music&riots FREE | Nยบ 01 | APRIL
XIU XIU BIG UPS PERFECT PUSSY MARISSA NADLER
UNDENIABLY DARK, INCREDIBLY FASCINATING A NEW SHAPE OF NOISE PUNK TO COME... SO EXHAUSTING AND DEEPLY COMPELLING ELEGANT FOLK TO HAUNT OUR DREAMS
INVSN VULKANO PONTIAK HAVE A NICE LIFE THE COATHANGERS CARLA BOZULICH LYDIA LOVELESS THALIA ZEDEK BLACK MARE
NOTHING DARK, BEAUTIFUL, LOUD AND INTROSPECTIVE...
BLESSA SWANS CURRENT 93 CHILDBIRTH BRODY DALLE KURT BALLOU THE UNSEMBLE 1
FEATURES 08 LISTS // UPCOMING RELEASES ROUND UP
10 Swans, Brody Dalle, Wovenhand... ARTISTS SPEAK OUT
20 Interview with Kurt Ballou LABEL PROFILE
24 Enemies List Home Recordings 28 NEU // VOL.1 WHEN LEGENDS SPEAK...
128 Interview with Oderus Orungus
INTERVIEWS 12 CHILDBIRTH
18 22 34 36 40 44 46 48 54 64 74 78 82
“...the songs are very autobiographical. They were really inspired just by everyday life, just a free relationship, ending and starting again.”
BLESSA THE COATHANGERS XIU XIU BIG UPS VULKANO THALIA ZEDEK BLACK MARE
LYDIA LOVELESS INVSN PONTIAK HAVE A NICE LIFE CARLA BOZULICH
“...it’s about self-reliance in the face of a culture that benefits from you hating yourself.” MEREDITH GRAVES, PERFECT PUSSY
COVER STORY 58 INTERVIEW//NOTHING REVIEWS ALBUMS REVIEWS 88 Current 93, Nothing, David Crosby, St. Vincent, Crosses, Perfect Pussy, La Dispute, Architects, Behemoth, Beck, Mount Salem, The Men, Lyla Foy, Twilight, Earth Crisis, Have a Nice Life...
REPORT 120 LIVE Alcest, Hexvessel, The Fauns, Scott Kelly, Basia Bulat, Toxic Holocaust, Exhumed...
CINEMA 124 Nymphomaniac, Her, The Past, Veronica Mars, Afternoon Delight, The Book Thief.
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR...
music&riots magazine musicandriotsmagazine.com
FREE | Nº 01 | APRIL CEO/EDITOR IN CHIEF
Fausto Casais (email@example.com)
Andreia Alves (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tiago Moreira (email@example.com)
Fausto Casais, Andreia Alves, Tiago Moreira
CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS
fter several issues in our native language (Portuguese), we felt that we needed something more, regarding to motivation, and it was time to take the step forward in the long-awaited internationalization, which we had planned since we started this project. Because now we are able to reach a wider audience is more than enough reason to be filled with motivation and open a new page of this humble publication. Globalization is something that can be seen as a way to broaden our field of action, because everything nowadays breathes globalization - therefore English is the natural choice in a society increasingly dependent on independence and above all, an opinion of its own. Since we started this project we have guided the choices and opinions towards independence, above all we’ve tried to always show a clear vision and impartial coherence to each approach we have: in the interviews, reviews or even in our editorial choices. In our first issue in English we are pleased to have Nothing on the cover, a band that everyone should know. Listening to something like “Guilty of Everything” can be classified as a cathartic experience, loaded with that dose of reality that many should inject every once in a while. It feels good to deal with real people, with real problems, which make us realize how small we are in this wide universe where life is ephemeral, fragile and full of slaps in the face. The pleasure we have in each of our editorial picks is about who still thinks in music and culture as a way of disseminating and share passions, because we’re all a little sick of banality and what’s more of the same... To make a difference just for fun is not part of our own editorial manifesto; the idea of making a difference is something that only a few can, where names like Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, John Lennon or Henry Rollins come to our minds for instants... The truth is that no one cares what the editor thinks, in fact neither he himself thinks it’s worth your time, what matters here is that this is our first issue in English and we are immensely happy for that. Don’t bother if we have too many errors, or if we failed here and there, because it’s our very first fucking issue... Have fun and next month there is another issue for you all!
Your Editor, Fausto Casais
Nuno Babo, Nuno Teixeira, Sílvio Miranda, Ricardo Almeida, Tiago Marinho, Sergio Kilmore, David Bowes, Mariana Silva, Fausto Mendes Ferreira, Nuno Nogueira, Rui Correia, Eugene S.Robinson, Ana Filipa Carvalho, Rita Sedas, Andi James Chamberlain, Rui Lopes, Rui Santos, Daniel Ferreira, Carlos Cardoso, Cláudio Aníbal, Hugo Machado, Myke C-Town, Ellery Twining, Arnaud Diemer, Luis Alves, Thom Moser
Andreia Alves, Ricardo Almeida, Mariana Marques
COVER FOTOGRAPHY Shawn Brackbill
Fausto Casais (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HUGE FUCKING THANKS
Amplificasom, Lauren Barley, Hard Club, Coop/Popstock, Lovers & Lollypops, Ruins Records, Jason Hardly Art, Kurt Balou, Captured Tracks, Soraia Pereira, Goth N’Rock, William Lacalmontie, Biruta Records, Death Grips, Álvaro Cunhal, Nothing, Relapse, Frank van Liempd, Nick Allport, Captured Tracks, Deathwish, Stephanie Marlow, NAAM, Vulkano, Dennis Lyxzen, Mercado Negro (Aveiro), David Tibet
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musicandriotsmagazine.com All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without permission 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.
LISTENING POST Fausto Casais
OFF! - Wasted Years Wovenhand - Refractory Obdurate Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here The Menzigers - Rented World The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace is There
Get Involved! - Silk Cuts St. Vincent - St. Vincent Best Coast - Fade Away Haim - Days Are Gone Nothing - Guilty of Everything
Ana Filipa Carvalho
Eagulls - Eagulls Whomadewho - Dreams Breton - War Room Stories Crosses - Crosses Psychic Ills - One Track Mind
UPCOMING RELEASES 24.03.2014 MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE LIARS FUTURE ISLANDS THE HOLD STEADY TOKYO POLICE CLUB CHUCK RAGAN ANIMAL AS LEADERS FOSTER THE PEOPLE LINDA PERHACS HOWLER ITCH KEVIN DREW COLOURMUSIC
May Death Never Stop You (Warner) Mess (Mute) Singles (4AD) Teeth Dreams (Washington Square) Forcefield (Mom+Pop) Till Midnight (SideOneDummyRecords) The Joy of Motion (Sumerian) Supermodel (Columbia) The Soul of All Natural... (Asthmatic Kitty) World of Joy (Rough Trade) The Deep End (Red Bull Records) Darlings (City Slang) May You Marry Rich (Memphis Industries)
31.03.2014 KAISER CHIEFS STEEL PANTHER ARC IRIS BAND OF SKULLS V/A - RONNIE JAMES DIO LACUNA COIL ANETTE OLZON CLOUD NOTHINGS THE USED WHITE HINDERLAND S.CAREY RAC CHIODOS PILGRIM MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA
Education, Education, Education & War (SPV) All You Can Eat (Open E.Music) Arc Iris (Anti-Records) Himalyans (Electric Blues Records) This Is Your Life (Rhino) Broken Crown Halo (Century Media) Shine (EarMusic) Here and Nowhere Else (Wichita) Imaginery Enemy (Hopeless Records) Baby (Dead Oceans) Range of Light (JagJaguwar) Strangers (Interscope) Devil (Razor & Tie) Void Worship (Metal Blade) Cope (Favourite Gentleman)
La Dispute - Rooms Of The House Qui - Life, Water, Living... Twilight - III: Under The Trident’s Tomb Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata Wovenhand - Refractory Obdurate
Twilight - III Beneath Trident’s Tomb Enthroned - Sovereigns Messenger - Illusory Blues Beck - Morning Phase Grand Magus – Triumph And Power
Chet Faker - Built On Glass Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata Capicua - Sereia Louca Chuck Inglish - Convertibles Young Fathers - Dead
Crosses - Crosses Capicua - Sereia Louca Orelha Negra - Mixtape II Zola Jesus - Versions La Dispute - Rooms Of the House
Russian Circles - Memorial Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts: Red Classroom The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow Twilight - III Under The Trident’s Tomb Tombs - Winter Hours
01.04.2014 TAURUS BOYFRNDZ
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY DELAIN LOST SOCIETY OFF! EMA THE FAINT RATKING FOR THE FALLEN DREAMS
No/Thing (Independent) Breeder (Brutal Panda) Catacombs of the Black Vatican (Provogue) The Human Contradiction (Napalm Records) Terror Hungry (Nuclear Blast) Wasted Years (Vice Records) The Future’s Void (City Slang) Doom Abuse (SQE) So It Goes (HXC) Heavy Hearts (Ada Global)
THE BIRDS OF SATAN EMMURE SMOKE FAIRIES AFGHAN WHIGS CHET FAKER LIMB CULT LEADER STONEBURNER MORE THAN LIFE
The Birds of Satan (Shanabelle Records) Eternal Enemies (Victory Records) Smoke Fairies (Full Time Hobby) Do To The Beast (Sub Pop) Built on Glass (Future Classic) Limb (Which Hunter Records) Nothing For Us Here (Deathwish) Life Drawing (Neurot) Whats Left of Me (Holy Roar)
TRIPTYKON FEAR OF MEN RAMONA LISA THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART THE MENZINGERS
Melabna Chasmata (Century Media) Loom (Kanine Records) Arcadia (Terrible Records) Days of Abandon (Yebo Music) Rented World (Epitaph)
A Lot Like Birds - No Place The Kinison - What Are You Listening To? The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes Crosses - Crosses The Sound of Animals Fighting - The Ocean and the 8
#### Albuns that are in Red already reviewed in this issue ####
ROUND UP // SWANS
SWANS RETURN WITH D
ollowing their 2012 epic The Seer and their recent live LP Not Here/Not Now, Swans have announced details of the release of the new album To Be Kind via Mute on May 12 in Europe and on May 13 via Young God Records (North America). To Be Kind features special guests include (among many 10
others): Little Annie (Annie sang a duet with Gira on the song “Some Things We Do”, the strings for which were ecstatically arranged and played by Julia Kent); St. Vincent (Annie Clark sang numerous, multi-tracked vocals throughout the record); Cold Specks (Al contributed numerous multi-tracked vocals to the song “Bring the Sun”); Bill Rieflin (honorary Swan Bill played too many instruments to list here, ranging from additional drums, to synthesizers, to piano, to electric guitar and so on. He has been a frequent contributor to Swans and
DOUBLE RECORD IN MAY Angels of Light and is currently playing with King Crimson)… About this new record, Gira states that this will be a two hour epic, “Some songs are quite melodic, and the emotions are not so severe... The shortest song lasts eight minutes, the longest, “Bring the Sun”, is 35.” The album was produced by Michael Gira, and recorded by John Congleton (Baroness, St.Vincent, Xiu Xiu) at Sonic Ranch, Texas. It was made between October and December of last year. “A good portion of the material for this album was developed
live during the Swans tours of 2012/13,” writes Gira in a note. “Much of the music was otherwise conjured in the studio environment.” To Be Kind will be released in several formats, and about this subject Gira explained “It will be available as a triple vinyl album, a double CD, and a 2XCD Deluxe Edition that will include a live DVD. It will also be available digitally. In addition, I am thinking of releasing it as a USB “stick” / flashdrive (with special packaging), so that this ultimate, high quality version can be listened to
from beginning to end, without interruption (the album is a little over 2 hours long).” The recordings and the entire process of this album were generously and perhaps vaingloriously funded by Swans supporters through the auspices at younggodrecords.com via the release of a special, handmade 2xCD live album entitled Not Here / Not Now. “To Be Kind” will arrive on May 12 via Mute
INTRODUCING // CHILDBIRTH
CHILDBIRTH are a three piece Seattle
supergroup consisted by Julia Shapiro (guitar, vocals), Bree McKenna (bass, vocals), and Stacy Peck (drums). They recently released their debut album “It’s A Girl” and we couldn’t miss the oppor tunity to talk with them about their new baby and their musical roots. Combining humor with Feminist anthems and hilarious lyrics with catchy tunes, Childbirth is definitely a band to watch... Words: Andreia Alves
ow did Childbirth born? Stacy: I met Julia at a show we were
both playing with our other bands and we got along well and said we should “jam” sometime, because we both really were into having band practice. Then after we wrote a few songs, we let Bree join. Julia: Yeah what Stacy said, we let Bree join. Bree: Yes, they let me glom on. I wanted to do a side-project band because I go super crazy if I have too much free time I end up watching Grey’s Anatomy for hours and hours every day. And Julia’s band Chastity Belt shares a practice space with my band Tacocat and Stacy’s
So “It’s a Girl!” is your debut record and it’s your dearest first baby. How was the making process for it? Stacy: We spent 8 hours making it total and barely thought about it. Julia: It was supposed to just be demos, but then we decided that it was good enough to release. “Pro Qual”, if you will.
Bree: The record all came very naturally, like when a woman is pregnant
and her body naturally just takes over and does everything on auto.
Did you take 9 months to gestate this baby (record) of yours? Julia: Well, we recorded it in June and it came out in January, so I guess it was a few months premature.
Bree: Yeah, I hope no complications arise from us going into early cassette
Your lyrics are really awesome and straight to the point. How do you usually write the lyrics? Julia: We come up with song ideas together and then I sort of just yell stuff
while I’m playing guitar and some of it sticks. Bree writes her lyrics while we’re recording. Bree: I would say that most of our songs are written with a song title in mind first, and lyrics are born from that. I’ve always been a fan of really literal song lyrics that reflect the female experience.
One thing that caught my attention was the subjects you approached on your lyrics and your cool way to sing them. Do you think that women should be more opened about this kind of subjects? Stacy: I think women should sing about whatever they feel like. Just like
men do. Julia: Yeah, what Stacy said. Bree: Totally.
“Marination Station” is a tune about NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak. Why a song about her? Stacy: I think this one was Bree’s idea. Julia: Why not? Bree: I am always obsessed with women that are scandalized in the media.
I am particularly interested in the Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal of the 90’s.
“It’s a Girl” is a short and fun record. Which song did you enjoy the most to write? Julia: “I Only Fucked You as a Joke” or “How Do Girls Even do it”. Stacy: “How Do Girls Even Do It” was the most satisfying for me personally. Bree: All of them were really fun, but I really liked writing the theme song
that we start every show with. I love gimmicks more than anyone. band Pony Time was practicing across the hall, so I started jamming with the two of them.
You all have other bands Chastity Belt, Tacocat, and Pony Time. So what did lead you to start this new band? Stacy: It was kind of just an
excuse to get to hang out with Julia and Bree and write really funny songs and have practice. Julia: Like all the bands I’m in, it sort of started as a joke band. I always like to be in at least one fake band at a time. Right now I’m in a fake band called “Kool Slut”. We’re from Brooklyn. Bree: We are all friends anyway and since we have similar schedules from all working at bars, so we mostly get coffee and practice at noon before work.
What’s next for Childbirth? Julia: A Grammy hopefully. Stacy: I would like us to play on the show Pretty Little Liars. At one of their
extravagant dances they have once a month. Bree: We just wrote a song called “I Am More Fertile Than You,” and it’s maybe my favorite so far. I want to record and make a video for it soon.
What have you girls been listening to lately? Julia: New Order and The Cure. Stacy: The Cranberries, David Bowie, Robyn. Bree: Wax Idols, Au Pairs, Anna Oxygen, R. Ring (Kelly Deal’s band), Elastica
and the soundtrack to Clueless.
Do you recommend us any new bands from Seattle that we should listen to? Julia: There are a lot of good bands in Seattle: Pony Time, Tacocat, Dude York, Stickers, NighTrain, Punishment, Haunted Horses, Wimps.
Stacy: What Julia said, also So Pitted, Half-Breed, Mtns, Ononos. CHASTITY
Bree: All those bands, and Acapulco Lips, Universe People and Coconut Coolouts. “It’s a Girl” is out now via Help Yourself Records. Listen Here... musicandriotsmagazine.com
IN STUDIO Texas In July are back in the studio working on their fourth full-length album. The upcoming release will follow-up the band’s 2012 self-titled record. Earlier this month, it was announced that J.T. Cavey will replace former vocalist Alex Good. Pallbearer are currently at Type Foundry Studio in Portland, OR with legendary producer/engineer Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Melvins, Sleep, Swans) laying down the tracks that will become their follow-up to 2012’s monumental release, Sorrow & Extinction. This yet-tobe-titled full-length is slated for release later this year via Profound Lore Records on CD, LP and Digital formats, and it’s one of the most anticipated albums of 2014. Torche are recording their new album at Pinecrust Studio in Miami with Nuñez serving as producer and Converge’s Kurt Ballou mixing the album. The as-of-yet untitled album is expected to come this Summer. The band also announced that they have signed with Relapse Records. The Baptists will return to Godcity Studios in Salem, MA in late April to record their next album. Converge‘s Kurt Ballou will once again be behind the boards for the outing, reprising his role on their last effort, Bushcraft. Hardcore thrash supergroup Iron Reagan, consisting of current and former members of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, Darkest Hour, Mammoth Grinder, Suppresion and a thousand other killer bands, have announced that they have signed with Relapse and are going to start recording a new record. The group is currently in the midst of recording their highly anticipated sophomore full-length with guitarist Phil Hall at Blaze of Torment Studios in Richmond, VA and he will self-produce the record before sending it off for mixing with Converge’s Kurt Ballou. 14
Sharon Van Etten is back, and with a new record. This new effort is totally self-produced, in the good DIY style, where Sharon continues to explore personal experience drawing from feelings of emptiness, loss, fear of change, desire, waiting, and self-healing. The prolific trio Yuck release their new EP The Southern Skies this spring. Mere months on from their last record, 2013’s Glow and Behold, the band holed themselves up in a studio over holidays/ christmas and decided to record again. Cheap Girls have signed with Xtra Mile Recordings for the follow-up to
BRODY DALLE IS BACK
Ex-Distillers and Spinnerette frontwoman Brody Dalle is back! Brody Dalle spent a year writing, playing, recording and co-producing her first solo album. Dalle has also announced the title and release date for her long-awaited debut fulllength. Diploid Love will arrive April 28 through Caroline Records, and also features guest appearances from The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, Queens Of The Stone Age’s Michael Shuman, and Warpaint’s Emily Kokal. She co-produced everything with Alain Johannes (Arctic Monkeys, Them Crooked Vultures, Mark Lanegan) at his studio, and at her and husband Josh Homme’s studio Pink Duck, both in California. “I’ve always had a hand in crafting how it’s going to sound and hearing it and trying to make that happen. But it’s the first time I’ve put my name on something for production”, Dalle recently said. “Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy” is the brand new solo single, where we can hear, good friend Shirley Manson (Garbage) and Emily Kokal (Warpaint) lending a hand on backing vocals. Brody’s last proper release was Spinnerette’s eponymous debut fulllength in 2009. It seems now that Dalle is finally back - she recently said “It’s the only job I’ve ever had and I love it.” About touring, she has a handful of overseas dates planned over the next several months, including a tour over Australia and New Zealand with Nine Inch Nails and Queens Of The Stone Age.
2012’s Giant Orange, that was produced by Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!). The new album, titled Famous Graves, is due out on May 13 and was produced by Rick Johnson, who did their first two records. The UK’s Darkstar are now working on its follow-up, which they say “feels like elements from our older dance floor productions and our more recent song arrangements are coming together” and that “the beats are a lot heavier.”
Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek announces debut solo LP as Ramona Lisa. Recorded in an empty studio in Rome Villa Medici and made entirely on a laptop without instruments or any external microphones, with many of the vocals recorded on “hotel closets, quiet airport gates, and spare dressing rooms”. Polachek describes the material as “Pastoral Electronic Music.” The Menzingers announced that they’ll follow-up 2012’s excellent On the Impossible Past with their
“Diploid Love” will arrive on April 28 via Caroline Records
fourth album, Rented World, due out on April 22 via Epitaph. The record was engineered by Jonathan Low (The National, Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile). Real Friends have finished recording their long and waited debut full-length album. The record will be the band’s first with their new label, Fearless Records, and the follow-up to 2013’s Put Yourself Back Together EP. A summer 2014 release date is expected for the release of this new record.
Fucked Up announce new details of their forthcoming album. Glass Boys is out June 3 via Matador. Damian Abraham, the band’s frontman, said his lyrical themes this time around were personal rather than character-driven. Katy Goodman has announced details on the new La Sera album. It’s titled Hour of the Dawn and will be out May 13 on Hardly Art. In the summer of 2013, La Sera decamped to a sweltering studio in East Los Angeles with engineer Joel Jerome and banged out the ten songs that would become Hour of the Dawn — an album that never walks, but runs; a collision of April
unleashed punk and 80’s power-pop. Hour of the Dawn, as its title suggests, heralds the beginning of a radiant and energetic new chapter in the evolution of La Sera. Trams Am are back! It is the band’s tenth studio release, comprised of ten songs that display ten unique sides of Phil Manley, Nathan Means and Sebastian Thomson. Volume X, is the title of the new album, that was recorded over a three year period, mainly at LCR Studios in San Francisco, where Phil Manley has recorded many other bands as a respected engineer (Wooden Shjips, Moon Duo, Dan Sartain, Les Savy Fav). He also plays in Life
Wovenhand are back with a new album in April Wovenhand is a band led by the amazing life-musician and lyricist, David Eugene Edwards. Over the last two decades, his prolific work in both Wovenhand and the legendary 16 Horsepower has influenced and inspired a generation of musicians throughout the expansive alternative music world. The truth is that Wovenhand cannot be described in traditional terms. Their sound is an organic, weavework of neo-folk, post-rock, punk and even alternative country. All coming together as a vehicle for David’s soulful expression and constant spiritual self-exploration. Sometimes sad and sorrowed and at other times uplifting, Wovenhand are always unforgettable in spirit and sound. Refractory Obdurate is the latest album from Wovenhand. Joining David on this album are longtime percussionist Ordy Garrison, along with musicians Chuck French and Neil Keener (Planes Mistaken For Stars, Git Some). Ten songs in all, Refractory Obdurate has been described as a beautifully crafted patchwork that transcends genres and expectation; a true artistic achievement, that only Wovenhand could offer and we are expecting.
Coach with Jon Theodore of Queens of the Stone Age, while Thomson spends his time away from Trans Am playing drums for progressive rock group Baroness.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
have announced their third LP, the follow-up to the amazing 2011’s Belong. The new album has been produced by Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Rós, The Kills) and named Days of Abandon, and will be out on April 22 through Yebo. Electropunk vets The Faint will
release their new album, Doom Abuse, on April 8. It’s the band’s first album in six years and they have just released their first single “Help in the Head”. Eyehategod put out their last record 14 years ago. Since then, the band has endured a seemingly endless string of setbacks: Hurricane Katrina, various band member incarcerations, and the passing of founding drummer Joey LaCaze. But, we have good news to all the Eyahategod fans! They have finally finished their new record!
“Refractory Obdurate” is out 29.04 via Deathwish Inc.
Candy Hearts announce the release date for their forthcoming new album. All The Ways You Let Me Down will be out June 10th via Bridge Nine/Violently Happy Records. All The Ways You Let Me Down was recorded with Chad Gilbert and Paul Miner in Los Angeles, CA, and is the follow-up to Candy Hearts’ The Best Ways To Disappear EP which was released in late 2012 on the same label collaboration. Candy Hearts will be releasing their first single off of the new album, “I Miss You”, on April 1.
INTRODUCING // THE UNSEMBLE
Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard and Tomahawk) + Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten, Crime and the City Solution, plus film and production work) + Brian Kotzur on drums, keyboards (has worked with Silver Jews and Harmony Korine) + Ipecac Records = . A fifteen track record that goes from the minimalism to the experimental, passing through chamber rock music. We talked with guitarist Duane Denison to extract more info about this new exciting project.
Words: Tiago Moreira
was listening to U.S.S.A.’s The Spoils before coming to this interview. Do you consider to go back to that project again? No, I don’t think so. It just didn’t go over very well and I just kinda… It seems that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I just want to move on…
Let’s talk about this new project, The Unsemble. How did you meet the other guys and why did you decide to start this new project?
I met Alexander probably over twenty years ago, in Berlin when I was on tour with The Jesus Lizard. He was always very friendly and I was a big fan of Einstürzende Neubauten. He used to come to our shows, not just Jesus Lizard but Tomahawk as well, so that seemed like a thing – the collaboration that was worth a shot. Brian Kotzur, the drummer, we have been playing on and off for over ten years, in different things, here in Nashville: the Silver Jews, a collaboration
with an English singer called Beverly Knight and some other things. We have been pretty good friends as well, so we got it all together and we seem to have a pretty good chemistry between everyone… That’s how The Unsemble started.
What were the motivations/goals for this project?
Well, we wanted to avoid just being a typical power trio and we wanted to make music that was more, not just atmospheric but maybe… Originally we wanted to just do like soundtracks and dance theater type music, and a lot of that I think you can hear it in this album. But the more we played together, the more we just seemed to enjoy playing together, so we just decided to make an album and play live as well.
The key element on this album it seems to be the rhythmic sections and how things work out around those sections. Do you agree with that? No, I think the guitars are the most important thing, because I’m the guitar player. [laughs] Well, obviously the percussion and bass are going to provide the motor, or
the rhythmic drive of anything, and then the guitar is often not as providing atmospherics. I think there’s a lot of things on there that maybe people don’t even realize are a guitar, and there’s a lot of stuff that the guitar is doing and it sounds like it could be a keyboard or a metallic percussion thing. I don’t know… Without the percussion element I think it would be boring.
There are a multiple range of moods during these 15 tracks. The goal was to create all these different parts that can be folded into a single unit? Yes. Basically, I think that even as you say that there are a lot of different moods, I think there’s a fair amount of continuity and coherence as well. And I think there are a lot of little ideas, fragments, and motifs that kind of reoccurred throughout the album and I think that kind of ties it together a little bit… I hope so, that was the goal.
Actually that’s my next question. It seems that are tracks that are taking advantage of ideas presented on previous tracks. I mean, it seems that you guys have taken these two/three ideas and used them a few times, trying to reinvented them with different arrangements and approaches. It was like that, at all? Yeah, I think so. I don’t know exactly how many different parts but yeah, I’m glad you noticed it. Once again, I kind of feel that anyone can make an album where every song is different, and anyone can make an album also where everything is exactly the same, like you’re having a pizza where every piece is the same, they just have slightly different sizes. To me the goal is to have variety with continuity.
There are five tracks named “Improv”. They were recorded on the spot without any discussion of ideas regarding the direction that should be taken?
You know, I don’t honestly remember. I don’t think there was any discussion or pre-planning. I think we just kind of went with what we were feeling. I think there was at least one or two extra “Improvs” that we didn’t include on the album, maybe they were too, like “Ok, there’s enough ambient music. We don’t
really need any more. Let’s just move on because we have enough”, you know? We were conscious of trying to balance between things that had a certain amount of agitation to it, and things that were a little calmer.
There are some tracks that could be into a Tomahawk’s album. Is your art working like an influence or you don’t even feel that way?
Well, I think that any time… If you have been playing an instrument long enough and you have been writing music long enough, to a certain extent you develop a signature style and it is gonna come out in almost everything you do. You can try to avoid that, you can make a conscious decision to try not to do that, but then that sounds false, doesn’t it? But at the same time you don’t want to just keep repeating yourself and doing the same thing so, for me… I think about this, I’ve been making albums for a long time now, right? [Almost three decades] The Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk and all these things. So, the more music you put out there, the harder it is to keep from repeating yourself, you know what I mean? It’s easy when you have only done two or three albums in your life. There’s a lot left to do. But when you have been doing for a while, maybe in certain ways you repeat yourself and maybe that’s why some tracks reminded you of Tomahawk. I don’t have a problem with that. I think that is part of the reason of why – if anyone likes this album – some people enjoy this album. Why do you like certain writers or certain movie directors? Because in a way they are giving you want you want. Hopefully… There’s some of that but at the same time I think this album offers some different things that people may haven’t heard any of us doing before.
How would you describe these set of songs? Experimental, minimalistic, reinventive, different parts of a unit?
All of the above. You hit on pretty much everything. On the other hand, I wouldn’t call it a totally experimental album because is not. Some of those pieces are composed, but some of that is because we didn’t know what’s going to sound like until after we did it. Yes, I’m a big fan of minimalism. For me is the most interesting and most important movement of the tail end of the 20th century. I think La Monte Young, Philip Glass and Steve
Reich, they should be as famous as Elvis Presley. So yeah, I’m a fan of minimalism but I don’t want to copy them either, you know? And yes, the all should be bigger than the sum of the parts. With this album I don’t think you can listen to any one song and really get the idea of what’s going on.
The album was recorded during a two weeks period. How was the whole process and what were your main focus points? I know that you guys used that time to compose, arrange and improvise.
A lot of the composed ideas were already done, just the basic sketches. Those were done but then we haven’t recorded yet, so we had to rehearse that and get those basic ideas down, and then we improvised also, and we mix it too, all within these two weeks. So yes, those were some fairly long days with a lot of work, but we all get along pretty well and we knew that going into it was what we had to do. We had to try to get as much work done as we could. It reminded us how we made records when we first started. When you do things in the all punk rock, DIY way, you go to your practice space and beg, borrow and steal recording equipment, and set things up yourself, record it, do it quickly and cheaply, and not get distracted by unnecessary things. My practice space is sort of on the edge of town in a industrial area, so there is no hipster, like coffee shops to go hangout. There’s no strip clubs to go watch naked girls dance… or boys. We just work and we have fun afterwards.
John Baldwin was responsible for mastering the album. I know that he worked with you in the past (Tomahawk and Jesus Lizard). That’s why you chose him? Yes, plus he understands this kind of music. He lives really close by and he has a mastering studio in his home, so it was very easy to communicate and go back and forth. He’s done some interesting stuff; he’s done all kinds of other things too. He’s done everything from like old time rockabilly The Louvin Brothers to Lee Hazlewood, Mötley Crüe, etc.
“The Unsemble” is out now via Ipecac Records
ARTISTS SPEAK OUT // KURT BALLOU
Kurt Ballou. This name means a lot in 2014, in fact it means a lot for some time now. He began by being just a guitarist of a high school band, that now we idolize and know as being the mighty Converge, and in a progressive way he spread his horizons when turning in one of the most renowned engineers / producers of the metal / hardcore scene. The always nice Kurt Ballou accepted our invitation to exchange some words and now we have the great pleasure to present the man that, in these last years, it is responsible for an immeasurable impact on the heavy and abrasive underground scene. Words: Tiago Moreira
I guess that your first experiences recording and being in a “studio” was with Converge. Do you still remember those moments? Those first experiences with Converge made you want to be involved with that part of the process (engineering and producing)?
Yes, my first time in a studio was with Converge. I thought the idea of recording was really interesting but I was totally baffled about how it worked. I think one of the reasons I started recording was to try to understand the process better, so I could do a better job articulating what I wanted when I was being recorded.
The first steps as an engineer and producer were taken with the help of some friends, like Brian McTernan and Steve Austin. Can you talk us about that?
Brian and Steve were great! Working with them made me realize that I could do it too.
People think that you were always a producer but in those first times you were just taking care of the engineering part of the process, right?
I’m still mostly just an engineer. I think the term “Producer” gets thrown around much too liberally. There has never been a time that I have “produced” a record that I didn’t also “engineer.” Mostly I prefer the wordage “Recorded and mixed at GodCity by Kurt Ballou” in album liner notes.
Can you pinpoint the moment were you became a producer? Not really. I took a “musical 20
director” type of role in my earliest bands, so in a certain sense, you could say I was the producer for those projects. I started recording bands that I wasn’t in around 1995, so maybe it was then. Or maybe it was when I stopped working a day job around 2001.
Would you say that you’re a technical engineer or an artistic one?
Generally speaking, I’m a bit of both. As an artistic engineer, I’d say I’m more reactive than proactive. I’m very hesitant to take a dominant role in someone else’s creation, but once I have the feel for it, I’m happy to contribute if they need or want it.
Are you the kind of engineer/ producer that is really “picky” regarding the gear used to record or you have an open mind in that regard? I can work on just about anything, as long as it’s of good quality. I’m more picky about acoustics than gear. I like to have good sounding rooms to record in, and I need to mix in my own studio.
I was surprised to hear you saying that your “salary” doesn’t come from the studio and your job as a producer, but from Converge. I think most people think is the other way around… I should clarify that my studio pays for my building, where I live and work, all the utilities, insurance, maintenance, gear, etc. So, since all my expenses are covered by the studio, in a sense, I do draw a salary from it, it just doesn’t go
into my pocket. Converge is my “extra money” for things like going out to eat and buying xmas presents and stuff like that.
There are a lot of bands that want to work with you. Since it’s impossible, because of the time and the financial issue, to work with them all, how are you doing your selection process? What a band needs for you to accept to work with them? I like hanging out with my friends, so mostly I just work with good friends who are in good bands and are existing clients. But for new bands, I check out demos or previous recordings of theirs and if it’s something I’m into, feel I can contribute to, and have time in my schedule for, I’m happy to record other bands.
I guess that you have been in situations where bands aren’t totally ready to record. What’s your opinion about that and how do you deal with that? I do my best to guide them along, but sometimes we’re not able to finish in time and they have to come back. Once in a while, they have to cancel entirely. It sucks, but I understand. It’s hard to schedule creativity.
Can you pinpoint some highlights of your career as a producer (records that you produced and helped you to grow as a producer)?
I think of what I do as a journey, not a destination. So getting to continue to be creative and make records with my friends every day is the highlight!
INTRODUCING // BLESSA
Combining dreamy, shoegaze sounds with incendiary guitars and impressive vocals, BLESSA are making what nowadays everyone calls atmospheric dream pop. There is a new breed of indie coming from Sheffield and Blessa is one of most powerful examples of what the indie future should be like. We catch up with Olivia Neller for a little chat. Words: Andreia Alves
W to start Blessa?
hat did lead you
We were all at university in Sheffield and found that studying for a degree although enriching in its own right, was not enough of a creative outlet. Three of us did an English literature degree, and wanted to emulate the freedom and beauty of our favorite writers and found that music was the best method.
What were your main inspirations that help you to create your sound?
As we’ve said before, the creative process is very much a product of our natural inclination towards the rapidly shifting moods and themes our cherished writers, but especially recently our inspirations have been rooted in mixing different genres. We’ve 22
begun structuring electronic influenced beats under minimal and pristine guitar sounds, I guess somewhere between Chromatics and Real Estate, which seems hard to imagine but will hopefully make sense once people hear the EP!
