing a voice equally fragile and ferocious. Enlisting Sparowes drummer Dave Clifford, they recorded Kitsune, released on Sargent House in 2012. Subsequent touring with Russian Circles, Deafheaven and others honed their vision while introducing the band to a broad cross-section of heavy music fans. Drummer Andrew Clinco completed the equation in late 2012. While the group busied writing the songs that would become

Salome, Rundle released her debut solo album Some Heavy Ocean in early 2014. The trio spent the end of 2014 completing Salome, a timeless 9-song monolith of a debut LP. Propulsive, frequently iridescent, the compositions on Salome are confident and evocative, the sound of a band focusing their strengths to great effect.

co-produced and mixed by Chris Coady (Beach House). Other production elements came from Ariel Rechtshaid (Sky Ferreira, Vampire Weekend) and Lower Dens’ Walker Teret. The band returned to their first recording studio, Beatbabies in Baltimore, MD, to record again with ChrisFreeland (Lower Dens’ Twin-Hand Movement, Wye Oak). Additional recording and production was done in Dallas, TX with John Congleton. Sacramento experimental posthardcore 6-piece Dance Gavin

Dance will release their 6th album, Instant Gratification, on April 14 via Rise Records. This new effort was recorded in Portland, OR with producer KrisCrummett (Sleeping With Sirens, ISSUES). Guitarist Will Swan said, “Throughout the years we’ve put ourselves in the position to have to prove ourselves time and again, constantly redefining our sound and identity as a band. Instant Gratification is the culmination of all that progression. The climax of our time as Dance Gavin Dance. Our technical prowess and

determination have never been so clear. Feast your ears on the future.” Seasick Steve is back! Produced and written by himself and recorded in his front room at the little farm where he lives, Sonic Soul Surfer is his seventh studio record. Along with longtime drummer Dan Magnusson, the album also features Luther Dickinson playing slide guitar on two tracks, Georgina Leach on fiddle and Ben Miller playing jaw harp on “Summertime Boy”.

Salome arrives on April 7th via Sargent House

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Created back in 2009, Pure Noise Records has been one of the most relevant platforms regarding the melodic punk and hardcore scene, working with bands like The Story So Far, No Bragging Rights, Four Year Strong, Forever Came Calling, State Champs, among many others. We caught up with Jake Round to talk about the music scene, Pure Noise’s growth in these last six years, etc. Words: Tiago Moreira // Picture: Ian Rees

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hat was your involvement with the music scene before 2009? I started playing in bands when I was about 19 or 20. In 2006 I moved to the Bay Area in Northern California and was playing in a touring band. In 2007 I started to intern at Fat Wreck Chords which was a total dream come true, they were my favorite label growing up. What made you want to start the label? I always wanted to own my own business. I tried to start a booking agency before a label actually. I had some friends in a band called No Bragging Rights that needed some help releasing a record. I decided to borrow some money from my mother and give it a shot. If I’m correct your mother gave you a lot of support since day one, loaning you money and everything. After all these years how important was her support for the success of Pure Noise? She’s still my day to day accountant. I couldn’t have done it without her. She’s always been very supportive without ever really putting much pressure on me to succeed. Her and my dad were always present at every major event in my life. I’m pretty fortunate to have had such great family support. You didn’t know much when you started Pure Noise. Was that a good thing, all things considered?

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Yes and no. Sometimes being ignorant does have some benefits though. You’re not thinking inside a set of rules, because you don’t know the rules. Kind of opens you up to do things different the other people. At the same time, I had to learn a lot of things the hard/ expensive way. Was your degree in Political Science in any way helpful for the label? What I really learned in college was to read and write well. That is helpful in every aspect of my life. What about your experience working at AMP Magazine? It was a great job and really helped me meet a lot of the people who I work with today. I got to know people at a lot of different labels and see how they do business. Last year the label celebrated five years of existence. Did you take some time to look at the past to find the future, sort of speak? Totally, it was nice to kind of enjoy a moment and enjoy it. It’s been a long road to get the company to where it is. Six years is a considerable amount of time, at least for the music business. What are the differences between now and then, and how do you feel about it? I would say the main difference is streaming. It didn’t exist in any meaningful form in 2009 and it’s quickly becoming the primary format for music listening. I feel pretty positive about it overall. I’m not too worried about how people consuming music as long as we’re putting out records people want to hear I believe we’ll be fine. What about internally? What has changed since 2009 on Pure Noise? The biggest change is that we have a staff now. It’s still a very small company, just me plus two full time people. Cahil does digital marketing and Matt does video. We also have 3 freelance people doing PR for us. How instrumental was, and is, having a band like The Story So Far for the success of the label? I think it’s pretty obvious that Pure Noise wouldn’t be what it is without them. We’ve been together so long that we’re more like family than business partners. They’ve been going good to me that I could probably never repay them. I think they feel the same way about PN. How does a vinyl label survives and accepts the times that we live in? I’m not sure we’re a vinyl label. Digital


LABEL PROFILE // PURE NOISE RECORDS music is far and away our biggest revenue source. Vinyl is something we do put a lot of time into though. It’s my favorite format. What do you look for when you’re looking to sign a band? I mean, besides the fact of loving the music of the band. Me liking the music is the most important thing and I would say tour readiness/experience is second. If a band is touring DIY on their own it is a lot easier for me to consider investing in them because I know I can rely on them to promote their record. What about finding them? What’s your process nowadays? I’ve never really had a process. Usually if a band is doing well and hustling and is in our genre they develop their own organic buzz and we hear about them that way. What goals have you managed to achieve in these six years and what goals have you set for the future? I really wanted to have a record sell 50,000 copies and have a main stage band on Warped Tour. We’ve done both of those things. I think our goal moving forward is the same as it’s always been: to try to stay consistent and release albums that people want to hear and that we believe in. What can we expect, in terms of releases, from Pure Noise for this year of 2015? New records from The Story So Far, Senses Fail, Four Year Strong, Hit The Lights, State Champs, Seaway, Rotting Out and a bunch more. Can you please enumerate, and talk about, some of the records that were really important for Pure Noise or for you personally? Hmm... as a kid Today’s Empires Tomorrow’s Ashes by Propagandhi was profoundly impactful on my life. It was so fast and raw and took on political issues like homosexuality, feminism, religion and a lot more. I was raised very religious and records like this helped me break out of that and really kind of changed the way I thought. The reason I majored in Politics in college was because the punk rock I loved was political. I hope we see more politics in music again soon.

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NEU! OH, ROSE NOVELLA SLUTEVER SIMMER


NEU VOL.9

OH, ROSE Where? Olympia (USA) Who? Olivia Rose, Liam Hindahl, Kevin Christopher, Sarah Redden For fans of: The Sundays, Angel Olsen, Joanna Gruesome

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he music scene in Olympia had a big impact back in the day. Along with Washington D.C., Olympia was a center for the Riot Grrrl movement in the early 90’s, with Bikini Kill and Bratmobile as prominent names of the movement, but bands like Sleater-Kinney, Hole, Nirvana were also part of that revolutionary bands’ range. Nowadays the music scene is still

very much active and with bands really worth to check out. Oh, Rose are one of them! Their music is beautifully raw folk-rock with impressive and passionated lyrics. Olivia Rose’s voice is amazing and gentle. We can hear a little of Florence Welch when she hits the high notes or sometimes she recalls the intensity and carefree attitude of Angel Olsen. The band released their debut EP, That Do Now See on April 2014, which was a great introduction to their dreamy and captivating music. Their latest release is 1919, a two-song release that shows a different approach of the band, with much more fuzzy riffs and gnarling vocals. Let’s see what 2015 has in store for this uprising band.

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NOVELLA Where? London (UK) Who? Hollie Warren, Sophy Hollington, Suki Sou, Iain Laws, Isabel Spurgeon For fans of: Dum Dum Girls, Velvet Underground, Pins

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t was back in 2010 that London-based band Novella were formed. Hollie Warren (guitarist), Sophy Hollington (guitarist), and Suki Sou (bassist) met through mutual friends in Brighton in 2010, where they quickly realized that they shared a common love for 60’s counterculture and bands like Black Sabbath, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Pale Saints. The chemistry was there and the

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desire to make music together was also there and the addition of drummer Iain Laws in 2011 and keyboardist Isabel Spurgeon in 2014 solidified the group. Their sound is a much richer 90’s shoegaze and the psychedelic 60’s mix with a dream pop vibe. After releasing some singles and EPs, Novella announced the release of their debut full-length Land, on May 12th via Sinderlyn Records. It was recorded during one ice-cold week in January of 2014 by Jonas Verijnen (Moon Duo, Ballet School) and Joshua Third (The Horrors) in an abandoned clothing factoryturned-studio in Dalston, East London. According to a press release, the album perfectly absorbs the band’s vast array of influences and transforms them into songs.


NEU VOL.9

SLUTEVER Where? Los Angeles (USA) Who? Nicole Snyder and Rachel Gagliardi For fans of: Best Coast, Girlpool, Tweens

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hiladelphia-born and Los Angeles-based, Slutever are a female duo consisting of Nicole Snyder and Rachel Gagliardi, which are described as “clueless meets Beavis and Butthead with a side helping of girl anarchy.” With an interesting band name and with a brat-punky in-your-face type of sound, these two girls met each other in high school and since then they’ve been best friends who share the same

tastes on music and life in general. The 90’s era is a big influence to them and they cite as influences bands like Hole, Nirvana, and the Breeders, amongst others. If you’re into the sensation LA duo Girlpool, you’re going to be definitely into this Philadelphia’s duo. In fact, last year they released a limited split tape together. Both bands are part of the current wave of grunge-punk revivalists. With two EPs released - Sorry I’m Not Sorry (2010) and Pretend To Be Nice (2011) -, they’ve recently self-released a new EP titled Almost Famous, which it’s a proof of how effortlessly cool their music is. It shows their honesty and emotional intensity in such enthusiastic punk songs.

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NEU VOL.9

SIMMER Where? Cheshire (UK) Who? Julius Schiazza, Karl Stockall, Gary Twigg, Jake Plumb For fans of: Cheatahs, Nothing, Basement

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ormed in February 2014, Simmer are a foursome from the sleepy town of Winsford, Cheshire. They bonded over a mutual love of early emotive hardcore artists Sunny Day Real Estate and punk icons Fugazi. The sound of Simmer sits somewhere between the noisy shoegaze and the big melodies of Nothing, Cheatahs and Basement. There’s a new breed of bands doing a crossover

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of noise, shoegaze and punk and even though they’re newcomers, Simmer can make their music stand out for its intensity and tenacity. After a few months as a band, they released the debut EP Your Tonal Mess, but it is with their upcoming EP Yellow Streak that they will make a difference and be heard by everyone who has the curiosity to find a great new band. Out on 30th March 2015, they’ll be releasing their second EP with Brighton-based independent label Dog Knights Productions. Simmer are happy to be working with Dog Knights Productions and as Julius Schiazza said “I’m hoping we can seriously challenge the conventions for our niche” and they seem to be in the right way for that.


E C A MNOWEEVERNYTHING MAKE

Name after a Nintendo's video game and considered a that hardly goes unnoticed. Consisted of Ryan Need Spalding (You Animals), Nestor Matthews (Sky Larkin) and noisy songs with the bittersweet-esque boy/girl m self questioning about life, as simple as that. Ryan Nee

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H C A E BE

ES PERFECT SENSE... Words: Andreia Alves

as a supergroup, Menace Beach are that kind of band dham (Komakino), Liza Violet (Department M), Matt ) and Matthew 'MJ' Johnson (Hookworms), their fuzzy melodies are authentic hymns about self doubting and edham was awesome enough to answer our questions.

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You and Liza are the core duo of this band but you are now joined by Matt Spalding, Nestor Matthews and Matthew ‘MJ’ Johnson. How do you usually write together with this lineup? Me and Liza are just continually writing and recording rough demos. When we decide on what it is we’re going to put out we all get together and listen through them, picking out the songs that sound good together. In the studio we play through it all a few times to learn them up and then MJ just starts recording takes. We try not to labour over anything or rehearse stuff over and over and often each take is slightly different as the others try different stuff out on the fly. I feel like it keeps a bit of the spontaneity and excitement you get when you first write something.

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ou formed Menace Beach back in 2012. Tell us a brief story of how the band came to be. It seemed to just slowly and haphazardly fall together until we realised it was a kind of a thing. I guess moving to Leeds and meeting the people I have since, kinda forced me to rethink everything. I’d had a couple of the shittiest years in the town I used to live in and just stopped doing anything like music or leaving the house. I sat on my sofa read and read, including Guided by Voices – Bee Thousand 33 1/3rd book, the Mark Everitt biography, and on my birthday some pals got me my first electric guitar designed I think to cheer me up. I wrote a ton of songs in a week and ran off to Leeds. So I guess the first songs were GBV rips and then later I started writing with Liza and we sat around playing stuff that kinda sounded like what we were really into as kids. Then we just kept bumping into people who were up for doing some music stuff for fun and that’s kind of where it’s at. The name Menace Beach is also a video game released for the Nintendo. Why did you pick up that name in particular for the band? I had a US NES and played that game for seemingly endless months when I was a kid. I loved it but it was pretty much impossible to complete. I just thought it sounded good, and it seemed to roll off the tongue a bit like Sonic Youth who were probably my latest obsession around that time. 32

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You’re about to release your debut album Ratworld and your previous EPs - Dream Out and Lowtalker - had a great response. What did you take from those releases to input in the making process of your first album? The writing and recording was all the same, really, and obviously we were gonna go back in with MJ because he’s amazing. We took a lot more time on the track order because the songs are pretty short so the sequencing was important in order to make it work as an ‘album’ rather than a load of daft short songs. I don’t remember thinking about changing up too much, aside from going easier on the vocal distortion, because MJ said half an hour of my distorted, whining voice would be unbearable. What’s the meaning behind the title Ratworld? I bumped into someone I was once friends with on a night out who had weirdly become some hot-shot high earner doing something that doesn’t sound like it needs doing. We were talking about music and the band he used to be in and at one he point exclaimed “I just don’t understand why you guys want to live like fucking rats just so you can play in a band?!” I found the word RATWORLD saved on my phone the next day and it gave me a whole load of new ideas. So thanks, moron. Lyrically, what did inspire you the most for this album? Aside from all the ratworld stuff, lyrically from me it’s mainly the clichéd self-loathing, self

“There’s a lot about movement, starting again, a bit of escapism and hopefulness. Liza writes all the best lines but I never ask what they mean.” doubting stuff but with an attempt to phrase and set it against something interesting. There’s a lot about movement, starting again, a bit of escapism and hopefulness. Liza writes all the best lines but I never ask what they mean. You re-recorded a couple of the old EP songs for this record. Why did you choose to re-work those songs? We talked about this for ages! To start with Ratworld was all new songs and we were like “all that other stuff is out there already we should just leave it and move on” but those few songs are important to us in varying ways and they represent little steps in getting to making this record. We were pretty torn, because looking back seems a bit shitty to me but we kinda settled on the idea that the record should document and draw a line on how and where we are at right now. After releasing Ratworld, what are your main goals for 2015? We aren’t very goal-ish people, I’m sorry. I want to get more into recording and I’d just like to keep occupied all year. What have you been listening to lately? Martha and the Alvvays record lots. I’ve also been re-listening to the last Traams record tons and can’t wait for their new one, and band called Grawlix who have a dead good Mercury Rev-esque record out soon.

Ratworld is out now via Memphis Industries


INTERVIEW // MENACE BEACH

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The Brooklyn based singer songwriter David Bronson has by now three important documents that matters and that’s really important. Those documents go by the name of Story, The Long sings “But outside I hear a songbird and I think she has it right, she is just singing, she’

DAVID BRONSON SOULFUL AUTHENTICITY

Words: Tiago Moreira // Pictures: Kyle Dean Reinford

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s about his life, that are heavily emotional, and most of the times with vulnerability – the one g Lost, and Questions. It was about the last one that we talked about. On the opening track he ’s not asking why.” That little, and big, moment is enough of a reason to talk with David.

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hat was the most recurrent question that you’ve asked yourself after the last album in the time leading up to Questions? [laughs] That’s actually a great question. No one asked me that one yet. I have to say that to me is actually very clear what that is because it’s kind of the central meaning of the whole record to me, all of the questions sort of boil down to one question... Is either “Can I?” or “How can I become ok with my life, with everything?” If it’s possible to... Accept what you are and what you have? Exactly! Not only accept, but be at peace with it. Embrace it and just be relaxed about it. How can you relax in life and how can you accept, like you said, and embrace what you have and what you are. Was there the desire of lean forward and think more about the future than rather reflect on the past for this new album? Yes, 100%. Well, [pause] the desire was to be on the present, to not constantly be reflected... I tend to always look at the past to look at the future ahead, if you know what I mean. That doesn’t let me relax, be where I am, and just enjoy the moment and my life. That became a very, very pronounced goal... and it still is. Were you looking for a certain detachment from Story and The Long Lost with Questions or it was, since the beginning, intended as another link in David Bronson’s chain? If you know what I mean. I know exactly what you mean, and yes. But I would say it works more like a ladder, you know? I didn’t intend so much as a... I

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really do look it at it all as a document. I just kind of write about what’s going on in my life. Some people might be surprised with the direction that you took with this new album. Were you surprised with yourself? No, I wasn’t actually. [laughs] This direction was something I really wanted to do for a while, actually. It was pretty intentional. You can never... obviously I’m surprised with the results. I’m surprised with the people that got involved. I’m surprised with the sounds that everyone created, specific things and how everything ended working out... all those things I’m surprised, but the overall vision of the thing, the general picture, was something that I definitely set out to get. Questions seems to be the most “human record” in your discography, if you know what I mean. Do you have the same feeling about it? [pause] That’s interesting. I see where you’re coming from, I understand what would make you (the listener) say that, and feel that way - which is good because hopefully I’m becoming a better writer. You always hope that as you move forward you become better, and better, and touch more people along the way... it’s more honest, you know what I mean? So, I hope that’s true and that’s obviously what I want, that’s my intention. To me is a more “human record” in that... the first two [albums] were all brutally honest, because they reflect a brutal part of my life, and I was being as clear and as honest I was able to, at the time, but I was basically a kid. It’s obviously hard for me to have any detachment or objectivity, but when I think about those records I remember about my life. To me those records every bit is human, just a different human. I guess it’s about Questions being perhaps a more relatable album. Those are questions that I’ve asked myself, and I believe that it’s the same with a whole bunch of people. That’s very good to hear, and I do understand exactly what you mean. Maybe it’s more of a wider experience. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but the Questions’ cover seems to represent a certain lack of clarity, like an uncertainty. 36

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Would that be a fair read? You’re not reading too much into that. Absolutely! 100%! That was very intentional. Who was responsible for making it? I was. Really? So, basically you’re involved in almost every single step. Doesn’t that become a little bit stressful sometimes? Yeah, sometimes it does, but it pays off in certain ways, definitely, and in other ways is very stressful and tiring... I got better at that too. The most important thing is the music, is the art, but there’s this other side that’s necessary. If you want to people to listen to your music then you have to promote it as best as you can. When you start to realize that then there are all these things you need to work on... Just like any work really. It’s a lot to keep in mind, all the small, but important, details. Even if you have other people helping you... just the amount of work that you have by overseeing everything, which can be stressful as well. I mean, right now I have all these songs written. When I say “all these songs”, I’m talking about a lot of songs. At least two more albums written, fully written, that I’m always dying to just record and then release, but you have to devote time and energy to everything else, promotion and all of that. Questions features a bunch of special guests but Carlos Alomar (David Bowie’s long-time collaborator, on records like Young Americans, Station, Low, “Heroes”, and collaborator with artists like Iggy Pop, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, etc.) and Robin Clark are probably the most notable ones. How did you meet them? I met them through Godfrey Diamond, which is the producer on the record, with me. I mentioned David Bowie’s Young Americans album to him as a reference. We’ve already done the basic tracks – the drums, bass, and some guitars – and it was time to do overdubs, and I knew right from the start – the big picture I was talking before – that I wanted to have these songs laced, and have a big part of them be these kind of rich soul back style, kind of background vocals. Just to convey

that to Godfrey I mentioned Young Americans, which is one of my favorite records. I have always absolutely loved the arrangements on that album, and the background vocals are just a huge part of what make that record what it is. So, I said Young Americans and he says, “I used to work with Robin Clark all the time”. Simple as that. Robin came in, in the first day, and it was her and a guy named Gordon Grody. Gordon worked with a bunch of people as a background vocalist, including Steely Dan, John Lennon, and Talking Heads. The two of them are very close, they’ve been singing together for more than 30 years. Basically, they came together and Carlos Alomar, who’s married with Robin, came to drive her to work with us and we just invited him in. All of sudden Carlos Alomar is there and... he’s basically one of my musical idols. I’ve absolutely been obsessed with his playing and his work on all of those records with Bowie, Iggy Pop, etc., since I was a kid basically. I was really excited. He wasn’t even supposed to play on the record, he just showed up, basically, with the singers. You know, when you have someone that is that musical... I mean, the guy is brilliant, just a brilliant arranger. He was Bowie’s musical director for all those massive tours, and he was basically the band leader in all of those 70s Bowie’s records. He had a huge hand, I think, in doing all of those arrangements and etc. [pause] It was two things: he had a great personal vibe - I think that was the most important thing, because everybody was so happy to be there -, and just the ideas that started going around just turning everybody on, you know? Carlos was very instrumental, obviously, writing the arrangements, and… it just kind of sparked and then we just kept going. We didn’t know how many songs they would be on, when we started. It was just so good that it was like “Fuck it, let’s just work on the entire record together.” Since we’re talking about collaborations, we need to talk about Godfrey Diamond. How instrumental was he for the music and for the album? Ohh, huge. Huge! I look at this record as this is me and Godfrey’s record. He cares about this record, start to finish, as deep


INTERVIEW // DAVID BRONSON

“You always hope that as you move forward you become better, and better, and touch more people along the way...”

as anyone could. He really gave so much of himself to this. It would never sound the way it sounds without both of us... without anyone of us in there, but he was my teammate, my partner doing this record. I saw your performance on New York Natives’ Rooftop Series, where you were playing “Songbird”. It was amazing to see how powerful it was even with the bare minimum of instrumentation and sound elements. It was really powerful and I think it has to do with the power of the lyrics. Thank you! That really makes me very, very happy. A funny story about that [laughs]: that was the only and first take that we did. We got on that rooftop and they were sort of just doing a run through – it was me and Lautaro [Burgos], and it was like three cool guys shooting that. They had their cameras, they set them up and then they said “We think it’s cool, let us do a run through.” We did it, as you can see in the video, and we were thinking to do it like maybe one or two more times, because they always like to do for video and you never know,

something can go wrong or whatever. But after the run through this woman comes up, out of nowhere, and just starts screaming at us, “Who told you that you could do this here? Do you have a permit? People are working right downstairs, I have my home office. This is bullshit!” That woman was really, really, really angry. I was kind of shocked. [laughs] Wait, she was angry for three minutes of music? Yeah, three minutes of an acoustic guitar and some percussion. She was furious. [laughs] I don’t know if her office was right down below or something... I don’t know but she went apeshit. Dude, it was in the middle of the fuckin’ daytime, it’s not like it was late at night. But wait, she kept screaming, “You better get the fuck out of here. I’m calling the cops.” He had to basically stop because she was out of her mind. [laughs]

of not overthink things and just live life. Absolutely! 100%! That has a lot to do with why that song is a very central one to the record. It’s the first song on the record and it’s the first single we’ve put out. The artwork of the album is, in my mind, heavily linked to that song, and the feeling of that song, and to the notion of kind of moving forward. In that photo [cover of the album] that’s me driving in the car. The background, the kind of fuzzy background... It’s seems to be mountains or something, in the background… Trees... Yes! There are probably mountains over there. That photo was actually taken during one of my tours. It’s basically a picture of me driving and to me is like a metaphor to what I talk on the record, like moving through. I actually wrote “Songbird” in the car. That’s the only song I’ve ever written while driving.

That song has a line that says something like this “But outside I hear a songbird and I think she has it right, she is just singing, she’s not asking why.” Seems that is an indication of your need www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine

Questions is out now via Big Arc Records 37


STYLISH cathartic melancholic sophisticated work of art Kristina Esfandiari has been working relentlessly in the past few years, with Miserable and with King Woman. After releasing Degrida / Sick Bed in 2013, and Dove / Fond Affections last year, she comes up with yet with another work, the recently released and nice musical progression that is this Doubt EP. We talked, again, with Kristina about the surroundings of this new work – religion, leadership, doubts, stories, covers, and a lot of other things.

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ast time we were talking about Miserable you said that it was music that you’ve always wanted to write since a young age. What about King Woman? The songs that have come out as King Woman have a lot to do... You know I did some solo stuff with King Woman but I don’t think I would have been able to reach kind of depths with the songs without Colin [Gallagher], my guitarist. He has a lot of untapped potential and he has been one of my best friends since I was very young. We started to write some stuff together and his influences... he likes a lot of doomy stuff, sludgy, metal stuff, and he’s writing this beautiful guitar parts but he hasn’t really played in many bands or anything, he was kind of doing it because he’s a guitar nerd, but something about the way he writes and working with him... was bringing me songs out of me, this kind of anger that I didn’t know was in me, and some stuff I had to say that I didn’t realize was there. So, I guess King Woman is really just the depths of my being, and my spirit, and my true self, and kind of the things that

KING WOMAN

Words: Tiago Moreira

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have been repressed inside of me for a long time that I don’t think that it would be coming out the way it does without Colin. We have a really good chemistry musically. It’s great to work with someone that I really love and trust... I mean, my all band. I’ve grown up with my drummer as well.

better. I feel that I’m now a better version of myself. I got a lot of criticism for it, and a lot of angry phone calls because of interviews I do, but I’m not going stop speaking my story because people want to. It’s my story, something that is very real to me and something I’ve been through.

I remember of you saying that music was for you like therapy. From what I’ve read, Colin seems to share the same feeling. Yes, I think he was also going through a lot during the time we were writing. A lot of transitions from him... I can’t speak too much for him, but for what he told me, he was going through some personal changes and some growth, and I think some realizations about himself.

