music&riots FREE | Nยบ 02 | MAY
LIMB WILD THRONE HELMS ALEE ONLY CRIME GET INVOLVED! STONEBURNER THE SKULL DEFEKTS JOHNNY FOREIGNER
PUNK AUTHENTICITY IS SERVED AGAIN
NOSTALGIC, AGGRESSIVE AND DREAMY
UNFORGETTABLE IN SPIRIT AND SOUND
LA DISPUTE EMOTIONAL NARRATIVES IN THE POETRY OF LIFE
GUARDIAN ALIEN MARMOZETS TIM HECKER BEEHOOVER RED FANG CHURCH OF RA LAS ROBERTAS 1
FEATURES 08 LISTS // UPCOMING RELEASES
10 Fucked Up - Glass Boys ROUND UP
14 Electric Wizard, Field Mouse, Tombs ARTISTS SPEAK OUT
20 Interview with Aaron Beam 22 NEU // VOL.2
“Keith has on a big Black Sabbath kick, I was listening to a lot of Bad Brains and somewhere in the middle we came up with these songs.” DIMITRI COATS, OFF!
WHEN BANDS SPEAK...
112 Interview with Guardian Alien
INTERVIEWS 12 KANDLE
18 28 30 34 38 42 44 50 58 62 66 70
WILD THRONE JOHNNY FOREIGNER GET INVOLVED! ONLY CRIME LIMB HELMS ALEE OFF! VALES CREEPOID THE SKULL DEFEKTS STONEBURNER WOVENHAND
“I’m more a fan of music than a musician. I’m more expressing the influence of others than being a musician myself.” DAVID EUGENE EDWARDS, WOVENHAND
COVER STORY 52 INTERVIEW//LA DISPUTE REVIEWS ALBUMS REVIEWS 78 Swans, Ema, Brody Dalle, Fear of Men,
Wovenhand, OFF!, Stoneburner, Pixies, Afghan Whigs, Killer Be Killed, Emma Ruth Rundle, Ought, Pink Mountaintops, Triptykon...
REPORT 102 LIVE Church of Ra, Tim Hecker, Carcass, Ruins Sessions, Capicua, Beehoover
108 CINEMA The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Amazing
Spiderman 2, Noah, Labor Day, The Double musicandriotsmagazine.com
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR...
music&riots magazine musicandriotsmagazine.com
FREE | Nº 02 | MAY 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
et’s face it, no one cares what the editor is saying or needs to say, but this fucking asshole is always open his big mouth to say something boring and really not important. Another issue is done, and we are once again proud of what are continually achieving. Yeap, we are still very humble and independent trying to have our best issue possible and having an absolute pleasure talking about the bands we respect and learn to admire. In this new issue, our cover story are five guys from Michigan, who are still challenging the basic rules of emotion. La Dispute is an unique and sublime band, like we said in our cover story, we learned to admire the bands we love and respect and with these guys we are always finding some kind of ‘Emotional Narratives in the Poetry of Life’. In this same issue, we have the mighty legends OFF!, who are always pushing the boundaries of what punk should stand for. It’s absolutely incredible that nowadays only a few bands are still showing that punk authenticity pedigree like Keith Morris and company are. And in this same issue we had the pleasure to talk with one of the most gifted and talented musicians around, the genius David Eugene Edwards from Wovenhand, an interview that everyone should read, because that’s the beauty of talking with someone without that pre-conceived idea of basic interview, talking with someone, having a conversation about real things is always the best way to show that artists are real people like us, with a life and with the same problems and concerns that we have most of the days. Also in this issue we had the pleasure of having names like The Skull Defekts, Johnny Foreigner, Get Involved!, Creepoid, Stoneburner, Limb, Helms Alee and many more... We could talk here about everyone of them but that will be boring for the reader, because no one cares about what the editor wants to say. So guys, enjoy this issue and have some fun...
By the way guys, we are really looking for new writers and photographers because MUSIC&RIOTS Magazine needs your words and pictures, we really need specialized and open minded big mouths! Feel free to contact us at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org Your Editor, Fausto Casais
CONTRIBUTORS // WRITERS
Nuno Babo, Nuno Teixeira, Sílvio Miranda, Ricardo Almeida, Tiago Marinho, Sergio Kilmore, David Bowes, Mariana Silva, Fausto Mendes Ferreira, Nuno Nogueira, Rui Correia, 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, Rich Monetti
Andreia Alves, Peter Davidson
Fausto Casais (email@example.com)
HUGE FUCKING THANKS
Mike Cubillos, Kristina Esfandiari, David Tibet, Micheal Gira, Jordan Dreyer, Dimitri Coats, Lauren Barley, Vice Records, Keith Morris, Aaron Beam, Frank van Liempdt, Deathwish Inc, David Eugene Edwards, Head Up! Shows, Todd Weinstock, Russ Rankin, Amplificasom, Thrill Jockey, Neurot Recordings, Mute, PIAS, Sub Pop, Sargent House, Stephanie Marlow, Ruins Records, Metal Blade, Tim Hecker, Capicua, Santa Maria Summer Fest, Darkspace, Reverenence Festival Valada, Soraia Pereira, Laura Jane Grace, MusikIsMyOyster, Jorge Coelho, Nick Allport, Kathleen Hanna
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All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without our permission. The views expressed in MUSIC&RIOTS Magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff.
LISTENING POST Fausto Casais Brody Dalle - Diploid Love More Than Life - Whats Left of Me Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean Makthaverskan - II Being As An Ocean - How We Both Wondrously Perish
Ana Filipa Carvalho Badbadnotgood - III Goat - World Music Jagwar Ma - Howlin Wild Beasts - Present Tense Acid Mothers Temple... - Black Magic Satori
Tiago Moreira Swans - To Be Kind Nas - Illmatic XX Never Sol - Under Quiet Tombs - Savage Gold Miserable - Halloween Dream
Carlos Cardoso Mayhem - Esoteric Warfare Gamma Ray - Empire of the Undead Triptykon - Melana Chasmata Manilla Road - Mystification Amon Düül II - Yeti
Rui Correia Chet Faker - Built on Glass BBNG - III GoldLink - The God Complex Nothing - Guilty of Everything Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels
David Bowes Lântlos - Melting Sun Babymetal - Babymetal The Body & Thou - Released From Love Vampyros Lesbos - OST Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell - Check ‘Em Before You Wreck ‘Em
Diploid Love (Caroline International) Everyday Robots (Parlophone) Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (Peaceville) Plague Beasts (Crucial Blast) Get Back (JagJaguwar) Indie City (Pixies Music) The Beauty of Destruction (Nuclear Blast) Death Mask (Profound Lore) Rise of the Lion (Rise Records) Shriek (City Slang) Sky Swimming (Memphis Industries) Tribal (Decca) Ruining Lives (Steamhammer) Our Endless War (Metal Blade) Refractory/Obdurate (Deathwish)
The Leaving (Hummus Records)
05.05.2014 CHAD VANGAALEN WE WERE EVERGREEN RAY LAMONTAGNE THE HORRORS LYKKE LI BROTHER FIRETRIBE ATMOSPHERE tUnE-yArDs BADBADNOTGOOD PURE X
Shrink Dust (Sub Pop) Towards (Univesal) Supernova (Columbia) Luminous (XL) I Never Learn (Atlantic) Diamond in the Firepit (Spinefarm) Southsiders (Rhymesayers Enterteinment) Nikke Nack (4AD) III (Innovative Leisure) Angel ( Fat Possum)
II (Run For Cover Records)
12.05.2014 SWANS THE BLACK KEYS DOWN TORI AMOS KILLER BE KILLED FOXES MUSHROOMHEAD AMEN DUNES CHEAP GIRLS LA SERA YOUNG WIDOWS LÂNTLOS THE GOLDEN GRASS
To Be Kind (Mute) Turn Blue (Nonesuch) Down Iv - Part 2 EP (Warner) Unrepentant Geraldines (Decca) Killer Be Killed (Nuclear Blast) Glorious (Sign of the Times Label Group) The Righteous & The Butterfly (Megaforce) Love (Sacred Bones) Famous Graves (Xtra Mile Recordings) Hour od the Dawn (Hardly Art) Easy Pain (Temporary Residence) Melting Sun (Prophecy) The Golden Grass (Svart)
13.05.2014 ONLY CRIME
19.05.2014 CONOR OBERST THE ROOTS CASTLE LUKE HAINES BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE AGALLOCH SLEAFORD MODS HALEY BONAR WHITE SEA
Pursuance (Rise Records) Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch) & Then You Shoot Your Cousin (Def Jam) Under Siege (Prosthetic) New York in the 70’s (Cherry Red Records) Revelation (a Recordings) Serpent & Sphere (Profound Lore) Divine and Exit (Harbinger Sound) Last War (Fklg) In Cold Blood (Crush Music)
26.05.2014 BURY TOMORROW SHARON VAN ETTEN BLACK ANVIL EMMA RUTH RUNDLE OWEN PALLETT YOUNG AND IN THE WAY EYEHATEGOD HAUNTED HEARTS TRASH TALK CROWBAR CHALLENGER
Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty Amenra - Mass III-II Weekend - Jynx Tomahawk - Mit Gas Swans - The Great Annihilator music&riots
BRODY DALLE DAMON ALBARN AUTOPSY CLOAK OF ALTERING PINK MOUNTAINTOPS PIXIES DEVIL YOU KNOW LORD MANTIS MISS MAY I WYE OAK ELEPHANT IMELDA MAY PRONG WHITECHAPEL WOVENHAND
Field Mouse - Hold Still Life Creepoid - Creepoid Lykke Li - I Never Learn Against Me - Searching For A Former Clarity Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
Runes (Nuclear Blast) Are We There (JagJaguwar) Hail Death (Relapse) Some Heavy Ocean (Sargent House) In Conflict (Domino) When Life Comes to Death (Deathwish) Eyehategod (Housecore) Initiation (Zoo Music) No Peace (Trash Talk Collective) Symmetry in Black (Century Media) Back to Bellevue (Self-Released) Days of Abandon (Fierce Panda)
#### Albuns that are in Red already reviewed in this issue ####
UPCOMING // FUCKED UP
FUCKED UP ARE BACK
ow do you remain a punk band when you’re on magazine covers, or sharing stadium stages with the Foo Fighters? How do you stay true to your 15-year-old self when you’ve a career to maintain, and families to support? Those are the questions that Fucked Up ask on Glass Boys. And they ask those questions in the form of a blazing, titanic, ultimately triumphant rock album. More than a punk band, Toronto’s Fucked Up are a statement, a fucking piece art and that 10
K WITH “GLASS BOYS” should never be questioned. They are still a punk band, what matters is the attitude and the way they spread their message. On 2008’s The Chemistry Of Common Life, they tested hardcore’s capacity for stylistic innovation, for seven-minute songs and unconventional arrangements, and they won Canada’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize in the process. With 2011’s David Comes To Life, they offered up a full-blown rock opera, coming with one largerthan-life hook after another, and that made them even bigger, and further away from the Toronto
hardcore scene that nurtured them. So what can we expect from Glass Boys? Isn’t a retrenchment or a back-to-basics move; it’s too ambitious and complex for that. But after those last two albums, it’s tight and concise and direct, an album of real and direct sentiment rather than artifice. Musically, Glass Boys carries echoes of some of the more ragged and adventurous bands from America’s punk past (Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr.), but it also has some of the anthemic charge of the Who and the guttural intensity of Negative Approach.
And if the album’s lyrics concern the quest to stay true to your younger self, the music pulls off the trick beautifully. After two monumental concept-driven albums, Fucked Up are once again expected to make another heartexpanding, life-affirming piece of work, and this time, they’ve done it by shooting straight from the heart.
“Glass Boys” will arrive on June 2 via Matador
INTRODUCING // KANDLE
It was back in 2012 that Kandle Osborne, member of Blue Violets went solo and began a new musical journey on her own. After releasing a notable debut EP, the Montreal-based songwriter worked on her first full-length and In Flames is the result, which it was co-produced by her father, Neil Osborne and her partner in crime on music Sam Goldberg of Broken Social Scene. We had the pleasure to talk with the lovely Kandle about this new journey of hers. Words: Andreia Alves
irst of all, let me congratulate you for the amazing debut record. How has been the feedback so far?
Pretty good. [laughs]
Let’s talk a little bit about when you started to play solo. You went solo back in 2012, and you released your self-titled EP. What did motivate you to go solo?
It surely started just because I didn’t have anyone to play with anymore. [laughs] I was playing in a band (Blue Violets) with my sister and a friend, and I was always writing, but I’ve never had the confidence to sing the songs. [laughs] So I found myself with a lot of songs and I was more or less completely alone and then I realized I had to do it myself. I just kind of took the risk and tried to sing my own songs. [laughs]
After releasing the EP, you moved to Montreal (from Victoria BC) and you got closer to Sam Goldberg (Broken Social Scene), which is your partner in crime in your music. How did you guys get together? It’s kind of a funny story. I knew him from before when we both lived in Toronto and 12
my sister was working for Broken Social Scene record label so I met him earlier, and then he was recording a project at my dad’s studio in Victoria and I just kind of stole him. [laughs] We worked out a little deal that I would take some photographs for him and he would play in my songs. Then the next thing he knew he was playing all the songs and he got really involved. [laughs] So we’ve been making music together ever since.
Which artists or bands have been your biggest influences in your musical journey?
There’s many, I would say. [laughs] I’m always discovering new bands and songs everyday that I love. I’m always very influenced by Tom Waits, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey. Those are really strong artists.
I read that filmmakers Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino are also an influence for you. Yes they are. [laughs]
In which way does it influence your musical approach?
I don’t know. I’ve always been really inspired by them. I watch one of their films and it just has kind of the visuals that I connect with in the stories and the imagery that always get in my head. I get very excited that next thing I know I’m writing something. [laughs]
“In Flames” has these morbid and creepy tunes with spaghetti westerns in the mix. How was the songwriting for this record? I don’t have like an exact system or anything, I just write all the time. I have these songs ready for quite a while but it took some time since we took a while to get into the studio to make the
“The darkness, the bad feelings I have out of me is by writing. Writing honestly is the only way I can do...” very well. They were making their record at the same time and I just asked him. He recorded his part in his house and then he sent it over, just like that. [laughs] And I was like “Wow! You’re really good.” [laughs]
For the recording process of “In Flames”, you had Sam Goldberg and your father Neil Osborne (5440) on board. How was working with them? It went really well! He’s by my side right now. [laughs] He came down to visit me. We did the recording process in a funny way. We went back and forth between Vancouver and Montreal, because my dad was over in Victoria while the drummer we wanted to use in the studio was in Montreal. So Sam and I went to Victoria. We started tracking there and Sam went back to Montreal and started working on more guitars, adding more... We were emailing files back and forth. It was a kind of weird way of doing it, but it obviously worked out somehow. [laughs]
What’s your favorite song you’ve written for this record? I don’t know, it changes everyday.
In the live shows, you have a great set of musicians with you. How did you guys get all together? record. So by the time we got in there, we had to a lot of cuts because I had written too many songs. [laughs] I had to cut from 30, to 20, to 15, and to finally 11... [laughs]
Did you have some sort of specific inspiration for these 11 tracks or did just come naturally in the way?
Just came naturally, I would say. Not one song is about a similar subject matter really. They’re all about something different.
Your lyrics are really powerful and sometimes show a deeper side of you. Is it easy for you to pour out such deep feelings in your music?
It is actually. It’s kind of the only way I know how to write and to be brutally honest with myself. It’s very therapeutic for me and I like it, you know what I mean? The darkness, the bad feelings I have out of me is by writing. Writing honestly is the only way I can do. [laughs]
You had some musicians collaborating with you, like Sam Roberts (Sam Roberts Band) on “Protector” and Béatrice Martin (Coeur de Pirate) on “Baby”. How did those collaborations come along?
Basically I just asked them nicely. [laughs] And they said yes! Béatrice and I are on the same label and she’s been really supportive and great to me since I moved into Montreal and we both open for tours a few times here and in France. I asked her and she said yes. And there was Sam, I’ve been dating their drummer and I knew him
The bass player we have right now is actually Sam’s best friend of childhood and when I moved to Montreal we decided to jam together and he brought him along just to have fun. He has been with us ever since. And then we have a new drummer who’s kind of a punk drummer originally from France, but he is amazing and we have a fifth member that switches from time to time, whenever he’s available. [laughs]
Besides music, you are into photography. Is it something that you usually do daily?
No, not really. [laughs] I used to photograph a lot and I thought that was what I want to do, like a career, but I totally just switched priorities. [laughs] I broke my camera last winter and I haven’t fixed it yet, so I haven’t shot at all lately, but I plan on bringing some part of the camera on tour and get back into it.
Which records are you into lately?
That’s a fun question. [laughs] My favorite record that I discovered this year is Sleeper by Ty Segall. I’m really into this record, I listen to that all the time.
“In Flames” is out now via Dare to Care Records musicandriotsmagazine.com
ROUND ROUNDUP UP // SWANS
with “Luck” in June
om Vek is set to release a brand new album on June 9th via Moshi Moshi Records entitled Luck. Breaking onto the scene with the attitude-spiked We Have Sound (2005), Vek channelled his homegrown musical progess into a bastion of mid-noughties electronic punk rock rebellion. His long awaited follow-up, Leisure Seizure (2011), was less raw but no less impactful. Now mixing the expertise learned from both, his newest offering, Luck is set to be Vek’s biggest and most daring album release to date. This new effort plunges the personal to deliver tracks that are sincere, angry and poignant. “There’s noise everywhere,” Vek states, but with enough force we might return to a place of truth. Luck maybe the magnificent offering from an artist who has achieved the rare feat of preserving the seduction of youthful rebellion and marrying it with experience. We are for sure looking forward for this. “Luck” will arrive on June 9th via Moshi Moshi Records 14
Here we have another group formed by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala from The Mars Volta with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and former Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch, called Antemasque. This new project follows on from the breakup of the Mars Volta, with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez moving onto Bosnian Rainbows, and Cedric Bixler-Zavala to a new project, Zavalaz. Heading back together into the studio, the musicians have decided to form a new group. The two are working with Dave Elitch on drums and Flea on bass.
TOMBS return with
rooklyn, New York’s TOMBS have confirmed Savage Gold as the title of the band’s third album on Relapse Records. The album is set to release on June 10th (North America), June 9th (UK/Europe/World), and June 6th (Germany/Benelux/Finland) and the artwork and track listing have been revealed. The stunning artwork was created by renowned tattooist Thomas Hooper who has created the band’s previous album covers. According to the press release, Savage Gold focuses the awesome strength of TOMBS’ previous works into one brilliantly dark post-punk and extreme black-metal masterpiece. Recorded and produced by Hate Eternal’s Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore), Savage Gold both expands upon the moody post-punk foundations that TOMBS’ prior albums explored while also bringing out the band’s most traditionally metal moments yet. Once every few years a record comes along that sets a new benchmark for what can be done in heavy music. This is that moment and this is that record.
The London four piece Wolf Alice are set to release a brand
new EP this may, the follow-up of the fantastic debut EP Blush. Creature Songs was produced by Catherine Marks at ICP Studios in Belgium and it’s their first release on Dirty Hit Records. First Aid Kit have announced they will release new album called Stay Gold, the follow-up to 2012′s The Lion’s Roar, on June 10 via Columbia Records. This new album was produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and features the Omaha
Symphony Orchestra and arrangements from Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley). The highly-anticipated new album from The Antlers, Familiars will arrive on 16th June via Transgressive Records (17th in the US via Anti-Records). Familiars was recorded, engineered and produced by the band in their Brooklyn studio and mixed by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House) at DNA Downtown Studios. Back in 1992, Melvins’ frontman Buzz Osborne had released a solo
“Savage Gold” will arrive on June 10th via Relapse Records
EP called King Buzzo, but now he’s about to release his first LP. This Machine Kills Artists is King Buzzo’s full-length solo debut, which will be released June 3 via Ipecac. “I have no interest in sounding like a crappy version of James Taylor or a half-assed version of Woody Guthrie,” said Buzz Osborne about the 17-song offering, continuing, “which is what happens when almost every rock and roller straps on an acoustic guitar. No thanks… This Machine Kills Artists is a different kind of animal.”
Field Mouse announce debut album
rooklyn, NY’s Field Mouse will release their debut fulllength, Hold Still Life, on July 22 via Topshelf Records. The band was originally formed in 2010 by the duo Rachel Browne (vocals/guitar) and Andrew Futral (guitar/producer), but now they have expanded into a four piece, adding Saysha Heinzman on bass
and Tim McCoy on drums. Field Mouse released their first 7” single in February 2012, You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom, on Small Plates Records. This was followed in October 2012 with another 7” release, How Do You Know, through Lefse. In Spring of 2013 the band embarked on a six-week tour supporting Laura Stevenson as she played across the U.S. Upon their return from tour, the band wasted no time arranging their album. They started writing and recording
Jordan Mancino (drums), Nick Hipa(guitar), Phil Sgrosso (guitar) and Josh Gilbert (bass) of San Diego, California based metal act As I Lay Dying, have teamed up with vocalist Shane Blay (previously lead guitar/clean vocals in Oh, Sleeper) to create the new band Wovenwar. Over approximately the last year, the band completed work on new material recorded with producer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag), with mixing duties currently being handled by Colin Richardson (Slipknot, Machine Head, Trivium). White Lung are set to release their third May
the album in late 2013. For this first full-length, the band was inspired by burgeoning adulthood, social overload and isolation, life in New York, and the realization that life is going by with a terrifying swiftness (plus a handful of breakup songs to boot). Hold Still Life was co-produced by Futral and Browne. It was recorded at Seaside Lounge, Brooklyn & Let Em In, Brooklyn and mixed by Kyle Gilbride (Swearin’, Waxahatchee, Upset).
album Deep Fantasy via Domino on June 16th/17th. After a year plus of near constant touring behind Sorry (2012), White Lung slimmed to a trio in the studio; vocalist Mish Way, drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and guitarist Kenneth William. Deep Fantasy was made primarily in Vancouver with producer Jesse Gander (who did both Sorry and their 2010 debut It’s The Evil) in just two, ten day-long sessions at the end of last year and the start of this one. William handled bass duties on Deep Fantasy while Wax Idols’ Hether Fortune will take up bass and backing vocal duties on tour for the
4 years later we are going to have a new album from Electric Wizard
lectric Wizard have completed work on their new studio album, title to be confirmed. This album will be the band’s first release through Spinefarm Records. A cultural as well as a musical force, Electric Wizard have left a powerful mark in the world of doom, stoner and sludge. After a nine-year hiatus - the return of Mark Greening (the drummer on ‘Dopethrone’), who completes the line-up with Justin Oborn, guitarist
Liz Buckingham, a key member since 2003, and new bassist Clayton Burgess (Satan’s Satyrs). Fueled by strong emotion and the harder sounds of late-60s Detroit scene, the remodelled line-up are set about crafting the highly-anticipated eighth studio, with Buckingham keeping things suitably monolithic and the band generally looking back to some of their earliest influences. Toerag Studios in London was once again charged with capturing ‘The Sound’, and the raw essence that these guys bring to the equation. Justin Oborn is very clear saying “Our master plan is this. Real
metal!! We stand for rebellion, we are with the kids; we fight, puke, smoke weed, etc… Electric Wizard is an entity, with its own history, its own symbols, its own iconography, and with this new album, we wanted to return to basic values. It’s primitive. We needed to claw it back down to the evil core – sex, drugs, violence, revolution… to go back to being a band that hung out and jammed hard. No teaching songs, just feeling them out. If you jam enough and you are on the same level – artistically, musically, whatever, you gotta be committed – then good music will happen. I totally believe that…”
foreseeable future. Nu-metal heroes Linkin Park have revealed that their upcoming new album, which will be entitled The Hunting Party, will be released on June 17th 2014 via Warner Bros Records. And it seems that they are back with a guitar-focused heavier set of songs, which Mike Shinoda describes as “more visceral” than 2012′s Living Things. Shinoda tells the Pulse of Radio: “We needed to weed out a lot of the soft, emo approach to our music. We needed to weed out anything that feels
aggressive for aggression’s sake… We’re not 18-year-old kids making a loud record – we’re 37-year-old adults making a loud record.” Wreck & Reference’s new album, Want, has been slated for a June 10th release on CD, LP and Digital formats through music label The Flenser. Want was recorded by the band and mixed/mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Whirr, Loma Prieta) and sees Wreck and Reference taking a new sonic direction while maintaining their hold on experimental, electronic,
and post-metal genres: a train wreck of contradictions that is devastatingly addictive. Jack White has announced his new album Lazaretto, to be released June 10th on Third Man Records/Columbia. According to the press release, Lazaretto inhabits an exciting place in White’s expansive discography as the follow-up to 2012′s Blunderbuss, and will be preceded by first single and title track “Lazaretto,” to be released later this month.
INTRODUCING // WILD THRONE
Previously known as Dog Shredder, the Wash's trio - now as Wild Throne - has made quite a buzz with their musical mix, where the noise rock blends with progressive metal and that 90's classic scremo sound. Early this year, they released a new incredible EP titled "Blood Maker" which features the unique production of Ross Robinson. We talked with the drummer Noah Burns about this new approach of the group that seem more serious about their music. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Ryan Russell
things more seriously.
et’s start with a cliché question. What did lead you guys to start playing music together? We’ve been playing together for about five years now. Our guitar player/singer Josh and I have been playing together for about ten years, but with this current band it’s been about five years.
Previously you were under the name Dog Shredder. Why the change to Wild Throne?
We chose that name kind of randomly, because it’s outrageous and funny and we just felt like we had grown into something that it was a little more serious. We didn’t want our name to hold us back, we didn’t want to people not taking us seriously because of that name. Previously, we kind of enjoyed it and when we heard we thought “Wow, it’s gonna be a crazy grindcore band”. I didn’t know what that was gonna be, you know, but over time it just became kind of a liability. We wanted to change into something that reflected kind of our new direction of taking 18
As your new band’s name suggests, your music is majestically wild and fucking powerful. How was the process to shape your sound since you start playing together?
The process is mostly Josh who brings most of the riffs and song ideas to the table. It’s not necessarily a quick process, but it’s not essentially slow. We write things and then we record little demos on our practice space and then we move things around. Josh especially tries to pick one of our song structures and putting things in place, which it may not sound like a revelation to a lot of people, but we were previously a lot more concerned about just writing the creepiest shit we could. We don’t jam, but it’s sort of Josh bringing our gear more into the songs with our effort.
Josh’s voice elevates the songs to a whole new level in addition to the brutal way you play your instruments. How does work his lyrical process with the songs? I think the basic structure of the song comes first, but the vocal melody with the rhythms of the
vocals definitely plays with all the structure incredibly well, and then I guess the basic song structure comes first and then the vocal structure comes in second.
“Blood Maker” is an explosive and intense EP and it’s your first as Wild Throne. How was the making process to get these songs done and recorded? We recorded the songs in Los Angeles with Ross Robinson. It was pretty terrific. We’re very fond of it like At The Drive In’s Relationship of Command, he did a Glassjaw record, he did The Blood Brothers record ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn that we are fond of. He got in touch with us and said that he might work with us. So we wrote three/four songs and when we went down to Los Angeles to work with Ross, we played all the material and we worked together in kind of
“... we wanted to be wild and crazy, but also very powerful and I think the different layers of the guitar have a kind of psychedelic feel but it’s also very powerful.” stretching the songs in a different, more powerful way. This was the first time we’ve worked with a producer and so it was a really interesting process. We recorded the drums first and then we just worked on getting that kind of manic, epic sound that came out. I think we have often kind of a vision of the sound that we wanted to our unfinished product to be, like we wanted to be wild and crazy, but also very powerful and I think the different layers of the guitar have a kind of psychedelic feel but it’s also very powerful. I think that what made the songwriting and all the vision to really get along, was with the really cool analog pedals that would work the best for the EP and I think he had a great time doing it. It was a really great experience for all of us.
One of the things that caught my attention of the EP was the
amazing cover art. Who is the artist behind this artwork?
The artist name is Orion Landau. We got familiar with his work, because he did the artwork for Red Fang new album. We did a little tour with them last fall and so we get along with the guys really well. Then when we were trying to think about an artwork for our EP, the label Brutal Panda suggested him and he came up with that and we loved it.
The video for “Shadow Deserts” shows how crazy and awesome your live shows must be. If you ever come to Portugal, what can we expect from a Wild Throne live experience?
and heavy as well. We worked really hard on trying to sound as original and different as we were doing the record. It’s great.
When can we expect more new stuff from you guys? This EP was too short for our ears. We would love to record a fulllength as soon as possible. We’re waiting for everything to aline, so I mean it might take a while, but hopefully we will have something recorded by the end of this year. We’re definitely ready for it, so hopefully very soon.