I read somewhere that your music is like cinematic indie, and I couldn’t agree more. Would you describe your music the same way? I certainly think that tracks like “Between Times” have that aesthetic, because each sound is fairly expansive and full, whereas the sound in tracks like bloom and the tracks we’ve recorded for the EP are far more about layering sounds for a more textured effect.
How do you usually approach the songwriting process together?
It usually begins with settling on a key, and playing the root note for ever and ever, seeing what kind of mood and dynamic can be gathered
through what is completely repetition. We then tailor the chords, melodies and rhythms to what results, which informs the subject matter of the song.
Olivia, you have been compared to other iconic female singers. How do you feel about that and which female singers inspire you? I suppose I do seek out female vocalists, as a singer its good practice and it’s been a way of testing stuff out. In the past I’ve drawn influence from Liz Fraser, St. Vincent and Kate Bush quite heavily.
You’ve been putting a few tracks online and one of them was the amazing “Between Times”. The video that you’ve released for it has footage from Godard’s Masculin Féminin. In what way does the film relate to the music? We were so pleased with that video. The concept didn’t come
from us, we were pitched the idea by the film’s creator, Jem Talbot from Last Left. The initial idea was slightly different, but he really hit the nail on the head when he proposed the idea of working with Godard. The shots that were chosen reflect the uncertainty and insecurities of a young couple and Jem brilliantly used these draw out the nostalgic and romantic themes in the song. My favorite part has to be the use of edited subtitles. The lyrics play on the idea that language often fails to give expression in the way we need it to, so the use of a foreign film and giving it new language resonated well on that level. There’s a great line used in one of the subtitles (“You only have feelings never ideas”) that was based on another Goddard film, Pierrot Le Fou. Marianne and Ferdinand have a conversation where language seems to restrict true expression, “You speak to me in words and I look at you with
feelings”. I picked up on it straight away when we watched it the first time and I was so happy with how well the video had picked up on this aspect of the song.
first UK tour and hopefully play to plenty of people who haven’t heard us before, hopefully get onto some summer festival - and maybe make an album, we’ll see!
Are you inspired by Godard’s work? Which film is your favorite and why?
Are you planning on doing a European tour after releasing the EP?
I definitely have been. It’s hard not to be if you sit down to watch a Goddard film. I really enjoyed Alphaville, À bout de souffle and Pierrot Le Fou.
You’re going to release your debut EP this year. When and what can we expect from it?
We finished recording the EP at the beginning of January, so as yet it’s difficult to say exactly when it will be released, but in terms of sound it’ll totally be a dream pop-disco record.
We’d absolutely love to. We can never really afford to go on holidays any more so a trip around Europe would be incredible.
Do you recommend new bands from Sheffield that we should listen to?
Best friends, Nai Harvest, Seize the Chair, Radical Boy and Blood Sport are 100% worth getting in to.
What are your plans for 2014? Once the EP comes out, we’re hoping to be able to go on our
“Between Times” 7” is out now via No Self Records. Listen Here... 23
LABEL PROFILE // ENEMIES LIST HOME RECORDINGS
Enemies List Home Recordings is a record label founded by Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga of Have a Nice Life. We chatted with Dan about what led them to start this label and what are their upcoming releases. Words: Andreia Alves
ou are the founder of Enemies List Home Recordings. Tell me a little bit of how you start this label and how has been so far.
Tim and I started Enemies List together and we started it mostly to release our own stuff, so we started the Enemies List and it was just a name that we’ve put on our demos or whatever we had. Deathconsciousness was the first Have A Nice Life record, and when that came out, we just burned them on CD-Rs, printed all the stuff and then people could email me to buy the records. And that was really it. That was the entirety of what Enemies List was and did. When the Have A Nice Life record did well – when I say it did well, it means we sold like a 100 copies of it - we were like “Oh my god, that’s crazy” [laughs] – so we decided to take what money we got there and just kept putting it back into putting out records, without really much of a plan.
What came after Deathconsciousness?
Well, we put out Nahvalr record, we put out a record by a band called Afterlives, that’s really amazing, that happened to be my brother’s band. We just kept putting out records by people that we knew or liked, and that was it.
Basically you want to help those small artists with not many resources, right? Yeah! The idea of the label is that we put out home recorded records, so this is all people that recorded themselves. It tends to be lo-fi and it tends to share a 24
certain aesthetic, but mostly, are people that they record themselves, write their own music and they wouldn’t normally be a good fit for a label and thus they can’t really get money together to put out vinyl or CDs or do that kind of thing. So basically, Enemies List helps people to do that. We provide the money for them to press records; we do the email order and stuff like that. Enemies List takes a certain percentage, not a whole lot, the artists get the rest and then Enemies List just keeps putting the money back into more records. Although Enemies List does a fair to have a lawyer and stuff, it doesn’t pay me and no one gets paid for Enemies List besides the people that pack up our orders for us. It’s really just about letting us keep putting out records and letting people we like to put out records.
Besides your new band’s record release, are you going to release any new record on your label that we should know about?
Yeah! Actually, I think 2014 is going to be a pretty big year for us. We have obviously the new Have A Nice Life record that just came out and we co-released with The Flenser Records. Let’s see [pause]. We have a digital only release coming out from a band called Perfect Shapes, which is a really cool kind of digital pop, really lush band. They’re really fantastic. We have vinyl releases from The Human Fly who is a really cool singer songwriter from Connecticut, which is where I live. We got music from I Do Not Love, which is this really neat, sort of hybrid, depressive black metal that sometimes does something like new wave influenced songs that
are really cool. We’re going to reprint Deathconsciousness on vinyl this year, also with The Flenser Records, so we’re going to do that as well.
Do you have any strategies to maintain the label running? I mean, it’s really important, specially if you are working with a small label like Enemies List Home Recordings.
Yeah, actually we have. Right now we’re doing this thing, which is pretty cool, where we created a subscriber mode, so basically people that want to support the label can pay us a dollar, two dollars a month or whatever it is, and in return they get access to our back catalog digitally, but they also get every month an email from us with new songs. We’ve been working on setting up kind of distribution for artists that we might not have the time or money to put out on vinyl, but that we really like. So for example, we sent out for free the debut album of this band called K’an. It’s a really cool ambient music and it was something that we wouldn’t have been able to put out, but because of the subscriber mode we can say “Ok, we’ll send this out for you and we’ll send it out for free”. It kind of get people to know about your music. It’s just being really cool. We’re actually looking to expand that so we can promote more projects and kind of build this home recording community, but not necessarily have to always put out vinyl, which is so time consuming. We usually just can only put out two or three releases a year. I’m really excited about that, I think that’s probably one of the coolest things we have going on right now.
SPLASH YOUR CASH
This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store - where the staff, the customers, and the artists have a key role - to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. So let’s celebrate Record Store Day and here’s a few suggestions that will surely brighten up the collection of many...
DAVID BOWIE SPECIAL EDITIONS David Bowie has a double treat in store for fans during this year’s Record Store Day as it has been announced that the iconic singer will be releasing two special edition albums to mark their 40th anniversaries The Let's Dance hitmaker, who made a triumphant return to music a year ago, will be releasing special edition 7” picture discs of “Rock 'n' Roll Suicide” lifted off The Rise and all of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and the track “1984” which featured on the 1974 album Diamond Dogs. This 40th anniversary picture disc will be a double A-side with the studio version of “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide” on the A-side. The A-side will have the same title from the very last Ziggy concert at the Hammersmith Odeon on July 3rd, 1973, as featured in Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture.
DINOSAUR JR. VISITORS BOX (LTD) Numero Group will release the limited edition Visitors box set, five 7″ records that collect Dinosaur Jr.’s first four singles on SST and Homestead, plus a bonus 7″ featuring the band’s covers of the Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” and Peter Frampton’s “Show Me the Way.” The box comes with artwork from frequent Dinosaur Jr. collaborator Maura Jasper, an essay from Jasper on her creative process and relationship with J Mascis, and a book of unused work from between 1985 and 1990.
VERUCA SALT 10” (ONLY FOR RECORD STORE DAY) Veruca Salt are back! It’s been 14 years since the group released material with their original line-up. Nina Gordon, Louise Post, Steve Lack and Jim Shapiro have announced that they’ve reunited and will be putting out a new 10″ on Record Store Day. Released by the band’s original label, Minty Fresh, the 10″ features their hit “Seether”, as well as two new songs, “The Museum of Broken Relationships” and “It’s Holy”. These new songs were produced by Wood.
ANOTHER RELEASES THAT YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SPEND SOME CASH ON RECORD STORE DAY
SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE/CIRCA SURVIVE (SPLIT) Circa Survive and Sunny Day Real Estate will be releasing a split on Record Store Day (April 19) that features new, exclusive tracks from both bands. The new SDRE song is titled “Lipton Witch,” and will be the band’s first new song since the release of their 2000 album, The Rising Tide. Circa Survive’s track is called “Bad Heart,” and was recorded after the release of their latest album, Violent Waves. The album artwork above, which was done by Chris Thompson, who did the art for Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary and How It Feels To Be Something On releases. The pressing is limited to 2,400 copies coming out on burgundy vinyl and 100 coming out on clear vinyl. Read a statement from Brendan Ekstrom of Circa Survive about the split: “I went to see a few of the Sunny Day Real Estate shows when they toured in 2009 and I knew they’d written and recorded at least one song during that time. I got Jeremy Enigk’s info from a mutual friend and emailed him asking if they had anything planned with the track. I knew they were on a hiatus and I hated the idea of that song never being released. Jeremy spoke with the other guys who all seemed interested to do the split I had I proposed. We had a B-side we’d been sitting on that had a mellower vibe which seemed to balance their more rocking song in a way that another upbeat jam might not have. I couldn’t be more happy that this is happening. I honestly think this one of the best songs Sunny Day has ever written and I’m really happy that fans are going to get to hear it.”
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN “AMERICAN BEAUTY” EP
JOY DIVISION REISSUES DEBUT EP
Bruce Springsteen has a new four-song EP scheduled for this year’s Record Store Day on April 26. Filled with all-new tracks, American Beauty will drop just three months after Springsteen’s latest album, High Hopes. “Mary Mary”, “Hey Blue Eyes” and the title track were taken from the same sessions as High Hopes, made with the E Street Band and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello.
Joy Division’s 1978 debut EP An Ideal for Living will be reissued with new artwork, this debut EP was released not long after they changed their name from Warsaw to Joy Division. The new version was remastered at Abbey Road Studios in London by the band’s longtime engineer, Frank Arkwright. The artwork pays tribute to the scaffolding that appeared on the EP’s 12inch release, which followed up the original 7-inch.
● Atmosphere - The Lake Nokomis (12-inch picture disc, 5000 copies) ● Bardo Pond - Looking for Another Place (LP) ● Bat for Lashes - “Gardens Heart” (7-inch) ● Botch - Unifying Themes Redux (LP) ● Cage the Elephant - “Take it Or Leave It”/”Jesse James” (7inch, 1500 copies) ● Cake - Vinyl Box Set (8x12-inch colored vinyl box set, 900 copies) ● Camera Obscura -Session EP (7-inch) ● Neko Case, Jason Lytle and Friends - Satellite of Love (and other selections from Mars soundtrack) (7-inch, 1500 copies on red vinyl) ● Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - West of Memphis Soundtrack (LP on white vinyl) ● Cave In - Jupiter + Rarities (LP) ● Cut Copy - “In These Arms of Love”/”Like Any Other Day” (10-inch, 2000 copies) ● Cure/Dinosaur Jr. - “Just Like Heaven” (7-inch, white vinyl) ● Dads - Woman EP (7-inch, 1000 copies) ● Drive-By Truckers - Dragon Pants EP (10-inch) ● Marianne Faithfull - “Sister Morphine”/”Something Better” (7-inch) ● Fear of Men - Loom (deluxe two-toned colour LP) ● Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time (Explicit picture disc LP, 800 copies) ● Five Finger Death Punch - Purgatory: Tales from the Pit (2LP picture disc, 1000 copies) ● Garbage - Girls Talk Shit (10-inch, 4000 copies) ● Gojira - The Way of All Flesh (2LP, 350 copies on bluewhite vinyl split) ● Julia Holter - “Don’t Make Me Over”/”Hello Stranger” (7inch) ● Ron Jeremy - Understanding and Appreciating Classical Music with Ron Jeremy (7-inch) ● Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth (LP on pink vinyl, 4000 copies) ● The Julie Ruin - “Brightside” / “In the Picture” (7-inch, 2000 copies) ● Korn - The Paradigm Shift (2LP picture disc, 900 copies) ● Lydia Loveless - “Mile High”/”Blind” (Ke$ha cover) (7inch, 1000 copies) ● Machine Head - “Killers & Kings (Demo)” / “Our Darkest Days” (Ignite cover) (10-inch) ● Mastodon - Live at Brixton (2LP + DVD) ● Mazzy Star - I’m Less Here (7-inch, 3000 copies) ● Duff McKagan - Sick (140g purple 2xLP) ● Peter Murphy - “Hang Up (Dub Mix)”/”I’m On Your Side “(7-inch on silver vinyl) ● OFF! - “Learn to Obey” (7-inch, 5500 copies) ● Pantera / Poison Idea - “The Badge” (7-inch on purple/ bronze vinyl) ● Paramore - Ain’t It Fun (12-inch) ● Parquet Courts - “Sunbathing Animal”/”Pilgrams to Nowhere” (7-inch, 1000 copies) ● Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (2LP) ● School of Seven Bells - Put Your Sad Down (LP featuring 5 unreleased tracks, with all proceeds used to benefit the foundation of Ben Curtis, 300 copies) ● Screaming Trees - Last Words (LP) ● Slipknot - Vol: 3 The Subliminal Verses (2LP on clear vinyl) ● Soundgarden - Superunknown The Singles (5x10-inch set) ● Bruce Springsteen - American Beauty (12-inch EP) ● Strife – In This Defiance (LP, 900 copies) ● Sunny Day Real Estate / Circa Survive - Split Single (7inch, 2,500 copies) ● Tame Impala - Live Versions (12-inch featuring 8 tracks recorded live in Chicago in 2013, 5000 copies) ● TORRES / Motel Beds with Kelley Deal - Spilt Single (7inch) ● Velvet Underground - Loaded (LP on pink, white and black splatter vinyl) ● Hank Williams - “The Garden Spot Programs 1950 EP” (7inch) ● James Williams & Carolyn Wonderland (ft. the Stooges and Mike Watt) - “Open Up and Bleed”/”Gimme Some Skin” (7inch, 1000 copies on red vinyl) ● Xiu Xiu - Unclouded Sky (LP, 1000 copies on cloud colored vinyl) ● Various - In Utero, In Tribute, In Entirety (Nirvana tribute LP)
NEU // VOL.1
NEU! HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF TWEENS HYDRAS DREAM FIELD DIVISION
HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF Where: New Orleans (USA) Who? Alynda Lee Segarra, Yosi Perlstein, Casey McAllister For fans of: Lydia Loveless, Dark Dark Dark, Caitlin Rose
he artist behind Hurray For The Riff Raff is a young talented woman which american folk-blues it’s her calling. We’re obviously talking about Alynda Lee Segarra. In early age, Segarra listened to 50’s doo-wop and latin jazz, but it was punk rock that helped her to break free and to find her own genre. The passion and the politics behind it gave her the push that turned out to be her first big adventure. At age 17, she hit the road without letting her family know about that crusade - hopping freight trains and traveling the West Coast and the South until she found New Orleans, where she joined a community of
fellow musicians and artists. It was back then that she realized that playing music was possible, even for her, and when she started to write her own songs, she released some under Hurray for the Riff Raff, in 2007. Now with some records under her belt, Segarra has shown to be a promising musician, at her own pace with each record released. Besides her stunning songwriting, Segarra nourishes a sweet and subtle voice that goes along with pure honest lyrics. Small Town Heroes it’s her newest band release, via ATO Records, which features Yosi Perlstein and Casey McAllister, and also Sam Doores and Dan Cutler of Deslondes.
NEU // VOL.1
TWEENS Where? Ohio (USA) Who? Bridget Battle, Peyton Copes, Jerri Queen For fans of: The Donnas, Breeders, Ramones, Bleached
here’s still bands out there bringing some super cool tunes with an upbeat and refreshing vibe, and that’s what Tweens makes us feel with their music. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, the trio has on the lead Bridget Battle, who is the voice of the group and also plays guitar, Peyton Copes is in charge of the bass parts and Jerri Queen on the drums. Together they started Tweens in 2012, playing a punky trash-pop sound (they describe themselves like that) that’s catchy and straight to the point. In the last couple of years, they’ve released some demos and also released Live at Mohawk EP, which it
is a live performance. They already have some pretty awesome followers of their music, like The Breeders, who invited the band to open for them on a recent US tour. They also have toured with the Black Lips. The trio is about to release their self-titled debut LP, via Frenchkiss Records. It was produced by Eli Janney and it will bring for sure more powerful and badass songs. The first single was already revealed, “Be Mean” has this catchy melody with and ferocious attitude. With that said, we can’t wait to listen to the whole album and have a good time while listening to it, because they seem to have damn great time playing it.
HYDRAS DREAM Where? New York (EUA) Who? Anna von Hausswolff, Matti Bye For fans of: Anna von Hausswolff, Matti Bye
hen great musicians join forces, it can turn out to be a great accomplishment or a total failure, but in this case with Hydras Dream turned out to be something really great and beautiful. The duo Anna von Hausswolf and Matti Bye have formed this new project, where music is mostly made through improvisation and by repeating patterns and melodies. These two Swedish musicians are well known for their work. Briefly speaking, Anna von Hausswolf released last year a superb album called Ceremony, that resembles to this new project. And Matti Bye is a winner of the Guldbaggen 2014 price for scoring the film drama Faro and
composer of the film score for The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. The concept behind this project is to interpret stories, movies and myths into musical landscapes. For their debut album The Little Match Girl, Anna von Hausswolff and Matti Bye construed the beautiful and melancholic story by H.C. Andersen of the same title. This story inspired the duo to build their marvellous album, giving to the story a soundtrack that’s both sad and beautiful. The Little Match Girl was written and recorded during only three days in Matti Bye’s studio. Let’s see what other stories will the duo convey into music.
NEU // VOL.1
FIELD DIVISION Where? Des Moines (USA) Who? Evelyn Taylor Hiatt, Nicholas Frampton For fans of: Fleet Foxes, Mazzy Star, Bon Iver, Fleetwood Mac
ometimes simplicity brings the best out of a songwriter/artist, that with very little manages to convey the purest feelings and the darkest thoughts. We got that feeling when we listened to Field Division for the first time, a duo consisted by Evelyn Taylor Hiatt and Nicholas Frampton, who are originally from Des Moines, Iowa. As their band’s name suggests, this duo seems to be influenced by the beautiful natural landscapes, the wild rivers that run in their hometown, the tremendous valleys that surround them. Listening to their first single “Flautlines”, it’s clearer the greatness of Mother Nature. This song is for sure a breezy-dreamy indie folk song that
makes us dream and wonder for a while where we want to go and what we really want to do, and like the sweet Evelyn sings “I see you walking through the valley / Heading straight to the ravine / Where in the hell do you think you’re going?”. Let’s hope that this person finds his way in life. Field Division hasn’t released nothing new since that single, but they are currently working on their debut EP, which the duo is really excited about it and anxious to show the new material to their fans. We look forward to listen to this upcoming EP too, that probably follows the footsteps of “Faultlines”, a sound that transcend the restless and abstracted spirit.
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NEXT ISSUE AVAILABLE ON APRIL 28
INTERVIEW // THE COATHANGERS
are back with their fourth album, Suck My Shirt. Now reduced to a trio, they have refined their songwriting approach, and believe in us when we say that punk rock never sounded so sexy. We chatted with Crook Kid Coathanger (Julia Kugel) about the new album and much more... Words: Andreia Alves
Yeah, totally! We really enjoyed playing and recording it that way.
here are you right
We are in our practice space, we’re about to practice after we do this interview.
I read that The Coathangers were formed as a joke. How do you feel nowadays about your band?
It doesn’t feel like a joke anymore, that’s for sure. It feels like a funny adventure that we are going on together and totally not a joke. [laughs]
Last year, Candice Jones (Bebe Coathanger, keyboard) left the band. Did that affect the dynamics of the band? Yeah, because we have one less person to bounce the energy, but I think that in the long run, it’s been a good change. I think we’re just as strong as before and we’re still friends all the four of us. It’s just a matter of life changing shit up.
You’re about to release your fourth record, was it done without Candice? Yeah, the record was written and recorded without Candice.
So was it a challenge for you to make a record without her?
It was a welcome challenge. It was what it was. We were just ready to get in the studio and write. We were excited, so mostly it was excitement for a new record and I guess for more streamline recording process. We only had three instruments to worry about. It was different but it was good.
With only the three instruments (guitar, bass, drums), they gave a raw approach to your music. 34
I read that the title of the record was chosen because of some sort of incident. What can you tell me more about it?
We were drinking tequila in the studio [laughs] and we ended up spilling some on the shirt, and then just to not waste tequila, the “Suck My Shirt” thing came about. So we just started out talking “hilarious, that’s a great name for a record” and it has nothing to do with the record [laughs] and neither any song in particular. It’s just a whole experience and I kind of brought it back to the beginning where I was like “hey, it’s not that serious, still suck my shirt, drink some tequila and it will be fine.” [laughs]
How was it the process of making this fourth record?
We wrote for a while. We really took time to make the songs, like the structure of the songs and the sound of them. We practice a lot and then we went into the studio. We usually record everything live and then overdub vocals and extra guitar. We listen to the songs, drink and talk about what else could we add. Later we did the mix and that’s it. It was actually a pretty fluid, fun process.
What do you think it differs between “Larceny & Old Lace” (2011) and “Suck My Shirt”?
Still sounds like us and it has a rawer sound, more pure and with a more rock ‘n’ roll sound. It’s straight forward and it feels good. I feel like we got more comfortable. In every record we feel more comfortable with our instruments, with who we are, with what we’re saying… I feel like all the songs are really strong and it wasn’t like kind of “Oh, what’s happening?” We went there with a mission and
we left there with the record that we’re really proud of.
“Follow Me” is your first single of this new record and it’s a total kickass song. Tell me a little bit of how did song came about. It started off with the guitars and drum hook. Stephanie wrote the lyrics about somebody and then she came up with the “woo woo” part in the chorus. That what just happens, she writes very organically. Sometimes someone will come up with a tune or we all come together, but this one started with the music. We were like “This sounds awesome! We should make that a song.” [laughs]
So do you have a favorite song from this record? Maybe for me is hard to choose one. I would say “Springfield Cannonball” just because is a personal thing, but I love all of them equally. They’re all our little babies.
There are four songs that were re-worked for this record (“Merry Go Round”, “Smother”, “Adderall”, and “Derek’s Song”), that were released on your limited edition split 7”s. Why did you decide to include these songs on the record?
Not everyone heard the 7”s and we love the songs. And because we don’t have a keyboard anymore, then they turned into a different sound, a different feel for each of the songs. It just seemed like appropriate to re-work these songs, like that’s who we were then and this is what we are now. The songs are still good and also more people are going to have access to this new record rather than the 7”s because they are limited pressing. So maybe people want to have it, I would want it. [laughs]
You said on a press release that “Every album is a snapshot of who we were at the time.” So, where were you at the time when you’ve made this record?
Just listen to the record, that’s where we were. [laughs] We are the same people, but we matured a little bit, maybe. [laughs] I don’t know. This is a thing that the listener gets to decide who we were at that time. I can’t say who I was back then, like I was younger, probably dumber. [laughs] We’re still a little bit, you know… special. [laughs] Maybe a little bit mad. [laughs]
Will we have the pleasure to see you girls in Portugal or Europe this year?
We would love! We want to go to Portugal so bad. We want to go South Europe because last time we went only to north which is beautiful, but we are trying to work that out so bad. We want to go everywhere. That’s the whole point of doing this, not only playing shows and hang out with friends, it’s still fun, but also travel and seeing the world. That’s the second mission. We’re going on in a two months tour US and
Canada, and then hopefully come back and we’ll just go to Europe.
Is there any place that you’ve never played before and you would love to go?
We want to go to Portugal, Italy, Australia, New Zeeland, Japan… we want to go everywhere! If Russia will take us, I would love to play in Moscow. Just everywhere. And what about Brazil? Yes, please. [laughs] Let’s hope that happens for sure, because it is really beautiful there. We just want to go everywhere, because life’s short.
So Julia, what about White Woods (Julia’s solo project)? Are you working on new material?
I will start working on new material soon, but right now I’m focusing more on The Coathangers. It’s like my first passion. I’ve only played one show and it went really well. It’s something that I really want to do in the future. “Suck My Shirt” is out now via Suicide Squeeze Records
UNDENIABLY DARK, INCREDIBLY FASCINATING
There were loads of expectations regarding the new Xiu Xiu’s album, Angel Guts: Red Classroom, because of the magnificent work presented with Nina and the fact that was announced that the album would be “(…) the sound of Xiu Xiu’s death.” We called Jamie Stewart to talk about what is, probably, the most electrifying Xiu Xiu’s record to date. Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Dan Bleckey
INTERVIEW // XIU XIU
ngel Guts: Red Classroom. Why did you choose this album title?
It’s the name of a movie that I saw a couple of days after I moved back to Los Angeles, coming from a small town in North Carolina... really did not like it very much, at all. The movie is pretty unredeemable debauched and transgressive. I have been living in a place that was very boring, very even, easy and conservative. It was exciting to move back to a city... in a very casual way presenting this piece... sort of moral detrituts and completely out in the open. The record was written pretty much from a time that I moved back here. It felt like being welcome home by something that was kind of bleak and depraved.
How is your creation process as an artist? Was the process different on this new album? Yeah, for sure. With the other records we choose from a wide set of influences and we used every instrument that we could find. With this one we kept the influences very, very small... a very specific set of bands, like five different bands, and only used analog synths, analog drum machines and drum set. We tried to be much more focused and much more specific than any other thing that we have done before.
What was the impact of Nina in this new album?
Ohhh...To me, consciously they seem very separate but I imagine that considering that they were recorded at the same time, there is no way they didn’t affect each other. I could put it into words but I’m sure is somewhere buried deep in my mind... I mean, they just seem real different to me because Nina was entirely an homage and tribute to her [Nina Simone] about trying to say thank you to her, where Angel Guts is quite the opposite of an homage.
But wouldn’t you say that Nina presented a new side of Xiu Xiu? Oh yeah, for certain. No record that we have done sounds even remotely like that record. First of all, all the songs were written by other people and the instrumentation is really different from what we have done before... even the arrangements were different.
Lyrically speaking, it seems that you’re talking about very primitive aspects (sex, violence and fear) that are inherent to the human race. Can you talk a little bit about that? I think you nailed it with those three. [laughs] It’s pretty much what the record 38
is about. I ended up in a neighbourhood that is more danger and more decayed than any neighbourhood that I have been before and that affected me tremendously. I didn’t expected to, in fact I didn’t even realize it until my band pointed out that most of the songs seem to be about this neighbourhood which is a neighbourhood that is deep into the things you mentioned: sex, violence and fear. It’s also, in some ways, incredible beautiful this neighbourhood. There’s a nice park in the middle of it, but the park is accessed by drug addicts and gang members because is so hot here and everybody has this rainbow umbrellas everywhere... it’s very brighted color but it’s also completely falling apart.
Can you explain this sentence that comes with Angel Guts: Red Classroom’s press release? “Angel Guts: Red Classroom is the beginning of Xiu Xiu’s descent from grayness into the deepest blackness endurable. It is the sound of Xiu Xiu’s death.”
Well, it could be one of two things. It could be because the record is quite different than anything else that we have done previously and the approach, which was that the Xiu Xiu that has existed before is dead which I feel that in way it very much is. Or there’s the potential that this is the last album we do. We are still figuring that out. It could be an end of an era of Xiu Xiu or the end of Xiu Xiu’s era.
Why do you say that this might be the last Xiu Xiu’s record?
I can’t... I’m having a really difficult time to figuring out what to do next. It’s incredibly important to me to approach future records with a total drive and a total commitment and right now I’m feeling pretty lost. I don’t want to just make a record just for the sake of making a record, something that I don’t have a total attachment and commitment. I don’t know what to do right now.
Suicide (band from New York) seems to be a huge influence in this record.
Yeah, it is. I really love how incredible, simple and direct is Suicide’s music. In most of the songs there’s just three things happening over and over and over again, but somehow they manage to make something that is so engaging. Almost every song is the same drum beat with two notes on the keyboard and a very, very simple set of lyrics.
That repetition makes people hate Suicide’s music, most of the times. [laughs] I think it’s wonderful. I mean, you can make something like that is engaging for three and half minutes is genius.
What can you say about the cover art?
The two latin crosses are a medieval symbol of death. It’s pretty direct. [laughs] And works as an X for Xiu Xiu also, which is a cute
“I ended more de b
d up in a neighbourhood that is more danger and ecayed than any neighbourhood that I have been efore and that affected me tremendously.” and embarrassing part. We were trying... Although is impossible for us to do this, because we are not as famous as these people, but... In the same way that Black Flag has a symbol, and Public Image Ltd. has a symbol, and Einstürzende Neubauten has a symbol, we tried to create a symbol for Xiu Xiu.
Do you think people will hate this record, just like people hate Suicide’s music?
Well, I don’t care if they will hate or not. But if I think they will hate? I don’t know. The music that we are drawing from is all music that people are familiar with. I mean, I think some people will hate it because is not the Xiu Xiu record they want to hear, but
I don’t think people will hate it in the same way people hated Suicide, because at the time they were doing that stuff for the first time. They were pioneers in a way. The music on this record, while is different for us... If you analyze it is clear where the different parts come from. People may hate it but not in the same way they hated Suicide.
The album was recorded in your home studio, Nurse, and Elmwood, the studio of John Congleton (producer). How was it, recording this album with John?
each other for several years and he knows our discography really well, so he is familiar with the things that we are trying to avoid and familiar with the things that we were trying to do in this record. He was really the perfect person to work on it... He’s also a completely bleak and dark person, so if you’re trying to do a bleak and dark record he’s your man. [laughs] John works on a lot of incredible poppy music but as a person is really a very, very dark guy.
Fantastic! He is brilliant. He has one of the best studios in the entire world and has one of the best ears I ever... We have known musicandriotsmagazine.com
“Angel Guts:Red Classroom” is out now via Bella Union 39
A NE W SH AP E OF NO IS E TO C OM E. ..
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st ar te d to m ak e so m e nd ba d se ba rk Yo w Ne a s, Up ar, Bi g w ha tâ€™s th ei r ed as le re ey th w No s. ow sh e th th ei r fu rio us liv lk ed w ith Ca rlo s ta e W . ic at St f O s ur Ho en te gh um , na m ed Ei e ou tfi t, ab ou t th es e or dc ar -h st po Y DI is th of er ay th e ba ss pl s an d ch es t-b ea tin g. es hn ug to , ity ns te in re pu of s n so ng Johnson Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Dylan
INTERVIEW // BIG UPS
Hours Of Static, was influenced by this movie, right?
an you tell us how the band was formed and what’s the background of all the members in the band?
Basically we all went to the same program together on the New York University and so, we all met there... We are all from different places: Amar Lal from Canada, Joe Galarraga from Baltimore, I’m from Connecticut and Brendan Finn is from Upstate, New York. We all have been living here in New York for six years… I guess we can all say that we’re from Brooklyn now. About our previous projects… Actually is funny. Everyone, except from me, had projects. Joe, Brendan and Amar, they had a surf rock band for a little bit, right before. Then Joe wanted to start something different… We had done school projects together. He hit me up and we formed in 2010, practicing at school and playing in some shitty venues. That’s how Big Ups started.
I need to ask. Why the tags “Punctual Punk” and “Nerdcore”?
[laughs] So, “punctual punk” is because when we were in the beginning we wanted to make a good impression so we were always punctual, getting to the venues always in time... Sometimes even before the people open the venue. If people said to us “Be here at 5.30pm”, then you can rest assure that we would be there at 5.30pm. We’re not gonna be like those rock guys that show up like whenever. Of course, now it’s like: ok we’re here and now we just need to wait four hours because not everyone is punctual. [laughs] The “nerdcore” thing it’s because we all went to school for sound engineering. Basically we have the technical background.
I want to talk about that technical side but first I would like to ask about how much love you guys have towards Carl Sagan’s Contact (film of 1997). The title of the album, Eighteen 42
[laughs] Yeah. There’s this crazy scene at the end of the movie where Jodie Foster drops throughout that pod that they make for her to contact the aliens. To her it seems like forever – she meets her dead father, which is actually an alien in the dead father’s body... She has this whole like experience – but to the outside people watching it only took like a second for her to drop there. The very last line, the big reveal of the movie is that they have this big recorder that recorded eighteen hours of static so they can’t really reconcile what the truth is which is the all point of the movie. You want to believe that these things exist or trust science.
These twelve songs seem to be more dynamic and mature. How was the creation process? Anything different, this time around?
Our self-titled debut, which you probably can’t find anymore, is pretty juvenile kind of stuff. We did in like a day and kind of sounded not that great. At a certain point we realized that people were listening and coming out, which made us realize that if you have this platform you should try to take yourself a little bit more serious. This is our first LP. We only had a couple of 7’’s, like three songs a piece. About these songs being more mature, yeah I agree with you. This time around it took the songs himself a darker focus... But that it’s not to say that we’re like that outside. In fact we’re very happy guys.
Is there an overall theme in these 12 songs? What can you tell us about the lyrics? I know Joe is the responsible for them…
Yeah, I think the theme is like getting through a hard time. I think a lot of the songs reflect on tough times and dealing with the day-to-day... Things are fine but they’re not really fine. Some angst, some faith – what you’re supposed to believe, what you can believe from what you see around you... That’s what I pull from it. But Joe is the primarily lyricist. A lot of these things come from him and his personal experiences.
Talking about Joe, he’s the one doing the spoken word in the song “Wool”? I had to check if I wasn’t listening to a bonus/unreleased track from Black Flag’s Family Man.
Yeah, he’s him. [laughs] He’s the only vocalist of the band. Yeah it seems like Henry Rollins a little bit. It’s funny because that’s how he normally talks... He doesn’t talk like spoken word, obviously, but that is his voice. We’re always hearing a young Henry Rollins when we’re with Joe. [laughs]
How was it like recording in Excello Recording, Brooklyn? If I’m not mistaken, it only took three days to record the album.