Do you remember when that doubt first entered your life? Pun intended. [laughs] [laughs] I love all your questions. [pause] I mean, my all life... I was just so confused. I would doubt what was going around me. It’s not really anger towards the idea of Gods, right now. It’s more like an anger because people can be so dumb, all this stupidity around me that somehow is imposed to children. I guess that’s what angers me the most, like innocent children being brainwashed is a really big problem, an absolutely evil thing that I find to be very sad. Doubt? I don’t know. My all life I had doubt but I would just turn it back on myself. But I have to say that I’m not an atheist. I believe there’s something. I’ve had really strong experiences in my life, very crazy supernatural things. I definitely think that there’s more... I think you would have to be a little bit crazy to not see what’s around us in this world. I’m definitely not a God basher or anything like that. I just think that institutionalized religion can be a very fucked up thing. I’ve just seen too many people around me being so damaged by it. I’m just telling my story, what I’ve been through... definitely angry at the abuse and the people that have inflicted it upon me, maybe unintentionally, but it has affected my precious mind... I just have one mind and like I have a lot of personal struggles because of that, and I’m angry about it still. It affects my everyday life.

Does it help to have someone that sees it in kind of the same way you do? Yeah, definitely! It makes you feel lesser alone, it makes you feel lesser afraid, especially people that you’re friends with, that are going through, you know, not exactly the same thing... a couple of bands of my band were also raised in religious background. How oppressive was religion, and everything that surrounds it, for you, growing up? Very! I mean, to the point where I’m 26 now and I had to do hallucinogenic drugs to have this kind of “oh shit!” epiphany moment and realize how programmed I was, and how it affected my friendships and relationships in my past, and present, and how toxic it was, and how is pretty much brainwash. People can think that is kind of weak or funny, but since I was out of the womb I was taught to be a certain way, talk a certain way, and believe in a certain way. You have to understand I lived in the suburbs – most of my life I wasn’t in some cultural area – with other Christian’s brainwashed kids, and then moving to San Francisco, or like I lived downtown Sacramento for a while just being on my own... I still have that chord with that kind of community and then I kind of started to get into psychedelics – I know that it sounds cliché but I personally think they’re amazing – which made me realize a lot about myself, who I truly was and am, what I actually believed in, and what was totally unhealthy in my life. I’m just, day by day, getting 40

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Is it easy for you to find a spiritual balance? No, not at all! I’m still working on it. I think it has been really hard for me to find that spiritual balance because there’s so much shame and guilt engrained in that lifestyle, you know what I mean? Yeah! Were you aiming for freedom with the picture that’s on Doubt’s cover? No, I actually wasn’t. That’s funny that you’ve said that. I mean, I guess it could be taken both ways... I’m looking up to the sky,

like what’s going on. I’m looking up to what’s out there. I find it really curious. It’s a nice progression from the “Dove/Fond Affections” cover, where you’re squatting, to Doubt’s cover, where you’re standing and almost reaching for the sky. Yeaahhh, you’re right! Do you think there’s a relation between the covers and music? Yeah, I do! I’m kind of just putting the pieces together... you’re way more absorbent than I am, apparently. [laughs] I think that “Dove/Fond Affections” is very heavy, and repressed, and confused, I guess. Doubt is the first release with a full band. How was that transition? I want to work alone because is usually easier for me... it’s just hard to work with other personalities and if you really want to get stuff done then you don’t want to wait on other people. So, it was hard to work with a band because I had to work on my communication skills, and my leadership skills, because this is a project that I started by myself, so they were kind of looking to me for answers and like they had a lot of questions... just simple things. Just like having to answer to other people, and be accountable, it was difficult to me because I’m such a loner, and I’m used to do it all by myself. It was just hard, you know? King Woman is my thing, my baby, and having to share it with other people. it was difficult to me at first, and very emotional, and I think it has been really emotional for all of us, honestly. How did it feel to be the leader? Feels good, I think I’m good at it. I think I’m getting better at it. I feel empowered, a decent leader, I think. Just learning new things, learning to better in what I do, constantly. Did it help to take control in your own personal life? Not so much but I guess there was a point where I decided to take control over my own life. I was in a pretty toxic relationship, and I broke up with that person. I guess that was when I was like, “I can do whatever I want and I can be whoever I want.” I was kind of just sick of people, like family members kind of take me lightly


INTERVIEW // KING WOMAN

“King Woman is really just the depths of my being, and my spirit, and my true self, and kind of the things that have been repressed inside of me for a long time...” and what I was doing, my musical endeavors… my parents thought it was cute but they wanted me to have a career, which I understand, that fear coming from parents. Boyfriends in my past who were padding me on the head and going, “Oh yeah, I support you,” but really they didn’t. They never really thought I could do anything with it. Old bandmates just mocking me for doing my music... I guess the number one motivation for everything was just being underestimated, you know? Just feeling that nobody really cared or believe in what I was doing. I was like, “Fuck it! Ok, I guess I’ll just believe in myself, and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want. Fuck everyone!” Do you have a nice camera now or you’re still using your cell phone to shoot videos? [laughs] My little sister actually bought me a camera. She’s like my number one fan – her name is Olivia. She’s so sweet. Any plans to shoot a video for one of the songs off of Doubt? Yeah, for two songs actually. I will shoot one of them and then a friend of mine will shoot the other one. I’m wondering about a specific

sound that’s on “Burn”, like mid-song. What’s that? A guitar effect? Yeah, the slide. It’s a guitar, yes. That’s an amazing sound. I fell in love with it. [laughs] Oh good, I’m so glad! I was like a little bit unsure if it was too abrasive sounding... You know, I was very sick when I was recording this EP. We had a lot of drama recording this EP. Like, we forgot some of pedals for Colin and I was super sick, so I couldn’t give directions the way I wanted to. No one knew the songs that well because we had only played a couple show... I had to work a lot of shit out through mixing. It was like a rough recording session. We didn’t have a lot of time because the label wanted to be able to put it out soon. It was like just doing what we could with what we had. Now please give me some details about Miserable’s Uncontrollable [the upcoming debut full-length of Kristina’s other project]. [laughs] Ok! We started recording with Max Senna, also known as Bad Boi Max. He just recorded the last Wild Moth’s album, and I think he’s like the next up and coming Bay area sound engineer dude. He’s really young, like 22 or 23. Really motivated, always working super

hard, and a really cool guy to work with. I kind of took a chance on him because one friend recommended him. I just ended playing a show with Max’s band and we connected to the point that I knew right there that he would be the guy I would record with... I wasn’t sure with who I was going to record with. I was nervous because it’s my first full-length album. I’m still kind of like forming the vision for the album, there’s still a lot that needs to go into it. It’s really just a sad, sad album. I was really depressed when I was writing it, really like rock bottom like a really serious depression. To the point where my friends had to pull it out of it. They were saying like, “Hey, you are not yourself lately. We need to sit down and talk.” As soon as I finished writing the album I just kind of snapped out of this weird phase I was in. I was really there. I was there with this kind of suicidal depressed thoughts and sadness, and I think that really went into the album.

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DANKO JONE

K C O R E H T KEEPING I K D N A E V I L A E M A L F When we think about Danko Jones, the first word that comes to our mind is Rock’n’Roll! That’s right, Danko Jones have been one of the few bands that keeps the rock’n’roll flame alive and kicking. This year, they’re releasing a new record titled Fire Music that only has pure and energetic rock songs. In a frank and open chat, Danko talked with us about the new record and their remarkable road as a band. Words: Andreia Alves // Pictures: Dustin Rabin

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ES N’ROLL

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ast year you played on Motörhead Motörboat cruise. How was the experience to play in the loudest boat in the world? It was actually a lot of fun! We didn’t know what to expect. We weren’t really sure and we’ve never done one of these four-day cruises before and then to do it with all the bands... When they announced the lineup that was like “Wow! It’s a really good lineup.” Anthrax, Down, Testament, High On Fire, Fireball Ministry, Jim Breuer and then of course Motörhead, but still you don’t know how these things will go and at the end of it we had a lot of fun. Everybody was really cool, everybody was really respectful, just really low-key and down to earth. It was nice. Early 2014, you guys released Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996 - 1998 that consists on rough demos of your first two years of existence, before making your debut album, Born a Lion. What did lead you to release these lost songs? The story is as simple as it sounds. I found the box of cassettes at my parents’ place and I digitized them. I had to go and find the digital recorder player to transfer the songs digitally. When I was going through them, I noticed that there were only great songs that we wrote and we never did anything with, never released it, but they were really good. I played it for JC and we played it for the label and then we said “How about if we just put it out as a compilation just while people wait for the next record?” and that’s when it happened. There was no other thought other than I stumbled on the box. [laughs] That was it! There’s a lot more actually, but it just couldn’t fit on an album and so it was tough trying to decide which ones to

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leave on and leave off, but I think the songs that we chose for this were good choices. Maybe down the road we can put out the remaining ones, some of them are terrible that no one will hear, but there are still 6 to 8 other songs that could have been on there. Nothing is calculated passed that, like there wasn’t any big strategy, it was just like I found this box, I played it and people liked it.

but I think I had a shorter air trigger when it age. I’m able to hardness a little better now, I don’t lose my temper in a way that I used to. Instead, I rather just talk to someone rather than scream at them. I learned that when you scream at someone they don’t listen to you [laughs] which is the reason why you’re screaming in the first place is to be heard, so that it’s definitely a big thing. I didn’t really know that! I really thought that the louder I screamed at somebody the better they would hear me. [laughs]

Did you rework any those songs into new songs? I tried that and that’s also one of the reasons why I transferred some of these things and I was like maybe with this riff and this song, we could rewrite a song. It could be the reason for a new song, but really, it’s so better to just leave it as it is and move on. Just have it stand on its own and not rework it or retool it. I’m actually against taking those old riffs in those songs that weren’t released or even the ones that we did off of Garage Rock and turning them into new songs. I just want them to exist on their own and there’s plenty riffs to write, and besides on Fire Music is all new riffs really. We wrote those for this session.

Your musical career has been great and notable throughout these years. Even though you have a ton of great moments in the band, what’s the best moment about your band that stands out the most for you? I would say it’s an overall thing where we can put out a record after being a band for so long, especially in the music industry where it’s such a high turnover of bands, you know? You’re in one day and next year nobody knows or remembers who you are. The fact that we’ve been around for so long and being able to make records... We’ve never gone platinum, we’ve never gone gold, we’ve never had that kind of success, but what we have had is just we’ve maintained and that’s a success onto itself. That’s a certain success onto itself and I rather maintain for a longer period of time rather than just two years where we got a gold record, we toured the world and then four years later nobody can remember who we are. For me, it’s kind of like turtle and hare, you know, between the turtle and the rabbit. The turtle will be steady and will

It’s been eighteen years since you started this band. Through all these years, how do you maintain this incredible energy? Again, very simple answer. [laughs] I just really love playing rock’n’roll and getting on stage and play. I mean, that’s it. That’s as simple as it gets. There’s really nothing other than that. If it was any harder than that, I think I wouldn’t be able to do it anymore... And you know, the time will come when it’s hard to pull it off like how long can you do this high energy. The one thing that keeps me going is the fact that I get so excited to get on stage and play the songs, that has never diminished through all these years. Other things have, you know? Other things have diminished, except that and that’s the most important thing. When you first start a band, it’s like you wanna tour the world, you wanna see the world, you wanna play in front of all these people and then when you tour as long and as much as we have, I don’t need to see the Eiffel Tower every single time I go to Paris anymore. [laughs] That changes, but what never changes is the fact that I want to get on stage that night and play. If you could say something to your younger self, what would you say? That’s a difficult question to answer, because the only way that I’m able to stand here and talk to you is with what we did. It’s hard to say, but I guess I would say to my younger self was not be such a prick. [laughs] That comes with age, you know? It has to do with insecurity that you have to go through and once you get a little more secure with yourself all that stupid bullshit about what’s cool and what’s not cool that kind of falls by the wayside and it starts turning into what’s good and what’s not good and not necessarily what’s cool, you know? I don’t really think I would say anything other than like be nice to people, be nicer than you were. I think I was quick to anger a lot - I’m still quick to anger 44

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“It’s hard to sa o t y a s d l u o w I e b t o n s a w f l se


INTERVIEW // DANKO JONES win the race and that’s a longer route. It takes longer but in the end you get to do what you love for longer, so I would say THAT rather than one particular moment like “Oh, the time we played here or the time this happened.” I think that is the one thing that I relish now during the 18 years to look back... Putting this album out and having everybody say is a great album is there where I go wild, you know? I could tell you “this happened and that happened” but then it’s not as grand as the bigger picture, which is we’re still around making records and it’s hard, really hard to do for this long in the music business. Actually, that it’s really very hard. In August 2014, you released your first live album ever, Live At Gröna Lund, and it was recorded in Stockholm, which was the only show you did in Europe last year. Why Stockholm to be the place to record your live album? We’ve always said and I’ve always maintained that I don’t like live albums and I never really thought we should put out a live album, but we did in a way, because it never got a hard release. It never was released on vinyl or CD, it was only available through streaming on Spotify and you can’t even download on MP3 officially. I suppose there’s some sort of app that someone has invented where you can take

s s e u g I t u b , y a o my younger e such a prick...”

from it, but officially you can’t get even on MP3. So, it’s a streaming album and in that way in my head, I said “Ok, so that’s not really a live album that you can hold in your hands and have it official” but it is official, you know? It is in our discography, but it was also a chance to shake hands and get in bed with technology, because that’s where music is going. It’s going to streaming. Do I listen to music on streaming? No! I listen to MP3s, I listen to vinyl and I listen to CDs. That’s how I consume my music, I still do that. I don’t listen to music seriously by streaming. I will listen to on YouTube, you know, when someone says “Have you heard this band?” or “You should check this out”. I’ll check it out, I’ll listen to it just to check it. It’s more of a checking out or a sampling of a band. Let’s say I listen to a stream of a band and I like it, well If I really like it, I’m gonna go out and either get the MP3 or the vinyl or the CD. I’m not gonna have it on iCloud where I can just stream it forever on some sort of device. I need to hold it because my thing is: what if everything collapses? [laughs] At least I can listen to it. And that happens all the time like “The server is down” so I can’t get my email. Well, I need to listen to this fucking song now! I can’t wait for the server to come back up, so that’s why I need the vinyl or the CD. I would probably play more face into streaming when they figure out servers don’t break down anymore. When they say “Servers are impossible to break down,” then I’ll start to take it more seriously, but I’m constantly faced with “The server is under maintenance” and even Twitter! “Twitter is under maintenance right now.” [laughs] The vinyl recorder player that I have in my living room is never under maintenance, even the needles work sure doesn’t, and when it does you just replace it in 5 minutes. Besides these two new releases that we talked about, you wrote a song called “5000 Miles” for John Garcia for his solo record released in 2014. How did that come about? It’s a nine year old story, so back in 2005 we were writing our record Sleep Is the Enemy and I was approached by his manager to write him a song for a solo album that he was working on. I said we were working on our album - which turned out to be Sleep Is the Enemy - but I asked if he would be interested in singing on it and I would give him a song. That was agreed and he sang on “Invisible” and I gave him “5000 Miles”. Well, “5000 Miles” is been sitting around for all these years, so that was the song I gave him after he sang on “Invisible” of our album Sleep Is the Enemy. It’s been 9 years because all this happened in 2005 and Sleep Is the Enemy was released in early 2006. Now it’s out! Last year he put it out, we recorded it earlier in the year and then he laid down all the stuff that he laid down and it’s pretty much the song. I played guitar on it and I wrote the lyrics and the melody before the song. I’m very happy about the result. I think John really did the song just as by sticking to the original, which he said he would do and I’m very honored by that, that he trusted me and liked it enough to do that. That was a great thing and I’m just happy to finally hear it with his vocals, because I’ve had the demo of the song with my voice for 9 years, but it’s John Garcia’s voice that it was written for. I didn’t write it for me, I wrote

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it for his voice. I could hear him singing the song and so it’s just nice that he finally did it. Over last year, you guys worked on your new album Fire Music. Can you tell me how was the whole process to make this new effort? It was the first time we gave ourselves a lot of time to write it and record it. In the past, the records were done I wouldn’t say heartily but sandwich in between all the touring and stuff, so we just said “Ok, we’re not doing anything. We’re gonna stay home. We’re gonna relax. We’re gonna just take our time and write this album” which it’s something we’ve never done before and so we did! I think it worked. I would casually go to JC house and show him the riffs that I had and we kind of worked on the songs and then some days would go by or a week would go by and we

would do it again and then bring it to Rich. In the space, we would jam on the ideas until we had about 15/20 ideas in very stages of songs and then we demo them, brought them to our producer Eric Ratz and it’s not the first time we worked with Eric. We worked with Eric 15 years ago when he was getting started in the industry and since that time his career has blossomed. We’ve done our thing and he has gone on producing albums for Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, and so finally we reunited in a way and we made this album.

It’s been great and Eric is a rocker, so I trust his rock sensibility. I think he did an amazing job on my guitar tones and really concentrated on guitar, which it’s something that I felt on the last few albums hasn’t really been concentrated on too much and I’m really, really happy about the tones he was able to get. I’m very happy with the result. When Eric stepped in when he did, we were also at the point where our songs were so strong, like we demo them on our own and they were really strong on their own. This album is the first time featuring your new drummer Rich

s p e e k t a th g n i h t t a e h n t o t e c h fa “T e h t s i n o g n t i e o g g o t me d e t i c , x s e g o n s o t s e e h t Ig y a l p d d n e h a s e i g n a mi st i d r e v e n .” s s r a a h e t y a e h s t e h t l l a through

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INTERVIEW // DANKO JONES Knox - formerly of Toronto rockers’ Flash Lightning. What did Rich bring to the mix? Rich has been in the band for a year and half, so he’s new for everyone except for us. We toured with him, we made this album with him, which it’s a real test to see whether or not we get along and if we can do this in a long period of time. When he came in, we wanted to get rid of the rack tom which it’s the tom that’s on top of the kit, something that Atom brought into the band. None of the past drummers have ever had played with the rack tom and that’s something was more of the

concept of the band, it’s the statement of the band and I wanted that, but in a kind of welcome gesture for Rich but I didn’t want the rack tom and him saying it first made me feel great. So that was good, a nice beginning and then after that it was like “Can we tour together? Yeah.” We got along great, we’re all getting along very well and it was like “Can we make a record together?” In the creative process, do we get along? Turns out he’s amazing. He’s a great drummer and the fact that he is very schooled which can

be... Actually work against you in rock’n’roll, but he has a swing and a soul that he brings to his playing and so you coupled that with the schooled kind of drumming and he is a powerhouse. I can’t believe we were able to get this guy. [laughs] The world is going to find out about him, but he’s been in bands locally and he’s being tearing it up. We found him through a friend of ours who recommended him, so we went on YouTube and we saw some of the older stuff he’s done and I was like “Wow, he looks like he really can play like rock’n’roll drums and he’s really solid.” It’s been great! We get along off stage, which it’s something I can’t really say for a lot of the drummers that toured in our band before, so I’m happy about that. I know that Danko Jones’ tunes are always incendiary and energetic, but why name this album Fire Music? This title has been around for a while. We came up with a whole bunch of titles, but nothing could beat Fire Music and so that’s what we stuck with. It was something that no matter how many titles we came up with, it was like nothing beat Fire Music and now that the album is done it really captures the songs on the record. It worked out for the best. “Gonna Be A Fight Tonight” is one of those energetic tracks with no time to take a deep breath and absolutely one of those new tracks that will sound awesome live. Which song off the new record are you most excited to play live? We are playing that one live and it’s really fun to play. We’re playing “Watch You Slide” as well and then we’ve just played a show in Paris and we played both two songs and plus “Do You Wanna Rock”. We’re probably gonna play a couple more songs, but when we were doing a press tour in Europe and we were travelling around, a lot of people were saying that we should do the whole album, from beginning to end. I don’t know if we’re gonna do that, but we’ll let people live with it and maybe later we start playing the whole album, but not at the beginning of the album’s release. Definitely we’re gonna be playing four or five songs of it, it’s gonna be fun. Fire Music is out now via Bad Taste Records

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ast year you guys celebrated your 20th anniversary as a band. What do you think it has changed the most between when you guys started out and nowadays? Well, that’s a tremendous space of time I guess. We started here in Anchorage in a little garage and now some of us are married, some of us have kids, you know? We started when we were 18 or 19 years old and I’ll be forty next year. A lot has been done and we’ve seen the world. We’ve been so blessed to get to do this because from where we come from it hasn’t been done before on the level that we’ve done it. It has helped the bands here locally as well. They can see that they can get out and do some touring in the States,

you know? I don’t believe anybody has been in Europe other than us, but the possibilities are there. I think a lot of ground work has been laid since the beginning days for us. It’s just that we’re not the all-knowing force but we are a band from this town that has done an extensive amount of touring and kind of had all the ups and downs of the industry, so I guess we can pass a little of knowledge. The difference now is that I think I’m just a much smarter musician than I was in the beginning days and the entire band is, and hopefully we’re way better on practice as well. I think as the years have gone on, a lot of songs kind of go exactly what our signature sound is and what we’re trying to convey lyrically and musically. I just hope in all these years that we just become better in our craft in all areas. You guys begun to write the songs of the new album back in 2011 and then they were only recorded in February 2014.

What did lead you to be on hold with this record? Yes and no. Some of the songs were started in 2011 and got fully completed in 2013, but I started recording early 2014. Life in general just kind of took its way with us. I lost my mother to cancer, my bass player lost also his mom... I think everybody just kind of needed a little break from the road. We were out for so many years up until 2011 and I just think that the entire vibe of the band was a little bit burnout, you know? We were just not like “Are we gonna continue?”, but we needed a bit of a break to be with our families. At that time my longtime drummer [Thomas Noonan] that I’ve played with for over 20 years decided that he didn’t want to tour anymore, which we totally respected it and I kind of thought that maybe this is the time that we hang it up, because coming from where we came from it was always such a brotherhood in

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our band and I didn’t really see us going on... We’ve lost our original bass player, JD Stuart, in 1996, but Mick Whitney has been in the band for much longer than our original bass player. Mick retired from the band in 2008, so anyway I was just like “We’re gonna go on with another drummer.” Around that time when we decided to retire, Mick decided that he wanted to come back to the band and I thought that was wonderful other than we were losing Thomas. I talked to Steve about it and he said “I’ve been jamming with Kyle Baltus,” who I knew very well, but didn’t realize that they were jamming together. Me and Steve sat down with Thomas to give us his blessing to continue with Kyle and he absolutely did. We were very grateful for that. It wasn’t a complete necessity to have his blessing, but it was a lot nice to have it. It kind of reaffirmed my feelings about the band and our brotherhood. Thomas was so supportive with Kyle and he has been up until today. Once we got Kyle, it kind of gave a new life to the band and we’ve been having a lot of fun with Kyle in the band.

seems that it’s still there and so we didn’t lose that part of it, but having Mick back was huge and then having Kyle - who one of his favorite drummers is Thomas, - he has a similar style. It was all good and like I said before we had a very long break between albums, so we had a lot of time to rejuvenate and get the creative flow back with the band. Obviously losing my mom was a very difficult thing, but it gave me some very important subject matter for the record. I think everything was done in a very therapeutic way. You have been playing the new songs live for a while now. How has been the response of the audience to these new tunes? They have been great! We’ve been playing two or three of them about a year now, so it is pretty nice to be close to get the record out because they will finally know what we’re playing to them. [laughs] It’s been great. I know that when I go to see bands that I don’t want to see them play a bunch of songs that I’ve never heard before. I want to hear the old classics and that’s the majority of people’s mindset, but I think us playing the two or

Talking about these lineup changes, did those have an impact on the writing process of Time and Trauma? Not really, because the main writers are still intact, you know? Steve writes all the music and I write all the lyrics, so that

s t s i f y z ra

rney through time and trauma...

_________ Words: Andreia Alves

With 20 years as a band and seven albums under their belts, 36 Crazyfists continues to impress and amaze all fans across the globe. Time and Trauma is their most recent effort and with no surprise is another imposing record. In a humble and honest chat, vocalist Brock Lindow talked about the inspirations behind the new album, and why it is a such an intense and personal effort.