I think it’s always been a goal of ours to have our live shows not only truly capture everything on the record but more. The shows are just as chaotic as it is on the record and we try to keep the songs good
“Blood Maker” EP is out now via Brutal Panda 19
ARTISTS SPEAK OUT // AARON BEAM
During a chat with of Red Fang , we asked him some quick questions and he gladly shared with us some of his favorite things... Don’t forget to catch them in September at the awesome Reverence Festival Valada Words: Andreia Alves
Favourite concert you have been That’s easy. Dinosaur Jr in Iowa, and The Jesus Lizard at the Gothic Theater in Denver, in the summer of ’91. It was before Nevermind came out.
Favourite record of all time
Oh, that’s impossible. [laughs] I’ll just say Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, because I got so much into it.
Also impossible. [laughs] Right now, today it’s the band called Yob.
Hum. [pause] I’m gonna say my favorite book in the last ten years is The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. It got me back into reading fiction. I haven’t read fiction for about 10/15 years.
Taxi Driver. I’m gonna guess that’s the most popular question. [laughs] Actually, I’m gonna change my favorite movie to The Shining.
[laughs] That one is hard too, but actually I know the answer. The beer is called Maiden. It’s only really available in Portland.
Oh my, that’s probably the hardest of all. [laughs] I’m gonna say a really good bowl of Pho, vietnamese noodle soup.
Last year favourite record
That would be Federation X record, We Do What We Must. I love it. “Whales and Leeches” is out now via Relapse Records 20
NEU // VOL.2
NEU! MARMOZETS LAS ROBERTAS POWDER BLUE GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES
MARMOZETS Where? Bingley (UK) Who? Becca Macintyre, Sam Macintyre, Jack Bottomley, Will Bottomley, Josh Macintyre For fans of: Gallows, Rolo Tomassi, Feed The Rhino, Refused
t’s quite common nowadays to find new bands where the members are really, really young, but very talented and with a promising future ahead. That’s the case of this young five piece from Britain. Marmozets started back in 2011 and it’s consisted by the brothers and sister Becca, Sam and Josh Macintyre, and also the brothers Jack and Will Bottomley. At first glance, it seems like a brotherhood band, and in fact, this union is evidenced by the undaunted attitude that the group displays. They provide a sonic blast of a perfect fusion between the classic elements of hardcore with an exemplary math technique. Becca is
impressive in the way she alternates the clean vocals with aggressive ones. The quality of the band is undeniable and their strong friendship solidifies their maturity and growing process together. Over these few years, Marmozets have already accomplished some pretty good things, like sharing stages with the likes of Funeral For a Friend, Gallows, and appearing at Download Festival, Reading and Leeds. After releasing two outstanding EPs - Passive Aggressive (2011) and Vexed (2012) - Marmozets signed with Roadrunner Records and they’re planning on releasing their first fulllength this year. “Why Do You Hate Me?” is their newest single and it’s a taste of what’s coming and what we can expect of their debut album.
NEU // VOL.2
LAS ROBERTAS Where? San José (Costa Rica) Who? Monserrat Vargas, Mercedes Oller, Fabrizio Durán For fans of: Bleached, Vivian Girls, Best Coast
tarting out as a five-piece - but reduced now to a trio - Las Robertas, led by Mercedes Oller (guitar, vocals) and Monserrat Varga (bass, vocals), joined now by drummer Fabrizio Durán, are originally from Costa Rica. Many wouldn’t believe that a sound that is “typically from California” would actually be from that paradise of a country. The band made everyone get into their music when in late 2010 they released their first album, Cry Out Loud, creating a huge buzz in the States. Their hazy lo-fi pop tunes blended with the raw garage rock which it’s matched perfectly with Mercedes’ harmony vocals. Some of
the influences of the band are outfits like Sonic Youth, Fugazi, The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, The Breeders… And that explains a lot. In the course of the last years, Las Roberts released a great cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End” and also the incredible Dissected Affair EP, which led to a year period without hearing any news from the band, until they’ve released recently a new song that will be part of their second album. “Marlene” shows a growth in the sound of the trio and their incredible indie rock vibe still amazing. This new album is titled Days Unmade and it doesn’t have a release date yet. Let’s hope it doesn’t take too long to be out.
POWDER BLUE Where? Saskatoon (Canada) Who? Shelby Gaudet, Amber Kraft, Elsa Gebremichael, Sonia Dickin For fans of: September Girls, Esben and the Witch, Crocodiles
t’s not the first time that a band is formed after an enjoyable jam session between the founder members. That’s exactly what happened to the Canadian quartet Powder Blue. Originally from Saskatoon, the group consists of the singer-songwriter and guitarist Shelby Gaudet, the drummer Amber Kraft, the keyboard player Elsa Gebremichael, and finally Sonia Dickin on bass. Together they make a blend of hazy psych rock, fuzzy shoegaze and krautrock, where Shelby’s voice is a sublime and harmonious add to the mix. Last year, Powder Blue released their first EP, Dream In Black, with six hunting and
engaging tracks, which it was considered one of the best psychedelic records of 2013 by some. We couldn’t agree more, but there’s something else in the sound of the group that leaves us intrigued. The quartet has revealed that they are back in the studio working on the first full-length and had recently shared a new single called “Run”. There’s a much more vivid and intense approach on this song, and the atmosphere created is truly impressive. The band shows more grip and what’s about to come in future songs. Besides that, Powder Blue are about to cross the ocean and play for the first time in Europe, since they will be attending The Great Escape in UK.
NEU // VOL.2
GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES Where? San Francisco (EUA) Who? Karyn Crisis For fans of: Chelsea Wolfe, Black Mare, Emma Ruth Rundle
ou may know the iconic Karyn Crisis from her NYC experimental metal band Crisis - who disbanded in 2006 - and currently she sings for Ephel Duath. Trying to find her own path in a solo music project, Karyn has started working on her solo project Gospel Of The Witches and as she said “I decided to name the band, rather than use my own name, because this is not a continuation of Crisis; it’s a continuation of my life story and experiences.” On her solo journey, Karyn has on board Ephel Duath’s Davide Tiso, who has written the songs and helped in the conceiving of this project. The first song to be revealed was “The
Ascent”, a raw demo version that came along with a 2-minute video created by both artists. This song will be on the upcoming album and it’s the first taste of the atmospheric direction that Karyn will have in her new songs. Gospel of the Witches’ lineup consists on a compelling group of musicians: Ephel Duath’s Davide Tiso on guitar and bass, Immolation’s Ross Dolan on vocals, and Intronaut’s Danny Walker on drums. Tombs frontman Mike Hill will also make a guest appearance. Karyn has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund her debut solo album, which it is scheduled to be recorded in June with producer Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me).
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INTERVIEW // JOHNNY FOREIGNER
When in 2011 Alexei Berrow stated that he wasn't sure if there would be another Johnny Foreigner album, it sounded kind of alarming for the fans of the Birmingham quartet. But after all, he had changed his mind and a great record was made. You Can Do Better is the new album of the group and it shows how strong and focus they are with their music. We talked with Alexei himself about this new effort and much more.
Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Steve Gerrard
read that you weren’t sure if you wanted to make the “Johnny Foreigner vs Everything” follow-up record. What did make change your mind?
A perfect storm of adding Lewes, a modified mindset for writing lyrics, some people I hold dear putting their faith in me. It just felt-wrong, then over the course of a week felt-right. I sort of don’t want to try and explain the magic so I can still be amazed by it.
Before the release of this new LP, you had released a series of EPs. Did those EPs help you out to get the inspiration needed to make “You Can Do Better”?
We only ended up making one before album-fever got us, but nah, not really. I think the desire would have erupted whatever our previous release schedule was...
How was the making and recording process for “You Can Do Better”?
“...it’s much more of a pe emotion, a constant brain r best human being you
Easy! We made it in an old friend’s studio and our own with no real time limits and no one’s opinions or input but our own. Probably the most stress free recording sessions ever.
falliable than your soul. Like, you can do better than just thinking ‘I can do better’, this all makes sense in my head.
As the title album’s suggest, people can do better and you guys surely do better with each release. What was the inspiration behind this LP?
The first single from this record, “Stop Talking About Ghosts”, is a catchy and powerful song. What can you tell us about how this song came about?
I’m kind of fascinated by the duality of it; you say it to someone meaning you can get a better girlfriend or house or job or whatever; it’s always an implied external Thing. And like, what if you can’t? What if you are arrogantly assuming you deserve something you don’t? That’s what I mean by ‘you can do better’, it’s much more of a personal, internal emotion, a constant brain retuning to be the best human being you could be and accepting your environment as no more 28
It’s a kind of grotty horrible song about, well, groupies I guess; sleeping with girls because your are in a Band-Guy. Which, I should first say, none of us do, but part of the idea of these lyrics was to pretend to be other versions of me and find angles in that to tell the stories I wanted to instead of straight up writing about my life like the last 3 records; there’s a lot of truth in tales about fools.
With “You Can Do Better”, it feels like it’s your way to show how strong and focused your music became. How
ersonal, internal retuning to be the u could be...” do you feel this record marks your journey as a band? I really can’t answer that, I’m too involved to be objective. I’d like to think, like you say, strong and focused, but time only will tell if we’re right or it was just a freak occurrence!
What do you think it differs the most between this new record and the previous one? It’s louder. Waaaaay louder. It’s shorter and there’s way less electronics and acoustics and it’s not as lyrically autobiographical,
but mostly, louder.
What are your upcoming tour plans for this year?
Just finished our UK promo tour, leaving for Europe in 4 hours! Festivals in summer, South Africa in autumn, more UK shows. I don’t know, planning is for wimps and adults, right now we feel like neither.
What do you guys usually do together when you’re not playing music? [laughs] Nothing! We probably
spend more time in each others company than any normal group of friends would anyway, so it doesn’t feel like we miss each other, so the downtime we do have is pretty much reserved for relationships or work.
What has been in your record player lately?
Modern Baseball, Golden Gurls, Kitty Pryde... “You Can Do Better” is out now via Alcopop
GET INVOLVED! It's always great when members from distinct bands get together to form a new supergroup, and that's exactly what happened with New York's Get Involved!. This mindblowing supergroup composed by Brian Deneeve (From Autumn To Ashes), Todd Weinstock (Glassjaw), Tucker Rule (Thursday), Derrick Karg (Death in the Park) and Marcus Russell Price. We got the opportunity to talk with Todd, who guided us through the world of his new project. Words: Andreia Alves
Do you feel that the hardcore/punk scene has changed a lot since you started making music back in 1994?
ou guys have been long standing friends, have all toured with one another and collaborated on music together, but now you formed a new band together. What did motivate you to form this band? We’ve all been in different bands and we all have been friends over the years. I toured with Brian of From Autumn To Ashes before. We toured in 2004. Tucker is another friend that we did shows and toured together. We always talked about doing a band together for many years and it never really made sense until now. We all kept in touch and we were like “Let’s do it!”.
Yeah, absolutely. Definitely because of the internet. When I started, I grew up in the New York and Long Island hardcore scenes. The information moved a lot slower and I only would find out about shows because my friends would give me a handmade flyer, you know, and I had to go to the local record store to find out what was going on. Now there’s so much flow of information, it’s so quick and there’s so much stuff out there that it’s harder to find quality I think. It’s like how do you get someone to pay attention - even if it’s good or bad - or to even find stuff that’s good, because it takes so much time just to see through all the extra, extra stuff. And I think it’s a lot further, like in the 90’s or even in the 2000’s it was still kind of close to like being exceptional on punk/ hardcore. Now it’s been like a lot of stuff has been bastardized to the point of like the most low down metalcore or like the past has become pop and then become mixed with dubstep. [laughs] I’m all for creativity obviously, I’m definitely not like a grassroots hardcore by any means, but you know what I mean.
You had to manage time to form this band. Is it easier to manage the time now?
It’s going better and easier. It’s becoming more real now that the music is out and it was really hard, because we’re not 18 years old punks practicing at our parents’ basement anymore. Everybody’s gotten really
INTERVIEW // GET INVOLVED! adult responsibilities. Brian and Tucker were touring as a sort of backup band for The Wanted, the boy band from the UK. That’s coming to close now, because The Wanted is suspended after this tour and that gives more time. We’re taking it as it comes. I think we’re gonna do some extended tour in this summer and hopefully people will like what they hear. So far they have, but it’s only been out a week. If the demand comes, we will capitalize on it.
You guys share common influences that range from punk, rock to hardcore, metal - which it comes from your other bands. So how was the process of getting the sound of Get Involved!? Was it something that you had already in mind?
I think it was pretty natural, because we all come from heavy music, hardcore scene. We’re all like diverse into every kind of music, aggressive or not. I’m a DJ also, I’m really into some dance music like new wave. I think we all just brought our different sides and it only happened naturally. We talked about what we wanted to do, like something with a little dark energy, a thing like new wave kind of influence like crooner singer, but not too much talking about it. It’s was like “Hey you wanna do this? I have this idea.” and then it kind of evolved into what it is. There’s some stuff out there... well, not out there, just recorded on our phones that... growing pains to get to where we are now. [laughs] It was definitely a bitter of a process, but still I don’t think we’re even there yet. This is just the beginning. I think it just gonna get better.
Last year, you had launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund your debut EP. What did lead you to start this campaign?
Most of us have been through really bad experiences one way or the other through major labels and through having to listen to what other people tell us, that they don’t know what they’re talking about... It’s just about the bigger goal and it doesn’t really benefit the artist, but some corporate guy with a cigar and a pickle. You know what I mean, we just wanted to do it on our terms and not have to answer to anyone, just directly with the fans. It was a risk. We didn’t know that people were going to support us or not. It was 32
really a big risk, because we didn’t have music yet and we weren’t even an established thing which it was just like “Hey you, if you liked what we did in the past in our older bands, now we got a new one. Do you trust us?”. The fans came through and it’s amazing. It felt really good and then we were able to not go to a major label not necessarily that we could have this time around. It’s a different time in music, but we wanted to try it this way and the Kickstarter thing didn’t exist until the last few years, so it’s like a new territory. It was definitely one of the most stressful months in life though. [laughs] It started out really strong, and then in the middle of three weeks was very... We didn’t know if we were gonna make it, because if you don’t get everything, you don’t get anything. And then it came through in the last week, so yeah, it was very stressful. [laughs]
Yeah, I imagine it! After all, you had a successful campaign which is really cool. Now the fans can get to know the band better. Thank you! It’s exciting and it’s finally happening. It’s been a long slow process to get the record out. We’re becoming more active.
You had worked previously with Ross Robinson and he worked with you guys in this new EP. How was to work with him again in a different project?
It was amazing. I worked with a bunch of producers before but he was my first experience with Glassjaw, in the first two records, and then working on some other projects between Men, Women & Children and worked with a bunch of different producers since, and they’re all really great experiences but I always prefer Ross as high regard as like this is my ultimate recording experience. [laughs] I always kept in touch with Ross too and we became really good friends, and when this came together it was always like “Hey, maybe we could actually go work with Ross.” We sent him early demos and we were keeping in touch about the project. And finally one day I was like “We have to record in this time period. Are you into it or not?”, and he was like “Do it! Let’s do a Kickstarter campaign”. It was actually his idea and so we did it. We went in the studio and it was amazing. As I remember, it was like “I’m back!”. It was a great experience that we went through and I’m glad
that we shared with the rest of the guys. It’s not like anything else, because he’s so focused on the meaning of the songs and the psychological aspect, getting really deep into the actual vibe in the studio and most like anything technical. He just breaks down everything just to the direct meaning and everything surround it falls in place because of that.
What about the songwriting process between you guys? How does it usually work?
It’s a pretty diplomatic process, like some bands have one or two main songwriters. I think is pretty diplomatic, like I’ll come in with a riff for an idea or Brian will. Usually it’s from the two of us the start, because we’re guitarists and we do the guitar basis, obviously. And then we start jamming and add stuff to it. It’s hard to say, because it’s different every time, but that’s kind of where the roots of it are and it just keeps moving and evolving. Vocals are last usually, once the structure is finished and then we just keep on playing and playing and changing it until it’s ready.
Were the five tracks of “Silk Cuts” written during or before the Kickstarter campaign?
It was kind of during it. It was kind of like we were hanging and we were writing. We had probably ten songs in total. There’s a few songs that we were fooling around on a demo that we did and we didn’t really release, but we put a song or two in the Kickstarter that really show us in our baby stages and those songs got much better since then. We didn’t record them just because they didn’t make the cut yet, but I think they would make the cut on the next record which it’s interesting. We did early songs and they weren’t good enough for this EP, but now they’re good enough. It’s all evolving. [laughs] It’s all in process. The songs were done around the same time where it was starting to get really intense. We basically finished writing as we were going to Ross’ and then one song that went in was half done and we were like “Oh, I don’t know what to do with this, let’s just work it out with Ross”. “Apathy” - the fourth song of the EP - was totally different before we got into the studio.
“Most of us have been through really bad experiences one way or the other through major labels... It’s just about the bigger goal and it doesn’t really benefit the artist, but some corporate guy with a cigar and a pickle.” Do you have more songs in the works or are you gonna take time to tour a bit?
We have more songs coming on the horizon. We actually played a new song live, that we wrote since Silk Cuts and then we have a few more demos that are almost done. We’re gonna do a lot more writing later in the spring and then tour becomes the main priority again.
So do you think that you’ll maybe release a full-length later this year or the next year? Yeah, that’s the goal. People want a full-length, because that’s the thing, it must be interesting for the full-length these days. It’s not like it was before. You need a lot of attention spent to release a full album. I don’t even remember the last full album that I’m seeking out, I have to be really excited about the band and that sucks.
The cover artwork for “Silk Cuts” seems like a scene from a movie. What can you tell me about that? Our bassist Marcus, he’s also a graphic designer and he made the artwork. He presented it to us and we all liked the imagery. It’s from a
1975’s movie called The Ghoul, by Freddie Francis.
One thing that I read about you guys is that you love playing live shows and that’s a thing you have to do when you write songs. What can we expect from a Get Involved! live experience?
A lot of energy. Even though we’re old, we still got a lot of energy. [laughs] It’s a cathartic experience I’d say. It’s a good representation of what we do. I think is catharsis for everyone and that’s why we still do it. We’ve all played a lot of different music, we’ve all done a lot of different things and we always come back around to play in this kind of world and it feels really good. So yes, catharsis, if you want one word. [laughs]
What can you tell me about tour plans for this year?
We’re coming in two weeks to London. It’s kind of like a test to test out the waters because the record just came out and it’s a free show. If everything goes well, hopefully in the summer to fall we’re gonna do a proper European tour. It’s all like baby steps right
now, but I would love to do a festival this summer, it would be amazing. It’s possible, but I think we’re kind of on the line of like the record just came out and we don’t know if we can jump on and know what’s gonna be the next year. But I definitely think that we’re gonna make it there in the late summer to fall.
What have you been listening to lately?
Let me think about that one. [laughs] I listen to a lot of dance music, personally. There’s a guy named Cyril Hahn who makes a kind of dark house music that I really like right now and he’s from Vancouver, Canada. In the heavy music world, I always listen to Deftones, the all catalog. [laughs] Touché Amoré, they are like a new generation that kind of borrows a lot of the stuff that we did in the past but it has a new twist on it. They have good stuff.
“Silk Cuts” EP is out now via Redfield Records 33
ONLY CRIM 34
Formed by Good Riddance’s singer, Russ Rankin, and Bane’s guitarist, Aaron Dalbec, Only Crime is a punk/hardcore supergroup, or at least that’s what we’re used to call this kind of projects. With Bill Stevenson (former Black Flag’s drummer), Matt Hoffman (Moder Life Is War’s guitarist) and Dan Kelly (on the bass, also playing on The Frisk and Tegan and Sara), completing the lineup, the band returns now to release their third album, Pursuance, seven years after releasing Virulence. Russ Rankin talked with us on the phone to let us know what to expect of this new album and the band in general. Words: Tiago Moreira
INTERVIEW // ONLY CRIME So I would go out there and sing as much as songs possible. Then send the takes to the other members to see what they thought about it.
ou guys started working on this new album in 2008, a year after releasing “Virulence”. Why did it take six years to release this new album? That’s a good question. We’re all really busy guys and we don’t live in the same town and we had just things coming up our way, stopping us to getting together and just shot the record.
Things changed a little bit, sound wise. It’s seems that’s more solid than ever. Would you agree on that?
I think that this album is more cohesive. Sometimes in the past, even though I like the other albums, I think that certain songs sound a little bit derivative of our other bands. This album is very singular, very linear. It sounds like Only Crime, it doesn’t sound like my band or somebody else’s band.
Did you go to Bill Stevenson’s studio, in Colorado, to record this new album just like you did in the past with the previous albums? The creative process was pretty much the same or it was different, this time around? Yeah, that’s where we rehearse and where we practice, did the demos and there’s also where we recorded. It was the same as far as us going to Bill’s studio and stay three, four or five days, and just play music all day long trying to have ideas, record those ideas (demos) and me trying to come out with some lyrics. This time it was a little bit difficult because of all the obstacles that we had and the scheduling issues (because we are all so busy), so the process took a quite bit long that normally does.
This is the first album to introduce Matt Hoffman (guitarist, also playing on Modern Life Is War) and Dan Kelly (bassist, also playing on The Frisk and Tegan and Sara) as members of Only Crime. In what way this lineup change affected the band and what was the impact of Dan and Matt on this album? I think that Matt brought a lot to the songwriting process; he’s got a really cool guitar style. He and Bill clicked together right away and Matt was really the driving force behind a lot of the basic concepts of these songs, and then Dan brought a lot to the recording process because he’s an engineer. He and Bill were trading tips and tricks on how to use Pro-Tools and Dan is also a pretty good singer and songwriter. We had a lot of people contributing to the different aspects of the music. Dan wasn’t just writing bass parts, he was contributing with vocal ideas and guitar parts; Matt was contributing with drum ideas for Bill… It was a really cool process.
How about the recording process?
It was very long and it all happened at different times. It was not the way we normally record but because of the time that we had available to us, we did the best that we could. So it would be: Bill and I or Bill and Matt or Bill and Matt and Aaron all together. I went out maybe three different trips; it took me those three times to do all the vocals. 36
Did you make an effort, once again, to keep the focus on the music than rather where the lyrics are? I mean, you said that you learned, with Good Riddance, that sometimes writing political based lyrics is not the best of ideas because of all the labeling the band receives and sometimes you can misrepresent the other members of the band. That’s right. I kept the same idea for this record. The lyrics for Only Crime – I hope they’re good lyrics, I think they are – by design, they’re very interpretational and they are meant to complement the music not to stomp all over it, so hopefully it’s an accompaniment, a counter-melody to what the guys are playing, but I’m hoping that my lyrics don’t stomp, don’t take over the record. Because I’m not writing political lyrics or lyrics about a certain event, it’s really difficult to talk about it other than conceptually. My lyrics for Only Crime are meant to be an accompaniment, a melodic element of the band, almost like a fifth instrument. They’re not really supposed to be about one thing although what I’ve experienced, from other bands that kinda write that way and what people have told me about Only Crime’s songs is that any amount of a person’s own experiences, they can interpret Only Crime’s lyrics several different ways. Which I think is kinda cool.
Why did you guys choose to leave Fat Wreck Chords, a label you’ve been a part of almost your entire music career, to work now with Rise Records?
Because we had new guys in the band and it has been a long time since we have put anything out, we wanted to try something new. So, we sent songs around to different people that we knew and Rise Records was the most enthusiastic right away. It seemed a good idea for us, to try something new, and Craig [Ericson, Rise Records’ founder] was really stoked on the album and that made us feel good. He has a lot of really cool ideas… A lot of us are old and we have been putting out records a long time and Craig figured out a way to sell the albums and have a successful label at a time when a lot of labels are not doing so well. It has been really a breath of fresh air for us to hear somebody else’s ideas and to be able to kind of roll with that.
Only Crime is a more laid-back band in terms of schedule. Do you feel comfortable operating in such way or would you want to operate in a more consistent way?
I would love to be able to play more but it’s not realistic and it’s not something that I think will ever change. When we started the band we knew that it was going to be this way. It’s something that we have always known, that we would have to deal with it and it’s something that we made peace with. We knew, when the band started, that everyone was playing in different bands. Bill had a very busy schedule (playing and producing), so we would just do the best that we could. With this new release we really wanted to focus on playing as much as we can because we don’t have a lot of time, there aren’t a lot of places on the calendar where all the five of us are available so we needed to make sure that we would grab those times and do something special.
I guess there’s a good side of not playing live, for example, that often. People will see it like an event, like something they can’t miss.
“I think that labeling bands is something that we kinda have to do, especially if we’re working in a business of writing about an album or promoting it... I’m not even sure how to categorize Only Crime. I don’t really care if I have to, to be honest. It’s heavy music...” That’s definitely a way to look at it. I don’t know what the demand is for Only Crime, our shows and our tours. I have never been that successful but we always had people that really, really like us so I don’t know if we are that popular. But maybe we will be now. I don’t know. But yeah, I understand what you’re saying. I think it can work out to your favor where people will think, “Well, I don’t know when they’re going to play again so I don’t wanna miss it.”
Are you comfortable with the “melodic hardcore” label that is often associated with Only Crime? Not really, but there’s nothing that we can do about it. I think that labeling bands is something that we kinda have to do, especially if we’re working in a business of writing about an album or promoting it… They have to put in this sort of box or category. Some bands are ok with that and some bands aren’t. I think it’s subjective. Depending on you, what music do you like, how did you grew
up, what bands you listen to and sometimes depends on your age… A band is good. They are going to categorize a band in different ways, so… I’m not even sure how to categorize Only Crime. I don’t really care if I have to, to be honest. It’s heavy music, it’s not metal…
It’s not pop but it has tons of great melodies. It’s not really experimental music but it has that side too… It’s all part of our plan to avoid success. [laughs]
How are things with Good Riddance? I know that you guys are playing live now…
Everything is great. Actually it has been a lot of fun. We had time to play a few shows and we are going to see how that works out. We got really positive responses. It’s been really cool to be able to play shows without the pressure of a full-time band. Everybody has other stuff to do. All the other guys have kids, marriages, family and careers,
aside from music. So, when we take away the pressures that we were sort of playing under and just play for fun… It’s definitely a different feeling. At this point in our lives I think we all recognize how fortunate we are to be able to do it, and how fortunate we are to have fans that are so passionate about it.
So, you are not thinking about writing new material, right? Just having fun.
Actually, we’re thinking about it. I think that’s the natural progression. If you put guys in a room long enough, playing the same songs, they’re going to get sick of those songs and they will want to write something new. But yeah, we don’t have a schedule like before.
“Pursuance” will arrive on May 13th via Rise Records 37
The UK has been a gr and fatty riffs. From th funny ride. Black Sab out of the fuckinâ€™ crib. sludge/doom/stoner ba phone with Rob Hoey (
reat source of pleasure and pain for all of us, the ones who enjoy heavy, slow he early days of the gods (read Black Sabbath) to 2014 it has been a long and bbath’s bastards are everywhere. Limb just happens to be the new kid getting This new “kid” has personality and character – they’re more than just a simple and –, and that is more than enough for us so we had the pleasure of talk on the (lead singer) about everything Limb, including their new self-titled debut album. Words: Tiago Moreira
INTERVIEW // LIMB guess its fantasy lyrics, let’s call them. [laughs] I would say that there’s a lot of symbolism in there, you know? But there’s no overall kind of like agenda to them. In that sense, they are kind of fantastical.
Was it hard for you? I mean, starting to write more “serious” stuff.
an you tell us how Limb got together and the background of each member in the band?
Limb got together in 2011. Jodi, who is the drummer, decided that he wanted to start a kind of heavy band and got together with Sam, the bass player, who is a… What they do? Jodi is from the North of England and she works as a teacher; Sam also works as a teacher, he gives lectures; Pat, who is the guitar player, works in the media; and I do sort of comedy, the band, and I also work in printing…
Really? Stand up comedy?
Yeah. This week I’m actually performing in Glasgow. I perform all over the place doing stand up comedy, which is quite cool. People often say “You’re very cool”, and I’m like “Thanks for noticing.” So yeah, we just came together, they put an advert out for a singer, ‘cause they were all kind of friends before, and then I just respond to the advert, show up and we started the band. And then we had these kind of songs and stuff together, but we kind of changed it when we got the vocals going. Yeah, we started from there. Just kind of organic… It wasn’t hard or anything.
I need to skip a few questions and ask you: how is it for a comedian to write lyrics for a band like Limb?
It’s nice for me because it’s escapism… Normally, when I’m writing and stuff, it’s pretty stupid when I’m doing my comedy, and writing lyrics for the band is great ‘cause I can do kind of serious, dark kind of stuff. I guess is always got a kind of… I was going to say political edge, but it’s not really political. I supposed that with the comedy that I write it’s trying to weave a kind of odd narrative or story through it somewhere, you know what I mean? Yeah the lyrics are manly… [pause] I suppose it has a rich visual kind of style in terms of writing. Imagery… conjuring imagery with the lyrics and stuff. I 40
No, it was easy. Normally I’m just doing jokes and bits… I suppose that I’ve always had a desire to write something more serious and rather than doing that in kind of performance sense, with acting or something like that, it’s nice to do it with the band. The music lends itself for that anyway, so once you hear what the guys are doing with the music… It’s easy.