It’s really awesome! We had these friends from this band called Flagland that we play with since forever (they just played our release show), they did a record there. We stopped by one day while they were recording... It just came out sounding really good, you know? We decided that if we were going to do it sometime, we would need to spend some money and do it right. One of our friends, that is an engineer there (that we also went to school with), Charlie, did the whole thing basically. We took a very cold weekend in January... Unfortunately it was the only weekend that they didn’t have heat in the studio which is... So fucking cold. [laughs] The studio is a huge space in Brooklyn, like you never think. You think like you are walking in a house or something. The guy that owns the studio is a huge gearhead and collector. There are
“...a lot o day-toangst, so
of the songs reflect on tough times and dealing with the -day... Things are fine but they’re not really fine. Some ome faith – what you’re supposed to believe, what you can believe from what you see around you...”
more amps of random varieties in there that you never thought they existed. We recorded the whole album in just three days. The whole album clocks in 27 minutes but we played these songs so many times that we knew them from front to back. That allow us to experiment a little bit, do some overdubs, etc. It was a great experience because not only the studio is awesome but Charlie DeChants, the producer, is a fantastic guy. Actually he’s our friend, we know him from a while now. He knew exactly what we needed. We had the opportunity of doing exactly what we wanted and basically he was here and there, with some recommendations, etc. Every time we wanted to try something different he would get it done in like a minute. It has a very clean and enjoyable process.
I’ve heard awesome things about
Big Ups’ live performances. What can you tell us about that? How important is for the band playing live? I think it’s basically a huge release for all of us. If you see any of us on the street, you wouldn’t think that like “Those are the guys that made that really loud song”. You kind of switch on this like thing... Sometimes it just happens and you are like another completely different person, you know? We just get to freak out for half an hour. It’s so fuckin’ great. It works like a catharsis or an outlet. And you don’t want watch people just stare there. People have to make an effort to buy the ticket so we feel kind of obligated to give them a really nice and energetic show.
What are the three artists/bands that made you want to be in a band and why? For me personally? Let me think. One that I guess we all share is
Weezer. Just like having something that I would listen like every day. The Blue Album (self-titled debut, 1994) and Maladroit (2002) which I feel that doesn’t get enough credit; it’s in their poppy side but also has this loud metal-ish sound. The Foo Fighers is another one... The Colour and the Shape (1997) is one of the loudest and most fun things that you can hear. I wish I could play drums. I always say to Brendan that I which I could play drums. [laughs] It’s like the most fun instrument. I mean, the bass is fun. Back in high school I remember seeing the guys from The Fall of Troy with 18 years old, being jealous of that and thinking that I was missing out the opportunity of being in a rock band and everything.
“Eighteen Hours of Static” is out now via Dead Labour/ Tough Love Records
INTERVIEW // VULKANO
are Cissi Efraimsson and Lisa Pyk Wirström, that you should remember from the amazing indie outfit Those Dancing Days. The need to explore and search for a more innovative sound lead to this new project called Vulkano. Punk, Psychedelic, astrology, mythology and even supernatural were some of the inspirations for the amazing debut album of Vulkano, “Live Wild Die Free”. We chatted with Lisa about this exciting new project. Words: Andreia Alves
hat did lead you girls to start this new project?
It was easy to start at first as a solo project, because Cissi wanted to explore songwriting on her own, and then she had written I think maybe three songs and she was going to perform at our friend’s birthday party. But she, Rebecka who used to play the bass in Vulkano, asked if we wanted to play with her and then we did. I played some piano, Rebecka played guitar and Cissi the tambourine. Then after that she asked us if we wanted to join the band and we wanted to and it was really fun. We wanted to continue to make music, but more punky music.
Is Vulkano a break free from your previous band Those Dancing Days?
I don’t think this band is a break free, but a natural involvement from Those Dancing Days, like a natural next step kind of, because we were going at that direction with Those Dancing Days as well, but then we decided to put Those Dancing Days on a hold. This was like a new project so we could exactly do whatever we wanted to do and then it turned out to be much more punk.
So is there any chance to see Those Dancing Days on active again? Yes! There is a chance. [laughs] 44
We haven’t decided together if we are going to be back on active, but I think everyone in the band thinks that we’ll probably do that one day, though I’m not sure when. It would be very fun and we’re all friends, so we have a good connection between each other. Mimmi is studying, Rebecka is making music, Cissi and I, we are making our own music... So you’ll never know, but I think it would be fun.
What was the first song that you had written together as a duo in Vulkano?
Cissi is the one who has written the lyrics for all the songs, but we wrote the music for “Choir of Wolves” together. Recently Cissi was sitting in her apartment naked and we tried to write. [laughs] We were like “We need to make a new song” and so we listened to some songs and we were like “Hum, ok, so this is how they did it. Ok we’ll try to do kind of similar”. [laughs]
Did you know from the beginning what sound you wanted to play
or was it something that came along with the journey of starting a new band?
I think it came along doing the writing of the music, but we were already fired by music that you could hear the influences in our music. We listen to a lot of old psychedelic rock and also a lot of old girls punk groups from the late 80’s. Cissi didn’t want to write lyrics about love and she had decided to not to write any love song for the album. [laughs] So it was kind of from the start like we had a “hard feeling” about making the music like punky, but it’s really fun to just release your wild instinct. [laughs]
As the title of the record suggests, “Live Wild Die Free” is kind of your motto, right? Yes, exactly! We first read that motto when we went to England with Those Dancing Days. It was from a t-shirt with wild wolves and eagles on it, and then we saw the motto “Live Wild Die Free”. I don’t really like the motto “Live Fast, Die Young”, that’s just destructive. We don’t want to die young, we want to die free and we want to live wild, but in a constructive way. I think it’s a really good motto. [laughs] Also the wild it applies to live crazy and do crazy things, and live wild is live with the nature and embrace the earth as well.
The track “Too Young To Die” shows precisely your motto.
Yeah! I think Cissi was inspired by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. [laughs] On this song, Cissi got super powers as well and she’s scare, but then she realizes that she can get out from the trap because she doesn’t want to die. [laughs]
When did you start to work on this first record of yours?
Actually we started a long time ago. We wrote the songs in 2011 and then we recorded in early 2012. It’s was a while ago, but then we couldn’t really decide how to release it and so we did a kind of an intense work on it and then we recorded everything in three days for the album. It was a really intensive recording process.
The nature seems to be the main theme in all your songs. In which way did the nature inspired you for these songs? It inspired us a lot, because the nature is the roots of life. The
“I think that all the contrasts between society and wilderness inspired us, and also the beauty of nature.” power of nature especially inspired us, like the volcanoes. They got such strong force and you can’t stop nature. We think we rule the planet but then nature is the most mighty thing on this planet. I think that all the contrasts between society and wilderness inspired us, and also the beauty of nature.
In the track “Vulkano”, Cissi sings “I’m a volcano”. Do you girls describe yourselves as volcanoes? Yeah! [laughs] And also the eruption of the vulcanoes. [laughs] I think it’s actually a bit scary, but in a good way, like eruption of energy and other stuff. It’s powerful, so yes, we do describe ourselves as volcanoes.
Where did come from the inspiration for the song “Jungle”? [laughs] It’s a fun song. That’s one of the songs that we wrote while jamming together in the studio. Cissi came up with the lyrics during the jam and so she started to sing about being in the jungle and making her fantasy become reality. [laughs] So she was like “I’m in jungle, what can happen in the jungle? I see elephants”. We recorded the jam and then we listened to it. She took the best parts from what she had thought about when we jammed. I think it was just mostly playing a fantasy.
“Psycho Girl” has this creepy and vibrant vibe. Was it written to some girl in particular?
[laughs] I think Cissi had some particular girls in mind, but I think it’s more about just psychos overall. I guess everyone has it and it’s quite scary. [laughs] When she wrote the song, she had some really crazy girls in mind, but now it can be also a man.
it both ways. On Those Dancing Days we had labels to release those records. I think it suits very well in our band to release the record by ourselves, because it’s less commercial and people... they can, if they want, to sell records. [laughs] I don’t think we’ll sell records, but it’s less commercially, harder to get it out. The idea would be to find a label to cooperate with and it’s also fun to have a label.
Can we expect a european tour anytime soon?
I really hope so. We don’t have a plan, but I would really love that. It will be so fun but right now we don’t have a plan. We talk sometimes where we would love to go away somewhere and maybe write music or just do creative stuff. We’ve been talking about Portugal, because we played in Portugal with Those Dancing Days a few years ago. I think Portugal is really cool.
Aside from music, is there anything else that you love to do?
I love to paint. I went to art school and I finished it last spring. Cissi loves to paint as well. I like to read books, take photos and hang out with friends. I’m taking the driver license right now, so I want to do roadtrips and have fun.
What kind of bands or record are you into lately?
I’m really into MGMT, Pink Floyd but the earliest albums. I like kind of different music right now. I used to be more into older music, but now I started to listen to more recent music. I like Crystal Castles as well and Grimes - she’s great. I also like Björk a lot...
You’ve released your debut record through your own label. Do you feel more comfortable and freely to do it that way? Yeah. We thought it was the best way for this record to do it that way, but I think it’s nice to do
“Vulkano” (self-released) album is out now 45
INTERVIEW // THALIA ZEDEK
was a great year for you. Not only you have released a new full-length, the first in five years, but you have also reunited Come to play live and also reissue of the debut album, 11:11. How do you recall this past year? How important was it for you as an artist?
It was a big year for me, definitely. Not being so busy for a while it felt like there was a lot of momentum pulled up. Once I recorded Via and then did some touring on that, and then the Come thing... I think it was a sort of a turning point, I hope. I have been doing a lot of stuff since then, with the new EP coming out, playing with a few different bands, so it feels really good. It has been a very active year for sure.
Via was your return after five years. Why did you take five years to release a new record and how that time affected
you as an artist and the music itself?
I didn’t intent to take that long. We did the Liars and Prayers record, I think in 2008, and a quite a bit of touring in 2009, and then my drummer, that was playing with me for a long time, left the band so that kind of slow things down. I spent a lot of time searching for a new drummer... Finally found Dave Bryson who’s actually not playing with us anymore, he moved to another city after recording Via. I think just playing with a different member... Like, I played with Daniel Coughlin for so long, like twelve years or something, so I really just wanted to give us time to sort of find our sound, a different sound a little bit. Then I had some family stuff to deal with. My father passed away and my mother moved to Boston… Just like life things: working, moving, etc. One thing kind of led to another and before I knew it had been way too long, you know? [laughs]
Yeah, I know. I mean, you started
to write the songs for Via on the Liars and Prayers’ tour, right?
Yeah! Definitely some of the songs came out of that tour and then other ones were written afterwards.
Let’s talk about the new minialbum. Were these six songs written after Via was ready or did you start to create them at the same time? They were kind of written... That’s a good question. It’s kind of a mixture a little bit, but I would say that mostly they were written after Via. Some at the same time... “Fell So Hard” was written at the same time, for example.
Would you agree that the sparse arrangements on SIX are, along with the lyrical content, the most important thing on the record and what defines it?
Yeah... I mean, I guess so. We definitely tried to do something different with this record, because you know, it hadn’t been that long since Via was released and I just
is a living legend. With almost four decades, the career of Thalia is made without fear of moving forward. Dangerous Birds, Uzi, Live Skull, Come, E and her solo band, are some of the projects that made Thalia what she is today, a true artist, just like Patti Smith, Lydia Lunch, Joni Mitchell, and many others. We had the opportunity of catching up with Zedek to talk about her latest record, SIX, and to talk about this incredible career that she made for herself. Words: Tiago Moreira
wanted to do with different arrangements. I’ve been doing some solo shows and... Particularly the song “Afloat” had gone very well as a certain solo piece. I just kind of wanted to change things around in terms of arrangements so not every song sounded the same. That was kind of the point to give people something a little bit different with this one.
So would you say that was a challenge for you?
It was in a way. I think because we’re gonna... It wasn’t so much a challenge; it’s like, in some cases it will be packed with Via. I just wanted to do something a little bit different. It was a challenge to make things sound a little bit different, also I had a new drummer again. Hopefully it will last a lot longer, he’s really great.
Interpersonal relationships are the centrepiece of SIX, lyrically speaking. What more can you share with us? I mean, about the lyrical content.
I don’t know if there is a unifying underline theme. “Fell So Hard” is obviously about a relationship with someone that you’ve known for a long time... Actually, “Afloat” was written after Hurricane Sandy. I was thinking about the Hurricane Sandy... The guy that recorded Via and how actually his recording studio was completely destroyed, by Hurricane Sandy, right after I finished Via. It’s kind of about that whole thing. “Dreamalie” is sort of about – yeah, I guess relationships so you’re right – fight in a relationship. “Julie Said” was written about a friend of mine that passed away, a guy that I was closed with when I lived in New York. He was a real interesting guy, he was a poet. Finding out that he had died tragically and suddenly… A lot of people for a certain period of my life have passed away and I don’t know… There are certain people in my life, from different periods,that I’m still in touch with, and other people that I’m not in touch with. Julie, who actually is an exgirlfriend of mine, unfortunately has been the bearer of bad news for a lot of people in my life. [laughs] I don’t know if you can relate to that, at all, but… She’s in touch with a lot of people who I used to know in the state of
Georgia, and all these people that came from Georgia… Yeah, it’s kind of about that. Seeing a lot of people that you know not making it. “Flathand” is not my song. That’s a song that is from a band called Freakwater. They’re also in the Thrill Jockey label. On the Thrill Jockey’s fifteen anniversary they [the label] did a project where every band covered another Thrill Jockey band and then record it. Yeah, I can’t answer to the lyrics of that song.
How was the recording process?
It was really sort of intuitive. A friend of mine, who has a recording studio, he had some time at home because he had actually broken his leg very badly. He had nothing to do so it was like “Come down and you can do the record”. It was in his house so it was recorded in a week and a half, in small chunks. People were coming and going. My piano player, Mel [Lederman], also had a badly broken ankle at the time, so he would just come in from one session, play his piano parts and then leave… It was a little bit chaotic. I was the constant there and other people were kind of coming and going. But it was a really good experience.
Dangerous Birds, Uzi, Live Skull, Come and Thalia Zedek Band (solo project). What’s the role of each project for you as an artist?
I think that with Dangerous Birds was kind of learning how to write songs and how to be in a band. There were two main songwriters in that band, me and Laurie Green. I was figuring out what my taste and style was. With Uzi was more of a collaborative thing. I knew stylistic what direction I wanted to go in a lot more. With Live Skull, that was a completely really different experience for me... joining a band in sort of midway and not being one of the main songwriters. I mean, I wrote all the lyrics that I sing but mostly the music... I wasn’t playing an instrument in that band. It’s the first band that I’ve been in that I was just the singer rather that a guitar player. That was really interesting, a kind of different way of writing. With Come it was more sort of a back to my roots, in a way. Working with another songwriter, Chris Brokaw… it was more like a partnership type thing and the songs were a little bit more traditional – not really traditional but in my mind it was because of what I was doing in Live Skull. That
was really gratifying. Probably the band I was in for the longest… Well, definitely was the longest running band for me: the one that did the most touring, the most records, etc. That was a lot of fun. With the solo stuff… I have been mixing it up a little bit though. I’ve been playing basically with the same cast of characters for a while now, which is great. I had a few changes, but starting in the first record with a lot of different people playing on it and then kind of did more of a strip down thing, when just me, Daniel and Dave, we were playing as a three piece for a long time. Then adding the bass and the piano on Liars and Prayers and now it’s up to a five piece. There’s definitely room to grow and a change, you know? Now with SIX is definitely a little bit of a departure, with a different drummer and some more striped down things. I guess I kind of feel like this solo band thing is sort of away from me, just kind of do whatever my ideas are, and not really filter myself so much. I’m also playing with a couple other bands right now. I have a band called E which is more of a collaborative thing and we do a certain type of music, and certain things fit and certain things don’t fit, with my band E… I feel like with the solo band stuff it’s kind of a chance for me to be able to play any kind of music that I want to, and not try to make just one thing out of it, and that’s what I really like about it.
There’s any chance of Come releasing a new record in the future?
I would say no. There are definitely no new plans for a Come’s record. That was kind of just a one time thing... I think, as far as it is right now. Never say never, as they say. But there are definitely no plans to do something beyond what we did. It was really, really fun to do it, and to play those songs again, and to play with each other again... You know, I think it’s a great band and the chemistry is definitely still there, so... It felt really, really good. I think for all of us. But you know, it’s twenty years ago now and we all live in different parts of the country and we do different things. Some of us are still very involved in music, like me and Chris [Brokaw], but Shawn has a career in the film industry, Arthur lives in the South and has a career as a publisher editor... We talked about it but it’s really difficult to get all four of us together to make a record. I think it would be really hard, so I would say no.
INTERVIEW // BLACK MARE
PURE AND ETHEREAL BEAUTY You may know Sera Timms by her bands Ides Of Gemini and Black Math Horseman, but now she has gone solo with her own project, Black Mare. Hunting and beautiful tunes are what "Field Of The Host", her first solo album, is all about. Her honest and dark way of express herself is notable and we got to know a little more about this mesmerizing artist. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Steve Duncan 48
ou are well known for your bands Ides Of Gemini and Black Math Horseman. But last year, Black Math Horseman had split-up. Did that influence your decision to start this solo project?
Yes, very much so. When BMH and Ides were happening I really didn’t have time or creative energy left for a solo project. As BMH slowly unwound I shifted my creative energy from that project into Black Mare. I always felt that I had an army of warriors behind me with BMH, and I wanted to find out what kind of music I would create without that army.
Is Black Mare a different form to explore music for you? Was something that you wanted to do, but couldn’t with your other bands?
Black Mare is completely different than anything I had ever done before as it was nearly 100% a solo effort when it began, with the exception of Bryan Tulao from BMH adding some wonderful guitar textures to two Black Mare songs. I wrote everything on my own, and allowed myself to be very simple, and innocent as far as the songwriting went. This was the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction of Black Math Horseman where we had pretty complex songs, and spent much time arranging and re-arranging songs. Most of the things recorded on Black Mare were the first idea I had - and if later on in the album I started to question the simplicity, or anything else I would turn that voice off and allow it to remain in its original pure form. I wanted to explore a more vulnerable and emotional side of my own self expression, which I have touched on with BMH and Ides of Gemini, but there is much more of a cerebral, philosophical veil over my personal emotions in those projects.
Black Mare is obvious a different musical approach from your other bands. What else do you feel it’s different between your solo projects and your bands? For one I am playing guitar in Black Mare. I am a bass player, and the guitar is still largely
unchartered territory for me, but it is that mystery that is part of what makes it so appealing to write with. I love the space and resonance a guitar has, and I did not consciously think this while writing the album, but it seems that I wanted to hear just the resonance, the atmosphere rather than a guitar riff. When I play the guitar it sounds like rain, or clouds to me, so I just get to wander through whatever scape I find myself playing, and then it forms a path into a world inhabited by ghosts, spirits, animals and other archetypal and imaginary figures which I capture in a song. My bands were/are very collaborative, and I don’t usually start the songwriting process myself; instead I help arrange, add to, and shape whatever is brought into the room. Some of my guitar songs went on to become a couple of the first Black Math Horseman songs, but Ides Of Gemini songs are all started with J writing all his parts on the guitar and bringing them into Kelly and I.
Musically, what did inspire you for this new project?
I have never actually learned anyone else’s songs on the guitar so I was really just sonically exploring, rather than trying to take inspiration from other bands… I’m sure people can find plenty of influences that came through that I’m not even aware of. Someone told me that it reminded them of The Cure’s Disintegration which I took as a huge compliment as that is one of my favorite albums of all time.
Do you have other musicians collaborating with you on this project?
I do now. I have gathered an amazing group of musicians who are playing live with me and will be collaborating on the next album. They are Bryan Tulao (BMH) on guitar, J. Bennett (Ides Of Gemini) on bass, and Andrew Clinco (Marriages) on drums.
Is there a special reason for picking up Black Mare as your solo project’s name?
The first song I wrote as Black Mare was for a Winter Solstice Ritual I performed with my best friend Maja D’Aoust who is also known as “The White Witch”. We were not sure what to call me for the performance, so we performed an I Ching divination asking “Who am I
now?” and the answer was Hexagram 2 which is the mare, which is connected to the deep earth mother, and also to nightmares, and dark female spirits. She added the “Black” and named me “Black Mare”… At the time I had no intention of turning Black Mare into an actual band or even an album, but one thing led to another.
You’re about to release your solo debut album “Field Of The Host” and we’ve already had the pleasure to listen to it. How was the process to get done these seven songs?
It was all recorded alone in my room with me, my instruments, and my computer (with the exception of Bryan Tulao’s additional guitar). I just built the songs layer by layer much like a painting.
Lyrically, the record expresses such beautiful honesty and simplicity. Were those lyrics based on a concept or based on personal experiences? Personal experiences, woven together with mythology.
Are you planning to do a tour as Black Mare? Yes!
Besides doing music, you directed videos for bands like Isis and Intronaut. Are you working on new videos that you can tell us about? Not at the moment.
What can you tell us about Ides Of Gemini future plans?
We’ve just finished our second full length album which will be out September 2014. We’re playing Doom In June festival in Las Vegas this summer, and Hand Of Doom in Chatanooga, TN in September. Black Mare has a split Black Mare/ Syndrome (Mathiew Vandekerckhove of Amenra) LP coming out March 6th on Consouling Sounds, and a 7” Black Mare/VUM split coming out in June on The Crossing.
Do you recommend us any new bands that we should listen to?
Sure! Beastmilk, Pinkish Black, VUM, Treha Sektori, Ramona Lisa, Leila Abdul-Rauf, Glaare and Lightsystem.
“Field Of The Host” is out now via The Crossing
PERFECT PUS BEAUTIFUL, CONFUSED AND REVOLUTIONARY AT ONCE...
SSY We must say that the cathartic element in Say Yes to Love, is a whole new level of what a listening experience should be, never something so both exhausting and deeply compelling was so charming and addictive. We talked with them and we must say that Perfect Pussy are the element that was missing in our lives... Words: Fausto Casais musicandriotsmagazine.com
INTERVIEW // PERFECT PUSSY
come together at a big practice. It’s really not important that I come to practice, which is kind of funny - the guys write all the songs and I come in last. I write my lyrics alone. We record together and we do everything ourselves.
et’s start with a cliché question. Tell me a little bit of how the band came together. Meredith: I had been friends with Greg,
who plays bass, for years. I got asked to be in a weird indie film that was shooting in our hometown, and needed a band to play with, so we made a fake powerpop band with Garrett, who I didn’t even know at the time. We wrote one cool song and then dicked around for a year until Shaun and Ray wanted to see what we had accomplished - and we were embarrassed to show them how little we’d actually done. We started a new band with all five of us and recorded our demo in April of 2013.
All of you have been in other bands. Do you feel that Perfect Pussy is a set apart from those bands? Meredith: Oh, definitely. I think this band is
about the five of us all doing whatever comes naturally, so sometimes it almost sounds like the ghosts of all the other bands we’ve ever been in are in the room with us while we’re practicing. I am so proud of all my bandmates for being so talented and working so hard, and I’m proud of the other bands we’ve all been in too.
The name Perfect Pussy is an interesting and awesome choice. Why did you choose that name? Meredith: Though it wasn’t my original
You’re debut cassette EP, “I have lost all desire for feeling”, totally blew me away - the sound, the lyrics, everything. Were you expecting such great feedback from this release? Meredith: I don’t think we planned on the
cassette being any more popular than any other demo tape in history! We come from the punk scene, where releasing a very short demo on cassette is what more or less everyone does. Shaun: Definitely not. We just had to document it, because we didn’t expect to be playing music this long, you know? We’re so busy, I’m always fucking gone.
All four songs were recorded live at MoreSound. Was it in one single set that you’ve recorded all of them? Shaun: Yeah, it was about a five hour session and then I mixed it in my bedroom, on my laptop.
Meredith: The guys recorded their instruments
live and I did the vocals in our freezing, gross practice space.
Where did the inspiration for these songs come from? Meredith: Deep hatred of bad behavior and
having a lot of stuff to say about a lot of negative experiences I’ve had in the last few years dealing with relationships, both platonic and romantic. That’s what the full length is about, too. It’s kind of all I know how to talk about.
Your voice seems to be drowned by the sound. Was that intentional? Meredith: Yes, absolutely. I don’t like my voice
intention, it apparently makes everyone ask a lot of questions, and I like that now. I’ve explained it so many times that I have to ask myself if the answer feels right at this point, but basically it’s about self-reliance in the face of a culture that benefits from you hating yourself. It’s about self-reliance as a form of rebellion - not self-acceptance, not the ‘self love’ crap that benefits practically nobody, but self-reliance in the sense of resisting dominant narratives.
and I kind of force Shaun to keep my vocals very low because I am shy. I want to be just another instrument, not the center of attention. Shaun: I mean, yes, it was intentional. We like the sound of it feeding back and there being a constant presence of vocals even when there aren’t any words.
What were your main influences while shaping the sound of Perfect Pussy? Meredith: Artists like Jenny Holzer and Tracy
I’m singing about things that are important to me, I have a better time making eye contact with people in the audience. If I see people who know the words or who seem particularly into it, I will move closer to those people in an emotional sense. I’ll have a better idea of who I’m directing it towards and I’ll focus my energy into the point in the room where most people are interacting with music and each other. It helps to have a focus.
Emin and other artists who work with text and confrontation. I’m less inspired by music these days than I am by visual art, and I’m generally inspired more by female artists. That’s the main reason why all our art is text-based.
How is it like the song-writing process between you guys? Meredith: Garrett and Ray will write a song
and Greg will write his bass part while editing and arranging the original song to make it comprehensible and interesting. Shaun and I will make a field recording at practice and we’ll write our own parts, and then we’ll all 52
The way you sing on the songs, it seems like you are talking directly to someone. Do you feel that way when you sing? Meredith: I do! I am usually really shy but when
Which singers did inspire you throughout the years? Meredith: John Joseph from CRO MAGS, and Kate
Bush! Those are my two biggest inspirations and I try to make sure I’ve got one as a guardian angel on each shoulder at all times.
“...it’s about self-reliance in the face of a culture that benefits from you hating yourself.”
Your lyrics are so bold and honest. How do you usually write them? Meredith: I sit down with songs
that are already finished and cut up what start as journal entries. I will write a few paragraphs or sometimes pages about the topic that I’m involved in that day, and then cut those up into pieces and rearrange them until I have something resembling a song. I’ll sing it about a million times to find the natural rhythm and through that process, words fall away or get replaced. By the time we record it, whatever’s stuck in my brain becomes the words. It feels very natural but it takes a long time.
You’ve recently signed to Captured Tracks. How did you get in touch with them? Meredith: They contacted us!
They reached out and wanted to be friends, and they were extremely nice and supportive. I’m glad we’re working with them.
You’re going to release your debut record “Say Yes to Love” this March. What can we expect from it? Shaun: There’s some secrets
hidden inside it. There’s some reverb. There are cleaner vocals, an attempt to make the guitars sound growly, but it was a failed attempt. Ray: To not like it. Guitars played by lions. Shaun: There are illuminati references.
The title “Say Yes to Love” suggests something specific about love. What did you approach on the lyrics of this record? Meredith: How sad romantic
relationships can be. I went through a bad breakup and wrote a lot of songs about the benefits and shortcomings of love and how vulnerable it leaves you when it ends, but also how much you can learn from it. I challenged myself to be really open and say some things that were scary about love and sex.
Do you have any tour plans after the album release? Shaun: Yes, we’re going to explore
the world. We’re very excited about this. Really looking forward to Mexico and Winnipeg. And Poland! Meredith: We’re going to be touring through March when the record comes out, and our release shows will be in April. We’ll have done South By South West and Festival NRML in Monterrey, Mexico by that point!
What have you been listening to lately? Shaun: Drake, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Paramore.
Ray: Friendless Bummer, Popular
Music, Warehouse, Psychic Blood. Meredith: Brandt Brauer Frick, +HIRS+, and whatever the guys listen to in the van!
“Say Yes To Love” is out now via Captured Tracks
PUNK MEETS COUNTRY IN A FEMALE FORM First of all, letâ€™s travel in time and remember what Doc said to Marty in Back to the Future about the space-time continuum... Now shit was made and the world is upside down. So letâ€™s try to imagine Patty Smith or The Pretenders playing country songs, and Loretta Lynn or Rosanne Cash playing punk songs... Well, we tried to describe Lydia Loveless sound the worst way possible, or we just nailed that in the best way possible... Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Blackletter / Patrick Crawford
ou’ve released your first record (“The Only Man” 2010) in an early age. Do you feel that you are now in a more comfortable, confident place with your music? Yeah. I think I’ve definitely found my sound. Before I was struggling with deciding if I should go more country or more rock ‘n’ roll, and I think I’ve just settled right in the middle and I feel pretty good about it.
Listening to your music it doesn’t seem that you are shy at all, but I’ve read that you said that you are a little shy and reserved. How do you manage to pour out such great energy both in studio and in live shows? Definitely, in real life socially I am very shy, but I do warn up to people pretty quickly. I feel like musicandriotsmagazine.com
INTERVIEW // LYDIA LOVELESS writing lyrics is a chance for me to say the things I wouldn’t say in real life and have that energy. I guess I just feel better when I’m making music. [laughs] It just really energizes me and specially being on stage, I kind of go nuts. [laughs]
Even though you’re about to release a new record, 2013 was a rough year for you and you had to fire your dad from your band. How did you deal with all that?
It was really hard, because my dad was so supportive with me and I still obviously have a good relationship with him. It’s such a really hard life to be on the road all the time that I’d just started to worry about everyone. I just wanted to give my dad a break and let him be a grandpa. I feel so less concerned about my new drummer, because I just don’t have that sort of worries of relationship with him where I’m like “Are you okay?”. He’s a lot younger and I don’t worry about that. [laughs] It’s really a tough life, but it felt so nice to have a new member and to try something else.
Did this change affect the way you write songs for this new record?
Not necessarily. Obviously there are different relationships, and the chemistry between me and my new drummer Nick German is a little bit different. He’s a little bit more of a punk rocker, but I think ultimately the music remains the same.
“Somewhere Else” is definitely a passionate and heartfelt record. What did inspire you this time around to write these songs?
A lot of what had inspired me was poetry that I was reading like Paul Verlaine especially. I wrote a song about him and one of his quotes. “Somewhere Else” is kind of about a poem of his. I was reading a lot and sort of absorbing his writing. I read a book about Liz Taylor and Richard Burton and I wrote a song about that called “Hurts So Bad”. I wrote a song about where I grew up, so I think a lot of it was inspired by a sort of longing for a new up-phase, but I can’t really go to it anymore. That’s kind of the theme of Somewhere Else songs. I think when you are artistic you kind of feel like you don’t fit in and nothing will ever be good enough. 56
You will never find that perfect place. Just longing for something that you can’t have or a place you can’t go.
Your latest record “Indestructible Machine” represent a pretty bad time in your life. Do you feel that “Somewhere Else” is a part away from that time?
Yeah! I think a lot has changed. I’m a little older and I’ve got married right after I’ve released Indestructible Machine. As far as relationships go, I’m relying more on other people’s experiences and observations. [laughs] I’m a little bit more relaxed and settled down, not as angry as I was before. [laughs] I’m just more matured… maybe! [laughs]
How did it go the process of realizing and making the whole record?
I had a great time in the studio doing this record. It was a lot more layering the guitars, which I’ve never done before, and I harmonize myself a lot, which also I’ve never done before. I really let go of trying to be a certain way or trying to fit in a certain genre and a lot of it just ended up being very poppy and a little bit of classic rock. So I was able to show more my influences and I just felt so good recording it. After regrouping and getting a new drummer, I was a little scared to start with a new process all over again, yet we really matched all together and had a really good time.
You are very up-fronted and honest in your lyrics, and that’s something that we really admire. How do you usually write them?
I guess it’s mostly because of my journals. I’m keeping a journal since I was six years old. It’s kind of an obsession at this point. [laughs] I write in it pretty much every day and I just write down notes constantly for lyric ideas that pop in my head. So I mostly just go see something that jumps out of me in my journal or something I’ve got done in my song. I try to base a song mostly out of lyrics, then add piano or guitar and just sort of start rambling. [laughs] It’s very string of consciousness at first and then it kind of becomes a song with a melody in my head.
The title-track “Somewhere Else” is probably my favorite and I share the same feeling. Do you feel the need to get away
sometimes from everything?
Yeah definitely. In fact, I recently went and visited a friend in Los Angeles and I sort of refit my brain. [laughs] I definitely need to take some time off, especially when I travel a lot with my band, so I just kind of need to go somewhere else and do something alone. I definitely enjoy solitude and I love travelling, but sometimes I need to do it by myself and not hearing anyone. [laughs]
Is there any place that you love to go when you need some time off?
I do really like California, because I’ve grown up in the Midwest where’s gloomy and rains a lot, and right now is below zero. [laughs] I really love the west coast and anywhere where I can see nature, mountains, I just need that. I really need to disconnect often. I wish I was rich and so I would buy a beach house. [laughs]
What’s your favorite track from this record and why?
I have a hard time picking just one, because I really like a lot of them. But I think right now actually “Somewhere Else” is probably my favorite, just because I really like the way we recorded and it sounds very moody and echoy. I love what I did with the vocals and all the different things that we’ve tried. I’m really happy with the lyrics. I thought the whole vibe of it really ties everything together and I guess that’s why I named the album with that. [laughs]
What are your upcoming tour plans?
I’ve already did two European tours last year, so I think we will be back in the fall and I would love to go there. I did Spain and Scandinavia the last time, so I definitely wanna go to other places and hopefully we’ll do Portugal.
Do you recommend us any new bands that we should listen to?
There’s an artist that I discovered the last time I was touring, called John Nolan from Canada and I loved his record. He’s a very pure, soulful songwriter and I’ve been recommending him to everyone. [laughs]
“Somewhere Else” is out now via Bloodshot Records
“I think a lot of it was inspired by a sor t of longing for a new up-phase, but I can’t really go to it anymore.”
DARK, BEAUTIFUL, LOUD AND INTROSPECT
COVER STORY // NOTHING
It's not easier to start over when we find ourselves lost and without a purpose in life. After all, we all need to find our own place to survive, and sometimes it can be a pretty tough journey. But other times accepting and dealing with bad things in life can lead us to our own kind of happiness or whatever. That's something that Domenic Palermo, the man who started NOTHING had to go through with past events with his previous band. "Guilty of Everything" is Nothing's debut full length and it's a sonic trip through redemption, forgiveness and acceptance of the past, present and future. We had the pleasure to get in touch with "Nicky" and talk about the band that's making everyone fall in love with their impetuous, heartfelt music. Words: Andreia Alves // Photos: Shawn Brackbill
efore you put up Nothing together, you went through a rough time when you were in your previous band, Horror Show. That led you on hiatus from music. Did you feel the need to start fresh with Nothing?
Whatever I’m doing musically, I kind of just always write songs attached to it and it usually carry a lot of the stuff that I do through anytime of what I’m doing as well.
In 2011, you’ve released the first demo tape under Nothing name, titled “Poshlost”. How was it like back then when you start the band? It was a little bit rushed to be honest. I just wanted to get some stuff off my chest a little bit. I had a bunch of songs written and recorded them in a very shitty way on my computer. I was able to get a couple of people to 60
record the demo and then released it. But a pretty good feedback so, I figured that I should try to do another record, that’s when I met Brandon. He really connected with me as far as musically matters and pretty much from now on it’s been me and him.
Besides Brandon, how did you meet the other guys of the band?