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three songs that we did and us being away for a while was kind of cool to let everybody know that we have something in the works and that we’re coming out; also reaffirm to our band that we were back. It was great and a lot of fun, and of course we were trying not to be too selfish and play too many of the new ones, although it’s a lot of fun to do it. We had a good time doing it and like I said it’s nice to be close to the release date so we can actually play the new songs and then we’re gonna have people that actually heard them and get to know them along with us. Time and Trauma is quite intense and personal. Where did you draw inspiration from to your lyrics this time around? Well, it’s heavily themed around the loss of my mother and the entire process of finding out about fragility of life and in that process finding peace and closure in such tragic loss. My mom was one of our biggest fans, went to so many shows and always supported everything I did, so was very difficult to watch my mom’s sickness and ultimately her passing... She was only 58 years old, she wasn’t that old and so it was tough, but being able to write songs about that process and mourning about it... It’s not something that anyone wants to do, but unfortunately many of us had to witness it. It’s part of life and happens to turn to us and you need to be able to continue on with your own life and find some peace in such a tragic thing, so that’s the theme of the album and many of the songs are about the entire process of that, but not all of them. Most part of the songs is about that process growing as a man during that entire thing. The album ends so well with the beautiful heartfelt track “Marrow” and it seems that it was directly based on that process. What can you tell about that song and the girl that sings in it with you? She’s a tremendous singer from a band called Thera. We actually brought them to the UK with us in 2013 for the first time. They’re just a tremendous band and I love them very much. They got a brand new EP out called For Someone, Somewhere. You can get it on iTunes. I love their band and I think she’s such a special vocalist and she’s a friend of mine. Her name is Stephanie Plate. The song is about 50

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how much my wife helped me through the entire process of my mother being sick and it’s a love song. It was wrote to my wife that how grateful I am to her and it’s about my mother passing as well. I needed a female voice for it and Stephanie was one of the best, so I really had fun writing the song with her and I thought she did a wonderful job. Does the song with the date “11.24.11” has a special meaning? That’s the day my mom passed. I wrote that song that evening and it was actually on Thanksgiving. It was kind of surreal, because in a weird way I was really kind of hoping that my mom would pass at that time because the last couple of weeks were pretty awful. I was just hoping for some peace for my mom and for her not be suffering anymore. I got the call later when I was having dinner with my family and I had this sense of relief a little bit. Obviously it was very sad, but it was Thanksgiving’s day... The whole thing about that holiday is to be thankful for what you have and I was very thankful for my mom. It was fating that she passed on Thanksgiving’s day and I decided to write that song and I had that piece of music only a few days earlier that made sense to me. It’s an aggressive song musically and so I just let it all out in that song. That song is about that. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, I know it must had been really tough for you. Overall, Time and Trauma is a cathartic record for you, right? Absolutely, it sure was! You know, I think they’ve always been that way for me musically. I think that’s my outlet to get my emotions out and that’s what our records are about, but I’ve never realized how much this one I needed. I really needed this outlet and it was very cathartic and it was completely therapeutic for me. I really feel that I have some peace and closure on the entire process because I was able to write this record. You never feel like that about music until you really do, you know what I mean? Music has always been there for me all my life... For good times or bad times you have all kinds of music that you need to listen to just to feel something and I didn’t realize how bad I needed music until I went through all this. I was like so grateful that I’m in a band and

I can write songs about my emotions. It really made sense to me why I’m in a band all these years. When that opportunity arose that I could write about that terrible time of my life, it just helped so much. It really came to “why I’m in a band?” when I wrote this album. The production duties for the album were handled once again by Steve Holt. How was the recording process? I would’t like to say it was the same old same old, but I feel very comfortable recording with Steve. I think he is just tremendous in what he does and he challenged me maybe more than ever on this album, because I think it needed to be that way but not the sense that I didn’t have a good time doing it. It’s a very comfortable vibe in his studio and the challenges are there and he makes you work hard for mediocre takes, but he also gives you a very comfortable... He knows what I do. We’ve been playing music together for so long. He knows what my melodies are like, he knows what I’m going through so it’s easy to interact with him and I really enjoyed doing the last records with Steve. He is really tremendous in what he does. With no surprise, the cover art for Time and Trauma is intriguing and quite interesting. What can you tell me about who did the artwork and what’s the concept behind it? Mike D’Antonio from Killswitch Engage is the man behind the artwork and he’s a good buddy of mine. There’s a track on the album called “Time and Trauma” as well and the first line of lyrics from that song is “I’ve seen the devil in many of my days / Lately I’ve decorated far too many graves”. Those were the first lines that I wrote of the entire album, so it kind of set the tone and that song kind of spoke to Mike and he came back to me like “I love these lyrics. Let me start working on some art for this.” So that’s what he came up with and we loved it. I can’t wait for everybody to see the rest of the package because it’s beautiful. Anytime I can associate myself with Killswitch Engage is a plus in my book. I love those guys, it’s been a long relationship with them and I love what Mike does, so we’re really grateful that he added his genius to our project.


INTERVIEW // 36 CRAZYFISTS You guys are now part of Spinefarm Records family. How did that come along? They have been awesome so far. We’ve been through a few different record labels and I feel like we’re kind of getting sometimes. [laughs] They’ve been great. The thing is that originally we weren’t really sure what to do, because we were with Ferret last and Roadrunner Europe... We were with Ferret for America and with Roadrunner for the rest of the world and then we just kind of found ourselves as free agents because Ferret disbanded. Universal bought it and then most of the offices of Roadrunner in Europe had closen down, if not all of them. Anyway, we were just kind of up in the air and we thought that maybe we could do it ourselves even just through a digital release and through iTunes. We were just going to do in a DIY way. I’m really glad that we didn’t do that and now we are with Spinefarm... It’s just with the album and all the press that I’m doing - I went to London and New York to talk with people -, I haven’t done that for years, so what Spinefarm has done for the band so far is just so wonderful. Jonas Nachsin, the president of Spinefarm was also the president of Roadrunner, I’ve known him for many years and then Tim Brennan who’s the head of marketing he was also the head of marketing for Ferret

and so I’ve known him for many years. There were many familiar faces there and then we ended up getting a brand new manager as well and a new booking agent in North America. We kind of assembled the team with new people and fresh ideas, so we kind of got everybody pumped up, you know? It feels great and we’re grateful to Spinefarm. They’ve been really cool to us so far. I hope to have a nice, long relationship with them. You guys are from Alaska and all band lives now in Portland, except you that are living currently in Alaska. How is the music scene in Alaska nowadays? The music scene here is wonderful. I actually went out to see some bands on Saturday night and I’m very proud of our music scene, not just the metal scene! We got great alternative rock bands, indie rock bands... There’s a great music scene here and there has always been and I always think that the bands here are kind of doing their own thing. Maybe it’s because of the isolation, maybe the lack of influence from the States because we’re not connected to them. I’m a big fan of the music scene here. Everybody seems to be pretty close to each other. I mean, I got lot of friends in the bands here, everybody is there for each other and so it’s a great place. I would love

for more record companies to take notice and come up and scout out some of the bands here, because there are a lot of great bands here. Do you recommend us any band from there that we should listen to? Absolutely! Thera are great. I love their band and I love their music. They are creating something that is very cool and they sound like them instead of bunch other bands and that’s what I dig about them. You should check them out, they got a brand new EP For Someone, Somewhere on iTunes and it’s a great EP. I read that you opened a restaurant in Alaska. What’s it called, so I can visit? It’s called Cross Bar. It’s a hockey themed restaurant. Hockey is a sport that we love up here and it’s my favorite sport. Actually, as soon as we get off of this phone, I’m walking into the ring and play a little bit of hockey. It’s a sport bar and we do a lot of local beers and food. It’s a really cool place. We play all sports, but the decor is vintage black and white hockey photos. We have good beers and good cocktails.

Time And Trauma is out now via Spinefarm Records

“Music for me... I think that’s my outlet to get my emotions out and that’s what our records are about, but I’ve never realized how much this one I needed.” www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine

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ENTER SHIKARI

NO SL

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S N A B L A . T LEEP TILL’ S Words: Dave Bowes

When the electronicore movement fizzled out with nary a pop, let alone a bang, one group of rabble-rousers stood strong and continued to evolve with a cheeky grin and a clenched fist. That mob are Enter Shikari and they’ve returned with another vitriolic one-two in The Mindsweep and it might just be most ingenious and eloquent work to date. Music&Riots nabbed vocalist Rou Reynolds in the midst of the inevitable promotional storm to discuss what makes it, and them, tick.

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Y

realised the stuff that we had, it gave ourselves a bit more of a sense of what we could achieve, and what we wanted to achieve. It’s the best process there is, really.

ou’re heading off to a signing just now. How important is it to have that faceto-face contact with your fans? I think it’s pivotal, really. Being the type of band that was made from playing so many shows and doing everything ourselves, one thing that can go awry when you get above a certain point in how big your band is, is that you can lose that physical closeness. We always try to do what we can to keep that. Obviously, social media can have a part to play in it but some people want to make eye contact, want to shake your hand and give you a hug and we want to do the same, because these are people who support our music. They probably understand us more than anyone else, so it’s about creating friendship and bonds as well. You’ve spoken out against the rise of VIP meet and greet packages too. Do you think that there’s a sense with some bands who offer them that they’re devaluing their own fans? Absolutely. It seems to have had an effect already, not just with our comments but there has been a general backlash and now, with these meet and greets and VIP packages, they’re crammed full of other stuff. It’s not like a few years ago, where meet and greets were just that – you were just paying to meet the band and you’d get a poster, which is obviously just absolutely bewildering. You can’t call yourself part of an alternative scene and offer people the same thing as Hollywood does - it’s just madness. Well, you’ve just released The Mindsweep, which you started working on at the beginning of last year. Did it take long to get back into songwriting mode this time around? Yeah, especially as initially it was just lists of ideas on numerous devices, in my head or written down on paper. Always, when you know you’ve got this mission ahead of you, that period of time can get quite anxious and nerve-wracking but once we got organised and

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You precluded the album with the few singles which became the Rat Race EP, and you did something similar last time around with tracks like “Destabilise”. Is this a format you can see yourselves sticking with? Does it help with the process, rather than diving straight into writing a new album? I’m always writing, really, and it’s very frustrating when you’ve written something and you’re in the middle of an album cycle and touring for a few years. You have this music and want to release it, and sitting on music is something we’ve never been good at. It’s best to get it out there, so it’s something that we’re still going to do. There’re still so many tracks that weren’t far enough along to be considered for this album, tracks that we’re probably more excited about than anything we’ve done before that are still on the back burner, just waiting, so hopefully before the end of the year we’ll have some new stuff out as well.

“You can’t cal part of an alt scene and off the same th Hollywood d just madn

Last time around, you recorded in Thailand but you came back home for the recording of The Mindsweep. How much of a difference was that? Climate-wise, yeah, it does make a difference, but surprisingly there were quite a lot of similarities. I think just the extent to which both areas were in the middle of nowhere; really calm places. With Lincolnshire, we were really lucky because we got two studios, in two old houses where we were sleeping - it was all self-contained. It just felt so homely, at peace: rolling moors, woodlands everywhere you looked... it was the same with Thailand, where we were in the middle of the forest, right by the beach. It wasn’t near any of the westernised cities, so there was just a village nearby and that was it. I think we definitely work best when we have that isolation and we can be completely dedicated to what we’re doing.

moments in years, but also some of the most mellow and melodic. It’s almost focused on the poles of your sound. Yeah, absolutely. I was brought up on what I would call real pop music. My dad was a Motown and Northern Soul DJ, and I was brought up on John Lennon, Marley, Dylan – the greats – so I think a sense of melody is always going to be essential to anything that Shikari does, but obviously as teenagers we grew up in a hardcore punk scene, so real grit, aggression, excitement and dynamics are important to us as well.

The new album seems to operate at extremes, with some of your most straight-up hardcore

The electronics this time around have been a step up. They’re more subtle, but also quite


INTERVIEW // ENTER SHIKARI

ll yourself ternative fer people hing as does - it’s ness.” controlled. How would you describe your development as a programmer? I think to a certain extent Flash Flood... was going in this direction. With the first album, we were truly not being influenced by specific synths from specific genres; I’d say we just used the synth as an extra instrument and weren’t heavily influenced by what was going on at the time. Here, we used everything from subtle pads to aggressive synths, and obviously the sub, as well as sampling and sequencing as well. I think we were influenced by more abstract electronic composers, who are just using whatever tools that they have to make sounds and to evoke emotions, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do.

What is your current setup, stage-wise, as I imagine some of it must be difficult to port over? Absolutely. When we’re in the studio we’ve banned the word ‘live’. We don’t talk about it, which is difficult because you have to add in an additional two months at the end of any album just to get with the stage crew and work out how you’re going to recreate it and how you’re going to play it live. It is kind of shooting ourselves in the foot but I think it’s worth it because you don’t want to limit creativity in the studio in any way. We’re still in the process of editing the set-up and finalising it for the February tour but we’ve got a few production days next week to get it sorted. Chris is going to be

playing some of the keys so there’s going to be two keyboards on stage now, a couple of other MIDI modules going on, the big guitar effects and bass effects are linked up to our sequencer as well so there’s a lot of that’s been done in that way; I’m going to be playing some of the brass parts live and then we have the addition of a lot more percussion, like the xylophone. We’re just trying to play as much as we can with the four people that we have. How did you end up playing the brass parts, and have you been playing for long? Trumpet was the first instrument I ever learned, actually. I started learning that when I was about 9 or 10. I lost touch with it around the

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end of my teens but picked it back up again. I always really enjoyed being in an orchestra, feeling quite small but not insignificant; being part of this awesome emotion generating group of people with all these different instruments. I found that really exhilarating, so it’s nice to pick that up again. With this album, we had the string quartet come in and we had some woodwind so that was nice, nostalgic. Rory has said that you were listening to a lot of classical and neo-classical composers when writing this. Absolutely. Stravinsky’s probably my favourite composer. I would even go as far as saying that he’s the first true punk musician. Maybe some classical people would also say the same of Wagner but I think Stravinsky’s just a huge influence, not just musically but also his mindset and how he went about things. Is this feel of an orchestra what you are aiming for with Enter Shikari, something huge where the total is greater than the sum of its parts? All we’re setting out to do is convey emotions with vibrations, man. That’s why we enjoy such a range of instrumentation, and dynamics and texture; just producing different feelings with music. I would get so bored if I was in a metal band that was just about anger and nothing else. There’s more to life than that. I love the delicacy and you can produce such extreme emotions with music; maybe it’s just the empowerment that we have as composers and I really embrace that. There’s some interesting material on that in the book Musicophilia. The power that music can have over the mind is pretty incredible. Yeah, Oliver Sacks is the man! He’s amazing. But I agree, it’s almost scary, how just sounds arranged in a certain way can evoke emotions that would normally only be evoked in extreme situations in real life. What are your earliest musical memories? I’ve got a shocking memory in general, but I can distinctly remember being in the basement of my parents’ house where my dad kept all his old records from his DJing days and going through chests and chests of records. It literally 56

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was like treasure chests to me. It was amazing, and he taught me how to carefully put the needle on the vinyl, and after a while he’d let me go down there by myself to play the music and I’d be dancing around to the music with my brother to early Motown. That’d be probably my first memory. Coming back to the new record, it’s very incisive, but you guys always seem to have very clear targets – climate change, the privatisation of the NHS... How do you about choosing your targets? A lot of it is waiting to see. The music always comes first, and once we’ve got a feel for the structure, it’s only then I start thinking, “What does this make me feel when I’m listening to it?” That might help direct me towards a certain subject that maybe I’d already been thinking about and wanted to approach. Lyrically, I’ll be writing stuff down all the time and have this massive list. With The Mindsweep, certain songs just felt right. They just connected to a certain subject I’d already written down in that list so it was then just a case of embarking on writing the lyrics in full for each track. At what point did you start to feel that your music should have some form of socio-political message behind it? It was probably about the time that Rory joined the band. In the beginning it was me, Rob and Chris, and when we first started we just played straight-up hardcore punk, influenced by our local scene and starting to get into various American bands and Dischord records. Then we went off in kind of a prog direction, being influenced by Muse and Radiohead, and then Rory joined and I guess that’s when we combined those two influences, the punk and the indie, or however you want to describe it. I think it was only then that we started having trouble with our local council. They were trying to shut down gigs all the time and cut funding to youth clubs at the time. Basically, just anything that would help get youth off the streets, and I think that gave us an anger, or a disrespect towards authority in general. Also, listening to a lot of those bands who were touring ten years ago and would stop by St Albans, like

Capdown and Adequate 7, who always used to do a few speeches between songs and approach some social subjects. It was being influenced by music but also what was happening to us that edged us in that direction. You lean very much to the left, as does most punk, but do you think that has cost you any fans or success? I’m sure it has to some extent. Generally, we try to stay completely apolitical. I’m not interested in party politics or anything like that system of doing things. Already, you’re dividing the human race and at the end of the day, we all need the same things so I think that’s a bit immature and perhaps history will rid us of a political system like that in the future. I think a lot of the stuff with the left is they’re much more willing to take on scientific evidence. They’re not so blind. With the right, it’s all about selfpreservation and the self coming first; the maximisation of the self and rationally speaking, scientifically speaking, I don’t think that’s what our species is supposed to be. I don’t think that’s the way to make our species flourish and to make our biosphere prosper. I guess that will always make us look like raging socialists. You’ve actually said in the past that if you hadn’t pursued music, you would have sought a career in science. What discipline would you have chosen? Well, I would have tried. Whether I’d have made it or not, I don’t know. Definitely not physics, though. I’ve got a mate who’s a physicist, so I don’t mean that in an insulting way, I just don’t think I could hack it, basically. I was always pretty useless at math. I kept trying and even did it at AS-level but I don’t think I could handle the amount of maths that’s involved in physics. I love psychology and anything to do with cognition and neuroscience so I try to dabble in that a little bit. Obviously, I’m interested in climatology so I’d maybe have tried my hand at those things, rather than trying and failing at being an astrophysicist or something. The vocal delivery on The Mindsweep is much more diverse than on your earlier albums. There’s a lot of variation between styles. How do


INTERVIEW // ENTER SHIKARI

“With the right, it’s all about self-preservation and the self coming first; the maximisation of the self and rationally speaking, scientifically speaking, I don’t think that’s what our species is supposed to be.” you feel you’ve developed and do you take any vocal training? No, I’ve actually never but I’ve always wanted to, especially in the beginning; a few years into touring, where I felt a nodule on the old voicebox and that was a bit scary. I had to stop touring for a bit. I always wondered just how much damage I’m doing but over the years, just through being conscious of what I’m doing and how it’s making me feel, plus doing a bit of research as well – when you get headaches when you’re singing, that’s probably not a good thing. By just remembering to breathe, knowing how to use the diaphragm, over the years I’ve just gotten to a place where I’m pretty confident in a lot of styles. For instance, in the past we’ve always had falsetto as backing vocals but on this album some of the choruses are completely falsetto, which took a bit of confidence to do – because it’s not something

you often get the chance to do, especially in music that’s influenced by punk. It’s just that want and desire to create music that conveys different emotions and you need a wide palette of colours within the vocal spectrum. It’s just now, finally, after over ten years in the game we have the confidence to do that. One notable part of the band is that there’s a sense of hope that run through your lyrics. Is it important for you to retain some form of optimism? There’s some music that obviously puts forward this positive (almost overly positive) perspective but I try to remain realistic. This isn’t hippy music in that sense; we’re not saying, “Oh, we can do this, this is amazing. Everyone have hope.” I think that can sometimes come across as a bit ignorant so it’s about keeping a sense of irony and comedy in the face of real

adversity. You could switch the news on today and become clinically depressed after watching the 10 o’clock news for half an hour with just how bad things are so it’s difficult but I think one of the great tools we have as human beings is the way we can get laughter or comedy out of almost anything. It really does strengthen you, showing that you’re not going to let things get to you; to see the bright side and just stay strong, basically. That’s really important, and the other really important thing we think about is a lot of the positives with technology, all the possibilities. Capitalism isn’t great, obviously, at reinforcing and putting into place new technologies. It very much likes how things are. The oil industry, for example, has this massive infrastructure, and they’re not going to change because that costs, and what they’re concerned with is profit. That’s what capitalism is good at

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creating profit and keeping things the same. The one thing that we try and concentrate on is the importance of science and technology because that’s where things get really exciting, and being able to promote and be on the side of those kinds of positive really does keep us positive. If only the news had a five minute section where they concentrated on all the latest breakthroughs and scientific discoveries, from genetics and medicine to technology and physics; maybe a little section on space, to say what we now know that we didn’t yesterday. That’s what humanity’s brilliant at – finding out more, and progressing, and we’re going to get there, I think. Our band are just relentless optimists, really, and I think that obviously comes across in the music.

it was already a running joke between us that we should cover it. It just seemed like the planets aligned.

Your message is delivered with real eloquence too. Do you make a conscious effort not to dumb down for the audience? One thing that we definitely consciously think about is not demeaning our audience. It’s very easy to want to water everything down and pop music does that on a really wide scale; it waters the music down, the lyrics down. It’s high fructose, shoved down your throat; “Have this for five minutes, you’re going to love it!” Then it just does your fucking head in. One thing with being an alternative (whatever that means) band is you have a bit more free reign. You don’t need to patronise your audience or water things down. There are some moments, like at the beginning of Gandhi... where you could take that as I’m actually shouting at you, but hopefully the inclusion of the gang vocals still makes it sound like we still make it feel like this is us. You, listening to it - you are with us. If you’re not, then that’s great; we encourage debate. We often talk to our fans and friends and people who perhaps don’t agree with everything we have to say, and I think that’s important. That’s the only way that we’re going to grow and learn and come to some sort of conclusion and, again, comedy is a big part of that. Making sure that people don’t think we’re taking ourselves too seriously; we’re not shouting at you, we’re with you.

One of the things happening this week has been the leak of the new Björk album. What has your experience been with albums leaking and what are your thoughts on it? It’s probably the only thing that actually annoys me about music downloading and all that pirating and everything else. Once it’s out, it’s different; I’ve always been of the view that I’m already a bit queasy being an artist within capitalism. I’m a strong believer that art should be free to everyone regardless of their purchasing power so I’m not like Metallica, that will fucking whinge and whinge about music being stolen. Obviously it’s a really intricate, convoluted subject but I feel that if people can have free access to music I think that would do a lot for general well being of everyone and that’s a good thing. Our band didn’t come out in a time when musicians made so much off of selling their music. With Take To The Skies, we sold a lot but it wasn’t anything like it used to be before that. We’ve never really experienced that extreme of getting rich from selling music so it’s not something we’ve ever wanted to stick up for. It just doesn’t bother me, but when something comes out before, it fucks up the way that you planned for people to hear it – the singles, the songs you wanted people to hear first; all the promotion of the record. That bothers me but if people download it before, it just means that they’re excited to hear it so I can’t complain about that either. We’re really lucky because it was only a few weeks before and it was really self-contained so it didn’t spread everywhere.

Maybe a touchy subject but was the “Call Me Maybe” cover part of that too? Yeah, they wanted a cover of a mainstream track that was out at the time and that was the one we definitely had to do. One of our crew members is a huge pop fan – Taylor Swift is one of his favourite artists – but he was playing “Call Me Maybe” all the time on tour so 58

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Were there any other possibilities, or any other covers you’d love to do? I’d like to do more covers but it’s difficult because you don’t normally get the time. We did the Game Of Thrones theme just the other day. That was a lot of fun but we just learned and played that in a week, which was pretty stressful; we were pretty afraid when we were doing the session, thinking “Oh God, we’re going to fuck up!” but that was alright. I think Rock Sound are doing a metal comp of bands from now covering the bands of the 90s, or the noughties. We’re going to be a part of that, and we haven’t picked what we’re going to do yet but that’s going to be pretty fun.

The Mindsweep is out now via Ambush Reality/PIAS

“Our ban think th


INTERVIEW // ENTER SHIKARI

nd are just relentless optimists, really, and I hat obviously comes across in the music.�

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It all started over a decade ago and since then Torche has been creating this upward spiral that is getting bigger and bigger with every record they release. The self-titled album, Meanderthal, Harmonicraft, and now the brand new Restarter. It’s all part of a process that tries to tell us a story, an idea, or more suitably…. a sound, that has all these different elements – heavy, slow, fast, melodic, weird, dynamic, and never stiff. Perhaps Jonathan Nuñez (bassist, producer, etc.) is the guy that more heavily carries that mission. Is there a goal? Is it sometimes political? Is there an actual restart? Nuñez just told it as it is.

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TORCHE

Words: Tiago Moreira // Pictures: Devaki Knowles

S S E N I V A E H C I D H MELO

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I’m not nervous but I’m excited. I can’t wait for the album to be out and for us to be on tour playing these new songs.

ess than one month for the new album to drop. Are you the type of guy that gets nervous in these kind of situations? I don’t really get nervous, if I’m being honest. I just get excited because we have put so much of hard work and everyone had to travel, in our scenario, because everyone lives in different places, so I’m just excited for everyone to have the full album, and get the artwork, and the record. Everything has been going really well with songs that Relapse has released through different publications, and we had really good response...