How was the creative process for the album? The opener, “Daemoness”, and “Gift Of The Sun” were already included in your previous releases. Would you say that this full-length is a collection of the best Limb’s songs until now?
Not really. Basically we put our “Gift Of The Sun” and the demo, and really quickly the label said, “Look man, we want an album. You need to do an album”. Ok, cool! We kind of got these songs like… Because we’re signed so quickly I think we used a couple of those previous songs because no one heard them that much anyway. The majority of the album is kind of new; we just had to write quickly. Well, when I say quickly that’s not quite true… We just put a lot of time into the rehearsal room. It was kind of difficult because you know, we had to work fast, but all came together easy. We didn’t have many songs that we threw away. Overall the creative process was good.
I couldn’t help to notice that this record isn’t just a collection of pure sludge/doom/stoner. There are some little details that give the album a little twist. Do you agree?
Yeah! When we started out it was much more like “Hey, who do you like?” and with that trying to find a common ground. Some of the initial songs may have sound slightly more “doom by numbers”. But you know, when you start to hang around with these people more and more, when you meet them, you start to ask them, “What else do you listen to?” and all of the sudden you discover that people in the band like Sepultura, T.Rex, just like
you. We like a lot of diverse stuff, we don’t listen to just doom or sludge… Especially Pat, he loves Slint and stuff like that.
Funny that you mentioned Slint because it seems that you guys are using some dynamics that Slint were using, you know? But we can’t say that Limb’s music has that pure post-rock element…
No. It’s kind of like a mixture… Pat doesn’t just play the guitar, like heavy. He knows how to add a little bit of melody in there. When we were writing the album that was just something that we wanted to do… The nice thing about writing this album was, unlike other albums that were written with other bands, we really got a chance of take our time and write. We really thought about our influences and what was coming into the next song. We also wanted to make an overall flow to the album. Like the first two songs, one flow to the next one… We wanted the all album to kind of flow as a whole. I think there is some pressure in this genre. You need to write “true doom”, or something stupid like that. We aren’t those kind of people. We never wanted to be those people and we don’t want to fit in that “true doom” scene… I mean, we love that too but we just know that in our hearts that we aren’t capable of push away the other type of influences. I guess it’s the case of you trying to stay true to yourself.
How was it, the recording process?
We went to a place in Leeds to record the album. We spent like a week up there… I remember of travelling back and forth because I had a comedy festival, so I was jumping in and out. I think we recorded the album in a week or two… maybe a week and a half. It was a quick process but we were working like 12 hours per day. It’s kind of raw because we wanted to go there and just pound the album out.
Richey Beckett (Metallica, Mastodon, Baroness, Kvelertak) is the responsible for the album’s artwork. It seems that you guys really care with this aspect of a record, the visual aspect. What can you tell us about that? When we started out we’re asking ourselves what kind of image
“...we don’t want to fit in that “true doom” scene… I mean, we love that too but we just know that in our hearts that we aren’t capable of push away the other type of influences.” we wanted. We decided that we wanted like old, biblical, engraving kind of style. So we kind of looked at some work; there’s one guy called Harry Clarke and there’s another guy called Gustave Doré, two guys that we love. We initially had like a big picture of like an anatomical heart, the one from the demo, and then after that we kind of like experiment that kind of imagery and just stuck with us, it spoke to us a little bit. On the Gift Of The Sun EP, we actually did that ourselves, that one. Then we have re-release the demo and a guy drew the reworking of the demo. With the album, the label asked who did we want to create the artwork and obviously we said Richey Beckett. We were thinking like, “Man, this guy is really, really good. He’s gonna be so far out of our price range”. Well, we tried and we asked him if he could draw something for our dumbass little band. [laughs] The next thing you know he’s there working with us. To be honest, we couldn’t believe it. You know, he’s one of those people
that irritate you because you can’t even imagine how he’s even begun to start doing that. I can’t even understand the concept of putting pen to paper and being able to do what he does. He’s incredible. And obviously the inside is shot by a friend of ours… It’s great. It’s really nice to be able to work with people who want to create that piece as well. The all thing feels like a collaboration of creative people that are coming together to work in just one piece. It’s not just the music.
How does it feel playing live Limb’s music?
It’s really good because it’s so bass heavy and stuff. You’re really out there blasting… How does it feel?
reflect and pick on people. With music is like… you’re just in the moment, you know? You’re not really thinking about it, you’re just going with it. With Limb is really good because we don’t stop between songs. We just leave, between songs, feedback loops or something like that. We just try to build atmosphere the all time. We’re not stopping and I’m going, “Hey, you in the front row…”
It’s awful, at least most of the times, when bands do that.
Yeah. We don’t do that for two reasons: sometimes it can be lame and if I started doing it, I wouldn’t stop so the band doesn’t let me do it. [laughs]
I’m asking because you have the experience of being on stage doing comedy too. I mean, doing stand up comedy seems to be really difficult but playing music must be a little bit easier. It’s different. When you’re doing comedy on stage you can stop,
“Limb” is out now via Witch Hunter Records 41
INTERVIEW // HELMS ALEE
have shown us over the years how interesting and impressive their music is, and how a thrill each record released is. They recently put out a new album titled "Sleepwalking Sailor", but to get this album out they went through a tough situation. With no label and with a bunch of songs under their belts, they appealed for the help of the fans on a Kickstarter campaign, which it was well succeeded. Ben Verellen told us all about the conceiving of the most aggressive and brutal record of the band of the date. Words: Andreia Alves // Photo: Ryan Russell
No, we felt like it was a long shot. We had a full blown plan B in mind, assuming we would probably fall short of the goal. The response was amazing. It really lifted us out of the funk we were in from losing the support of Hydrahead.
In 2012, you found yourselves without a label. Did that affect your plans for releasing new material?
“Sleepwalking Sailor” is your third record and it’s your first release with your new label, Sargent House. How did you get in touch with them?
label, which exceeded the desired goal. Were you expecting such great help from your fans?
ow has been 2014 for you so far?
Too much work. Too much fun. Too much of everything, but it’s been a pretty exciting year so far.
Yeah, we didn’t know what we would do with the songs we had spent the last 3 years working on. It was a scary situation.
When did you start working on this new record?
We just always get together a couple times a week and work on songs. It wasn’t as focused as working on a new record, more just working on music in general. Then we looked at the 16 or so songs we had going and decided to firm it up and make a record of it.
You did a Kickstarter campaign to help you out releasing your new record through your own 42
Chris Common, who engineered the record, was living at Sargent House and he slipped a copy of the rough mixes to Cathy there. She loved it, and that was it.
How was the whole creative process of making “Sleepwalking Sailor”?
Just a bunch of time spent split between goofing off and stretching our minds and muscles trying to come up with songs. Everyone contributes. Most of the ideas come to be while the three of us are together in a room. Not much comes in mind from outside our practice space.
Do you feel that your way of approaching the songwriting process has changed over the years?
No, it’s always been this way. I hope that never changes.
What was the inspiration behind this new record? It was over 3 years working on these songs so it’s hard to pinpoint a direct inspiration. So much happened over that time. There were deaths amongs friends/family, breakups, new relationships. The songs are made up from a brew of three of ours lives. Sometimes a single song will have ideas that come from 3 totally different places that somehow meld into something that makes sense. It’s kind of weird that way.
“Sleepwalking Sailor” is probably the most aggressive
“So much happened over that time. There were deaths amongs friends/family, breakups, new relationships. The songs are made up from a brew of three of ours lives.” and angry record of yours. What do you think it differs more between this record and the previous ones?
I can’t say why that is. But I agree, it did turn out a little more aggressive. I don’t know. Growing up is stressful. Maybe that’s in there somewhere?
You’ve worked with Chris Common on the recording process. How was it like to work with him? Chris did an incredible job. He’s super creative and also didn’t let much slip through the cracks. We are really proud of the job he did.
“Sleepwalking Sailors” artwork is totally awesome and the way
your band’s name is in the monster’s teeth is amazing. Who did create this artwork?
Aaron John Gregory of the band, Giant Squid, did that badass work. Those guys have been buddies for years and he’s such a talented artist. I hope we can work with him again.
Last month, you were on tour with Russian Circles and KEN Mode, in USA. How was it?
It was great! We were thrilled to travel with our buddies. It was a great tour. Lots of new friends made, and was good playing the new record.
been a goal for the band for a long time. Really psyched to get out there.
Which record or bands are you into lately?
I’ve been jamming the shit out of Jay Reatard Blood Visions, Sandrider Godhead, Young Widows - all of their records - , and Devo Hardcore Devo - they’re coming to Seattle this summer to play this record, and I am psyched!
Are you planning on doing a European tour this year?
Looks like it’s going to happen. It’s www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
“Sleewalking Sailors” is out now via Sargent House 43
PUNK AUTHENTICITY IS SERVED AGAIN
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named “Firsst g in th e m o s n rk he by surprise wer Black Flag and Circle Jewas n e k ta s a w d s), the punk worlOFF!, which featured form Burning Brideey’re still , 0 f 1 o 0 t s 2 ri a in it k u c g a d e nd r, th back!!! B by a band caDllimitri Coats (frontman awe love. Four years lateC d e p p ro d s oats on the a t h a ri it it th w EPs w d im g n n D u t lo o h a s g , k u o n a c wh pu d Years”. Wethe band’s discography. 0’s hardcorelb Keith Morris th te 8 s t a e e W “ w , s t m a u f give us back ready to release a new aably the darkest record o strong and about what’s quite prob Words: Tiago Moreira hone to talk
D INTERVIEW // OFF!
imitri, you are the manager of Flag, the manager of OFF!, the producer of OFF!, you write the music in OFF!, you are the guitarist, vocalist and producer on Burning Brides, and at the top of all of that you are a Family Man with two young children. How the hell do you find time to do all this stuff and be awesome at it?
It’s just sort of something that I obsess about regardless, you know? If I wasn’t managing the band I would sort of be taking on a lot of those roles anyway, so I might as well get paid for it. [laughs] I think it’s good to have a personal touch and it’s good to talk. Like when somebody, who is in the band, is talking directly to the fans on social media, etc. And also, being in the band and being on the road, and seeing in the first hand how things can be improved or whatever… That’s important. It’s like having a general in the trenches.
I have this feeling that the partnership between you and Keith Morris works so damn good because you guys bring something fresh to each other’s table. Am I right? I mean, you didn’t grow up going to see hardcore punk shows, and there’s also the age difference.
Yeah. I think the age difference is somewhat irrelevant. We’re just really good friends. We were always that way before OFF!, we never considered to be in a band together, so this all thing took us by surprise. I think if we weren’t in a band together we would still go out having a lunch together and visit record stores… You know, we’re buddies. That’s really the secret to the band. It’s not so much that we set out to create classic punk rock. It just sort of happened. In the process, I think we took each other out of our comfort zone, a little bit, and push each other to be better and to sort of hit a certain target that we were after.
Yeah! I mean, it was a challenge to write punk rock songs for you at first, right? Not really. That’s the thing. I took it like a fish in the water. I come a little bit more from a heavy, Sabbath based rock. That kind of mentality and attitude spread out 46
faster. I do just the way… Well, I had to learn how to play with my right hand as everything is down strokes, but once I got the hang of that, and it took me about a day to get used to that, all the stuff started to coming out of me, it’s like the equivalent of starting with a luxury Sedan, most of year, and then changing to a beat up Volkswagen, or something.
So, it was surprising to see how comfortable you were playing punk rock.
Yeah. I mean, there have been a lot of surprises with this band. I didn’t think it would be so well received, and I didn’t think that I would be so accepted in that world, by a lot of heroes of the genre. The fact that I didn’t come from punk rock or hardcore, was really… exciting to a lot of people, because I didn’t show up with any baggage and it’s like a really naive approach to what I’m doing, almost like I don’t exactly know what I’m doing. That’s the way a lot of that stuff was invented, you know? A lot of the music Keith and I are inspired by is the same. He’s really into a lot of that classic rock stuff that I grew up loving. T. Rex, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Beatles, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple… all that stuff. He expresses himself with those influences in a different way I did… I went more with a Nirvana route and he went more with the punk rock route. It’s the same way that 6.20-6.35. It’s not a big stretch.
Let’s talk about the new record, “Wasted Years”. What can you tell us about the writing process? There was a different approach this time around?
This record, way more than any of the other records… I would say that there was a vision for, right of the back. We knew that the artwork was going to be mostly black, for the first time, and we knew that the writing would affect that. We knew that we’re, most likely, record on our rehearsal space. As a producer, I pushed everything in that direction. So the subject matter and the riffs, everything…
Yeah, everything seems darker in this record, more influence by Black Sabbath.
Yeah, that’s what we were listening to. We knew that we would make that kind of record so we just… Keith has on a big Black Sabbath
“I think if we weren’t in a band together we would still go out having a lunch together and visit record stores… You know, we’re buddies.”
kick, I was listening to a lot of Bad Brains and somewhere in the middle we came up with these songs.
It seems there’s a sort of urgency to strip down things to the essential. Would you agree? Yeah, absolutely. That’s why the songs are so short and as Keith says, “It’s all about stripping the fat away”.
You were used, with Burning Brides, to write songs that had at least always three minutes of duration. Now that you are writing songs that are most of the times under one minute running time… It must have been a huge challenge for you, right? Not like a challenge that was difficult, just like a fun challenge. Sort of like those cooking shows, like Top Chef, or the fashion
shows… They call it the “quick fire challenges”. Maybe I’m used to painting with a lot of colors and all of the sudden someone handed me like a magic marker and a piece of paper and says “You don’t get a canvas anymore, you don’t have any brushers. You have five minutes to draw something on this piece of paper”. It’s more that feeling. I mean, I can still draw but you have to express yourself in a different way. There are way more limitations to this style of music… Like, “You can’t do that!” You know, it’s funny. It’s a music style that is about anti-establishment and anarchy, and yet there are so many rules… Way more rules than anything I have been a part of. Fans have an issue if the tickets get to on the expensive side or if you work with a sponsor, or you open up for a more commercial band… There are these unspoken laws that
you’re supposed to follow if you’re a real hardcore or punk rock band. I think we’re just one rock band, so we… We let the music speak for itself and as far as the kind of career choices that we make; we’re going to do… We just want to have fun. As dark as the music gets sometimes… That’s how this all thing started out. For Keith specially, it was a party.
I guess that’s the good thing about doing punk/hardcore in 2014. Back in the 70s and 80s it was not accepted to have long hair, for example. I mean, look how much hate Black Flag was receiving because they released a record, “My War”, which was highly influenced by Black Sabbath… Yeah well, we’re already getting comments about some of… We released two songs from the
INTERVIEW // OFF!
“Keith has on a big Black Sabbath kick, I was listening to a lot of Bad Brains and somewhere in the middle we came up with these songs.” record and certain people are saying something like, “Song is too long. It’s over two minutes. It’s slow. It sounds too good. It sounds too big.” “Ok dude, whatever!” I think this is our best record and we approached it in a very, very pure, bad ass way, and I think the record reflects that.
I think there’s a higher sense of unity between all the songs on the record.
Yeah, it could be. I think we have been a band for a little while and we know what we are doing, you know? There’s a real joy of knowing that you are making a darker record. There’s a real freedom in that. It’s like playing the villain, or something, in a movie.
And there’s probably a better communication between you guys.
Well, we don’t really get together all that much. We learn the songs together in a room. Keith and I write them but we all just learn the tunes as a band and… There’s little time between learning the song and recording. We want to capture that initial spark where accidents can happen and you’re walking on a tight rope. The train can go off track any minute.
Yeah, what it sounds and that’s why it sounds exciting.
So, once again you recorded the album right after the writing process, right?
Exactly! It’s usually how we work… Kind of go backwards. I try to see when we want an album to come out and then the deadlines that go along with that, and then we start writing based on the deadlines. It’s not the way most people think or approach making an album but that also creates a sense of urgency that we’re after. We don’t want to give ourselves too much time, you know?
So, would you say that you enjoy working under that kind of pressure? 48
I wouldn’t say I enjoy it. It’s just the correct approach for us. It’s kind of where we have to place ourselves emotionally to get to the kind of end result we’re after.
“Wasted Years” was recorded live to 8-track ½” tape in the quartet’s practice space. What can you tell us about that experience? How it affected the final product? A lot of people record in tapes because they’re after a certain type of warmth and that’s… Sonically is part of our plan but more so, with Pro-Tools you are allowed with a lot of luxury and it’s easy to get lazy… People get very spoiled. So with tape, especially with this machine that we used, it’s impossible to punch in mistakes, especially considering we set all the instruments up in the same room with a ton of mic lead. So, the three of us who were playing instruments have to nail it together… We did 19 songs in two days and we were choosing complete takes. It would be very difficult for Keith to sing in that same room with us at the same time because too much of that noise would come through his microphone when he would sing it… He likes to hold the mic and move around so, it would sound really bad. Yeah, I think I did all my second guitar in just one night and I didn’t even know what I was going to do for the solos. They had to be like complete performances, I wasn’t able to punch in anything so if I messed up or I had to start from the beginning, I couldn’t just punch in the mistake. It’s a really true snapshot of where we were at as a band.
You just did one or two overdubs, right? Just one. The guitar in the left speaker is what I did live with the band and the guitar in the right speaker is what I overdubbed to just fill out the sound and for the solos, stuff like that. It’s really cool. It’s like I’m playing rhythm and then you hear like going
into the solos and come out of it and go right back into the song… Those are completely performances.
You guys recorded 19 songs but once again you will release 16 tracks. Why? It’s not just a coincidence, right?
‘Cause there’s a bonus track and then the other two songs are for a very special Record Store Day 7” that they will announce soon. About being a coincide or not… I don’t know. It’s more what we feel that constitutes an album. We don’t have any extra songs. We just have a goal and we say to ourselves, “How many songs make up an album?”, “Well, we’ve done 16 in the past, let’s just do that.” Really, it’s not much more than that. It’s kind of like doing
the least amount of work to get an end result. I guess it goes back to the pressure of having like a “rule” that says that 16 tracks equals an album. But I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we usually are scrambling, probably finishing the last song as we’re going in to record.
“Wasted Years” cover it’s using Catatonic Youth’s I’ve Had It. There was an intention of paying a sort of tribute to the Catatonic Youth?
No, none. We didn’t know anything about that cover and that’s not… Their cover is not a [Raymond] Pettibon [responsible for Wasted Years’ album art] cover. It’s a copy of one. You can look it up and you will see. Raymond gave us a bunch of images to look through, I’m sure
he didn’t know about that other version… That’s the one we picked and then when we announced the cover there were a few people that brought it up to us and we’re like, “Ahh nahh, whatever”. That’s not the really deal and certainly not something that we knew about. I mean, I think this album art fits perfectly with the music.
Yesterday I finally had the chance of seeing the videos for “Void You Out” and “Hypnotized”. They are so fuckin’ awesome. It seems that you guys were having loads of fun doing that.
“Hypnotized”… That was cool. People didn’t know what to make of that. They didn’t know if we were like a real band playing for change or what the story was, so they crowded around and watched us. It’s just such a freak show as it is, on The Hollywood Walk of Fame [Hollywood Boulevard]… Just all kind of weirds. Spiderermans, Supermans, etc. So, we just invented our own weird drug out superheroes. [laughs]
I can say that my scene in the pool [“Void You Out” video] I was absolutely freezing. It was really, really cold and it was brutal to have to be in there like that. Playing in the street, on
“Wasted Years” is out now via Vice Records 49
INTERVIEW // VALES
Hailing from Cornwall, UK, caught us by surprise with their amazing debut EP "Clarity", leaving us anxious to put our eyes and ears on a full-length. In 2012, the band went on an unexpected hiatus, but this year they released the the long awaited album titled "Wilt & Rise", and the wait was all worth. We chatted with Chlo Edwards, the voice of the group about the early days of the band until nowadays. Words: Fausto Casais
Before you’ve become “Vales”, you were using “Veils” as your band’s name, but you were forced to change your name. Can you tell me the story behind that?
ell us a little bit of how Vales were formed and how you got all together.
Ben (Guitarist) and I have been playing music together for a number of years in a different band. We started writing music with no idea how it would sound. It sounded all pretty posi until we found Ollie (Drums) and Nathan (bass) and the sound we have now was created. Within about 3 weeks we had written a demo, recorded a demo and played our first show.
What were your main influences/ inspirations when you started to develop your sound?
We just always reflected what was happening in our lives in our music. Ben has a knack for capturing soundscapes of emotion is his writing. I was/still am inspired by trying to figure out human nature. 50
There’s an indie band called “The Veils” and apparently the “the” is an invisible “the” and they tried to sue us for having their name.
Did changing your name affect your plans as a band back then?
We were just about to sign our contract with 6131 when we got the email from their lawyer, it certainly affected the decision we made as we had to make it quickly in order to move forward with 6131. Plus punk bands can’t afford lawyers.
You went on some sort of hiatus after releasing your debut EP, “Clarity”, in 2012. What happened at that time? We went into writing mode, we toured a lot when we first began and our personal lives moved forward.
Was it easy to come back on active and work on the debut full
length “Wilt & Rise”?
I wouldn’t say easy, it was complicated. We ended up living quite far away from each other.
So, I read that “Wilt & Rise is an anthology of our time together as a band so far.” What can you tell me about the whole songwriting process for this record?
We wrote this thing in winter, in an isolated cold barn in the middle of some sand dunes. Most of us would play in gloves. That quite possibly had an effect on the sound. For me lyrically Clarity was about the repetitive cycles of human emotion and Wilt And Rise was a natural progression into human nature. Musically the guys were all pushing their abilities.
“We just always reflected what was happening in our lives in our music.”
You guys went to Los Angeles to record “Wilt & Rise” with Alex Estrada. How was the experience for you?
It was great, he’s a great producer. It was a very strange experience getting the bus from Silverlake to downtown L.A. every day walking through china town. He really worked hands on with us, we even wrote two tracks in the studio with him which was a totally new experience for us. He has a very natural process of recording.
Nowadays is more common to see female singers being a part of hardcore bands, which is great. Chlo, within these years in the band, do you feel that the audience is getting more used to see a girl leading a hardcore band?
I hope so. We do get asked this a lot though so maybe not.
How is like the punk/hardcore scene in Cornwall, UK?
We have spent most of the year currently not in Cornwall. When we were here though it was very organic. We’d all meet up on Sundays for an event called “Dirty Sundays” which a lady in her 50’s would put on and she’d spend all day handmaking pegs and tiny posters to clip on to people and buy a load of traditional cornish pastys for us all to eat. Then bands would play and we were a comfortable little music community so we all felt the freedom to go crazy.
Are there any new bands that you recommend us to listen to?
I really like Frameworks a lot. They’re a very exciting band we got to play with at SXSW last year at a bar where the bar staff would rap in between sets and when they started playing we knew the police were about to shut down the show. They squeezed 3 songs in and the atmosphere was electric. I will never forget it.
What’s next for Vales?
More music, more touring. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
“Wilt & Rise” is out now via 6131 Records 51
LA DISPUTE EMOTIONAL NARRATIVES IN THE POETRY OF LIFE Words: Tiago Moreira
Since La Dispute’s inception, or at least since the release of their debut album, Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, that we know that the quartet from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is way more than just simple music notes and a tag (read post-hardcore). It’s near impossible to categorize La Dispute’s art, not only because of the instrumental part but more because of the way vocalist Jorday Dreyer put the words along with those instrumentals and how profound (we like to call them poetry) they are. Three years after Wildfire, their second full-length, they return to release Rooms Of The House, perhaps the most mature and infectious album of the band so far. We caught Jordan Dreyer on the phone to talk about what’s going on in La Dispute’s world.
INTERVIEW // LA DISPUTE
Can you explain what’s the focus point, lyrically speaking, on “Rooms Of The House”, and why did you choose this title for the album?
et me test your memory: do you remember the time when you played with Sohns in San Antonio, Texas? You made what the Sohns’ guys called a “Battle Set”. It seems like a wonderful experience for everyone involved, the public and artists.
Oh yeah, definitely. That was a long time ago but it was a lot of fun. We’ve been good friends with those guys ever since but that was one of the more unique shows that we ever played.
Did you ever try that again? Doing that “Battle Set” thing?
No, we haven’t. Not since then. That was one of a kind.
You started to work on “Rooms Of The House” in a cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a pretty remote area. It seems that there was an urgent need to focus only on the music, taking away all the distractions. You had any idea of what you wanted to do with this new record and for that reason a remote space was crucial for things to work out? Yeah, I think. First of all, we all live in different places so it was a necessity in that way we had to be in the same place for a period of time to put it together. I think that it shows on record that it was required for us to be isolated in a common space. I don’t think the album would have turned out the same way, sonically or lyrically, had we not been in that confined space.
Being in a remote place for one month, 24/7, can give you more focus but it must be difficult to deal with each other, right? Discussions, no “me time”, no personal space, etc.
Well, we made a point of having personal space. We made a point of, every day, taking time out to do our own thing and have time away from the record, so we didn’t overwhelm ourselves and so, we didn’t put ourselves in a place where you’re likely to be in a tense situation or anything. We did a good, I think, balancing writing with staying healthy, mentally. 54
Sure. The record focuses on a fictional couple in a time and space and about the events that take place there, how the events remain in memory because of how they pertain and connect to the objects that occupy the space with you so. The title is just a kind of a statement about that, about the environment; about how scenery plays a significant role in shaping your memory and how things happen to yourself. That’s pretty much it.
Describing almost every object and environment seems to make your lyrics way more visual, like it feels like we’re there… It’s almost cinematic, you know? Describing in detail the objects was a premeditated choice to turn the lyrics more cinematic?
Yeah, I think having that is a significant theme on this record. Talking about objects, talking about rooms and talking about spaces; talking about these ordinary things made it a requirement to flush out a scene in its entirety and not just focus on how the characters are affected by each other but also detail the minutiae and all the little things that go along. We really tried to make it seem like something that could happen to everybody – does happen to everybody, by writing about everything from the smell of the coffee maker to the sound of the radio playing. It’s all about everything that happens to everyone involved and everything involved.
I guess it’s easier to relate to these situations because it seems so real, so mundane, you know? Sure, exactly. That was the intention from day one, especially on certain songs. Make it real, like a everyday thing. Those everyday kind of catastrophes and not the really dramatic things that happen to select to focus on. Like you said, the mundane and how everyday things can be devastating.
The April 1956 tornado outbreak works like a back theme in the first song of the album, “Hudsonville Mi 1956”. Why? Well, I wanted to… The fictional relationship, I wanted to happen
“I wanted to sh person but to peo events over a period of time. I wanted to show how common these things can be, not just to one person but to people throughout a course of time so I picked historical events to use as framing pieces to illustrate that. And that one in particular I thought was a really good way to introduce the record, and that’s always been the image to me that has been powerful, the image of the storm. The before and after, and the tension of during; that seemed the perfect way to introduce the tension of that came with the record. And it was something that was close to home, it was relevant that way.
There’s a song, “Themes from Highway 81-09”. Why this period of time? What reflects this
how how common these things can be, not just to one ople throughout a course of time so I picked historical s to use as framing pieces to illustrate that.” period of time, 1981 to 2009?
Again, it was partly the historical reference and it was also where I envisioned part of the fictional story occurring, so the 1981 I took from something that I loosely based around my dad and my mother’s parents and that time period, and 2009 is where I saw this fictional road trip occurring. It also was a nice way to bridge the two stories where the first songs deals with past events and “The Child We Lost” deals with past events and there’s characters who are involved in those, and some of those characters show up again in “Future Highways’”, so I wanted to have a way to connect it to the main narrative on the record.
You once said that you start,
usually, by the song title and then the music and lyrics? That happened on this new album?
You know, it did and it didn’t. Most of them probably worked in that way but some of them actually, this time around, I wrote and then had to really struggle to find a title. So most of it happened that same way but there were certainly moments this time around I had to search to find a title… I don’t know, it’s so difficult for me to find a title after I’ve written something yet not the other way but such is life.
Do you think that choosing a song title before anything else helps you to focus more and don’t drift away, sort of speak? I think that using the song titles it means that I’ve already decided
on the content. For one reason or another, that’s just the way I’ve always worked and it’s always worked well for me, so I’m not sure what subconscious thing is in play there but I think it means that I’ve fleshed out the story.
How it was working with Will Yip (engineer and producer), and why did you choose him? It’s great working with Will, he’s the best. He’s a friend. He’s really easy-going, he makes it a fun process, there’s no added stress or anything like that which I think helps facilitate a good product and that’s part of what Will does so great, is that he facilitates. He’s incredibly talented, especially for his age, and he really has an ear for things
INTERVIEW // LA DISPUTE so just to be able to work with Will, to have him always alleviating stress but also putting his talent out is a real asset and a lot of fun. We’re indebted to him for how the record turned out.
