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We post up to date goings on nearly every damn day at, because the natural print cycle of a physical, tangible magazine doesn’t lend itself well to the mile a minute nature of Internet news. But, we’re going to try anyway. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest stories from the past month or so:

No Touching the Thrashers…

Against Me! announced plans to release a new live album entitled 23 Live Sex Acts on Sept. 4 via their own label, Total Treble. In addition to the provocative title, the NSFW cover art features a severed penis served on what appears to be your grandmother’s finest china. Hope that wasn’t a family heirloom! Considering the band’s reputation as a ferociously entertaining live act, this collection—which includes cuts from each of their full-lengths—likely won’t disappoint.

Blue-Eyed Blues…

Josh Caterer—who could get paid to sing the phonebook, if phonebooks were still a thing—revealed a new blues influenced project dubbed Jackson Mud. The Smoking Popes frontman is hardly out of his element: he was raised on the blues thanks to his dad’s extensive record collection, and says in a press release, “Over the years, [The Smoking Popes] were always jamming the blues in rehearsal and sound check, just for fun. So really, I’ve been playing blues guitar most of my life, just not in front of an audience. But I’ve always had the idea that someday I was going to get a real blues band together.” The band’s new EP Down Time Blues is out now.

The Fat Will Inherit the Scene…

Kalamazoo, Mich. based Fat Guy Fest announced its lineup for 2015, and it’s full of Michigan bands with weird names like Dad Jeans and Bong Mountain. The festival, set for Aug. 6–9, will also feature more well known Michigan bands such as Cheap Girls and Bars of Gold. But, like… Isn’t every punk festival also for fat guys? Are only fat dudes allowed to attend? Why does punk suddenly have so many rules?

Chinese descendemocracy...

The legendary band have been nonchalantly mentioning new music for a little while now—drummer Bill Stevenson said in a live chat with last October that the band “have a lot of songs going. we will get focussed [sic] on it majorly in spring” and, in regards to the LP’s timeline, “we getting there… late next year i would guess.”Descendents haven’t released a new album since 2004’s Cool To Be You. We have a feeling that there may be a bit of a wait, however, since it’s been 11 years since their last effort and 8 years since the one before that.

ABC: Always Be Closing…

Fat Wreck Chords has signed New Orleans, La., hardcore punks PEARS. The band took to social media to share their poorly handwritten contract, signed by Fat Mike, who replaces the “A” in his signature with an anarchy sign much the ones we used to scribble on our Trapper Keepers in middle school. It includes some pretty serious terms, including: “You will record one record for Fat, unless Fat asks for more. […] If you want to,” and “Fat will pay you record royalties in the same amount as Fat paid Against Me? for a live record. (a lot).”

A British Bulldog He Ain’t…

CM PUNK RETURNS… to music videos! The former WWE superstar and current MMA fighter in training starred in Frank Turner’s new video for “The Next Storm” and, well, I don’t know if you’ve seen Turner lately—or ever—but he’s no match for Punk in the ring. One of those guys is a world-class athlete and the other is a skinny English country singer. Turner’s new LP Positive Songs for Negative People is out Aug. 7 via Interscope.

New Noise Classified Ads…

There’s a job opening in Propagandhi. The long-running Canadian punk band posted an open invitation on their website for you to submit your best pitch to replace guitarist David “Space Beaver” Guillas, who will no longer be able to join the band on the road after September. Whomever replaces Beaver will have big shoes to fill, no doubt. The band noted in the posting that “women are strongly encouraged to apply,” so here’s hoping some diversity is injected into their next lineup.

All Fat Everything…

Speaking of Propagandhi, they’ll be a big part of Fat Wreck Chords’ upcoming 25th anniversary celebration. They, along with NOFX, Strung Out, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, Lagwagon, and several other Fat family members past and present will be taking over San Francisco Aug. 22–23 for a weekend of reminiscing. This is in addition to the Fat Wrecked For 25 Years tour, which has a slightly pared down lineup and will be hitting spots around North America this summer. As if that weren’t enough, Fat is getting back into the compilation game with Going Nowhere Fat, a 25 track collection out Aug. 7 featuring unreleased music from NOFX, Night Birds, Swingin’ Utters, and more.







first heard of Demon Lung when working on press for Las Vegas doom festival Doom In June with Marco Barbieri. I saw them play the festival and they were even cooler than I’d hoped. Shanda Fredrick is an exciting frontperson; she draws you into the narrative of each song and synchs the audience with the trancelike atmosphere the band weave. You seem like the kind of artist whose creativity is informed by your dreams. Do you have vivid dreams? Have you ever written a song based on something you dreamed? I do have really vivid dreams, but I don’t know if they influence my writing. Maybe? One thing I do suffer from is sleep paralysis, which makes my nightmares even scarier. I wake up suddenly and can’t move body, while my dream is still going on around me. For example, one night I was having a dream that a horde of ferocious cats was climbing up my bed—screaming and hissing—to come and get me… I woke up right when they were at the

edge, and I lay there in a panic because I couldn’t move. I just lay there and repeated in my head, “Move, move, move!” It’s scary, because I fear that one day I won’t snap out it. It happens to me at least once a week.

might be my biggest role model. Conceptually, she is everything I would like to be. She is beautiful, smart, intimidating, demure yet adventurous, and has aged gracefully—which is every woman’s desire.