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Talking about the tour, you guys will tour extensively throughout the US and Europe. It starts in March, if I’m not mistaken. Yeah, it is with Wrong and Nothing. Is it the Torche’s biggest tour to date? I think it’s something like 50+ dates. No. We’ve done longer tours. The thing is, I think that online the way it looks... it looks like we were on tour from December 2007 all the way through March and then the European dates in May, but there’s like a three, or four, weeks in between those tours. I was a little bit scared when I first heard the title, to be honest. In which way would you describe this new album, this

moment on Torche’s career, as a restart? What did you mean by that? I don’t really see it as restart. To be honest, there was another title for the record and certain song titles were being moved around. I personally wasn’t too happy with the original possible album title, so I think Restarter was brought up and it caught my attention right away. I like the sound of it, the word as a certain ring to it, and it was actually moved around to one song to another. I suggested that and the guys were ok with that, then I also suggested that also sounded like a good album title. It’s not necessarily tied into us redoing our song, it’s not a concept album or anything, it just sounds good, and it’s short, and it has a nice ring to it. And it ties in well to the artwork, it ties in to the theme of the artwork that is like the fall of mankind because of machinery and technology that is created, and eventually will


INTERVIEW // TORCHE

“with us every record has its own thing, we don’t really make, or we don’t have a plan, a blueprint, of where we want to go and what we want to do.” replace us. It’s completely moving forward without any necessity of human interaction, once it got what it needs for us. Do you think Restarter would have been possible without the existence of Harmonicraft? The new album is different in a lot of ways but there are some “similarities”, if you know what I mean. Yeah, absolutely! But I do think that with us every record has its own thing, we don’t really make, or we don’t have a plan, a blueprint, of where we want to go and what we want to do. We just get together and we write the riffs, and what comes out, comes out. If we liked it, then cool, we keep it, work on it, and we continue. But at the same time if we don’t like, we just will get rid of it. We’re just on a day-to-day basis and in a week we could have anywhere from three to six songs, or any number in between those...

or maybe even more. But we don’t like to analyze our previous records and then plan out how the next one should sound, or how the vibe of the song should built, etc. That being said, I do feel that is different than Harmonicraft. I feel that we, in a natural way, don’t end up writing and releasing the same record over and over. This one is definitely moodier, heavier, not as much as upbeat as the last one, flat, and rockin’. It has energy, but in a different area. More power. But don’t you get influenced by what you’ve done in the past? I mean, even without making an effort for that to happen. Yeah, it makes sense. We have been a band for over ten years now, so we definitely have our own sound, our identity. The first record, there was some left-over Floor songs that Steve [Brooks, guitar and vocals] had written, songs that Juan

[Montoya, guitar] was a part of, and songs that me, Steve, and Rick [Smith, drums] wrote... then we started touring and developing our own sound. A lot of it does go back to the first record but, I feel that we definitely have a wide array of sounds in a spectrum. We could have upbeat songs, slower sounds, heavy songs. We have a lot of ground that we covered it that we are going to do in the future, I’m sure of that. It’s always good to never put a limit, or a cap, on your possibilities, and I’m not just talking about music. I think that comes naturally to us. We don’t try to do the same shit over and over again, because it’s just boring to us. You have to keep yourself entertained and interested in the stuff that you’re doing. We are playing live for quite some time, and we want to keep doing that. If we want to keep playing live and at the same time have that interest, and that excitement, then you have to move forward. That’s at least

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“To me a full-length there’s upbeat songs, slower songs... even ballads sometimes.” the case with us. Sure, sometimes you have songs on the record that you know that you’ll probably never play them live but you have to be happy with that you’re releasing and creating. Do you think this album was kind of a search for the “perfect” balance between the upbeat, the heaviness, the melody, etc.? Yeah, the balance comes out naturally. You put together a record, and if you have eight songs that all sound the same, that just sounds weird to me. To me a fulllength there’s upbeat songs, slower songs... even ballads sometimes. It takes more than just one, or even two types of songs repeated over and over to make a record feel complete, to feel balanced. I feel that we do pretty good in that department, in that category. I know that the new album was mostly written as a group. How much of a leap forward is it this new album in terms of a collaborative process? We write together and that’s pretty much the bulk of the stuff. Steve is pretty quick to come up with stuff on the spot... on this record, I had a couple of songs written beforehand entirely, with the drum machine and other stuff, which was the first time that we’ve done something like that, “You guys like it? Cool!” - the songs that I’m talking about are “No Servants” and “Loose Man”. 64

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I have to say the way the opener “Annihilation Affair” ends... You guys had some balls with that one. A few minutes and there’s weirdness all over the place. Yeah! [laughs] Was it intentional? Yeah, it was. I think right away when that song was being written, I came up with the opening riff and then we would kind of like... it’s similar but different for us, a little bit. It definitely has a massy, heavy, kind of like repetitive, angry vibe, and then we’ve put it together it was like, “Dude, this song will be one of heaviest, if not the heavier, songs on the record.” Once we wrote the rest of it, and put it all together, we were just messing around with the

song. We were just thinking about different ways to approach the beginning of the record as far as the length and specific order. It gives you a certain feel right off the bat, obviously song order is very important for a record. We were like, “Fuck it! Let us just put that one in,” and right away you know that the record, what we wrote and what we were at, and what lies ahead sonically is going to be different from the last record. In fact, if anything, will be the opposite as far as the starting track with a kick in the face and crushing you at the end. “Our leaders are done with conversations.” Those are the lyrics of the last track of the album, the title track. It ends


INTERVIEW // TORCHE

“I can’t say that we are going to be, or that we are a political band or anything like that, but we do have our beliefs.” or two there that I think it’s definitely catching a lot of people’s attention.

with a pretty dark note. Yeah! I think it ties in well with how a lot of us feel with the powers that be, whether is the government or any people that have power, or reign over; whether it’s a country, or your boss, even bringing it down to your daily level. The lyrics, to me, they just explain that sometimes, or maybe more than sometimes [laughs], people are controlled, or have power over society, or do have the last word... everyone that has strong opinions, or beliefs, will fight for it, but it is a hard struggle to push for what you believe in, and what is fair. We’re not typically a political band at all, of course we have our personal beliefs, but this could tie in to the artwork where the

artificial intelligence, that was built by us, that is taking over... you know, sometimes there are things that you hope to create take over and become their own thing and in the end move on without being in a need of you, it just moves forward no matter what, you know what I mean? It might be a little sci-fi but I think it might be an interesting thing to talk about and there have been plenty of books and movies made about this topic, relating to like man-made things, often the artificial intelligence, taking over and ultimately whipping us out. With that being said, I can’t say that we are going to be, or that we are a political band or anything like that, but we do have our beliefs. That’s just a little a line

It’s funny that we’re talking about Torche not wanting to be political band. A few months ago I was talking with Justin Broadrick [Godflesh] and we were discussing that. Godflesh is not intended to be a political band but it ends up being political. It’s really hard for people to be apolitical. I think it’s the same with Torche. Yeah, exactly! I think it happens with a lot of bands. I feel that you try... our being a creative outlet, your personal beliefs and influences are going to come across, they will be clear. The delivery of your art, the images... everything involved with your creative forces, like you can see your personality and influences come through it, and as well your beliefs at the very fore front of it all. You guys are very vocal about not wanting to stop evolving. Do you see Torche being one of those bands that completely change their sound in the future? I don’t think we could completely change our sound... we have our sound, that we have developed over a decade and that’s an influence of everything that we grew up on. What we have been playing, how we play, what we are playing through, and what we have already accomplished. I don’t think we are going to turn into an

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ge an ch ly te le p m co ld u co e w k in th ’t “I don e have w at th , d n u so r ou e av h e w ... d n u our so an ’s at th d an e ad ec d a er ov ed op el dev on.” p u ew gr e w at th g in h yt er ev of ce influen electronic band, or some sort... like dubstep, but we’re going to expand, things will change, and we will broaden our sound. Just like Harmonicraft, this new album was recorded at Pinecrust, in your home studio. Is it by now an essential element on Torche’s equation regarding recording new music or do you see the band recording in another place? I think it makes things easier and more affordable to get the sounds that we want, what we have been working towards while writing the record and playing live, up until the recording of the new record also, because you’ll dial into different stuff. Playing live you will come across different pedals and other stuff... you can change a lot within the cycle of one record to another, but it is just easier to go and just knock out what you want instead of just telling someone, and trying to... it’s just like being a backseat driver. You might as well take the wheel yourself. You’ve always said that the reason why you guys enjoy working with Kurt Ballou is because it’s so easy to communicate with him. He knows his role, which is mix the record and just put everything intelligible, clear, and effective both dynamically and frequency wise. This last one was a challenge for him because the sounds are pretty much... 98% of the way there, at the very least, so he kind of was stumped and didn’t know which way to go with it. It took him like four or five mixes. It was definitely challenging for him, no doubt. Everyone that worked on the record worked really hard. I worked hard getting the sounds that I wanted; he worked hard trying to get as close as we wanted as possible, and having it prepared for Alan [Douches, mastering] to complete the project and take it all the way with the mastering. You’ve been again in charge of recording and production. Do you guys consider the possibility of sharing those duties with other people or not be at all involved? [pause] That’s what I do for a living so I have no problem doing it. It feels pretty natural and I know how it is like to be on both sides of the fence, working with a band as an engineer and also being in a band working with an engineer. I think it’s pretty comfortable, communication is key. Getting what the band wants is a priority, and making sure that it gets as close as the live sound as possible. You want to recreate what people like about a band and when you go see them live, the energy and all that stuff. That’s work for me and I love doing it. Working with another producer? Yeah, I would be open to that. I probably wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut because I’m a very, and heavily, opinionated person. I know our sounds and I know how to get them, but yeah... it would be cool to work with other people and see what they can bring to the table. Especially if we respect the work that they’ve done.

Restarter is reviewed in this issue and is out now via Relapse Records 66

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INTERVIEW // TORCHE

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R E W S N A E H T S NOISE I

r second fu ei th e as le re to t ou ab is ds ar w Co nd ba Founded in 2011, french dark rghaerdbycosoremeone who seems to be “sick of everything and th Infamy, an obnoxious discha d ironical, Adrian Lederer was kind enough to answer a fe everything”. Unpretentious an

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istening to your music one can only infer you must be used to a different Paris from the one known as the city of love. You have said that living in an urban environment represents a big influence on Cowards, but that could be Paris or any other concrete jungle as far as his preferences are concerned. Knowing that the 68

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Cowards, in any way, a product of that environment? Do you feel like you would sound different or talk about other stuff if you lived in “redneck town” in the middle of nowhere? Well, Paris is just a city you know. It’s one of those human scaled cities you can cross over, walking, within 2 or 3 hours, depending how fast you’re going. So, really, it’s just a city. Nothing special takes place here, neither love nor violence is especially strong here. It’s filled with people though, so that’s always a bummer. But I think what I failed to explain properly in the past is that it’s less a question of where as it is a question of how we live. We’re all pretty much on the same social level so to speak: ranging from middle class to upper middle class upbringing, we’re all part of the

working force, kind of. So not rich, but not in desperate need of money. I think that’s what makes us who we are, as a band too. And that’s what makes our experience of Paris what it is. It also means that given we’d retain the same social level, we’d pretty much have the same experience in any other major city that shares the same common cultural grounds, of course. Now, although it’s kind of an obvious question, it seems unavoidable that we wouldn’t have the same discourse on life had we all been from a really, really isolated location. But the world has become this place where you can keep up and see what’s going on pretty much everywhere, from everywhere, and having had the life we’ve had so far, meaning a quite easy life, with a lack of really nothing, access to culture, it made us spoiled, jaded and disenchanted and now that I think of it, I’m not


COWARDS Words: Ricardo Almeida

ull-length, Rise to he everythingness of ew questions for us. even sure that had we been from the country side, we’d have another take on life. I mean, our discourse is nothing original really, it’s not aimed to be of course, but still, I’ve seen ideas we used before by many other bands in many other places. As far as considerable cultural clashes and criminality problems, I’m not sure I can say that it had more than any other “major” city in the past years. You guys seem to follow this “trend” (sorry, couldn’t find a better word) of extremely dark, introspective and psychologically violent hardcore. Trying to avoid another Kickback comparison, do you look up to bands like, let’s say, Celeste, Amenra or even Rise & Fall (or others) as examples of bands who seem to have found their very particular sound and language, as opposed to other bands who appear to be trying to see who has the biggest penis while emulating the NY or Boston classic styles?

No offense taken, we don’t mean to reinvent the steel, so it’s all good. We’re not the biggest fans of any of these bands, although we respect what they’ve achieved. There is something to be said about the Belgian scene and the whole Church of Ra thing. This scene has always been so strong, with bands like Length of Time, Broken Clown, Arkangel, Congress in the past, and bands like Daggers, Severe, nowadays, and so underrated, too. We have a soft spot for most of their scene, and they’re pretty much all very accomplished musicians. Musically though, we don’t relate to any of them. They do their stuff, and we do ours, apart from our blatant rip-off of some of Arkangel’s tricks here and there. I mean, that voice, I still can’t believe it’s real. We also feel we took a shade here and there of the tone of their lyrics. Well, the most recent ones, dating from Hope You Die... As far as the American scene, you can’t deny what’s been done there, but except for lesser bands, like Section 8 or Gehenna, they didn’t really have an influence on us. I think we missed on all of

that when we were knee deep in metal. We yearn for that sense of catchiness and thuggish riffing, like Biohazard or Merauder but we really can’t do it. Heavy music wise, we’re very much caught up in the 90’s, beginning of 2K still, too. As for Celeste, they’ve worked hard so they got where they are. I actually was drawn back in the whole playing violent music thing by Plebeian Grandstand’s debut album, what a masterpiece. Tell us about the writing and recording processes of Rise to Infamy. I know you guys booked the studio a year in advance and also booked it for quite some time. Do you feel like the comfort and freedom of extra studio time was an opportunity to experiment and it ultimately lead to a better record? Definitely. It was thought through, though. We had booked 3 weeks for our first, 3 days for our second, and did it in two very different ways so we could pinpoint what we wanted and how to get it. We discussed it with Francis at Studio Sainte-Marthe and it became clear that to achieve the drum sound we wanted, we’d need to record it by itself, so that was that, a whole 69


week worth of drumming, including setting up everything and recording. It also became clear that we’d have to spend at least two days on looking for a bass sound that would be both aggressive and retain that groovy quality, in a hip hop kind of way, I’m not going to draw you a map, but add it all up and you have booked yourself 5 weeks of quality studio time with a long time friend and producer that knows you extremely well, and vice versa. And let me tell you this, as afraid as we were to have too much time on our hands, it actually was just a little short. I think we could have gone 6 weeks and still not find the time to get bored. It was great, very fulfilling, very humbling and extremely exhausting. As far as writing process, I’m sorry but I have nothing interesting to tell you. No ritual, no epiphany, just riffs, jams, drinks, laughs and doubts. I read one of you saying – and I am paraphrasing - “There is no catharsis in our music.” What do you mean? Don’t you feel like what you’re doing can, not only be an escape (from all the mundane or frustrating shit we all deal with) but also a way of helping one finding its own place? That’s kind of what I get from, let’s say, the last Modern Life is War album – which I’m not sure you’re the biggest fans of. I’m not sure who you mean by “one finding its own place” but we’re all over 30 now. Like I said, in a way or another, we’re all part of a working force, so we’ve had to find a place a while ago now, and it never came down to the music to do that. We’ve decided on playing music a long time ago, and decided on not dropping it out for almost as long but at the same time it was as much a choice as a revelation or an imposition that the music we set out to play wouldn’t pay the bills. So we’ve had to make it work some other way. It was probably dictated by our upbringing and a somewhat shallow yearning for a minimum of comfort in life I guess. Disappointing huh? We’re not a Motley Crue of colorful people with crazy lives. So no, no catharsis, no help in life, no escape. I mean, music as a crutch, thanks but no thanks, we’re pissed not morons. As far as Modern Life Is War, we’ve heard the name. You’re modus operandi seems to have foundations on the 70

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principle of brutal honesty, which may have gotten you a few enemies. However, I came across a recent interview of yours and I felt like you were being more defensive than before, making sure your answers weren’t perceived as aimed directly to the interviewer. Do you feel like you are misunderstood a lot of times? What did you expect? We’re not clowns set on the same number at all times. This is how it works, we’re not about gratuitous aggression all the time, it doesn’t mean anything. We hold ourselves and everyone else to a pretty high standard, be it only manners wise. So we’re not going to bite the hand that feeds us, just for the sake of it, and on the other hand feel that people just let themselves drown in their haze of shit, on a constant basis, now are we? It’s a reaction. The flip side of that coin is that there are only two ways we can be, the best and the worst. We also have a deep sense of loyalty. When you don’t connect with so many people, you get to cherish the ones that trust you from the get go. On the other hand, it’s also true that we don’t try to connect at all cost, but that doesn’t mean we aim to make new enemies, although those are fun as hell. The thing with enemies in this music scene is that they will spend a lot of time and energy to speak ill of you. It just so happens that, gathering from hearsay about us, we’re arrogant violent racists posers junkies. It’s a shame to hear that, as we are not junkies, I have a doubt though; our black drummer might be racist. Having said that and as much as we enjoy hearing all those stories about us, like the one where we destroyed a house, or the one where we beat up a dude, and as much as we’re waiting to hear the one where we burned crosses with our scary pointy white hoods on, we love playing our music more, so we’re not set on adding wood to an already well furnished fire, if it happens, fine, if it doesn’t, fine. I’ll tell you who we are and it’s boring: we’re loyal to the bone to people who treat us well and extend their trust and we’re having such a good time on our own that we forget to talk to other people sometimes, how’s that for hardcore tough guy attitude? You might call it defensive, or realize that, as

you said it yourself, we operate under full disclosure honesty, so we have to behave that way as well, it wouldn’t make sense otherwise. I can be a douche to you if you like, just say please. Adrien stated in an interview that you look forward to life - as Camus suggests - without any hope, so you can avoid despair. I can relate to that, although I might feel like that’s kind of taking the easy way out. Does the name Cowards has anything to do with that? Wrong. If we said avoid, it was a huge mistake, it’s not about avoiding, it’s about dealing with it. It’s work, constant individual questioning. It’s a discipline and by definition, nothing like the easy way out. It is a way out for sure, but out of the exhausting victim mentality that plagues so many these days. As for our name, take a look. At yourself, your friends, your love, your family, people you despise, are they not all cowards in one way or another? How do you feel about that? We’re just calling it out. You say you are not taking part in any scene and you barely have friends in other French bands. You’ve already toured a bit and even got a cool label here in Portugal, is being “alone” a choice or you just haven’t been lucky with the ones you crossed paths with. It’s a whole really. The thing is it seems to be part of the scene, at least over here in Paris, you need to “support the local scene” right? It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? But check this out; did you go to the last local show where no bands you liked even remotely played? So ok, maybe you did, but we don’t. It’s not a stance, it’s not a statement, it’s just we don’t go to shows where no music we enjoy is going to be played. And it’s a schedule thing too, some of us have very proactive bands aside from Cowards, some of us are trying to develop a trade of their own, some of us have time consuming jobs, where they might work every other Saturday night and we all have to get together and play some Cowards. And then we go out on tour, that’s the place we see bands and get the chance to like or dislike them, that’s how we met the guys at Oblivionized, got a chance to see Razoreater, Evisorax (also from UK), etc. That


INTERVIEW // COWARDS

“... no catharsis, no help in life, no escape. I mean, music as a crutch, thanks but no thanks, we're pissed not morons.“ might explain why we’re not part of the Paris scene, it’s not we don’t want to, it’s not that nothing’s happening there (in the hardcore scene alone, Benoit Longueville from Mad At The World, Black Spirals and thousands more is really busting his chops to make it happen) it’s just as simple as that: sometimes we can’t. There’s also this problem that we’re laughing like a vile pack of hyenas most of the time we’re together and it seems people in this scene never laugh. For some reason, while I was reading some of your interviews, where you talk about what or who pisses you off, a lot of Minor Threat, “Small Man Big Mouth” for instance, came to my mind. Ok, but you need to know we do laugh at a man when he tries. There seems to be a lot of judging other people on your side – don’t get me wrong, everybody does that; those who say they don’t are just lying. But you also seem to be quite

hard on yourselves, which kind of balances it all. You say you’re not here to advocate self-improvement, but the need, obligation, or at least the possibility of it seems to be a driving force behind Cowards. We do judge a lot, and we accept every judgment passed upon us, it’s really no big deal. The thing is we’re really arrogant, meaning we trust in who we are and what we do, so outside judgment from a person with no credentials really doesn’t weigh much, at best, it’ll make us wonder, check if it’s true, for the sake of it. But it’s not a wound, it’s not an attack, it’s a real passive thing to do. So we’re not really thinking about how it’s going to be perceived, as much love as we have for our own, we don’t kid ourselves: we have no weight whatsoever, in this scene or in this world, so why not be blunt and truthful? And as much as we’re not here to advocate anything really, it doesn’t mean we have firm beliefs of what makes a good man a good man. Whether anybody agrees or not determines

how we perceive him but really doesn’t mean much more than that to us. We’re young old men, stuck in a self constructed morals and value system, call it archaic, reactionary even, but we believe in such naive things like the given word, honor, trust, respect and all this out of fashion bullshit. By the time this interview comes out you will have already played at Burning Light Fest, in Lisbon, along with your label mates Process of Guilt and Plebeian Grandstand (and many other bands). What are you expecting from that, any bands you’d really want to see? We’re looking forward to seeing every band, be it only in a competition spirit, and to judge them of course. Other than that, we’re focused on our set, eager to get there, get it over with, and party with our friends. Rise To Imfamy is out now via Throatruiner/Ruins Records

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MURDER B D N O Y E B LOVE

Murder By Death don't need much of an introduction. They've Challenging themselves with every record released, Big Dark Love remarkable record over and over again. Love is the main theme and it this new effort, their Kickstarter campaigns and even told us abou

Words: Andreia Alves /

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H T A E D Y B N O I T P M REDE

e been around for 15 years and their music speaks for itself. e is another proof of how this Bloomington's group can make a t's seen in different perspectives. Adam Turla talked with us about ut their shows at the Stanley Hotel - yes, the The Shining hotel!

// Pictures: Greg Whitaker

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t’s been 15 years of Murder By Death. What do you feel have been the most challenging aspects in those years as a band? We’ve been around for a long time... I mean, we’re trying to look at the band in a perspective of both the past and the future and when you’ve been a band for 15 years you have to ask yourself well what I have to offer and what is the reason that I’m making music. That’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately with just putting out a new record. When I was writing last year in the end of 2013, I just hang on what we wanted to do musically, what we’re trying to do and with this new record we tried some things we’ve never tried before with this band. There’s some stripped down songs, there’s some really orchestral songs and we just tried to examine through the filter of being a band that’s been around for a long time. We tried new things that we find that were interesting. 74

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Your new full-length album Big Dark Love is out now. Your fans have already had the pleasure to listen to your new album because of the pre-sale orders and also via streaming one week ahead of its release. How has been the response so far? It’s been incredible. I don’t think we’ve ever put out a record that we had more emails and social media telling us that they liked our record. I think it really means something for us, because we have a very devoted followings and they have been around for a while and have been listening to us for a while. They care about the band and it’s really encouraging to figure people react positively, because when you try something different you never know how people are gonna react. You don’t know if people are gonna say “this isn’t what I was expecting” - therefore bad - and luckily almost everything that I’ve heard from people saying is “this isn’t what I was expecting, I can’t believe how much I like it. I love this.” [laughs] It’s sort of a relief to see that feedback, because even though when we talked within the band we love the record. We feel really good about it, we’re just really excited about it, but the truth is that to be able to continue to be a band for living other people feel the same way too, at least not for long, and so we’ve been really happy to hear people react positively. We’re starting a tour on Friday and the tour is selling the best we’ve ever had in any tour, so that’s really exciting. We think it’s an indication that people are excited and for us it’s just very exciting. In 2012 you launched a Kickstarter campaign for your record Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon which was one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever, and now you did another one for the new album. How was the

experience this time around? We weren’t sure what we wanted to do to pre-sale the record. I think we just felt like that this time around we had such a positive experience doing a Kickstarter campaign for the previous album and people kept saying to us “Are you gonna do again? Why you’re gonna do another one?” and to be honest, we just decided to go with what worked and what people seemed to want. I think the thing is that once you put out a lot of records, you just sort of look at things a little differently. When you put out your first or second record is such a rush for different reasons, because you’re playing it for the first time and it’s still untested and nobody has any preconception about what you’re doing. As you get further and further and exhaustively examine, the fact that people already have a perspective on certain people that bought a record 12 years ago and you’re their favorite band, and then they forget about that for a while and then they come back, or there’s people that just discovered you and you kind of have to remember that you have people coming and going all times for all kinds of reasons. We decided this was a fun way to do it because we’ve only had positive responses and honestly it’s a huge experience in every way. It’s also very rewarding. It’s seems to work financially, but it’s also emotionally rewarding because you’re interacting directly with the people that are supporting you, all the positive feedback and you’re seeing everything... For something cool about that is the transparency. One of the rewards of this campaign was this art book titled Framed: The Poster Art of Murder By Death that chronicles the history of your tours through the posters you have collected in almost 15 years of Murder By Death shows. I know it was a limited printing for those who joined the Kickstarter campaign, but are you considering on doing more art books in the future? That art book is a collection of past stuff that I’ve just been keeping. I tried to keep a poster for every show that we’re poster main and this art book is really just a way of putting out that collection into the world and saying “Hey, check out these cool artists that did this great


INTERVIEW // MURDER BY DEATH

“The songs are darker and more complex... We just wanted to keep it fresh, keep it interesting and not just something that feels like redundant for our career or for the music we’re looking forward to put out...” work.” I gave each artist a copy of the book and some money even though they’ve already been paid. It’s pretty cool the fact that there was an audience that wanted this book and some people would see them and get them on the mail or in the shows that we ran and it responded really well to it. It’s been really exciting and it’s really fun. I don’t know what the future holds for that kind of stuff, but I would like to be more involved in that part of the group, but we can fold our merchandising artwork, it’s my way of getting to influence of the art on the band. I commissioned the posters, the t-shirts, the album arts... Earlier this year you played three shows at the Stanley Hotel, which started out last year and they sold out instantly. What did lead you to perform there and how was it like? It was just an idea that I had.

Our Denver shows do really well and Stanley Hotel is the hotel that Stephen King stayed. He had ghost experiences there and then he was inspired to write the book The Shining. It’s just this beautiful old hotel built by this eccentrical couple in the 1800s and it’s up in the Rocky Mountain National Park - an hour and half from north Denver - and it’s just the most beautiful setting. Honestly, we just had been to one of the most incredible place and I had the idea to do a concert show there and so we decided to try it. They’ve never had a rock show there before and so I talked to a promoter that I know in the area. We set it up and sold out the day it went on sale for two nights in a row. We had a third night and that sold out instantly. We did that a year and half ago and then we did it again a month ago and that three shows - almost double the capacity - sold out nine months in

advance instantly and we’ve never had anything like that where sold out so fast. It was a really great experience and we want to repeat it, so we’re making it in advance of it, because honestly it’s the funniest show, it’s incredible. I mean, it’s a beautiful hotel, people dress up like the women are wearing like late 20’s dresses and the guys are wearing suits and tuxedos. It’s just a party like a ball and the band is playing there, and then everybody hangs out during the day and just talk all night. It’s kind of a vacation destination thing and it’s just something that... Our audience is getting older and we’re all on our 30s. It’s just kind of an excuse to get away and do something different. Anybody can come see us in a club anytime of the year, but this is sort of a special event. Big Dark Love is your seventh record and the leading theme of

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these new songs is obviously love, but it’s shown in different perspectives in each song. What can you tell me about the writing process? I started writing the record and I didn’t know what kind of record we were making. The first song ever was called “Big Dark Love” and it’s sort of a song about the idea of having a really intense love that isn’t necessarily a good thing. I started writing other songs with the theme of love popping up in ways that were sort of surprising to me. None of the songs were love songs. They were all really different and I started to see that thread and I started to push it a bit more and trying to see if I could make it work together. It’s not a concept record, but the songs do fit together and I wanted to be just a record that was interesting to me. We always try to sort of combine styles and every time we write a song, it sounds like it could be one thing or try to turn it on the side and make it a little stranger, a little weirder to make it more interesting. We tried to screw up the songs a bit and with this record that ties up that idea of capturing entirely where it’s like “Ok, these are love songs, but they’re not just songs about an attractive young person loving another attractive young person,” you know? The songs are darker and more complex than that. We just wanted to keep it fresh, keep it interesting and not just something that feels like redundant for our career or for the music we’re looking forward to put out, so there’s some blending going on, different kinds of music that we attempt to do to give the songs’ personality... We hoped that it worked. [laughs] Some of your sources of inspiration are literature and films. Was there any book or film in particular that inspire you while writing Big Dark Love? Not really. Honestly, last year I was so busy. I moved to Louisville, Kentucky and I was so busy. I bought a 113 year old house that was just a wreck and I completely restored it. It was such a huge job that I didn’t really have time to consume much media. The songs were just running through my head as I was tearing up wood floors or painting or digging in my yard or whatever. It was really a laboring intensive writing process. I would seriously walk out 76

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the door covered in paint and go to a band rehearsal or to the studio to record. But I would have the songs running through my head for the whole year while I was doing that. I did a lot of development in my head while I was working and that was kind of the theme. Each Murder By Death record is always so diverse and refreshing, so what drives you the most to keep pushing yourself as a musician and as a songwriter? Honestly, I just keep it as long as it is what I do, I just write. I start a lot of songs and I don’t finish them, and I think the truth is that as you write more and more, you kind of know whether you think a song is interesting or not, and so we push forward with the songs that we think are exciting and we eliminate the ones that aren’t. This record has ten songs and it probably started with 30 or 40 songs and just scrapped them, because I just don’t want to put out stuff that I don’t think... You know, I don’t want have a redundant song like “This song is basically the same as this song,” you know what I mean? We try to be a little more selective and not just release everything we start. The thing is when we finish a song, it kind of has a sort of finality to it or by finishing it like you almost validate it more. I don’t want validate songs that I don’t feel 100% about. One of the songs that stands out for its beauty musically and lyrically is “Natural Pearl”, which is about parental love. How much of this unconditional love inspired you for the record? I think the idea of the song is when you love someone unconditionally there’s huge elements of fear that’s also there that you want to protect someone. I think that something that comes with age is the awareness of not wanting to lose someone and it’s not something that I feel as much as people that are parents and while I’m not a parent I understand my feeling and foreseen it. Actually, Sarah started writing that song, we wrote it then together on a long walk and we approached and changed it around a little bit. That was really her idea. She really wanted it to be about this beautiful blindness that parents sometimes feel.