What about the record process? Was it different this time around? Yeah, it was different because we worked with Will but also because we could have everything 110% mapped out. We had some things that going in there we still had to work on and jam and sort out but for the most part it was the same. We try to do everything as organically as we can but there are certainly differences.
Adam Vass’ art on the cover is amazing. It seems that it describes not only the lyrical content but also the instrumental approach (more clean and organized, in a way). Would you agree? Can you talk a little bit about how Adam achieved this vision for the artwork? Yeah, I think part of what we all wanted to do from the beginning was to sort of shrink things down and be better editors and be more concise in our songwriting and I think that really shows with my bandmates and their instrumentation. I think they practiced musicianship better than they have in the past. I think they’d agree when I say that, they were very, very deliberate and very careful with how they put everything and the way they put everything so I think it ended up being a much more measured product. I think it’s more practical that way.
And what about Adam’s art? Did you guys work together to achieve that artwork or was it just him? Yeah, for the most part Adam takes…it’s really his own product but he kind of breaks through the content and the themes, which he was very privy to from day one, and then works from there, but for the most part he just rolls with it. He’ll tell me what he’s thinking and I’ll offer suggestions but for the most part he takes in the lyrics and has a vision and works close with all of us. I mean, there’s five of us in the band and we’re all in sync in that way and it’s cool that he has a way of translating that into his own artwork. We couldn’t do a record without him being there, I think. 56
“Rooms Of The House” is the first release on Better Living, La Dispute’s own label. Why did you decide to start the label and release La Dispute’s stuff through that label?
We’ve always wanted it… We always wanted to have the opportunity of doing it at one point. It’s important to us to keep everything as close to the chest as we can and really try to not relinquish control and this time around we were out of a contract after a really great relationship with No Sleep, a really healthy relationship but we figured we wanted to take that opportunity to try something new and try to handle it ourselves, I guess. When we started to approach that, we realised how difficult that actually is, logistically, how much work goes with running a record label and we had a bit of a panic moment, but partnering with Staple gave us an opportunity to still do it and still be in control, still run our standalone label and they help out with the nitty-gritty and all the things that actually kind of put the fear of God in us. We realize how much it really requires and it’s our own label and we get to do what we want with it; release our own records and… all this cool stuff. It’s going to be really fun to see what we do next. We’ve been very consumed with the record so I don’t think we’ve really put a whole ton of thought past the preliminary stage into what we’re going to release next, but I can’t wait to find out what happens.
The label will release La Dispute’s music exclusively or you guys want to help/work other artists too? We want to work with other artists. I’m sure that when we do another La Dispute release it’ll be through the label but we want to do something with other artists, or artist. Something out of the box, unconventional, to work with. Who knows? We want to pursue every avenue and not leave off the table so we’ll see.
As part of the pre-order the new album, the people who order will be able to choose an organization, in their respective region, that they would like to support through their purchase. People are always talking that the digital era is putting LP’s and CD’s in the background since they are not necessary anymore. This system,
that you’re using, seems to be the way to go. Not only you have the opportunity of owning a piece of art, but you are also able to help others. Can you talk a little bit about how the idea came up and how it works?
It’s always been important to us to create a product worth owning. To create a piece of art that is self-contained, thorough throughout. We don’t want the record to just be the music, we want the record to be approached from a musical standpoint, from a lyrical standpoint, from an artistic standpoint and then also from a physical standpoint. We want everything to be involved with the story and we want it all to play into how people digest it. So that’s part one, having something for everyone to really delve into the record if they want to. And part two, is having something to go on your shelf, or go on your coffee table - just owning something, having something worth owning. The physical format is only out of date when it’s not worth owning. But having something, just like all the objects on the record. Having something that brings you somewhere that contains a memory and it’s important, I think, to have physical representations of these things. Like books. I don’t think that an e-book will ever compensate, or replace, the ability of having a “real” book and to be able to loaning a book to a friend, to notate or dog-ear a page, the smell… there are things that I value, and that we all value, it’s important for us to represent that in how we present the music. But you’re right, also from a business standpoint I think it’s difficult to keep up with the changing times in the industry. We want to keep up with that…
Try to balance things.
Yeah, you want to salvage some financial stability so that you can keep doing it, and one of the ways that you can do that is by creating something worth owning. So it works on a different, logical level and the scary thing too is that, for both, it’s a way for us to give back and I think it’s a way for us to keep things going and keep things close to our chest.
Time allows a change of perspectives. How do you see the “old” La Dispute’s songs?
“...there’s never any rush with us, it’s always about waiting until the time is right... I think for the time being, it’s just whatever happens, happens, when it happens.” There’s a case of reinterpretation of your own songs/lyrics?
Definitely, I think so. I think that we’ll continue evolving. They can be a way to look at moments in time in your life, where you were, what you were doing, your goals, people you knew. Time can shift the focus. I like to think of those records as what they are: they’re snapshots of a creative time in my life, in all of our lives, and sometimes you look back and think, “Oh man, I have a hell of an idea.” But I try not to focus on that, I try to focus on what they were at that period of time. I mean, it’s always good remembering a moment in time, a moment that is encapsulated. Like taking a photograph and reminiscing about that. I think they are also markers that show you your progress as an artist, that’s another thing; being able to look back and understand its importance relative to what you do now.
Is there a moment in the history of the band that made you think: “We might be onto something here”?
I still don’t know if that’s true. I guess, the first time we ever played a show in our hometown, in a little hole in the wall and some friends
came out, enjoyed themselves and came up afterwards and said that it was good, and that they had fun. That’s still, to me, the moment – the “we’re on to something” moment I ever had with this band. Playing for people for the first time and seeing genuine enjoyment on the faces of people I knew and people I didn’t know, and deciding that maybe we should write more songs and be playing more shows. And I’m still doing this. It’s crazy.
You’ve always shown this great connection with your city, and with the state of Michigan. How do you see you this time and your place in the city?
It’s so heavily “home, the imprint everywhere”. I love where I’m from. I love the people I know and the friends that I have. I love the culture. I love it not only of where I’m from, I think it’s profoundly interesting and often underrated and unspoken for. There’s so much attention to these things but I know of no other part of the country that’s so overlooked and the people are amazing. Grand Rapids, Michigan, will always be home to me and I’ll probably live there for the rest of my life or at least have strong connections to there. I think the record can be enjoyed,
obviously, no matter where you are or where you’re from but it’s definitely about Michigan.
Just one more question. You guys took three years, once again, to release this new album and you started to work on the new album almost one year ago. Does the band need to operate on this schedule or can you envision you guys working on a tighter schedule?
I think if the project came up and manifested itself in a shorter period of time, then absolutely we could write a record in a year from now. I don’t think we have to operate under any restrictions; it’s just how it’s always worked out; when the idea has gone through the proper gestation period. So there’s never any rush with us, it’s always about waiting until the time is right and coordinating it logistically, getting it all in the right place. I think for the time being, it’s just “whatever happens, happens, when it happens.”
“Rooms of the House” is out now via No Sleep Records. 57
NOSTALGIC, AGGRESSIVE AND
As everyone knows, Creepoid were formed during a snow storm in Decem boredom and cabin fever. That says a lot, but the Philadelphia outfit has m They've already released two excellent albums - one of them was released have recently released a new EP on Record Store Day, which shows the ma that this band holds. We had a chat with Anna Troxell, the bassist of the g how has been their journey as a band and much mor Words: Andreia Alves
mber of 2009, born from more than meets the eye. d actually this year - and aturing and the potential group, who talked about re...
ou are right now in a break from touring since you’ve released your new record. So, how has been like touring this new record “CREEPOID”?
It’s been awesome. We’ve been a band for four years now and my husband is in the band. The other two guys are like our best friends, so it’s nice to be able to spend time with them. It’s like we’re all going on a vacation [laughs], except the long van rides.
What’s your favorite song on this record to play live?
I really like to play live “Old Tree” - the last song on the record because it gets really intense at the end, kind of a more traditional rock song. So people generally like it because it has a little hook in the beginning but then it becomes really crazy and wild. It’s fun to see peoples’ reactions.
This second record of yours brings back those nostalgic feelings of the 90’s, where the noise matches perfectly with clean guitars and dreamy vocals. What can you tell me about the conceiving of this record?
It’s a new record for everyone else, but it’s kind of old for us. [laughs] We wrote a lot of it at least a year ago or longer now, like some of the songs were written right after our first record Horse Heaven (2011) came out. But it took us a while to record it because we were trying to figure out how we wanted to do it and then Pete, our second guitarist was in Texas. He was in Texas for six months and so that held up putting the album together. Once we finally sat down and had time to figure out what songs were gonna be on it, we weren’t sure if it was gonna sound cohesive, because it had been written sort of sporadically over a long amount of time. But then after all the songs were recorded and we sat down to put them in order, I think that’s when we realized “Ok, there is a trajectory that happens when it’s sort of narrative that goes inside and makes sense together, and so as a whole it does work.” We were really happy with that. A lot of the songs ask a lot of questions, you know, so I think for us it was really about figuring stuff out. [laughs]
It gives an extra powerful layer how you and Sean mixed your voices in the songs. Do you usually write the lyrics together or separately?
Sean writes the most lyrics, but he’s kind of struggling to figure out the best way to explain what he’s trying to say. We sit down and go through things together. I like to write a lot, my mom is an English teacher, so I have to write a lot. [laughs] But other songs, I’ll write portions of them and then we try to write different parts on the same song, try to make sure that they make sense together and so we’ll say “Here’s what I’m trying to talk about in this one” and then “Ok, cool! That matches up with this feeling that I’m trying to express.” We’re not trying to shove anything down, it’s just a sort of saying like question us or think about this in a different way.
Like in “Horse Heaven”, you had again on board Kyle “Slick” Johnson (Wavves, Modest Mouse, Love As Laughter, The Hives) producing and mixing your record. How was it this time around?
It was great. Kyle is great. We did things a little differently this time. With this self-titled record, we actually went in there and did the drums with Kyle, and then we did the guitars, the bass and all the other instruments somewhere else. We did that with Jeff White. So that was interesting to get some sort of time away from Kyle and then go back with what we had done on our own. Afterwards we did the vocals with Kyle. He’s great with vocals, he’s really good at sort of pushing them. Personally, I feel more confident when I work with Kyle vocally, because he has his way of calming me down [laughs] and getting me into the right mindset to do it. I think this time we had a clearer direction about what we wanted to do rather than when we were first working with Kyle. On the first time, we were very excited to be in a studio. [laughs] It was so awesome that Kyle came to us and gave us the opportunity to do that, so that was like “Oh we’re here! This is so great” and I think www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // CREEPOID the second time around we were a bit more like we knew we wanted more when we were in there.
Besides releasing this second record, you’re going to release a new EP titled “Wet” on Record Store Day of this year. Are these four songs related to the songwriting of your new LP or are they from a new set of writing?
“We’ve never d we figure it’s a records and
They are all new. Like a lot of the stuff set to release on No Idea Records, the selftitled record we wrote it a long time ago. [laughs] We meant to release the self-titled in 2013, but things got pushed back and it ended up getting really out this year; we already wanted to do this Record Store Day release and so it ended up to be a month apart which is crazy. [laughs] But we figured everybody’s gonna think that this is just b-sides that didn’t make the cut or something, but that’s totally not true. They’re all new songs that we’ve written just pretty recently. These songs were actually recorded, engineered and mixed all by ourselves, in our own house. It was the first time we’ve been able to do that which is really cool. The band moved into a big house in West Philly and we have a studio in our house, so it’s been really cool to be able to just do everything here and work all the time.
So do you prefer self-engineering/ producing your music?
Yeah. I mean, Sean does the engineering, Pat does a lot of the setting up the equipment and figuring out where mics are gonna go and things like that. I think it’s cool because there’s no one else to blame but yourself. [laughs] If things are not working, you have to figure out a way to make them work the way you want to. You can’t just be like “Well, why can’t I make it sound like this like someone else?” You have to put the questions internally which is nice, because it sort of forces you to figure out what it is, what sounds you really want, how important they are, you know what I mean.
Are you guys taking over the engineering duties in all the upcoming releases of Creepoid?
Yeah! Half of the tour will happen soon. [laughs] Luckily we’re gonna announce our Summer tour information soon. We’re gonna hit the road pretty heavily. We’re gonna try to just tour as much as we can. We figured if we have two records, we need to get them out there. [laughs] So we’ll try to make it happen.
What did lead you to release a new EP right after you had released a new LP?
We’ve been talking to Ryan from Graveface Records over the Summer about putting out some records with Graveface and we came up with a solution to paying all the money that you pay to record an album in the studio. And I sort of said “I could help 60
you build the studio in your house and then we could put out these records together”. We still had to build the studio and then record the songs. It just turned out that the songs would be ready in the Spring of 2014 and then we figured “Well, it’s gonna be in Spring, might as well release it on the Record Store Day which is pretty cool.” [laughs] We’ve never done a Record Store Day release and we figure it’s a really awesome thing to support records and going to your local record store. Even though it was so soon, like a month later, we figured that we just keep the scene going. [laughs] One thing would come out and then “Hey, don’t forget about us because we got another record coming out in a month!” [laughs] So now hopefully we can just relax a little bit and try to play well these songs live. [laughs]
Comparing to the second LP, the four songs that form this EP seem like a refreshing, hazy catharsis of yours. Do you feel that way about them?
Yeah, I think musically is a little looser now. I can say personally that we were really happy with Horse Heaven. It was kind of scary to go and record another album and we were like “Oh now, what if is not good? What are we gonna do?”. So once it was over then I think we just sort of felt much freer and being able to record ourselves and produce ourselves, you know, it’s all on us. Being able to kind of explore things and we’ll put out an EP where there’s only four songs on it that’s just a lot more freedom to experiment with something rather than worrying that it’s gonna
done a Record Store Day release and a really awesome thing to support going to your local record store.”
is wet in the jar, so it kind of made sense. It just seemed right, so we asked Paul to take a picture of the bunny for our cover. She is a fan of the band and so she is very happy that the bunny is on the cover. [laughs]
When I first looked at the cover I was a bit scared, thinking if it was or not a real bunny. I had dreams about the bunny. It’s like he’s haunting me now. [laughs] Something that’s kind of scary and something being comforting is like something I like to write about in the lyrics as well, like something you really love and it’s close to you, but you are also a little scared of.
Is there any record set to release on Record Store Day that you are excited to buy?
I don’t know. [laughs] We’re gonna be in Chicago, we’re gonna be driving from Grand Rapids to Chicago, so we aren’t gonna be able to stand in any line. But the best Record Store Day release I’ve ever bought was the Jay Reatard covering Nirvana split with Sonic Youth. That’s my favorite Record Store Day release.
Are you guys planning to do an European tour?
We want to! We wanna come as soon as we can. We’re all just figuring out how to do that. We’re gonna cover the West Coast first, we haven’t done it yet and then we definitely want to go to Europe. I was in Rome for six months in 2013 and so I’m dying to get over back to Europe. [laughs] Hopefully as soon as we can. make sense in the context of a full-length, like all ten or eleven or whatever songs have to go together. With only four songs, you kind of have a little more room to play around and so I think that gives you a lot more creative freedom.
I’m curious about the cover art for “Wet” which is a little bit bizarre, is it a bunny? Yeah, it is a bunny. [laughs]
So, what’s the concept behind this peculiar cover?
We have a great friend in Harrisonburg, Virginia, named Paul Somers who helped out the band a lot. He did the cover for the self-titled full-length as well - the four pictures of us. We spent a night at his house on tour and Pat and I happened to be sleeping in his daughter’s room. She was not there. [laughs] She was away with her mom so we slept in her room for the night. When I woke up, I looked over and I saw this bunny in a jar, and it was like not what I was expecting to see in this little girl’s room. I think she’s nine years old and so I looked over and I was like “Oh my god Pat, there’s like a bunny in a jar!” [laughs]. And then we went downstairs and asked Paul about it. He explained that his daughter had found this bunny outside in his yard and he was already dead and so she wanted to keep it. She wanted to somehow preserve it. So they figured out how to preserve this bunny in the jar and she just keeps it in her room which is like her favorite thing. I just loved that and it just made sense, because we were already thinking about calling the record “Wet” and the bunny
What have you been listening to lately? Pat and I have been listening to Hookworms a lot. I really like Joy Division, they are one of my favorite bands, so anything that kind of reminds me of that similar like that driven stuff that I really like and I get some of that with Hookworms. Destruction Unit is also really amazing. We saw them at SXSW a couple of times, they really just blew me away every single time. They’re a band that I think you really need to watch live, because they get that if you’re gonna see a band live, you wanna see a show, you know. [laughs] I like that a lot. They put on a show. I’m really into Coachwhips a lot lately too, they’re also probably great at live shows. We always, as a band, listen to Silver Jews a lot. [laughs] I think they’ve influenced a lot of our writing as well.
“Wet” EP is out now via Graveface Records
The Sku 62
After releasing a remarkable album called "Peer Amid" which had the first official appearance of the legendary Daniel Higgs (Lungfish) on vocals, The Skull Defekts could slow down and do another album similar to that one, but no, they've surprisingly made another noteworthy piece. "Dances in Dreams of the Known Unknown" is probably the most addictive, danceable record they've made to the date. We talked with Joachim Nordwall about this great new chapter of the band. Words: Andreia Alves
fter the great buzz that “Peer Amid” (2011) created, was it easy for you to start working on new material?
I think we started working on new material when Peer Amid actually came out and I think what became the new album was sort of the trip from just before the months before Peer Amid came out and up until now. So that material has two and half years maybe, something like that. It’s from a very long time period in a way.
“Peer Amid” had the first appearance of Daniel Higgs (Lungfish) on vocals. How did you first hook up with Daniel and how did he get involved with your band?
We met a few years at different festivals and we became friends. Personally, I have organized a few of his solo concerts here in Sweden and of course we were all fans of his old band Lungfish. So we knew that we had some common philosophy of music and how to make music, you know, the idea of monotonous music and not changing too much in songs and so on. And then we toured the U.S. in 2008, we played in Baltimore where he comes from and he showed up at the gig. We talked about maybe doing something in the future and then in the night after he actually showed up in Washington DC. We made an improvised intro and so he joined us on stage that very night. It was sort of like a magic moment for all of us, which everything came together in a way that the basic ideas we had of the band sort of became reality with him. Before we met Daniel and before we made music with him, I think we all had the feeling that we were in the direction of finding www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // THE SKULL DEFEKTS
“The known unknown is like what we think we know, but we really don’t know exactly. It’s a mystery, everything is a mystery. Music is a mystery and life is a mystery...” something that we didn’t know really what, and with Daniel there it was sort of like “Ok, we’re home, you know?”. It was a really great life experience, pretty much.
we’ve already made the album Peer Amid and the 12” in between and so the process was kind of the same, but even much easier, I think.
So was it easy for you guys to write songs with him?
This new record is for sure one of the most addictive and powerful record that you’ve ever written, in my opinion. Do you feel that way about this record comparing to the previous ones?
Yeah, it came so naturally, because when you meet someone that actually shares the same idea of why you make music, how you make music and what music is for, you know. Daniel sort of became quite natural how he ended up and so we never really talked about what to do and how to do. We just create music together and it just came naturally in a very easy way to us.
How was the creative and making process of your new record “Dances In Dreams of the Known Unknown”?
Peer Amid was kind of the school. Dances In Dreams of the Known Unknown is sort of like the result of the school we went together, if you know what I mean. This new record is more natural in a way, because 64
Of course, it’s like if you ask someone in a band, I think everyone thinks that maybe their new album is the best one and mostly the important one, but it’s actually how I really feel with this one. It’s actually the most important album we have done, because it sort of connects all of the energies of the band that I think that we all have been on another way of finding something, like Peer Amid is a really great record, but to compare to Dances In Dreams of the Known Unknown, I think this one is more mature and maybe deeper in a way, but also much easier, like the songs are more approachable somehow. We
actually went to the studio to try to make our most difficult record so far and we came out with something that was completely different, so it was like a big mistake but I think it was a quite successful mistake. [laughs]
The track “The Known Unknown” seems to be the center piece of the record. So, what’s the “known unknown” for you? [Laughs] It’s a mystery, right? It’s like, what do we know and what do we think we know? The known unknown is like what we think we know, but we really don’t know exactly. It’s a mystery, everything is a mystery. Music is a mystery and life is a mystery, and I think the known unknown is like this our idea of explaining what we don’t know.
The video for the track “Awaking Dream” has these flowers that are flourishing in a simple and beautiful way. In which way does the video relate to the song?
You should ask the director maybe
[laughs] but I think the video and the song go really nice together, because the song is also about things that are being born like dreams or our children in a way and I think the flower is sort of a beautiful image of that. For me, I think good videos are the ones that don’t illustrate exactly what the song is about, but gives maybe a different energy, a different approach to the song. I really think that video is not really commenting what’s going on in the song, but it’s giving it another strength, maybe.
What can you tell me about the minimalist cover artwork of this record?
It was made by Daniel Higgs and it’s made by this technique that you may know: when you have a paper and you put some paint on it, and then you fold the paper and then you fold it back out, so that’s actually what the artwork is by chance. The figures play with your mind in a way that is not really explainable, but it’s like a signature in a way, I think it goes really well together. It allows you
to see what you want to see. I see something and maybe you see something different. That’s what the music is about too, it depends on who’s listening and it’s like different stories and I really like that. Some things are like too obvious and I really enjoy myself when it’s not so explainable or so direct.
What are your upcoming tour plans for this year?
The new record came out early this April and we are going to in a few weeks to the US to do a short tour. We’ll play in some summer festivals and then after this summer we are doing a new 12”, on a small British label. In the fall, we hope to tour Europe. So it’s gonna be a quite busy year, hopefully.
What can you tell me about the new 12” that you’re going to release?
It’s all brand new songs and it’s also like a new recording of an old song we made in 2005. We’ve always played that song and of course it had changed very much
during these years, so we decided to re-record it and to give it a new chance. [laughs]
Do you guys have other occupations/projects besides The Skull Defekts?
We all have jobs actually. Most of us play music in different live acts as well and we have also some new stuff in the works, and so on. I think everyone is quite busy, but in The Skull Defekts we sort of collect everything we do in this kind of common ground, which allows us to do different things.
Is there any new bands that you recommend me to listen to?
[Laughs] Well, it’s a very difficult question... There’s a band called Goat. They’re good friends of ours and it’s a really good band. That’s really new love in music I found. I really like what they do. “Dances In Dreams of the Known Unknown” is out now via Thrill Jockey
STONEBURN NEW REALMS OF HEAVINESS
Now signed to Neurot Records, Portland, OR’s Stoneburner have produced one of the most unique and affecting metal albums of the year thus far, the monumental progsludge demon that is “Life Drawing”. Guitarist Elijah Boland is here to walk us through the frequent trials and ordeals that have led to the creation of an album as lush as it is soul-wrenchingly bleak.
Words: David Bowes
hanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us, man. What’ve the band been up to lately?
Oh man, kind of going through a shitstorm. Somebody called the fucking on cops on the band. The first time in eight fucking years, somebody called the cops on our practice space, which was a free practice space. We practiced in the basement of our house and after eight years, someone finally called the police – noise complaint.
So what did the cops say?
Basically, they’re not going to do anything right off the bat but if we keep playing there they’re gonna fucking do something about it. It kind of sucks but we’re not really worried about it right now.
So do you have a new practice space in mind?
No, we don’t. That’s actually our next order of business at practice today, and that’s what we’re going to talk about: what we’re gonna do about fucking practicing! I’m sure we’ll figure something out. I mean, if we have to pay for a spot, then whatever, but it was just so nice to have the free practice space for eight years. That’s kind of the bitch of it. We’ve been practicing in that same spot for eight years and then someone finally calls and complains. It must be someone new in the neighbourhood, or something. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
INTERVIEW // STONEBURNER
Portland seems like a place that would be really relaxed about stuff like that... Yeah, for sure, and it is.
Portland seems like a focal point for doom these days. There’s you guys, Witch Mountain, Diesto, plus The Body moved there too recently. Is there much competition or rivalry between the bands there?
No. Competition and rivalry - I wouldn’t say that at all. More like camaraderie and brotherhood. It’s very much like a family, there’s no competition at all. Nobody’s throwing each other under the bus, nobody’s stepping on feet, everybody’s helping each other out. When it comes to booking tours, or booking local shows, everybody’s helping each other out. It’s awesome.
With Washington legalising marijuana recently, everyone thinks that Oregon will be next. Do you think that’ll change life in Portland? It seems pretty chilled anyway. You know what? I don’t think it’ll really change things at all. Everyone kinda acts like that’s already how it is so I don’t think it’ll change anything.
There seems to be a lot of microbreweries in Portland too - you guys must be spoiled for choice. Do you have any loyalty to anyone in particular? I drink beer from the second I get out of bed until the second I fall back into it so I personally feel really lucky. But it changes so frequently that I can’t even say. I love all of it! There’s Bridgeport IPA, which is one of my all-time favourites – that’s a constant. I’m always trying something new.
Could you maybe give us a quick history of the band? Well, Jason (Depew) and Jesse (McKinnon) played in a band in Ashland years and years and years ago – I can’t accurately say when – and that’s how they knew each other. They started Stoneburner with John, who is Jesse’s little brother and is no longer in the band. He was the original bass player and singer. They played for a couple of months and they decided that they wanted another bass player, or possibly another guitarist, and Jesse and I had just met. I lived just down the street, and he asked if I wanted to come 68
and sit in on a practice, which I did, and I loved a couple of the riffs that they were throwing around. So I told them I would haul my gear over and sit in on the next practice with a guitar in my hand, which I did, and that was the band for the first couple of years. It was me and Jason playing guitar, and Jesse and John as the rhythm section. Then John went through some hard times, and ended up having to leave Portland, and then we got hold of Damon (Kelly), who is the current singer and bass player and that’s how it’s been for the last three years, and I don’t think it could be more perfect. I think he’s the perfect fit for the band.
How has the time been between “Sickness Will Pass” and “Life Drawing”?
Well, things with the band always seem to go pretty smoothly. We seem to function on a pretty even keel and things stay the same with the band, but it’s everyday shit that seems to get worse and worse. All of us in the band seem to have gone through a huge amount of bullshit in the past couple of years and that’s very much what we put into this last record. Just everybody’s personal lives; that’s very much where we’re coming from on this one. But the band itself, that’s just golden, and it’s what we need to get through all of the personal bullshit that we go through. That’s the whole reason we’re in the band.
To me, “Life Drawing” seems an album of extremes. There are really intense parts but then there’re parts which are more open and expansive. Is it important for you guys to portray these opposing elements rather than try to occupy a middle ground?
I think so. I do a lot of the writing in the band, both the music and a fair amount of the words also, and I think we try to show a lot of our influences, but we don’t want to sound like anybody, do you know what I mean? We want to sound like ourselves. We want someone to put on our record and say, “Oh, that’s Stoneburner” and not “Oh, that’s Chuck Berry,” or whatever. I think it’s important to show our influences, so we try to put as many elements of what we like into it, but the emotion is definitely first and foremost when it comes to a finished song for us. Does it feel like we want it to feel?
So if there’s a song that’s sombre and quiet and a little spacey, we want it to sound like that, as well as being aggressive and pissed off. That’s definitely the key emotion that we’re dealing with.
There’s a lot of progression there from “Sickness Will Pass”. It’s longer, and the songs are longer and much more complex. Did you take much of a different approach with the writing of this album? Well, the thing with Sickness Will Pass is that Damon had only been in the band for three months before we went into the studio so, dare I say, it was rushed. At this point, I feel like we’re a band that plays together, and plays well together, so we had a lot more time to put into it. We worked on the songs a whole lot more and I think that the next record we put out is going to be a logical progression from Life Drawing. Maybe the songs are going to be even longer, maybe even more complex. The songs we’re working on just now are certainly more complex than anything on Life Drawing.
You’re on Neurot now and you’ve been getting a lot of backing from the guys in Neurosis. Do you think that put any pressure on you with the album?
No, not at all. It’s nothing but fantastic. They’re doing nothing but good stuff for us and there’s no pressure at all. It’s everything I ever dreamed about being in a band, and I didn’t even know a label could be so helpful. They’re not pressuring us in any way, they’re just making us stoked to be in a band. They’re like our brothers basically.