Just recently, saying maybe in the past four or five months from now. I finally found a solid line-up and it’s Kyle Kimball, who plays drums in Mother of Mercy, Salvation, Night Sins, and our bassist is Nick Bassett who also plays in Whirr. He’s the originally guitarist from Deafheaven for the first two releases. It’s a really solid line-up at this point, so it’s cool. It’s the first time that I’m really happy with everyone in the band.
How does work the dynamics between you guys now in the live shows?
It’s great. It never felt better. We have a lot of emotion and everyone’s very happy with all the music and we’re excited to play
the songs. Me and Brandon, we usually get really fucked up when we play a show. [laughs]
Your previous band Horror Show had a hardcore/punk approach, but Nothing has this punk/shoegaze/ noise/dream pop approach. What did lead you to this different musical approach?
Ever since I was a kid playing in a hardcore band, I’ve always listened, you know, to other things. My mom actually when I was just a small kid, she had me listen to Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie & the Banshees and other stuff. And my brother who is like a punk but also loves Morrissey and The Smiths, and I have a sister who’s just like a metalhead pretty much. So I don’t know, I’m like over the place musically. I learned to be very
diverse on my music and even with Horror Show, I always wanted to be in a more atmosphere thing, like post-punk stuff, maybe a little bit like Slowdive. I’ve just never really had the ability to put it together. I taught myself of how to play guitar and didn’t really listen to anything like Slowdive, so when I listened to a Slowdive record I was just like “How the fuck can they make all this shit to sound like this?” I had no idea and I was only 18 years old. So it took a little time to write stuff and play harsh, then just progress a little to something where was actually listenable. Brandon came along after the demo and he really liked and sent everything to another level.
Nothing is a simple and direct band’s name. Does it have a special meaning for you?
It probably can be viewed from a philosophical view. It’s pretty accurate. When I was away, I read a lot of books. The first book my brother sent me was a Jean-Paul Sartre Nausea’s book, it’s the kind of thing that you read and it changes everything, and plenty of books that got me to that point, and plenty of that was nihilist stuff. Dostoevsky, Camus and Genet, when I read Our Lady of Flowers totally blew me away. Everything that’s going on doesn’t really matter. Emil Cioran had a quote that really made a huge impression on me, “Nothing proves that we are more than nothing.” Or as Jean-Paul Sartre once said, “Man… is nothing”,
and that is true.
You have been compared with artists like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, but your sound is much more powerful and aggressive. Did that bands influenced at all your music?
Slowdive, I followed their career and it has, definitely, some influence in our music. We tried to take stuff from all over the place like 90’s The Cure to influences from The Smashing Pumpkins to Nirvana... Almost everything, basically. We don’t have a plan when we’re writing music, we just start with a riff and then write another one...
From “Poshlost” to “Downward Years To Come”, we can totally
COVER STORY // NOTHING
notice the development of your sound in a lot of ways. Do you think that each release is becoming more what you want your sound to be like? Like I said, we don’t really have a plan of what it is. We tend to just write the songs. I know that the progressing is there. I’m much happier with every release and every recording. It’s been a natural progression. Nothing is premeditated. This is how we feel. We’ve just finished recording a couple of songs where each one did one... they sound like fucking rock songs or something. It just feels like whenever feels.
“Guilty of Everything” is for sure the best record I’ve heard this year and it is so addictive, and I’m not the only one feeling that way. Were you expecting such great feedback from this release? No, not all. [laughs] I knew that the songs were good. We were always a little bit unsure, because I’m still a little bit uncomfortable writing music, you know, that’s in a certain style. It’s kind of awkward for us because this music is kind of all over the place. We play punk shows, indie rock shows and sometimes we end up playing these kind of revival shows. So when we wrote the record I guess that... I shouldn’t be leaning towards one specific thing, I always just write whatever sounds good, but I’m always skeptical with what people say. I mean, I didn’t really heard anything negative so far, so... [laughs]
These new songs have a lot of transitions from slow parts to aggressive ones, and they are really catchy and with a 90’s vibe. How was the songwriting process for these songs?
Me and Brandon, we wrote the music for this record. We pretty much locked ourselves in the practice space, which it was like the size of a coffin. We basically just sat there for a month and just recorded the songs on our phones and then we got enough so we could bring some songs into the studio. We met up with Jeff Zeigler, who had worked with The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile and stuff like that. He had also recorded some slower records and stuff. We basically just drove into the studio, where we did nine songs and we recorded those nine songs. [laughs] So there were no extra songs; everything we wrote it was recorded. Basically we met every day for a month. We would wake up in the morning, eat a bunch of hellarol, just basically to give us some speed or something, just to help us to get through the day, to write songs and 62
at ten o’clock at night we would have to pack up, and just drink a tone of wine just to try to fall asleep. Then we would wake up in the next day and we would do the same thing all over again, and it was during a month basically which it’s like a completely blur looking back on it when we had this record done. Jeff Zeigler probably hates us, because we’re probably like maniacs at the studio. [laughs]
So, how was it to record these songs with Jeff Zeigler?
It was great, he is brilliant. He helped us speaking out of terms with me that I was struggling with. He has experience and he produces music really well. It was definitely a pleasant experience working with him, but just writing the record and recording it was a torture.
Your voice is a delight addition to Nothing’s music. It makes the music even more haunting and beautiful. Was intentional to sing this way for Nothing?
Yeah. It’s definitely a sound that we will always want to keep, however the music progresses and we always want to have like that cultural sound that ends with devastation. Every song we write we try to keep that, and when you listen you’re like “Fuck! What’s this?” [laughs] Hopefully, we’ll keep doing that and hopefully people will feel it the way we do when we’re writing stuff.
Is there any concept behind this “Guilty of Everything”, like “Downward Years To Come” EP had? No. There’s not an exact concept, the songs were pretty specific. This record is open to suggestions in a way like the song with the record title, “Guilty of Everything”. I felt like this record was a move away for a kind of surrendering to myself, basically. As much as guilty, what we do is what we are and we just do it.
The track “B&E” was also in your first release “Poshlost”, but this new version has a significant, different approach. Why did you choose this song?
The song was an early demo and the demo was kind of a mix of things, because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with this, but it’s one of songs that I was most happy with and
“I felt like this record was a move away for a kind of surrendering to myself, basically. As much as guilty, what we do is what we are and we just do it...”
also fronted to a complete different direction. It was like a post-punk demo with some shoegaze in it… It was just a personal song. That sound was like, you know, classic shoegaze and should be given the spotlight that deserves. I had to clean it up a bit. [laughs]
So it’s not just you who writes the lyrics, but also Brandon, right?
Which song of this record stands out the most for you?
Last year you’ve signed with Relapse Records. How did they get in touch with you and discover your music?
“Somersault” is definitely my favorite track on the record. When we were listening to it back from the speakers, I could not believe that we’ve made anything that sounded like that. It was really another level of music writing for me. I’m really proud of it. Brandon wrote pretty much the whole song, including the lyrics. I came up with the song title after reading the lyrics, which happens pretty often. It’s the song in the record that I’m most proud of...
Yeah. I write most of them. I think on the EP Brandon started to write more stuff. When we’re writing, he is doing that as well… that and other stuff, like riffs for example.
They contacted Jeff throughout the recording... I guess Jeff [Zeigler, producer] was sending them demos. They were really into what we were doing and Jeff mentioned that we were already recording the full length. It’s a really cool relationship this one that we have with them, because they really, really love what we are doing… I mean, the entire staff was paying attention to
every little detail on every song. It seems a little bit strange for people to see us in a label like Relapse, but the true is, we are used to work with all kinds of labels.
Are you guys planning on coming to Europe for a tour?
Yeah. I think we should be out there in July. We should come to Portugal as well and we’ll sleep on your couch. [laughs]
Which records or bands are you into lately?
There’s this English band called Sad Lovers & Giants, that Kyle put me on into it, I’ve been listening to that non-stop, and also Continents. “Guilt of Everything” is out via Relapse. You can listen to the whole record in here...
Entrevista: Tiago Moreira
POLITICAL NOSTALGIC POST-PUNK
INTERVIEW // INVSN
We got used to see Dennis Lyxzen as the Muse in Refused, in International Noise Conspiracy and even in AC4. In this "new" project, INVSN, we are thrown into the purest nostalgia of the 80's sound and to post-punk. Without ever losing his identity, Dennis shows once again why he is one of the most lucid and visionary musical entities. Last year, we had the pleasure to talk with Dennis Lyxzen and we decided to include this great interview on our first English issue, which we talked about about his new musical adventure, the political situation of Europe and the world in general, about Refused and a lot more... Words: Andreia Alves
irst of all congratulations on the album, it’s surely a brilliant record. Are you excited to bring your new record to the audience?
Yes I am. It’s a good feeling when you have a great band, really great record and a good tour coming up, so it feels really good. I’m super excited. You know, you record the songs, you work on the songs and then nothing happens for a couple of months and now is time to play the songs. I’m really excited about it.
Anders and Richard aren’t gonna play on the live shows and you have aboard new members. Tell us a little bit more about these new members.
We did the record and after the record we decided that we needed an extra member, because there are so many keyboards and there’s so much happening in the record that we needed an extra member to keep up everything. And then we brought Kajsa on board. She used to play with Sara in Masshysteri and she’s just an awesome guitar player. Richard who played guitar in the record said “I wanna play the keyboard”. So we had on board the new guitar player and then Richard decided that he didn’t wanna tour anymore. He felt that he wanted to do other things. He wanted to study and go to school, so he decided to take a break. He’s still in the band, but he just decided to take a break from touring. So we brought in this girl called Christina to play keyboards, she’s really nice. Anders, our guitar player, he has another band and they are recording a record, like 66
the only month of this year where he had time off to do the record was in October. And we have another guy called Patrik that’s coming on tour with us. From the record, it’s three new members, but it’s really exciting and it’s a very good line-up. We’ve already played 5/6 shows in Sweden and the line-up is been really good.
So did those changes affect the dynamics of the band?
Yeah. The new members always change the dynamics, but changes the dynamics for better, I think. Now with 3 women and with 3 men, which is an equal dynamic, it definitely changes the way we play together. But it’s really difficult to find people to play with and we are lucky enough to have found extra/ new members that actually fit our band and fit in our ideas, so we’re very lucky. It’s been really cool and the songs come alive with a new line-up with new people.
This new album is an US debut and it’s also the first INVSN album in English. Why did you decided to change that for this new release?
Because Sweden is a very small country and not a lot of people speak Swedish. [laughs] The last record we did, that came out 2 years ago in Sweden, we were very happy with that record and we actually wanted that record to be released in English, but then the time went on and we were like “Let’s make a new record and make that one in English”. And it was like: when you have a band and when you have an idea that you really like and you’re a restless person and you wanna go on tour, in Sweden you can play 10/15 shows for year maybe. But now we have a new record label that it can gives a real goal and give a real chance to pull this off, so it’s just cool to do it in English and try to
start horror everywhere once again. [laughs]
And you’ve also changed the name of the band from Invasionen to INVSN (Invasion), was it because of the English too?
Yes! Our Swedish name which is Invasionen, for people that are not from Sweden that makes no sense and we thought “Ok, let’s just change it to Invasion”, but there were too many bands called Invasion or Invasions or whatever. So our drummer came out with “Let’s just call us INVSN and we could say it Invasionen in Swedish and we could say Invasion in English. We don’t really have to change our name, just the way it spells”. It’s not to be cool or fancy or whatever, it’s just so that we could keep our name. [laughs]
This record has such rich and catchy songs that take us back to the 80’s. It’s for sure a timeless and nostalgic record. How did you approach the song-writing this time around?
When you’re into music and then you write music, you describe music. We’ve tried to make the best of the idea that we had and the kind of music we wanted to write, and the kind of music we wanted to play a lot of it is from the early 80’s, but we didn’t want to be nostalgic, we didn’t want to be like “Let’s make a record that sounds like that”. But there’s traces about that, because we are into that sort of music but we also tried to make a record that was like here and now. It’s recorded in 2013 and we won’t get to hear that, and if you’re a music nerd then you can hear that we stole some of the parts which it’s fine. [laughs] The song-writing is just kind of boring to talk about, because one guy comes up with an idea and it’s just like how you write songs. You come up with ideas and then you talk around
“...if you’re a political person, you’re a political person. That’s not gonna change because of the atmosphere of the band.” in the practice base, and then I’ll do the vocals and there’s a song. If you’re not there, it’s not a very exciting process. [laughs] It’s just like you have an idea about what you want to sound like or what you want the music to represent and what emotions and feelings you want to bring out of the music. We wanted to make a very dark kind of moody record, but at the same time also kind of poppy and accessible, so trying to find a balance between having good choruses and having post-punk sort of atmosphere to it. I think it turned out great. We really managed to find that balance and it’s really cool.
Each song of this album is full of emotion and messages about a lot of important themes, and that’s something that always has been there in any band you are in. Now-a-days things are getting even worse worldwide and that must be a big inspiration for your lyrics, right? First of all, if you’re a political person, you’re a political person. [laughs] That’s not gonna change
because of the atmosphere of the band. Maybe the way you express it changes a little bit. On this record, the political themes are still there, but they are a bit more personal and closer to the chest sort of. I talk about politics in a little bit different way than I would do in AC4 or Refused or something like that. It still’s there if you look in the lyrics, a lot of them are still about politics, a lot of them are still about the world we live in and how messed up it is. It’s just different bands, different ideas and different approaches which I think is fine, because it would be really boring if for 20 years I’d been just screaming like “Capitalism, fuck you!” on every song. After 20 years you’re like “I need to say it in a different way” and songs like “It’s All Coming Back” or “The Promise” it is based on “Fuck off Capitalism” but in a different way. [laughs] It is more subtle fuck off than used to, but it still’s there.
The song “The Promise” shows really well that things are still the same and without important changes, nothing gets
better time after time. Is that how you really feel about now-a-days?
Yeah. Actually is not really the same because it gets worse which is pretty bad. I think the basics sediment of that song was that capitalism is not working and it showed itself to not be working. Detroit went bankrupt and now America is going there. It’s proven itself to not work, but there’s still people saying that we’ve never had it at this good, it’s great like look at the richest that we have. It’s always just the people that always had a way better than us and when it comes to money is easy to say that things are great. That’s what has always been the same. It has always been like the rich, the wealthy and powerful people say “Yeah. It’s great” and they always keep telling us “No, look. It’s fine. There’s nothing to worry about” because they’re fine. That has been the same for a hundred of years that the wealthy upper class always keeps telling and lying to us that is fine and it’s going to be fine. With capitalism is gonna be crinkle down like “we are really rich and you might also be rich”, but it’s not
INTERVIEW // INVSN working and it’s not true.
“Vasterbotten” is a province of Sweden which is in your home area. What can you tell me more about this place?
North of Sweden is kind of isolated and it’s very cold and very dark during the winter. During the summer we have like the midnight sun that’s very light short summers. People here are very shy and introvert and up here we have a lot of natural resources, which the rest of Sweden takes from us. Huge parts of Vasterbotten have been depopulated, like the coast of Sweden is fine but if you go indoors the country people just move and they don’t live there anymore, because of the urbanization and there’s no jobs, there’s nothing happening and so people move. There are cities or small communities that just die down, because there’s nothing here anymore. Everything just goes down fast in Vasterbotten. It is a beautiful but kind of fucked up place, and so we wanted to write a song about that.
“Hate” is such a beautiful and empowering song about people who kind of not fit in in our society. What are your thoughts about this important subject?
I wanted to write a song about how I felt when I grew up and I didn’t fit in with cool guys which I was like a weird misfit punk that people would say “That guy is a freak”. That hate that I felt gave me strength and I focused my energy to create something to show them. It was like a payback or revenge from me to start my own band, because of people taking fights with me just because I was different and people thinking that I was an idiot, because I had my own thoughts and my own ideas. I think that hatred can be a powerful emotion and obviously it can be a very destructible emotion, but if you use it in the right way you focus and you use that as a foundation to build your own personal form. For me is great. I’m not a hateful person, but I’ve used that power to become something different. It wasn’t really great back then, but now it’s like I can look back and I can see how it shaped me as a person, how it made me what I am today and for that I’m very grateful.
What is the song that you’ve enjoyed the most to write on this record? I don’t know. You like these songs and they’re all part song as you writing them “Oh this is really cool” and then it doesn’t end up in the record, because at the end it didn’t turn out that great. But I don’t know. I like all the songs. I really like “God Has Left Us Stranded”, but I think is just because I like the idea that for the first time I’m not purely atheist but I have a more agnostic take on religion. I say on “God Has Left Us Stranded” that he left which implies that he was around one time [laughs] which I think it’s very funny. I think that the lyrics for that song actually turned out better in English than in Swedish, which is really cool. I like that.
So you have done the lyrics first in Swedish or in English? I’ve done first in Swedish and then turned them to English. 68
How was it to translate them to match with the songs?
It’s a tricky thing, because you have to fix the sound. When you write them in Swedish, melodies are a bit different and the way you sing in Swedish is different from the way you sing in English, which also makes it cool when you translate it to English and you still have the Swedish sort of melody in it. It’s a lot of hard work, but I think if I could have the Swedish to English verse to each other I think they would sound great and I’m very happy with the way it turned out to.
Did you guys also record the songs in Swedish or just only in English? We recorded in both languages. There’s a Swedish version of the record coming out in November. So there are two versions. Swedish people would like that. [laughs]
How was it working in the studio with Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, PiL, Nick Cave, Kate Bush) and Jacob Hansen (Volbeat) for this new record? Great! We didn’t meet them, they just mixed the songs and the way they mixed them was great. The record sounds great and Nick is someone that I’d admire for a long time. I’ve been a fan of his work forever and it was a great honor to work with someone that has done those records. The fact that he wanted to work with us and make a couple of songs with him was fantastic. I’m very happy that we’ve made that happen.
Over these last years, you’ve been involved in several projects and it seems that you never stop of making music. How do you keep up this continuous energy and perseverance?
I don’t know. [laughs] It’s just what I do. I’m lucky enough for the people to still wanna put out records with me, people that still wanna see me play live and you’ve got to take advantage of that. That doesn’t gonna last forever and it’s just the person that I am. The last 20 years have been like this, all the time. But I mean, not a lot of people get to do this full time and just play music and being involved in different projects. So I’m a very lucky person just for having that high energy level at all the times. [laughs]
So Dennis, I really have to do this question! Are Refused really Fucking Dead?
Who knows. I mean, we’re not as dead as we were in 1998, that’s for sure. In 1998 we were super dead and now it’s more like “let’s take a rest”. [laughs] Now let’s see what happens in the future. We had a great year with great fun. We like each other and we get along. The tricky thing was after 14 years to start up again I think if we would decide in the future that we would want to do more things, it’s not gonna be as difficult. So who knows? I think that the door is open and if we feel like on to do something, I’m sure we can do it without being like a big deal for us, because that’s the main issue. [laughs] That was such a big deal for us, but I think now is not gonna be that much of a big deal. So who knows? Maybe in future something will happen. We’ll see.
How is like the music scene in Sweden now-adays?
“...the social and the culture system that we have is not really working and we need to change or everything is going to hell.” It’s pretty good. It’s like with everywhere. It’s like a lot of electro-pop and DJ’s, but there are some good rock bands, some good punk bands. Sweden always had a pretty good music scene. If you look how small country is, there’s some good bands and there’s some good stuff happening. But I think Swedish rock had it’s peak, like a couple of years ago with The Hives for example. It was like the Swedish rock was a big export, but I don’t think is that big anymore. But there’s still good bands and there’s still good stuff going on.
Do you think that social media and internet are helping better and more new bands, and even old bands?
Not really. Of course you can use social media and you can use it to your advantage, but under the
fact that everyone can put out songs, the fact that everyone have a band page and everyone have a facebook account is such an overwhelming screen of information that is hard to stand out. And it’s also like it doesn’t exist quality control, because everyone can have a band and put out records in a SoundCloud account or something. I know for fact that for me as an artist is worse than it was 10 years ago. It’s way harder to get shows, it’s way harder to reach out people. It’s been a tricky couple of years. If you use social media right, I’m sure you can make that work for you, but I think there are too many bands. There’s too much information that is almost impossible to find out the good stuff, which is kind of a problem.
what is your opinion about the current political state in Europe?
Like we talked before, it’s another proof that capitalism is not working like with Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, and just what’s happening in the lies of the lightning movement. It’s just a proof that the economic, the social and the culture system that we have is not really working and we need to change or everything is going to hell. It’s fucking horrible to see what’s going on, especially on Greece. The last couple of years have been really rough and I think something needs to change and let’s see what happens.
Changing a little bit of subject, www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
“INVSN” is out now via Razor & Tie 69
NT FOLK TO HAUNT OUR DREAMS
There's no doubt that Marissa Nadler music is fearfully and wonderfully. Throughout the years, she has written quite memorable songs and each record is a new breath of her marvelous way of making music. Recently, Marissa Nadler released her latest record, "July", and we talked with her about this new release, her new home labels - Sacred Bones Records and Bella Union, and her other passion, that it is painting. Words: Andreia Alves
INTERVIEW // MARISSA NADLER
going to start doing that now, right?
Yeah. I’m gonna start to do that with the band and maybe I’ll have more time to do it.
efore you get into music and being a live performer, you studied painting in an art school. When did you know that you wanted to pursue music as your main life goal?
Even though I was painting from a very young age, I guess I’ve started playing music in my teenager years and it didn’t really get more serious since I was about 18. I was in an art school and it got so serious with the painting that music was just something fun to do [laughs] because I was studying painting and learning all the “rules” so, I never studied music. I didn’t go to a music school and so it was kind of a hobby that became more of a serious interest for me.
I read that you were pretty shy and had low-confidence when you started to write songs. What did push you to become more confident about your music? It’s been many years that I’ve been doing this which helped me to have self-confidence and I’m still shy. I’m still definitely very shy and I still have stage fright. But I know at this point in my career I try... many people taught me that confidence has to come from within and so I’m still working on it. [laughs] I don’t drink anymore. I used to get wasted before shows and it helped, a lot. [laughs]
Do you remember when it was the first time you wrote a song?
Yeah, I think it was probably when I was 14 or 15 years old. It was probably really bad, but as many people said, at the age of 16 I got better. [laughs]
Do you prefer to write songs when you’re on the road or somewhere quieter and more comfortable?
Definitely at home. When you’re on the road, there’s no time to do anything, especially like for most of the time I’ve playing by myself. Now I have a band for the touring, so I’m gonna have time to write some music on the road, but in the past I’ve always been alone.
So you don’t usually write songs on the road, but you’re 72
You’ve already released your new record, “July”, and it’s surely an amazing record of yours. When did you start to write these songs?
Probably about a year ago and I wrote all of them pretty much at the same time. I was really focused on the record. We recorded it in July, last summer.
Was that the reason you named your record “July”?
Yes, that reason and also because this record is about of an event of my life from one year, starting with July 4th... and the song “Firecrackers”. This July thing was about the life, one July to the next.
What did inspire you for the songwriting of “July”?
I think the songs are very autobiographical. They were really inspired just by everyday life, just a free relationship, ending and starting again.
Is there one of the new songs that stand out more than the others for you? I’m proud of the record as a whole. There’s no specifically song that stands out to me as like the best one and I think that’s good, because I think as a whole record. I’m really happy with how they all set together as a whole piece.
Personally, I really like the track “1923”. What’s the story behind this beautiful song?
That song is about train travelling lovers that are doomed in real life, but they can’t get a way in the real life. So in this song they’re train travelling through the centuries to see if life distance makes the relationship better. This song came out from nowhere.
You’ve worked with the producer Randall Dunn, best known for working with heavy bands (Earth, Wolves in the Throne Room, Sunn O))), Jesse Sykes). What did led you to work with him on this new record? Randall Dunn is awesome, he’s super great. I like heavy bands. I think there’s a lot similarities between black metal and folk, especially in the media. I was introduced to Randall through
an old booking agent of mine and he really liked my voice. My music has a lot of darkness in it, so it just made sense, in a way, to work with heavier bands. I think I want to do it in the next record too because I like it so much.
You had some musicians helping you out on the recording process, like Eyvand Kang (Mike Patton, John Zorn, Sunn O))), The Decemberists), Steve Moore (Earth), and Phil Wandscher (Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter, Whiskeytown). What can you tell me about that?
It was really great to work with Eyvand Kang. He’s just a phenomenal writer and he has worked with Mike Patton, Mr. Bungle and Faith No More. He is just a really intuitive person and I think what he added to the record was really beautiful. Steve Moore is in Earth, which it’s one of my favorite bands. I really like Earth. He was so great. And also another musician that was part of the record was Phil Wandscher from Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter, he is a good friend of mine. It was a dream come true, was really great.
You’ve released your previous records on your own label “Box of Cedar Records”, but now you are working with Sacred Bones Records and Bella Union. Why did you decide to stop self-release your records?
I had kind of thought that I was never going to work with another record label again after my traumatic experience and I’d just changed my mind. When you’re in a label it’s fun, but it’s a lot of hard work that I just got really stressed out and emotionally drain from having to deal with the computer work, like the interviews and all the details that I have to go through until release a record. The music was the last thing I had time for. I’ve signed to Bella Union in Europe and to Sacred Bones in the US. With the help of both of them, I just finally feel like I have a good team to help me along with some of the stuff, because it’s typical when you stop believing in yourself sometimes and you need to have people to push you.
How did you get in touch with Sacred Bones Records?
Caleb [Braaten] from Sacred Bones actually wrote me a long time ago - a couple of years ago when they were just starting out having some
“...the songs are very autobiographical. They were really inspired just by everyday life, just a free relationship, ending and star ting again.”
projection, etc. A long time ago, maybe back from “Songs III: Bird on the Water”, I had a little inbox where I put all the emails from different labels over the years. When I finally made the decision to work with them, he asked me to sing guest vocals on a Case Studies’ record (This Is Another Life), kind of like to help everything.
Besides your music, you teach art in your hometown, right?
Yeah, I am teaching art. [laughs] It’s definitely been a busy time lately because... well, everything, but I’ve been teaching special needed kids which are actually high school students, mostly autistic but poor. It’s a funder children fine art that has therapy in high school. It’s 3 days a week and it has been a good experience. It helps me to get out of my own head and work with other people. It’s really nice.
So are these classes a break from your touring shows and on writing music to get more inspiration?
I think that teaching fine art is helping me to get back into my own fine art, so it’s an addition to the music that actually started
to take my own artwork seriously again, like the drawing and painting. It’s interesting of how it has changed back and forth, for me, like art and music.
Do you paint more often nowadays?
Yeah, I do. I’m painting a lot of drawings. I actually just finished the artwork for the limited editon vinyl version of the Sacred Bones release. It’s kind of mechanism and I’m doing a lot of portraiture and it’s just nice, because I like to take a break between lessons and music, because life happens. [laughs] But I feel like I need to do creative things, so having something else to do while I’m waiting for more inspiration it’s kind of a merge in my head. It’s a very good thing.
You and Angel Olsen have been collaborating together in some covers. Are you planning to do more releases?
What are your next plans for this brand new year?
A lot of stuff. Right now, I feel like a lot of different things like the music, the touring and the teaching kind of try to find the balance over the year. Be able to find the balance in life, I think, to manage everything and maybe find some happiness along the way within the harmony. I know I want to write and make a new record, but I think I have to wait a little while.
And what about tour plans?
Yes! I’ve been wanting to go to Portugal for a long time. I’ve received a lot of emails from portuguese listeners and it’s just a matter of getting my booking agent to include the tour, I think this summer. I’m coming to Europe in April, but I’m not going to Spain nor Portugal. But I’m gonna try and hoping that finally happens, because I really want to so bad.
I would love to. Now that both of our new records are out and once things kind of settle down for both of us, I would like to and I know she would like too, so it’s just a matter of getting together and working together. I think it’s wonderful and challenging so I would love that. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
“July” is out now via Sacred Bones 73
PONTIAK Welcome! Ride with us into the stoner and psychedelic wonderland...
Three brothers, one band and a fucking great union. That's what comes to our minds when we think about this Virginia's trio. Pontiak are one those bands that have everything in the right place and they create one of the most exciting stoner-hard-psychedelic rock stuff around the globe. "Innocence" is their newest album and we had a pleasant chat with one of the brothers Van Carney. Words: Andreia Alves
ou’ve recently released your new record, “Innocence”, and it’s surely one of the best releases of 2014, so far. When did you guys start to work on this record? We started to work on it in January of 2013. We basically wrote it and recorded it between January and June of the last year. Some of the songs I wrote before that, just sort of on my acoustic guitar like “Wildfires”, “Noble Heads” and “Darkness is Coming”. I wrote those a little bit earlier and then brought them in to the studio and we rearranged them. I probably wrote those songs in September of 2012.
How was the songwriting process this time around for “Innocence”?
Basically what we do is go into the studio and write all the songs together as a group, the three of us, and then we rearrange them. It’s a pretty collaborative effort. With this record, it was a little different, because we wrote a lot of the songs with the vocal line - just singing it - then we would develop a structure and after that we flesh it out and rearranged it. The three songs that I wrote by myself I had them as kind of an acoustic song and then I brought musicandriotsmagazine.com
INTERVIEW // PONTIAK that into the studio and we just completely rearranged it. We have our own studio and we have no restrictions on time or money or anything like that, so it allows to just do a lot of different things and try out a lot of different options.
Why “Innocence” to title this new record?
I think it just fit for us. We just knew that was the title months ago. It just seemed perfect and it works for us. [laughs]
“Lack Lustre Rush” is your second single and it is thrill of a song. In other hand, the video is slowly and pretty white, but it fits so well. What did lead you to make the video that way? We had the idea for the video when I was hanging upside down and that’s what the video is, me hanging upside down swinging and the way that we did it was to slow it down. For some reason we had that idea way before we did the video, we had the idea for the song that wouldn’t be visually striking to have this monochromatic bleak static mashed and the time is slowed with the song that’s really punctuated, colorful and textured and that it would really complement it in a really, almost kind of intuitive way
“Wildfires” is a subtle song. Tell me more about the theme of this song.
“Wildfires” is for me pretty straightforward in the sense that it’s sort of one of those love songs where you’re just sort of calling out bullshit. I think that’s what pretty much it is. [laughs] This is the way it is and I love this or whatever, but I think this is bullshit. [laughs]
All your artwork is made by you, so what is the concept behind Innocence’s artwork? There’s no concept. I just really liked the image of those upside down stars. I did the artwork for it and to me just visually captured everything. It just complemented the music, the title, the lyrics and everything kind of aesthetically fit together. We’re not much of a band for doing anything like - not that we haven’t done it, we have - in terms of concepts, we stick towards more to aesthetic and art as suppose to being conceptually driven, logically driven, language 76
driven... It’s more towards to the aesthetically and artistically driven. It’s just one of those things that for us when these things lined up and worked is just like “Bang! There it is! That’s it.” [laughs]
With such a great record, is there a favorite song from it?
I don’t know. That’s a good question. It’s all different. We have songs that are really fun to play live and so for instants “Innocence” is very fun to play live. It’s really nuanced and it’s a difficult song to play live, to pull off, because it’s one of those songs that you want to feel that you’re losing control the entire time and everything is about to fall apart all the time - just on the edge and you don’t know what’s going on. To capture that while you’re playing live is sort of scary. You just don’t planned, you don’t think, you just let go and just play. So that’s cool and then when I listen to the album and I’ve listened to this stuff a zillion times, some things pop out of me that happened before, but it would be hard for me to say if I have necessarily a favorite song.
One thing that I admire about you guys is your brotherhood and the strong union you have. How do you keep up this inspiring relationship between you guys?
We sort of have a motto between the three of us which we have to be having a good time, and as soon as you’re not having a good time, something is wrong. I guess what I mean by that is that there’s work involved, there’s stuff that we have to do for the band that’s not entertaining and not fun, and 95% of everything that we do in the studio is hard work, because it’s a lot of negotiation and writing, and that can be very difficult. But at the same time, we view everything as worthwhile and life is to some degree a difficult. You got to work for it, for everything. Good food is like that, good wine is like that. Anything that’s good there’s an art in it , a learning curve and it’s difficult to get there. We also recognize that while we’re doing that, if we forget that while we’re doing it that we’re suppose and can be enjoying ourselves and really loving life. Getting the fullest out of it and be passionate about it. If you can’t do that, you don’t have a lot to going for you. That’s the least the way that we view it. We don’t kill each other. [laughs]
Last year, you’ve released the 7” record “Heat Leisure” and as well a 18-minute short-film, that was premiered as an official selection at the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival. What can you tell me about the whole concept of this record?
What happen is that we are good friends with the production company in Italy and Chris - who runs the production company when we played a show there asked us if we wanted to do a 7” and we said “Absolutely!”. We came home after tour, recorded a couple of songs and sent them to Chris. A couple of weeks later, we were in New York playing a show and we were hanging out with our good friend Greg Fox - who is a drummer and plays in a bunch of bands like Guardian Alien, Liturgy. We were just walking down the street and I was talking to Greg about how we needed to get outside and play in fields more. Just pull out our shit outside and just play in fields. I said “What are you guys doing like in two months?” and he was like “Well, it’s kind of tight but kind of have this time off”. Then I said “Why don’t you guys come down? We’ll get some other people involved and we pull our shit out into the field. We’ll record these two songs. We’ll rearrange and record the songs that we did for Chris. We’ll just film it and release it as a short-film.” He said “Awesome!”. So we got him and our buddy Steve Strohmeier, who is a fantastic guitar player and he has played with Arbourteum, Beach House and some other bands. He came and played with us and we had our friends who are film makers to come and film it. Lain, who is the video guy on our team added all the footage and we submitted it to some film festivals, and the one in Chicago picked it up. It was really fun. We went out there and played a show. It’s a funny story actually, because they premiered it and we were out of the town at the time and we knew he had about an hour. We were acrossed town, I think we were having brunch and drinking beer, and then when we looked at the time we said “Oh shit! The video is going to premiere in 50 minutes”. So we had to cross to get there. The theatre sold out and they wouldn’t let us in. We were like “We made the film.” and they were like “That’s bullshit, no you didn’t”. [laughs] But we insisted and said “Honestly, we made this film! Can we
"Anything that’s good there’s an ar t in it, a learning curve and it’s difficult to get there." just go in? We just want to watch it”. They just said “No. We don’t believe in you” and then we said “We’ll stay here. One of you just go inside and look at the screen, and then you’ll see us and then you’ll believe us”. [laughs] So she went inside, looked at it, she came back out and she was laughing and said “I’m sorry. You guys can go inside”. We missed the first five minutes of it, but they finally let us in. We stood on the side and watched it. It was fun.
You recorded “Heat Leisure” and also the short-film on your farm in Virginia. How was it like the recording process of the video?