Like you said, you guys recently moved to Louisville, Kentucky, which it’s where you recorded your new album with Kevin Ratterman and John Congleton at La La Land. How was it the recording process? It was great. We did it in three sessions over the summer, in three different times. One in the studio for about a week each time and honestly it was a big old beautiful restored old house. He made this incredible studio. Much relaxing recording vibe we’ve ever had, which is crazy because I was so stressed out from working so much, so yeah it was great. Are there new things that you would like to do in the future with Murder By Death that you haven’t done before? We want to do more international travel and we’ve never been to Asia or Australia and that would be great to go there. That’s at the top of the list, do more shows in new places. What have you been listening to lately? My favorite record from last year is from a band called J Roddy Walston and The Business. They’re this weird, bluesy rock’n’roll band that has some glam rock kind of like Roxy Music feel to it and T. Rex. I just love them. We took them on their first U.S. tour many years ago and we’ve been following them and loving them ever since. They had a really good year in the States, so we’re really excited to see them taking off and they’ve put out this great record called Essential Tremors and I’m happy to see them doing well. Usually the stuff that I think is the best stuff doesn’t do well [laughs] and I feel everything I like even if is a band and it’s the best record they’ve ever done, I think it’s the best record that came out that year and usually nobody notices it. [laughs] It’s frustrating when you like things that are unique and usually the world doesn’t reward that. But you know? These guys are fun and accessible, but also strange and creative.

Big Dark Love is out now via Bloodshot Records


INTERVIEW // MURDER BY DEATH

of "We always try tod esvoerrty time combine styles a, nit sounds like we write a song thing or try to it could be one e and make it turn it on the sida little weirder a little stranger,re interesting." to make it mo

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WAR ON WO day of the

woman 78

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OMEN

War On Women is a co-ed, feminist hardcore punk band based in Baltimore that has recently released their self-title debut full-length, via Bridge Nine Records. An utterly heavy and aggressive album that tackles some of the most important issues of our society. We talked with Shawna Potter about those issues to find out, as deeply as possible, what War On Women is all about. Words: Tiago Moreira

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ow was it for you growing up in Nashville? I love Nashville. It’s really pretty and there are a lot of good people. I only went to high school there but also everyone’s dad was like a studio musician, and everyone was in a band. There are so many bands per square inch that no one cared about your band. [laughs] Because everyone was so worried about their own band, so it’s actually kind of tough to be in like a rock band there, I think. Maybe if my high school band was a country band... that would probably been more fun. Which lessons have you learned during that time that are now useful for your career as a musician and the social awareness that you bring into your music? At the time, living in Nashville, I had no social awareness. [laughs] I was not political; in fact, I was actively apolitical. But what I kind of took away from my time there... when I was playing music I cared so much about people coming, seeing my band, and liking my band, that now with War On Women I made a decision to not care and just do it for us. I’ve been a lot happier, because I’m not worried about whether or not someone likes it... it has been really freeing. That’s actually my takeaway. I didn’t become political, or aware of social justice issues, until I moved to Baltimore. How would you describe your role on War on Women, and as a member of society? Do you see yourself as an educator or a social agitator? Or even both, because they probably coexist at some point. Interesting! I would hope that I can be both... I really like that term though, social agitator. It’s actually a pretty awesome term. [laughs] Yeah, right? [laughs] I know exactly what you mean when you say that. There’s something about saying educator that’s kind of paternalistic, or snobby or something. 80

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“I will educate you because you’re so stupid,” you know? I don’t feel like that. [laughs] But I do think that – like any band – if some band is talking about something that you don’t know a lot about maybe you’ll learn something. I’ve learned things with other bands about other issues. I think that’s ok, but I think it’s more about presenting your point of view on issues and people can take away what they mean. When I said educator, I was talking about people that not only “teach” but that also are willing to learn. To have a conversation... a discussion. Ohhh, ok. Probably more than other bands – because we’re women and because we’re feminists – people want to have a conversation with us more. It’s not like environmentalism or something, where everyone gets it, but not everyone understands feminism and there are some many aspects to feminism, and so many different issues that fall under that... because we’re talking about more than half of the world’s population. It’s going to be a diverse group of people, and issues. There’s definitely room for discussion and we’re actually happy to engage in that. If I can help convince someone that they in fact are feminist and can take on that label... I would like to do that. Do you think feminism ends with men and women being equal or do you think it goes way beyond that? I always thought that feminism was more than just a fight against sexism... for me, it’s more about human beings being treated fairly and being equals. The focus is women, because it’s the first step, but to me seems that there are other steps after that. Yeah, because there’s racism, classism, and all of those things that intersect. So yes, I would say that the main idea is for social equality for everyone and what I’ve really learned in my activism is that equality doesn’t mean everyone having the same thing, at the same time. Everyone’s needs are different. It’s more about social justice, a more equal outcome. Not necessarily the exact same formula to get to that outcome. Some people might need financial assistance, some people need this, and some people need

that. It’s going to be different for everybody but the point is that everyone ends up having the same opportunities and gets to be treated like an autonomous human being, treated with respect. Since we’re talking about activism, can you talk a little bit about Hollaback!, and your involvement with it? Yeah, I’ve running the Baltimore chapter of Hallaback! for the last four years, so I’m just one part of an international movement to bring awareness to street arrestment. For anyone that doesn’t know street harassment is sexual harassment in public from strangers... it’s not sexual harassment at work, or at school.


INTERVIEW // WAR ON WOMEN

“... with War On Women I made a decision to not care and just do it for us. I’ve been a lot happier, because I’m not worried about whether or not someone likes it... it has been really freeing. That’s actually my takeaway.”

It’s on the street, on the sidewalk, at a club, in a venue, and stuff like that where there’s not really a clear authority figure that you can talk to, or no one is going to get punished for doing it and saying things that are horrible. Our purpose is really to just let people know what street harassment is, and how it really feels, and ways to avoid it, and ways to deal with it in the moment... it’s been really beneficial for me personally, to be able to work through this stuff, coming from like a leadership brawl. When I experience street harassment I feel really empowered because I’m like, “You just messed with the wrong lady. I run a street harassment website

and I will shut you down.” [laughs] Yeah, but how someone deals with it? I’m thinking about that situation that happened last year in Frankfurt, Germany where a female student - Tugce Albayrak, a 23-year-old woman - was killed after defending teen girls from harassers? Obviously safety is paramount but there’s only so much you can do. You can’t predict someone else’s behavior. I think it just goes to show how street harassment is really violent. It’s a part of gender-based violence because otherwise why would those guys get so upset that they would kill a woman? Those guys are not just

hitting on someone and getting rejected, they are sexual harassing them and they feel so entitled to do so that they were willing to kill, and I don’t think everyone is going to kill you, that street harasses you, but that entitlement is there, that edge of angry is always there, and it can be really, really scary. The feminist movement started at least in 1792 with the A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a work written by Mary Wollstonecraft. More than 200 years after and there’s still this fucked up and irrational violence. Can you see a light at the end of the tunnel? I mean, Mary Wollstonecraft talked about, among other things, how women

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should have access to education and in 2015 we know that there are a lot of women without access to education. Right! And that ties into so many issues like nationalism, colonialism, and America thinking that we are so fuckin’ great... and people unwilling to raise up women around the world that are suffering. We’re still dealing with that basic idea that women are second-class citizens, so for me I think what gives me hope, and keeps me going, is that because of the access to technology that I have, I can now find many people that agree with me, that have my back, that support me, that are going through the same thing, and that are willing to call out sexist behavior. You know, there’s always going to be jerks, sexist assholes, but it’s really nice that I don’t have to suffer alone. I know that there are people going through the same thing and that can be really, really empowering, and it’s important just to keep your head up sometimes. I think knowing that other people are out there... that’s enough light at the end of tunnel for me, right now, and we just have to keep working at it. What was it with George W. Bush trying to restrict abortion access that made you jump off of the chair and start thinking more about the world that was surrounding you? It was just the idea that some man I don’t know, that will never, never be pregnant, could decide something like that. Decide something that could potentially be a huge for me, at some point. That someone like that had control over how my life would play out in such a huge way seemed horrible unfair, and it didn’t start with him and it hasn’t ended with him. There are politicians right now that tried to pass a bill, this year, to restrict abortion. I mean, that’s the first thing they did this year versus something about jobs, or the environment, or anything else that the majority of people could care about. Basically, we’re fighting to hold on to a right that we already have, and that’s really fucked up to me. It still makes me angry. “ROE v World” deals with that subject matter. Exactly! “ROE v World” was written like a year ago, and I can’t believe that is still relevant. [laughs] I hate that I’m still singing something that 82

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is timely and relevant. It’s so fuckin’ frustrating. I’m curious. Is the opener “Servilia” a reference to Servilia Caepionis, the mistress of Julius Caesar and mother of Brutus, one of the guys that killed Caesar? Yes, it is. What inspired you to write about that woman? One I just think that she’s an interesting character. It’s such an interesting... I feel like she was stuck between two men that she cared about, and so I just sort of used that as an analogy for a personal situation I was in while writing it – kind of a love triangle thing -, but then also using that to talk about how men can be allies to women, and how any movement needs allies to succeed. I mean, eventually we need people to come around and agree with us. It’s sort of about all of those things at once. “Meathead” has one of most violent lines on the record, “He didn’t want me to want it, but to convince me I needed it.” This is for me a really sick kind of behavior… Yeah, in that particular song I’m talking about... from my point of view she/I do want it, so even though the situation that I’m talking about could be consensual, and could be really fun to everyone, instead my sexuality – or women’s sexuality – wants to be controlled by this other person. For him it’s not enough. A lot of times society reinforces, or teaches men, that if women also want to fuck them... it’s not worthy. Like there has to be a struggle, a chase. Someone has to be the prey. It’s a really fucked up way to think about physical affection. Another “violent” line is one that’s on “Glass City”, “If the cards are stacked against you it doesn’t matter what’s in your hand,” which goes against what many people “preach” in America. Yeah, and that’s bullshit. It’s a fucking lie that America loves to sell. Maybe it was at some point, but even then it was just for white men. I haven’t finished college because I wouldn’t be able to get any more scholarships to go, and I can’t imagine paying back the loans, and the fees that go along with it. To have a degree here you almost have to be rich, so how are

you supposed to lift yourself out? So, I listened to the song “YouTube Comments” and then I was reading some comments that people on YouTube made about your music... It’s basically the most modern way of violent other people that we have. And the problem is... it’s not even a good violence. I mean, at least try to be good at it. [laughs] Yeah, it’s so weird. If I go to a website and I write a dumb comment, it’s over and I never think about it again, but then it stays on that website forever, and people can read it all the time. It’s all these dumb, horrible, sexist comments just build-up. It’s basically difficult to go online and not be harassed and bombarded by sexism, and other reminders that people view you as an object. That song I was just hoping to call that out a little bit. I know that is asking a lot to ask people to be thoughtful when they go online. [laughs] I just thought the best revenge was to use their words in another song that they would also hate. [laughs] Like, they’re just helping me making more music that they hate. [laughs] If they all just shut up... If sexism ended, and there are equal rights for women and LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning] folks tomorrow then we could stop being a band. If people hate us so much then they need to become better allies. Maybe I’m just being ignorant, but I’ve never heard of no one complaining (another comment on YouTube, of course) about a punk rock band being too heavy before… I know, right? That guy is scared of angry women, which is funny because anger is also an emotion. We’re basically just being emotional women... to go along with that stereotype. I’ve had people telling me that they like punk and metal but they don’t really like because we’re too heavy, and it’s so fucked up that just because we’re women they can stand that we’re angry on stage. It’s such a double standard...

War On Women is out now via Bridge Nine


INTERVIEW // WAR ON WOMEN

“There’s always going to be jerks, sexist assholes, but it’s really nice that I don’t have to suffer alone...”

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s s e n heavi

LORD

Portland's metalheads us in 2013 with their debut album Summo an even much more heavy-as-fuck rec should dig into as fast as possible! Gui about their newest a

Words: Andreia Alves //

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w a l e h t s i

Don the Faithless DYING surprised and now they are back with

cord titled Poisoned Altars, that everyone itarist/vocalist Erik Olson talked with us album and much more.

/ Pictures: Danger Ehren

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When you were on that tour, you were already working on the new album, so how was your writing approach this time around? Actually, we wrote a lot of the album before Summon The Faithless came out. We signed with Relapse in December of 2012 and Summon The Faithless didn’t come out until July of 2013, so we had about 8 months to work on music. We wrote a lot of Poisoned Altars during that time and we kind of finished in between tours. It was mostly written before we did that European tour and then we came back and recorded it right after we got back, about a few weeks after we got back from the tour.

Y

ou were recently on The Peaceless Savage Tour with Castle. How was the tour and how did the audience react to the new songs off of the new album? It was great. Half of the set was songs of the new album and the response from the audience was really good. The tour went better than we thought it would. Looking back to 2013, it was a great year for you guys because you released your killer debut album Summon The Faithless. How does the whole band feel about the great response you’ve had from your debut? It’s great, you know? We’re happy about that. We’re really pleased with the results from the recording and excited to be able to share with everyone else. Early 2014, I saw you guys live with The Shrine and Red Fang and it was freaking awesome. Since you formed this band, you shared the stage with such great bands and that must be quite inspiring. How much of the live show’s aspects you bring into your writing sessions? Yeah, definitely. When we write stuff, we want to make sure that is something that we can play live. Everything just comes together as we go, but we definitely like to write stuff that we feel confident and that we can play live. 86

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Your former drummer Jon Reid quit the band last year and you recruited Rob Shaffer (Dark Castle/Monarch) to take over the drumming duties. How much of this change affected the band’s dynamics and the writing process of the new album? It hasn’t really changed the writing process so to say, that’s pretty much all handled by Chris and I. We write all the guitar riffs and then show them to the other guys. Actually, a lot of the songs from Poisoned Altars were written while Jon was still in the band. He kind of came up with a lot of the drum parts and showed them to Rob. [laughs] Rob did come up with some of the stuff, but it was also written by Jon. It didn’t change terribly to add him into it, but it was a lot of fun recording with him. And so it was easy to work with Rob while writing and recording the new album. Yeah, it was easy! Rob is a great musician. Ultimately, he was a guitar player before a drummer and he’s a phenomenal guitar player, so he paid close attention to what the guitars were doing in the songs which I think it was a very first for us. He put more into riffs, focusing on the riffs and where the songs are going from the guitars. Poisoned Altars is your new beast and what a great follow-up you got in there. This new effort is much more electrifying and explosive in a way and also shorter than the debut album. You really put out a lot of energy into your music. What did you do differently in this album? This album was written with the intention that all the songs being together on the album... We

wanted to write an album that was faster and a little bit meaner and the songs to be more cohesive for an album. When we wrote Summon The Faithless, all the songs were kind of written over a four year time period and it was everything we’ve written up to that point and other songs were necessarily intended to be together on an album like these ones were. This was mainly how we intended of writing for the record. You have Aaron Beam (Red Fang) singing on “An Open Sore” and Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust) on“Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast” and both have written their part of the lyrics. What was it like to have these awesome dudes on these two songs? It was simply great. Both these guys are good friends of ours and we respect a lot both of their bands, Red Fang and Toxic Holocaust. It was really a pleasure to work with those guys. They’re very professional and they just nailed it really fast. They came up with their parts and they were so stoked to work with us too. We’re all friends and everything, so that was a good experience. Talking about Joel Grind, you recorded the new album in the spring of 2014 with him. How was it like to record the album with him? It was great. He’s very professional and he knew exactly what kind of sound we were looking for. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. We are big fans of him on Toxic Holocaust and we’ve been friends for a long time too, but we’re big fans of the production that he got on Conjure and Command [2011] and also on the new one Chemistry of Consciousness [2013]. It’s interesting to listen to all Toxic Holocaust’ records and when this one goes on you can tell is getting better on his own craft and doing production and the sounds that he wants, and I think he pulled that out for us too. We wanted something that sounded huge and I think he accomplished that. The album’s artwork was created by Orion Landau, who is the awesome graphic designer for Relapse Records and he also did the artwork for your album Summon The Faithless. How


INTERVIEW // LORD DYING

"We wanted to write an album that was faster and a little bit meaner and the songs to be more cohesive for an album." did he come up with the idea for this artwork? It was all him. I’m not sure exactly where he got the inspiration from other than we just sent him the name of the title of the album and the album itself. We left that up to him and that’s what he came up with. Overall, what does Poisoned Altars represent to you guys? To me, it means that idea of understanding when something is wrong and be willing to start over again and not be afraid to. You worked with Whitey McConnaughy on your music video for “Dreams of Mercy” (off their album Summon The Faithless). How was it like to work with him? That was awesome. That guy is a commander scientist. [laughs] It was really inspirational to work with him. It was really exact schedule, but he knew exactly what he wanted to get and every

thing moved really fast. There were a lot of people involved. We did all that in two days and it was pretty much non-stop shooting the video [laughs] but it was really fun. Are you planning to do more videos with him for these brand new songs? We got another video coming out. It will be out in January right after the record comes out and so I’m excited to see that coming out too. It was a little bit different. We had more time to work on that one. The video is from the titletrack, “Poisoned Altars”. How is it like the Portland heavy music scene nowadays and what bands from there we should listen to? The music scene in Portland is great. There’s a lot of great bands coming out and working hard. It’s been great that Relapse moved to Portland. They’ve recently put out a record by Atriarch and Usnea

new record. They got a lot of great bands and a lot of bands are doing more and more. Really good team to be part of, there’s always greats shows going on, lots of bands travelling to here and it’s still one of the expensive places to live in West Coast of the U.S., hopefully that doesn’t change too much. [laughs] It’s a great music community. Lastly, what have you been listening to lately? Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of old school death metal. [laughs] I just got the first record from Immolation, Dawn of Possession. Lots of old school U.S. death metal... That’s what I’ve been mostly into lately. [laughs]

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TWIN RIVER

A M E CIN Words: Andreia Alves // Pictures: Lindsay Elliott

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P I R T C I N O S C ATI

Hailing between Vancouver and Montreal, Twin River started as duo playing folk pop music and now they are a five piece playing more garage-psych/noisy pop tunes. Recently they released their terrific debut album, Should the Light Go Out, that surely shows their growth as a band. The lovely singer Courtney Ewan Bromley answered to our questions and let us know better the people behind Twin River.

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L

help anything. Dustin and I are currently living in Montreal so I can finish a Master’s degree from McGill, and I can say that distance certainly does make the heart grow fonder. The scene is Vancouver is really something special.

et’s start off with some cliché questions. Tell us a little about yourselves and how Twin River came to be. We are pop/garage/sometimes psych band currently split between Vancouver and Montreal. Twin River first began as a two piece in 2010, with myself and our guitarist Andy Bishop. We played as a duo for a few years, playing mostly house shows and other sort of “atypical” venues. I loved that project, but it didn’t ever feel fully-realized. When we recorded our 7”, Rough Gold, we were still technically a duo, but recruited some friends to help flesh out the recordings. Enter Rebecca (keys), and Malcolm (bass). Malcolm recorded the 7” in his living room, and Rebecca came by to sing some backups. After that experience, we decided that we wanted to move toward a permanent full band line up, and invited those two to join the band. Dustin, our drummer, came a few weeks later. You guys are from Vancouver, so how much of the Vancouver music scene influenced your band? The very evolution of our band, from a duo to a five-piece, can only be credited to the music scene in Vancouver. It happened as easily, and as naturally as it did, because the five of us were already so wellacquainted within the music scene. We were already friends and supporters of one another’s different projects - and that definitely hasn’t changed. At the time when Rebecca and Malcolm joined the band, the three of us were all working at The Biltmore Cabaret, a music venue in Vancouver that often brought the five of us together. My experience with the Vancouver music scene has always been super positive and encouraging - I’ve always had a real issue with the “No Fun City” reputation Vancouver has. Sure, there are licensing issues and other factors that have placed unfortunate restrictions on some venues, but I’m much more impressed by people who have continued to work hard to support the music scene in spite of the difficulties. It’s too easy to sit around and complain, and that’s never going to 90

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You had some lineup changes since the band was formed. How is nowadays the dynamics and songwriting between you guys? The songwriting has not changed too much. I started playing music as a solo artist, and still tend to write quite a lot on my own. Typically, once I have an idea for a song, Andy and I will get together to work on it, and then we’ll take it to the rest of the band to develop further. I’m always blown away by how much a song can change, starting with me playing alone at home to the five of us in our jam space. It’s been awesome sharing some of the writing process. When you first started, your sound was more folk pop and now it’s much more garage-psych/noisy pop. What did lead you to this change of sound? That’s really tough for me to pinpoint. I think once you add in extra instruments, you’re sort of bound to move towards a noisier direction. But that’s certainly not the only factor. I don’t listen to as much stripped down folk as I used to, so that’s probably got something to do with it, but I think it depends a lot on the amount of energy now in the band. Playing as a duo, sitting down with acoustic guitars provides a really different energy than playing with four other people on amplified instruments. I feel a lot more comfortable as part of a five piece. I have a ton of respect for people who pull off a really organic sparse sound, but I’m enjoying the freedom of multiple layers of instrumentation. There’s so much more to work with, and it’s pretty liberating. What bands or records did influence you while shaping the sound of your band? The five of us have really different tastes, so I can really only speak for myself here. Personally, I was very eager to record as a full band, and was excited about our new sound and the songs we had, and really wanted to embrace that. I really respect Sharon Van Etten and Louise Burns for the command they have over their music - which was

something I was beginning to feel for the first time. Both of them have songs that range from quite delicate and stripped down, to pretty noisy - but maintain real control throughout. I was also listening to a lot of The Babies and The Twerps at the time, and loved the relaxed vibe those bands have. I didn’t want our record to sound too structured, or too premeditated. Your debut LP Should the Light Go Out shows really well your change in the Twin River’s sound and its diversity is really impressive. How was it like to put together these 10 tracks? One of the goals with this record was to avoid an overly rehearsed sound, so we actually ended up writing quite a bit in the studio. It was pretty exhilarating - and sometimes nerve-wracking - to go into the studio with only 70% of the record finished, but it puts us in a very creative space quite quickly. There was real freedom there, and it encouraged all of us to record what felt natural at the time - without over-thinking it. Since we recorded in Kelowna, we were able to escape regular life for a while. I think the sound would have been different overall if we had recorded at home, around day jobs and other commitments. Doing it at Bottega forced us to eat, sleep, and breathe the record. Lyrically, how is it your approach like? It’s different for every song. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for song lyrics, and will build a song around them, but typically words just fall out as I’m fiddling around on the guitar. More often than not, I’m surprised by what comes out. Some of my favourite songs have been those which I didn’t really understand while writing, but have been able to look back on later with a kind of “ah ha! so that’s how I was feeling at that time” reaction. “Anything Good” was written and sung by Andy. What can you tell us about this one in particular? All I can really say about that one is that I love that song and was so thrilled when Andy showed it to us. It came together really quickly and I think it is one of the best songs on the record. Plus it’s such a fun song to play. I love the way


INTERVIEW // TWIN RIVER it sounds on the record - it starts off so quickly it’s like the record pulls you along with it. Plus, the solo at the end was played by Darcy (Ladyhawk), which is pretty awesome. “Golden Man” is the longest track on the record and it has this cinematic vibe to it. What can you tell us about the writing and recording of this one? This song was a good test of our limits as a band, I think. I personally struggled a little bit when we were recording this one, because it felt a little self-indulgent to record an 11 minute song. I kept thinking, “who do I think I am??” I wondered if people would care enough to make it all the way through the song, and then I realized that it didn’t really matter. We all loved jamming on that song, and at the end of the day, there weren’t any parts, either musical and lyrical, that I was willing to let go. I was worried it was too big a jump from our previous material, but ultimately decided it was way more important to make the record we wanted to make, than worry about how it would be received - that’s a terrible way to make music. It definitely has a cinematic feel, and tells a long, very morbid story. Dustin and I were engaged at the time we recorded, and while I was doing the vocals for “Golden Man” - I think it was probably the first time any of them had paid attention to the lyrics -, our producer Darcy turned to Dustin and said, “well - this is the woman you’re about to marry!” Your debut album was recorded a while ago in the summer of 2013 at Kelowna, BC’s Bottega Studio with producer Darcy Hancock of Ladyhawk, and in Vancouver at the Hive Creative Labs with Colin Stewart. Tell us about the experience of recording your first full-length. Bottega is paradise. It’s a gorgeous studio in the middle of an Alpaca farm in Kelowna. We recorded it in the dead of summer, got to live in a house (with a pool!) together for one week and had such a good time. Every time I think back on it, it seems more like a cool 90s music video than my real life. We hit a few snags along the way, which led to some extra recording time spent in Vancouver, but all in all I wouldn’t change what we ended up with.