J.J. Shirey’s cover art for the album is ugly, but it’s also weirdly magnetic – it draws you in and it’s so hard to pull away from. Do you think that fits with the aesthetic of the album? How much input did you have on it? We gave J.J. an idea of what we wanted for the album cover and we had him come to a couple of the practices. We gave him some lyric sheets so had some idea of what the lyrics were, to give him some thematic ideas, and he worked on what it is we told him we wanted for a couple of months, but then he decided
“I think it’s important to show our influences, so we try to put as many elements of what we like into it, but the emotion is definitely first and foremost...” he didn’t want to do it anymore, and then one day he just showed up with that. It was perfect! I remember J.J. brought it to me and Jesse at the bar and we just looked at each other and said, “That’s perfect. Let’s go with that.” As far as how it draws you in, I think it perfectly reflects what’s going on inside the album. You look at that and you know exactly what you’re getting into.
You worked with Fester again for the production of the album. What is it about his approach that you find so easy to work with? It was nice to work with him both because we’d worked with him before, and because he’s our friend. I see him socially all the time and he plays in a couple of Portland bands that I go see whenever they play and I call him all the time, just to go and grab a beer. It’s nice to work with someone who’s your friend. That
could have its drawbacks but it doesn’t for us. I see how that could be troublesome for some people but for us it’s nothing but awesome. He’s very honest when it comes to mixing, so if one person is saying, “Oh, my guitar should be way louder,” he’s not afraid to say, “No, it shouldn’t be. You’re full of shit, and it shouldn’t be.”
It’s a bit of an obvious one but you took your name from Dune, and there have been plenty of other bands who’ve done this too - Sayyadina, for example. Why Dune and why the stone burner? There’ve been quite a few Dune metal bands and I feel like most, but not all of them, are kind of Dune-themed. They have Dunethemed lyrics, and all of that, but we don’t. Nothing in our band has anything to do with Dune. When we’d been a band for six or seven months and it came time to play a show, we had to settle on a name.
We tossed quite a few names around and that was the one that stood out and fit the best. We’ve all read the books, and loved them, and it’s cool having a literary reference in the band – maybe it makes us seem smarter than we are. On top of that, it’s a cool literary reference. It’s an underground bomb that makes your eyes melt out of your head. That’s kind of the sound we’re going for.
Do you have any words of advice for people checking out your music for the first time? What should they prepare for?
Just fuckin’ strap in and turn it up to 11, I guess.
“Life Drawing” is out now via Neurot Recordings 69
UNFORGETTABLE IN SPIRIT AND SOUND
David Eugene two decades, th has always sound that spa Wovenhand music. Refrac love in the ba were h
e Edwards is Wovenhand and Wovenhand is David Eugene Edwards. For the last he man that is also known to front the “Gothic Americana” band, 16 Horsepower, run in his own lane. With his lyrics, that often invoke religious imagery, and a ans from the old time music to the angry punk rock, David Eugene Edwards made d one of the most interesting bands in this huge spectrum that we know as rock ctory Obdurate, Wovenhand’s latest album, is everything that we learned how to and and much more. Meaning, the exploration of Wovenhand’s louder roots that hinted at on prior albums. It’s all “about the relationship with the people”. Words: Tiago Moreira
INTERVIEW // WOVENHAND
ow do you see your personal journey as a musician? What’s in music that keeps you going as a listener and as a creative mind?
It’s a good question. I don’t know… I play music, that’s what I do, but I don’t consider myself a musician. [laughs] It’s just something that I was able to somewhat use to express myself, I guess. So I just do it the best… I just kind of made up this way of do it and I’ve done it so long that of course it becomes my own style, I guess, but really… I don’t how to play. My relationship with music is… Yeah, I’m more a fan of music than a musician. I’m more expressing the influence of others than being a musician myself. Expressing the art of others. Be it literature or music or… whatever. Regarding of what makes me interest as a fan… There aren’t any particular reasons. I listen to a lot of old music, all kinds. But modern music? I don’t know. It’s difficult to say. I have relationships with people that play music, in other bands or just artists themselves. You have a relation with that person for whatever reason and the music may be secondary to that relationship, but it’s difficult to say what kind of music worked as an influence. I don’t listen to a lot of music, I mean whatever my children are listening to, that’s what I listen to. [laughs] I don’t play music around the house, really. My children are responsible for choosing the music. My son loves like Frank Sinatra.
You’re a man of faith. Your faith has influenced your music, but would you say that it works the other way around? I mean, the music that you write works as an influence in your own and personal faith? Changing of perception.
Of course, that’s what all is. The way which I make the music is me trying to communicate to myself. Trying like to understand what’s going on with me and the things around me. This is the way in which I do it. It’s like having a conversation with myself, about whatever I’m speaking about. The next song, the next album, often times will be a response to the one before. Or one even further back. 72
Takes me more time to understand a song that I wrote like ten years ago, and I just realize now what it means. Often times, the first impression that I have of one of my own songs… I have like a preconceived idea of what is about or whatever. Over time I learned that I can’t trust this first reaction. [laughs] Even though is ok, but later I know that it’s gonna be something different to me and I never know when. It depends on the situations that happened either in my life or that I hear about other’s lives.
On the last record, “The Laughing Stalk”, the lyrical theme was around the idea of life after life. What about the lyrical themes for this new album? There’s an overall theme? Yeah. Well, the title, which is a redundant title… Two different words for the same thing. “Rebellious Rebellious”, you know? Rebellion against rebellion. It’s a never ending coin, a never ending cycle. There are different thoughts on the world on how to escape this cycle. Worldwide everyone kind of realizes… I think that’s what the internet, the World Wide Web, has shown the world, is this coin, this cycle. The whole world has to make a decision to go on a different path in this coin… The two sides of this coin. That’s what I’m talking on this new record. The last record was the idea of resurrection, like people being made alive. This one is about people that agree in a sense they want the same thing, they are after eternal life. But it’s a different route, a different road taken to get there. Different ideas and priorities.
You said that “The Laughing Stalk” was the heaviest record in your career. Now, with “Refractory Obdurate”, we can say that the there’s a new level of heaviness in your career. What was your state of mind writing this new album and how his predecessor affected what we can now hear on “Refractory Obdurate”?
Everything is the same for me. I write the songs in the same way, I do everything the same every time. I have people that are in my life. I have people that are friends of mine, people that for all different kinds of reasons to my children… whatever. I have people that are in my life, are often musicians and we work together. Because we have
the opportunity, because we have been put together for whatever reason to work together. Working with Chuck [French] and Neil [Keener], from Planes Mistaken For Starts basically [Chuck’s and Neil’s post-hardcore band], and Sanford Parker, a friend of ours from the band Minsk [also member of Twilight and Corrections House] in Chicago, who mixed and recorded the album. These kind of East Coast people that now kind of located in Denver and… It’s a whole other world for me, really. In that sense it’s a different attitude towards me, for sure. But I’m used to what people call like the “Denver Sound”, what came out of Colorado. What I’m trying to say is, it’s more about the relationship with the people than it is what kind of direction I’m trying to take musically. It’s just another way of being with people, I guess.
I must admit, I’m a huge fan of this new record, and part of the reason it’s because there’s loud guitars, feedback, noise and the punk with the wonderful subtleties of folk, country, old music, etc. It’s almost like we are presented with a new way to look to the Wovenhand that we know and love. Would you agree?
I hope so. It’s nice to think that things are getting more mature as time goes on. Like I said, It’s nice to think and it kind of feel that way. But I don’t really worry about it. I just try to, like I said, to concentrate on the relationship… However slight or small that relationship is. [laughs] I’m a pretty secluded guy.
It felt the same, to you, to have a heavier record?
Oh yeah, no problem. I listen to so much heavy music and I’ve always been a part of heavy music, and it’s always been a part of my life… It’s completely natural. Nothing out of the ordinary. People nowadays… Whatever is hip at the moment for the most part of the music… That’s what I’m saying, these rebellious against rebellious. People look back at the punk rock era, which is basically where I’m from, with somewhat disdain, really. Similarly to the way that people looked back on the hippies, you know? We have the new version, what they call the
“I’m more a fan of music than a musician. I’m more expressing the influence of others than being a musician myself. Expressing the art of others. Be it literature or music or… whatever.”
INTERVIEW // WOVENHAND metro man [metrosexual], or whatever, the men escaping… This man is king right now, this escaper. Everybody else that plays heavy music, for example, for the most these people are dinosaurs. The world has gone pass this. I mean, they’ll use it in a certain way when it suits them but this is not, this all idea of the angry at the system… That doesn’t happen anymore. Everybody is together now, everybody together ready to roll on the new world, with this idea.
Yeah, it’s funny because today the world is more fucked up. The rebellion against the system seems to make more sense than in the 80s. Yeah, for sure. That’s what I’m saying. The power, the people that control the money and have the power… They figured out that the people are pissed off and they figured out ways to solve that problem and they are good at it. They do it from every corner of every angle. It’s all about angles and it’s all about containment. It’s unconscious enslavement. Even the angry man, they succumb, they give in because it’s kind. It’s kindness... The horrible thing still goes on. I’m just talking about the main agenda, the main way of hurting people. But of course, you have terrible things on the outside, and on the inside, but what I’m saying… Is more subtle. More deceitful.
It’s like magic. An illusion. Yeah, it is magic. I agree.
Kanye West said kind of the same thing on his last record. Saying that we’re the “New Slaves. Talking about all the control that people receive every day.” Of course, almost no one took him serious because he is a millionaire. Racism is rampant. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I know that in America it is, at least in my opinion. It’s pretty much obvious to see that the powerful ones, they know that people get upset, they know that come to conclusions and they find things out. So, they have to soften the blow. They do certain things to appease the mind of the people about the past, speaking about American in particular. Everyone is like, “Yes, we have this beautiful America. This land is your land, this land is my land.” I mean, who’s singing the song? It’s a white guy, from Europe. It’s not the 74
people who were living here; it’s not the slaves that built everything over here… It’s the white guy, who’s complaining about the crops not growing, or the Great Depression, or whatever. Well, big deal. Big fuckin’ deal.
The other day I was reading a letter of a black man on the death row. He was saying how the prisons are overfilled with black men and how that’s not just a coincidence. We said that it’s amazing how the system works, how deceitful the system is. And even the whole problem with African Americans that don’t recognize Africa has being their roots.
As far as roots go… Africa, as a continent, is full of white people. Full of white people making Coca-Cola, making beer, building churches, doing big catholic missions, building monasteries… All kinds of crazy crap. Africa has been run by the white man for a long time, before America is going. We’re all just eating fuckin’ bananas now, just smiles and whatever, but I’m telling you, these people are slaves and they have been slaves. They have been abused and confused… It’s never ending. That’s the point. The magician behind it, whoever this creep is… He doesn’t care about these people, he doesn’t care about anybody. And everybody else just has to suffer, I guess. Until an end is put to it, which is coming.
Talking about punk… Nowadays, in this internet era, punk it’s huge in almost every genre of music, with hundreds of artists adopting the DIY and punk-ethos. How do you see this and how do you see this impact of punk in today’s world?
Everything is co-opted. Absorbed by the corporation. You can go to the mall and buy your punk rock clothes. You can go to Target and buy your punk rock outfit. And it’s all over the TV, advertisement, because it’s just becomes a way to sell. And also the all idea of punk rock, standing up for the underdog. This is idea is co-opted as well. Whatever agenda these people want you to feel sorry for, that’s what they present to you. So, you use your punk rock attitude for their purposes. That’s how I feel.
Going back to talk about the album, what can you tell us about the creative process for this new
album? Anything different this time around?
Chuck and Neil… Basically, Chuck wrote two of the songs, which on the last record I basically wrote everything myself. That’s usually how everything works. Now, we have been doing things live. The last tours were really interesting and we just wanted to put that into tape. Other than that, we just did the way we normally do. I write the songs at home, I record the songs, I do some arrangements and then I send everything to the other guys.
Talking about playing live… Two years ago “Live at Roepaen” was released. I know that you were a little bit reluctant since you’re not a big fan of live albums. What made you to record and release a live album, and what made this performance so special?
We have a good friend; he’s a bus driver… But not only a bus driver, he’s like another member of the band, really. He’s from Holland and he owns his own bus. He’s a really solid individual, smart and really cares about the band. So, this was his idea. The all thing was his idea. I didn’t know about the place. He created the all idea. This church is close where he lives and I think things have passed in the past similar. I mean, bands played there once in a while. He had this idea of do it and he got a hold, of course, of the record company who got in touch with the television and they just putted all together. I just showed up. I had no input. I just know that it turned out really nice. About being a special performance… Not really. It’s the same. Well, of course you’re always a little bit irritated when you have a camera on you. As soon as you have a camera on you, you immediately are more self-aware, which is a pain in the ass. [laughs] I mean, when I get lost in a song that really takes care of it for me. Playing in that place, playing in an old church… This doesn’t hold no special meaning for me, ok? It can be any building, I really don’t care. Yes, it’s a beautiful building and the ideas around it seem nice and I like that, but… It was just about the guy.
How this relationship with Deathwish came about? Jacob [Bannon, Converge’s
“...the people that control the money and have the power… They figured out that the people are pissed off and they figured out ways to solve that problem and they are good at it... It’s unconscious enslavement.” vocalist and Deatwish’s co-founder] and Converge, I don’t know how… I know they were fans of the band, for whatever reason. [laughs] I don’t really know. Chuck and Neil, being from the Massachusetts, they knew all these people. They played together, they had a relationship, you know? Jacob made an offer, “Whatever you want to release, one song, one album… whatever. I’ll do it.” He just wanted to do something. I said, “Yes, we should do a single or something like that.” From that just evolved to the idea of making an whole record. Why not? That’s what we did.
“Refractory Obdurate” cover is magnificent. What can you tell
us about the cover?
It’s all Jacob’s work. We had given him the image that’s on top of that, which is a cartouche [used in Egyptian hieroglyphs to indicate that the text enclosed is a royal name]. It’s a signature, basically. That was created by Neil and myself, we kind of put that together. Based on that, Jacob came up with an idea that had a similar vein to it. Which was fantastic. This quilt. It’s an image that uses a lot in a Native American imagery and sense. But this is perfect because is a much more colonial geometry. I liked the way it looked, which was falling apart. [laughs] These two images go kind hand and hand with the idea of the
record. It’s kind of this dynastic world view, with the Pharaohs and everything. That’s kind of inherent in each man, but of course only seen through what they call the elite people. But it goes down to every level; it goes down to every man, because every man has the same attitude. It’s just other men are better to get what they want than others. They are better for different reasons. For genetic reasons, experience, cultural, etc.
“Refractory Obdurate” is out now via Deathwish 75
1 REPULSIVE | 2 Pure shit | 3 terrible | 4 must avoid | 5 average | 6 good effort | 7 good | 8 very good | 9 EX
To Be Kind
“What we get from this album is an intense ride through the most insane storm you could possibly imagine.” 78
ven though Swans released one of my favorite albums of 2012, I’ve been a bit leery to proclaim my excitement regarding their return. When Michael Gira announced in 2010 that he was getting the band back together, my excitement was that of a kid running down the stairs on Christmas morning ready to find out what gifts awaited him under that big green tree. When My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky was released later that year, I have to admit to being a tad bit disappointed. Not that it was a bad record. In fact, it’s a fantastic record! But it was not The Great Annihilator. Nor was it Love Of Life. To me, it was more along the lines of a heavier version of Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home. I didn’t get that queasy feeling or that beautiful uncomfortableness that I’d loved so much about Swans’ music. When The Seer dropped in 2012, to say I was curious would be an understatement. A two-hour long Swans album? Now this seemed exciting! Thankfully, it exceeded my expectations. The Seer was a beast of an album! Dark, heavy, drony, painful, amazing! While I wanted to shout “Swans are back!” from the top of my lungs, the pessimist in me pulled back and said “this is just one album; let’s see what they do next.” Now, in 2014, we get a new Swans album entitled To Be Kind. Upon first listen, the opening song, “Screen Shot”, was great, but it was the second song, “Just A Little Boy” that blew me
XCelent | 10 pure classic
away. It has that vintage drawn out Swans sound with a serious emphasis on creep factor. Gira’s vocal performance here is downright maniacal! “I’m just a little boy! I need love!” If you’re looking for disturbing, this song has it! The weird laughs thrown in there are enough to elicit goose bumps and the dissonant layers thrown in add such an awesome atmosphere. From there we go to “A Little God In My Hands”, which was the first song I’d heard from the album as it was released a month or so prior. On first listen I wasn’t super into it. I still can’t quite put my finger on what it was that bothered me about the song. I liked the overlays; I liked what Gira did with the vocals. I think I just didn’t like the main riff of the song. I didn’t think the song sucked or anything; it just didn’t give me an enthusiastic feeling like when I
first heard “Lunacy”, the starting track from The Seer. When we get to the hypnotic “Bring The Sun / Toussaint L’Ouverture”, the desire to proclaim this album “amazing” increases. The tension this song builds… the unsettling repetition… the pounding mountainous unnerving sounds all said that this was vintage the Swans aura produced in a new era. From there, we’re constantly met with vivid waves of sound from Gira, Christoph Hahn and Norman Westberg combined with incredible percussion work from key members Thor Harris and Phil Puleo, as well as guest member Bill Rieflin. The addition of Little Annie Anxiety, St. Vincent and Jennifer Church are all welcomed here, adding that nice fragility that only a gorgeously strong female vocal can do. Songs like “Some Things We Do” with its
incredible minimalism backed by Gira’s possessed chanting being coupled with the bizarre grueling jam-band-esque “Oxygen” scream brilliance to me. What we get from this album is an intense ride through the most insane storm you could possibly imagine. The calms are beautiful, but, before you can begin to feel at peace, you’re smacked over the head by a whirlwind of jarring intensity that, while far from the sounds of Filth or Holy Money, are nothing short of aural torment. And I mean that in the best way possible. The fact that Gira is 60 years old is astounding. At this age, he’s creating darker, angrier, louder, weirder and more violent music than any pimplyfaced teen black metaller you can bring up. So, yes, readers, by the end of this epic two-hour opus, I am proud to say at the top of my lungs…”Swans are fucking back!”
8 THE AMAZING SNAKEHEADS Amphetamine Ballads
7 ARC IRIS Arc Iris
Domino Records (2014)
Bella Union (2014)
Innovative Leisure (2014)
Why should anyone cares about this record? The answer is pretty simple, because it’s fucking amazing... Now, seriously guys, this is pure rock n’ roll, filled with superior and dark humour. Amphetamine Ballads is an uncompromising and astonishingly visceral piece of art, and after several listenings we are completely filled with that rock clichés that we all learned to love. Everyone once in a while praises that the rock world needs to be saved, well guys this is quite simple, The Amazing Snakeheads are here to bring back that The Birthday Party meets The Cramps meets Suicide meets Nirvana vibe back. The Glasgow trio has created something big here, and they deserve all the praise they can get.
Arc Iris is the new project from Jocie Adams, formerly of The Low Anthem. The multi-instrumentalist, classical composer and former NASA researcher has shown with this brand new adventure her ability to write a neat and enthralling song, and this debut self-titled album is full of exciting, not at all boring songs. It’s hard to categorize what is the the predominant sonority on this album, because Adams brings a lot of different of influences to the mix. There’s cabaret, folk, country, rock, classical, and jazz. Yeah, a complex mix, if one may say so. But these music styles kind of go perfectly together with the sweet and (sometimes) theatrical vocals of Adams. It’s a really good debut of this talented musician.
After two years of absence, the Canadian jazz trio comes back with a great album keeping their modern jazz line of quality. Having the ability to put together a great number of influences, from hip hop to instrumental, any new thing from this fresh and different band is something worth of our deepest attention. The opening track “Triangle” is a beautiful example how improvisation and electronic beats can be the perfect “marriage” in the hands of these musicians. The whole album is wonderfully so solid that you don’t actually realize the time is passing by... You just feel the thrill of the free jazz improvisations and the sexy sax sound waves all over your brain. III is a highly recommended work.
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Cramps, The Birthday Party, Eagulls
Joanna Newsom, Regina Spektor
8 BIGELF Into The Maelstrom
ANA FILIPA CARVALHO
King Krule, Tyler the Creator, Darkside
5 BROTHER FIRETRIBE Diamond In The Firepit
BOBBY BARE JR. Undefeated
Inside Out (2014)
Bloodshot Records (2014)
Spinefarm Records (2014)
On Into the Maelstrom, Bigelf shifted from their progressive roots into more of a symphonic hard rock approach. Songs like “Incredible Time Machine”, “Alien Frequency” or “Edge of Oblivion”, with their Sabbath-like riffs pouring out of big sounding fuzzy guitars, are good examples of Fox’s exquisite songwriting and Bigelf’s tight craftsmanship. They’ve simplified the formula and began experimenting with different layers of “alien” sounds, making their sound almost unashamedly more palatable for the masses. It’s an interesting listen that might take a few spins to perceive all of what’s happening on top of their ‘70s homage type of hard rock, but one that unfortunately also feels like it’s lacking that extra something to make it a truly phenomenal record.
Bobby Bare Jr. is a unique songwriter, that’s a fact, one can even say that he could’ve exploited the fact that he’s the son of an iconic Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare, but he decided to follow another path and craft his own career by himself, almost in that DIY punk style. Undefeated is that kind of album that really moves us, creating a connection with the listener in every single song. Full of energy and catchy as hell, Undefeated is full of hooks, complete guitar driven giving us a perfect example of what southern rock should sound like when blended with the perfect indie pop elements. Well guys, this is a record that deserves to get another kind of attention, because Undefeated is truly a delight.
Aiming from Finland, Brother Firetribe are back with their third album, Diamond in the Firepit. There are sometimes bands that even when they are doing something good, everything sounds misplaced in time. The soaring vocal melodies are there, flashy guitars are a banger and we have all that 80’s classic rock clichés that we all are a bit fed up... But thankfully for our ears’ sake, they haven’t strayed from their roots, so you guys can expect that classic 80’s rock vibe, where Bryan Adams, Cinderella and Bon Jovi were the law. The flawless vocal delivery from Pekka is enormous, and the riffs are nostalgic, but for all the wrong reasons, everything sounds too much attached in the 80’s.
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The Flower Kings, Black Sabbath
Lambchop, Clem Snide, Spoon, The Shins
Bryan Adams, Cinderella, Bon Jovi
THE AFGHAN WHIGS
Do To The Beast Sub Pop (2014)
“This is a visceral LP created by serious musicians in an era where serious music and a commitment to the work is completely undervalued.” Greg Dulli owes none of us an explanation, or an apology, or an excuse. He should be allowed to do whatever he wants. Do To The Beast would be best vilified by stating that it is treading on covered ground. Which is partially true. Having said that, the context of the songs are complete an Afghan Whigs in its purest sense, and if you believed in their early work, there is much to believe in on “Beast”. The stuttering groove of “Matamoros” is a scintillating take that was never quite achieved on Dulli’s Twilight Singers project. Is it a familiarity with the Whigs
that allows the entire influence to seep through on this new record? Perhaps, and that creates an avenue where supporting an artist through a growth period returns results. It’s not always the case, but it does seem to be a defining element to this new Whigs record. The conflict that bands capitalizing on the grunge movement were weathering was a chance glimpse of success, which was never a concern for Dulli. Coming from a small city scene in Cincinatti, playing the saloondromats that were ubiquitous within that same small city, and slowly building, the Whigs
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The Gutter Twins, The Twilight Singers,
audience was the apotheosis of DIY indie rock during the time. In the same facet, this recording is not the sound of a group trying to capitalize on past success, or even to validate their own previous work. This is a visceral LP created by serious musicians in an era where serious music and a commitment to the work is completely undervalued. The understated use of programs coupled with the emotional depth of Dulli’s conviction is a seamless blend. Perhaps it takes this time to coalesce the larger ambitions of any artist.
Matamoros, Parked Outside, It Kills
8 BURY TOMORROW Runes
BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL Suspension Of Consciousness
CHET FAKER Built on Glass
Future Classic (2014)
Siege of Amida / Century Media (2014)
Nuclear Blast (2014)
We must confess, this is one of the records that we have been highlyexpecting. After joining Brutality Will Prevail just over a year ago we must say that the effect new vocalist Louis Gauthier has in this new record is huge, giving a new dimension and meaning to their sound. Of course there are some anthems near to that classic Hatebreed approach, but Suspension of Consciousness is here to explore new territories, they show no boundaries between musical styles, and even the riffs are big, ugly but tremendous catchy. Once again we can say that Metalcore is alive and kicking but this new effort from Brutality Will Prevail is much more than simple Metalcore, they have pushed forward the genre. Well done guys.
Bury Tomorrow, one of the UK best prospects have reached the skies with 2012 full-length Union of Crowns. Now two years later, they have that always tough task to top something great and they totally almost nailed it. But not everything is perfect in Runes, sometimes this album is a bit formulaic. There is a concept, there are big-chorus, the riffs are infectious and heavy as fuck, but there are too many similar songs, that Lamb of God/ Killswitch Engage vs Alexisonfire/ Dallas Green formula could be something kind of exhausting after some hearings... Runes is not great, but is not bad at all, the songs are good but we must admit that maybe we set the bar too high or we totally failed understanding this record.
We initially got to know him for a cover of Blackstreet “No Diggity” and with Thinking in Textures EP divined the potential, now entirely revealed. Chet Faker comes only from the country where was made the best music with eyes on the future and a thought based on the past – Australia - obvious. This clash of times burst into themes that understand in full the role of electronics as a new exploratory art of previously existing formats, giving a strong organic reason to a songwriter dictionary that deserves the constant instrumental mutation. (And) conclusion: there are few singing, producing, and doing this as well as this Australian. Built on Glass is divided into two parts that compress different stages of relationships and non-relationships in his life. Details such as an unthinkable break in “Gold” show maturity in the composition and bounding in writing.
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Baroness, Throwdown, Hatebreed
Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Alexisonfire
James Blake, Darkside, SOHN
DAMON ALBARN Everyday Robots
CREEPOID Wet (EP)
CULT LEADER Nothing For Us Here (EP) Deathwish (2014)
It wasn’t long ago that Creepoid have released something new. Last month, they released their new amazing self-titled album, but to celebrate a special day and to show what they’re up to lately in the rehearsal room, the Philadelphia based quartet put out a new EP on Record Store Day. Wet shows definitely the musical progression of Creepoid in all aspects, they are more focused and consistent in their writing approach, and there’s a slight aggressive touch compared to the album released one month early. These four tracks seem to be like a cathartic process of the band and it’s quite refreshing, even though they keep on making us feel nostalgic with that 90’s vibe. This is definitely an excellent buy for Record Store Day.
Cult Leader is the next evolutionary leap forward for three-quarters of Gaza, after the dissolution of the charismatic and unique band back in 2013. Nothing For Us Here is heavy as fuck, like a short and quick sonic storm of frenetic and furious aggression, leaving a trace of pure devastation and confusion in the listener. Deathwish really knows how to pick bands, and Cult Leader could fill the missing link between Converge and Coalesce and quickly could become another out of control monster ready to unleash aggression all over the place. Anthony Lucero really puts an outstanding performance on vocal duties (he previously played bass in Gaza) giving that sense that this sounds kind of new and fresh.
Everyday Robots is an open book, a book where Damon Albarn goes deep, very deep into his memories and life experiences, in his most soul-searching and autobiographical work yet. We can also say that this might be his masterpiece, it’s not Blur, Gorillaz or even The Good, but it’s the most stripped down and consistent work of this amazing artist. Some people write books, Damon Albarn writes a record that totally captures episodes of his life, even the lyrics give the listener snapshots of his childhood, where he recalls an episode in Leytonstone through to a song he made up for a baby elephant he met in Tanzania. The co-production between Damon Albarn and Richard Russell is so unique, and even guests Natasha Khan and Brian Eno are a delight. Excellent.
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Graveface Records (2014)
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True Widow, Purling Hiss, Sonic Youth
Botch, Converge, Coalesce
Blur, Bobby Womack, The Beatles
Caroline International (2014)
“This is an album about a person that has matured in an impressive way and he’s dissecting all the angles. So strong as vulnerable, Diploid Love is perfection under imperfection.” Asked if she still had the “Fuck Off” tattoo on her shoulder, Brody Dale answered “Fuck yeah” and went a little bit further elaborating by saying “I think there’s always an appropriate time for fuck off, fuck you, get fucked, go the fuck away, you know what I mean?” That’s exactly what a guy that did not understand, at least at first, what the hell Brody wanted to achieve with this record thinks now. The first thing that struck me was how this wasn’t nothing like an album but rather a compilation. A bunch of songs glued together. No connection between these songs. What the fuck she wants with this? Try again, try again, try again! What the fuck is the matter with Brody Dalle? Why the hell she has so many different types of instrumentals? Did she need all
these guests (Garbage’s Shirley Manson, The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, QOTSA’s Michael Shuman and Warpaint’s Emily Kokal) on the record? Again, no connection and most importantly the instrumentals seem to be a little bit buried on the back (especially the first four tracks). Pay attention. Try again, try again, try again! Now I get it and I’ll claim that this is a brilliant record and plays with the some pretty neat and ambitious “tricks”. The tricks that Fiona Apple used on The Idler Wheel… It’s the richest album since the last Fiona’s album. There’s indeed an appropriate time for everything. You just have to think that this is not Fiona but Brody Dalle and Dalle operates on heavy doses of aggression, she is a punk rocker.