It was incredible. They literally had come the night before. We stayed up really late and we got up very early. We hadn’t rehearsal the stuff much, but all these guys are pro musicians. We just made sure that we had tons of cold beer and good food. [laughs] I think it was 102ºC that day. It was really hot. We couldn’t film, our amps were getting overheated, so the one you see on the film which we had to stop after that, because our amps were getting overheated. It was probably about
one o’clock in the afternoon and after that we had to stop filming until the night, because it just got too hot. But the interesting thing is that “Heat Leisure” is now this ongoing huge project that we are involved with. It’s now taken on to be a different band, it’s a own band at this point. We just did another session yesterday, the day before that and the day before that. Greg, Steve and Alex Drewchin, who is in Guardian Alien with Greg and she has her own band called Eartheater, and one of our other really good friends, the film maker Bobby Otten, he came. There are a “III” and a “IV” of Heat Leisure, which we will release on vinyl probably in the next year, so we just finished that.
So with this following release of Heat Leisure “III” and “IV”, are you guys planning to be a full-time band? Yeah, I guess so. The way that we think of it is as a sort of collective band project that its called as Heat Leisure and we’re gonna keep doing it in toes or however for as long as we live, hopefully.
Is there any chance to see live these songs in a near future?
Yes, absolutely! We were just talking about that. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, we would like to tour Europe as Heat Leisure and we think that would be really a lot of fun.
What have you been listening to lately?
I haven’t been listening to a lot lately, to be honest with you. I’ve just been so busy. We’ve been playing a lot of music and for me when I play a lot of music it’s really hard for me to come home and then put music on and listen to it. Over the holidays, we always listen to Bach. It’s like christmas music. [laughs] You listen to Bach and it’s like christmas time. [laughs] Within the past three months, the Cass McCombs new record is pretty cool. I dig that record. I thought that the Portal record was pretty cool too. They’re like this really crazy extreme black metal band from Australia.
Are you going to keep titling the songs with roman numerology? Yeah, that’s the plan. [laughs]
“Innocence” is out now via Thrill Jockey 77
have a nice life and enjoy this impressive cocktail of post-everything noise
In 2008, Have a Nice Life were releasing their first album, the magnificent "Deathconsciousness", which showed us the different sound palette approach from this duo from Connecticut. Now they've released their second album called "The Unnatural World" that is another piece of excellent work. We had the pleasure to talk with Dan Barrett about his band's new album, his solo project Giles Corey and a lot more. Words: Andreia Alves
ow are things going since the release of your new record?
Things are going well. It’s been sort of crazy, but it’s seems like people like the record, which is really great and we are relieved that it is finally out. That’s pretty much it. We are just enjoying it at this point.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Have A Nice Life, since “Time of Land” EP (2010), and “The Unnatural World” is your second record in six years. Why did you take these years to make the “Deathconsciousness” (2008) follow-up?
Partially is because we both have other projects. I have a solo project called Giles Corey and Tim has a solo project called The Flowers of St. Francis. We’ve been doing other stuff, but part of it is just that the songwriting process for us is very slow. We both work full-time, we both have jobs and lives and everything. We really kind of get together when we can and then we write music, but as we’ve each got older it gets harder and harder to do that. Tim lives about an hour and forty five minutes away from me. We just take a long time. That’s just how has always been. Even with the first record, it took us a long time to get to the point where we thought it was good to go. So for this record, we worked on it a lot and there was a large gap of time. It just has to do with our schedules, but also the way we write songs is very time consuming. Someone will have a part, either Tim will come up with a part or I will and
then we’ll start there. We’ll work on it a little bit and then it will be a gap. And then we will come back and work on it a little bit again and we’ll kind of add things and take things away. The songs really develop over a long period of time. It’s just been the way that we’ve always worked and it seems to work for us. I guess that’s the reason. It’s pretty normal for us to take a long time.
Do you remember the first song you wrote for this new record?
I think the last song on the record, “Emptiness Will Eat the Witch”, is probably our oldest song. That song and “Guggenheim Wax Museum”, which is the first song on the record, we’ve started writing them pretty much immediately after we wrote Time Of Land EP, and that sort of goes back around 2010. Those songs are kind of from around that time and they’ve changed here and there. They had things that we added to them, but it’s been pretty consisting all the way up until the last song written for the record, that I think it was “Burial Society”. The songs spend a pretty long period of time. I think we started “Burial Society” a year or less away from when the record came out. It just depends, some songs just take longer than others for whatever reason.
The Unnatural World is phenomenal, a record that was totally worth the wait. What was the inspiration behind this record?
For me, a lot of the inspiration for this record is a little harder to tell than some of our other stuff, because we were trying to keep things minimal in terms of packaging and all that. I was doing a lot of reading about this specific book by Aldous Huxley called “The Devils of Loudun” and it is about a sort of mass hysteria, mass possession incident in France. Actually the imagery on the cover it’s taken from a movie adaptation of that story. We were both really interested in this big idea about mental health, psychic therapy and what is real and all that stuff. We’ve kind of pulled a lot imagery from that idea. The songs touched on some of those themes for sure, but I wouldn’t say that is kind of a cohesive theme in the same way that Deathconsciousness was. It started with a cohesive, kind of one idea sort of thing. I think for us we always try to think of the
INTERVIEW // HAVE A NICE LIFE things we put out in series, so for me it’s like we are working on music now that kind of ties into this record in ways like that and touches on those themes again and it kind of brings them out, but in a lot of ways we wanted to not do another kind of concept record. We didn’t want it to be like that. Every time we write music it’s got to be some sort of crazy concept behind it. We sort of wanted to make a record where we thought the music, more or less, spoke for itself. There’s a theme there but I wouldn’t say that the record is oriented by the theme like some of our other releases.
not careful and very conscious about how I deal with that part of my personality that it can become overwhelming and it can become kind of the dominant way that I see the world. Music is part of how I deal with that. So yeah, I would agree with you.
Do you feel that this record is more oriented by personal experiences of yours than by this theme?
I think that the song that stands up the most for me in terms of the writing process is probably the song “Cropsey”. I thought that song came out really well and it was something that came together very quickly. Like I said, a lot of our songs take a really long time, but “Cropsey” just came together and we did couple of passes, but it just seem that all fall into place. The lyrics seemed to come out of thin air, so it was a really satisficing experience. The song “Emptiness Will Eat the Witch” was a song where Tim was the one that had the guitar part to start with. He had this part and I just really connected with the song and really like the part – that was kind of the same way where it seemed almost to write itself. Years later, those songs are the ones I like the most and kind of have the most emotional impact for me.
Yeah. When there is a theme or some idea behind the record as a whole, all the songs are really personal. We like doing concept records and we like these kind of big ideas, but really, those things are always just a way to try to get out the personal issues, because that’s really why we write this way, that’s why we like it and why it’s important to us. For me, there are always a lot of personal issues that I try to deal with music. For this record, there’s a lot of stuff about that I’m getting older, I have different sort of things going on in my life and this is the way I try to address that as much as we can.
Your songs usually have a sad and dark approach, and that happens in “The Unnatural World” too. Do you feel that your songwriting is a way to let everything that’s bad out?
Yeah! For me that’s the point. I think we write, specially me, pretty dark lyrics and I think that the themes that are pretty personal, but that’s because music is my way of getting that stuff out and expressing that stuff in a way that doesn’t keep it necessarily in my personal life. So for me it’s not so much that I said out to write sad music, but when I feel good about things I don’t really feel like writing music in particular. I feel like writing music when I have something that I’m trying to get out or work through, and that tends to be themes that I come up again and again in my life. I think that I have a depressive side and I know if I’m 80
Music is like a therapy, right?
Yeah, it’s a very cheap therapy [laughs], but it is a really good one. I think it’s good for anybody, but at least I know that it is good for me and it has become a part of how I deal with life in general.
So which of the new songs did stand up the most while you wrote it?
Is “Guggenheim Wax Museum” (first track of the record) inspired by the theme you talked about? Yeah, it is. It’s hard for me to say at this point what this song is about, because when you write a song it’s about something for you in your head and over time it kind of becomes something else. It’s one of the earliest songs and I don’t think that Tim wrote it as we had a theme for the record picked out. I wasn’t even thinking about the record as it became. I think a lot of the songs on the record share a common idea about us thinking a little bit about both of our struggles with feelings and stuff like that, but also the reaction that the people had to our music. In a lot of ways, the popularity of our music kind of has this mix feeling for us, because we’re expressing very dark
thoughts and parts of our personalities that are very personal, and to have so many people hear that and be aware of it is sort of conflicting in a way. It’s extremely gratifying but it’s also weird a lot of the time. Part of that is just kind of me thinking how can I put that imagery and that kind of expressing that way. But I think over time, the meaning kind of shift a little bit for us and it fits into that flow of the record. I know that the two songs that are really the ones that are in that theme the most are probably “Music Will Unntune the Sky” and “Emptiness Will Eat the Witch”, which both are the more ambience, drone songs on the record, and I really kind of meant as bookends to the record, to break it up a little bit. Those are really the ones for me that have the most connection to theme and the images of the record. But it’s so hard to remember, because I had a lot of these songs and heard a lot of these songs for a really long period of time before the record came out and so always right before we put something out, I couldn’t even tell you what it sounds like anymore. I’ve heard it so many times that I don’t really have any kind of objective view of them anymore. It’s something interesting.
But the songs came out the way you want it, right?
Yeah. I always say that every time we put a record out I hate it [laughs] because I’m just sick of it at this point and it will take a year or two for me to be able to listen back to it and tell if I like it or not. But I do know that we are both really proud of the record and I think it got some of our best songs, for sure. I think it sounds great, but I can’t really enjoy it. It’s just something that we did and we are already kind of ready to move on to whatever is next. It’s always a mix of emotions there.
So how did go the recording process for you guys this time around?
Pretty much the same as always. We don’t really change our process very much. Every time we record something we learn a little bit more about the recording process. We record our songs and I do the most of the mixing, but I don’t really know much about it. Anything that I know about it I just taught myself while recording us, so over time I think the sound has evolved a little bit. I definitely think it sounds
"We sort of wanted to make a record where we thought the music, more or less, spoke for itself." better. I think probably the biggest difference was that this record was mastered by Kevin Blackler, who runs Blackler Mastering, which is in Brooklyn. He is fantastic, just really amazing. So I think the mastering really made a big difference and it makes the record sound bigger and clearer. For me, that’s probably the biggest difference. In terms of recording, we just showed up, messed around with stuff, tried to find something that sounded cool and that’s pretty much it.
One of your other projects is Giles Corey and last year you’ve released a new EP called “Hinterkaifeck” and also a live set. Are you planning on working on new material anytime soon? Yeah, that’s the next big thing for me, that is a Giles Corey record for sure. I’ve written a bunch of songs and right now I’m just kind of finalizing the songwriting and the song-list. Once that’s done, we’ll start working on recording and I’m also trying to do a rhythm piece to go with the record. I know I love it, but it’s a really time consuming project, so I think a big part of it for me is once I start to move into recording, I have to really focus on a writing schedule, waking up early every day and working on it just because it never gets done
without effort. My project that’s in my head is always way to big and big projects tend to get back down and never happen. But for sure it’s my big thing for this year that I really want to work on and get done. I don’t know if it will be done this year, I think that it will be very optimistic of me [laughs], but I’m definitely working on it and I really want it to come out.
What are your tour plans for Have A Nice Life?
It’s interesting, because I think we kind of have to decide what we want to do next. We’re trying to put together some live shows. I don’t know if that’s gonna happen. That’s very complicated for us for a variety of reasons, but it’s something that Tim and I really want to do, so we’re working on that. I don’t know what’s next for us. I really like what we did the last time; we put out a fulllength and then we did an EP that was free, and I would like to do something similar because I’d like to come up with something that’s kind of a little more experimental, a little different. Just put it out there for free as a way to say thanks to everybody. I don’t know that for sure, but we like EPs, because they are sort of doable and they don’t take us forever [laughs]. They give you an opportunity to do different stuff. That would be my guest, but I
don’t really know. It took us so long to get this record out, we’re just letting it do its thing for a while and see where it takes us.
So a European tour is out of question?
We both really want to go to Europe. It’s one of my goals to play over there. I’ve been in Europe but I’ve never played there. It’s something that we’re working on, I don’t know what’s gonna happen and we don’t have a line-up yet and all that stuff that we really need. But it’s something that we’re thinking about and if it can happen, we will make it.
Besides music and the label, do you have other occupations that you love to do?
I run my own business, so I’m self-employed and that takes most of my time. I do web design and search engines of optimization and various nerdy things. I basically just hang out with my wife, who’s cool, and we some dogs. I don’t have a lot of time, so I really want to spend that time on the things that I love and that’s doing my own work, focusing on being creative and hanging out with friends and family. That’s really my idea of a good, nice life. “The Unnatural World” is out now via Flenser Records
is an ar t-punk heroine. Period. You just need to pay attention to her work as a musician. Ethyl Meatplow, The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista and her solo career. We had the pleasure of talking with Carla about Boy, her four th full length as Carla Bozulich the solo ar tist, and a bunch of other stuff that are almost as impor tant as the music itself. “FUCK IT. JUST PLAY.” Words: Tiago Moreira // Photos: Jennifer Kitner
saw you last year playing with Evangelista at Amplifest, in Oporto. Congratulations on the awesome show. I also saw you in the festival’s little “conference”, the Amplitalk. You mentioned the problems that you and other artists have with the booking agencies and how difficult it is to tour in the USA. Can you talk about these subjects, please?
Ok, wow. These things are changing into new problems for me having to do with TALKING ABOUT IT. I do not like to book my own tour. I have been doing it for 2 months. There are a lot of shitty things about doing that and booking agents deserve very penny of their 15% to keep the artist from feeling it. The tour is almost done but it leaves me a bit fucked up. I’ll be thrilled to get on the road, though. Can we re-visit the question of the current controversy taking hold in booking when it’s too late and no one remembers what it used to be like? In other words, in like a year? My new album, Boy, will be through the cycle by then and I will be doing something else...
Ok, fair enough. You said that Boy is a “pop record”. Recognizing Boy as being a “pop record” it’s not just closing the circle that began with the punk rock influences? I mean, “pop music” is very important for the punk rock genre.
Thank you for saying that. I was thinking about that today - trying to understand how a project with 22,000,000 hits on YouTube could be considered underground. The Wire was pop. X was pop. Sex Pistols? Pop! In the greatest way! I would say that about Public Image Ltd., by the way. I’m not saying that all the new music from the 70’s and 80’s that kids listened to in the clubs was pop. Cramps: pop! But underground... The word has a very direct unapologetic meaning but I hear it thrown around all the time now. So what is under the underground? All that being said, Boy is a pop record.
These 10 songs clocking between 3 and 5 minutes follow the basic structure of a “pop song”: verse, chorus and bridge. But it seems to me that there was an effort to destroy and reinvent these structures. That was the case with Boy’s songs?
Honestly, if I was making an effort for ANYTHING you would hear it loud and clear. If I was shooting for simple, effective pop attraction with just enough deviance and drum machines you’d hear it. I’ll tell any of your readers out there how to start that road: The ‘80s. All that said, maybe a bit of “intent” would help me get be able to pay a band and have a sound engineer. So, maybe next album I’ll shoot for the jugular. musicandriotsmagazine.com
INTERVIEW // CARLA BOZULICH Maybe a bit of “intent” would help me get be able!!! Maybe there was no intention, but your interpretation of pop music is very different from the usual. I guess I did try to make songs. Verse, chorus, etcetera! It’s really nice to have a few rules. It’s like a game!
This record was also influenced by your need to travel and being nomadic. This lifestyle that you have chosen it’s to run away from things or search/look for something… Or both?
I have lived probably 25% of my life in a van. I’m saying that as a good and bad thing. But I always kept a place to go back to. But in 2005, when I made the first Evangelista album, I could not afford to tour and have a place anymore. I never have been since. I never thought it would last this long. This month, booking this tour and trying to believe in myself when it seems that finding an “under the underground” audience is not going to happen and my work doesn’t sound like anything on Pitchfork (even this POP record) it’s the first time in my life I thought “What the fuck am I going to do in 2 more years of this, or whatever?” I love the travelling and having no stuff. But without a place to work on large projects and without money to pay the incredible people who work with me it’s not clear what to do. My concerts are so intense. I completely lose myself. Can I do more 1000’s of concerts like that for the precious people that find me? We are warriors. Motherfuckers, you are fucking warriors. And you are deep and brave and smart, too, because I’m the pure shit and I’ll put it in you.
Your answer makes me ask you this, right away: lyrically speaking, it seems to me that Boy is like the ultimate manifesto of Carla Bozulich, the person and artist. It’s like you’re trying to find yourself through your own biography. Freedom, doubts, experience, courage, fear, sex, light and darkness. Do you agree with this interpretation? Well, I would say the album represents my light side. The songs don’t hurt me. I can still see when I sing them. The saddest moment is in “Drowned To The Light”. It’s about abortion and is for women who just can NOT be ok: either way; either choice. And 84
about what one woman does... It’s for women who understand what I’m talking about and some men, too. For sure some men can NOT make that choice. Her solution is to choose neither one. But this will sound cliché: my songs are often sung by characters moving through me. I just write it down and try to give it dimensions. On “Gonna Stop Killing”, I’m not some old guy quitting his job as an assassin. Although the part where he joins a band must be me. [laughs]
The characters help your creation process? It’s easier for you?
I don’t think about anything. Sometimes it’s Carla Bozulich almighty ruler of sound, man and spirit-kind - and sometimes it’s Townes Van Zandt as in “Die Alone” from Evangelista.
On Boy’s press release we can read: “(…) with a particularly fruitful burst of writing on a tiny island off the coast of Istanbul”. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Typically, I planned that tour to end in a place where I’d like to stay until the next tour. We stayed in Istanbul for a while and then took care of some dogs on Burgazada Island. It was the off season. There are no cars and not much around except hundreds of dogs and wild horses. The best part for me was spending Christmas holidays in a Muslim country. It was a great feeling of freedom from one more thing we inherit at birth. Maybe I just don’t like stuff. And yeah, we played a lot of music on those creepy, cold nights by the sea!
Boy was also a collaboration between you, John Eichenseer (aka JHNO) and later Andrea Belfi on the drums. Regarding the input of John, did you want his own vision on Boy or just a reinterpretation of your own vision?
I think the entire atmosphere of travelling so much with a partner dictated the work from the start. I would never have made the exact decisions I did without his presence and even more by his suggestions and writing. He’s got a great ear. He’s analytical in ways that make my extreme impulsive style click into form. He’s an electronics genius but we were favouring acoustic instruments. He’s one of the creators of Max MSP! If he was more of a pop fan we could’ve
gotten a cute girl to do the videos and been the next Lorde… But with cajones (with the accent).
What about Andrea Belfi’s input? Can you translate to words the impact of Belfi’s work?
OK... Have you noticed something strange about the album? They are [the drums] the loudest thing!!!! But I made a choice to lay the guitars low. I wasn’t thinking that way but his playing was so distinct and strong. He wrote with us on some of the songs. He was just incredible. I mean, I wasn’t thinking that way when I started the album.
The production, mixing and mastering was done between Berlin, San Diego and Montreal. An exciting process or an exhaustive one?
Well, like this booking stuff, it went on too long for my brain. And I was just stuck not moving for these chunks of time. Berlin was a lot of writing, recording and mixing... Freezing cold. Very magical. Listening to a lot of Ohio players at that time. San Diego, I was at my mom’s in the countryside. My folks were cool to me. I set up a desk and my trusty Genelecs and worked 15 hours a day for a couple of weeks. My mom would insist that I ate. Even whacky moms are good for that. I was sending John mixes and he was helping me keep my head on straight. In Montreal we took the mixes to a friend, Jase, with a great studio and tons of outboard gear. He funneled things through and gave them a fuelled shape than I could get with my plug-ins. Kinda boring, I guess.
Talking about the production… It’s arguably the best production that you had in your career. Do you think it’s because of the songs? I guess you had to take a different approach and that’s why I’m thinking that’s your best production…
I just tried so hard to let the songs do what they wanted to do. That’s what I expect out of other artists and myself. Get the fuck out of the way and listen. Plus: the snare was queen of the session. I’m the guy that brings the machines and turns them on and yells. The machines, Tiago.
Henry Rollins quoted one writer (don’t remember the writer’s name) and the quote was: “You
“I would say the album represents my light side. The songs don’t hurt me. I can still see when I sing them.” men are always making excuses for not to write. Take your balls out of the way and write that shit down. Be honest goddamit” Do you agree? [The writer I’m talking about: Hubert Selby Jr. (Requiem For A Dream and Last Exit to Brooklyn).]
Take your balls out of the way is good and bad advice. Some guys balls are the best thing about their art. Balls in the way of art......? I trust Henry Rollins meant to say stop bitching about writers block?? I was part of a Facebook discussion lately. There were hundreds of comments of all kinds. Wolf Eyes had proclaimed that noise is dead. Oh boy, you can imagine the backlash? I said what I think and what I learned from many of the great artists I’ve known... Good or bad, blocked or not , dead or alive. FUCK IT. JUST PLAY. I figure those boys just wanted an excuse to rock, anyway. Thankfully, all I want out of life besides knowing the guy
trekking around next to me his a solid set.... is to work. I don’t get writer’s block. My own balls are no problem. I just don’t have enough time.
Ok, but if you’re just playing and trying to not over think... How can you choose what’s important and what’s not? Just by heart and ears? Most things get used. There’s not time to throw much away. Later I hear things I would’ve done differently with more time.. Often, like the Townes Van Zandt song, “Die Alone”. I wish I had played it more than once. Same with Black Jesus. But I improvised them, mixed them and it was over. Then some songs go through lots of lives getting played live and such... There’s a thing getting called, “The Egg”. I think it’s going to turn into one of my favorite songs but right now, like “Hello Voyager” was, it’s emerging as an improv becoming parts. Lucio Mutante in
Spain has a beautiful video of it on tour. You know?
So, we can say that Carla on studio without the tour is not Carla the artist... I mean, you need both parts to be complete. It’s like a growing experience, right? I love tour that’s all I can say. It would be nice to break even. The words “mercy table” come to mind.
You’re also responsible for the artwork. It seems that there are three things that we should pay attention when looking at the cover: the horse, the stars and the spirals. Can you enlighten us about all the symbology?
There is none! Just get out of the way! That’s what I try to do. Sometimes you don’t know where to put the crayon, so that’s weird.
“Boy” is out now via Constellation Records
1 REPULSIVE | 2 Pure shit | 3 terrible | 4 must avoid | 5 average | 6 good effort | 7 good | 8 very good | 9 EX
XCelent | 10 pure classic
I Am the Last of All the Field That Fell The Spheres (2014)
“Current 93 may have created one of the most perplexing albums of the year, but also one of the most brilliant albums of the year.” Current 93 is one of the only bands I know of with the type of catalog that allows a listener to love them and absolutely loathe them at the same time. The most interesting (and, for some, intimidating) thing about Current 93’s 30 years worth of work is, with each release you can never be comfortable thinking you know what’s coming next. While some releases may share a common theme, each release is essentially very different. However, with Current 93’s most recent release, I Am The Last of All The Field That Fell, David Tibet & Co. have surprisingly found a new way to turn their listeners’ ears inside out. On first listen, I really didn’t know what to make of the new C93 album. It wasn’t an issue of liking or not liking it. It was a matter of trying to figure out what it was that David Tibet was now going for. This was new territory for him. C93 have covered various genres on their many albums ranging from acid folk to noisy soundscapes to piano lounge to straight forward rock-n-roll to combinations of all of the above. But the avant-garde territory of I Am The Last of All The Field That Fell is brand new. Very dense in its music structure, the album combines layers of guitars, pianos, drums, strings and, for the first time that I can remember, saxophone (by the one and only John Zorn) to give us a listening experience that is truly unique even among C93’s vast discography. The opening track, “The Invisible Church”, starts off with a dark piano riff reminiscent more of Hypnogogue than Soft Black Stars. It’s also haunted by Tony McPhee’s twisted guitar notes, which serve to remind you that you’re definitely not listening to one of your father’s jazz records. Once David Tibet comes in, I think the journey of this record really begins. All of the elements added seem so minimal on their own, but, in the span of the entire piece, they come together to create what I think is an amazing song. This sentiment stayed with me throughout the album. I feel that, while being one of the more frail albums by C93, this is also one of the most intense. The tension created by the various instruments is enough to make your stomach tighten. They always feel like they’re building up to something only to not quite get there leaving you, not wanting more, but feeling OK that the dark destination wasn’t fully revealed. The fact that you really don’t know what you’re going to get with the next song also adds an element of nervousness. The album goes from calm minimal tracks like “Kings and Things” to loud almost bombastic ones like “The Heart Full Of Eyes” to the poppiest song I’ve heard from C93, “I Remember The Berlin Boys.” In my humble opinion, David Tibet gives one of his best performances. He goes from soft whispers to almost maniacal yelling and back again. His voice and lyrics have always been the majority of what attracted me to C93’s music. There are people who write poetry; there are people who write prose; there are people who write lyrics. David Tibet is one of those rare people who crosses the boundaries of all three. I am not one to purport to completely understand his words, but I am one that will always walk away with lines that mean something truly special to me. Almost in the way that you feel at the end of a David Lynch film, I Am The Last of All The Field That Fell leaves you confused, upset and completely satisfied all at the same time. I dare to say that this is easily one of the most cohesive and well-planned albums out of C93’s entire catalog. It achieves the perfect level of experimentation combined with accessibility. It’s completely unnerving while maintaining a sense of leisure. While the approach of this album is still a bit shocking, by the end of the listen, I’m left thinking how it’s really not that odd. What better style of music to suit the frenzied vocals of David Tibet than something more akin to free jazz? At the end of the day, Current 93 may have created one of the most perplexing albums of the year, but also one of the most brilliant albums of the year. I dare an artist to make something can even lightly teeter this album’s place in my top 5 of 2014. I double dog dare ya! MYKE C-TOWN
7 AGES Rest Your Head (EP)
8 BLACK LIPS Underneath the Rainbow
BLACKBIRD PROPHET Aetherea
Mafly Records (2014)
Four kids from Ohio recorded Rest Your Head with a fierce, fast and aggressive beginning, in a pure hardcore style, having “Faith Only There and Then” as one of the heaviest songs on the album. In the course of the EP, we can witness an evolution and introduction of clean Carson’s voices allied to more aggressive back vocals and soft riffs reminding Balance and Composure like in “Three Years From Now” or “I Bend and I Fold”. As we proceed, we can immediately notice that the amount of effort and passion dedicated into this record is evident. On the first try, it may not be easy to absorb, but certainly if given the proper opportunity to fully immerse yourself and realize the feeling of the album, you will be surprised.
I guess that there’s something kind of magical about creating progressive music when you’re a young fella on this day and age. With so many musicians relating to this genre and with the internet working as a teacher of sorts it’s only natural to find dozens, maybe hundreds, of artists that are exciting and compelling. That’s the hall where the young Portuguese band, Blackbird Prophet, is walking so comfortably. Aetherea, their debut mini-album, is a multi-faceted interpretation of what progressive music is all about in 2014: heavy, ethereal, soundscapes that allow an expansion of the sound, a great sense of melody and tons of harmonies. From stoner rock and post-rock to classic prog rock and prog metal. Aetherea is their first step to greatness.
There is so much garage punk around at the moment and most of it is a complete shit. But this new effort from Atlanta garage punk rockers Black Lips proves there is some hope in the genre, and that the garage rock can be sleazy and catchy as hell. Underneath the Rainbow features production work from The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney and Dap Kings’ Tommy Brenneck, and was recorded at a number of places from New York to Nashville. This new album from The Black Lips shows a band forever evolving their sound and exploring new territories, where the roots of the “americana” goes retro and bluesy filled with the classic trademark of Black Lips sound. Competent and simple rock album. Good stuff!
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Balance and Composure, Title Fight
The Ocean, Mastodon, Steven Wilson
8 BLACK MARE Field of the Host
Ty Segall, Fidlar, Jacuzzi Boys
8 BLITZ KIDS The Good Youth
BLOOD RED SHOES Blood Red Shoes
The Crossing (2014)
Reb Bull Records (2014)
Jazz Life (2014)
And for a half hour, we are engaged in Sera Timms world (Ides of Gemini), where she hypnotizes us with the power of her voice, and the instrumental is so powerfully haunted that fills us with melancholy and introspective feelings, leaving us almost in tears. Field of the Host was written, recorded, performed, and mixed by Sera Timms. We must say that this is not an easy listening experience and may even be influenced by the mood of each of us, but the truth is that this work raises our spirits, makes us daydream, making it easy to let ourselves be guided by the wonderful voice of Timms and almost tormented but harmonious sound of this record. A haunting record filled with a vast amount of sonic healing power.
From 4 seconds into this amazingly well crafted album, you’re gonna start singing along to its irritatingly catchy and riotous choruses and dancing around in your room like a teenager in a 90’s American frat-comedy. This is a band who has hooks and rhythm and anthems pouring out of every pore and know instinctively how to write a song that will grab you by the collar from word one and not let go. An energetic, frantic and brilliant shot of adrenaline to the heart of Indie Rock. Lyrically infectious and full of musical invention that will have you engaged for multiple listens for a very, very long time. One of the early contenders for the end of year top ten lists. It’s the kind of album My Chemical Romance wish they could have written, full of songs this good and this full of quality. Well done lads…
Produced and recorded by the band in Berlin, and mixed by American indie god John Agnello, Blood Red Shoes is the band’s fourth album, but the first one they’ve self-produced. With no producer, no engineer, no A&R people, it was just them in a big concrete room in Kreuzberg, jamming and recording the songs, whenever they wanted. Blood Red Shoes sound is raw, heavy and sexy, this is a motherfukin’ rock album and everyone should listen to this. The Brighton duo shows more confidence than ever, and there is a new sense of positivity that had also permeated the lyrics, it seems like everyone is having a good time. This might be a game changing record regarding to the previous efforts of the duo. They’ve rediscovered the passion at their core.
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Chelsea Wolfe, Zola Jesus, Ides of Gemini
Don Broco, My Chemical Romance
The Subways, The Joy Formidable
Lost Forever // Lost Together
Virgin EMI (2014)
After the huge sucess of Daybreaker and tons of live shows all over the world, Architects faced mental and physical exhaustion, they were all lost and everyone was just trying to find their place. Lost Forever//Lost Together is their massive return, they are stronger than ever and with a new and renewed inspiration. For this new record they went in Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden with producers Fredrik Nordström and Henrik Udd (both known for their work with Bring Me the Horizon) where they lived for a month so that they could record whenever inspiration hit.This a was a bold move, but the result is amazing and Lost Forever//Lost Together is their most powerfull art statement ever, an emotional and devastating rollercoaster, the perfect blend of hardcore, metal and post-rock ambient elements that sometimes remind us Sigur Rós anthems. Songs like “Broken Cross”, “Naysayer” and “C.A.N.C.E.R.” shows that they are not affraid to try different elements in their sound, blending post-rock and experimental elements with groovy riffs and extremely bouncy breakdowns. One special word for Sam Carter, that has established himself as a dynamic vocalist, he shows no strain in screaming, shifting from his usual scream/yell to a cleaner vocal based, really impressive. Lost Forever//Lost Together is a superior record from a gifted and talented band, in the most impressive and diverse record of their carreer.
After six years of absence, Beck returns in 2014 with his new album Morning Phase. Recruiting musicians that worked with him on the so acclaimed Sea Change album from 2002, Morning Phase it’s a beautiful, spiritual and a peculiarly intimate album, and like he said on his press release: Morning Phase is a “companion piece” to Sea Change. Beck goes back to the soft psych melodies always in slow rhythm, but the journey is so pleasant that time goes by and we don’t even notice. It soaks us completely. It is a conceptually oneiric record, we feel like we are inside of a dark dream, where our emotions are all mixed up but anyway we don’t want to wake up. There are passages of strings, contributed by Beck’s father, the composer David Campbell in the opening track “Cycle” and in “Wave”, one of the most beautiful songs of the record, filled only with Beck’s celestial voice. “Turn Away” is another beautiful example, sweetly folky. Other songs have clearly the lope of country music even if in a subtle way (“Country Down”) followed by harmonica sounds. Summarizing, Morning Phase is a very rich and substantial record because of the many quality derivations in it, country, folk, classic ones, but at the same time it’s a very closely-knit album. There is no inferior song among the others. It’s a huge comeback from Beck that no music lover should miss.
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Bring Me The Horizon, Heights, Explosions in the Sky
The Flaming Lips, Wilco, Radiohead, Bon Iver
Broken Cross, Naysayer, C.A.N.C.E.R.
Cycle, Wave, Turn Away
8 BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE Piano Nights
8 BOYFRNDZ Breeder
7 BRETON War Room Stories
Brutal Panda Records (2014)
Believe Recordings (2014)
Largely an extrapolation of their sound than a divergence, this is still the only music that you need with you at 3 am, when the wine is running dry and the only other sounds are the rain spattering against the window. Mellotron and saxophone swell like a mournful Giallo closer played out in slow motion, backlit by tense melodies that seem to crystallise in the air. Bohren & Der Club of Gore songs progress at a glacial pace, each note bringing with it its own desperate air, and in this way, they build up an air of suspense that never quite fades. Sombre, yet flawless in its beauty, this is the perfect post-bedtime listening.
Austin, TX psych/math rockers BOYFRNDZ are back with their second full-length record Breeder. Self-produced by the band and engineered/mixed by Erik Wofford (Maserati, The Black Angels, White Denim), Breeder is a blast of emotion that defies all expectations and shows a band that can lead us to an intense and emotional progressive/math/ psychedelic rock journey. The reverb soaked vocals mixed with the swirling guitar melodies gives their sound the perfect rhythmic complexity. If you guys are into space/celestial post-rock with that The Mars Volta or Sigur Rós ethereal beauty twist, this will be the perfect soundtrack for the rest of the year. Absolutely stunning!
A band that uses the name Breton inspired in the French surrealist writer Andre Breton deserves automatically attention, but in this case the music and conceptual idea come together in some sort of fresh and quality artistic work. Breton is a British electronic band from London and War Room Stories is their second album. This album does not follow the traditional idea of electronic beats and samples... This is much more than that. Of course they do exist but they also mix electro samplers with hip hop beats transforming the music into some kind of epic and rich electronic work. War Room Stories is all about that. “Got Well Soon”, the fourth track is the perfect example of their awesomeness.
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Ipecac, Wine and Saxophone...
The Mars Volta, Tera Melos, Tame Impala
Portishead, Citizens, Depeche Mode
BUL BUL Hirn Fein Hacken
C.O.L.L.E.C.T.R.E.S.S. Mondegreen Self-Released (2014)
Sony Music (2014)
The avant-garde trio from Austria has in Hirn Fein Hacken a (you should investigate to know his meaning) derived register of an approximate aesthetics to the Ipecap nucleus (Zu serves as better example). There is a universal language and a local language, together in an album that explores in a casual way noise and his progression in music, some long (“Kanzla” and “Quicksand”), but effective. Heaviness in accelerated rhythms and nervous guitars are the most common thing in an album that sonically presents several rails used already previously. The fact that a lot of what they sing is in a language heard by few, it is a good exercise to decode what it’s said in these themes which seems to challenge on an instrumental level the listener, to maintain in an alert state for change along 10 tracks.