"There was real freedom there, and it encouraged all of us to record what felt natural at the time - without over-thinking it." Besides Twin River, what other projects are you guys currently in? Andy is in White Ash Falls, Rebecca is currently playing with Yukon Blonde, Malcolm is in Dada Plan, and though Dustin and I are away from Vancouver, we still have (somewhat) ongoing projects: Dustin with Greater Wall, and I’m in a band called Slim Fathers. Do you recommend us any bands from Vancouver that we should listen to? My top five - I tried to pick three but it was too hard recommendations would be Hallow Moon, Heavy Steps,

Baptists, Failing and Sunshine. What have you guys been listening to lately? That new Viet Cong record has been played a lot in our house lately. Foxygen, Silver Jews, and Angel Olsen have also been in pretty heavy rotation, and I’ve been revisiting a lot of Sun Kil Moon and Magnolia Electric Company because it’s winter and it’s dark all the goddamn time.

Should The Light Go Out is out now via Little Organ Records

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The Unthanks

After four years are back, to the studio albums has been busy in those four years with a bunch of projects, and after two years working on this new a crafted piece. A piece that is surrounded with independence (release through their own label, Rabb makeshift studio in Northumberland. We talked with the couple Adrian McNally (pianist/produ (one of the voices of the band who joined the conversation late Words: Tiago Moreira // Pictures: Sarah Mason

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s, with Mount The Air. The prolific band album they arrive in 2015 with an amazingly bleRouser) and that was made in their own ucer/arranger) and Rachel Unthanks er on).

ballads

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ount The Air is the first The Unthanks’ album in four years. What other projects were you guys involved in this fouryear period and why did you decide to take a little bit more time to release a new album? I mean, up until now there was just a two-year gap between albums. In 2012 we released three project albums in one year, our Diversions series [Vol 1 –The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons; Vol 2 – The Unthanks With Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Bannd; Vol 3 – Songs From The Shipyards], which it was such a prolific time that we were afraid that our fanbase would get sick of us, so we decided to go quiet for a bit, because if we had released an album in the year after maybe nobody would have noticed. [laughs] That was the original thinking, to basically sit on our hands and give people a rest, but the natural fact is that the new album has taken two years to make anyway, so we haven’t meant to wait quite so long as we have, it’s partly just because Mount The Air became such a more musically ambitious album that we anticipated... and it has been difficult making an album. Rachel [Unthank, voice] and I have two children as well… musicandriotsmagazine.com

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Yeah, I think it would be crazy because like you said, Mount The Air is a really ambitious album. Yeah! And we were also working on other projects. The First World War project [with Sam Lee], we collaborated with Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill earlier this year [2014]; we’ve done recordings in the last couple years for Orbital and Sting... all kind of people. We certainly haven’t been lazy. [laughs] It is the first album to feature writing from all five core members, including debut contributions from both Rachel and Becky. In which way having the all five core members writing affected the dynamic of the band and the writing process overall? It hasn’t affected the dynamic hugely. It’s been very welcome from my perspective. So far I have been the only member to contribute any new writing and it’s been wonderful to share that responsibility with the others. The actual process it’s been probably more isolated from me that have ever been. We have a studio that’s two hundred yards from our house and so rather than get together with the band to perhaps three solid weeks, which we might share the creative process... I’ve actually made this record on my own in small chunks of time whenever possible, so the kids have their dad until bedtime and then I would start after that, which means that I would have to do it in small chunks of time, like I was saying. Because we’re so geographically dispersed as a band that means it’s hard to get everyone together for those small periods of time. Those bits of writing from other members were submitted in isolation and then left for me to arrange it and work on. The process being fairly normal but having the studio down the road has been wonderful. It’s a beautiful spot and a very lovely atmosphere. It’s been a real joy to make music there. Since Last, your last album, a lot has changed for you and Rachel. You got married and now you have two children. Do you guys think those changes in your personal lives affected and changed you as an artist and the album? Well, I’ve just spoken to a journalist that pointed out that with the “Foundling” and “Last 94

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February

Lullaby” [two songs on the record] it’s sorted of linked with us just having children, but I haven’t actually noticed it [laughs]... that was a theme. Perhaps is a subconscious effect that it has on us. I think there has always been a socially conscious heart to our material, whether we are singing about a certain community, or an industry, or children. We’re often singing about vulnerable elements of society. I think that having kids is just sort of set in with our sort of core emotional content that has always been there really. If I’m not mistaken, you were responsible for writing the opening 10 minute track… Yes, more or less. It’s based on a small traditional song that only had one verse and half the tune, sort of speak, the “Mount The Air” has. But yeah, I wrote the song based on that song. To be honest, I was blown away because it took me like one week to look at the track length and discover that it was a 10 minute track... Listening to it, it seemed like way shorter. [laughs] Thank you. It’s very textural and I guess the predominant influence on me with the arrangement of that song was Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis, which is probably fairly obvious, it’s not particularly hidden. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s probably my favorite piece of music of all. It’s a strange time to show itself, to arrange a one verse song from [Dorset, in England, influenced] influence by the music of Spain and the jazz from the 50s and 60s... but yeah, it just sounded right that way. [laughs] We’re never consciously trying to break new ground or be musically obtuse or anything. We all grew up listening to a wide range of music so we have a lot of musical vocabulary to draw from, which is mainly as a listener as opposed to a musician, or a writer. I’m a fairly basic musician who can read and write all those parts on Mount The Air and all the other tracks that were written by me, but I have to dictate to someone who can read. It’s a process that’s based on intuition and we never really know if it’s going to work until we get to the end. Listening to Mount The Air, I have to say that I got kind of the same feeling that I have when I listen Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, which doesn’t happen that often.Is

he an influence for you? No, not at all actually. I supposed I’m influenced by people like him. I do like Van Morrison, but I’m not that familiar with much of his material. I’m a fan of Steely Dan, who kind of sounds similar but probably has less soul. I think the thing that characterizes the record - hopefully, if you’ve given that degree of specialness – and that comes through is love and I what I mean by that is our love for the music that we approach. I’ve ended up making a ten-minute piece out of a very small traditional ditty because of my love for that tune. I was so struck by it that I became obsessed by it and explore it in every respect that I could. You know, the inability to present it in any more concise way that I have is down to my desire to express it and my desire to convey it to other people, and for other people hopefully to get from it what I get from it. I think lots of our music is basically love letters to the source material that we become obsessed with. Mount The Air will be released on RabbleRouser, your own label, despite offers from major labels. What made you pursue this kind of independence? We wouldn’t have a three album deal with EMI if we got strong views about being independent. I don’t have strong views about being independent, at all. I’m prolabel; I’m very pro-music industry. I think we need a music industry. We need labels to invest in new talents, but it’s difficult to do so when labels remain, in my opinion, unrealistic about terms – the traditional terms on which record label’s deals exist based on a time when there really was only one way to release music, and that was through record labels, and so they had the upper hand because of that sort of autonomy over the releasing process. But there are lots of ways to release music, they don’t have that degree of autonomy and they need to accept that more readily and appreciate that they have less to bring to the table than they used to, and they ought to come away from the table with less than they used to, and things have changed a little but nowhere near enough, in my opinion, so it’s not just the viable option when compared to release it on your own, as much as releasing on your own is infinitely harder work. I don’t desire that work [laughs] at all; I don’t desire


INTERVIEW // THE UNTHANKS

“We’re never consciously trying to break new ground or be musically obtuse or anything. We all grew up listening to a wide range of music so we have a lot of musical vocabulary to draw from...” to remain independent. We’re self-manages as well as selfreleased. I manage what we do as well as on the record label, and two kids on the three now... it’s extremely, extremely hard. But we still can’t sort to agree the terms which record labels still want to deal. A fish, a woman and the title Mount The Air. Can you reveal what’s behind all those elements? Is it about freedom? Yeah, I guess so. Hopefully a metaphor for appreciation of art and music in itself in terms of the place that you need to attain in order to fully open yourself up to the possibilities of art, either buying it, consuming, or express it. Perhaps that desire, that experience in all of us as children through our dreams to fly. I supposed that to a certain extent is a happy coincidence that we happen upon an artist, and an image, that at the time we were looking for one that suited our needs. The image that fronts our album is actually especially

commissioned and just for us, but it was based on an image that Natalie [Reid, illustrator and printmaker] had already made and it captured our imagination. We ask her to sort of adapt slightly to fit our title better. It’s extremely pleasing. Visually our strongest output in terms of just being happy with the visual elements of our music.

really captured my imagination and I suppose it has to do with the fact that I have two little children myself, you know? It just caught my imagination that maybe I could write a last lullaby for who was leaving a child... I just kind of did as an exercise to myself, really. It just so happens that they were kind enough to want to include it on the album. [laughs]

So, Rachel, how was it for you the experience of being more involved with the writing process? I bit nerve racking. [laughs] I don’t really consider myself someone who writes but with this song, “Last Lullaby,” it is a lullaby that we’ve been singing together anyway, me and Becky [Unthank], in harmony, so Adrian was doing a lot of research for the Foundling Museum and I was reading the literature as well and I was really taken by all of these histories, and all of these objects that were left with children so they could be recognized and reunited with their parents... that was the idea, but obviously a lot of them won’t. It

Do you want to be move involved in the writing process from now on? I’m quite happy to try and do that again. If the topic comes along, that kind of that sparks my imagination. The region where I’m from and the music we’re into... there are so many traditional songs and other stories that I still want to sing and tell. I don’t always feel compelled to write. But it’s nice to do that. It’s a good exercise.

Mount The Air is out now via Rabble Rouser

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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

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SLEATER-KINNEY No Cities To Love Sub Pop (2015)

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he past few years have seen no shortage of formidable comebacks, with everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Carcass returning from the wilderness to show their one-time fans (and now contemporaries) that the best is still in them. Even the most optimistic of acolytes never saw Sleater-Kinney’s revival coming, The Woods already serving as a fitting swan song, but now that it’s here, all that can be done is to marvel at the fact that they still do, indeed, have it, and it’s stronger than ever. Perfectly encapsulating both the innate accessibility, barbed and skewed as it is, of The Hot Rock and the spirited defiance of Call The Doctor, No Cities To Love is a ferocious and sometimes dizzying indie-pop album that never falters, each hook, jerky melody and noisy caterwaul iconic in its own fashion. There isn’t a single cut here that wouldn’t stand confidently alongside their best, from the funky post-punk of the title track to “No Anthems” buzzing guitarwork, a cry of “I’m not the anthem” proving somewhat ironic given the context as the clash of massive hooks and mangled noise invades the mind like a thief in the night. Though gifted with a finely polished production, there’s a loose and thrashy flow at work, Janet Weiss’ drumming a blunt counterweight to Brownstein’s colourful six-string vocabulary, rendered in salvoes of screeching distortion and mangled lead breaks; when they do decide to hammer home the sugar, as on the bubblegum harmonising of A New Wave, a wonkily psyched-out interlude shoots the radio trappings in the foot. For a while, it looked like Sleater-Kinney would be placed on the shelf as a shining example of how indie rock, and musical activism as a whole, was once done, but No Cities To Love puts them where they belong – on the front lines. Raucous, relevant and gifted with a career’s worth of single material in a series of short, sharp stabs to the heart, it shows that, even now, they’re still showing people how it should be done.

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No Anthems, Price Tag, A New Wave

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DAVE BOWES


REVIEWS

classic

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8 36 CRAZYFISTS Time And Trauma

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A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS Transfixiation

8 ADVENTURES Supersonic Home

Spinefarm Records (2015)

Dead Oceans (2015)

Run For Cover (2015)

Time and Trauma is the first record in five years from these Alaska dudes. Life wasn’t easy for them in the past couple of years, they’ve been through some serious shit. Time and Trauma is heavy as fuck, full of passion and emotionally cathartic, and after all they’ve been through is quite outstanding to see how they deal with all this trauma and pain. Musically speaking, Time and Trauma is different but still have that classic 36 Crazyfists pedigree and embraces some serious and almost dramatic issues; Brock lyrics give us a closer look of what pain and anguish could be. After a four-year recording hibernation, we’re happy to say that 36 Crazyfists are back, Time and Trauma rises aboves and gives them the cathartic experience they needed.

A Place To Bury Strangers have always existed beyond their studio recordings, but their previous records failed to showcase it. The Brooklyn-based trio are juggernauts that only truly awaken during live shows, and Transfixiation is their first record to display the power of their live sonic experimentations. The track “What We Don’t See” is what Peter Hook would have done if he dared to go beyond his time. The way APTBS drag post-punk through the sewers of sound in “Deeper” is enough to consider Transfixiation their best record yet. APTBS stand out from the post-punk revival scene by picking up a cosmic hammer and shattering the walls that constrain their thought, and in doing so they have built something truly daring and unique.

Adventures, featuring 3/4 of Code Orange is a dreamy journey into what 90’s alternative rock and punk emo scene gave us. Supersonic Home is quite graceful, full of chiming riffs and infused with that cathartic energy of punk. Adventures’ charming melody is bloody lovely, if you love Code Orange this is a totally different thing, but still these wonderkids once again come up with another outlet of strong and honest emotions, where self-doubt, troubled hearts, and the everyday struggle is something that we all can relate to nowadays. The dual vocals of Code Orange’s Reba Meyers and Kimi Hanauer bring a sunny and dreamy element that radiates into this nostalgia clash with reality. The kids are definitely alright...

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FAUSTO CASAIS

Deftones, Helmet, Killswitch Engage

CARLOS CARDOSO

The Jesus And Mary Chain, Suicide

FAUSTO CASAIS

Chumped, Lemuria, Joyce Manor

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7 ALCOA Parlour Tricks

Bridge Nine Records (2015)

Derek Archambault is back with the second album for his side project Alcoa. Still recovering a major surgery from a hip replacement, Defeater frontman is once again going emotional and bit dark, but most of all deeply personal with this new effort. Recorded near his home with bandmate and engineer Mike Moschetto, Parlour Tricks is more than just another alt-country/rock effort, featuring instruments such as an upright bass, banjo, fiddle, pedal steel and piano/ organ, along with guest vocals from Derek’s wife, Alyssa Archambault. Parlour Tricks is an honest and soulful effort about reflection and introspection, that arrives upon a very new and invigorating chapter in Derek Archambault’s life.

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Defeater, Frank Turner, Dave Hause

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7 ATILLLA V

Bisnaga Records (2015)

V is the first album of one of the most exciting projects on the Portuguese electronic scene. In all the recent work of Miguel Béco there is a sound progression of layers extended to exhaustion grabbing us in the core. The environmental exploitation flows into the darkest corners of the human mind in an attempt to decipher their cravings in the worldly conquest of light through the darkness. “Man,” with vocals by António Costa (Ermo), is one of the most compelling partnerships that you will hear this year. RUI CORREIA

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7 AXIS OF

The Mid Brae Inn

Smalltown America (2015)

The Northern Irish trio Axis Of are back with their sophomore album, The Mid Brae Inn. Full of distinctive hooks, infectious melodies and fist-pumping chorus, The Mid Brae Inn is that missing link between The Bronx II, The King Blues Punk and Poetry and Against Me! Searching for a Former Clarity, it’s all here, and it sounds damn near perfect!!! Smart, strong, refined and dynamic, in short, a great record and you won’t be disappointed.

FAUSTO CASAIS

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8 BLACKLISTED

When People Grow, People Go

Deathwish Inc. (2015)

Eleven songs of pure joy (for the writer, of course...) and aggression (for the listener...), a brave hardcore cathartic explosion of what melancholic introspection should be... When People Grow, People Go is just what we may call a fuckin punch in our fragile stomach and a bunch of hard slaps in our fuckin face. Full of originality and ferocity, When People Grow, People Go is tightly textured and full of that brilliant invigorating hardcore songs. Well done guys!

FAUSTO CASAIS

BJORK

Vulnicura

One Little Indian (2015)

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ulnicura is already the ninth album of an artist who needs no introduction, either by the media attention or by the consistency and quality of her previous works. Still, perhaps the newest are not connoisseurs of this Icelandic genius full of adjectives. Bjork is, along with Sigur Ros, the maximum exponent in the musicality of the colossal and ethereal island. A career with decades, always showing how to follow trends and to reinvent sounds, always with an unusual tenacity, which gives the artist a unique sound, whether vocal or instrumental. Bjork has supported the music scene at all times, without thereby giving the media fanaticism. Vulnicura is a natural consequence in the career of the artist. It is deeply emotional, thematically built around a relationship and all emotionality that creatively springs from Bjork is simply overwhelming. After all these years, is perhaps the album that more surrounds us, which costs more to digest, which violently rewards our state of mind. It is perhaps the best Bjork album. It is almost perfect and it is in the violent awakening capacity emotions. It is even a bit disconcerting as the sound chaos that is created inflicts pain to inflict release and comfort in the next second. Overall, and as being in the top of a career filled with successes, Vulnicura is a mature album, perfected, which favorably meets all the expectations that ourselves have on this return, anticipated by force due to leaks on the internet. Even the strategy of immediately launch of the album was a happy time, adding value and texture to a work already rich itself.

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Bjork, Bjork and even more Bjork

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:

Vulnicura, New Ager, History of Touches

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OUT NOW 06.03

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8 BEDEMON Child Of Darkness

Relapse Records (2015)

THE ANSWER Raise A Little Hell

ARCHIVE Restriction

When they first started, they were an AC/DC wannabe copycat and probably the world didn’t need another band trying to emulate the great Aussie band. So it was a good move on their part to try and distance themselves from awkward comparisons. This being their fifth album they obviously show a lot of progress and are now a Journey/ Foreigner/Bad Company (the 80’s version) hybrid. They will appeal to the aforementioned bands fans and that is a positive thing, on the other hand you have a band that is so worried in emulating their idols that they end up having a very derivative sound. These bands are very important to keep the flame burning, but most of them have their fate sealed. Will this be one those? We’ll have to wait and see.

Some dream worlds melt away into wastelands, devoid and desolate in a shadowy landscape. Not quite bereft of hope, yet nothing fruitful will ever grow there. That’s what Archive portray with Restriction. At first, “End Of Our Days” promises an ethereal mellowness will rule the day, followed by the dreamy echoes of vocals and tip toeing keyboards on “Third Quarter Storm.” However, “Half Built Houses” puts everything in a new, emptier perspective with a growing isolated feeling. The oncoming storm arrives with the intense, thundering electronic effects raining down all around on “Crushed.” All in total, Restriction is a bland dream that leaves the listener feeling shut out in the cold.

An offshoot of the ultimate metal cult band Pentagram, featuring Bobby Liebling and Geof O’Keefe from this band and Randy Palmer, this band’s sound is rooted in early Black Sabbath with some Hawkwind psychedelic leanings thrown in for good measure. This compilation of previous unreleased material from de seventies, recorded in Pentagram’s rehearsal space, features the sort of low-fi aesthetics and occult lyrical obsession that has been the backbone of Black Metal for many years. And as this band predates Venom by almost a decade, that’s saying something. Sometimes the sudden popularity of a band (Pentagram) makes it possible for us to discover other long lost projects like this. A great record for fans of seventies music and also for those who want to know where one of metals most extreme style sprung from.

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Napalm Records (2015)

Dangervisit (2015)

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TRAVIS BOYER

Slowdive, The Knife, Pink Floyd

AC/DC, Bad Company, Thin Lizzy

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Pentagram, Hawkwind, Venon

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9 BELLE AND SEBASTIAN Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

As expected, Swedish progger Beardfish once again delivered a new stunning record in the form of +4626 Comfortzone, which took the concept of a safe and risk-free existence as its main motto. Either by going through heavy motions in numbers like “King”, dwelling into more pastoral moods on the three-part “The One Inside” or by creating immersive epics such as “If We Must Be Apart”, Beardfish not only have shown that they’ve learned the lessons taught by Genesis, Yes and Steven Wilson, but they also gave an example on how to take those teachings to another level by creating something unique instead of just another virtuosic prog rock pastiche. +4626... is clever and engaging and it will surely be regarded as one of the best records, not only in their career, but in the overall prog rock genre as well.

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance seeps with the same lyrical melancholia of Belle and Sebastian’s previous albums, but with a melodic plot twist. With Stuart Murdoch singing about childhood nostalgia and the seclusion of his suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in “Nobody’s Empire”, put alongside synth-driven dance tracks “The Party Line” and “Enter Sylvia Plath”, nothing is out of place in this well-crafted melange of refined pop. The Scottish band’s ninth studio creation retains the quality of perceptive lyricism and wistful melodies of its predecessors, but with more upbeat grooves than might expected of them and even hints of funk to go against pensive verses, the band prove they can venture into other directions while staying true to the introspective spirit of their song-writing.

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Matador (2015)

LUÍS ALVES

Genesis, Steven Wilson, Yes

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BEARDFISH +4626 - Comfortzone Inside Out Music (2015)

NUNO BABO

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STELLA ELIADOU

The Smiths, Sylvia Plath & Dancing

7 THE BODY & THOU You, Whom I have Always Hated Thrill Jockey (2015)

Do The Body & Thou bring out the best in each other or the worst? Both are known for their raw, borderline unhinged intensity, and when both deliver in tandem, the resulting deluge can be unbearable, a skip load of unchecked emotion and seedy industrial sludge tearing through without filter. Conversely, there are moments of rare beauty and fulfilment, though the desolate calm of “He Returns To The Place Of His Iniquity” is one flecked with rust, and the bulldozer groove of “Her Strongholds Unvanquishable” buries its orthodoxy under white noise and despair. In sharing status as rank outsiders, loitering around the left field of sludge and doom, they have found kinship in each other and birthed a marvellous monster.

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The Body, Thou, Nine Inch Nails

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PIAS (2015)

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The Mindsweep

T

here’s always a certain satisfaction to the beginning of any Enter Shikari album, Rou Reynolds’ earnest platitudes never failing to put fire in the belly. This time, it’s his declaration of “this fight is for humankind” that lights the fuse, fading into a thuggish juggernaut of guitar and Faithless-worthy house. It’s not exactly a subtle way to kick off an album as nuanced as this but it does go some way towards

establishing the head-on collisions lying at its core. Both lyrically and sonically, The Mindsweep veers between extremes, alternating the tender optimism of “The One True Colour,” all soaring melody and heartstringtugging messages of hope, and the vitriol of “Anaesthetist” and “There’s A Price On Your Head,” targeting the privatisation of the NHS and the divisive nature of class respectively with abrasive techno-punk fury and skewed mathcore acrobatics. Though it does sometimes feel like a rougher, more adventurous take on what they already achieved with A Flash Flood Of Colour, that’s because it is, yet it’s hard to overstate how much they have refined their sound; swells of strings and

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Genghis Tron, Sikth, Radiohead

brass bring a grandiose touch to moments which could otherwise be maudlin; Reynolds has stepped up his game both as a vocalist and a programmer, more comfortable in his falsetto turns and working from a broader, more defined palette in the album’s more technocentric moments. Even the relentless optimism that some have use to downplay the group’s message has been replaced with something more realistic, not afraid to admit that perhaps it’s going to take more than good intentions to fix the world. Fearless and peerless, the St. Albans lads are continuing to improve, evolve and invoke change with each step, and it’s an ethos The Mindsweep embodies with gusto.

Anaesthetist, There’s A Price In Your Head

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DAVE BOWES

103


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7 BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH Brothers of the Sonic Cloth Neurot Recordings (2015)

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, worshippers at the altar of Disembowelment and Crowbar and blessed by the sacred rites of tinnitus and amp-blowouts, are made of heavier stuff than most. Featuring the mighty combo of Tad and Peggy Doyle alongside The Annunaki’s Dave French, their debut holds nothing back, each track layering mournful groundswells of guitar with hammering percussion in forms that border confrontation and defeat, rushes of blustering aggression balanced out by an introspective retreat into the self. Tad remains an indomitable figure, ursine and laden with a sense of bold longing, but it’s French’s drumming, each strike rattling out like the hammer of Thor itself descending on the kit, that gifts these wondrous acoustic realms with a sense of real physical presence. Like a backwoods Swans, this is potent stuff.

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DAVE BOWES

Tad, Crowbar, Swans

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7

CAÏNA Setter Of Unseen Snares

CALIFORNIA X Nights In The Dark

With Andrew Curtis-Brignell’s reactivation of his mainstay, there has been a steady move towards the stark misanthropy of his cassette days and Setter... packs in that same rage, the pissed-off air of being done with the world once and for all, yet it’s as accessible as it is furious, squeezing in choice samples, sweeping grooves, concerted destruction and an otherworldly sense of dissonance before signing off with a grand, cathartic unburdening. Though the step-up in scale is partially attributable to Andrew’s abandonment of Caïna being a purely solo project, it can’t be denied that this is the band operating on a new level entirely. A triumph of art and negativity, this is what happens when black metal is allowed to grow and develop in sound and scale.

This is a really interesting indie rock album. Interesting as in good. Indie rock is generally the music for the new pseudo hippies and it’s a niche market that a lot of bands are looking to tackle. California X have done it with an edge to it. They have similar yet contrasting elements to it, especially in this album. Maybe it’s the elements of punk and hard rock they incorporated in their songs that set them apart. Nights In The Dark has a flow of its own and it goes up and down in a really enjoyable way. It really fits the album’s name. The production is also really good, makingus able to see how great musicians they are. Overall, it’s a pretty impressive album.

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Church Of Fuck (2015)

Don Giovanni (2015)

DAVE BOWES

Krieg, Morgion, The Cure (Disintegration era)

IBRAHIMA BRITO

Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr.