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The Distillers, Hole, Spinerette
She was used to go, with her mother, to protest and fight for statements like “Fuck Off Bush”. Of course it’s heavy. But heaviness can be found in different ways. That’s what you get with Diploid Love. “Underworld”, for instances, is a track that kicks off with a punk rock aggression but shows its true colors in the self-awareness of Dalle and goes on with an explosion made by a fuckin’ horn breakdown and ends with an anti-climax atmosphere perpetrated by beautiful chords on a semi-acoustic guitar. This is an album about a person that has matured in an impressive way and she’s dissecting all the angles. So strong as vulnerable, Diploid Love is perfection under imperfection. I was calling you bitch and now I’m on the ground admiring every piece of it.
Rat Race, Parties For Prostitutes
7 DEX ROMWEBER DUO Images 13
6 DEVIL YOU KNOW The Beauty of Destruction
3 EMMURE Eternal Enemies
Bloodshot Records (2014)
Nuclear Blast (2014)
Victory Records (2014)
“Dex Romweber was and is a huge influence on my music... is one of the best kept secrets of the rock n’ roll underground.” — Jack White, White Stripes. If you guys don’t know this living legend of the classic underground Americana, where he plays surf protorockabilly, garage, dark and vengeful blues like nobody else, but nobody, plays it like Dex. Huge influence on Jack White, Neko Case, Ty Segall, No Age, The Black Keys and a lot more, Dex Romweber is once again back with a new album, Images 13 is his third album. Now with his older sister Sara Romweber on drums delivering the goods, Dex Romweber shows how a crooner should be in this perfect example of what vintage rock n’ roll stands for, dangerous and always real.
Howard Jones, the former Killswitch Engage frontman is back with his new band Devil You Know. In The Beauty of Destruction, we have Howard Jones screaming like he used to when he was leading Killswitch best times, but there are also some remains of that awesome underground band called Blood Has Been Shed, which was fronted by Howard. We must admit that this Howard’s comeback to Metalcore was kind of a surprise, because we were already used to the idea that Howard was in some away disinterested by the heavy stuff. There is nothing new here, the guitars are pure metalcore and there is that cliché aggression vs melody, but it’s pretty damn good seeing the return of one of modern metal’s best frontmen.
Emmure’s sixth studio album, Eternal Enemies, works just like a Chinese water torture. The same water being dropped into our brains driving us insane by the end of the experience. Or that’s at least what might happen if you are brave enough to listen the entire album just like I did. On the second track, “Nemesis”, the vocalist Frankie Palmeri shouts “Yeah you can beg all you want / Cause nothing is going to fucking change”. You heard the man, waiting for something different from them it’s just stupid. They are cool writing and performing the same shitty song in multiple ways. Countless breakdowns just for the sake of it (to “bounce”, as they say in their words”), dumb lyrics with that teen angst “me vs. the world”, “no one understands me”, and not even one drop of originality. Just to make things clear: RUN!
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Killswitch Engage, Blood Has Been Shed
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Shitty Music & Dumb Lyrics
FLOR CADÁVER Titan (EP)
Biruta Records (2014)
FRANKIE COSMOS Zentropy
Nowadays everyone loves to mix punk with electronic elements, thinking that it is fashionable and original. Well you bastards you should know that if you wanna be hipsters please stand up for the original thing, go back in 1999 when The Faint invented the punk/rave n’ roll. The truth is that these guys made it cool for hipsters to dance in the late 90’s, and for that you guys should thank them. After a four-year hiatus, The Faint are back to that classic trademark sound of theirs, and for better or worse they are the real deal, and the good thing in Doom Abuse is that they are heavier than ever, where the punk really stands out over the electronic elements, they are today more frenetic and raw than ever.
Flor Cadáver are a Portuguese quartet formed by members of other bands like O Bisonte and O Abominável. Thinking of the sonorities of their other bands, this new project turns out to be a darker and more furious approach, where they blend heavy riffs with drifting vocals. These guys are obviously more concern about making music they enjoy to play than to explain why they do it. After playing some live shows, the group has released their debut EP, Titan, that only has two tracks but it’s assertive in what they intend to show. “Eden” is the freaky beast track that shows the essence of this band. Titan is for sure a bittersweet treat to our ears - bitter because it’s short and sweet because it’s damn good.
Starting out as Ingrid Superstar but now going under the Frankie Cosmos name, Greta Kline is a young songwriter from New York who really knows how to (quickly) write songs. For a 19-year-old, Kline has already released over 40 albums and EPs on her Bandcamp page since 2009. It seems way too much for such young girl, but as she said in a recent interview, writing a song is her way of dealing with her emotions. We all know that music is a cheap therapy, and if well used, it can really help others, and that’s what the honest indie pop music of Kline does. Zentropy is a short and very simple record, with candid lyrics that shows the sadness and vulnerability of a teenager that loves to write songs.
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THE FAINT Doom Abuse
Cold Cave, Fuck Buttons, Crystal Castles
Deftones, Glassjaw, O Bisonte
Double Double Whammy (2014)
Joanna Gruesome, Catnaps, Collen Green
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah (Reissue)
The Future’s Void
Bikini Kill Records (2014)
It was back in 1990 that one of the most influential bands of all time and pioneers of the riot grrrl movement was formed. Bikini Kill were about fighting sexism and homophobia, legitimizing girlrock and reclaiming the punk domain. Their feminist lyrics and fierce performances still have a huge impact nowadays. In 2012, Bikini Kill Records released the first reissue of the Olympia group, the Bikini Kill EP - 20 Year Anniversary. This year, they have released the reissue for Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, out in 1993, their second release, a split with British riot grrrl spokespeople Huggy Bear. Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah was recorded in their Washingon DC basement practice space on a 4 track reel to reel in 1992 by Tim Green (Nation of Ulysses, The Fucking Champs). This reissue also features seven previously unreleased tracks on the Side B, that were either recorded live at shows during that era or at Bikini Kill practices. Yeah was recorded in a more raw way than the EP that preceded it, showing the essence of early Bikini Kill. All these songs were a true manifesto and written so intelligently and aggressively, that they are still as powerful as they were 20 years ago. Yeah marks also the first release of the iconic song “Rebel Girl”, a genuine hymn to friendship and fearless loyalty. Bikini Kill aimed to a change for a better world for all of us and they surely still do that with their timeless, unique music.
It’s quite difficult to talk about EMA’s The Future’s Void. To be honest I found myself reading some interviews to try to understand a little bit better what’s going on… Unfortunately after all the not conscious research I can’t give you an “answer” that seems right or at least solid. Erika Anderson was mentioning, in those interviews, that a big part of the album was influenced by her (difficult) relation with the internet and William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Well, it seems that she is aware of her problems within herself and with herself. It’s kind of a guessing game. Perhaps that’s the reason why Past Life Martyred Saints’ successor seems to be a more deliberated effort filled with tons of selfawareness. Doubts? Answers? Who knows? “Cthulu”, one of the album’s ten tracks, seems to represent, at least to a certain degree, the “true nature” of EMA’s second album. It starts with downbeats and works his way into a crescendo that reaches his peak with EMA’s voice; strong beats and fat synths that are not afraid of shifting into atmospheric moments that paint pictures of hope and decay. A swirl of emotions and soundscapes, a record who is ambulating towards the bleakness and brightness never reaching either one. “I remember when the world was divided by a wall of concrete and a curtain of iron, still they put a man into space and we go there each night alone in the waste.”
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Bikini Kill duhhh
Angel Olsen, St. Vincent, Phantogram
Rebel Girl, White Boy, Don’t Need You
Satellites, Cthulu, Neuromancer
7 8 FUCKED UP Year of the Dragon (EP)
GAMMA RAY Empire of the Undead
While the highly-anticipated fourth album doesn’t arrive, we have a little candy to kill this painful wait for Glass Boys. Year of the Dragon is that short but sweet candy that really ends quickly, we can’t even feel its taste completely... The truth is that these Canadian punks are once again running the Zodiac single series, and after the dog, the pig, the rat, the ox and the tiger it’s time for the Dragon... For about 18 minutes, Damien “Pink Eyes” Abraham screams blend with one the most amazing instrumental assault, where we loose ourselfs in a battle of guitar solos, showing again why these guys are more than a punk band. Fucked Up are for sure the most complete punk band on the planet.
I’m going to make this short and sweet. Kai Hansen can do no wrong when he plays to his strengths. What are those strengths the uninformed fan asks? Speed/Power Metal with a late ‘80s vibe. Empire Of The Undead is a proof that Power Metal is not devoid of testicles like the Sonata Arcticas of the world would have you believe. Unlike the aforementioned, Kai Hansen and his merry band of rascals still distribute epic riffs, monumental solos and Nebula Award deserving themes. Just take the first track: “Avalon” is a bewitching journey of 9 minutes that starts slowly and ends in a larger-than-life grand illustration of Power Metal, worthy of comparison to “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” or “Halloween”. Empire Of The Undead has only one fault, it is not consistent, but then again, who wants consistency when some of the tracks will surely live on forever.
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Edguy, Primal Fear, Helloween
Canadians, Punk and the Zodiac...
Short yet oh-so-very-sweet, The Golden Grass have captured the spirit of 1970 with love, soul and skill, and though their devotion to the southern groove of the likes of Black Oak Arkansas and Creedence is more than evident, the Brooklyn trio has taken their enthusiastic melange of boogie and psych rock from a place of mere homage through indomitable vigour. With no lack of great riffs, wahdrenched soloing and vocal harmonies that are nothing short of sublime, each of these five tracks offers up something special, be it the manic sprees and fills of “Wheels” or the purple haze dreaminess of “Stuck On A Mountain”. This is a debut that promises love, peace and poetry and delivers all with good cheer.
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Black Oak Arkansas, Danava, Graveyard
6 THE HORRORS Luminous
THE HONEY TREES Bright Fire
THE GOLDEN GRASS The Golden Grass
7 HUNDREDTH Resist (EP)
XL Recordings (2014)
Mediaskare Records (2014)
It took four years for the duo The Honey Trees to make their first fulllength, the follow-up of their 2009 EP - which made a great impression. As it seems, Becky Filip and Jacob Wick took all these years to improve their songwriting and to take things at its own pace. A wise decision, but is it justifiable when it is a new band that is still taking their first steps? The truth is that what The Honey Trees do with their music is beautiful and conveys a magical atmosphere to it, but sometimes it can sound too sweet or too much the same. Bright Fire is a delicate dream-pop/folk record, which Filip and Wick share vocal duties in a delightful way, still there’s something quite monotonous in their writing approach.
In 2011, The Horrors have released their third album Skying, changing in a way a little bit their sound, from a more aggressive post-punk revival style of Primary Colours to a new stage in their career where the psychedelic electronic sounds were more accentuated. In this new album, Luminous, the British band´s sound remains in the same line of Skying but one can see their musical growth in it. The single “I See You” and “So Now You Know” are beautiful songs, typically Horrors songs, progressive epic synths songs and the album works pretty much around this. Luminous is not a bad album, far from that, is a very consistent album full of psychedelia. But who was expecting something new in The Horrors discography will be a bit disappointed.
Last year, the South Carolina posthardcore outfit totally blew us away with their Revolt EP, where they ranted over a world riddled with injustice, debt and slavery, something that most of the bands nowadays seem to forget or ignore to talk about, even when the world is a mess... Now Hundredth are back with Resist EP, showing also a different, richer and even more conscious approach on the lyrics, where that activist attitude still stands but now they point their fingers directly to every one of us, and they completely nail it, because we are also part of the problem, every one of us is part of the problem. Hundreth are aiming for something big, showing that they can be both aggressive, emotional and melodic at the same time.
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Daughter, Lucy Rose, A Fine Frenzy
Toy, Temples, Cat’s Eyes
ANA FILIPA CARVALHO
Being As An Ocean, Counterparts
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
Some Heavy Ocean Sargent House (2014)
“Some Heavy Ocean portrays an amazing songwriter, that with only her lovely, eloquent voice and the sound of her acoustic guitar would be enough to fall in love...” There’s been a lot of talented musicians stepping out of their current bands to begin a solo journey, and eventually show their genuine skills and creativity. Emma Ruth Rundle is best known for her work in Red Sparowes, Marriages, and The Nocturnes. But now she decided to release her first official solo album, Some Heavy Ocean. As the title suggests, the songwriting for this album was based on a heavy, dark time that Emma went through, which led to these magnificently well-crafted ten tracks. The whole writing process was during her stay in Sargent House’s home studio in Echo Park, as she spent two months living and breathing her music. That must have been pretty exhausting and harsh, but the fuel
for the writing was there and the gifted musician was totally there, not writing a single tedious, tasteless song. Each song on Some Heavy Ocean tells a moment, a feeling. A cathartic exercise of Emma and an outlet to convey her very personal and intimate thoughts. There’s the melancholic and dark side of it, but there’s also hope. The first two singles unveiled, “Arms I Know So Well” and “Run Forever”, show gloomy but heartwarming lyrics: “And deliver me from all the evil I did to myself / And deliver me to arms so open, arms I know so well”. Her way of express deep feelings and personal struggles is astonishing, and her way of playing acoustic guitar is really impressive and passionate, creating a dense
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Chelsea Wolfe, Marriages, Black Mare
atmosphere but also hunting soundscapes of pure selfdeliverance. The tracks “Oh Sarah” and “Savage Saint” had the additional vocals of Andrea Calderon, giving an extra emotion to it. “Living With The Black Dog” is probably the heaviest and darkest song of the record, with a thick, heavy riff accompanied by the hazy lyrics: “You’re living like a southern lord / Living with the black dog / Living like a whore.” Some Heavy Ocean portrays an amazing songwriter, that with only her lovely, eloquent voice and the sound of her acoustic guitar would be enough to fall in love with such introspective and heartfelt music. Emma’s delicacy and devotion are incredible and she surely made one of the best records of 2014.
Run Forever, Arms I Know So Well
7 HYDRAS DREAM Little Match Girl
HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF Small Town Heroes
KAISER CHIEFS Education, Education...
Caroline International S&D (2014)
ATO Records (2014)
Denovali Records (2014)
Could Americana flits across genres? Yes, if the record is Small Town Heroes. Hurray For the Riff Raff is Alynda Lee Segarra, a 27 year old songwriter from the Bronx that sings about her adopted hometown New Orleans. Segarra’s music is elegant and built around her voice and her acoustic guitar, well accompanied with some banjo, piano and occasional spasms of electric guitar. She sings deep in the roots of the Americana, where her compelling voice makes us travel through folk and that deep blues roots. Songs like “The Body Electric,” a ballad that laments a culture in which violence against women are still very found in these days are a powerful political statement from an artist that through her music is trying to spread some social consciousness.
In 2013, Anna von Hausswolff released the magnificent Ceremony, that shown what she is capable of with such rare ingenuity. This time around, Anna joined forces with the composer Matti Bye - well-known by his fantastic film scores and extraordinary performance on the piano - to start a new project. The concept behind Hydras Dream is to interpret stories, movies and myths into musical landscapes. That’s exactly what The Little Match Girl, first full-length of the duo is all about, which was based on the beautiful and melancholic story by H.C. Andersen of the same title. This record is like a mesmerizing and dreamy soundtrack for that story, which lead us into a sonic journey full of details and vibrant tunes.
On Education, Education, Education & War, Kaiser Chiefs continue their exploration of societal divisions and their inherent inheritance. “Contractually tied to deaths door” is the opening salvo on lead track “The Factory Gates”, and their diatribe against complacency begins to take shape. “Misery Company” finds them expanding the palette, combining early Aughts minimalism with stadium grandeur and soulful attachment through finite keyboard work. So few bands have a vocalist that can embellish their sound akin to Ricky Wilson, who fluctuates between controlled rock precision and pop construction. So few people in music want to embrace the aesthetic of their role, and yet the inverse is true here. Guitar solos that take the full attention of the listener, arrangements that engage, points of convergence that make sense. Kaiser Chiefs have created a Classic Rock Album without sacrificing the details.
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Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Pete Seeger
Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, The Subways
Anna von Hausswolff, Matti Bye
7 LIMB Limb
LYKKE LI I Never Learn
7 MAC DEMARCO Salad Days
New Heavy Sounds (2014)
LL Recordings (2014)
Captures Tracks (2014)
In these last few years, we have been fed with countless acts that are paying a tribute to the masters Black Sabbath. Two things can happen: the band is indeed a tribute band and doesn’t care enough to deliver some music that truly represents the members’ personality or you find a band that is taking the influences and taking all things a little bit further, keeping the “old” sound fresh and exciting. Well, Limb’s self-titled debut album puts the band into the second group. Ten heavy tracks, full of personality where Slint’s dynamics (not saying this sounds like Slint), heavy/addicting grooves and a vocalist that is smart on how using his voice – that reinterpretation of Iron Man’s melody on Vathek is fuckin’ awesome – are just some of the tricks used to tell you: pay attention. They’re great!
If only pop music meant artists like Lykke Li and maybe the pop music would be completely saved of that stupid junk that are always polluting the charts. I Never Learn is a poetic and cathartic album, where Lykke Li’s voice flows in perfect harmony with instrumentation, everything seems delicate, tender and pure. Full of melancholy, Li sings breakup songs as if she’s actually just lived through some kind of a devastating breakup, even the intensity of this album leads to some kind of purification of our own soul and being. After several listenings, we are totally in love with this album. I Never Learn is exquisite and so emotionally strong that it really works like an addiction to the listener. This is just too beautiful...
Mac Demarco’s second full-length Salad Days is a good transition between his debut album 2 and this latest work. He said he wanted the transition to happen but without changing the vibe too much... Well, the psychedelic vibes in the album are at his best. From the lyrics to the musical arrangements, Demarco shows us the fresh composer he is nowadays. Salad Days is a chill out record, a need-a-break album, of someone tired of touring around the world and a little upset about it. The tempo and mood of the record is relaxing all the time… It’s jizz jazz a self-labeled genre by Mac. ”Let My Babe Stay” and “Ode to Viceroy” are highlights of Salad Days.
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Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Down
El Perro Del Mar, Sky Ferreira, Oh Land
ANA FILIPA CARVALHO
Real Estate, DIIV, Beach Fossils
FEAR OF MEN
The Deep End
Kanine Records (2014)
Red Bull Records (2014)
Hailing from Brighton, Fear of Men were formed by the duo Jessica Weiss and Daniel Falvey. Weiss had been already into making atmospheric songs with her work for her Fine Art & History Of Art degree at Goldmiths. The duo met each other when Weiss was in an exhibition displaying a collection of instrumental soundscapes, and that pulled the trigger for them to start working together. With that said, it kind of explains the peculiar cover-art of the band’s releases. As their band’s name suggests, Weiss writes about anxiety disorder, crippling disconnection, boredom and sexual dread. Her mainly writing influences come from writers like Sigmund Freud, Sylvia Plath and Anais Nin. Pretty impressive and refreshing, and that’s been an constant in their demos/7” releases over the last years, which Early Fragments 12” was their latest one. Loom is their debut album and it gathers the best tracks made by the band. Recalling sometimes of Cocteau Twins and The Smiths, their dreamy shoegaze creates a breezy and hazy ambiance. Weiss invokes in the context of her lyrics the precious natural resource that Water is for our lives, but at the same time it can be the swiftest destructor of it - more precisely on the tracks “Waterfall”, “Green Sea” and “Tephra”. There’s nothing to fear about Fear of Men and Loom is in fact a great collection of songs that let us wondering with their beautiful, mysterious soundscapes.
Let’s get very clear on this, The King Blues were one of the most important acts that really represented that rupture against the corporate greedy world that we live in, they were a vehicle of protest, with the ability to cross boundaries, and they truly represented what punk really stands for. Itch and his own way of making poetry were an inspiration for so many and for us it’s really awesome seeing this guy back... Feelings aside, let’s talk about this comeback. Itch is unique, is a poet, and after all that fucking bullshit leading to the end of The King Blues, he is back, stronger than ever. It’s less punkish, but fuck it, Itch is still more punk than some of the pseudo punks that are still around... The Deep End is a surprising effort, fuelled with energy and some kind of personal and cathartic redemption, but what really stands is once again we felt that true originality that only a few artists can be proud to show nowadays. Itch shows that he is the same guy that inspired so many people all over the years when he was the voice of protest in The King Blues. There is a sense of total creativity surrounding this album, where songs like “Best Shot”, “Life is Poetry” and “Homeless Romantic” feat. Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazarra (other guest vocalists lending their talents to the album include the great Matisyahu and Less Than Jake’s Roger Manganelli) are perfect examples of what creatively free Itch was allowed to be.
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The King Blues, Sonic Boom Six, Senser, The Clash
Waterfall, Luna, Inside
Life is Poetry, Homeless Romantic
9 MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA Cope
8 THE MENZINGERS Rented World
Run For Cover Records (2014)
Favourite Gentelman (2014)
Gothenburg, Sweden’s Makthaverskan are one the best kept secrets regarding to the European indie scene. II is a sublime and well crafted game change in the current indie scene, where noise blends with dream pop on a foundation of rambling, garage-punk energy. Full of distorted and uptempo riffs, where the atmospheric post-punk is served raw and sharp. Every single track contains an epiphanic moment and full of that angular melodies that give this album an almost casualyet-concise dynamic. Makthaverskan means “the female with the power,” a sentiment that seems to double back and truly power the music. Everyone should pay attention to the lyrics and to the amazing frontwoman Maja Milner. This is new, fresh and sounds different, our new favourite band just landed!
Manchester Orchestra are back, Cope is nostalgic as hell and gives us that stupid smile of joy every time we listen to it. Cope also sees Manchester turning in their shortest album to date at 38 minutes. All of the songs come in under four minutes, the songs are fast and short and the energy throughout the album is infectious and continuous. There are big, well-crafted hooks and more experimental elements, and let’s face it, they have been experimenting mixed elements since their beginnings. The Atlanta’s fourth record is loud, sometimes very different from what they have done in the past. Cope is also not going to please everyone but we can say that this is the natural progression from a band that was always been breaking music boundaries.
Back in 2012, The Menzingers’ On the Impossible Past was one of our year highlights. Now two years later, we found the same guys, with the same solid collection of sing-along catchy songs and the same way of bring us back to real life, where we found ourselves trapped with a bunch of feeling and emotions. Rented World is much more focused album, with same clever and similar lyricism of On the Impossible Past, maybe a bit less self-depreciative. The co-vocalists duo Greg Barnett and Tom May shows that they are still sounding different from any of their peers. The vocal attack is clear and very direct showing why this new record is the natural progression tightest songwriting bands that totally stands out in the indie punk scene.
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Against Me!, Rise Against
7 9 MORE THAN LIFE Whats Left of Me
7 NERVOSA Victim of Yourself
THE OATH The Oath
Rise Above (2014)
Holy Roar Records (2014)
Napalm Records (2014)
Since their amazing debut back in 2010, More Than Life have been part of our life and we must say that it’s difficult not to be captivated by those mix feelings where vulnerability and aggression are side by side. Listening to this new effort from this West Country (UK) four-piece and every one of the feelings mentioned above are back again, but What’s Left of Me is more expansive, ambitious and totally unpredictable, more raw and sometimes agonising as hell. It’s really hard to talk or write about something that really makes goose bumps track after track, and after several listenings we are more into the world of More Than Life than ever. Quite possibly one the best hardcore albums of this 2014 and potential modern classic of the genre.
The offspring of thrash revival bands seem to spread like mushrooms. These are divided into the great acts who manage to update the original formula’s sound and the others who just keep emulating their heroes’ riffs over and over, in hopes that they get at least a small loyal following from their efforts. Fortunately for Nervosa, they’ve managed to enter the first category with their debut Victim of Yourself, but that isn’t to say that they don’t need to work a little bit harder to truly carve an identity of their own. These twelve cuts can be described as stylistic hybrids between Sepultura’s groove, Kreator’s technicality and Toxic Holocaust’s enraged delivery. Simply put, if you’re a fan of these three bands, you’ll certainly take it.
And so the trend of retro doom/rock bands with female vocals continues its onward path to its total saturation. Too many Jex Thoths and Blood Ceremonies are creeping up everywhere since they (among others) have brought life to a movement thought dead since Coven silenced their amps. One would think that The Oath would be boring, repetitive and soulless, but wrongly. Their debut release stands out because they got rid of most clichés. No soaring vocals cutting through silence, no flutes or overdone keyboards. Linnéa Olsson plays groovy riffs and psychedelic solos while Johanna Sadonis presents powerful vocals that unfortunately act more as an instrument rather than being the focal point of the music. The genre may be getting boring, but The Oath sure know how to strip it of the cheesiness, leaving only the raw spells of classic doom.
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Sepultura, Kreator, Toxic Holocaust
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KILLER BE KILLED
Killer Be Killed
Nuclear Blast (2014)
Well, we already knew that this project was going to be a fusion between Max Cavalera, Troy Sanders, Greg Puciato and David Elitch’s different musical fields, but to reassure all the skeptics who thought this wasn’t going to work, Killer Be Killed just might be considered a successful venture. If one were to describe its mishmash of styles, one could say that Cavalera’s songwriting seems to be the most prevalent and this could easily be a Soulfy album, as the songwriting formula seems to rely on most of times on the skeleton of a Soulfly song, which ends up getting some type of Dillinger Escape Plan choruses and a few “Mastodonian” riffs here and there to glue to whole thing together. In your first listen, you just don’t know what you’ll get, but rapidly you’ll discover that these musicians know-how and knowledge about each other’s musical turfs made those transitions sound practically seamless in their performances. All in all, Killer Be Killed is filled with catchy songs and groovy riffs, but the downside is that it just ends up too fast, and it’s not as elaborated as it could have been with musicians of such caliber. Thus it falls a bit short of being a totally remarkable record, but if anything, Killer Be Killed is a proof that this supergroup has in fact the potential to succeed. The Frankenstein has only just begun to give its first steps. Let’s hope for a second release.
OFF!’s second album, Wasted Years, is way more than a continuation of something that blew away people’s mind when in 2010 they came out of nowhere with First Four EPs… It’s an escalation of his own self with tons of urgency being shoot from every possible angle. Urgency in delivering messages/lyrics that go straight to the point (jugular vein, if you will); urgency of creating good songs; urgency of finding a common language in an era where every person has his own language. With sixteen tracks (it’s their thing – both their First Four EPs and their self-titled LP, they all had sixteen tracks) and their longest record to date (23 minutes of music), the LA’s based quartet returns with a much darker and heavier record (it’s pretty hard to ignore the Black Sabbath influence, for example) where Dimitri Coats’ guitar playing is the center piece, exploring a considerable number of “new” territories delivering a great deal of depth to a band that at his core has that old and classic hardcore punk sound. Keith Morris’ words are spitted all the way through making the all thing pretty hard to ignore. “You fuck with me, I fuck with you”, “You’re a walking punchline… and the joke’s on you!” are just examples of how violent and corrosive this album is. Sure, it’s nothing really new and it kind of loses his momentum by the end of it but it’s a pretty damn good album nevertheless.
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Soulfly, Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan
Circle Jerks, Black Sabbath, Black Flag, Flag
Face Down, Curb Crusher, Melting of My Marrow
Hypnotized, Red White and Black TIAGO MOREIRA
PILGRIM II: Void Worship
OWEN PALLETT In Conflict
ONLY CRIME Persuance
7 Rise Records (2014)
Metal Blade (2014)
Only Crime is a combination of 5 veterans of the punk/hardcore scene - Russ Rankin (Good Riddance), Bill Stevenson (former Black Flag’s drummer), Matt Hoffman (Moder Life Is War’s guitarist) and Dan Kelly (on the bass, The Frisk and Tegan and Sara), completing the lineup - who have pooled their collective experience to create a truly refreshing musical statement regarding to the current punk-rock scene. Pursuance is permanently locked into the punk’s wayback machine, but with no fear to experiment new elements that totally give their sound a new approach in the punk-rock scene, where the terms “heavy”, “arty” and “pop” set a new standard for heavy rock music, even when the punk attitude is always the true force and inspiration.
Well, Spring is here and love is a very cliché feeling at this time of the year, the flowers are more beautiful, the sun is warmer and even humans seem happier... In Conflict is full of love songs, typical for this time of the year, as lame as that sounds Mr.Pallett went a bit far on this theme, so the main subject of this album is about that liminal states and our loved ones locked in battle with them, where we can approach insanity in a positive way. This is a bold concept, and it works really well on this record, giving some perspective about what makes us humans, living beings that are always battling in our life with depression, addiction, gender trouble, etc... This was a really nice surprise, this is what a pop record should sound like.