Last time I saw you—when you played the Complex here in Los Angeles—you told me your mom bought you one of the white dresses you wear on stage. It’s cool that she supports you in that way. Is she into horror, too? Did she ever freak out about the kind of music and films you like? It is really cool, isn’t it? My mom had an adjustment period, no doubt. She has a deep faith in God and, understandably, had hesitation with my fascination and comfort with the subject of Satan. She isn’t the biggest horror fan either, but is very open to whatever I share with her—which I’m sure is difficult on her part, because I push her limits a lot. My mom has an adventurous spirit. She is willing to learn about anything and is open to sharing the interests of others. So, even though the band may make her uncomfortable at times, she sees the value in it for me and others. I’m very lucky to have her as my mommy [Carol Burnett ear-tug].

Another role model I have is Liz Blackwell from Castle. She is the first female in metal community who actually took an interest and really motivated me. We play together often and she is always incredibly encouraging. And truthfully, watching her on stage has been my biggest education. She and I are both shy people, but when she is on stage, she has a presence and a command that could rival the best. I try to be as captivating as she is.

Are there any female musicians you see as role models? Oh, for sure. Jinx Dawson [of Coven]

In what ways do you feel empowered as a woman? In what ways do you wish you could be more empowered? This is a difficult question. I wish I could be positive about it, but presently, I find being a woman to be limiting. I have to explain what I’m thinking and feeling more than my male counterparts, because my motivations are always called into question. I come from an emotional place and I guess that makes people uncomfortable: they don’t know how to trust it. It gets frustrating, because I don’t think logic is all that trustworthy either. Logic, at one time, stat-

ed that earth was flat, and we all know what came of that. So, why is what I am feeling any less trustworthy than what a person thinks? I also hate that more is expected from me morally, socially. As a woman, I’m required to have more compassion and be less impulsive. Also, most mistakes I make are rubbed in my face like I’m a dog who pissed on the floor. And truthfully, if I didn’t have the context of great men in my life who treat me as an equal, I probably would’ve been oblivious to it all. But I do have awareness, so I’m dealing with that. I’ll learn to navigate through. How would the world be different if women were in charge? It would be just as hectic and confusing as it is now. Here’s my beauty queen response: “I hope, one day, that men and women can rule the world together as a team!” But in all honesty, that’s how I feel. Can we all just be friends?!


Demon Lung’s new album, A Dracula, came out via Candlelight Records on June 16. Visit the band online at, Twitter, and Facebook for tour dates and news.




BLAZE: Operation Persian Trinity I N T E R V I E W



Entrepreneur,” both being released by his own company, 21 Gun Publishing. “BLAZE” is only volume one of a planned trilogy, and is probably the first thriller to center around a punk rock government agent, steeped heavily in Oi! music and street punk.

Andrew Thorp King has never been one to simply take it easy. He cofounded Sailor’s Grave Records, and then started Thorp Records on his own. He loves cigars, and is interviewing cigar aficionados for a soon to be launched book series called “The Lounge.” He is currently doing publicity for his first novel, “BLAZE: Operation Persian Trinity” and finishing his non-fiction book “Failure Rules!: The Hard Times Handbook for the Die-Hard

How long have you wanted to write a novel? I started really getting into geopolitical spy thrillers about 10 years ago. It started as a hobby and way to decompress while enjoying a stiff drink and a fine cigar. I began voraciously devouring and thoroughly enjoying novels by Daniel Silva, Vince Flynn, Ted Bell, Brad Thor, and others. But, as is my proclivity, I eventually was not satisfied with being passive about it. Ambition to write my own thriller began growing. Just like the record labels, or my passion for cigars, when I get into something, I’m often compelled to go after it full-throttle and integrate it fully into my life. For me, I see life, business, and art as an integrated trinity. When those elements




are unwoven in my life, I don’t have harmony or flow. I didn’t finish the first draft of the novel until 2012. So, it was a four year journey. Then, another year and a half of editing. I did four self-edits before hiring my main editor. Then later, I had additional help from the editing team of an agent I had for a short time. I didn’t write consistently; there were periods of time when I didn’t write at all for six months at a time, as life got in the way. I finally got real serious halfway through the manuscript and began writing consistently to finish the second half of the book within eight months. That discipline has now carried over as I’m writing new manuscripts.



B .


Head Cat, Circus Of Power, Stigma, Junkyard, Hank III, Booze & Glory, Koffin Kats, The Business, Everlast, Mastodon, Hatebreed, The Tossers, Blood Or Whiskey, Sheer Terror, Wayne Hancock, Rancid, Bob Segar, Blood For Blood, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, The Pogues, and lots and lots of AC/DC and Motorhead. Any plans for a follow-up to “BLAZE”? Yes. I have pages and pages of rough notes for the sequel. It will end up as a trilogy when I’m all finished. It’s all coming together quite nicely in my head.