A beautiful and alluring collection of melodic and experimental classical music from a based UK talented collective. Coined by Sylvia Wright in an essay in Harper’s Magazine in Nov 1954, a Mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as 7 result of a near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. In this record, each song title represents the sounds and locations that inform each particular piece of music, where they deliver a slow burning atmospheric beast full of romanticism and melancholy. The whole album is alive with sounds, footsteps and creaking doors, bicycle wheel clicks and whispers all nestling themselves between delightful string arrangements, this is art in their purest form.
Pesar o Sol is the second album from Capitão Fausto, a pop-rock progressive band from Portugal. Their first album Gazela from 2011 had a considerable success and the expectations were definitely high. Well, Pesar o Sol it’s more focused in space sounds, into some sort of space prog-rock. Actually, there is nothing creative and innovative in this album. Except for the songs “Ideias”, “Maneiras Más” and “Lameira”, the last and the longest song and probably the best song of the record, there is no big impact when you listen to the whole album. All together, Capitão Fausto is an interesting project but this album does not introduce anything new, doesn’t thrill. It’s not cold or hot... It’s warm prog-rock.
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Exile on Mainstream (2014)
Zu, Shellac, Future of The Left
Experimental Classical Music...
CAPITÃO FAUSTO Pesar o Sol
Tame Impala, Beach Boys, Beatles
Nuclear Blast (2014)
Nergal was told that he would die. That alone is enough to make most atheists cry for divine help, but not Nergal, not that defiler of Christian convictions. Nergal stayed true to his beliefs. He beat the disease, regained his strength, went back to Behemoth and, with newfound purpose, unleashed The Satanist unto the world. He then proceeded to mock God for his attempts on his life by opening the album with the lyrics “I saw the virgin’s cunt spawning forth the snake…”. It’s an album so strong and powerful that it absolutely trumps all they did in the past. Stylistically speaking, The Satanist is blackened death metal, some will say more black, others more death, but it’s a perfect balance between the both. Lyrically, this album is the usual attack on everything deemed holy by the Christian faith. The Satanist is most impressive by not being the usual wall of sound of the genre: the mix between death and black is dynamic and constant, presenting no exclusive black or death parts. They intertwine perfectly to create a great background for Nergal’s vocals that are relentless in their attack. “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer”, “Amen” and the title track form a flawless sequence of pure aggression with magnificent details. Look no further, The Satanist will belong in the top 10’s at the end of the year. It’s a triumphant return to the battle against religion in the metal world.
What’s pop music really? Surely it’s not this one dimensional thing, fueled by the greed of pure capitalism, which is usually used to describe the genre… It’s way more than that. One might, and should, say that is a noble and complicated art form. Yeah, corporate pop music is shoved up our ears all the time but, again, it’s a noble and complicated art. Why am I “ranting” about pop music and how relevant the genre is? Easy! Boy, the new album released by Carla Bozulich (known for leading Evangelista), is a pop album. It doesn’t matter how fuckin’ hard hitting the drums sound, how fuzzed the guitar work is… It’s a pop record. Bozulich, that has a career with more than three decades, delivers in Boy her signature sound, the experimental side along with the deconstruction of structures, with corrosive doses of melody and teeth knocking hooks. In a way the album works like a “closing of a circle”… The “circle” that was started with the passion of Carla towards punk rock. What’s punk rock if not an extension of pop music? The addiction of tracks like “Drowned To The Light” and “Lazy Crossbones” work like a stimulant in a record where freedom, passion and courage are Carla’s offers to a journey throughout dreamy and unsettling roads. Boy is another highlight on Carla’s career. We just need to be open and fell in love with it. Magic!
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Evangelista, Patti Smith, Travel, Real Pop music
Satyricon, Marduk, Vader and Satan...
Drowned to the Light, Lazy Crossbones
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, Amen
7 CLOUD NOTHINGS Here and Nowhere Else
CHEERY GLAZERR Haxel Princess
8 THE COATHANGERS Suck My Shirt
Burger Records (2014)
Carpark Records (2014)
Suicide Squeeze (2014)
Under the moniker Cherry Glazerr (named after the KCRW anchor Chery Glaser), these LA punks are another act that everyone should look for and listen to... While most of the people are talking about the same lame indie bands, this new year has provided us some of the most interesting and exciting new acts, making us believe that indie rock is really getting finally indie, where the values of Fugazi, Bikini Kill and Pavement makes us believe in a better future for the so called indie rock. Due in part to their young ages of 16 and 17, Cherry Glazerr’s music has that teenage vibe that we all can relate to, making us feel so nostalgic. Yeap, we’ve all experienced that same feeling in our youth. Promising debut!
After setting the bar ridiculously high with their previous effort, Cloud Nothings on their third full-length are more solid and refined than never, where every single track of this new album deserves to be a fucking single. The fuzzy grunge-noise-punk of Here and Nowhere Else is sublime, the raw noise works in perfection with their more poppy sensibility - with that Nirvana’s Bleach vibe - even when they blend the melody with crazy distorted guitars everything seems so crazy and fucking catchy. Here and Nowhere Else is a punk record, that one where only bands like Fucked Up or Hüsker Dü are capable of presenting us. Dylan Baldi said this about Here and Nowhere Else: “It’s not just an in-yourface rock record. There’s more going on...”. We totally agree on that. Ditto!
The Coathangers are back with their fourth full length. Recently the quartet was reduced to a trio, with keyboardist Bebe Coathanger (Candice Jones) stepping down from her duties, but this setback only helped the trio refining their songwriting approach. Suck My Shirt sounds truly refreshing, and the classic raspy vocals of Stephanie Luke is addictive as hell, the punk rock never sounded so sexy! There is no denying that tracks like “Follow Me” and “Shut Up” are one of the band’s most catchy tunes ever. The Coathangers have polished their sound, and that can be heard in the quality of the song themselves, even when they seem more raw than ever. Turns out that old really is the new new, well done girls!
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Pavement, Husker Du, Colleen Green
Fuckep Up, Nirvana, Jawbreaker
Mika Miko, Bratmobille, The Distillers
8 COMMUNIONS Cobblestones (EP)
COMEBACK KID Die Knowing
6 CONAN Blood Eagle
Victory Records (2014)
Posh Isolation (2014)
Napalm Records (2014)
Comeback Kid are back with a new album, Die Knowing, and it is a pretty cool one! With the perfect mix of punk and hardcore music, they have reestablished their place as one of the top bands in both genres! With some good surprises in this fifth album, which has a special participation of the former vocalist Scott Wade and the Portuguese stallion Poli from Devil in Me! This twelve track album creates a perfect journey along a storyboard infused with punk melodies and hardcore crushing riffs. Probably this is one of the best works of the band to date! Basically this is an album that Comeback Kid can be proud of, and one that fans should be proud to own. And a warning: THIS ALBUM IS ADDICTIVE!!!
If you are not aware of the current Danish and Copenhagen punk scene that is a big fail, simple as that! Many of you know Iceage and Lower, but Communions sound very different, there is a surf/punk vibe in their songs and they are not so destructive and nihilistic as Iceage, in the matter of fact they even sound more similar to the UK indie scene than the Danish punk scene, as if Stone Roses now turned into punk... Cobblestones EP is short, 15 minutes of pure transgressions of traditional pop rules while maintaining a straightforward and impressive intense delivery of what the punk rock stands for. If you guys were left alone in an old and scary asylum, this would be the perfect soundtrack. Is the LP coming soon?
Back in mid-2012, an album caught a smile out of us. Monnos was not a technically evolved album, not genially written, not even well performed. However there was a nice feeling all over it. You could tell the band was having loads of fun doing it. It was as low tuned as a dirty Doom/Stoner album could be, it had catchy lines that made everyone foot tap and head nod. All the recipe to have a good time. Two years later we have it all again. Except this time it’s not fun anymore, because it’s the same formula taken to exhaustion. Where there was fun, now there’s a technically limited band living through the hype. What a shame, Conan.
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Stick To Your Guns, Have Heart
Stone Roses, Holograms, Girls Names
Eagle Twin, Dark Castle, Kongh
Sumerian Records (2014)
“The album as a whole is rather theatrical, with many textures that it will take you numerous listens to catch and truly appreciate everything the album has to offer...” ††† (Crosses) embraces the best of two worlds with the triphop and dream/dark pop, while channeling the best from the band’s other projects. †††’s debut album isn’t a collection of new songs, at least not entirely. The album compiles the first two EPs the band released previously, plus some unreleased tracks that were to be used for a third EP. The band itself kind of came together by accident. Chino Moreno (Deftones, Team Sleep and Palms) skated with his childhood friend, Shaun Lopez’s (Far), and hang out. One day he arrived to find Lopez and producer, Chuck Doom, working on a set of songs. Moreno liked the sound and the trio agreed that his voice would fit nicely over what had already been
laid down, so he jumped into the recording booth and the rest, as they say, is history. Chino delivers an iconic voice that fits perfectly with the band’s music. ††† drags you to a dark world and haunt you (in a good way) with an electronic-driven sound that creates an atmosphere that it’s always craved. Lopez’s guitars generate siren-esque calls at every turn, while Chuck Doom’s production packs on the electronic layers without making it sound like an overly processed and fake. There’s a steady placement to every single beat, every single harmonic bit that makes the elements in this album mix perfectly. ††† delivers a unique listening experience in their first full length
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Team Sleep, Deftones, Depeche Mode
album. While samples of Deftones and Team Sleep can be heard throughout the album, the overall sound is something that I’ve never really heard. The album as a whole is rather theatrical, with many textures that it will take you numerous listens to catch and truly appreciate everything the album has to offer and in the end the truth is this, ††† is a proof that musicians can venture themselves in other musical worlds and you can see the evolution for these tripped-out visionaries, Chino Moreno, Shaun Lopez, and Chuck Doom, have set a strong standard for themselves with their album and it’s certainly one of the best surprises of 2014.
This is a Trick, Bitches Brew
Blue Castle Records (2014)
Could there be yet another Croz album? On his latest, perfectly titled LP Croz, Crosby continues to mine the vein touched on in his work with CPR, with a more visceral lyrical conveyance. If you adore the singular way Crosby bends his melodies to fit in with his expansive words, you will find much to enjoy on this record. He’s joined again by his son James Raymond, who adds his own signature styling on both keyboards and guitar, as well as the programs which are the foundation of several of the songs. The sound of the record is warm, rich, and full throated, a testament to the work behind the board of the team of engineers including Daniel Garcia, Shane Fontayne, Jeffrey Jones, Bill Lane, and Kevin Madigan. Crosby’s musical dexterity had always set him apart from the bulk of his contemporaries, either during the meteoric rise of the Byrds, or his intensely creative period that followed. On Croz, we find all of those threads weaving through these songs. “What’s Broken” opens the album with a smooth groove similar to any of the 70’s large ensemble rock groups, but without the excess. The orchestration during the bridges is exquisite, with perfectly placed string stabs leading the melody back into the verses. Mark Knopfler contributes an astute guitar that gives the tune added bite without creating a singular focus. “Dodging kindness like golden arrows” indeed. The record continues with a quiet transition to the understated songs that follow, building to the intensity integral to any great Crosby record - the mighty “The Clearing” which culminates the first of three distinct passages. “Radio” is a cunning title, as this is easily the most expressive FM style number on the album. This song would have floored people at the No Nukes show had it been written in 1975. “Slice of Time” follows with a lilting 3/4 groove that is disappearing as much as it is propelling the simple melody. It’s also a showcase for the scintillating signature Crosby harmonies, dexterously fitting in with Raymond and Eaton. As he did earlier, a series of quiet songs builds to a climax- this second exposition of that framework, “Set that Baggage Down” instantly sits beside “Everybody has been Burned” and “What are their Names” as titanic songs in his catalog. The album continues down this path of slowly building to yet another high point, with the interesting juxtaposition of Raymond’s trip hop underpinnings within the traditional expansive vocal harmonies found in Crosby choruses on “Dangerous Night”. Perhaps here we could have heard a more treated vocal to match the effect of the programmed beats, but it sets up the denouement of the record, which rises one last time for its closer “Find a Heart”, something similar to Sting’s successful transition on “Dream of the Blue Turtles”. Could there be yet another Croz album? ELLERY TWINING
7 CREEPOID Creepoid
THE CREEPING IVIES Ghost World
7 D CHARLES SPEER & THE HELIX Double Exposure
No Idea Records (2014)
Formed in 2010 in Scotland, The Creeping Ivies are Becca Bomb and Duncan Destruction. Ghost World is the pure celebration of what rock ‘n’ roll should be nowadays, where the Scottish duo embraces the fusion of raw fifties rock ‘n’ roll with the punk spirit of The Ramones. The Creeping Ivies should feel proud in the face of today’s abundance of pseudo punk acts that think imitating The Ramones is being punk. Ghost World is the perfect record for that people who had grown up listening to Johnny Thunders, The Cramps and obviously The Ramones, there is a sense of nostalgia in here and bringing back that feeling is really hard to do. If only Joey and some of the gang were alive to listen to this record...
We must confess, several listenings later and we feel that we are surrounded by that bullshit cliché nostalgia feelings, yeah I know it’s lame, but we fucking miss the 90’s. Creepoid are an intense band from Philadelphia that brings back the classic vibe from the 90’s, where the noise matches perfectly with clean guitars and dreamy vocals, like if Slowdive where playing Sonic Youth, or even remind us that great time of our lives where Siamese Dreams was playing every single day on our walkman. This album makes us feel lazy, nostalgic and with that feeling that indie rock should be like this. We are fed up of all that pre-fabricated shitty indie rock, this is how real bands sound like.
The luxury of the originality is something that, usually, abandons the musician as soon as the claws of the producers are nailed in the musician’s flesh with pretensions to the spotlight. That wound can last long enough and convert the most promising of the bands (see the case of Coldplay) in an innocuous pop jukebox. There is no feeling of déjà vu with D. Charles Speer: dirty guitars, the root sound, music that is not going to lead us anywhere, but that transport us where we want. It is, per times, a Nashville Pop/Country act, but we totally see the honesty of who wrote this album. Nothing new here but deserves a good listening. Beer, women and a little more beer. In the end of the story, it is not that what we, privately, seek in a record?
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Thrill Jockey (2014)
The Band of Heathens, Steve Von Till
Sonic Youth, Melvins, Slowdive
The Ramones, Johnny Thunders
9 ETERNAL SUMMERS The Drop Beneath
Partisan Records (2014)
Kanine Records (2014)
Again, France has been amazing in these last years. The country has been feeding the heavy music fanatics with incredible gems and Dirge is, undeniably, one of the most brilliant hidden gems of the last crops. Hyperion, their sixth album, in the year they celebrate twenty years of existence, is yet another irrefutable proof that Dirge: yes are the proud disciples of Neurosis; no, they are not just a copy – they’re way more than that. Hyperion operates in our mind, heart and soul as a powerful journey through our deepest emotions, with ethereal, visceral, colossal and wellthought sounds. One hour and all that you want to do is return to the black hole to discover yourself. Organic and very human. “Stars don’t fall for men”.
The Eagulls’ debut is a very expected event after the success they have been making in England, opening for bands like Iced Age or Hot Snakes. Their sound is a delicious amalgam of The Clash with The Cure, can you imagine? The vocals sound pretty much like Robert Smith’s but they have the energy of Punk mixed up with the melancholic melody of the Post-Punk and the result could only be some sort of surprise and recognition. The drums are powerful, the riffs are short but beautiful, the bass is the typical strong tuned post-punk and the rhythm is rather fast or paused and obscure. It is definitely a great and promising debut. Eagulls is an intense, visceral and outstanding album.
Since the duo Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff added to their band the bassist Jonathan Wood, their music turned out to be - as what it was expected - a fuller dynamic sound. Correct Behavior (2012) was definitely a push forward to the band’s sound, but this new record is another step forward. The Drop Beneath was produced by Doug Gillard (Guided By Voice, Nada Surf) which probably helped the trio to get a new outlook of their music and create more cohesive, memorable songs. Tracks like “A Burial”, “Gouge” and “Make It New” show how they vary between the upbeat pop to the 90’s gloomy shoegaze, with the fresh and sweet Nicole’s voice. Eternal Summers are pushing forward their music and the results are really good.
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Debemur Morti Productions (2014)
Neurosis, Isis, Cult of Luna
Palma Violets, Pavement, Drenge
Seapony, The Fresh & Onlys, The Babies
HAVE A NICE LIFE
The Unnatural World
Salvation of Innocents
Flenser Records (2014)
Candelight Records (2014)
Metal has reinvented itself so many times that when it comes time to press “reset” and start the cycle again you can never be certain what parts of which subgenres will bleed through the schism into the pure gene pool and become an acceptable part of the “core” of the genre as a whole. Earth Crisis do a good line in metal that is bastardized from about twenty subgenres, never lingering long in any one to become niche or kitsch, they are a bludgeoning, drop tuned beast lumbering into huge choruses the density of mountain granite, but, throughout this album they are fearless to drop in a Nu-Metal hook, a Metalcore groove, some Tribal drum patterns, moments of psedo-djent. This is the aural equivalent of rich winter broth. Many ingredients combining to make a potent and life affirming feast. It veers subtly through the Metal pantheon, never once losing sight on the goal, and never once loosening its grip on the spine of the song, a classic doom infused, classic early 90’s metal that has the likes of Pantera and Suicidal Tendencies as classmates. It’s a decent enough slab of noise to keep you banging the head that does not bang for 35 minutes, that seem a lot longer, and do not let up for a single second. Worth a spin for the nostalgia of the old school and the buzz you’ll get from the dips into fresher schools of thought. A chimeric blast of idea and sound, and worth the price of entry for it.
Six years later, Have a Nice Life’s duo Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga are back, after the huge success with of their 2008 debut, Deathconsciousness. When the first notes of “Guggenheim Wax Museum” echoes on the first seconds of Have Nice Life new album, we are immediately overwhelmed by the fuzzy distortion from both bass and guitar. It’s a feeling that we’re warned that will not disappear in the next 47 minutes. It’s the exact time that the drums will take to lull every single listener. Which is strange, being lulled by some sort of slow industrial drums and for some dronish bass and guitar sounds. But it sure happens. The dark, gloomy sounds and the bitter lyrics are perfect complements to this fuzziness, as the samples and the synthesizer also do. However, reducing the description of The Unnatural World to a simple sum of separate elements is a huge mistake. It’s the ensemble of all that’s been described, but also the mood, the grizzly mood that wraps all the work from the Connecticut duo freezing and numbing the listener. It’s a fact that Post-Punk bands, like Joy Divison, are obvious influences of the band, as do Shoegaze and Indie, but what stands above all the possible labelling is the uniqueness of their sound. And the beauty of each song, the melody and the pop element that turns every effort on a real song. And the ensemble of those songs turns out to be an excellent album.
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Joy Division, Nothing, Slowdive, Cold Cave
Suicidal Tendencies, Terror, Freya
Guggenheim Wax Museum
Out of the Cages, Shiver, No Reason ANDI CHAMBERLAIN
7 FANFARLO Let’s Go Extinct
7 GET INVOLVED! Silk Cuts (EP)
GAMEFACE Now Is What Matters
New World Records (2014)
Redfield Records (2014)
Redfield Records (2014)
This London based indie band presents their third album, Let’s Go Extinct, a melancholy meditation and a living proof that we can always improve ourselves: here we find a kind of warm compromise, a trip into the depths of human evolution, that we didn’t find in their debut album, for instance. With Let’s Go Extinct, they were able to fuse folk indie rock and post punk into a melodic “space opera meets spaghetti western’’, as they usually describe it. As we listen to “The Beginning and the End”, the penultimate track of Let’s Go Extinct, “there is gold beneath the ashes” – and what we find is overwhelming: with a sound more optimistic than their lyrics, Fanfarlo gave us a satisfying and intriguing album, their best one yet. A must listen, if you ask me.
Everyone remembers when they released Good, the amazing debut that gave them the recognition in the punk/ pop scene at the time. While many bands were influenced by Gameface’s unique sound and would go on to attain various levels of success, the southern California guys were often relegated to the background of the mainstream leading to their collapse shortly after they released their final album, Four to Go, back in 2003. Now they are back, with a new record, and a new chapter in their lives. As pop/punk reaches is saturation point, it’s nice to see a release that clearly comes from a genuine love for the genre, and what’s really important is that Gameface have come back together to make music that matters now.
The pedigree and heritage of New York’s Get Involved!’s members were more than enough to raise our expectations about this debut EP. Get Involved! is composed by guitarist Todd Weinstock (Glassjaw), guitarist Brian Deneeve (From Autumn to Ashes), drummer Tucker Rule (Thursday), lead vocalist Derrick KargZamudio and bassist Marcus Russell Price, a good cast, right? Talking now about what matters, the music... Silk Cuts is an impressive burst of aggressive and atmospheric posthardcore/metal filled in spaces with a grungy vibe, that sometimes gives us a glimpse of what Helmet would sound if they had grown up listening to bands like Glassjaw, Every Time I Die or Torche. Exciting debut!
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The Menzingers, The Gaslight Anthem
Dry the River, Beirut, The Wombats
GOLDEN GLOW Beauty/Duty (EP)
GNARWOLVES The Chronicles Of Gnarnia
Helmet, Torche, Every Time I Die
GUARDIAN ALIEN Spiritual Emergency
Pure Noise Records (2014)
Bleeding Gold (2014)
Thrill Jockey (2014)
Brighton punks Gnarwolves’ new release combines the band’s last three EPs. These guys seem that they are having fun in every single song, but after some hearings we finally get the emotional side of these dudes. Chronicles is the term used by the band to name this album, or collection of EPs... And the truth is that the word “Chronicles” is more than appropriate, because it’s the history of the band that is represented in here. Musically speaking, The Chronicles of Gnarnia gives the term skate-punk a new meaning, these guys don’t play with the traditional rules of punk, emo or even hardcore, and each song has his own personality. Well done lads, you guys have shown us that in life rules are meant to be broken and we must enjoy life all the way.
Pierre Hall, a musician based in Manchester, he is the only member of this project and Beauty/Duty is his second EP. The antagonism between the quality and the bearable is clearly the tune of this work with only 6 tracks, that will constitute Saint Graal for the lovers of the typical dirtiness of the classic Manchester sound and the ones that face this type of music as one experience at the level of falling asleep at the movies, when they are still showing the trailers. Slow and willfully raw, without glamour, almost without soul, with an intentness that lead us to foresee a certain brightness, but that doesn’t allow great trips, with an exception for the song “LiP”, that relive the will to hear Joy Division, more than to want the continuity of this album.
WARNING: “The goal of this insane exercise of psychedelia, has been perfectly defined in a voice-over on the title track by the Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof reading from his book, from which the album takes its name, where literature informs the structure and nature of the music to come.” Guardian Alien, led by the awesome and almost insane drumming of Greg Fox, are an integral part of this new wave of New York avant-garde musicians. Spiritual Emergency is a minimal and unique experimental meltdown of tribal clatters and nervous jittery beats that drive us completely insane and works like an addiction to our fragile ears. This is wicked as hell and offers a lucid sonic trance journey to our own spiritual limits.
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Neck Deep, Bastions, Last Witness
The Manchester Classic Sound...
Can, The Flaming Lips, Liturgy
I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN
JOAN AS A POLICE WOMAN
When you start an album with such promise and magnificence, a feeling that returns in intermittent waves throughout your album, only for a singer to stamp his authority all over the emotion and groove in half cocked and generic manner as I Killed The Prom Queen do, its time you looked deep and hard at your band and re-evaluated whether you have the right personnel and direction for a future in the music industry. Beloved is an album that thinks it has a lot of ideas and is inventing a nice new niche in the Metalcore genre, but is in fact awash with regurgitated riffs, brazenly stolen ideas and a complete lack of originality throughout. At times it wants to be Sempiternal (the latest Bring Me the Horizon album), then it switches into Alexisonfire dual vocal territory, with the clean vocals riffing off of Dallas Green role with little to no regard for melody. It’s an album that has little to say and is shouting far too loudly about itself to be taken seriously. If it was a child in a schoolyard, it would be the big, angry bully who boasts far too often and is knocked out with one punch by the geeky kid who reads comics after weeks of belligerent torment. It’s a case of Beloved being a lot of bark, very little bite and will be forgotten sooner than it is remembered. I’d avoid. It’s just not very good at all.
Joan As Police Woman, artistic name of the American’s Joan Wasser, is a versatile artist of indie rock, known by the countless collaborations with international and renowned musicians like Lou Reed and Elton John, among many other. With a career so diversified, this is the 5th full length, number that doesn’t summarize her work which is composed by those albums plus 2 EPs and a vast number of presences in compilations. The Classic is an explosive indie album, with a phenomenal groove that is addicting from the begin to the end. “Holy City” is the largest star in an album full of inspiration and intention, making to lower an optimistic atmosphere that throws us almost immediately for a dance floor of sensations. Joan’s hot voice has an uncommon soul, transporting emotionality in the first degree into every declaimed sentence. It is, in fact, the versatility of the voice of Wasser that drives the whole endless panoply of instruments, rhythmically orchestrated, to the sound of the singer’s vocal desires. The explosion of sonorities is so contagious that the themes are glued together in only one sensation. These 52 minutes are only 5 and all these messages are part of a common movement. A movement that’s instrumentally euphoric, guided by a melodic voice that she is going to mold to the lyrical depth of each track.
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Feist, Sun Kil Moon, Neko Case
Bring Me The Horizon, Parkway Drive
The Classic, Holy City, What Would You Do
To The Wolves, Calvert Street, Melior
7 HARK Crystalline
HELMS ALEE Sleepwalking Sailors
7 HENRY BLACKER Hungry Dogs Will Eat Dirty Puddings
Season of Mist (2014)
Sargent House (2014)
Riot Season (2014)
The Welsh trio Hark has been causing quite a buzz in the current underground stoner/sludge/doomy scene. Best known for his work with Welsh also stoner/sludge merchants Taint, vocalist-guitarist Jimbob Isaac seems to never let go his own roots, but with Crystalline the approach is different, there is a more aggressive side - very typical of the hardcore scene - and the riffs are heavy as fuck. The truth is that Hark’s sound has no boundaries, and they have found the special ingredient that matches perfectly with their sound, the mixed Kurt Ballou ingredient. The whole album is awesome, but “Clear Light of...”, featuring Neil Fallon of Clutch, is the sweet cherry on the top of the cake.
There has been a significant development of Helms Alee’s music since their first record Night Terror (2008). It’s amazing to see how a band can take a leap on each record released. Sleepwalking Sailors is the third studio effort by the Seattle trio Helms Alee and it’s surely a thrill of a ride through the distinguished, eminent sound of this band. It’s impressive how they twist parts and styles on each song, which it can be found a little of stoner metal, a bit of indie rock and then some posthardcore and post-rock. There’s an interesting mix of styles and the songwriting is more complex. Sleepwalking Sailors is probably the most aggressive record ever made by the trio, but it is also very accessible.
Henry Blacker is a group enigmatically composed by TF (guitar and vocals), JT (bass) and RF (drums), with the first two accumulating functions in Hey Colossus. They assume that in Somerset “There’s not much to do”, and for that reason they sealed themselves in a barn for 15 months and wrote “tons of stuff” from where they selected “eight songs” which were recorded for this debut album. The result is 30 minutes of stoner rock with a very muddy and dirty production and vocals buried in the mix, with melodic hooks thrown into the mix. We suspect that the natural way for the trio to play these songs is in a small basement bar where you can follow these grooves with a lot of sweat and beer.
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Kylesa, Torche, Subrosa
Clutch, Neurosis, Mastodon
Fugazi, Helmet, Queens of the Stone Age
9 THE HOTELIER Home, Like Noplace is There
CARLOS VIEIRA PINTO
8 I AM HERESY Thy Will
Merge Records (2014)
Tiny Engines (2014)
Century Media (2014)
Far away were the times in a band generates great interest for the freedom and expression and freedom of expression of songs. Did we forget to do songs that elevate melody and word that, together, go along with the life of generations (who wants to know?). Well then, Hospitality is another band capable of that, but not mentioned that often. The careful selection of arrangements locks us even more to an atmosphere with anxious rhythms, vocals not always present, and that respects the silence in compensation to the noise in excess of the society. A human reflex that wins more recognizable outlines in “Going Out” or “Last Words” in an album that deserves prominence, because we needed these songs.
Home, Like Noplace Is There is a record that doesn’t come along very often, we must say that this is maybe one of punk’s best kept secrets. The Hotelier are bringing back what the 90’s emo had best, but they manage to go further, combining the sublime guitar work with infectiuos chorus and powerfull emotional twists. We have been waiting for years for something like this, and you should listen to this carefully, because this album is like a narrative puzzle of details, from the lyrics to the amazing and emotional voice of Christian Holden. This album might be the missing link between the sound of bands like Against Me!, La Dispute, Taking Back Sunday or Texas is the Reason. And for all the right reasons named before, this should be a mandatory album to listen to, so GO LISTEN TO IT Right NOW!
When in 2011 Nathan Gray (Boysetsfire) formed I Am Heresy to live out his love for dark, violent noise, we didn’t take-in the blend of hardcore with black metal too serious, and we were absolutely wrong, shame on us! The truth is that this a powerful album of... let’s call this a metalcore, and there is no other band mixing the melodic element in hardcore with metal like I Am Heresy. Thy Will brings the best of Boysetsfire combining perfectly shimmering black metal melodies with that chaotic 80’s and 90’s noisecore, that remind us acts like Integrity and Cro-Mags, and even with Gray screams and shouts this album remains catchy as hell. I Am Heresy have also sprinkled with dark and heavy folk elements to add a whole different dimension to their refreshing sound.
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Camera Osbcura, The Concretes
Against Me! , La Dispute, The Promise Ring
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6 KOEN HOLTKAMP Motion
Thrill Jockey (2014)
Koen Holtkamp, the other-half of Mountains is back with his new album, Motion. Once again, Holtkamp brings us an experimental and minimal, yet intriguing atmospheric effort, where in Motion Holtkamp plays with these ideas of scale and space, using shifting array of analog, digital and acoustic sources to explore the perceived effect of moving from one dynamic space to another. This is not an easy listening record, but after some hearings it’s easy to relate this album to a journey of pure experimantalism, where somehow along the way gives us a sense of no boundaries. Motion is a bold exercise of minimal experimentalism, where we are completely lost and out of our comfort zone. Motion needs time and pacience to get used to. FAUSTO CASAIS
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Guardian Alien, Jon Porras, Mountains
7 KRISTIAN HARTING Float
Exile on Mainstream (2014)
The influences of Kristian Harting, presented on Float, his debut album, are many and varied. That is shown in the music composed by the multiinstrumentalist. Still, Float is a concise, mostly introspective and texture rich with harmonious melodies album. If you want a name to serve as coordinate you can think what Steven Wilson has done in these last 15 years, in terms of song-writing and without unnecessary juggling. Float is a beautiful album - with great moments like “Kamikaze”, “First Applause” and “Float”, which leave us with excellent directions for the future. If you are still not convinced, we play the final trump card: Kristian Harting will be playing at this year’s Roadburn festival!
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CARLOS VIEIRA PINTO
Mark Lanegan, Richard Hawley
JOHN BAIZLEY, NATE HALL, MIKE SCHEIDT SONGS OF TOWNES VAN ZANDT, VOL. 2 Neurot Recordings (2014)
Neurot Recordings doesn’t just sign artists, it adopts them. In the midst of the chaos of distortion that is the purging act that constitutes Neurosis, the influence that North-American folk has on them is clear. This way, it was no surprise when Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly decided to carve their own acoustic paths as solo singer-songwriters. In their folk endeavours, Von Till and Kelly, won’t stop themselves from paying tribute to some of the greatest storytellers like Neil Young (“Running Dry” in Von Till’s If I should Fall to the Field and “Cortez the Killer”, when Scott played it live) and the somehow obscure Townes Van Zandt – I still can clearly remember when Scott played “Tecumseh Valley” on the first time he visited Lisbon; such a special night, and we all could hear the rain outside. By 2012, Neurot joins forces with My Proud Mountain (a label created for the sole purpose of releasing these tributes to Van Zandt), and the first volume of Songs of Townes Van Zandt is born, featuring Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till and Scott Wino (Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Shrinebuilder, etc.), aiming not just to pay tribute to the artist, but mostly to do him justice, with the participants embracing the project with their souls. Despite being barely unknown in the Old Continent, Van Zandt is one of the most fascinating names when it comes to North-American folk music, greeting us with confessional songs written in an often dark and peculiar style – a solitary and enigmatic Texan numbing his pain with Bourbon. He left us not only the semi-easy-to-listen song, where some cowboy seeks a new and quiet life beside an innocent girl who’ll hold him until the dust in his head sets down, but he also invites us to go inside his lightless cabin where he confesses us ‘maybe I’ll go insane’. Instead of just revisiting what has been done in Vol.1, and even though one can hear elements that are quite present in today’s music, this ends up being a slightly more orthodox release, that will certainly please those who were used to listen to Townes music before Scott Kelly and his band of brothers come up with this beautiful tribute. This time, we’re listening to the contributions of John Baizley (Baroness), Nate Hall (U.S. Christmas) and Mike Scheidt (YOB), accompanied by Katie Jones, Stevie Floyd (Dark Castle) and Dorthia Cottrell (Windhand). All the tracks do their job respectfully; still, there’re some points worth stressing. Accompanied by Katie Jones, we can hear Bazley’s voice clearer than ever before, without the support of the heavy instrumentation and effects we’re used to have in Baroness - and the outcome is nothing less than amazing. Singing all by himself, Mike Scheidt keeps it as simple as possible, and the chords we may hear through his calloused hands bring us the rustic and lonesome element of Townes’ folk. Like Baizley, Nate Hall also presents himself in a more vulnerable, direct, confessional outfit, away from the deep wall of effects we often hear on his solo album, A Great River. Songs of Townes Van Zandt (Vol.1 & 2) is a project that stands on his own, BUT one can only profit from going back to Townes’ original versions of these songs and witness the transformation they’ve gone through, way beyond the ordinary cover-song. RICARDO ALMEIDA www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
JON PORRAS Light Divide
JOHNNY FOREIGNER You Can Do Better
Rise Records (2014)
Thrill Jockey (2014)
Issues is an eclectic and musically metalcore/post-hardcore band and they finally unveil their self-titled debut album. They focus more on the harmonious soul and the clean vocals rather than using the standard balance cliché between the cleans and growls or screams like that other bands in the genre. In the end this album is very catchy in some tracks. They’re certainly not a band to everyone’s tastes, because of the eclectic approach, but the truth is: they combine two completely different genres and make it work! Maybe a little inspiration from famous, metalcore and nu-metal fusion band. Nonetheless, we can hope for many good things coming from them, it’s easy to see why Issues debut fulllength has been so anticipated.