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7

THE CHARLATANS Modern Nature BMG (2015)

CLOAKROOM Further Out

Run For Cover (2015)

COLLEEN GREEN I Want to Grow Up

If you’re not surprised by the fact that the Charlatans are still around, then you will be by how good their latest album is. Modern Nature marks their twelfth album to date, and the first released after losing drummer Jon Brookes in 2013. Like with 1997’s Tellin’ Stories, released after keyboardist Rob Collins’ death, the band have shown for the second time that their way of coping with loss is producing a killer album. The use of brass and string instruments, gospel vocals and groovy basslines give Modern Nature a timeless 70’s quality, forming a sunny, optimistic collection of beautifully put-together songs that evokes soul and disco, at the same time retaining its modern identity as a very contemporary piece of work tinged with melancholy.

Is it safe to say that emo-stoner/shoegaze is a thing? Of course it is. Further Out is the much anticipated debut record for the Indiana trio. Cloakroom output is full of clichés, but their sweeping sonic structures are both dramatic and compelling, providing to the listener’s mixed feelings of both nostalgia and confusion. Further Out is raw, but at the same time seems flawless, but it’s their own mess that gives them his own unique style of blending sounds. Full of distortion, reverb soaked vocals and crushing drumming, Further Out is on the limb between the atmospheric elements of post-rock and shoegaze, emo late-nineties wave and that slow hooks from classic stoner anthems. This is hard to swallow, but after several listenings tastes so good.

LA-based songwriter Colleen Green returns with a new album entitled I Want to Grow Up. The overall theme of this new effort couldn’t be more obvious, growing up and adulthood. Green really knows how to put out her thoughts and feelings into her songs and this new album is no exception. She’s honest with her emotions and with I Want to Grow Up she shares the pains of growing and the anxieties that come along with it. Musically, Green makes a major change. Her drum-machine and homemade recordings weren’t part of this new album, instead she had the help of her friends JEFF the Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet’s Casey Weissbuch. Growing up is inevitable and this album is a proof of that.

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ANTIGONI PITTA

Brit Pop, 90’s nostalgia and melancholy

104

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February

Hardly Art (2015)

FAUSTO CASAIS

Nothing, Pianos Become The Teeth, Codeine

La Sera, Ramones, Bleached

ANDREIA ALVES


REVIEWS

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7 CHEATAHS Sunne EP

Wichita Recordings (2015)

Sunne is Cheatahs’ first release since their self-titled debut album, released last year. Between walls of reverb, noise and atmospheric melodies, Sunne brings nothing new to the band’s discography nor it can’t be considered their most clearly defined and ambitious release to date; let’s just say that this EP follows the same sound line as the full-length album. It’s concise and enjoyable, but it doesn’t add or take anything from their sound.

ANDREIA ALVES

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6 CRY EXCESS

Ambition Is The Shit

Luxor Records / This is Core (2015)

You know the drill, right? Huge breakdowns, clean meets brutal vocals, catchy power chorus. Turin’s modern metalcore outfit Cry Excess breaks away from that deathcore classic stereotype and go mental blending nu-metal, metalcore, heavy groove and pop elements all at once. Ambition Is The Shit is the next step, where the Italian troupe continues to push their own musical creativity to the limit. The sky is the limit, but they need to avoid some clichés...

FAUSTO CASAIS

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5 ELLA PALMER

Heal Wounds, Find Gold

Toothless Tiger Records (2014)

Five years later, Portuguese alternative rock outfit Ella Palmer is back with another set of emotional and personal tracks, where hope, love and some nostalgia brings a positive vibe to this album. There is some radio friendly tunes in here, however it seems that they don’t want to get out of their comfort zone, and while there aren’t any obvious peaks or thoughts in quality throughout, we may say that this is a consistent and average effort.

FAUSTO CASAIS

FATHER JOHN MISTY

8

Sub Pop (2015)

OUT NOW

I Love You, Honeybear

Father John Misty is the most real character within the fictional and subconscious of J. Tillman. The sense of humor enhanced given the typically serious repertoire of Folk, the subtle acidity of the various American themes (Hollywood-lifestyle in “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”, the social-political and economic crisis in “Bored In the USA”), wrapped in majestically orchestrated harmonies accentuate the satire of the screen name. There is classicism in instrumental composition that is contradicted entirely by its letters “anti-cliché” romantic, loving, creating an elegant provocation of these issues that shape a monument of modern times. On “True Affection,” the most pop theme without wanting to be, serving as a critique of relational plasticity today he says: “When can we talk/ With the face/ Instead of using all these strange devices?/ Seems like/ You and I need to have a crazy conversation” and in its sui generis “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment”, “She says, like literally, music is the air she breathes/ And the malapropos make me want to fucking scream/ I wonder if she even knows what that word means/ Well, it’s literally not that.” Feels the age of the author fighting the ignorance of youth to the wither and subsequent resignation of the nation’s contradictions, culminating in a major milestone of J. Tillman as an artist - “Bored In The USA” is an absolute must, of a condenser American identity, which is hard admitted.

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John Lennon, Damien Jurado, Jonathan Wilson

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I Love You, Honeybear; True Affection; Bored In The USA

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7

8

Throatruiner/Ruins Records /Deadlight (2015)

Lush

All Black Recording Company (2015)

DANKO JONES Fire Music

They come from Paris, the city of love. Still, this thing is a repulsive and angry spit, a saturated cry of frustration that could no longer be choked. Rise to Infamy makes me want to swear and break stuff as much as to just sit down on the floor with my hands on the back of my head crying for the storm to be over. This record departs itself from Cowards previous release - the EP Hoarder - by being faster and diving deeper in what seems to be a black metal-influenced blend of sludge and dark hardcore. Also, I don’t think it would be wrong to say that these guys must have been listening carefully to bands like Celeste, Amenra and Loma Prieta. Cowards go way beyond your regular hardcore band. There is no shelter; the storm is all over the place.

After achieving worldwide recognition with their ambitious sophomore album, Sunbather, Deafheaven have come to a point where any weird side-project they may have will get immediate attention. Recorded and mixed by Andrew Oswald (Ash Borer, Fell Voices) and mastered by Jack Shirley (Whirr, Joyce Manor) Creepers is a trippy side-project led by some Shiv Mehra and Daniel Tracy of Deafheaven, and Lush is their second album. There seems to be a blend between 70’s psychedelic rock and the present revival of the style, as well as shoegaze and some occasional, very very subtle, magic dust of black metal phrasing sparkling here and there. It’s not jawdropping material we have here, but still very enjoyable and colorful music.

Well, Danko Jones doesn’t need any kind of introduction. The only thing he needs is that you spare a small amount of your time listening what rock music really sounds like, it will change your life for sure... 18 years later, there is still fire in his songs, he’s still angry as fuck and he still rocks like no one else, outstanding! Fire Music is another pack loaded with some of the most incendiary, fierce and downright pissed-off songs that only Danko Jones nowadays is able to make. The Canadian power-trio means pure agitation, this would be the perfect soundtrack to riot against, full of adrenaline and that sadistic and strange black humour that only Mr. Danko himself is capable of. If a kid asked me what rock sound like, I would hand him a copy of Fire Music.

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COWARDS Rise to Imfamy

CREEPERS

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Amenra, No Omega, Loma Prieta

Bad Taste (2015)

RICARDO ALMEIDA

Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Motorhead

Deafheaven, Whirr, Nothing

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DAVID BRONSON Questions

THE DECEMBERISTS What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful...

“I can’t tell you we’ll be sleeping sound tonight, but outside I hear a songbird, and I think she has it right, she is just singing, she is not asking why,” is one of the lines on the opening “Songbirds” and probably the most significant and powerful of the new album by NYC-based songwriter David Bronson. Questions is another highly personal Bronson’s album – perhaps more relatable than his previous works – and arguably the richest experience, sound wise, that the songwriter has offered so far. With the help of amazing talents, like Carlos Alomar (who’ve worked with Bowie, Eno, Lennon, etc.), Robin Clark (who’ve worked with Aretha, Dylan, Springsteen, etc.), and Godfrey Diamond (Lou Reed producer), Questions provides a multi-layered experience, relying on staggering amounts of soul.

As its title suggests, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World reflects a light and dark elements throughout, creating an interplay between diverging themes. Through wistful melodies paired with, at times, dark, dulcet tone vocals by Colin Meloy, this latest release is the peak mixture of sweet and bitterness. Look no further than the opener, “The Singer Addresses His Audience,” for a delivery of sullen acceptance. “Calvary Captain” is the kicky, upbeat number amongst this battle between dour and jubilant. “Make You Better” answers in kind with a desperately hopeful melody that is fueled by the vapors of “Calvary Captain.” “Till The Water Is All Gone” and “Carolina Low” run on empty alongside tenuous acoustics. The low times outnumber the high moments on this record.

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Big Arc Records (2015)

Rough Trade (2015)

TIAGO MOREIRA

Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Elliot Smith

106

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FAUSTO CASAIS

TRAVIS BOYER

Nick Drake, The Carpenters, Peter Gabriel

8 THE DODOS Individ

Polyvinyl (2015)

WOW. This album is pure genius. It is like food for your brain. Regardless of your state of mind, it will make you feel somehow better about yourself. Which is what music is all about to be fair. The American Indie rock duo has really come up with something remarkable in this album and they should get recognized for it. Then again, after 6 albums you should be always aiming up. The album has its own pace and flow. It is almost as if it teleports you into a peaceful alternate dimension where everything is so relaxed and indie. Its production is really good and the music construction is simple, but really effective and the junction of the two guitars and one voice is marvellous. They definitely got a new fan, well done!!!

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Thee Oh Sees, Iron & Wine, Panda Bear


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7 HANNE KOLSTØ Forever Maybe

Jansen Plateproduksjon (2014)

Hanne Kolstø might be relatively unknown, but in her home country Norway she’s a celebrated indie pop goddess. Forever Maybe is her fourth full-length and the most radio friendly effort till date. The key ingredients are all the same, blending reverb-drenched electronica with the sublime touch of minimalist, experimental and subversive indie/pop elements, but now everything got much bigger, ambitious and shinier.

FAUSTO CASAIS

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8 LIKE PACIFIC Like Pacific

Pure Noise Records (2015)

And the pop-punk bands keep on coming, and surprisingly just good ones. Canadians Like Pacific can be considered one of those bands emerging from the pop-punk scene and bit by bit they are claiming their place in the scene. This new self-titled EP is a strong and mature effort. Singer Jordan Black pours his heart out as a cathartic process on these energetic and visceral fivesongs. Quickly you get into these dudes with this EP.

ANDREIA ALVES

02.03

6 MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN Cold Was The Ground

Napalm Records (2015)

Stoner Rock has been invented, reinvented, rehashed, overhauled, reformulated and reinterpreted more times that I can count. You can tell what a stoner record is going to sound like even before listening to it and that can be a good thing or a real drag depending on what is your stance on the matter. This band sure has the shops to spare, and I’ve read they are a pretty good live band as well, but sometimes that is not enough to elevate a record beyond the status quo. NUNO BABO

JESSICA PRATT

6

Drag City (2015)

OUT NOW

On Your Own Love Again

Being compared to Joan Baez doesn’t make Jessica Pratt very happy, but it sure gives us some realistic terms of comparison within the folk world. Born in 1987, Jessica Pratt learnt to play the guitar around the age of 15, and soon began to record her songs. Pratt’s self-titled debut album, released in 2012, showed us much more than just folk: it was a mixture between classic rock and freak folk, communicating in an abstract, almost wordless way. On Your Own Love Again was recorded at home over the past two years and it was mixed in collaboration with Will Canzoneri, though Pratt did try to hide that homemade feeling somehow with electric guitars and keyboards. Here we find again her folk songs being brought to us from another place and time, with raw lyrics, a hint of nasal voice and acoustic guitars: “Deep inside my lonely room/ I cry the tears of never knowing you”, she sings on “Jacquelyn in the Background”. Some other love impressions are acoustically and harmoniously printed on this record, and we can listen to it like if we were watching a perfect canvas: “People’s faces blend together/ Like a watercolor you can’t remember”, it’s how “Game That I Play” starts. Pratt’s voice is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re willing to let her lyrics do the job, soon you’ll find her songs to be only the beginning of the journey.

FOR FANS OF:

Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Joni Mitchell

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:

Game That I Play, Jacquelyn In The Background

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MARIANA SILVA

107


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8 FALL OUT BOY American Beauty/ American Psycho

OUT NOW

Island (2015)

Damn!!! What a way to start 2015. You cannot ever count out Fall Out Boy, because they will always comeback and make any of your negative comments irrelevant and make people laugh at your ignorance. After 5 awesome albums, they add another great one to their discography. Despite the main theme of the album being love songs, which is something that we have been listening to for the past 6 decades, FOB made this saturated theme cool again and they done it like only they could. The flagship songs are definitely “American Beauty/ American Psycho”, “Uma Thurman” and “Fourth of July” The groove of the album is excellent. Its flow is impeccable and really unique and their characteristic humour filled songs are their like always. Patrick Stump’s voice in this album is due to melt lots of hearts this coming valentine because it is still amazing as ever. Overall, this is a really outstanding album that merges two different sub genres (pop rock and pop) together in a covalent bond with a precision of a master. Awesome.

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IBRAHIMA BRITO

All Time Low, You Me At Six, The Used

108

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February

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7 FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND Chapter and Verse

7

Distiller Records (2015)

Funeral For a Friend’s latest album is a really solid one. The Welsh quartet has had a vast career and a group of past members as long as their years on the road. Their latest album cemented their long and steady diverge from their post-hardcore beginning into their current emo core/melodic type of band. They are a flagship band for the screamo movement, especially with their album Hours. This new album has a really cool production going on. One flaw though is one or two songs that are a total copy of some Foo Fighters’ tracks, which show a lack of originality to a degree. The album is well constructed and is within the expectations of their fans. The songs are well written too, and i nteresting to a degree. Overall, not that much impressive.

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Thrice, Thursday, Finch

IBRAHIMA BRITO

GHOST CULTURE Ghost Culture Phantasy (2015)

Ghost Culture is Jason Greenwood, a London producer of 24, who has just released one of the best career debut albums. I’ve briefly revisited the mixture of Disclosure’s joviality and the rediscovery of house, but the intensity in this self-titled album is dark: a voice grounded offers resistance to light emotions. Still, we jump to the dance floor with drone environments that feed the murmurs of Jason, where the perfect combination occurs in the themes “Mouth” - which opens the album - “Giudecca” the track that follows it and “Glass”. As a whole, the album feeds minimalism of deep house in author version with extensive room for improvement.

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Lxury, New Order, Erol Alkan

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JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ

7

Mute (2015)

OUT NOW

Vestiges & Claws

A

lot of time has passed since José González released In Our Nature, his second full-length album released back in 2007. Despite that fact the truth is that the Swedish singer-songwriter has been working with his band

Junip, releasing two albums – Fields in 2010 and a self-titled album in 2013 – and approaching it by asking a bunch metaphysical questions and engaging in the act of musing. Vestiges & Claws kind of follows the same path, choosing softness and rhythm for the heavy themes. That softness is by now González trademark, as well as his steady approach to the guitar – this time around there are times, like on the track “Stories We Build,

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ESSENTIAL TRACKS:

Amadou & Mariam, Nick Drake, Junip

Stories We Tell,” where it sounds something that could be on an Amadou & Mariam’s album. Within that pro there’s a con. Sadly enough, José didn’t decide to go all the way through that path (use of an engaging minimal percussion) during the entire album. Let me put it this way: sonically speaking, this could be easily José’s best work if it was not by the presence of “The Forest”, “Vissel”, and “Open Book”.

Every Age, The Forest, Leaf Off/The Cave

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10.03

8 HARM’S WAY Rust

Deathwish Inc. (2015)

Humanity failed, religion failed, politicians failed, capitalism failed, the whole system failed, we fucking failed... Nothing new here, but it’s the brutal, refined and meticulously contemporary aggression that gives Rust a new meaning to this fucking truth, humanity failed and there is no such thing as a new world order. Rust is strong and dynamic, drinking of that classic foundations where industrial noise kings Godflesh are clearly invoked, and where “early” Sepultura anthems are the perfect fuel to ignite this wreckage of heavy and depressing aggression. There is an overriding focus in patters and layers, and over 10 endurance songs we are perfectly sure that these dudes outdone even themselves.

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FAUSTO CASAIS

Godflesh, Helmet, “Early” Sepultura

24.03

7 HIT THE LIGHTS Summer Bones

Pure Noise Records (2015)

JAN ST. WERNER

Miscontinuum Album

8

Ohio pop-punk quintet are back with their fourth record, Summer Bones. This new effort marks also their first release in their new home, Pure Noise Records. Summer Bones is inspired by the fear that older generations tend to have of a younger generation that they can’t understand or relate to, showing that we’re all here with the same old problems, where fear, doubt and everyday problems are here to say, so we all have to deal with that. We cannot change the world if we all stick to this narrow minded claiming that the world is our own personal playground. Summer Bones is charming and quite catchy, and it goes from bubblegum Paramore’s pop vibe to that new school Neck Deep esque, with no fear of shifting styles in perfect and shining harmony.

Jan St. Werner, one of the minds behind the experimental electronic duos Mouse on Mars and Microstoria, brings us the follow-up to his 2013 album, Blaze Colour Burn. This is his third statement for the Fiepblatter series, via Thrill Jockey, and features contributions from Dylan Carlson (Earth), Markus Popp (Oval, Microstoria), Kathy Alberici, and Taigen Kawabe (Bo Ningen). Playing meticulously with the dynamics between background and foreground, as well as texture, Werner pushes his experimentation to a level where space seems to be the central element. The album is the result of a four-year long marinating process composed by live performances and a radio play. As one can read on the album’s press release, “It is a challenging listen not compromised for casual music consumption habits, but with time and close listening it yields vast rewards.”

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FAUSTO CASAIS

New Found Glory, Paramore, Neck Deep

110

music&riots

February

Thrill Jockey (2015)

Emeralds, Earth, Mouse On Mars

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9 LORD DYING Poisoned Altars

7 MILK TEETH Sad Sack EP

Venn Records (2015)

King Woman is a project formed by Kristina Esfandiari, which you may know her from her time on Whirr or her solo project Miserable, but after releasing two two-song EPs, this new EP Doubt marks the first release with a full band and you may say it’s their first proper EP. Having Black Sabbath, OM, Neurosis and Jesu as some of their musical references, Doubt is an intense, dark and highly introspective EP. Kristina sings about heavy topics, such like religious abuse, sex, metaphysics and heartbreak as well as physical abuse, and through her own words we feel her own emotions. It’s a thick and gloomy ride. Get ready to deal with such strong and impetuous music, because Kristina is no queen, she’s a King Woman!

Absolutely raw, monstrously rough, angrier and divine. This was my first thought when I started to listen to the first tracks on this Poisoned Altars from the sludgy Lord Dying. It doesn’t take too much long for you embrace this album as one of your favourite for the next couple of weeks and to be on repeat for days. Blending the old Crowbar’s clash guitar tone and vocal’s shape of High on Fire, implanted on some Down’s groove, Lord Dying applies their sludge work and sound. Inside this record there is no calm parts or soft portions, from the inception to the very least last second hearing, we follow a thunderstorm riffs and fasten bars. Doing that you have more desire to see this band live and in colors. A masterpiece and a great star for this year.

Few are the bands that turn those early 90’s grunge/punk influences into something new and good and there has been quite a lot of bands trying to bring that sound back. Bristol’s quartet Milk Teeth are one of those bands that stand out in the grunge revival and since the release of their Smiling Politely EP they have worked their asses off to show how good they really are. Milk Teeth sound like an angrier version of Nirvana but with pop sensitivities, and they even reminiscent their contemporaries Japanese Voyeurs, but let’s be fair, they can stand by their own name. Sad Sack is their new EP, the first with Venn Records, and it’s a compelling EP. From start to finish, they mix melody with noise and Becky’s sweet voice and Josh’s furious shouts go along so well. Heavy bass lines, noisy/melodic guitar riffs and frenetic drum beats is what mainly reigns in this 6-track EP. An full-length would be much appreciated.

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KING WOMAN Doubt EP

Relapse Records (2015)

Flenser Records (2015)

ANDREIA ALVES

Miserable, Fvnerals, Black Sabbath

SÉRGIO KILMORE

Red Fang, High On Fire, Crowbar

ANDREIA ALVES

Nirvana, Allusondrugs, Japanese Voyeurs

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OUT NOW 02.03

7 MOON DUO Shadow Of The Sun

9

Sacred Bones (2015)

Know that feeling of cranking up L.A. Women or Rated R and driving along some coastal line under 35 ºc feeling nothing could possibly bother you? On this new chapter of Moon Duo’s dusty odyssey they cross paths with John Jeffrey, and that - I suppose - makes them a trio. Whenever Moon Duo decides to had drums to their music they seem to imprint a certain degree of extra energy, and this time it is even harder not to move some part of our body when playing the album moderately loud. On the other hand, having a drumbeat to keep things going allows the other instruments to slow down a bit and immerse in deeper waters. The album was written during a restless touring period, high on the adrenaline of traveling and playing loud rock’n’roll, but it also comes with a natural feeling of unsettledness.

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RICARDO ALMEIDA

Bardo Pond, The Black Angels, White Hills

112

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8

OUT NOW

NAPALM DEATH Apex Predator – Easy Meat

Century Media (2015)

Here’s a band that will shake these pseudo indie rock foundations. Spanish new wonders Mourn harks straight back to the primal howl of Sleater-Kinney, that goes from Patty Smith Horses’ style to the short classic takes from The Ramones with that raw and melodic approach of Pixies meet Nirvana 90’s golden era. Ranging between 15 and 18 years old, there is a sense of authenticity and completely full-awareness beyond their age. Mourn is like a sweet-and-sour sonic adventure, a lo-fi punk rawness full of sophistication that will make blush some of the big and fabricated new acts that sound like their were an imitation of others imitations. Full of reckless, bold and daring, this might be your new favourite band...

Whenever these chaps release a new record, you know their quality standards won’t drop. Napalm Death just don’t allow themselves to get stuck in the same old formulas. Apex Predator – Easy Meat keeps that tradition and consistency intact by managing to sound more diverse than Utilitarian. You’ll be hearing everything, from punk infused rhythms, slow dissonant crushing riffs to, of course, those hyper fast, blast-beat grinding bursts of riffing violence, accompanied by Barney Greenway’s ever-so constantly pissed off growling barks at the world. What makes it interesting is that all of these appear most of the times tightly fused as different sections within a single song. They may be nearing thirty years, but Apex shows that Napalm Death still give current grinders like Pig Destroyer a run for their money. One of the mandatory releases of this year.

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FOR FANS OF:

MOURN Mourn

Captured Tracks (2015)

FAUSTO CASAIS

PJ Harvey, Ramones, Patti Smith, Nirvana

LUÍS ALVES

Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth, Dying Fetus


REVIEWS

OUT NOW

7 PAUWELS Elina EP

October Tone (2015)

Pauwels are a French band with enough capacity to unite the tips of the more crispy rock’s sub-genres and not sound wonder. There are ingredients for all tastes on this EP of seven tracks: hasty speed, frantic riffs, saturated lows, unpredictable rhythms, tick and tacks of unrest and even... moments of silence. All this in a job well mixed instrumentally, with compositions that can put them in a prominent place in the European underground scene.

RUI CORREIA

OUT NOW

8 ROTTING OUT Reckoning EP

Pure Noise Records (2015)

Well, it’s a sunny day and you are “possessed to skate” but you need a BSO for companion, this might be your best pick. Reckoning aims to that true feeling that is representing LA, and for about 10 minutes we party at the amazing mashup between that classic Suicidal Tendencies meets Circle Jerks vibe. Sunny days are finally arriving and this might be the perfect sunny, energetic element to fuel our lazy ass to have fun with friends, grab some beers and fucking skate. FAUSTO CASAIS

OUT NOW

6 TEAR OUT THE HEART Dead, Everywhere

Victory Records (2015)

The Missouri band promised that their new effort would be even more destructive and more powerful than its predecessor giving us Dead, Everywhere. It gathers 14 tracks of impressive instrumentation, killer choruses and sinister vocals that penetrates your mind and stays ringing for days to come. Elements of hardcore combined with dark and aggressive metalcore, and specific samples with keys amongst and along them, making the band’s signature sound even more killer than ever before. SÉRGIO KILMORE

MATANA ROBERTS

8

Constellation (2015)

OUT NOW

Coin Coin Chapter Three: River Run Thee

Sound experimentalist Matana Roberts has not only been in the mouths of the Jazz community for her glories as an innovative composer, but has also been featured as a collaborator with many great projects, such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Willing to go against all boundaries, Matana wants to talk about history, collective memory and ancestry – The Coin Coin series deal with the history of African-Americans and their struggle for civil rights. Matana feels like it will take something like a dozen albums to say all she has to say. Musically, this time one must be ready for something like a very natural marriage between saxophone leaden jazz and ambient drone music, along with what seems to be manipulated field recordings and spoken word excerpts. It may sound pretentious to say so, but it feels like the sort of record not to be listened at home, but in a museum-like room specifically designed for that purposed.

FOR FANS OF:

Arve Henriksen, Ken Vandermark, Colin Stetson

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:

All Is Writen, Dreamer Of Dreams, Always Say Your Name

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RICARDO ALMEIDA

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OUT NOW OUT NOW

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7

MURDER BY DEATH Big Dark Love

PANDA BEAR Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Bloodshot Records (2015)

Domino Records (2015)

After the great success with their Kickstarter campaign for the amazing Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, Murder By Death are back with their new and seventh full-length. Big Dark Love is nothing less than a record based on the distressing and wonderful feeling called Love. Whether is parental love or unconditional love, Adam Turla wrote on his lyrics different perspectives of how we see or experience love. Musically, this effort is more upbeat and it’s quite riveting, where their rootsy indie rock and cinematic ballads are still outstanding, adding some refreshing new elements like synth and pop. It can be a surprise to new fans, but it won’t disappoint old fans. That’s how MBD maintain their essence pushing themselves forward.

An album about death? Or about the survival instinct? Or simply a complicated and intricate album about life? Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper is the fifth solo album from Noah Lennox, the well-known musician of Animal Collective, and is a beautiful job that will appeal to all fans. Headquartered long in our beloved Lisbon, Panda Bear is a creative artist whose sound is driven by experimentation and a pop somehow psychedelic. Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper is a continuity album, being a natural evolution in the musician’s career, with pleasant tones and other more difficult absorption but all still very interesting. This is an album about change and adaptation, according to himself, but actually brings little new, despite the immense quality.

FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

ANDREIA ALVES

Cory Branan, Arcade Fire, Nick Cave

NUNO TEIXEIRA

5 PAPA ROACH F.E.A.R.

Eleven Seven Music (2015)

After listening to Papa Roach’s new album, it can be argued that both New Metal and Emocore are truly dead. This album sounds like a better produced version of the bunch of “wannabes” that we get shoved down to our throats everyday in TV channels such as Scuzz and Kerrang. The theme of the songs is always the same. Same voice cadence. Unoriginal music structure. Simplistic music construction, even the attitude seems stolen from the 90’s era. The album is nothing out of this world and the audience can see that the musicians know what they’re doing. But it truly lacks the hint of genius that every critic hopes to find. The band hasn’t evolved since the single “Last Resort” and that is critical for a band of their magnitude. They are a solid band and this is not at all around a disaster, it is just really underwhelming. If you have been a fan of their previous work than you should judge it for yourself, but if not then don’t bother. IBRAHIMA BRITO

Animal Collective, Spaceman 3,

OUT NOW

OUT NOW

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30.03

6 RWAKE Xenoglossalgia - The Last Stage Of...

8 SIMMER Yellow Streak EP

PUNCH BROTHERS The Phosphorescent Blues

Relapse Records (2015)

Folk music can take its time making its presence known, or it can enter the airwaves with such force that the acoustic sonic hammer away at the listener with a fervor. The Punch Brothers’ The Phosphorescent Blues fits the bill of unpredictable folk timing. Melodically, the record is all over the map. From the symphonic marathon of “Familiarity,” the twinkling chords of the free and easy instrumental “Passepied (Debussy),” and the thunder clap of the bass slide of “Magnet,” variety is the name of the game. Chris Thile’s forceful vocals with pointed violin and subdued mandolin on “My Oh My,” are the picture of how dynamic this ensemble can be. The Phosphorescent Blues is never bland in its approach, picking and choosing it’s time to let loose or rein itself in.

The disarmingly spaced out intro to Rwake’s ’98 demo might make those who got to the party a little late wonder if they’re listening to the same band, but even this plays some part in Xenoglossalgia’s status as the band’s most outré work. The cross-continental sludge they later made their hallmark arises in fits and starts, squashed between elegiac psych, ferocious death-doom and the kind of Escherian acoustic frameworks that already had them bookmarked for a place amongst Relapse’s roster. It’s a rough, unhinged work that peaks, rather fittingly, with a 45-minute odyssey of horror, madness and distortion, and though it’s obviously geared towards the fans and collectors, genre fans will undoubtedly find this curiosity more than enough to pique their interests.

Formed last February, Simmer are a band from Cheshire, UK and even though they are considered a new band, they have shown promising stuff on their releases. Let’s say that with this new and second EP, Yellow Streak, the group provides four tracks with neat and catchy noisy shoegaze blended in a punk vibe. Some will say they sound like Whirr, Nothing or even Basement, which it’s a good comparison, but simultaneously some will say they bring something different into this kind of style, which it’s true. Having Sunny Day Real Estate and Fugazi as main musical influences, it gives an edge to their songs and there’s no monotony on these atmospheric and emotional noisy tracks.

FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

Nonesuch (2015)

TRAVIS BOYER

New Grass Revival, Béla Fleck

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Dark Castle, Eagle Twin, Tombs

DAVE BOWES

Dog Knights Productions (2015)

Cheatahs, Nothing, Basement

ANDREIA ALVES


REVIEWS

OUT NOW

7 POND Man It Feels Like Space Again

Caroline (2015)

What a mess! A beautiful one. Pond, Australian psychedelic rock band, released their sixth original album and could not be the best time toconfirm that there is a lot more that being only a parallel band of Tame Impala. Man It Feels Like Space Again is the confirmation, a very good one by the way, that Pond run their own race, with a clear identity and a musical style now even more mature.This time, the synths are facing a kind of pop that breaks through the typical characteristic arrangements of the band, a profusion of sounds and sensations released in fast and slow pace. Recommended for the fans and for the lovers of chaos and motion.

FOR FANS OF:

NUNO TEIXEIRA

Tame Impala, King Gizzard, Ariel Pink

NATALIE PRASS

OUT NOW

8 SUMAC The Deal

Profound Lore Records (2015)

To say Sumac is heavy, groovy, harsh and overall solid is just the very least we can do. This piece of whatever type of metal we may call it is as well played and produced as it possibly gets - one can almost feel Turner’s spit as it hits him right in the face. Sumac is monolithic! Sometimes reminiscent of Celestial era ISIS, and also not far from the territories explored by Old Man Gloom in their last couple of releases, The Deal is primitive and complex at the same time (even though that may not make much sense). On one hand Turner seems to be pushing is guitar playing technique further with more intricate riffs – and the drums follow the same modus operandi. On the other hand, they seem to be just about three guys trying to beat you up with sludgy grooves as much as possible, until you leave their garage as a sore and really sad excuse for a human being.

FOR FANS OF:

Isis, Old Man Gloom, Palms

RICARDO ALMEIDA

Natalie Prass

9

Spacebomb (2015)

H

OUT NOW

ello ladies and gentlemen. I would like to introduce to you one of the most exciting artists and one of the most delightful musical experiences of this year: Natalie Prass and her self-titled debut album. Remember Lucas “Fats” Gonder introducing James Brown in what is now one of most perfect live albums of all-time, Live At The Apollo (1962)? Yeah, that’s what Prass deserves for her debut album. Hopefully you’re by now raising your eye brow… Good, that’s what I want! Fair enough, these nine songs are not a roller coaster of upbeat tunes, with an almost unhealthy groove attached to it, but they share something, a crucial element with the countless magical tunes of The Godfather of Soul… exactly! Soul! That’s probably the unifying element, transversal to the entire 39 minutes of the album. The album doesn’t feel like an unnecessary loop, like we’ve witnessed so many times, but more a diverse and rich experience that is somehow based on the art of seduction – don’t show your cards right away. There’s never a feeling that we know the entire track within the first 30 seconds. There’s always a development, whether is with the Natalie’s voice – from ethereal to steady as a rock – or with the instrumental, which encapsulates so many influences that is mind-blowing. The singer-songwriter Natalie Prass is folk, is jazz, is soul, and more important… is herself. Is this a dramatic entrance to stardom? One can only hope.

FOR FANS OF:

Bird Of Prey, Violently, It Is You

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:

Jenny Lewis, Dolly Parton, Sharon Van Etten

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5 TITLE FIGHT Hiperview

Epitaph (2015)

Ok, it’s really nice when artists want to change, that’s always good but only a few can manage that in perfection... Last year we had a perfect example, Pianos Become The Teeth did that, but we’re already expecting something like this from them, so it was not that weird at all... Well, Title Fight did the same now and went from punk rock to indie-shoegaze-post-grunge whatsoever. Hiperview is a strange mix, everything is a mess, there is not a clear idea of what they really sound like, we must say that something went terrible wrong here and they don’t sound particularly comfortable, and the songs ended up sounding too much safe. Hiperview is a massive leap forward regarding the previous releases, but it’s difficult to follow, there are plenty of good songs, but they don’t flow in the right direction, it’s like they’ve lost their own youthful rage. Quite disappointing!

FOR FANS OF:

FAUSTO CASAIS

Diiv, Basement, My Bloody Valentine

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8

TWERPS Range Anxiety

TWIN RIVER Should The Light Go Out

Melbourne’s quartet Twerps are back with their second album and their debut for Merge Records. Having Alex Macfarlane on board as the new drummer since early 2013, the group stated that it was something refreshing for them and that they tried to be open-minded to new processes. The band’s dynamic still work perfectly, but Range Anxiety is basically the breezy, carefree indie rock music that we got used from this band. Nevertheless, the record is full of charming and delightful tunes, where each song shows mood swings expressed in different ways. Twerps know how to write a cool and soothing song with some mixed feelings tagged along, that’s what you get from Range Anxiety.

Formed in 2009, Twin River consisted of Courtney Ewan Bromley and Andy Bishop and back then they used to play acoustic folk tunes. Afterwards, they were joined by guitarist Malcolm Jack and singer-keyboardist Rebecca Law Gray and therefore they recorded their 2011’s EP Rough Gold. With the addition of drummer Dustin John Bromley, they changed their sound quite a bit. Now with the release of the debut album, Twin River depart from the acoustic stuff and emerge with a blend of indie pop with fuzzy garage. They’re full of energy and the result is this fuzzy and gritty album. All songs are energetic and dynamic and when then it comes “Golden Man”, a 10-minute track, it’s basically the cinematic sonic trip of the LP.

FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

Merge Records (2015)

Velvet Underground, Real Estate

Light Organ Records (2015)

ANDREIA ALVES

ANDREIA ALVES

Sharon Van Etten, The Lovely Bad Things


REVIEWS

OUT NOW

8 TWISTED Utopia

Specialist Subject/Art For Blind (2015)

Utopia means “there is no such place,” but Twisted debut album Utopia shows that they created their own place in the music world. Drawing influences from Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Fugazi, The Buzzcocks, their music is fast and mighty. Singer Livi Sinclair shouts and spits the words out of her mouth with such passion and intensity as the guitar riffs strike. Musically powerful and lyrically tenacious, Utopia is one of the best punk records of this short 2015.

ANDREIA ALVES

OUT NOW

7 THE WAVE PICTURES

Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon

Team Love Records (2015)

Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon is The Wave Pictures’ eighth full-length and it’s a collaborative effort with the legendary Billy Childish. As one of the London trio’s all-time heroes, Childish co-wrote and produced their record entirely using his equipment, including his 60s Selmer amps, a 60s drum kit and his rocket-ship shaped guitars. The result is an easy going garage-rock record that highlights the peculiar, but charming Dave Tattersall’s voice.

ANDREIA ALVES

OUT NOW

7 WE BLESS THIS MESS Love And Thrive EP

Biruta Records (2015)

We Bless This Mess is the guitar-driven and solo project of Blackjackers’ guitarist Nelson Graff. Love and Thrive is full of questions and somehow works like a redemption, is also a straightforward punk effort full of dynamics that dives through catchy chorus and some thoughtful lyrics. There is a clear sense of introspection and liberation, with some mixed upbeat feelings added along the quest. Nothing new here, but the classic Against Me! full of heart sing-along esque always works... FAUSTO CASAIS

TORCHE Restarter

7

Relapse Records (2015)

T

OUT NOW

orche has been captivating the attention of many people since the release of 2012’s Harmonicraft. Sure, 2008’s Meanderthal was an important step in the right direction, but “nothing” when compared with Harmonicraft, which was an undeniable raise of the bar with the melody, hook-filled uptempo songs, and heaviness. Restarter opens with that heaviness – pivotal for their sound – on “Annihilation Affair” and then it “shifts”, mid-song, to a celebration of weird sounds, guitar effects, loads of fuzz and punishment. An indication that this is not Harmonicraft part 2, which can be easily attested by the presence of something like just three songs that share the aesthetic of Harmonicraft. The “uptempo” isn’t the entire scope of Torche’s fourth full-length, but rather just another ingredient of the “recipe”. It’s clear and obvious that they’ve found a sound that’s singular and easily traced back to them. Restarter is just a kind of re-imagination of what have been built for the last decade or so – with some new-ish dynamics, directions, nuances, etc. Unfortunately, it seems that there are some boundaries within their own sound, and Torche have reached them with Restarter. Somehow it feels like this is the end of something… the end of a relevant creative output by not taking a big step forward or the end of an era that’s sacrificed for that same big step forward. Just a thought for the future since what’s important now is to recognize another good addition to the Torche’s catalogue.

FOR FANS OF:

Baroness, Fugazi, Husker Du, Mastodon

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:

Annihilation Affair, Loose Man, Bishop In Arms, Restarter

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TIAGO MOREIRA

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OUT NOW OUT NOW

OUT NOW

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7

VENON From The Very Depths

VIA TANIA Via Tania and the Tomorrow Music Orchestra

8 WAR ON WOMEN War On Women

Bridge Nine (2015)

Spinefarm Records (2015)

Narooma Records (2015)

Even if Venom never recorded anything after 1982, they would be forever associated with naming Black Metal. Just the name and a few lyrical traits though, because this band has a traditional Power Metal based sound. Cronos & Co. influenced many extreme metal bands with their no holds barred attitude and Spinal Tap musical capabilities. Any band that has Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer as fans has to be very important indeed. Nowadays, Cronos is the only original member and is now backed by a professional guitar player and drummer. That may take out the innocence and urgency of the first records, but for some reason they still manage to be a very charismatic band, more than twenty years later.

Tania Bowers, better known as Via Tania returns 8 years after releasing her critically acclaimed album, Moon Sweet Moon. This time around, Tania worked and recorded her new album with a collection of orchestral musicians known as the Tomorrow Music Orchestra. Between Chicago and Sydney, the musicians created these gentle and beautiful orchestra-pop songs with touches of retro sensibility. It’s not the first time that Tania worked with other musicians, so it’s well shown how comfortable and at ease this record is. Nature seems to be the main theme on these delicate yet vulnerable songs, where Tania shows once again her charming and versatile voice. This record is refreshing in the saturated indie pop scene.

Utopia? Living in a world where a feminist act is irrelevant and unnecessary. Since the world (people) keeps a fucked up aesthetic as a badge of honor, then we have to agree that a band like War On Women is needed, that someone like Shawna Potter (vocalist/lyricist) is pivotal. The punk act from Baltimore delivers, with their debut album, one of the most violent/ relevant documents of these last few years. The demolisher and fierce sound is the soundtrack to a very realistic picture, painted with lines like, “Yeah, I see you got your values straight and you’re quick to regulate what goes on inside my womb. Once that baby’s outta there, leave it up to fate. No breaks for the working poor. Corporations made you their whore. Fuck women, fetuses mean more.” Reality check!

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FOR FANS OF:

FOR FANS OF:

NUNO BABO

Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica

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ANDREIA ALVES

Bat For Lashes, Björk, Laura Marling

February

TIAGO MOREIRA

Bikini Kill, Pettybone, Walls Of Jericho


REVIEWS

REVIEWED NEXT ISSUE OUT NOW

9

THE UNTHANKS Mount The Air

Rabble Rouser (2015)

MARRIAGES

WHILE SHE SLEEPS

Salome

Brainwashed

GALLOWS

Mount The Air has the nerve of mixing folk, Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain, and a traditional ballad recorded in The Dorset Book of Folk Songs, to present one of the few musical works that can even be compared with the absolute classic that is Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – it goes beyond the sound since it’s more a myriad of feelings, emotions, the nuances and ambiences. That’s the new The Unthanks’ album in a nutshell. In a more in-depth look at it, urges to say that these eleven new songs that compose the album are astonishing soft but hit really hard, just like a ton of bricks – guess it’s the Miles’ influence coming into play. The mastery of Adrian McNally (multiinstrumentalist and producer) can be hardly missed, or overlooked, mostly because of the layered, rich work he has managed to deliver with Mount The Air, and the meticulous dynamics applied, that builds something that brightly plays with depth and weight, without deviating from the path, or even losing focus. Mount The Air would be an incredible instrumental album, but it doesn’t hurt to have Rachel and Becky Unthank with their beautiful and mesmerizing voices, increasing the overall mournful feeling and, most importantly, connecting with the listener in a natural, very human way. Mount The Air is arguably the most ambitious, matured, and richest work on The Unthanks’ discography, so far.

LIGHTNING BOLT

Desolation Sounds

Fantasy Empire

LAURA MARLING

ROYAL THUNDER

CANCER BATS

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE

Short Movie

Searching For Zero

Crooked Doors

Kintsugi

FOR FANS OF:

June Tabor, Robert Wyatt, Van Morrison, Laura Marling

ESSENTIAL TRACKS:

Mount The Air, Flutter, Foudling

LITURGY

TIAGO MOREIRA

The Ark Work musicandriotsmagazine.com

LOWER DENS

Escape From Evil 119


Ash Is A Robot

ASH IS A ROBOT, BLACKBIRD PROPHET

Armazém do Chá, Porto 17.01.2015 Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Joana Coelho (Darkroom Senses)

A

sh Is A Robot’s live performances have been the reason for praising for some time now, mostly because how incendiary they usually turn out to be – and that happens almost every fuckin’ time. But this time around there was something more rather than just an energetic, furious and contagious performance by the post-hardcore outfit. Presenting Sympathetic Vibration – their latest EP with semi-acoustic versions of some of the songs off of their debut self-titled album plus a brand new song entitled “Sleep Paralysis” – the band gave one of the most richest performances yet. Not because how they did it, but what they used to do it. Including new songs like the already mentioned Sleep Paralysis, and unreleased material like “Return of the Pariah: Zenith”, “Return of the Pariah: Nadir”, and “Philophobia Part. III”, was key to show that it’s more than just bashing hardcore. The band is clearly on an evolving process and the result is something more dynamic, matured and that sacrifices some of the raging to achieve higher grounds of songwriting. Before there was Blackbird Prophet with their post/prog metal that also suffered a little bit of an upgrade has it shown in this night’s performance that included some brand new songs, where screaming vocals where finally thrown into the mix. Two of the most promising acts on the Portuguese underground scene in the same bill – too bad the sound of the venue was a complete disaster. 120

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LIVE!

AUTHOR & PUNISHER QUELLE DEAD GAZELLE JIBOIA SENSIBLE SOCCERS Maus Hábitos, Porto 24.01.2015 Words: Ana Carvalho

Blackbird Prophet

Ash Is A Robot

Ash Is A Robot

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Salgado Faz Anos is an annual music festival that occurs is Porto where some fresh national bands around get together for some gigs in a classical house transformed into a modern bar. This year, the best performance went to Author & Punisher, the Californian one-men-band of Tristan Shone. The echoes of his drone and industrial music hypnotized the crowd, so powerful and deep that we were all transported to his pain universe immediately. Using only his voice and electronic machines, the performance was a blast. Quelle Dead Gazelle, the instrumental duo, did not disappoint. The heavy drum riffs were capable enough to put everybody on the main room dancing like there was no tomorrow. JIBOIA, another duo band, is a very interesting case. The oriental guitar riffs and the electronic elements could not disguise the bad sound coming from the vocals, Ana Miró. Certainly it was not her fault, she’s a good singer, but the sound was bad. Her voice was too high and distorted producing a bad feedback to the crowd. Anyway, they have quality enough. Sensible Soccers, the sensation-national band from Vila do Conde, were highly professional. Playing a sort of ethereal electronic music with progressive guitar riffs, it worked well on a room completely crowded to hear them. “Manuel” and the hit “AFC” were part of the set, producing a kind of wave of ecstasy among the public present, most of it, there to see them.

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BIRDMAN

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DIRECTOR: Alejandro González Iñárritu WRITER: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo CAST: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Jeremy Shamos, Andrea Riseborough, Damian Young, Natalie Gold, Merritt Wever, Clark Middleton, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan, Paula Pell, David Fierro USA/CANADA 2014

A

lejandro González Iñárritu is an inovator and visionary regarding filmaking. Movies like Babel, Amorres Perros, 21 Grams and Biutiful were able to bring his unique approach into his new found compelling tales, and striking a fine balance between brutality and beauty while offering well-defined characters that break that well defined line 122

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February

between real life and fiction. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance was the natural next step in Iñarritu career, maybe his most ambitious and technical movie till date. A surrealist black comedy that tells the story of an actor - famous for portraying an iconic superhero - that struggles to keep his acting life alive, while battling his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself. Inãrritu was also able to bring Michael Keaton back to life, it’s one of the most intense, weird and

outstanding performance of his career, in a matter a fact, the whole cast was massive. Edward Norton and Emma Stone were the perfect match into Keaton amazing show. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance, appearing to be filmed in a single shot is frenetic, an edgy and satirical achievement, where even Antonio Sanchez’s freaky jazz score provides an esquisite experience inside this layered dazzle and disturbing emotional experience.

FAUSTO CASAIS


CINEMA

THE IMITATION GAME

9

DIRECTOR: Morten Tyldum WRITER: Andrew Hodges (book), Graham Moore CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, James Northcote UK 2014 What a better way to pay tribute to a man - who’s conviction and stubbornness led to shortened the war in Europe by as many as two to four years - with a riveting film, and yes, Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon after he was prosecuted just because he was homosexual. Stupidity aside, The Imitation Game is a film that portrays the mathematician Alan Turing and his involvement with the UK’s Government Code and Cypher School to stop the Second World War and defeat the Nazis. He created the Enigma machine, which helped solve the Enigma code during the war. Benedict Cumberbatch is simply brilliant in his performance as Turning and it gave a dark yet confident lift to this heartfelt story. ANDREIA ALVES

SELMA 9 DIRECTOR: Ava DuVernay WRITER: Paul Webb CAST: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth,

Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, André Holland, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Colman Domingo, Tessa Thompson UK/USA 2014

Selma is a stirring moment for civil rights, the story of a movement. In 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. Selma relates the epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Full of drama, suspense and surprise, Selma is fascinating yet intimate portrait of African Americans courage and dignity. Ava DuVernay film stays true to “history” and despite all the criticism, this is a quick reminder or maybe direct statement, in a time that there is a big racial tension in the US. Oyelowo’ exceptional performance as Martin Luther King Jr is quite something, presenting someone so iconic as a normal man, a normal person. Overall, Selma is another outstanding portrait of American history, and it’s a bit outrageous to see that Lincoln had received 12 nominations and Selma received a big kick in the ass with only two. Thumbs up! FAUSTO CASAIS

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AMERICAN SNIPER

6

DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood WRITER: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman CAST: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis, Ben Reed, Elise Robertson, Troy Vincent, Keir O’Donnell, Marnette Patterson, Luke Sunshine, Brandon Salgado Telis, Billy Miller, Leonard Roberts, Reynaldo Gallegos, Kevin Lacz, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Eric Ladin, Brando Eaton, Luke Grimes USA 2014

W

e’ve seen this all before: a war hero comes home, to find he cannot find peace after the war. Bradley Cooper plays – very safely indeed – Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle who, by killing many on his war tours, saves 124

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countless American lives on the battlefield and turns into a legend. Years ago we met Rambo, we met Private Ryan, and we met a hell of a lot better films by Clint Eastwood. In a desperate need of attention, Eastwood brings back the ‘American hero’, hoping to lift up their morals and to deceive the rest of the world, turning once again the Americans into saviors. We could forgive it, if only the film was worth watching: filled up with clichés (back home, the sniper can still hear the machine guns, etc.) we can even see a doll

playing Cooper’s baby daughter – which is why we can’t find a reason for the Academy Awards nominations. Most of all, the film lacks profound analysis of what was in fact the life of Chris Kyle, his fears and how did he fought between what was right and wrong. Based on Kyle’s autobiography, we find a poor view of what could be a great story, if only Eastwood would stick with his Gran Torino masterpiece style. Oh, well… MARIANA SILVA


CINEMA

INHERENT VICE

5

CITIZENFOUR

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DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson WRITER: Paul Thomas Anderson CAST: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese

DIRECTOR: Laura Poitras CAST: Edward Snowden, Glenn

Witherspoon, Joanna Newsom, Katherine Waterston, Jordan Christian Hearn, Eric Roberts, Serena Scott Thomas USA 2014

Greenwald, William Binney, Jacob Appelbaum, Ewen MacAskill, Jeremy Scahill, M. Margareth McKeown, Kevin Bankston, Harry Pregerson, H. Thomas Byron GERMANY/USA 2014

Paul Thomas Anderson brought in 2012 the surreally magnificent film The Master, and now with his seventh feature, he doesn’t even get near to that. Inherent Vice is kind of a hippie noir stoned movie that tends to be boring the whole film - actually, it’s really tedious. It’s a mix between Boogie Nights’ vibe and Magnolia’s topsy-turvy plot, but it’s even more confusing and vapid. The film is set in 1970 when a drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Doc (Phoenix) investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend. It was hard to stay hooked to this plot, because sometimes it didn’t make sense and the main thought that occurred during the film was “When will this movie end?” But maybe Thomas Pynchon’s fans will be more tolerant to this film adaptation.

In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. So in June 2013 she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. Well, this is the naked truth of one of the most terrific documentaries and journalism piece in years, it’s really scary to see how the real shit that is happening right in front of our own eyes. CitizenFour is an expertly crafted expose with unprecedented urgency, truly deserves your attention in this fucked up alarming and essential leak...

ANDREIA ALVES

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR DIRECTOR: J.C. Chandor WRITER: J.C. Chandor CAST: Oscar Isaac,

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Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, Albert Brooks, Elyes Gabel, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Peter Gerety, Christopher Abbott, Ashley Williams, Glenn Fleshler USA 2014

FAUSTO CASAIS

BIG EYES

7

DIRECTOR: Tim Burton WRITER: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski CAST: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Jason

Schwartzman, Danny Huston, Terence Stamp, Jon Polito, Elisabetta Fantone, James Saito, Guido Furlani USA/CANADA 2014

Set during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most crime-ridden of New York City’s history, A Most Violent Year is an unsettling and yet compelling moral drama about the lives of an immigrant and his family as they attempt to capitalize on the American Dream. J.C. Chandor goes once again deep into the world of financial crisis, after his previous journey with Margin Call. Greed, decay and corruption go along with moral issues and financial ethic, nothing new here, regarding the todays failure economy. Both Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac performances are flawless, providing to the viewer some really good moments of tension, especially when they argue about their future and some of their actions. A killer look about business and marriage.

Tim Burton has delighted us with hypersensitive and amusing stories throughout these years - with Frankenweenie being his latest effort - and this time around he brings to the big screen the story of Margaret Keane, an American painter that he has a high regard and admiration. Big Eyes focus on the painter - played gracefully by Amy Adams - whose work was fraudulently claimed in the 1950s and 1960s by her then-husband, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), and their heated divorce trial after Margaret accused Walter of stealing credit for her paintings. It’s a dreamy and captivating approach to this engaging story, and though it’s simple as it’s foreseeable, the actors, the beautiful photography and the atmosphere suited to the 50’s-60’s era is commendable and enjoyable.

FAUSTO CASAIS

ANDREIA ALVES

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