Obviously, music plays a big role in the book and in Blaze’s life. What did you listen to when writing the book? I recall listening to a variety of stuff like The Dubliners, The Creepshow, Old Firm Casuals, Waylon Jennings, Bishops Green, The Kings of Nuthin’, Larry And His Flask, Madball, Dropkick Murphys, The

C R AT e D I G G E R I N T E R V I E W W I T H A U T H O R B O B S U R E N B Y H U T C H the stories I wanted to tell. I wanted to write about punk rock in a very human way that any person on earth could enjoy, not just punks. My mom never heard Bad Brains, but she liked the book. That’s what I wanted to accomplish.

On June 9, Microcosm Publishing released “Crate Digger,” a collection of ex-Burrito Records boss Bob Suren’s recollections and idiosyncratic allegories spurred by classic punk records. Suren spent many years rocking in bands, collecting and selling records, and promoting shows through the ‘80s and ‘90s for the punk and indie scene. The book’s tone is casual and makes you feel as though you’re hanging out in your friend’s living room, talking about the records stacked around you.

One of the stories in “Crate Digger” is about Bad Brains’ Rock for Light, but you don’t actually talk about the music. Did you assume people already know the record well enough? The original title of the book was to be “Recollections of My Record Collection,” but the publisher convinced me to change it to “Crate Digger.” I think the original title is more accurate, because the chapters are about memories much more than the actual records. The actual music is not really all that important to

Yet with 7 Seconds, you run through their early discography. Did you write with any real map or intentions? The 7 Seconds chapter was one of the first I wrote. I felt that, in that case, it was necessary to describe some of the band’s progression. The chapters in the book were not written in order. They were written as they occurred to me. When I felt finished, I just alphabetized the chapters by record title. The book was written in spurts, over six months. It was a bunch of independent parts that came together as a whole, sort of like a great compilation album. What do you want a reader to take away from “Crate Digger”? The big picture stuff, important events, the people, places, and things that made me who I am. Everyone has stories like these. I was just able to articulate them. I have had so many people get in touch to say they identified with certain parts. That’s what I wanted to do. That’s what all those epic blues artists like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters did. That’s why that music is so timeless. I also had

a few fucking weird stories that I just had to get out there. Will there be a “Crate Digger Pt II”? I have more punk stories that didn’t fit the first book. I have about 15,000 words down. I am not working on that as diligently, but it is coming. Most of those stories are about the record store. I think I want to call it “True Stories of the Record Store.”




Have The Plurals ever thought about the pros of letting another label handle all the work? “Do you know any pros who would take us?” jokes Richard. “Feel free to give them my e-mail address. Seriously though, we are actively working on the juggling of ‘business’ and still doing the music stuff, and there’s a learning curve. It’d be nice to, like, hire some folks to help with that end when the time is right.” The Plurals book all of their own tours. Making time can be difficult, but they are committed to being on the road. “I’ve always had jobs that I would give zero shits if they fired me,” Richard says. “I’m pretty good at finding money with odd jobs. My current job has given me ultimatums multiple times that ‘I can’t keep going out and coming back whenever I want!’ and I just nod and leave anyway, and they still hit me up the day I’m home asking if I can pick up a shift. So there’s that.”




ichigan’s The Plurals play a brand of indie punk so unconcerned with mass appeal or conforming that they never even bothered sending demos to labels. Instead, they simply set up their own label called GTG Records. “The idea behind starting the label was to build a community of bands that would be interested in helping each other with shows and promoting each other’s releases,” explains guitarist Tommy McCord. “Over time, the function of it turned to building up funds to help bands put out vinyl. Also,

we thought it would be cool to start our own label—i.e. we read ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’ when we were in high school.”

The guys in Brooklyn’s Adult Dude have a fluid sound that will appeal to everyone from punk rockers to indie kids to nostalgic Gen Xers. The four piece recently pooled together enough tracks for a full-length and headed into the studio. The result, Adult Moods— out July 31 via No Sleep Records—is an impressive collection of ringing distorted guitars and thunderous bass and drum combos, with Manny Soares’ solid vocals soaring over the din.

mostly come from being in hardcore [and] punk bands, but we’ve all also played in much more mellow groups,” Soares says. “As far as the sound of the band goes, we just try to make the songs sound how we want them to sound. If someone needs an association before wanting to listen to something, OK fine… But our musical interests definitely exist beyond 1990–1999.”

“The band started in 2012 shortly after Anthony [Tinnirella] moved to New York,” explains Soares. “Eric [Sheppard] and I met through Anthony, and we all get along pretty well, so we decided to start a band. Ev Dog [Evan Fricks] came in about a year and a half later when our original bassist had to quit for school.” There’s a pretty strong ‘90s college rock streak—bringing to mind everyone from Dinosaur Jr to the Pixies—that runs throughout Adult Dude’s songs. “We




Bassist Nich Richard adds, “We’ve never really lived and been a band where the whole ‘shopping out your demo to the majors’ [thing] was anything beyond a fantasy joke, so it seemed like really the only option when we were young, and we’ve stuck with it.” The