Jon Porras’ Light Divide, the fifth full length of half of the California based duo, Barn Owl, is yet another slab of drone, an immersive and somehow complex one, I might add. Light Divide works like a paradigm shift of sorts since now you can see Porras delivering music that is built, step by step, until we find ourselves “looking” to a stable and different building, one that has many layers and looks just like a wonderful maze… a maze that we crave to be lost in. Everything is in the details. We just have to find out throughout the immense fog that surrounds the building. Patience, attention and Light Divide can work together and transport you to a fantastic place. Have fun!
After releasing Johnny Foreigner vs Everything back in 2011, Alexei Berrow wasn’t sure if there was going to be another Johnny Foreigner album, but fortunately they’ve changed their minds. As well as in previous records, You Can Do Better is a powerful, frenetic record. The Birmingham quartet knows how to write catchy songs with a great message within and that’s what this record is all about. It feels like this fifth studio effort is their way to show how strong and focus their music became over the years. The melodic post-emo with punk rock riffs keep proving the enthusiasm and selfconfidence that this band holds. In You Can Do Better, there’s passion, persistence and a powerful message.
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Of the new breed of American Nu-Metal...
Barn Owl, Locrian, Elm
Los Campesinos!, Dananananaykroyd
8 KANDLE In Flames
7 KILLIMANJARO Hook
KIMONO KULT Hiding in the Light
Dare to Care Records (2014)
Lovers & Lollypops (2014)
Neurotic Yell Records (2014)
Onetime Blue Violets’ member Kandle went solo back in 2012 and released an eponymous debut EP, two years later the Montreal-based songwriter had finally dropped her first ever solo LP. Blending blues and rock like this is a bold move, but the amazing Kandle does that in a way that makes everything that sounds perfectly rooted in the past sound so new. In Flames was co-produced by Kandle’s father, Neil Osborne and by Sam Golberg of Broken Social Scene, and the result is 11 songs of rare beauty, where folk meets rock and country matches with Kandle bluesy form of play. The album is filled with haunting and timeless vocals, insightful lyrics and features cameos by Béatrice Martin (Cœur de pirate) and Sam Roberts. Beautiful and stunning!
It seems that most people have forgotten how dangerous rock ‘n’ roll’ is supposed to be. It’s all about the dangerous balance between hand grenades and soulful gestures that can move mountains and lift an old and lost spirit. Killimanjaro, the Portuguese power trio, embodies that difficult and fascinating balance in Hook, their debut album. From rabid howls under the pale moonlight to pure doses of psychotropic substances, passing through roads that were made by and to a soul, a ritual of sorts if you will. The punk has a saying in a sonority that is based on the psychedelic/stoner sounds. There’s The Obssessed and Iron Maiden mixed with Graveyard and Earthless… It’s pure rock ‘n’ roll with the danger of addiction.
Kimono Kult is a new sextet featuring former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante and ex-Mars Volta and At The Drive-In guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López. Many listeners will be looking to this project as a follow up to The Mars Volta or Red Hot Chili Peppers, and they are completely wrong. Kimono Kult’s music is not like any other band you have listened to, starting with the vocal element, where here the untamable and unique Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes, Bosnian Rainbows) sung in Spanish and spreads sexiness all over this ambitious and exquisitely elegantly textured of afro-beat/electro/avant-freakness of “conversations of instrumental ecstasy”. This is ridiculously good and addictive as hell.
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Nancy Sinatra, Lana Del Rey, Blue Violets
The Obsessed, Graveyard, Kyuss
...conversations of instrumental ecstasy
Rooms of the House No Sleep Records (2014)
“With ten years on the road, Jordan Dreyer and company seem to have found the sound where they feel most comfortable, presenting Rooms of the House as a much more mature record...” With ten years on the road, Jordan Dreyer and company seem to have found the sound where they feel most comfortable, presenting Rooms of the House as a much more mature record. With a heavy connotation, the album focuses on the actual interactions of the day-to-day, in this case using the story of a couple collapsed within four walls and how their objects will gain a meaning throughout the time, remaining this way after his end. Performed excellently, both technical, giving attention to detail and providing a rich, simple sound without overloading; an instrumental, where we can see much of their previous material in this album but without becoming repetitive or less refreshing,
adding a few more pop features and less heavy; and in the end the vocals, where it is visible the effort and willingness to innovate, to try new melodies and introducing subtly and wisely, more sung verses and in harmony. We can highlight tracks such as “Woman (In Mirror)”, which comes to us calmly, with only a gentle tap with the Jordan’s voice in his typical spoken-word approach. Based on an ordinary love, the history is shrouded in a melody that gives us the feeling of a dance between guitars as the song grows. “Woman (Reading)”, in the same record register, tell us the memories that remain after the departure and the void that it takes his place of, “I’m safe in the echoes .”
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Being As An Ocean, The Hotelier
“Stay Happy There” is possibly the song that most closely matches what we might call the “classic” La Dispute with galloping rhythms and full of tension. “For Mayor In Splitville” is one of the pleasant surprises of the album, in a calmer and different way from normal and where we can actually observe evolution of Jordan’s voice. Songs such as “Extraordinary Dinner Party” and “SCENES FROM HIGHWAYS 19812009” follow a more pop line with looser and attractive riffs. The album ends with the melancholy “Objects in Space”, doing a retrospect of the whole relationship through the objects spread around the house, which in the end, all placed in a box, close the connection as well as the history of the album.
Woman, Stay Happy There, Objects in Space
5 LADY NEPTUNE Destroys the Moon (EP)
7 LOVECHILD In Heaven Everything is Fine
Mayfly Records (2014)
Here we have the second EP from Lady Neptune. For those of you who don’t know, Lady Neptune is the alter ego of London based musician and visual artist Moema Meade. As the title suggests, Destroys The Moon is basically 5 tracks about space, or that sound like space, with lo-fi scuzzy distortion and vanishing vocals that somehow fits in the mix. It’s seems like that the best way to describe this EP is with the words experimental and weirdness, but not in a good way. Whatever Meade was thinking about while writing these songs, it turns out to be a lazy and tedious EP. The last track - and the longest - it’s sort of a mind trip into the depths of the universe until the arrival at Neptune orbit. This trip was a little bit nauseating.
And another record from Liars! When we heard about this new upcoming LP we thought something like this: Another album? I want to miss these guys real bad, but they are keeping showing up almost every year with a new record... Liars have always been a bunch of demented genius who always delivered something unusual in the music world. After some hearings, we even compare Mess to their previous effort, WIXIM, and for the most part, also an electronic record, the fact is that WIXIM was more unified has a record, while Mess is more disperse and filled with layers after layers. Mess is good but not great, messy but not that messy, but now it’s official, they have really going freaky and into the world of disco-punk, but always with that classic trademark made in Liars.
Quick and sharp, as you wish. Lovechild bring to us their debut album, a 12 minutes, nonstop breathing, with 11 tracks that will blow your brains out and leave you really breathless. Following a chaotic line, quite evil and sometimes obscure, In Heaven Everything is Fine becomes a record not easy to digest for some. If you think that the album title may suggest that while on earth they will cause disorder and the rest of the human race is only safe in heaven, you’ll be able to build a mental image of their sound; their lyrics are all about social issues, personal troubles, and other things that are hard to understand through the destructive guitars and Greg’s Cook strong screamed vocals.
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Old Liars, New Liars and future Liars...
Space cosmic, universe and Neptune
7 LYDIA LOVELESS Somewhere Else
Drug Church, Ages, Backtrack
6 MISERABLE Halloween Dream
METRONOMY Love Letters
Bloodshot Records (2014)
The Native Sound (2014)
2013 was a rough year for the young talented Lydia Loveless. Personal issues and firing her father from the band wasn’t something quite easy to go through. But despite all that, her third album Somewhere Else is clearly a new start, a break free from the hard times and she finally found her own sound. Since the 2010 debut album, Lydia has developed her music into a new level and this new record proves that. The fusion rock-folk-punk-country has never been better with the outspoken lyrics and the powerful voice of Lydia that give the essential touch. “Somewhere Else” is probably the centerpiece of this record and it’s a song that anyone could relate to. Lydia Loveless shows us with this album the persistence of a songwriter.
Love Letters is Metronomy’s fourth studio album, and they’ve been known for producing vocal electronic pop music. So what has changed since they first started in 1999? They managed to mix new sounds into their old vibe, but were able to still remain cool. The first single (which also named the album) “Love Letters”, showed us the simplicity of emotions, in a disposable era such as the one we live in: “You’ve got me writing / Love letters/ I’ll always write you/ Love letters” – something so simple that none of us does, these days. A great vibe, a fresh start and a wonderful advice: this could be the album that actually puts Metronomy racing with the big ones.
Halloween Dream is an utterly amazing piece that insists on having a swirl of emotions and isn’t afraid of pushing and pulling the listener, a complete disregard for a man’s soul with his unmerciful heavy impact. Kristina Esfandiar, known for her vocals on the shoegazers Whirr, achieves beauty on a rain of pure mayhem and chaos. The fuzzed guitars play the role of the nail in a man’s body while soundscapes are mixed with dreamy, provocative and ferocious vocals, to deliver the perfect funeral of someone that wants to be buried to be finally free. A painful journey, of epic proportions, throughout the deepest feelings… calm before the storm must be a fuckin’ myth. Miserable is more than a musical project. It’s a statement!
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Patti Smith, The Pretenders, Loretta Lynn
Bloc Party, Ratatat, Klaxons, Is Tropical
Whirr, Crosses, True Widow
Mirrors the Sky
Sub Pop (2014)
Sacred Bones (2014)
Lyla Foy is the first British female artist being signed by the great and legendary Sub Pop, and sometimes for us, the best course of action regarding Sub Pop releases is being in the complete state of alert, because these guys never let us down, now they totally surprise us with this amazing British singer, Lyla Foy. And the story goes something like this: everything changed for the 25-year-old London songwriter one day in early 2012, when she canceled her evening plans to work on music at home. After years of various collaborations, she instead decided to tap into her creative energy all on her own, and that night her bit of happiness arrived in the form of the gorgeously stripped-down “No Secrets,” which she eventually shared with the world under the moniker WALL. Mirrors the Sky is a pounding, romantic and dreamy synth-pop album with superb vocals from Foy, that has the power to create the perfect melody to fully lose yourself in. For a project that started in Foy’s room, she shows a huge consistency. The delicate and spare arrangements, with that dreamy atmosphere, perfect for the cathartic voice of Foy, giving the listener something that he will remember for a long time. I’m cutting straight to the chase here, there is nothing new in this album, but even the most simple synth-folk-pop can totally transcend his own genre. If only the current pop music was like this...
After spending much of 2011 and 2012 on the road, including a trip upstate to write and record New Moon, their fourth full length in as many years, The Men needed a break. They decided to take the winter of 2012 off to work on new material in Brooklyn. By the end of that winter, The Men had 40 demos and had pared that crop of songs down to 13. So eight songs from those sessions made the final cut for The Men’s new album, Tomorrow’s Hits. From the rawness of garage punk to being one of the best and straightforward bands in the actual rock music, The Men with these humble 8 tracks have delivered us one of the best rock records in years. Thinking that this is their first album recorded in a high-end studio and, appropriately, is fucking insane and shows a band battling against their own ID, but the result is overwhelming in the band high fidelity album to date. The truth is that the obsession with ripping off 60’s and 70’s garage bands has much to do with the fact that you’ll sound convincing no matter how bad you are, and there are so many bands doing this right now, that every single time a new band sounds like that we have that feeling and we’re like: “Oh fuck, there is another one...”. On the other hand, there are bands like The Men, that even when they sound like the Rolling Stones or The Stooges, they still have maintained that unique and singular sound approach, and is impossible not to feel enchanted by them, simple as that.
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Rolling Stones, The Stooges and The Men previous efforts...
Rumour, Someday, Only Human
Get What You Give, Sleepless, Pearly Gates
OUR LAST ENEMY Pariah
MORE THAN A THOUSAND Vol.5 Lost at Home
MØ No Mythologies to Follow
7 RCA (2014)
Good Fight (2014)
Eclispe Records (2014)
From the first contact we had with MØ’s music we knew that was something intriguing and exciting about this artist, and the Bikini Daze EP was the living proof of that. Now with the debut album, we get to know better the girl behind the project Karen Marie Ørsted - and what makes her music so addictive. Aside from that, No Mythologies to Follow follows the footsteps from previous release/ demos, mixing old and new tracks. Her vibrant electro-pop melodies have a way to match with the rhythms of R&B and Soul, reminding sometimes Lana Del Rey with her great vocals and catchy danceable tunes. MØ is surely more than a pop star, it’s a capable and hard work musician with plenty to show.
Perhaps for many followers of the band this album can be a bit bittersweet. Much of the spirit MTAT, as shown by the single “Fight Your Demons”, remains alive, however, they returned with a more aggressive and heavier record. The drums are almost metal as we noticed in “Heist”, less open and melodic guitars and more hostile screams. One of the strengths is still Vasco Ramos cleans that relieve the weight of the darker verses, standing and giving opportunity to the chorus shine. “Dear Friend” shows more catchy guitars, melodic cleans with some backvocal screams, making it less repetitive from the other riffs that sound quite similar in general. Introducing some dubstep through it and “Midnight Calls”, emerging unexpectedly at the end, go listen to it by yourself.
Our Last Enemy is one of the latest exports coming from the prolific Australia. In Pariah there are some genuinely explosive moments, where industrial meets old school nu-metal vibe but with some kind of modern twist, to be more specific they are crossing the paths of Static X, Korn and the forgotten Downthesun. Thematically, Pariah has a loose concept threaded throughout giving the whole listening experience a new meaning. The Pariah “is this unlucky person who seems to be continually reborn at the center of times crisis or upheaval, whether they are there as witness or catalyst.”. Pariah, which was produced by former Fear Factory member Christian Olde Wolbers, is a good effort but there is nothing new here, we heard something like this before...
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Grimes, Lana Del Rey, Purity Ring
As I Lay Dying, Throwdown, Hatebreed
Downthesun, Static X, Korn
7 THE PRETTY RECKLESS Going to Hell
POLAR Shadowed by Vultures
Republic Music (2014)
In At The Deep End Records (2014)
Razor & Tie (2014)
It’s been a while since the duo Phantogram had released their debut album Eyelid Movies in 2009, but the duo didn’t stop. Besides releasing a series of EPs and touring, they collaborated with some artists, including Big Boi. It seems that Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter tried to expand themselves and discover new elements for their music, but Voices is apparently a follow-up from the previous record. The electro-dreampop blended with dark atmospheres, vocal hooks and layered rhythms are dominant in the songs. “Fall in Love” and “Bill Murray” are probably the highlight songs. Voices is a pleasant and rich record, but we’re waiting for something a little bolder this time around from this duo.
They have clearly developed from their previous work and successfully crossed their way through the underground; after one album and a couple of EPs, Shadowed By Vultures emerged from the urge of living. Very similar to bands like While She Sleeps and Architects, Polar have created an album with energy and great anthems, however, they haven’t brought something bright or new to the scene, even if they are improving themselves to become more unique in the future. “First Breath” is a quick introduction to the rest of the album, with songs like “Blood Lines”, “Glass Cutter” and “Black Days”, which maybe are the biggest standout so far in Polar’s career. In other words: vocals in glorious chorus, crowds and echoes, heavy guitar melodies, both destructive as delicate, made the hit.
If anyone still looks at Taylor Momsen as the troublemaker and pretty face of Gossip Girl, think again! Going to Hell is ridiculously good and catchy, Momsen is full of charisma that follows the path of Lita Ford with one of the most stripped-down albums of modern rock ‘n’ roll of the last few years. Every single song of this album is a banger and that badass, bold and sexy attitude that rock has lost in the last years is back, and Momsen knows how to trigger that very well. Songs like “Going to Hell”, “Sweet Things” and “Fucked Up World” are anthems of pure rebellion, in this explosive cocktail of that unabashed 80’s style sex and rock, with pieces of country, grunge, metal all over the place. There is a new rock queen arriving in town...
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While She Sleeps, Architects
Sleigh Bells, Lucius, Poliça
Lita Ford, Buckcherry, Stevie Nicks
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE
May Death Never Stop You
Metal Blade (2014)
Mount Salem is a four piece retro Doom/ Psychedelic band from Chicago that caught the attention of Metal Blade Records in almost no time. This work was originally released as their first EP, but Metal Blade was so impressed with the band’s mature sound that they asked them to turn it into a full-length album. Mount Salem added a couple of tracks, worked a bit on their production values and Endless became a first album worthy of being the 3rd or 4th of a more experienced band. Maybe the fact that each of the members decided to take on a new instrument when they started the band gave them a collective expertise that contributed to the experienced sound on Endless. As it is with most retro bands, it’s impossible not to talk about the influences. Mount Salem emulate the classic riffs of Black Sabbath and Pentagram as best as they can. There truly is no innovation in their sound. However, just because there are no groundbreaking moments in Endless, it doesn’t mean it’s not good. The one thing that puts Mount Salem above the average vintage doom outfit is Emily Kopplin’s voice. It’s warm and you can almost feel it in the air, as if it had a mystical texture to it. If you’re still not bored with the genre of retro doom/ psychedelic, Mount Salem’s Endless is one of those albums you just can’t miss.
We can admit that sometimes it might make sense to “Fake Your Death”. Every time we think about someone faking his own death we think about Machiavelli, an Italian war strategist who advocated faking one’s death to fool their enemies... Well guys, we are not saying anything, we are maybe suggesting... Ok guys, it’s time to use your head and workout a bit your remains of intelligence. These guys were (are) a band way ahead of their time, maybe even our time, who think with their own heads and they have just released their so called final song “Fake Your Death” - “Some people watch, some people pray / But even lights can fade away / Some people hope, some people pay / But why we have to stay...”. The thing is they want you to think that the idea, the art behind My Chemical Romance will never die, standing out from the fact of being musicians. After all, the music is a form of art, where creativity leads the way against this bullshit society, ruled by their pre-conceived ideas, even musical genres, fans and musical fundamentalists are part of this cooperative business that is music, trends and all that fucking bullshit behind this filthy world... - “So fake your death, oh it’s your blame / And leave the lights on when you stay / Take off your clothes and dream and fade / Come on and feel that shame”. Bravo guys, it’s time to “...leave this place for sane today...”.
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Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Royal Thunder
My Chemical Romance Duhh
It’s a best of! So... Maybe All! But let’s say Fake Your Death
Good Times, Full Moon, Hysteria
QUI Life, Water, Living
REAL ESTATE Atlas
Relapse Records (2014)
Let’s not talk about how David Yow (Jesus Lizard) was once in this band. Let’s not talk how underrated Qui are. Life, Water, Living, their third album, is the most addictive and delicious album in a while. Fact! Matt Cronk and Paul Christensen are the proud composers of what I like to call “the perfect cutting edge pop record”, with influences that span from the mighty Frank Zappa to Mike Patton, passing through the sweet madness of The Melvins. Here you will find everything. The sharpen rock riffs (“You’re A Girl”), the scorching rhythms of bossa nova (“Kicked Out Of Mime College”), sexual groove (“Whateryadoin?”), falsettos (“Kicked Out of Mime College”) and melodies that will stuck in your head for weeks (35:50 minutes). PERFECT!
Real Estate are one of the best kept secrets regarding to the bands who are guitar-driven gifted. Atlas is a very easy listening, sometimes too easy, and after some hearings we have some mixed feelings of boringness and nostalgia well tempered with gorgeously and dreamy thoughts. Real Estate are really good, they’re clever enough to not stand by the same indie clichés that we are used to and they have grown both as musicians and people. The more we listen to Atlas, the more nostalgic we feel, making us think that we got older but everything remains the same, “Past Lives” is the perfect example of that when Martin Courtney sings “Everything has changed. Absolutely nothing’s changed.” Reality bites...
On Hammer of the Witch, Ringworm continued the steady tradition of basing their attack upon thrash metal’s technicality without indulging too much on lengthy numbers or progressive arrangements, as the hardcore ethos dictates. The listener is never given a moment of rest as songs like “Dawn of Decay”, “King of Blood” or the visceral “Die Like a Pig” unravel upon a constant delivery of fast picked venomous riffs. Even though there’s really not much that differentiates this from their other records or even from other bands who carry the genre’s flag, Hammer of the Witch still represents a slight evolution when compared to their previous record Scars, and a solid release that fans of the band will readily embrace.
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Cobraside Distribution (2014)
RINGWORM Hammer of the Witch
Pavement, DIIV, Parquet Courts
Frank Zappa, Melvins, Mike Patton
Pulling Teeth, Cro-Mags, Full Blown Chaos
9 SABBATH ASSEMBLY Quaternity
7 SCHOOLBOY Q Oxymoron
7 SERVERS Leave With Us
Polydor Group (2014)
Undergroove Records (2014)
Largely abandoning the hymns of previous albums but retaining even more of the Process Church’s teachings, Quaternity is Sabbath Assembly’s most expansive and ultimately satisfying work to date. Addressing the figures of Jehovah, Satan, Lucifer and Christ in manners befitting their presences, it dips into tense acoustic psychedelia, folk rock, shoegaze and outand-out doom, though the air of reverence and devotion that weaves through them unifies them in spirit. The real clincher, though, is the expansive odyssey “The Four Horsemen”, which takes up half the album with its intoxicating mix of ritual, devotion and progressive ambition. Intriguing from both a philosophical and a musical standpoint, it’s the only natural conclusion for an album that represents both in such a magnificent manner.
There are two ways to look at this Oxymoron, the third album by the L.A. based rapper, Schoolboy Q. We can smash heads by comparing this new album to his previous one, Habits & Contradictions, or we can look to Oxymoron simply for what he truly is and not for what we were expecting. I prefer the second option, and that means to declare that Oxymoron is an undeniably good and solid album, at least overall. Schoolboy Q wanted to try new shit and expand his sound and that’s exactly what we can hear in this album. Sure, there are some bumpy moments on the road, like the vulgar and unnecessary “Los Awesome”, but overall he has succeeded in his mission and has climbed another step in the evolution ladder.
Finally something that sounds fresh and totally new, with that old-school twist that we all love, and by that we mean that these guys are rockers through and through, and that they can make noise without compromising on tunes. Sounding like a crossover of the best tunes of QOTSA with the mighty Sabbath riffs and fuelled with most vibrant sound atmospheres of Mastodon and Killing Joke, where riffs and infectious hooks are the law. Accompanied by GU Medicine Lee Storrar excellent gritty vocals and leading the way to this well balanced/ consistent rock journey, with powerful lyrics about the world of cults and the power they have on people. Leave With Us is their first album, and what a fine debut it is!
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Year Of The Goat, Ancient VVisdom, Purson
Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Pusha T
QOTSA, Helmet, Mastodon, Clutch
Guilty of Everything Relapse Records (2014)
“Despite being ‘beautiful music’, if there is to be joy of any kind here, it’s that of the one who has released the absurdity of the human condition” No matter how many harmful crossroads one comes across throughout his miserable life, the world will never stop or care after all we’re only spectators in this huge circus. I guess Nothing dwell somewhere along these lines. Although it may look like they’re trying to put grindcore amongst the United States’ musical canon, Relapse must have some sort of secret card in its hand to sign a band like Nothing – after all we’re talking about the same label that signed True Widow and gave shelter to bands like Mastodon and Baroness, bands that won’t just follow the same path from album to album, and, contrary to what the rest of the label’s roster is doing, walk towards a less earharmful place. Formed in 2011, Philadelphia,
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Deafheaven, My Bloody Valentine
Nothing has been in the people’s mouth after the release of the EP Downward Years to Come, where they dedicated their kind of lofi shoegaze to a set of poets who seem to have deliberately put an end to their own lives. The band, led by Domenic Palermo, has just released their first long-play Guilty of Everything, which confirms them as a project we should not lose sight of; but, even more important, it proves us that this is not a band of the predictable kind. With a set of influences that goes from hardcore-punk to the shoegaze, that of My Bloody Valentine’s, they have showed us quite different facets. However, this time it looks like they were more concerned about detail and this can hardly be called a lo-fi record. Nothing do rely on a sonic wall made of distorted guitars, keyboards
that provide texture, and drums that do the job better than what one could ask of them. Instrumentally solid, the album dwells through a couple of different places – and one can hear reminiscences of Palermo’s past coming though, when he used to play on the hardcore band Horror Show. The album outshines, contrary to what usually happens in shoegaze bands, because Palermo’s voice is out there in the front, and not timidly hidden behind the instrumentation. It’s hard to attempt to describe a record that may please Deafheaven fans as well as Smashing Pumpkins, or, I don’t know, The Jesus and Mary Chain ones. Despite being ‘beautiful music’, if there is to be joy of any kind here, it’s that of the one who has released the absurdity of the human condition.
Bent Nail, Get Well, B&E
8 SILVER SNAKES Year of the Snake
Bridge Nine (2014)
Warner Bros. (2014)
THE SKULL DEFEKTS Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown
It’s been somewhat constant for some new artists creating music based on what was done a few years ago, where the old is the new once again. This situation sort of happens with the new Silver Snakes album. Putting a bit aside the frenetic post-hardcore of their 2011 debut, on Year of the Snake there’s a revival of the 90’s altrock and grunge melodies, and what a great, well done revival. The LA quartet didn’t get stuck in their debut album’s sonority and gave a new fresh push to their writing. The tracks are balanced with heavy and acoustic folk parts. Besides that, they had a pretty impressive production process that included Brian McTernan (Cave In, Engine Down, Circa Survive) and (Defeater).
Skaters turn out to be what The Strokes tried to be, but the egos, fame and whatever did not allow that. We’re obviously talking about the classical band recreating 70’s punk, the NY’s sound of that time, that dirty and hard garage rock that many in New York thought it was unseemly. Outfits like The Clash, Ramones, The Strokes (first record), Devo and even The Cars are clear inspirations for the sound of this band, which does not bend before the nostalgia and in an almost revival way marks its position within the punk/rock spectrum and garage revival in New York. The perfect way to describe the sound of Skaters would be something like this: too punk for the new wave and too heavy for garage punk.
What is exactly the known unknown, and how does is sound like? Well, I don’t know, that’s why it’s unknown, but these fellows from The Skull Defekts sure make their music sound like a mystery to solve, a song that was never made before. Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown is the Swedish group’s third release as a quintet, with the legendary Daniel Higgs (Lungfish) joining Joachim Nordwall and Daniel Fagerstroem on vocal duties, which is a great addition to this exotic mix of styles and beats. These 9 songs are filled with attractive and mesmerizing tunes that makes us move and dance as the pace increases or slows down, with distinct guitar riffs and a surreal sound atmosphere. This record is surprisingly amusing.
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Basement, Defeater, Daylight
Thrill Jockey (2014)
The Clash, Ramones, The Strokes
Lungfish, White Hills, Pontiak
7 SPYCATCHER Lies
SLOUGH FEG Digital Resistance
7 TACOCAT NVM
Metal Blade (2014)
Hardly Art (2014)
This work has an extraordinary sound, and what we can hear there is a meritorious work of Slough Feg. Digital Resistance mirrors well what that is: rock recorded like Hendrix put him/it in the world. What else? Well, more rock, here and there with moments of great originality, but without a consistence that gets to snatch the listener that isn’t too prepared. To open, “Analogue Avengers” mirrors their intentions well: not too much technology and folk guitars. Then, everything stays a little bit more heavily. Well, enough, for a stoner band that breathes the air of 1970. But, above all, there is a sonorous rock attitude, which has their acolytes.
Watford punk outfit is back with their much anticipated sophomore album. It’s good to see that there is a working class punk that we can rely on, it’s really amazing and inspiring when bands or artists have the correct sense of how to fit in this crazy and messy world. Seems like the band does the same approach they have done with their debut album, Honesty, where the competent mix of indie-rock with the rawness of punk gives this new record a new sense of full of depth, passion, killer catchy hooks, built on that straight punk-ethic foundations. Lies is the perfect follow-up of Honesty, and it will for sure please fans of The Get Up Kids, The Gaslight Anthem and Polar Bear Club. A major step forward.
They’ve described themselves variously as “Feminist sci-fi” - yeah, we get that - but the Seattle quartet Tacocat are more than that. Let’s just say that they bring back the reckless and fun 90’s pop-punk and the cool 60’s surf rock that’s hard not to love, and with their new full-length album, this love gets more serious. Though they’ve been around since 2007, NVM (an allegedly abbreviation for “nevermind”, Nirvana style) is their second album and it’s for sure a hilarious album, but empowering as well, where it shows some concern about the bullshit around the power structures. If this record was a soundtrack, it probably would be of 10 Things I Hate About You. Let’s eat tacos and listen to Tacocat all day.
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The Get Up Kids, Polar Bear Club
Holy Grail, White Wizzard
Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Potty Mouth
Say Yes To Love
Bella Union (2014)
Captured Tracks (2014)
Syracuse’s noise-punk quintet Perfect Pussy is one of the boldest and most intriguing bands to surface in recent years. While rock music has been bursting with same lame bands, the same basic music formulas, there are bands like Perfect Pussy that are ready to put a foot on a monitor and to make some waves to storm the music industry. It’s simple to describe Perfect Pussy’s sound, fucked up noise with a girl called Meredith Graves yelling at everything and everyone, by debiting anger, relieving frustrations and saying what’s on her mind without bullshit, and if we look closely to the lyrics, we get amazed by Graves courage. Say Yes to Love is a deliberate feminist statement, where the abrasive noise is packed with one of the most intense and emotional lyrical experiences we have been through in the past few years. Meredith Graves’ lyrics are disarming, brutally honest and poetic. Musically, imagine Sonic Youth fronted by Alexis Krauss to overflow with Fucked Up and Bikini Kill, with noise and a lot of yell to the mix. Say Yes to Love is not an easy listening record, it’s both exhausting and deeply compelling, the perfect cathartic experience. The fact is that the world is not ready for such blend of lyrical honesty with musical noise/punk/ chaos. Well... my dear and sweet world fuck you, we need something like Perfect Pussy in our lives. Let’s make way for the real second wave of grrrl revolution... NOW!
Snowbird is the first proper band experience in years of Simon Raymonde, known mostly as the bassist in the seminal Cocteau Twins. While his contributions to the This Mortal Coil albums are well known, this is his first excursion into being the sole proprietor of a pop ensemble. Having Stephanie Dosen in the fold certainly helps point one in the correct direction. Dosen encapsulates all of the beauty of the female fronted bands during the classic 4AD era without being derivative within the form. Similarly, Raymondes compositional style, while lending its emotional context to the template, continuously expands upon the premise. This is a record whose emotional depth will only reveal itself after repeated listenings. In particular are the piano constructs Raymonde creates. Their delicate nature, which normally is understood to create a subtext to exemplify the power of the vocal, is stunning. And yet Snowbird inverts the paradigm. The melodies and instrumentation actually are an integral part of the context, not merely complimentary pieces to each other. As succinct as Dosen is across the breadth of the songs, the instrumentation and musicality of Raymonde provides a happenstance that could not have been duplicated outside of their union. Perhaps they could have utilized a few different time signatures, beats, or constructs broaden the horizon of the album, but the delicious moments are more than worth the very few limitations of Moon.
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Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Gem Club,
Sonic Youth, Fucked Up, Bikini Kill, Fugazi
Porcelain, All Wishes Are Ghosts, Where Foxes Hide
Bells, Big Stars, Interference Fits, Bells FAUSTO CASAIS
7 TAKING BACK SUNDAY Happiness Is
7 TENSE MAN Where Dull Care Is Forgotten
7 THALIA ZEDEK Six
Hopeless Records (2014)
Faux Discx (2014)
Thrill Jockey (2014)
It’s been over a decade since Taking Back Sunday released their debut album, Tell All Friends, and these guys still sound completely different from any other band, that’s amazing! Back in 2011, they have returned with their original line-up for their fifth album, and for Happiness Is they have packed with blinding riffs, teenage anthems and that classic Taking Back Sunday catchy chorus. Everyone in the band has collaborated in every song, making this record a total creativity/ group effort, with Adam Lazarra leading the way in their finest form. Taking Back Sunday is one of the most exciting rock bands around and there’s no doubt that the fans will be still singing this back to them for years. These guys have the power to bring back some of that teenage feeling that will always remain with us.
Tense Man is a fucking claustrophobic experience of noise and pure dementia, and the guys responsible for this kind of musical tension are members of Sauna Youth, Cold Pumas and Omi Palone. Where Dull Care Is Forgotten is the perfect BSO of that time where Roman Polanski made good movies, like Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant. We are picturing in our heads Catherine Deneuve dancing to this in Repulsion... Tense Man are worthy and intriguing, and makes you wonder if this is a new breed of post-punk or they are just really messing with our heads, where everything sounds tremendously raw, fashionable noisy, where the listener finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.
It’s impossible to look at Thalia Zedek’s career, listening to SIX and don’t scream a very loud and conscious “Damn!”. More than 40 years as an artist, with some success (not fucking enough!) and a lot of problems, those curves balls that life throws in our way. It hasn’t been easy for Thalia these last 5/6 years. This 28 minutes and 40 seconds album (not a mini-album if you ask me) is marvelous and should be heard by every young artist out there. Thalia could have chosen the convenience of repeating herself but instead she took some risks and released very powerful tracks with an impeccable emotional-driven sound that are followed by words of wisdom gain through time and experience. This is art!
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Big Chorus, Sing-a-long, Back to the Future
Post-punk, Claustrophia, Closed spaces
8 THOU Heathen
Come, Live Skull, Patti Smith
7 TIDES OF MAN Young and Courageous
6 TINARIWEN Emmaar
Gilead Media (2014)
Thou’s fourth album, Heathen, is probably their most accessible and ambitious work to date. If you know Thou’s work then you must be confused by the use of the word “accessible”. Well, honestly it’s a fair and understandable response since Thou’s music was never, nor it will be, accessible in the true sense of the word. The perfect mix between sludge, drone and doom is still present, yes. They are still ferocious as hell… The only difference is in the little details. The beautiful soundscapes and guitar solos in a complete swirl of madness despair and anger. Those little details allowed Thou to release a 73 minute piece that sounds exciting all the way through. A great album of one of the most interesting bands in the genre.
Young and Courageous is the third album of Tides of Man, the first one since the band announced that they would continue as an instrumental group after Tillian (vocals) left the band. I was curious to find out how they would do this new approach! After listening to the entire record, the fact is that Tides of Man might have lost their energetic side, but they remain with riffs that are just as vivid and melodic as their previous works! The band may, in the end, lack some of the personality contained in their previous works, but in its place there’s a surprisingly good ambient-rock/post-rock record from a band that used to have the lead singer under the spotlight...
The political critic, inseparable of the musical language of Tinariwen, is the main reference of his/her sixth studio work. The sonority stays unaffected, not being, however, registered any inflection in the register that we could listen in the albums that preceded Emmar. The guitars are there, the labor of his/her blues also, but everything else is more Tinariwen, without addictive worthy of mention. There are special guests (Josh Klinghoffer, guitarist of Red Hot Chilli Peppers belongs is just one of them) but the innovation has finished and the public wants more. The test that is followed for the band of Mali (that recorded this album in the desert of California) is to know if they came to stay or to be definitively pigeonholed into the world music section.