Rather than diluting their impact, the reduction of Pilgrim to two-piece status just seems to have given them the impetus to focus on what they do best. As such, the slower bits are now agonisingly so, the metal parts positively thunderous and the graven atmosphere of their debut now massive and foreboding, looming over the album like a jagged Germanic castle hewn from fortified misery. There’s still an overreaching theatricality to The Wizard’s voice while the instrumental ‘In The Presence of Evil’ perfectly demonstrates his ability to summon riffs fraught with tension and weight. It’s never going to convert the doom-averse but if Candlemass and Reverend Bizarre are your gods, a new altar has arisen for you to kneel before
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Dog Knights (2014)
Plague Vendor are chaotic rock band from Whittier, California, they have just signed with Epitaph and this April they’ve released their intrepid and driven by dysfunction debut album. Free to Eat is undeniable force, where the word dangerous is the strong element in this aggressive introspection, in a matter fact they have achieved something really formidable. If you guys imagine what Refused would sound like if they were playing The Birthday Party covers, you could have a pretty good idea of how these four dudes sound. Everything was recorded live in studio, using only two or three takes and with overdubs, and they have nailed it just perfectly, because they sound raw and heavy as fuck, where we see the heart and brains at work at the same time.
Pilot is the debut album from South London’s noise-pop duo Playlounge. It’s hard to ignore that there’s plenty of bands doing what Playlounge are doing, but only a few can match this lo-fi abrasion amount of noise. They don’t fear fucking with the formula either, as the expansive Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine fuzzy shoegaze elements they take the best elements of their sound and focuses it into a cohesive listening and noisy experience. For about 33 minutes, we can feel the cathartic element, and after screamings, catchy vocals, fuzzy guitars and tons of noise we are more laid back, as if the whole listening experience exorcise some of our own demons. The summer is coming, this could be the perfect BSO.
Pup, an acronym for Pathetic Use of Potential, are four Canadian twentysomethings that decided to quit their day jobs, get completely hammered at a local watering hole, and focus on their band full-time. This self-titled debut was the outlet for them to express a wide palette of sounds, giving their punk approach a new meaning, and that rock element that is always hand in hand with punk can go further with the most dazzling climax. Their intensity and angst are so cliché in today’s pop-punk, but these guys give a new meaning to this shape of punk, sometimes they sound like the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr. and The Menzingers all at the same time, and it’s this indie approach in the making that sorts out as the key element of their sound.
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PLAGUE VENDOR Free to Eat
Refused, The Birthday Party, The Stooges
Side One Dummy (2014)
Johnny Foreigner, Joanna Gruesome
Modern Baseball, The Menzingers
More Than Any Other Day Constellation Records (2014)
“It can go from the darkest place where a claustrophobic feeling is taking care of you to a burst of joy from all the moments that served as a fuel for your faith.” Two years after starting the band in Montreal the four members of Ought are back with New Calm EP’s successor, their debut full length. Let me go straight to the point for now, More Than Any Other Day is arguably one of the best debut albums of these last years and this release alone makes Canada’s Ought one of the more exciting and better bands in today’s alternative music realm. Highly influence by Printemps d’Erable Quebec – 2012’s Quebec student protest against a proposal by the Quebec Cabinet that was supporting a neo-liberal austerity – the band has taken the road where art and social awareness are walking side by side. Tim Beeler, the guitarist and vocalist, who was already active writing poetry and folk music, took that need of manifestation/protest, and with Matt Kay, Ben Stidworthy and Tim Keen, he took things to a whole
another level. With a vocal approach that remind us of David Byrne, from the early Talking Heads, and Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus, Ought’s output seems like a crazy mixture between the raw energy of punk rock with the more introspective moments of something that could be labeled as alternative rock. Starting off with “Pleasant Heart”, the band works his way into a groove that is manifested throughout a pulsating rhythm giving space for the other seven tracks. I guess that’s the beauty of More Than Any Other Day, the way every track gives space to the next one while maintaining a higher level of personality making really, really hard to be confused with anything else. The sparse arrangements that allow every element (instrument) to have his own life that can gravitate towards the center
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of the song meeting and completing the pairs or even go further and drawn new boundaries and lives. One can easily fall in the trap of giving all the spotlight to Beeler’s vocal outbursts and compelling/ addictive hooks but perhaps the key element is truly on May’s keyboards and in the way they filled the room with oxygen, opening space to whatever the other three guys are doing. Perhaps it will come out as stupid but just imagine all the scenarios of the countless protests that you’ve seen and participate in all the years of your existence. It can go from the darkest place where a claustrophobic feeling is taking care of you to a burst of joy from all the moments that served as a fuel for your faith. They say “We’re sinking deeper / We feel like”. The cards are on the table. Are you brave enough to pick them up, take a look and enjoy it just as if your life depends on it?
Pleasant Heart, Habit, Clarity!
8 PROTOMARTYR Under Color of Official Right
7 PURE X Angel
7 RAMONA LISA Arcadia
Hardly Art (2014)
Fat Possum (2014)
A lot of things are explained if you, by any chance, are aware that Protomartyr’s music is made by four guys from Detroit, Michigan. It’s only natural that the city of the musician influences his output as an artist. Most of the times it doesn’t explain the entire thing but will most likely enlighten you about the tone of the music. Chicago’s bankruptcy last year certainly made an impact on the local scene. How could not? Violence, death, anger and destruction are always a powerful influence… or theme. Not so rough around the edges as their first album, Under Color of Official Right displays chaotic moments that are kind of constrained by this idea of continuity and progression in a selfimposed pace. And yeah, Joe Casey’s sounds like Nick Cave.
The Austin trio returns with Angel, their third LP since Crawling up the Stairs from 2013 that has no strings attached to this new work. “Livin’ the Dream”, the third song of the record might be the perfect description of this album. Throughout the vintage psychedelic folk influences, Angel is such a mellow album which makes it perfect for divagation. The rhythm is always the same, there’s no acceleration now and then, the voice and melodies are ethereal and there’s plenty of slide guitar. A celebration of love, we might say too... Recorded in a pastoral environment, a century-old dance hall in the band’s native state, you may feel this entire relaxing and smooth atmosphere like on the track “Heaven”, another perfect example of what we’re talking about here.
Caroline Polacheck, lead singer of the indie-pop duo Chairlift, decided to release her first solo album under her alias Ramona Lisa. But as she stated, this Ramona Lisa is not her own portrait, it’s a character she has created and it’s like from a different world. While listening to this Arcadia we kind of get that. The Brooklyn musician recorded the album entirely on her laptop - without instruments or external microphones - and the vocals were recorded on unlikely places like hotel closets, quiet airport gates, and spare dressing rooms... Describing this solo adventure as pastoral electronic, Arcadia is a peculiar and dreamy record, and by the way it was made, you don’t need much to make an interesting, abstract record.
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No Joy, Amen Dunes, Blue Hawaii
The Birthday Party, Iceage
8 RYLEY WALKER All Kinds of You
Chairlift, Austra, Azar Swan
5 SEAHAVEN Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only
SCOTT H.BIRAM Nothin’ But Blood
Tompkins Square (2014)
Bloodshot Records (2014)
Run For Cover (2014)
I’ve been waiting for something like this to drop for ages and now that’s finally here I don’t know what to make of it. Let’s make something clear, I LOVE this album and listening to it is definitely an amazing experience. My “problem” it’s with Ryley’s influences, more specifically the Tim Buckley’s one. Tim is, without a doubt, the best folk artist and one of the best singers of all time… All Kinds Of You follows the lines that were laid by Buckley’s Starsailor. That wonderful work on the guitar, the voice that is way more than a simple voice and the jazzy feeling that goes along with all the experimentation. But is Ryley Walker trying to imitate Buckley? Quite honestly, I don’t think so and I don’t really know if I care. It’s amazing and for now that’s more than enough.
What you need to know about Scott and his music is that they are both punk rock at their core. As he says, “with balls”. There’s indeed a feeling that every note and every word that is being shouted is coming from the guts. The aggressiveness, pounding aspect of Biram’s music makes sense with the country tunes that he displays. Sure it’s way more than that, but country nevertheless. Nothin’ But Blood lives throughout an urgency that is contagious. Full of knowledge and rituals that are meant to not be such a thing, Scott’s new album works like a big wave of blood, dirt and danger that will drown you. From the heartful of the opener “Slow & Easy” to the noisy, experimental and cutting-edge “Around the Bend”, that encloses the album. Way more than just another aggressive country record.
Indie punk scene is actually a scene? Or emo revivalists are calling things like Seahaven an indie punk scene? Well guys, the answer is simple, there is an indie punk scene, but Seahaven are more emo than punk, and more indie than rock, so if there is an emoindie scene please let me know... Oh wait, The Cure already created that in the 80’s! This new effort from these Californians caused some mixed feelings in this humble writer, because they oscillate between boring and awesome at most of the record, and that really sucks. When Kyle Soto vocals are cleaner and clearer it gives this album a new meaning, but when he moans that sounds terrible as fuck. It’s not great, but it’s genuinely cohesive.
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The one and only Tim Buckley
Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams III
Tigers Jaw, Basement, The Cure
THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
Days of Abandon
PINK MOUNTAINTOPS Get Back
Fierce Panda (2014)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have just released Days of Abandon – a follow up to 2011’s Belong that culminates the long three year wait in a flash. “I wanted the music to be joyful and full of light,” says frontman Kip Berman, “even if the subjects were often dark.” The Brooklyn based indie originals set the double edged tone with “Simple and Sure”. Bursting off the strum of their strings, the poetry and pain of the bittersweet love song can’t help but be secondary to the sound. The Pains make no such delineation in “Coral and Gold”. A haunting descent into the anatomy of a love in disarray, the crescendo cannot be escaped even by hearts less pure. Even so, the departure of three bandmates after their previous success yields a breakout for Jen Goma of A Sunny Day in Glasgow, and the change in lead only serves to brighten the energy on “Life After Life”, while complimenting Berman’s standard throughout. Adding multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt clearly paid dividends on the horn section and returns a distinct depth that amounts to more than just a passing breath on the entire album’s spin. All told, the ten new songs bring Berman full circle. “For the first time in a while, I feel the same sense of possibility I felt when I started the band,” he asserts. The feeling should be unmistakable to anyone who joins the journey.
Steve McBean, the mastermind behind Pink Mountaintops sold his soul to rock n’ roll in Get Back, creating one of the most out of control and stripped down rock n’ roll records of the year. This album is about loose yourself to rock n’ roll, where nothing matters and where the word boundaries has no meaning at all. And when someone says that was inspired by: “Alleys, curbs, walls, and cigarette stained gig flyers. An island on the Pacific coast. Fake British towns. Slayer posters. The beauty of youth. It’s about listening to Driver’s Seat and ‘Guns of Brixton’ and hotboxing The Duster.” Then Everything seems pretty clear regarding what we can expect. Pink Mountaintops’ Get Back dream lineup features a number of pretty good guests, including J Mascis, Rob Barbato (The Fall), Steve Kille (Dead Meadow), Daniel Allaire (Brian Jonestown Massacre), and Gregg Foreman (Cat Power). It was mixed by Randal Dunn, and mastered by Howie Weinburg (Nirvana, Ramones). The whole record is dangerous like rock should be, where fans of Flying Nun bands, Television Personalities, Johnny Thunders and Born Against are gonna for sure love this album. Songs like “The Second Summer of Love” dives into 80’s VHS saturation and highlight “North Hollywood Microwaves” where Giant Drag’s Annie Hardy raps and the whole dangerous rock level turns wicked and filthy, one of the most awesome tracks of this year.
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
Television Personalities, Johhny Thunders, Annie Hardy
Veronica Falls, Yuck, Ringo Deathstarr
The Second Summer of Love, North Hollywood Microwaves
Life After Life, Coral and Gold
8 SIGIRIYA Darkness Dies Today
SLEAFORD MODS Divide And Exit
8 SMOKE FAIRIES Smoke Fairies
Harbinger Sound (2014)
Full Time Hobby (2014)
It’s hard to believe that one of the hardest-rocking, heavy-grooving albums of the year doesn’t come from across the Atlantic but from Swansea, yet that’s the delicious truth of the matter. It’s heartening to know that this is most definitely still the child of Acrimony but the riffs are tighter and more infectious, the hooks so penetrating that they can never be removed from skulls and the anthemic growl of ‘Pipes’ Williams so blessed with the souls of John Garcia and Layne Stayley that the 90’s never seemed so close. This is balls-out, beer-drinkin’, space-farin’ rock yet it’s blessedly free from cliché. It’s just one sweet, life-affirming ride and the songs here deserved to be heard for decades to come.
You need to understand that on Sleaford Mods’ music there’s more than meets the eye. Are the beats just a poor excuse for all the cursing and punch lines delivered by Jason Williamson? Kind of, but it goes beyond that. Jason is spitting bars after bars in a frenetic way don’t giving much time to process all the information (pay attention). It seems the beats were made in a bedroom. Who cares? Andrew Fearn is a man on a mission and by the end everything was delivered in the right way. That’s what matters. It’s just about the cursing? Open your fuckin’ ears then. Jason’s street smart is just a powerful weapon attacking and making it clear some of his point of views on political and social matters. If you like to think, Divide and Exit is perfect for you.
British folk duo Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire are back to haunt us with their unsettling and atmospheric new album. Once again they’ve created another brilliantly immersive album, where the folk blues of the duo besides nightmarish is incredibly seductive. Smoke Fairies is unashamed and astoundingly pure, where the folk blends with haunted pop, where spooky and decayed electronic beats clash with the almost supernatural shape of desert rock. There’s also a continuity with the styles of their previous records, but Smoke Fairies are now clearly more related to that classic Vashti Bunyan 60’s approach well mixed with that Fleetwood Mac, Trees 70’s sound. If there is perfection in today’s folk, Smoke Fairies reached that point.
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FOR FANS OF:
Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, PIL
7 THEE OH SEES Drop
Pierces, Vashti Bunyan, Fleetwood Mac
5 TOKYO POLICE CLUB Forcefield
TIMBER TIMBRE Hot Dreams
Castle Face (2014)
Arts & Crafts (2014)
Memphis Industries (2014)
Everyone is freaking shouting that Thee Oh Sees are the salvation of rock n’ roll and blah blah blah... This is not new and it’s that freaking stripped down rock n’ roll that all hipsters think that are allowed to love, even if they don’t understand what they are listening. Thee Oh Sees have no sympathy for that old rock formulaic song struture and that’s why they don’t give a fuck about what sort of labels or genres they’re connected to... While many of their psyche-mining indie peers remain po-faced and pseudo artsy bullshit, Thee Oh Sees seem to be losing themselves in the pure essence of what rock n’ roll stands for. Drop is not perfect, but it’s deceptively sunny, this could be another good soundtrack to several summers.
Hot Dreams is the fifth album of Timber Timbre, which follows-up the well-acclaimed 2011’s Creep On Creepin’ On. There’s an aspect that keeps on defining the sound of the Canadian outfit, which is the cinematic atmosphere that they create with their songs, sounding like a western film soundtrack but with a much more neater and vivid approach. While listening to the ten tracks of the album, we could not help noticing the sensuality and desire shown in each song, like the title track, mixed with the familiar sound of the band haunted folk, blues and also a touch of Fifties Americana. Hot Dreams doens’t bring anything new to the band’s discography, but their music is always a cinematic ride to our ears.
After the delay of four years, the Canadian rock band returns with Forcefield, their third album. The band was born in 2005, released their first EP in 2006, their first album Elephant Shell in 2008 and the second one, Champ, in 2010. Why this little Tokyo Police Hotel bio? Well, because it’s relevant to wonder why in their third album they don’t have nothing really surprising to say. The sound is spotless, almost artificial, too plastic like there’s no deep meaning or feeling in the art itself. It sounds like a teenager boys band music, full of cliché. Anyway, the best part of the record is “Argentina”, the first track (which is really three songs together) the pop-prog song of the album is the best you can hear from a poor album.
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FOR FANS OF:
Mikal Cronin, Crystal Antlers
Dead Man’s Bones, The War On Drugs
FOR FANS OF:
ANA FILIPA CARVALHO
Los Campesinos!, Bombay Bicycle Club
Pixies Music (2014)
Neurot Recordings (2014)
Ahhh, Pixies. I remember seeing them for the first time in the spring of 1988, on the cover of the Boston Phoenix opening for Throwing Muses at the Paradise in Boston. It was a picture of Joey Santiago bent forward coaxing trademark feedback you could actually hear in the black and white image. Heady times indeed, both for the audience and I imagine, the band. The group has released their fifth proper LP with Indie Cindy, and they have comfortably fit themselves into that late period band that exists simply because it ought to. I imagine that members of the wide Pixies audience will hear great things on this record, as I heard great things on late period Rolling Stones records like Emotional Rescue and Dirty Work when I was a kid. Serious Stones fans at the record store I work at would be stunned to hear that I thought “She’s So Cold” was a classic. Several songs on this LP fit the same mold, where fans of conscription would be horrified to learn that any member of the base could embrace these songs on the same level as “Tame” or “Caribou”. But it’s true. As much as the totality of the record suffers from a repetitive pace, there are moments where the band shines its light on precious moments. Opener “What Goes Boom” is classic Pixies loud/quiet. Title track “Indie Cindy” mines the same vibes of “Wave of Mutilation” in it’s surf incarnation, coupled with the spoken singing of the classic tracks “UMass” and “Subbacultcha” from Trompe le Monde. And yet, essentially, this record is Bossanova V. 2.
Built upon the shipwreck of the legendary Buried at Sea and with a Neurot Recordings – which seems to be particularly active these days - stamp on it, the second full-length by Stoneburner gathers some pieces of what of the most relevance has been done in unorthodox metal throughout the last few years. As soon as the curtain drops, we’re before this ginormous stoner-like riff, crushing us with all that big fat low-end, only to be gripped by the neck by a demented death metal section, as powerful as the greatest names of the genre, sticking pinch-harmonics right into our ugly faces. Some melody and progressiveness are brought to the table with “An Apology to a Friend In Need”, culminating in the sludgy “Pale New Eyes”, with an epic ending. “You Are The Worst” gives us a glimpse of something like really old-school Mastodon, dirty and sludgy, but executed with great mastery. “The Phoenix” closes the record at the highest level; building tension with a long instrumental intro, followed by loud riffage and screaming, and a proggy instrumental section before we’re led to another heavy part fading-out until the record’s end. With glimpses of progressiveness amongst all the sludgy madness of distortion and loudness, we’re before a singular record that won’t allow us to leave the swamp before the ritual is finished.
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
With some luck this could be for that old Pixies fans
Indian, Culted, Lumbar
Tame, Caribou, What Goes Boom
You Are The Worst, The Phoenix
tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack
Hummus Records (2014)
Nikki Nack, the third album from tUnE-yArDs marks the latest stage of Merrill Garbus artistic statement. Like so many electronic indie-pop artists, Merrill Garbus is always looking for that perfect sound, that perfect beat or element that totally could define her artistic statement. The tribal vibe of Nikki Nack blends that retro synthpop, almost as if Garbus was Vampire Weekend’s on ecstasy bastard sister. Exquisite and sometimes wicked, Nikki Nack is so rich and detailed, well combined with Garbus’ distinct and loud yelling vocals, once again the primal force in her music. tUnEyArDs new effort is an astoundingly loose, it’s a record that opens a new perception of what pop music future could sound like.
It’s not always that a new band gets a fan as The Breeders’ Kim Deal and I guess is no surprise at all, because of the great mood of this Cincinnati trio. The first track I heard was the energetic “Be Mean” showing this badass attitude with catchy, noisy riffs and it’s well shown the trash-pop tag they have. Tweens sure know how to write a song that gets stuck in your head. As the band’s name suggests, they write about teenage topics like bad relationships and boredom, that we can all relate too and this album is no exception. The only slow song on this album is “Want You”, where Bridget opens up her heart. This first album of Tweens could the soundtrack for our days in high school, trying to figure out life and ourselves.
What to make of a record that is pushing is way through what seems endless periods of repetition, an atmosphere that is fuckin’ bleak and puts the listener on his knees, that has no concerns whatsoever for rhythm or any type of vocalizations? Well, that’s exactly what Twinesuns, the Swiss duo, have done on their debut album. With names like Sunn O))), Earth and GY!BE working as influences, the duo accomplishes with The Leaving an incredible piece that not only sets the listener into this rollercoaster of emotions and contrasts but also proves how essential is the drone music. It’s all about finding a new language to express what is missing and be enlightened by every little detail that comes to our understating throughout our speakers. An amazing journey!
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Vampire Weekend, Goldfrapp, Oh Land
TWINESUNS The Leaving
Buzzcocks, Tacocat, Upset
Earth, Goodspeed You! Black Emperor
7 7 THE USED Imaginary Enemy
WYE OAK Shriek
City Slang (2014)
Imaginary Enemy is the band’s sixth studio full-length, and also a manifesto of total independence of a band that over the years always seem to have more to offer than actually gave us. The Used were always a political band, even in the more emotional lows of Bert McCracken there was always by their lyrics evoking some kind of political conversation. Imaginary Enemy shows a band’s commitment, where feelings of frustration and optimism for a better future are the key elements of what this album stands for. Tracks like “Revolution”, “Cry” and “Generation Throwaway” are some of the highlights of the most complete and strong record from these Sacramento guys. The world needs a change, that’s a fact, let’s start the revolution...
Give Wye Oak credit, they are trying to find their way to a larger context. Does it work in its entirety on Shriek? To some degree. I’ve argued for years that the canvas was blank for artists like Hendrix, Dylan, and the Airplane. How do we contextualize music made as the canvas was being filled in? Music created by luminous figures, such as Nirvana and Portishead, litter the playing field. Their efforts established the totality of limited space. Does the new Wye Oak fill some of that space? Absolutely. In the same manner that Azure Ray deconstructed the conventional model of emotional expression, Wye Oak expands upon that premise. Jenn Wesner is the real deal. The perfect lilt during the chorus of “Glory”, the insouciance of the title track, the confluence of originality and supplication that is “The Logic of Color”. Highly recommended.
FOR FANS OF:
FOR FANS OF:
Hopeless Records (2014)
Taking Back Sunday, Chiodos, Aiden
Hospitality, Shearwater, Angel Olsen
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY When Life Comes to Death
Young and in the Way is a blackened crust band from Charlotte, North Carolina. When Life Comes to Death, is faithfully represented by its cover-art – greyish and fucking cold. It’s like a razor: the sonic punishment is cold-blooded and inflicted with all asperity. Closer than ever to Black Metal, this might leave some of those who surrendered themselves to the previous record, I Am Not What I Am, slightly uncomfortable. Nevertheless, we’re before a sharp and outstanding record. Among all the fast riffage, screaming, and sonic violence, the song “Shadow of a Murder” outshines with its neurosiesque semi-acoustic aesthetic.
FOR FANS OF:
Dead In The Dirt, Early Graves, Nails
Melana Chasmata Century Media (2014)
“There’s no other way to put it: “Melana Chasmata” is a masterpiece and an essential record to have in your collection.” Anytime Thomas Gabriel Fisher decides to return with a new record, it usually generates a whole lot of buzz, because apart from having set so many classic metal milestones with Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, he still manages to remain as highly influential as he’s ever been through his most recent musical endeavor, Triptykon. You certainly can’t say that of a lot of musicians, and Tom “Warrior” may have just created in their second record Melena Chasmata what in the future might be considered another bona fide
classic. It’s divided between moments of progressive, quasiblackened thrash metal mode in crushing numbers such as “Tree of Suffocating Souls” or “Breathing”, and other times where it manages to dive even deeper into the darkened doom metal abyss first created in their debut with slow grinding burners such as “Boleskine House”, “Demon Pact” or the agonizing “In the Sleep of Death”, where Fisher and V. Santura’s dirty, gritty and chilling guitars unravel mercilessly upon the hypnotic rhythmical web weaved by the interlocked patterns of
FOR FANS OF:
Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Tom Warrior
drummer Norman Lonard and Vanja Šlajh’s eerie bass tones. Melana Chasmata is uncompromisingly dark and brutal. Each beast-like riff, chord progression and frenzied scream are details of a confrontational and hard to bear somber musical painting. You can indeed hear that, when Tom G. Warrior says he has to enter a dark place to compose such pieces, he is not kidding - he means it. There’s no other way to put it: Melana Chasmata is a masterpiece and an essential record to have in your collection.
Tree of Suffocating Souls, Boleskine House
“Ladies and gentlemen…here we have another addition to my best-of-the-year list. 2014 is really shaping up to be an amazing year in music.”
n today’s music world, there’s nothing more exciting than a band that is almost impossible to classify. With so many different buzzwords thrown around (metalcore, neo-folk, Americana, art-rock, alt-country, etc.) it’s rare to come across a band that doesn’t comfortably fit into any of those categories. Wovenhand, the current brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter David Eugene Edwards, has been evolving their sound since their first release in 2002. When they first emerged, to most they were a continuance of Edwards’s work with 16 Horsepower but with more of a rock and roll ambiance. But after six albums, they’ve broken all molds and all expectations with Refractory Obdurate. With each piece of work Edwards & Co. seem to add more and more elements to the sound of the band, further straying away from their alt-country/alt-folk past. What you get on Refractory Obdurate is a mishmash of various influences that come together to form a new sound for the band that is both traditional yet brand new. From the first notes of the opening track “Corsicana Clip” we’re given something that harks back to a riff that would’ve fit right in on an album like Sackcloth ‘N’ Ashes. The interesting thing is by the time you’ve got to the middle of the song you have some great post-punk leanings and noisy atmospheres that take the song in a completely different direction. This unpredictability stays constant throughout the rest of the album. The next song, “Masonic Youth,” begins with something that sounds straight from Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and ends with something you’d expect on Gun Club’s Fire Of Love. How many bands do you know that have recognizable influences so vastly different as these, but are able to pull them together having an almost metal heaviness to it. By combining many different sounds that they clearly love, Wovenhand has managed 100
to create an all-new angle for the band. All of these sounds are all topped off with Edwards’s trademark Western tinge, which gives Refractory Obdurate a feeling unlike any other album being released today. The musicianship is something that cannot be excluded from the conversation about Refractory Obdurate. The stunning melodies of Edwards and Charles French are perfectly complimented by the incredible drumming of Ordy Garrison. These guys are experts at their craft plucking through guitars and banjos, masterfully making pianos sing and creating percussion sounds that have the weight of an 8.6 on the Richter scale. I’d be an idiot to leave out the eerie vocals of Edwards himself. Giving you the feeling of an apocalyptic preacher, he sings and chants his way right into your soul making you feel every word he says. His goal here? To express his spirituality
REVIEWED NEXT MONTH
THE BLACK KEYS
SHARON VAN ETTEN
Are We There
and discuss his intense devotion to his Lord and Savior. Don’t let the “God-rock” stigma scare you, though. Wovenhand creates music with a darker atmosphere than most metal bands and rock harder than any pseudo-Satanist you put in front of them. While schizophrenic in its sound, Refractory Obdurate still manages to be an extremely cohesive piece of work. The songs are perfectly sequenced never giving the listener too much adrenaline or too much tranquility. I’d definitely say that people who tend to dwell on the heavier end of the musical spectrum would find more to love with this album than their earlier material like Mosaic or their selftitled debut. But those fans who have been with them throughout their evolution will find that this album is every bit the Wovenhand we fell in love with 12 years ago. Just with a new touch. Ladies and gentlemen…here we have another addition to my best-of-the-year list. 2014 is really shaping up to be an amazing year in music. MYKE C-TOWN
Upside Down Mountain
Symmetry In Black
Serpent & Sphere
A Letter Home 101
CHURCH OF RA: AMENRA, TREHA SEKTORI OATHBREAKER, HESSIAN Hard Club, Porto 17.04.2014
Photos: Andreia Alves // Words: Tiago Moreira It’s natural for one to think that this is really an event rather than a simple gig where you go to see the band that you love. Church of Ra is also way more than a simple gathering of like minds bands and musicians, is truly a collective. Starting this celebration with the punk/metal outfit, Hessian, we’re able to see the more down to earth approach to the punk and metal sound in that night. Presenting their debut fulllength, Manegarmr, the band fronted by Bram Coussement has set the tone of destruction throwing punches not even thinking about the consequences. The destruction was taken to all ‘nother level with the authors of the excellent Eros|Anteros. Oathbreaker are a hardcore band at their core but the dynamics they have printed in their music makes the all thing way more challenging and exciting. From raging moments of pure fury, speed and aggression to soft melodies, passing through moments that are making proud the masters (a.k.a. Black Sabbath). Caro Tanghe with her bare feet was the center piece of this rollercoaster of emotions. We’re almost there but first the drone-y atmospheres and soundscapes of Treha Sektori. It’s not the punk center sound of Oatbhreaker and Hessian but the intensity was definitely there, almost like setting the tone to the masters that would step the stage next. AMENRA! They’re the elite of the heavy music, just like their friends Neurosis. Not open for discussion. From the first second they step on the stage you can definitely feel the all environment changing. It’s different with them. From the first notes to the last ones, you can feel in you this raw energy, an intense journey throughout the dark and bleak. Colin van Eeckhout is a different breed. He’s in his own world and the words that he shouts and screams are just one of the dimensions. Believe or not, his body speaks. He’s the embodiment of the artistic expression. Every single breath counts. In what I like to call the perfect set, “Nowena | 9.10” was the peak, a unique song that represents all the genius of the Belgian outfit. What a night. Saying that this was perfect it’s just a shitty understatement. 102
Scott Kelly Beehoover
13th Note, Glasgow 28.03.2014
Photo: Peter Davidson // Words: David Bowes
Despite making confusion and misdirection their unofficial travelling companions, watching Beehoover is a pretty uncomplicated experience. Ingmar and Claus-Peter sit facing each other, the former with a dearth of pedals that seems almost alien these days while the latter is perched behind a stark kit, and when the two lurch into their set, it’s the bluntness that hits first, the overwhelming rush of rock. The same cannot be said of the material itself, though, loud and rough yet shot through with infinite coils and noisy protuberances, with the swerving rolls of Claus-Peter matching Ingmar’s metallic burr with uncanny accuracy. Both seem to be their own entities, veering off on strange tangents, yet there’s always a level of common coincidence buried within the noise. There are few bands who’d brave this dynamic, but then again there are few who would try to pair drums and bass and leave it at that, though it’s such a defining feature of the duo that any attempt to alter it would be to their detriment. It’s the caustic power of Ingmar that drives them tonight and though his approach lacks subtlety, attacking the strings with reckless force while bellowing and chanting his obtuse mantras, the jagged jazz rhythms and his versatility as a musician lends itself to a weirdly shifting and unpredictable set, while Claus-Peter’s rapid and flighty style has a similarly wild nature. It’s remarkably full-sounding, and it makes for an experience that can be as fluid, or as raw, or as bewildering as the audience care to make it. By the time they’ve made it through their set, including an encore that they evidently hadn’t expected but more than made the most of, they’re sweating, grinning and looking as pleased as two very chuffed Germans can possibly look. Coincidentally, everyone else seems at that same level of happiness afterwards too. 104
TIM HECKER Merzbow-GustafssonPandi Trio Oval Space, London 14.04.2014 Words: David Bowes
Known as one of the 21st century’s most innovative sound artists, Tim Hecker’s presence tonight is guaranteed to pull a considerable, and diverse, crowd but the number of early-risers here shows that the cacophonic ménage-a-trois that is the MerzbowGustafsson-Pandi Trio is just as irresistible an event. A rough assault of cymbals and the concerted efforts of Merzbow and Mats Gustafsson on noise duties rapidly proves overpowering, reducing all sounds to a deafening and ever-expanding sphere of static, though as Pandi’s rumblings become more structured and Gustafsson’s sax adds its low, pained voice to the vortex – well, it’s still devastating. It breathes and writhes and lashes out at its own presence but, for those able to strip apart the sounds and piece together the dizzying complexity of a partnership on this scale, it’s an engrossing spectacle. The concrete and steel skyline of the neighbouring gasworks is a stark departure from Hecker’s days of playing churches and cathedrals, but the utilitarian vibe of this space does nothing to dampen the rush of melancholia that accompanies his presence, drawing on the industrial surroundings and adapting them to his own white-noise-enhanced ambiance, a wash of drone that laps over the darkened room with the subtlety of a whisper and the force of a Boeing. Composed primarily of material from Virgins (although In The Fog does get a look-in in its entirety), it seems counterintuitive to separate these compositions as they don’t feel like songs, separate and disconnected, and this doesn’t feel like a concert. This is sonic warmth, immaculately deconstructed and rebuilt. It doesn’t inspire dancing, or any movement really, but it affects the body with its crackles and elegant sway nonetheless. Hecker makes tonight a celebration of harmony, tone, and purity, and whether it took place in a temple or in a slaughterhouse, it was always going to be just as stunning an event.