For Adult Moods, Adult Dude “went to GaluminumFoil—RIP—and recorded with Jeff Berner. He’s a sicko. Mastering was done by Josh Bonati, also a sicko,” jokes Soares. “We demoed nine songs about six months before we found a studio [and] engineer we wanted to record at [and] with. Actual tracking of the record was something like four days of recording, and then three or four mixing sessions. We recorded 12 songs and kept the 10 we thought sounded the best and also fit the feel of the record.” The band had been working on the songs for roughly a year. “We write a lot

McCord, and drummer Hattie Danb—are about to put out their third album, An Onion Tied to My Belt, on July 21, and are teaming up with two other small labels to get the music out there. “Infintesmal and Diet Pop Records are splitting some of the production costs with us and assisting with grassroots distribution,” McCord elaborates. “Also, we thought it would be cool to have three labels in completely different parts of the country—Michigan, Florida, and Arizona—be involved with the record.”

“We do all have varying responsibilities, so scheduling a tour is challenging at times,” McCord explains. “But we’re all on board with touring often and we try to do two extended multi-week tours a year with regional weekend stuff sprinkled in between. […] As soon as the record comes out, we’re going to do a tour to the West Coast and back. East Coast stuff should happen in the fall, and then hopefully, this winter, we’ll knock out another album!” Richard adds that he has also “been working on tweeting while high more, as I hear being Twitter active is a good thing and I am funnier when I’m fucked up.”



I N T E R V I E W I N T E R V I E W W I T H V O C A L I S T / G U I TA R I S T M A N U A L S O A R E S B Y J O H N B . M O O R E of songs, and when we feel like it’s time to record them, we do,” Soares states. Once the record drops, what’s next for Adult Dude? Soares says, “Touring a little hopefully. Recording more

records. Getting better as friends and as a band. Fighting the madness. We all have other obligations and there’s a lot of beer out there.”


Much like the city itself, Los Angeles’ Colombian Necktie was made up of transplants at its inception. Throughout the band’s five year lifespan, they have seen a few lineup changes and have finally settled with the current crew of vocalist Scott Werren, original members guitarists Juan Hernandez-Cruz and Ben Daniels, drummer Ben Brinckerhoff, and bassist Alex DuPois. Hernandez-Cruz says, “Los Angeles was basically killing the band. Living here is super hard. In this new lineup, we have found a group of guys who not only live in L.A. and survive in L.A., but we’re all actually really good friends. We met each other through playing shows here locally.” A traditional “Colombian necktie” is a violent act made popular during La Violencia, the 10 years of civil war in Colombia, 1948–1958. “None of us really knew what a ‘Colombian necktie’ was when we first started the band, we just knew it was just a Big Black reference,” explains Hernandez-Cruz. “We were all watching ‘Cocaine Cowboys,’ and as we’re watching it, we find out what the ‘Colombian necktie’ is.

We’re all like, ‘What the hell?’” Colombian Necktie heavily identify with Big Black’s DIY ethos. “We kind of just like the ‘fuck you’ ambiance that surrounds that band,” he adds. “With us, we don’t really play to a style. We obviously play a fusion of whatever we play, but we’re never sitting in the studio saying we want to sound like this. We kind of jelled with that whole vibe, that sentiment of creating whatever the hell you want and shoving it down people’s throats. If they don’t like it, they don’t like it.” Today, the five piece promotes everything DIY, including safe space venues, places where attendees can feel free to be themselves without the possibility of being subjected to either physical or emotional trauma. It was within this world that Colombian Necktie created their first full-length, Twilight Upon Us, a cohesive collection from 2014 that was actually recorded live. “The full-length was a labor of love,” Hernandez-Cruz explains. “It was very cool, because we did everything live. […] When I listen back to the record, I can hear that cohesiveness. Normally, we only


INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTA COLLINS AND NICOLE LAURENNE BY JOHN B. MOORE “I think it was inevitable that MotoBunny would happen!” says co-vocalist and synth player Christa Collins—aka Roxy Moto. “[Co-vocalist and keytarist] Nicole [Laurenne] and [guitarist] Michael

[Johnny Walker] are in a band called The Love Me Nots and [bassist] Rik [Collins] and I are in a band called The Woolly Bandits. The Woolly Bandits were asked to play the Ink & Iron Festival with Iggy Pop

Pardon the pun, but Elitist are one of the original “elite” bands to emerge with a progressive metalcore sound. Their Caves EP was both influential and filled to the gills with memorable, complex music. It’s been a bit quiet for the Thousand Oaks, Calif., band since then, but their self-titled follow-up—out on Equal Vision Records as of June 30—is about to change that. Bursting at the seams with choppy, progressive music and newfound passionate, melodic vocals, Elitist is one hell of a label debut.

There is no central theme to the album like there was with Reshape/Reason. Balay elaborates: “Although there are certain motifs that appear throughout the album, every song has its own individual story, making the album more like a book of short stories. The songs range widely in their subject matter, with plenty of room for interpretation.”

“We feel the album is definitely the most dynamic one we have put out,” says vocalist Chris Balay. “We made the album we wanted to make, and you can be sure to expect some things you have never heard from us before.” Lead off singles “Numbered” and “Vision Red” have showcased this experimental nature, highlighting a band who are eager to spruce up their technical formula with large doses of sweet melody.


INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST JUAN HERNANDEZ-CRUS BY GABI CHEPURNY put out little EPs here and there, so doing a full-length was something that made us really come out of our shells.” Fans who are looking for something a little different from Colombian Necktie’s previous material will get a treat this upcoming October, with a new EP from the band. as the headliner: ‘Yes please!’ Being that it was outdoors and a large stage, we really wanted to fill out our sound, so we asked Nicole to play Farfisa [organ] and Michael to do a guest guitar spot. Thus, MotoBunny was born, and off to Detroit we went to record with Jim Diamond.” Since their inception in 2013, the band have shared stages with everyone from X and Nirvana to The Damned and Pearl Jam, and they just released their selftitled debut via Rusty Knuckles Music. MotoBunny’s unique sound is bolstered by Collins’ and Laurenne’s decision to be covocalists. “I think Nicole was the one who brought it up?” says Collins. “To be honest, at first, I wasn’t sure if it would work given that we had both been our own lead for so long, but I am a sucker for harmonies, and I had been plotting a girl side project for a while, so this was a perfect outlet for me.

Hernandez-Cruz says, “The music that’s in it is a little different from what’s in the LP, because it is a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more rock ‘n’ roll. We’re not that band that’s gonna give you the same record over and over again.”


Nicole is the easiest person to get along with, so that makes collaborating fruitful!” The members of MotoBunny have diversity in their musical backgrounds. Collins was a Disney star and competed on “The X Factor” to honor her late aunt, while Laurenne is a classically trained pianist who fell in love with garage rock. What influences bind them all together? “There’s no question that Iggy Pop was what brought us together as a band,” says Collins. “I wouldn’t say there was a specific band that influenced the album. We all have our personal favorite influences, and we all have a ‘Fear No Music’ diversity policy. You never know where you may find inspiration…? Motown, Bowie, B-52’s, Led Zeppelin, Die Antwoord, Spice Girls— Michael Walker’s personal favorite—it’s all in there somewhere.”



Did the band feel any pressure when completing their Equal Vision debut? “I would say [we were] more eager than anything,” Balay clarifies. “We truly believe this record is the best work we have ever put out; we are extremely proud of it.” Elitist was self-produced by guitarist Julian Rodriquez, allowing the band to control all aspects of the album’s creation. The result is an album worthy of being labeled a selftitled. If the sounds on the record are any indication, Elitist are most assuredly on the rise.






Thrash metal has another up and coming giant to add to its roster: Detroit, Mich.’s Battlecross. Their most recent full-length, Rise to Power—out Aug. 21 via Metal Blade Records—is appropriately titled to match the band’s swell in popularity. Lead singer Kyle “Gumby” Gunther says of the new record, “We were rushed through it again, like we were before. We were trying to write while doing a headlining tour, and that was stressful—trying to write when you’re on the road—but then, we went to the studio, [guitarists] Tony [Asta] and Hiran [Deraniyagala], and [drummer] Alex [Bent] went into the studio first, and then me and [bassist] Don [Slater] came down two weeks later. Don did his stuff and everyone flew home, and it was just me and [producer] Jason [Suecof] for the last two weeks recording vocals. Then, poof! We had Rise to Power.” Suecof contributed his own guitar solo to “The Path,” and worked with each member to produce something they’re all proud of. “We went with Suecof, because he knows what sound we’re looking for, and he’s just a riff master and is extremely good with vocal lines,” Gunther explains. “I pretty much had the scratch stuff, but he went through and made it badass. I knew that he had more experience doing all the shit, so I

would ask, ‘Is this good?’ or, ‘What should we do here?’ He gave me some ideas, and I was like, ‘All right, let’s do that.’ So, he was extremely insightful on what we needed to do and kept us on track.” Since Rise to Power comes out in late August, Battlecross have a tour with GWAR scheduled for mid-September. Gunther gushes about GWAR’s live show and remembers hanging out with Dave “Oderus Urungus” Brockie on a short tour before the vocalist passed. “It was one of the best times I had on tour,” Gunther recalls. “He was a huge [Washington] Redskins fan and it was one of the last days of the season, so we just watched the Redskins vs. the [New York] Giants. It was the worst football game ever, but it was fucking fun, because I got to watch it with Dave.” While the band are no strangers to touring, they’re familiar with the subgenre labels that come with being part of the metal community. Battlecross strongly identify as “blue-collar thrash,” though Gunther expresses his distaste for labels in general and wishes things were simpler. “Labels are labels,” he shrugs. “I wish it could just be ‘metal’ or ‘not metal,’ but people gotta label shit and that’s just part of this whole game. We just do it, and we’re not really concerned about the label, but we do



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST KYLE “GUMBY” GUNTHER BY GABI CHEPURNY embody the blue-collar worker. Michigan’s not an easy place right now, and we’re really thankful that we got the hell out of there—not a lot of bands can do that—but we totally embrace the worker’s mentality: go out and work at it. You’re not gonna do anything sitting at home.” Battlecross may have an aggressive sound with a gritty background, but Gunther says he keeps the lyrics positive, especially because he has a young son who might listen to his music. “I write lyrics not as mystical bullshit stuff that you’re not acoustic guitar and bass—around Notre Dame and Chicago’s south suburbs.” “The summer after we released the EP, we decided that adding an electric guitar and some light drums to the live show wouldn’t hurt,” she continues. “After playing with a rotating lineup for a few months, we settled into a groove and solidified things a bit. We’ve been playing some of the songs on the album—‘Charles Bernstein,’ ‘Our Mortician’s Daughter,’ ‘Postman Song’— since this period of relative stability started circa mid 2012.”

INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST JULIA STEINER BY JOHN B. MOORE “The ‘band’ first got together when [guitarist] Dave [Sagan] and I met on the first day of freshman year at Notre Dame,” explains Ratboys vocalist and guitarist Julia Steiner. “We started playing music, mostly drunk bluesy late night jams lamenting

Notre Dame’s arcane code of conduct and such. Eventually, and very much on a whim, we decided to record some songs I had written that year and in high school. After putting out the resulting Ratboy EP, we started playing shows as a two piece—

The Young Leaves have a long and winding history that began almost a decade ago when vocalist and guitarist Christopher Chaisson was still in high school. He recorded about 20 songs by himself before leaving for college. “I had a batch of songs I wanted to record, but nobody was around to be in a band,” he says. During his undergrad days, he found other musicians to play with, and they independently released their first full-length, Big Old Me, in 2007. Since then, the band have broken

up, reformed, toured, released two more full-lengths and a couple 7”s, and opened for Dinosaur Jr. and The Replacements, but not necessarily in that order.




The Young Leaves—which include drummer Rico Delgado and bassist Matt Scott—fall into the indie category, at least according to Facebook. Chaisson says the genre doesn’t hold water anymore, but that the ideals still exist. “[Indie music is] any music that falls within the spectrum of ‘rock’ that happens to be released, created, produced, or distributed independently,” he explains. “Meaning, no major labels or productions are involved in the process or release of the music. People have used ‘indie rock’ to describe a trillion bands over the years, so as a genre, it has lost any meaning. But as a set of principles, it remains intact.” Sticking to the indie ethos, the band puts out material on their own terms, when they have the time, and are never rushed by a label. Chaisson says, “There’s no way this band will ever produce music at a rate that I’m happy with, because our lives are too busy. I have about 40 songs I’d like to record at some point, but I also have a full-

Now, a few years later, the band has signed to Topshelf Records and just put out their debut full length, AOID, on June 9. “We were pretty lucky to have a flexible and relaxed recording schedule, collaborating with our friend Seth Engel at the Owlery in Chicago,” Steiner says. “We started out recording drums—with our former drummer and friend Pat Kennedy—in September 2014, and gradually added bass, guitars, vocals, and little touches right up

gonna run into in everyday life; I just try to write in the here and now and try to inspire people to do better. A lot of kids look to metal as their outlet. When I was in high school, I was a troubled teen and I listened to a lot of music that helped me get through some of the harder parts of being a kid. I wanted to be a positive influence on the world instead of a negative one. I’ve got a four year old back at home, so I don’t write anything that I wouldn’t want him to hear. That’s pretty much what we write our songs about.”


until the end of the calendar year. The recording process itself was rarely stressful, if at all. We lit lots of ‘sporty’ incense sticks, drank tons of Gatorade, and kept it very true.” “We connected with [Topshelf ’s] Kevin Duquette and Seth Decoteau via our friend Mike Politowicz from the band Dowsing—in which Will plays drums,” Steiner recalls. “Mike passed the album along, and everything progressed pretty quickly from there. We’ve been fans of bands on the Topshelf roster for years now, especially Sundials, Enemies, and Donovan Wolfington, so holding down that same fort now is a very happy honor for us.” So, what’s next for Ratboys? “We’re going to start jamming out the next Rat record during August and September,” Steiner says. “Then, the plan is to join Dowsing for a full U.S. tour in November and December. 2015 is one huge thrill!”



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST CHRISTOPHER CHAISSON BY GABI CHEPURNY time job in human services and I am a fulltime student earning a nursing degree. This is just kind of a thing we do when we can. We love it, but it’s just a thing.” That being said, the band has a new album in the works set for release sometime this year, though not even The Young Leaves

are sure exactly when that will be. “The full-length was titled Burial Dreams at one point. Now it might be called Anxious Always,” Chaisson relates. “But really, we’re taking it one step at a time. Let’s record the thing before we start tossing names out there.”