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Sianvar, Russian Circles, Strawberry Girls
Indian, Culted, Coffinworm
Amadou & Mariam, Ali Farka Touré
Caroline International (2014)
“In her path to continuous innovation, she’s starting to let aside her amazing guitar skills and the spontaneity of the analog noise.” What happened to the lovely St. Vincent?! The perfect incarnation of the girl with an ethereal beauty you don’t even imagine being sullied by your greasy hands turning into a Lady Gaga-ish version of herself. Zany catchy songs, reflecting a futuristic and highly hipstered fashion, Anne Clarks is looking like searching herself and the appeal of the masses. St. Vincent is still an extremely talented artist with clever conceptual songs but I’m missing the raw feeling from her previous work. The guitar has been put
aside for electronic beats and loops and it soften so much the noisy/gloomy atmosphere she produced in former songs. As per say, “Cheerleader” was as dark as beautiful and carried all the long by this abrasive guitar riff raw as fresh meat. Clarks vocals deserve more than these synthetic beats. As usual she’s singing with an incommensurable talent, but the music in the background doesn’t sublimate them. I will stop bashing this album as it is still one of the most interesting pieces of the beginning
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David Byrne, Feist, El Perro Del Mar
of 2014. Indeed even if it is way too synthetic for me, talent is still oozing in your ears notes after notes, beats after beats with a smartness known only by a few of the greatest artists. The lyrics are as sharp as intelligent, and in such time of cultural coprofagia, that feels good as hell. In her path to continuous innovation, she’s starting to let aside her amazing guitar skills and the spontaneity of the analog noise. Let’s hope she’ll come back to something more intimate and organic next time!
Birth in Reverse, Digital Witness
8 TRONO DE SANGRE La Mitad De Lo Que Somos, La Mitad...
8 TRUCKFIGHTERS Universe
Code 7 (2014)
Trono de Sangre is a Spanish band and they have just released their first album. This album is the perfect blend of loud melodic screams with delicate highly addictive riffs that make you bang your head for 32 minutes! The band has perfect and catchy details for screamo, math rock and post-rock! They managed to give a twist to the genre and they have managed to create a colossal work… and it’s a debut album! Maybe the biggest problem is the lyrics (all in Spanish) but everything is where it should be. In addition, the album has an excellent production. They are destined to become a reference band in Spain and this album is truly one of the best releases coming out of Spain!
In the last years, Truckfighters became a reference in Stoner rock, even before this specific style had become some sort of fashion and acclaimed like it is today. They have begun in 2001 and through an unusual statement from Josh Homme (which basically said they were the best band in the world even if he was drunk and never had heard their songs before) their fame spread all over the place supported obviously by the distinctive sound of the riffs which anyone can immediately recognize when one hears it and by the intense live performances. Anyway, they’re back with their fourth album, Universe, and the spell remains. The typical sound is there, and the intensity as well. A special note to the best songs of the album, “The Chairman” and “Mastodont”.
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The Chariot, The Dillinger Escape Plan
Kyuss, Hermao. Fu Manchu
8 THE WAR ON DRUGS Lost in the Dream
VULKANO Live Wild Die Free
Secretly Canadian (2014)
Once upon a time there was an indie band called Those Dancing Days that went on an indefinitely hiatus. Nonetheless, from this hiatus came to life Vulkano, the new project from the members Cissi Efraimsson and Lisa Pyk Wirström, which Live Wild Die Free is their first full length on this new outfit. As it was expected, Vulkano’s music is a search for new and innovative elements of punk, rock, electro and indie stuff that the duo wasn’t able to explore on their previous band. Inspired by nature and the society we live in, each track of this record is like a volcano that’s about to erupt and explode, with fresh upbeat tunes and amusing lyrics. It’s clearly a new vivid and intense statement from this duo that lives wild and want to die free, and we say hell yeah to that!
Lost In The Dream is the third album by Philadelphia band The War on Drugs. Over a 10-song set co-produced by Adam Granduciel and longtime engineer Jeff Zeigler, we jumped into the world of The War On Drugs trademark sound, where all the tunes reveal a careful and thrilling reinvention of their own sound. Lost In The Dream is a detailed work, open to various interpretations, but we can’t hide the introspective and cathartic effect that every single track of this record has on the listener, after all this album is like a journey of life experiences where friendship, growing up, dealing with life were the main inspirations. Once again, Granduciel’s work is here to be heard, because we all can learn a little bit about other lifes experiences.
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Those Dancing Days, MØ, Le Tigre
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Doug Paisley, Bob Dylan, Bruce Hornsby
It’s only been four years since 2009’s The Whirlwind, which in Transatlantic time means that this all-star prog constellation was fairly quick in delivering their follow-up, the giant and epic Kaleidoscope. It can be heard as a step back from the grandioseness of their previous record and a return to the earlier Bridge Across Forever and SMPT:e’s formulas by delivering two 20 minute epics and a few other shorter numbers, but by no means is it musically inferior to any of their past works. In Kaleidoscope we’re presented with an immense deal of great catchy riffs, memorable keyboard melodies and several moments of progressive frenziness, all laid out upon tracks such as the epic 25 minute opener “Into the Blue”, the straightforward “Black as the Sky” or the finishing colossal title track. In each moment, the band takes the listener on a joyful ride through a roller coaster of uplifting sounds that make the whole listening experience feel incredibly harmonious. Though from different backgrounds, Neal Morse, Roine Stolt, Mike Portnoy and Pete Trevawas once again prove why they seem so fitting to each other. They made Transatlantic a progressive rock band as big as each of their individual bands. Kaleidoscope represents a magnificent blend of ideas from prog rock’s intelligentsia and ended up as a truly uplifting and strong record. With such a line up, we got what we expected, let’s just hope they take as long or less time to work together again next time! LUÍS ALVES
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The Flower Kings, Flying Colors
III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb
THE UNSEMBLE The Unsemble
Century Media (2014)
Ipecac Records (2014)
Sure, you can say that Twilight is a super-group but if you are aware of what they have put into this shitty world you might as well call them a cult band and be done with it. With a line-up that includes talented artists such as Wrest (Leviathan), Imperial (Krieg), Stavros Giannopoulos (The Atlas Moth), Sanford Parker (Corrections House, Minsk) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) – the last one has been in the band since 2012 but only to create this new record, an important addition since Black Judd (Nachtmystium) left the band last year – they have been created magnificent pieces with their black metal based sound. III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb, their third and final album, is everything what we wanted and much more. It’s arguably their best album in these ten years of activity. With atmosphere being the centerpiece of the album, Twilight managed to find a perfect balance between pure heaviness, most of the times using industrial elements and, and soundscapes – both with tons of noise – that fit perfectly in an album that gains momentum with the dissonance between the different types of approach of the sonic madness that’s III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb… The contrast between the opener “Lungs” and the funeral-esque “Swarming Funereal Mass”, is the irrefutable proof of how fuckin genius this album is. Twilight’s final album is, quite possibly, a future classic and another way to prove how vital black metal is nowadays.
When faced with an album whose seal – of quality - it’s Ipecac Records, we instantly know that we will have a meeting with music that tries to avoid all the conventions. If we read the personnel list and we find the names: Duane Denison (guitarist of The Jesus Lizard and currently in Tomahawk), Alexander Hacke (bass and electronic in the institution that’s Einstürzende Neubauten) and Brian Kotzur (collaborations with Silver Jews and film director Harmony Korine), the interest in hearing this record increases exponentially. The trio made out of these illustrious personalities is called The Unsemble and this is their self-titled debut album. What The Unsemble offers us here is 15 instrumental songs, the result of two weeks of intense composition, and some of them - 5 emerge as improvisations and other arrangements and other works. The music is never developed too much, showing up as more possibilities, or vignettes, which are part of a puzzle of ideas that make a vast sonic territory, from introspective moments (with sexy bass lines) to other more chaotic (where percussion takes the main role). The high points are “Cyclone”, “Voices”, “Act 3”, “Circlese Shadows”, but the album can maintain consistency and a remarkable personality for a first album, which leaves us good prospects for a possible second album of The Unsemble.
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FOR FANS OF:
Leviathan, Krieg, Minsk
Duane Denison, Alexander Hacke and Brian Kotzur
Lungs, Swarning Funeral Mass
Cyclone, Voices, Circlese Shadows
CARLOS VIEIRA PINTO
9 WE ARE THE IN CROWD Weird Kids
VALES Wilt & Rise
7 WHITE LIGHTERS As Far As You Can As Fast As You Can
6131 Records (2014)
Hopeless Records (2014)
After the promising debut, Clarity, we never lost track of this UK based band, and for months we have been desperate too put our eyes and ears on this... And that moment finally has arrived! Wilt & Rise is a relentless and ferocious exercise of pure and destructive noisecore, that never let us breed and really shake us completely, this is one hell of a debut and deserves to be praised and listen out loud. There is a new breed of hardcore to come, and names like Oathbreaker, Code Orange Kids and Vales are really changing and pushing forward the true hardcore boundaries. By the way, they have just signed with 6131 records, yeap... the former home of Touché Amoré. Impressive and refreshing debut, Vales are certainly a band to watch.
Weird Kids is all about youth. Catchy songs, well planned, structured and executed, after all, they had 3 years of hard work. The album begins with “Long Live The Kids”, slowly at the beginning and then explosive. “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”, is an explicit standout on the album, and the one they choose to be the single. “Windows In Heaven” is a surprising melodic ballad that give Jardine a chance to show her fragile vocal skills. What’s really refreshing about it is the call and response between Jardine and Eckes like in “Manners”, where their dual harmonies give us an enjoyable listen. The album shows an unexpected amount of growth and potential and will certainly leave all the fans stunned.
There must be a kind of formula for the ability of some artists to create art over and over again, without being monotonous. That is the case of White Lighters, the solo acoustic project of Brandon Setta - who is known for his other projects, like Nothing, Swan Dive, Death of Lovers. In less than a year, he had released records with his other bands and had the time to create this new one, which As far as you can as fast as you can is the result. Recorded in his bedroom by himself, these 8 tracks are a delight pleasure to our ears, filled with melancholy. The lyrics are simple but quite honest, which probably is the easiest way to Brandon unleash some demons that hunts him or simply none of that. What a pleasant record.
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Paramore, Tonight Alive, Candy Hearts
Code Orange Kids, Touché Amoré
Swan Dive, Nothing
WILD THRONE Blood Maker (EP)
WOLVES LIKE US Black Soul Choir Prosthetic (2014)
And when we least expect, we find a band that transcends their own musical style and offer us the most insane and interesting amalgam of sub-genres, where the noise rock blends with progressive metal and that 90’s classic screamo sound. Guitarist/vocalist Josh Holland croons, soars and screams give us a both technical and impressive guitar work, adding to this an amazing songwriting perfectly combined with the most frenetic and anthemic choruses. Blood Maker was recorded with legendary producer Ross Robinson (At The Drive In, Machine Head, The Cure) - the nu-metal guru showed that he still matters giving to the Austin trio a glimpse of his unique approach in production. Wild Throne needs to put a full length out as soon as possible, because we want more!
Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling, especially when is related to things that we loved in the past. Music has that special element and these Norwegians have touched our hearts with this explosive blend of pure mid 90’s post-hardcore/ crossover nostalgia, where names like Quicksand, Deftones, Orange 9mm and Snapcase meant business. Black Soul Choir tunes work like an addiction, and Larsh Kristensen is a gifted, charismatic frontman giving to this record an extra sense of heart and soul. The Oslo outfit and their pals and former tourmates Kvelertak, show us clearly that the underground punk/ rock/hardcore Scandinavian scene is one of the most exciting musical scenes in Europe right now.
It’s a fact that the performance of The Wounded Kings through all Consolamentum is irreproachable. The composition indicates great concern of building a dark ambience through all the album and we can feel the commitment as the band deliver us the riffing and the muddy, fuzzy rhythm. All according to all Doom standards. Sharie Neyland, the singer, completes the mood with an Ozziesque performance. So what’s the problem with this album? Easy! The fact that it’s only another Doom album that can’t stand on his own, with the band failing to create, to develop a sound capable of distinguishing them from the myriad of Black Sabbath/Electric Wizard clones with albums coming out every year. And we’re sure they can do better than this.
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Brutal Panda (2014)
At the Drive In, Mastodon, Red Fang
Quicksand, Deftones, Snapcase
THE WOUNDED KINGS Consolamentum
Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard
REVIEWED NEXT MONTH
THE AFGHAN WHIGS
Do To the Beast
Young Fathers. What a great name for a Scottish band, where the most plebiscited sport is getting pregnant at 16 years old. Is it the young parenting that is the reason for such maturity? Only their first album after two EPs and already a wide recognition in the underground hip hop community. This weird mix of The Streets and Death Grips featuring Soul music and lo-fi beats is a must to listen to in those times of overproduced soulless hip hop eruption. Poetic lyrics, innovative beats and catchy songs, a breath of fresh air in the hip hop community. This colourful music driven by the origins of the three members is a step forward in black music, but this album is a bit less motivating than their previous efforts. Indeed, I can’t really find any catchy songs or deep profound ballads like in their last EP. It’s still a major piece of art but not as promising as their two EPs. Listen to it! It will be a great journey through the depths of Edinburgh and the smog of its suburbs. A ride through a gloomy endarkened sky sliced by sun rays. The sampling of Scottish Pipe can make you smile but it fits so well, this cultural gangbang is coming as good as smoothly with the soul singing. A good record, a great potential, let’s keep in touch daddies!
FOR FANS OF:
The Streets, Death Grips
No Way, Just Another Bullet, Get Up
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART ARNAUD DIEMER
Days of Abandon
Nothing For Us Here
ALCEST HEXVESSEL, THE FAUNS Hard Club, Porto 04.02.2014
Photos: Andreia Alves // Words: Tiago Moreira A cold night in a really harsh winter, that’s the background to an Alcest’s performance that wants to present the summerinfluenced-themes of their last album, Shelter. The French duo, composed by Neige (the frontman) and Winterhalter, has indeed left behind their black metal side. Sure, many people are pissed off because of that, but this live performance proved that this “evolution” is not forced and makes sense. The fact that they are still embracing their past and playing it live makes it easy for us to understand the connection points and now probably it will be easy to assimilate the postrock full of different ambiences, atmospheres and moods. Alcest showed everybody, on that cold night, that they are a band of extremes and listening to them is feeling the darkness as well as the lightness. Opening the night, The Fauns… there was an opportunity of watching and hearing the indie noise-shoegaze-pop quintet from Bristol. The British band wasn’t able to enthrall the audience with the generic sound they have been creating since 2007 (two records released until now – the self-titled and Lights). Just before Alcest, there were the first moments of pure excitement. Hexvessel – the Finnish band fronted by the English Mathew McNerney, aka Kvhost, recognized for holding the mic in a little project like Beastmilk – Nordic folk that has an urgency of embracing the folk/ psychedelic British sounds of the 60’s and 70’s. The marriage between these two kinds of folk music puts Hexvessel on their own lane, a different sound that was performed with high levels of energy that no one can really ignore and they added a true sense of magic and warmth to the fuckin’ cold weather… Shit, it seems that I’m talking about a gig on England instead of Portugal. 120
Mercado Negro, Aveiro 05.02.2014
Photo: Mariana Marques // Words: Carlos Cardoso
When a relatively unknown folk musician as Basia Bulat is able to gather so many people in a town as small as Aveiro, then one has to acknowledge that maybe she shouldn't be so unheard of. On a rainy Wednesday evening, February 5th, 2014, Basia Bulat was one hour away from starting her show on Mercado Negro and even then people were already getting way too excited for what was supposed to be a simple, intimate show. It was when that show started, at about 22:15h, that yours truly realized that the reason for such excitement was that Basia Bulat is no regular Folk musician. Nevermind the playful sweet music, forget the fact that there was no difference from the sound heard on the albums and the one being offered to the audience. What made Basia Bulat so loved by the people there was the fact that she gave one of the most warm, friendly and personal performances ever seen in Mercado Negro. There was no setlist: Basia played what she wanted and the audience only broke the silence to answer her questions about how to say "Wonderful" in Portuguese, and to thank each song in heartfelt applauses. Basia Bulat used an ukelele, guitar and keyboard to perfection. One of the highlights, however, was when Basia picked up what seemed to be a 99 year old Hammered Dulcimer, an instrument so gentle and unusual that the audience could only look and listen in awe at her tender finger movements and angelic voice. The other highly awaited moment was the use of the Autoharp. Basia Bulat was able to pick up these unusual instruments and make them sound as enticing as in her albums. In the end, the audience witnessed a small journey through Basia's discography that ended with a cover of Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You In The End". Basia Bulat left Aveiro with more fans than when she got there, and that is the true measure of Basia Bulat's talent: she left everyone wanting more. musicandriotsmagazine.com
SCOTT KELLY AND THE ROAD HOME Photo: Andreia Alves // Words: Tiago Moreira
Passos Manuel, Porto 11.02.2014
Scott Michael Kelly, now with 46 years of age, is, in an unconscious and purposeless way, a symbol of what you can’t see but urges to be felt. The man that most people knows, and praises, as being the guitarist and vocalist of Neurosis (one of the most influential bands of the last two decades) has embarked, a long time ago, in an epic journey that gets lost regularly for, in the end, try to find itself. The dynamics were always important in Scott’s music, not for the maximum and minimum, but for what is in the middle. The effective movement that makes all the sense in the world by the oxygen that is required. Freddie Gruber (jazz legend) said, in the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, "If it isn’t breathing… It is not alive." Breathing is the essence! It was what Scott Kelly explained, probably without intention, with all the memorable moments displayed to all the present souls on this concert… More than a concert, a true event. Words can’t do any justice to what we had the pleasure of seeing and hearing in that night where Scott Kelly – now playing with Noah Landis (Neurosis) and Greg Dale, The Road Home – played more with his heart and sung more with his soul. Magical? Yeah, that might work, even if it’s a little bit of an understatement. 122
TOXIC HOLOCAUST EXHUMED, HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL Hard Club, Porto 05.03.2014 Photos: Andreia Alves // Words: Tiago Moreira
Holocausto Canibal, the most known and brutal Portuguese death/gore/grind outfit, was the first to step on the stage, in the night where two American/Relapse Records bands, Toxic Holocaust and Exhumed, came to visit Portugal and satisfy the Portuguese fans. With not too many time to play, the Portuguese band made an effort to operate on high levels and the result was a setlist full of classics, the result of a seventeen year career, mixed with many songs of their last album, Gorefilia. An energetic and explosive performance of a band that knows how to hang their audience by the neck. Continuing with the death metal, the California-based outfit, Exhumed, pounded the stage not only with loads of aggressiveness but also with a fuckin’ show. These guys, that were presenting their sixth and latest album, Necrocracy, grew up watching on big stadium concerts and seeing them is enough to know that. From those big and showy guitar solos to the stage performance that includes a little bit of theater and an awesome character like Dr. Philthy… damn, it was a fun show. From a musical standpoint there’s nothing to say about Exhumed, they are at the top of their game and they’re really cool, but the extras make the experience ultra-megaawesome. Not even the bad sound that they were getting at the beginning could ruin a show like that. To close this wonderful and heavy bill: the thrashers Toxic Holocaust. The Portland power trio fronted by Joel Grind and authors of the praised album, Chemistry of Consciousness, were almost the center of all attentions. It was notorious that people, for the most part, were there to see them. A good sound on stage and ferocious, well-played, songs, one after the other, were more than enough to satisfy the public. I mean, sure it’s thrash metal and the genre has been stagnating for the most part, but… Sometimes you just need a pure discharge of aggression. An amazing night of metal, the result of three cool bands and a good attendance by the public.
DIRECTOR: Lars von Trier WRITER: Lars von Trier CAST: Charlotte Gainsbourg,
Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Anders Hove, Jens Albinus, Felicity Gilbert, Jesper Christensen, Hugo Speer, Cyron Melville, Nicolas Bro, Clayton Nemrow DENMARK/GERMANY/FRANCE/BELGIUM/
There’s something dangerous and controversial in Lars Von Trier’s latest films, which there is almost a need to shock, or just to shock for shocking. In fact when we heard the buzz of his new adventure we were obviously curious, where we couldn’t even hide some itching of anxiety to watch Nymphomaniac, even the commercial machine of pure Von Trier’s propaganda made us believe that this great master of cinema had the guts to do something purely bold, which it could even exceed the boundaries of the politically acceptable. We all know the deviations to the world of Von Trier’s sexploitation, and we also know that whenever he proclaims that he will do something - at least that’s the way it has been in the latest works - shocking or controversial turns out to be always something reckless, dead and tremendously boring. With Nymphomaniac, everything seemed to change the previous predicates, just because it’s not enough just try to insert themselves into the world of the politically incorrect to be a radical, and if you want to explore certain behaviors allegedly deviants, you have to make it in a brave way, and maybe uncensored... Just saying! Divided into two parts, VOLUME I is the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is discovered beaten in an alley by an old and lonely man, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes her into his home. There she enters in cathartic state of mind, where she recounts the erotic story of her adolescence and young-adulthood. While VOLUME II picks up with the story of Jones adulthood, where her journey of self-discovery leads to where real life begins... Nymphomaniac is a strong, bold, shocking, controversial, feminist, and moralist film. So far so good, here we clap the master Lars Von Trier. And let’s keep clapping, because we’re going to continue talking about Volume I... Superbly played by Stacy Martin, as the young Joe, and it’s even complicated don’t feel tempted to let go ourselves by the completely uncompromised “I don’t give a fuck because I just wanna fuck”. The quest for pleasure is not a shock to us, in fact all this turns out to be something normal, just think about how men has always acted over the years. This is where this movie shows up greatness on the moral and feminist point of views, because if it was a man acting that way, he was the greatest, but as a woman it is something controversial, fucking bullshit Von Trier, but you nailed this point. And we reached the Volume II of Nymphomaniac, and this is where all the fantastic work in photography, plans of genius and even the intensity of the film is lost altogether. That transition from Stacy Martin for the Muse (overrated) Charlotte Gainsbourg is simply ridiculous, not to mention the collages/montages of scene that look like pure amateurism. We get easily used to the casting errors in this film, starting with Shia LaBouef, passing by the pitiful Cristian Slater and ending in Charlotte Gainsbourg, a weak performance and completely devoid of any emotional realism. It could have been something great, unfortunately it wasn’t, something that we’ve started getting used to with the Lars Von Trier’s films. If he didn’t have to cut more than 2 hours of film, maybe this could have been his masterpiece, instead of a bunch of completely reckless patches that deserved more attention to the detail. FAUSTO CASAIS
DIRECTOR: Spike Jonze WRITER: Spike Jonze CAST: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Kristen Wiig, Brian Johnson, Matt Letscher, May Lindstrom, Olivia Wilde, Artt Butler, David Azar, Lynn Adrianna, Lisa Renee Pitts, Gabe Gomez, Pramod Kumar, Evelyn Edwards, Steve Zissis, Dane White USA 2013
This isn’t the first time we see a film that deals with an era which technology is very advanced, and one thing is for sure, nowadays the technology is constantly growing and it turns out to be reflecting also in people. Now imagine someone falling in love with a computer. That’s exactly what happens to Theodore (Phoenix), main character of this new film by Spike Jonze. But Her is much more than technology. At the beginning of the film we found Theodore locked up in his own world, where basically makes his path to home and work, because he attempts to recover from a divorce that had hurt him deeply. But then he starts to talk with Samantha (Johansson), an operating system of artificial intelligence, and “she” immediately becomes his world. They talk about everything, anywhere, thus creating a relationship that for many it is 126
weird, but for Theodore is much more than that, it’s his motivation to live. With the unfolding of the film we see each situation that can happen in a “normal” relationship, since the first dates, the first fight, the first “I love you”, jealousy, insecurities... Samantha develops all kinds of emotions to Theodore, and vice versa, which convinces us that she can be much more than a computer, because even not physically present, Johansson nourishes a vocal so catchy and appealing, that we gain immediately a great empathy for her character. During several key moments of this movie, we are sent to an atmosphere of passion and solitude as well. These two aspects are important to show the unparalleled feeling that love is. It makes us feel good, and hurt us too. This is shown in the relation between Theodore and Samantha. It is quite interesting to see how the
soundtrack of this film has an important role in that relationship, not to mention the lovely music by Karen O, “The Moon Song”, which is also played in the movie by Phoenix and Johansson. The music turns out to be the complement between the beautiful dialogue that both actors give us, where the words spoken demonstrate the purest of emotions, from passion, to pain, sexuality, loss. Her is beautiful and painful. A love story that we’re not used to and a break from what is supposed to be normal, because all of us are here for a short time and each one has the right to be happy as well as you may want and with whoever you want. It’s hard not to get attached to this film from the start to the end, as Theodore gets with Samantha. Although sometimes it seems surreal, the affection and sweetness that exists between the two characters is impressive. ANDREIA ALVES
DIRECTOR: Asghar Farhadi WRITER: Asghar Farhadi CAST: Bérénice
DIRECTOR: Rob Thomas WRITER: Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero CAST:
After he had contemplated us with the fantastic A Separation (won an oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, in 2012), Asghar Farhadi returns with the a new film called The Past. This time around, it’s a story about a couple whom is about to formalize their divorce. Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) goes to Paris to see his ex-wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo), in order to no longer be married with her and so that Marie could marry her current boyfriend. As the story unfolds, we get to know a little bit more about both characters, and certain plot twists and revelations turn out to be the highlight of this film. The Past is not so brilliant as A Separation, but it is certainly a compelling story, full of detail and loaded with true human emotions.
Veronica Mars was one the best TV achievements of the last decade, and Kristen Bell has a hell of comeback in here... This isn’t just a nostalgia trip. Finally we see something from the TV Show going to a movie in the best way possible, everything was financed by the fans, and it’s directly to the fans, they were the ones that always supported the show and they have exactly what they deserved. Veronica Mars the movie is that piece of memorabilia that was missing, that link that connects the all TV show with the fans, and has the power the rebuild a huge fan base and even resurrect some careers, like Kristen Bell and all members of the cast. Rob Thomas delivers a brilliantly conceived movie that redefines the term “fan service”.
Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis, Jeanne Jestin, Sabrina Ouazani, Babak Karimi, Valeria Cavalli, Aleksandra Klebanska FRANCE/ITALY 2013
DIRECTOR: Jill Soloway WRITER: Jill Soloway CAST: Kathryn Hahn,
Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Chris Lowell, Percy Daggs III, Tina Majorino, Krysten Ritter, Martin Starr, Gaby Hoffmann, Andrea Estella, Francis Capra USA 2014
THE BOOK THIEF
DIRECTOR: Brian Percival WRITER: Markus Zusak (book), Michael Petroni CAST: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson,
Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch, Jessica St. Clair, Michaela Watkins, Josh Stamberg, John Kapelos, KeeganMichael Key, Annie Mumolo, Suzy Nakamura USA 2013
Roger Allam, Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, Heike Makatsch, Kirsten Block, Oliver Stokowski USA/GERMANY 2013
This is the story of Rachel, a stay-at-home mom, bored as hell with her life and with her non-existent sexual life with her husband. In one night of fun, she meets McKenna, a stripper who gave her a lap dance, in that moment they clicked and she became obsessed about saving McKenna of that so called hard life. Everything in this movie sounds refreshing, from the dialogues, to the characters, even the surprise role of Kathryn Hahn - finally showing that she can act - and of course the amazing Juno Temple, proving that she is one of the most exciting “new” artists around. Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under) offers a wry perspective on married life, love and happiness, she can describe really well that typical and overrated suburban life.
Here we have another film based on a book, this time from Markus Zusak. This movie/book tells the story of a girl who goes to live with a foster family during the World War II, in Germany, and the narrator of this story is the “Death” (Allam). However, with the help of their adoptive parents (Rush, Watson) and the new resident - a Jew (Schnetzer), she learns to read and finds in books an escape from everything around her. The angelic and naive look of Liesel (Nélisse) conveys the innocence and purity that is overshadowed by that cold and tough time, where reigned fear and oppression. The contrast between these two aspects is interesting, however there is a sense of cliché. The Book Thief is to attain the hearts of the audience.
SPEAKING WITH LEGENDS...
I’m writing this ‘intro’ 24 hours after the music world (members of bands like Tool, My Chemical Romance, Lamb of God, Converge, Machine Head, etc., rushed the social medias to share their grief and how important Dave was in their lives) was taken by surprise with the death of GWAR’s frontman Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus. I don’t want to write too much about this matter. These are the words exchanged between Oderus Urungus and MUSIC&RIOTS Magazine, in an interview that happened because of GWAR’s latest album, Battle Maximus. Rest in peace Dave Brockie. Rest in peace Oderus Urungus.
Words: Tiago Moreira
eing this record a tribute to Flattus Maximus, who unfortunately died in 2011, made the all process very hard, emotionally speaking?
Well, of course, any time you lose a family member it’s hard, unless you hate them or inherit tons of money or something. And Flattus was truly well-liked and left us nothing but the memory of how awesome he was, through his music, mostly, though I can still smell his farts. A Scumdog can never truly die and we like to think that Flattus has returned to the stars, where he watches down on us from Metal-Metal Land. But still we had lost him, which caused us deep pain. We knew we faced the greatest challenge of our lives. Somehow we had to channel these powerful emotions and turn them into creativity. So we blew the great “Horn of Hate”, which lets all Scumdogs know when one of their brothers or sisters passes on into the next world, and summoned the members of the Maximus clan to Earth, to fight the Battle-Maximus...
The Maximus clan received a new member, last year. Can you introduce him? Pustulus Maximus – Guitars (lead)
Pustulus Maximus was famous in the Maximus tribe for his shredding skills and even though he and Flattus liked each other they would never admit it. Pustulus’ is about seven feet tall and like all Maximus’ has a head that is a different color than the rest of his body. The Maximus’ also all wear dinosaur skulls on their shoulders, though I am not sure what kind of diniosaur he has got, because I think it only has one eye-hole and I have never seen a dinosaur with only one eye. Unless I pulled the other one out of the socket. Pustulus is irritable and nasty because he has these really painful zits all over his face. Only two things make this pain go away...bathing in spoiled elephant semen or playing savage guitar, and seeing as spoiled elephant semen is not something you find every day, he spends most of his time playing guitar! 128
What happened between you and Pustulus? He said that you have vandalized his spaceship…
What? Well...that’s true, and I am suprised he hasn’t attacked me if he has indeed figured it out. After all of the Maximus’ had laid their tracks in the savage Battle Maximus, Pustulus was obviously the dominant one, and I wanted to keep him around. So I made up some story about how we had to redo some leads and asked him to meet me late at the studio. Of course he beleived me (he’s not too bright), and while he was waiting for me to show up (which I never did), I was busy ripping the hyper-drive out of his Scum-ship. You are not going anywhere except on tour with GWAR, mother fucker!
How it was working in the Slave Pit Studios for the first time?
It was really great once we figured out how to turn the damn thing on. We spent a few years and tons of money that could have been spent on drugs building the damn thing and then we realized that there was no “on” button. We
lyrically about him, but also just in the fact that if we succeeded in making an album that was as good as the last few we had made with Flattus, then this band could continue onwards without blowing our fucking brains out. If we had made anything less than a great album it would have been an insult to Flattus, and that was simply unacceptable. At a different level it tells the story of GWAR’s new struggle against “Mr. Perfect”, the latest super-powered asshole trying to chop off my fucking balls. Finally, at the end of the day, I hope its just a great rock and roll album. That is for other people to decide, of course.
How does “Battle Maximus” fits in Gwar’s back catalogue?
I hope very nicely! But considering that we just released it a few months ago, it’s weird to think of it as being part of our “back catalog”. But I guess it is! I think it stacks up very well against our discography, even considering our biggest hits, which we never had. But as I said before, that is for others to decide. OF COURSE I think it’s great.
This new record tells us a story of Gwar’s last struggle. Can you fill us on that?
I think I have kinda told about it already but I can go into a little deeper water. Flattus was our primary songwriter and the biggest reason GWAR went from being a silly band and back into a metal one. He pretty much insisted that we quit writing parody music and maybe actually listen to our critics and do something that really had some balls. It could be said that practically single-handedly Flattus re-made our careers. So to lose him yet somehow carry on to victory... well, that was our greatest struggle.
The political side was always present on Gwar’s music. How do you see this social and economic situation that we are living in? It’s completely fucked. The elites live in luxury while the slave-masses toil to their whims. Crime, race-hatred, disease and war are all at epidemic levels. True the major powers don’t fight as much, but they merely have exported their aggression to the third world, which sucks it up over and over again. Meanwhile the disparity between the haves and the have-nots has gotten more pronounced than ever. Of course TV says nothing about this. You people are programmed and brainwashed to the point where you actually believe you are free. But of course the only freedom you have is the freedom of death.
Next year Gwar will celebrate 30 years of existence. Do you have anything special for that occasion?
realized that Flattus had done most of the work and Balsac had to go in there and really think hard for a few days. But once he had figured it out (turned out there WAS an “on” button, it just had a dead slave lying on it), we really fucking loved it. 24-7 access...no travelling involved...it was great. No energy wasted going halfway around the world or having to spend tons of cash waiting for the producer to show up. Just get in there and rock it out. I think it worked out pretty well.
You said that “Battle Maximus” is a telling of the next chapter. How would you describe this next chapter? It’s several things at once. It is first and foremost a tribute to the great Flattus Maximus, not only with songs like “Fly Now”, which are directly and
Shit, has it really been that long? The 25th birthday seemed cool, but this one has just come way too fast. So no, we have been so busy touring Battle Maximus that we really haven’t had any time to think about “special things”. A boxed set or something like that would be nice. But when you get as old as I am, merely reaching 30 is something special. And to still be able to blow load the length of the club? You guys should do special things for us!
How do you recall all these years?
I don’t, really. It’s just a bloodstained mush of all the things that have happened ever since we woke up from our ancient slumber. Sometimes I think I can recall individual faces and names, and then it’s just a bunch of hacked off arms and legs and heads flying around. We have so many songs and albums and enemies and shows that it’s hard to keep it straight in my mind, in fact it’s impossible. So the way I deal with it is to try and live in the moment as much as I can. Think about the future, stay in the present, and pretty much fuck everything else or you will go fucking crazy. musicandriotsmagazine.com
WOVENHAND OFF! RAMONA LISA LA DISPUTE MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA GUARDIAN ALIEN KANDLE JOHNNY FOREIGNER HELMS ALEE STONEBURNER LIMB HYDRAS DREAM TWILIGHT GET INVOLVED! ARCHITECTS SKULL DEFEKTS CULT LEADER WILD THRONE SUN KIL MOON AND MUCH MORE... 130
Featuring: Marissa Nadler, Nothing, Lydia Loveless, Perfect Pussy, Xiu Xiu, Big Ups, Gwar, Have a Nice Life, Current 93, Alcest, Scott Kell...