CARCASS THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, GORGUTS, NOISEM The Masquerade, Atlanta 19.03.2014 Words: Myke C-Town
I can still remember when I first heart Carcass. I was a vegan straightedge punk kid in 10th grade. Living in a small town in Georgia, I was friends with the only people that would accept me. The goths and the metal kids. I was listening to bands like Converge, Overcast and Earth Crisis and was always trying to get my hesher friends to check them out. One day the roles were reversed when my friend, Andy, brought me Carcass’s Heartwork. At the time I didn’t really know what to think. However, a week later, I thought it was one of the best albums I’d ever heard and I was, basically, refusing to give it back to him. Since then Carcass has been one of my all-time favorite bands. I missed Carcass when they came to Atlanta back in the late 90’s and, when they broke up and I realized I would never have the opportunity to see them, I was crushed. So fast forward to 2008 when they did a reunion tour and absolutely slayed me. That show was one of the best shows I’d ever seen and I figured, at that time, I’d never see them live again. Fast forward again to 2014. Carcass has released an incredible new album and now they’re playing Atlanta again. Talk about stoked. This time around they’re on the road with Gorguts, The Black Dahlia Murder and Noisem. For anyone that’s ever watched one of the concert reviews on my YouTube channel, you know that one of my biggest problems is I’m never able to get to a show on time. Well, this show was no different. In typical fashion, I got to the show, let’s say, a bit late. I’d seen Noisem and The Black Dahlia Murder before so I wasn’t stressing catching them too much. I’ve been a fan of Gorguts for years, but I’d never seen them so it was important for me to catch their live show. But when my friend, Justin, told me that Gorguts had just played their last song I wanted to cry. Lesson learned? Get to the show on time, asshole! So, I’ve never been the biggest fan of The Black Dahlia Murder. I thought they were OK, but I’d stopped paying attention to them years ago. Seems they’ve gotten a lot better as the years progressed. What I found to be a bit generic back in 2007 has turned out to be some pretty interesting melodic death metal. Live, these guys know how to put on a show. They sounded really good and not unnecessarily muddy like a lot of death metal bands do nowadays. They also had great stage presence. The drumming was super tight, the guitarists handed out hair-whips-a-plenty and the singer was very entertaining. He interacted with the crowd nicely and made it a point to cover all sides of the stage during the performance. Not being too familiar with their music, their live show definitely made me want to go listen to an album or two. Especially seeing my friend, Justin, pretty stoked about watching them. He’s not hard on bands, but he doesn’t like just any ole random bands either. Up next were the godfathers of grind…the almighty Carcass. They started off the set strong by blasting through “Buried Dreams”, the opening track off my favorite album, Heartwork. And, man, did it sound incredible! From there they kept the momentum going moving right into “Incarnated Solvent Abuse.” Even though I never saw them back in the 90’s, from the hundreds of videos I saw online, these guys haven’t lost a step. Every note from Bill Steer’s guitar was on point and Jeff Walker’s vocals have never sounded so good. New(ish) drummer, Daniel Wilding not only plowed through the songs from Surgical Steel with precision, he blasted his way through all the vintage tracks like he’d been in the band this whole time. For the next hour and some change, they played a variety of songs from all of their albums. They even threw in a few tracks that I didn’t really expect them to play, like “Genital Grinder”, “Exhume To Consume” and, to my extreme surprise and delight “Keep On Rotting In The Free World.” Overall, I think to say that Carcass was worth every penny paid for the ticket would be a silly understatement. These guys are still showing the metal world why they were crowned the “godfathers of grind” and, through their music, telling these newer bands that the older guys still have it! And I couldn’t be happier about it. www.facebook.com/MUSICandRIOTS.Magazine
Plano B, Porto 29.03.2014
Photo: Andreia Alves // Words: Tiago Moreira
The female Portuguese hip hop artist Capicua has a new album, Sereia Louca, that’s for sure a good excuse to play in her city. With an intimate atmosphere, everything was perfectly set to present the album that shares the same atmosphere feeling. DJ D-One and M7 (backing Capicua on the microphone) were the army of the Portuguese rapper. The entire set was filled with high levels of energy and intensity, allowing us to see Capicua spitting words and her heart out. With lyrical themes centered on the reality of “every” girl and woman, Capicua was capable of making the comfortable environment into something that’s not really comfortable. With social awareness and political base themes that were not meant to be really political, the MC is giving voice to something that is really overlooked by the industry and the all genres. Yeah, believe it or not, women are still fighting. So, if you’re capable of create a great environment, play some dope beats and spit something that really needs to be mentioned, then you have a great show like this one who took place in Porto. On that night Capicua proved, once again, why she’s one of the most interesting and compelling artists of the Portuguese hip hop scene.
RUINS SESSIONS, CULT NºII Words: Tiago Moreira
Almaenformol, Porto 21-22.02.2014
Dirtiness, rawness, aggressiveness and punk with the DIY ethos. That’s what you get with Ruins Records, that’s what we got with Ruins Sessions, Cult Nº II. Starting with the crust outfit, Misantropia responsible for injecting lethal doses of brutality, giving the spotlight to Atentado who were there presenting their new album, Antagonist, displaying the same levels of intensity throughout the same output (crust). To close the first night was the grind/crust sounds of Teething. The Spanish band from Madrid, responsible for the deafness of some members of the public attending the fest. That fuckin’ bass was gigantic that night. Second day and bad news. Mother Abyss canceled the show and now it was time for the Lisbon’s Birds to take their place on stage with their dark hardcore. The term cathartic might be good to describe what happened there. Besta on stage, now with new screams on the mic. The former EAK’s vocalist, Paulo Rui, is definitely the man for the job. This was his first show, this was the first time that he smashed everyone’s face. The band, that has been brutal since day one, has reached a whole ‘nother level. To close the fest Holy with their hardcore/powerviolence. The basement was filled not only by straightforward violence/aggressiveness but also by “political” intervention. A good way to end the weekend. 106
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
DIRECTOR: Wes Anderson WRITER: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness, Stefan Zweig CAST: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Larry Pine, Giselda Volodi, Florian Lukas USA/GERMANY 2014 There was a quite excitement to see this new Wes Anderson film. Why? Well, because he’s one of the most creative, refreshing artists in the world, and mostly he’s really passionate about the art that he makes. His latest film was the wonderful Moonrise Kingdom, and so the expectations for this new flick were pretty high. But did it respond to these expectations? Absolutely. The Grand Budapest Hotel is for sure one of the best accomplished films by Anderson. In each film, Anderson renews himself with his peculiar way of telling a heartfelt story and always with a brilliant cast by his side. All the scenes are shot in symmetry with wide angle lenses and there’s this powerful contrast of colors; there’s such precision in each scene and every little detail matters, almost like every little thing is flawless to our amused eyes. This film tells a story within a story. The opening scene shows “The Author” telling about the book he wrote about his trip to the Grand Budapest Hotel - located in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka - in 1968. But the story itself is about Zero Moustafa, the hotel’s owner and why that place means so much to him. The owner’s story begins in 1932 during the final years of the hotel’s glory days on the verge of war, when he worked there as lobby boy. Gustave H is the legendary concierge of the hotel, and with him he goes through an exciting, yet turbulent adventure when Gustave is accused of murdering one of his clients, Madame D. From going to prison, to steal a priceless Renaissance painting from Madame D and the battle against her family, the two friends share moments of true friendship and loyalty, and obviously, they are the emotional key element that makes this movie so magnificent. We applause the terrific performance of Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H, so neat and precise, as well F. Murray Abraham and Adrien Brody that are tremendous in their roles. Actually, the whole cast makes every scene remarkable and fascinating, with delight humour and quirky dialogs. Wes anderson did it again and brought to life a story that will be cherished and really admired for a long, long time. Bravo!
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
DIRECTOR: Marc Webb WRITER: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkne CAST: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Embeth Davidtz, Campbell Scott, Chris Cooper, Marton Csokas, Max Charles, B.J. Novak, Sarah Gadon, Michael Massee, Kari Coleman, Greg Connolly USA 2014
It was remarkable what Marc Webb did when bringing the friendly neighbourhood SpiderMan back to the big screen, since the Sam Raimi’s failed attempt, back in 2002. What stood the most in this new approach was the refreshing, talented cast. Andrew Garfield as the spidey was the perfect fit for the role and a great surprise. But not only Garfield was outstanding in his role, Emma Stone was also unique and fearless in her performance as the first love of the superhero, the brilliant and intelligent Gwen Stacy. On The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it still stands out the chemistry between Peter and Gwen, thanks in part to the real-life chemistry between Garfield and Stone. But this time around, their relationship is testing its limits, because of the promise Peter made to her father, the late Captain George Stacy, of keeping her out of his life. But things don’t work quite well as 110
planned and Stacy’s tragic fate might be about to happen. Besides his relationship with Stacy, Peter is about to face his greatest battle, and his need to find answers about his parents becomes an obsession. In the opening scene of the film, we get a look to the past and it shows why Peter’s father the scientist Richard Parker - left his son with his uncles, which eventually Peter finds out about the truth behind his father’s work, and the secrets of “Roosevelt.” While swinging and spinning around the busy city streets of Manhattan on his way through a high-speed robbery, he stumbles upon Max Dillon (Foxx), the nerdy solitary employee of Oscorp that apparently was helpless and a true fan of Spider-Man, but after a work accident, he turns into the mighty Electro. But even before he starts to worry about this new powerful enemy, Peter got together with his oldest friend Harry Osborn -
vibrantly interpreted by Dane DeHaan- that after his father (Cooper) death has returned to the city to claim his birthright as the head of Oscorp, but their friendship take a sharp twist when he becomes the horrific Green Goblin - not the best design suit ever, that leads to a fight scene less compelling. It’s interesting how this movie portrays a lot of stages that the young Peter Parker passes through in his life as Spider-Man, but in a way, the storyline was kind of overstuffed and it seemed a bit rushed - I mean, Shailene Woodley was cast, filmed and later cut of this film as Mary Jane. But as a whole, the cast is efficient, the fight scenes are amusing and the always funny spidey’s humor is priceless. Now let’s see what this Amazing Spider-Man franchise has to offer on the upcoming adventures. ANDREIA ALVES
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
DIRECTOR: Darren Aronofsky WRITER: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel CAST: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Nick Nolte, Mark Margolis USA 2014
Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo USA 2014
Darren Aronofsky’s film about the Old Testament has been sparking controversy. If that controversy was about the poor and shitty movie he had made that will be totally justified, but no, it’s all about the same thing, the religion purists... Noah is not a bad movie, is a terrible movie, we can compare this lame excuse of a movie to something like a bad version of The Gladiator combined with Transfomers. Everything is pure rubbish, even the dialogues are so primitive that sometimes we feel our intelligence insulted. There are no good things about Noah, the movie it’s overlong and at times sluggish, the cast is strong but they seem totally lost in Aronofsky first real misstep as a filmmaker. This an epic disaster of truly biblical proportions.
This new adventure of Steve Rogers (Evans) is set in a postAvengers era, where he tries to fit in the modern world, but mostly, he tries to understand the state that the world is in as he sees his ideals being compromised with what SHIELD has been up to. The director Nick Fury (L. Jackson) is killed by the mysterious Winter Soldier, but right before this event, Fury warns Rogers about the conspiracy that’s going on under SHIELD’s floor, which leads to an exciting, thrilling quest for the Cap, accompanied by the Black Widow (Johansson) and The Falcon (Mackie). In Winter Soldier, we see a more badass Captain America with an edgier and more compelling storyline. An excellent fit for this Marvel’s superhero. You go Cap!
DIRECTOR: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo WRITER: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely CAST: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson,
DIRECTOR: Richard Ayoade WRITER: Richard Ayoade, Avi Korine CAST: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Chris
DIRECTOR: Jason Reitman WRITER: Jason Reitman CAST: Kate
O’Dowd, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor, James Fox, Paddy Considine, Cathy Moriarty, Craig Roberts UK 2014
Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Maika Monroe, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek, J.K. Simmons, Brooke Smith, Brighid Fleming USA 2013
After his acclaimed drama Submarine, actor-turnedfilmmaker Richard Ayoade is back with this stylishly directed and sharply movie. The story is pretty simple, Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) is a timid, isolated man who’s overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams (Mia Wasikowska). The arrival of a new co-worker, James (also played by Eisenberg), serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon’s exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women. The Double is quite unique, very complex and not for anyone to watch, sometimes remind us a cross between Polanski’s The Tenant, Terri Gilliam’s Brazil, Alex Proyas’ Dark City and David Lynch’s Eraserhead.
Even if it’s not what you expect from the director of Juno, Labor Day is that kind of movie where we all get excited because is another Jason Reitman movie, has Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin in it, but in the end we felt that something was missing... The story is not bad at all, it’s tender, nostalgic, there is some tension but in the end is just another warm ‘family’ drama, unconvincing and unintentionally hilarious and clumsy all the time. There is nothing here that makes us encarnate the characters, maybe because of the lack of passion in acting and the several holes in the whole story. Jason Reitman tried a different approach on the all American culture thing, with the classic story in a small town, but he failed...
Every once in a while, we tend to need space - from work, family, friends, whatever - and that’s something really ordinary nowadays when life hit us like a lightning, like everything is constantly on a run. But well, we need that space to feel free, and with Guardian Alien’s latest album, “Spiritual Emergency” we get that feeling of freedom to do what we must do. Greg Fox, founder of the group was kind enough to talk with us about their new release and to unfold what this spiritual emergency is about. Words: Andreia Alves
he first Guardian Alien record was released in 2011 and you’re about to release your third one. What do you think it has changed since then?
When the first record came out there wasn’t a really solid line-up. There was just starting to be a solid line-up for the band and then I think it really came together for the second record. The time has changed and time sort of changes things in a way we’re approaching and making music. I think is just a natural progression.
Shortly after the recording of “Spiritual Emergency”, Turner Williams and Eli Winograd left New York to pursue other things. Did that affect your dynamic as a group when you play live?
Yeah, it has changed definitely. There are a lot of aspects of what those guys did that I think we miss and that we really enjoyed a lot. At the same time, now there’s really the main band that is just me, Bernard and Alexandra. I think there’s a lot more space sonically for everybody. We’ve been having 112
a much easier time sort of communicating on stage and making decisions together based on what is happening at shows, because of how much space everybody has on stage to kind of make sound and hear everybody else. I’d say that’s been the biggest change.
So for the upcoming shows you will play as a trio, right?
That’s the current plan, but better don’t hold me into it. [laughs]
“Spiritual Emergency” is a more abstract record. How was the approach for the songwriting this time around? The title-track was put together sort of over the course of touring and playing shows. It started to take shape that way and then the other ones we improvised in the studio.
The first thing that came to my mind when I listened to “Spiritual Emergency” is that feeling of freedom. Do you feel like that when you write a song for Guardian Alien? I think a thing that’s kind of developed within the logic of Guardian Alien is that the music we’ve written and played together so far always has a large amount
“...I think that you that there’s all this and all tha
of freedom for all the players, because nobody really has a specific restrict part, rarely something like that happens. For the most part, everybody generally knows what the signifiers are of the songs or the piece of music. Each piece when we play is itself and it has some sort of definition.There’s still space for everybody to find new things about that piece of music while playing it.
Do you think that this record has more improvisation, experiences or new elements that you added?
It was recorded quickly. We only had two days in the studio. We basically tracked and we did all the playing on the first day; then we did a little bit of mixing on the second day and that was really it. I think it was a pretty gestural record. There was a lot more time
u can extend that to the current situation in the world, s negativity and pessimism about the political situation at, but I think there is hope and it’s in self-help.” spent on the previous record doing editing and arranging. There was a lot more work done on that end of things. We also just recorded everything in one day on that record, but this time around we were very interested in collaborating with Wharton Tiers and so we just sort of worked with what conditions that were available to us. Getting to work with Wharton was really exciting for us and so we just went in. We knew one of the pieces that we were going to play that we had some other ideas and we kind of went in and just improvised. Those pieces became the rest of the record.
On the first track, “Tranquilizer”, it feels really like a tranquilizer. Was that the intention that you wanted to convey? Like I said, that was improvised. There was no pre-determination
about it. Alex was singing and the words she was saying I think it really formed the tone of the music, and especially with the semantic content of the record as a whole, at least based on the title and sort of work that references. I think it definitely serves as a sort of orientation for the record and I think it’s also a pretty big difference from the way that our previous record starts, which is much more bombastic. I thought that it was a nice juxtaposition to have this record start in a more subdub way.
The title-track is the longest, and it’s probably the key moment of this record. You said it was the song that came along with the course of touring. How was the process to create this song?
That one came together over a much longer period of time. We’ve
started playing that one while we were touring. Different parts of it started to happen while we were playing shows and it kind of began to define itself as a piece of music that was separated from what we’ve been doing otherwise. There was a rhythm that I’ve been playing around with that. I’ve started incorporating it into our live set at a certain point and then people had started forming other parts around that. Then at a certain point, there was a conversation to acknowledge the fact that we were playing a new piece of music. All that came together bit by bit, but it was definitely mostly figured out live on stage.
The name “Spiritual Emergency” comes from a book by Stanislav Grof and that’s him reading on the record. What can
WHEN BANDS SPEAK... WITH GUARDIAN ALIEN
you tell me more about that?
Yeah. The title is based on the title of the book. It is the same as the title of the book that he wrote. The book is called “Spiritual Emergency”, when personal transformation becomes a crisis. It’s based on his work post the psychedelic therapy research that he was doing. We were on the tour van, while we were on the road, and we were listening to an audio book of it. I don’t actually think it was that book, it was just sort of lecture that he was doing like reading a sort of autobiographical information. While we were listening to that, it was an interesting listening and reading his own stuff. That’s where the name came from. The way that I think about it with the reference of the music and the band as sort of like a reverse maybe that is about when a crisis situation is happening internally for somebody that can become an opportunity for changing or transcending whatever issue is sort of forming the roadblock. It’s like giving credence to the process of actually spending time with whatever is the cause of the crisis and then allowing it to become an opportunity for positive change and growth with the help of other people. Just generally having the support of a prior group, or a band, or a group of friends. It has a lot of parallel meanings, but I think the metaphor can be extended out of the record.
I’ve never read anything from Stanislav Grof, but I’m pretty interested on reading this “Spiritual Emergency”.
I got interested in him because I was interested in early psychedelic researches, you know, before it was illegal to do research with LSD and similar chemicals, and I’ve always found interesting when originally those substances were discovered the thought was that they would be massive value in the therapy community to help people. That was the idea, that was what everybody thought, and then all that research was shut down for political reasons, mostly because of the counter culture in the 60’s and the acid culture being a part of that. What’s interesting is what happened to all those people after that, like some of them like Timothy Leary became this outlaw prophet, you know, a celebrity figure. But then you have other people like Stan Grof who is really a contemporary who just tried 114
to find other ways to continue to do the work within the legal boundaries. The work that he’s still actually doing it’s called “holotropic breathing” and it’s like using basically breathing to make people access not ordinary states, you know, like psychedelic states or whatever for the purpose of self-exploration. Ultimately, it’s about encouraging self-exploration and encouraging people to look inside and try to come to terms with everybody’s got their shit and I think it’s important to figure out what it is and try to acknowledge it, because I think it’s often to people who try to push those things away that end up having the largest amount of trouble; and I think that can be extended also just to the idea that if you spend the time trying to better yourself, you’re better able than to help other people or other situations. It’s hard to be observice when you are not observice to yourself. That’s why I find that work to be really inspiring and interesting, because it’s very optimistic. I think there’s a lot of optimism in that outlook that the deepest psychological traumas and issues can be dealt with and I think that you can extend that to the current situation in the world, that there’s all this negativity and pessimism about the political situation and all that, but I think there is hope and it’s in self-help.
Does the concept of this record have a connection with the cover artwork?
Yeah, it does! That’s a picture of Bernard that I took on my cell phone from one night after a gig. You know, sometimes life on the road can be rough, everybody’s got their shit and sometimes everybody has to give each other a little bit of space, because you don’t get a lot of time alone and it can be rough for this reason or that reason. At one point, I think Bernard needed to go climb under the table. Bernard is somebody who I’ve known to be really honest with himself and with other people, he’s a very open person. To me, it really connected. I took the picture and Alex saw the picture and she just immediately said “That should be the album cover”. Turner did the artwork for our second record and then after we’ve finished recording the record, we talked with him to do the artwork for this record. We talked about the idea and the idea was sort of to convey a certain potential. It’s like if you look at
somebody, you’re gonna picture somebody under the table and it’s seems like sort of pathetic or something, it’s seems like something is wrong. But then it’s basically this point of potential, it’s like going inside and dealing with whatever it is. So, that’s the idea behind the cover artwork.
It’s like a spiritual emergency. He needed some time alone for himself, right?
Sure! I think everybody handles that kind of thing in a different way. That’s the thing, this is a far moodle obviously from a true emergency. People like Bernard has psychotic episodes, breakdowns and stuff and that’s just like a greater extension of just what otherwise could be somebody needing to excuse themselves from a room and be alone for a minute or something, you know. Life on tour can be difficult and so I think everybody sometimes need a little bit of time under the table. [laughs]
I had recently talked with Van from Pontiak about the 7” record “Heat Leisure”. How was it for you when you recorded the 18-minute short-film live?
Making the film was a lot of fun. Those guys (Pontiak) have become really good friends of ours and I feel like they’re my cousins or something. [laughs] We’ve gotten really close, and you know, Guarlian Alien and Pontiak are different musically, definitely. I’d already visited their house and they invited me to come and play, and do this thing. I just said yeah! Playing the music was fun and making the film was also fun, but I think it’s a pretty good reflection of just the time we spent there being together, at their house. Just being together and making some music together. It was wonderful, a really great time. It’s not generally the type of music I make when I’m left to my own devices, but at the same time it’s really fun to just play music with your friends. It was more about being together, I feel like that than anything else. It was a really wonderful experience. We just did it again actually. We didn’t film a video this time, but we went back to record another Heat Leisure and that was also really fun. It’s about the people, it’s about them, it’s about how great they are and how much we like to spend time with them.
“...sometimes life on the road can be rough, everybody’s got their shit and sometimes everybody has to give each other a little bit of space, because you don’t get a lot of time alone and it can be rough for this reason or that reason...” What are your upcoming plans for this year?
Right now, we’re working on putting together a trip to the West Coast in US for Guardian Alien. We’re also putting together a European tour for June. Nothing is fully booked, so right now we’re talking about trying to go to the West Coast, trying to go to Europe again and we’re also talking about trying to go to Japan in the late summer. You’ll just have to wait to see what happens, because we’ve just got a new European booking agent and so we are working with someone new for the first time and working with a new booking agent in US too, so it’s sort of a lot of new developments. There’s nothing written in stone right now, but it’s definitely my intention to do all of that touring and definitely to get back to Europe. When we were there last time, we had a really good tour and we didn’t really cover a lot of ground, so I would like to get backout. And also, my family is eastern Europeans so I really would like to go and visit some of the places where my ancestors are from.
You have to come to Portugal! Yeah, I really want that! I went
once in Portugal. When I used to play drums for Dan Deacon, I played in Porto. It was so much fun. We played in Optimus Primavera Sound and it was amazing. So yeah, I really, really wanna come back. It’s interesting, Guardian Alien is like a kind of weird band I guess, but I think it just depends on sort of context or what kind of music you’re considering it to be. It’s been changelling putting towards together and getting over there. I think it’s really just a matter of going back and I think every time we go back it will be a little bit easier and a little bit better.
With that, people get to know you better and get used to your music.
Yeah, people get used to us. They really get to know us and what kind of music we’re playing. I think promoters aren’t really sure what to do, because we get a lot of people saying that we’re like a psych rock band or something, but it’s not really psych rock, it’s kind of a more experimental. I feel like it’s interesting, because of the kind of music we are playing could be played like in a big European jazz festival and people would like it. It’s just a matter of us finding our way to that audience. So, you
know, waiting, seeing and keeping my fingers crossed. [laughs]
Which records or bands are you into lately?
I just listened to a track from the new Guerilla Toss record and it sounds really good. I’ve been listening to a lot of Roland Kirk, like a lot! I’ve been listening also to a lot of Zomes. It’s a project that’s on Thrill Jockey and it’s this guy Asa. He used to be in a band called Lungfish. It’s really good. I’ve been listening to a little bit of Anthony Braxton and this one record that’s called Beyond Quantum which is Anthony Braxton, Milford Graves and William Parker. I’ve been really digging that. I’ve been listening to Henryk Górecki which is a classical composer, and Portal, an Australian band. There’s also MF Doom and this Japanese composer who I really love and his name is Geinō Yamashirogumi. He’s the composer for the movie Akira and he also has made a lot of other records that are really good.
“Spiritual Emergency” is out now via Thrill Jockey
SWANS EMMA RUTH RUNDLE NEVER SOL BRODY DALLE HYDRAS DREAM CASTLE TOMBS CURRENT 93 BEEHOOVER OUGHT THE HONEY TREES SCOTT H. BIRAM LANTLOS TWEENS ATMOSPHERE MISERABLE BLACK BOMBAIM EYEHATEGOD ARCHITECTS FU MANCHU
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