ew Jersey’s Gatherers set themselves apart from the melodic hardcore pack by writing interesting, thoughtprovoking songs. While most musicians can write a sad tune to power chords, Equal Vision’s latest signees make the listen worthwhile with their substantive upcoming debut LP Quiet World, due for release on July 31. The band feels like they’re on a mission. Bassists Matt Popowski elaborates, “The intent of the record was obvious to me from the start. After our old singer left, we all had to take a look at what we have been doing as a band and reevaluate what we wanted to accomplish. Once [vocalist] Rich [Weinberger] joined our band, things just clicked, and our band was complete.” Opening single “God Deluxe” is about as packed as you can make a less than two minute track: it’s emotive, pensive, and, not least of all, a really good hardcore tune. The band self-produced the LP and were pleasantly surprised by how well the






songs came along. “There is a beauty in the darkness, and we tried to play upon that idea for this record,” Popowski says. “I feel like we’re at a point where we’re starting to understand what we’re capable of. With each record we release, I hope that we take it one step further.” The album is an examination of the state of the world we live in through lyrically abstract songs, while still effective at maintaining a high energy throughout. If you’re a fan of hardcore, you have no excuse not to catch Gatherers live this summer. The band will join the Common Vision Tour alongside Every Time I Die, Counterparts, Real Friends, Brigades, and Gnarwolves, and will be playing Pre-Fest and Fest 14 in Florida. If their live show is anything like the record, Gatherers will put on an amazing, sweat-drenched, passionfueled banger of a show. Melodic hardcore may not need a new face or a savior, but it appears that Gatherers has a chance to be both in 2015.




op punk, post-hardcore, indie… never have the lines been more clearly drawn in the sand than in today’s scene. On Brigades’ debut LP Indefinite, the band blur genre lines and pen a love letter to the collective scene. The record—out July 28 via Pure Noise Records—is as fresh as it is unique. Your music plays like a love letter to the last 15 years of this scene. What are your thoughts on what the scene was back then, and where it’s at now? The scene was very different back then, in my eyes, but at the same time… I‘m not a teenager anymore. So, I don’t wanna sound washed-up and discuss how much better I think it was [laughs]. I will say that I was very fortunate to be able to witness how incredibly heartfelt and timeless the scene was when I was growing up. It would have been nice to be doing what I’m doing now back then, but I learned what I know now from those past experiences. The scene is still holding up strong. It’ll never be what it used to be, because of the timing and how matchless this music scene was. The Internet changed a lot of that. It’s a little more synthetic now. We’re still struggling to adapt to the new ways. Our boat is somehow staying afloat, though.   The message has become secondary to the image. Do you feel any pressure to set the scene straight, or do you feel it’s more punk just see where it goes? I definitely feel like it’s our responsibility to carry the torch, especially with our goals of making a mark on the world. We plan to keep doing our own thing, because we cherish the music. We adore the passion. It’s all about keeping it alive, despite how much better it was then or now. The pressure is on, but we thrive on it. It’d be lazy and pessimistic of us to sit back and watch it go down in flames. Nothing punk about that.   

After signing with Pure Noise and releasing your debut EP Crocodile Tears, you could have played it safe, but instead, you progressed. What was the writing and recording process for this album like? We went into writing Indefinite a little different than that of our normal formula. Usually, [guitarist and vocalist] Charlie [Jackson] and I would sit around with acoustics for hours and hours, writing songs until our fingers bled and our brains were fried. Then, we’d teach the band. This time, we came together and wrote as a collective. We all brought everything we had to the table and slowly put the pieces together. We wrote a lot while at home. Just forming the skeletons. This being our first full-length, we knew how important this record was to the future of this band. We went straight into the studio coming off of a full U.S. tour. A lot was going on at the time. The pressure was on and our stress levels were high. We had so much going on in the band, as well as our own personal lives. So, the road took a little toll on us. I took a train home in the middle of preproduction due to a breakdown. There were questions floating around [about] if the completion of this record was even gonna happen. We came together as a team, worked out the kinks, and got back on it. The lyrical content covers a lot of raw emotion and things we’ve been through the past couple of years. We’re extremely proud of Indefinite and the trials and tribulations we had to overcome to get it done. It wasn’t an easy process for us, but it taught us a lot about ourselves as musicians and as individuals. It opened our minds. I’m so grateful for the experience and push it gave me.



he guys in Los Angeles pop punk band Margate have managed to rack up some pretty influential fans over the years. Chief among them is El Hefe, guitarist and trumpet player for NOFX. In fact, Hefe was so impressed by the group that he snatched them up and put them on his label, Cyber Tracks. Margate dropped their latest full-length, Beards in Paradise, on June 30. How did the songs for this latest fulllength come together? This is actually our fourth full-length overall, but our second on Cyber Tracks. This group of songs definitely came together more organically than the ones for our last album. Smack dab in the middle the writing process for the last album, we got offered an opening slot on a NOFX U.K. [and] Amsterdam tour. So, we quickly finished up the songs we were working on and rounded out the album with rerecorded versions of some of our earlier material in order to have the record done prior to the tour. With the writing for Beards in Paradise, we had the luxury of time. We also wanted to write a fast, fun record this time around, and those types of songs


come together pretty quickly for us. You’re putting this one on vinyl—a first for the band. Do you guys collect vinyl? I would call us all casual record collectors; none of us have crates full of them, but it’s pretty awesome to get a limited edition LP or the new record from your favorite band. We really wanted to do this one on vinyl, because people kept asking about it and it was something we’ve never done before. Hearing the test pressings, it’s amazing how much better it sounds on vinyl than on MP3. Hopefully, Beards  does well in this format and we can continue to press vinyl for our future releases. I think we’re done with pressing CDs. Death By Stereo’s Paul Miner produced this record. Why did you choose him? We’ve actually been working with Paul off and on since our second fulllength,  On the Other Side,  back in 2009. El Hefe recorded, produced, and mixed our last record, but due to tour scheduling, he wasn’t available to do this one, so we went back down to Paul’s place. Paul might be best known for his work both playing and recording in Death By Stereo, but his skills recording and producing have really been getting


INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST DOUG MITCHELL BY JOHN B. MOORE him noticed lately. He’s got great ears and is super easy to work with. Has El Hefe ever given you guys any sage advice? Every time we’re with El Hefe, he gives us sage advice. The dude has been around and seen it all. […] He ingrained in us to always write from

are not scared. We are not happy that this is how government react, but it is no surprise to Svetlanas. We know Putin regime is against freedom of speech and freedom to express one’s ideas; we think is funny that giant country, giant world power is scared of little punk rock band like Svetlanas. Think of it! We a little band not scared of them, but they fear our words and have to put ban on us… Really, it is stupid. This ban happen in September 2014 to us. How did you come to work with Dahlia as a producer? We know Dwarves from doing shows in Europe. Cool guy, Blag likes what we do and we decide to work together for this album. We are happy we decide this, because this collaboration make for very good rw ecordings and very good relationship with Dwarves, who we just do big Europe tour with, and plan to do more music with in future.



oscow’s Svetlanas have been on a roll, entertaining many, educating some, and kicking major ass as the saga of the Naked Horse Riderera of this vital band of punk rock purists unfolds. The new album dropped in May via Altercation Records and is available now! Naked Horse Rider has bigger balls than Putin! How was it making this record?




Making of Naked Horse Rider is best recording experience of all time, yes? We record in California with Mr. Blag Dahlia of Dwarves, who is very good guy to work with, and knows how to make a very good recording. We are very happy and proud with this album. Were you startled when you were actually banned from Russia? What year was this? Startled? This means “scared,” yes? No, we

What is “Sacrifice Your Orifice” about? This song is to tell you that if you think you are going to fuck with me—a little woman—that this little woman is going to fuck with you. My way to fuck with you is a very brutal way, so to fuck with me is a sacrifice. Do I be clear on this? How does it feel to be more politically relevant than the majority of Warped Tour this year? Maybe other bands on Warped Tour are very good and have much to say also. Yes, is true many bands are not so political or so angry as Svetlanas, but many do have much to say on the politics or needs from where

the heart—that if the passion isn’t there, the rest doesn’t matter. I think we really took that to heart with the songs on the new record. We’re still blown away to be on his label and know that he likes our little band after us having all grown up listening to his records.


they come from. So, all I say is we want to go to Warped Tour and see all the other bands play. We love American music and are happy [founder] Kevin [Lyman] say yes to Svetlanas to play in 2015. We will bring good show to Warped Tour. Do you think there will always be political punk rock like you? Of course, I say yes to this! Always there will be punk rock, because always there is problem that needs to be screamed into microphone at show… This will never end. Problems may change, but discontent of the people and corruption of government will never end. Do you like working with Altercation Records? Altercation [Records owners] Travis [Meyers] and JT [Habersaat] are very good guys, yes? And Altercation bands also very good; look them up if you don’t know this, very good quality, very good. How did you end up doing a split with Adolescents? We do shows with them in Europe. We like Adolescents, and Adolescents like Svetlanas, so we get together with split idea and ask Altercation Records. Altercation say, “Hell yes,” and now there is awesome 7” split of two bands called Hot War. It is very awesome split: two songs Svetlanas, and two songs Adolescents. Very good, I think. You buy it, yes?





erman power trio Kadavar deal in the type of proto-metal that is loud, ripping, and will make you get up and bang your head. Over the course of two albums— 2012’s Kadavar on Teepee Records and 2013’s Abra Kadavar on Nuclear Blast—they have proven that they are one of the finest practitioners of the sweet art of riff science, adding touches of psych and blues rock to

realized that I didn’t see any future in finishing my studies and getting a proper job,” says drummer Christoph “Tiger” Batelt. “I started studying because I didn’t know what else to do. I had dreams, but I wasn’t going anywhere near. I always wanted to be a musician. I wanted to make a new start and only do what I enjoy. Each of us made that decision and this is something we share. We came from different directions to meet here and the life in Berlin has changed us and given us the opportunity to do something great together. At this point, after a couple years of band history, calling the upcoming record Berlin just feels like the right thing to do.”

The album also marks the first time the band—which also features vocalist and guitarist Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann and bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup—didn’t use a photo of themselves for the cover. Berlin features a striking image of young woman wearing glasses, shot by photographer Elizaveta Porodina. The album’s title has special It’s also the first time the band haven’t significance to the band. “I moved used their name in the title. The photo to Berlin nine years ago, because I is a visual representation of themes their amplifier worshipping sound. Now, they are about to drop their third album, Berlin, on August 21 through Nuclear Blast. Once again, the band have delivered a master class in the fine art of producing the hard rock goods.


put forth on the album. “We wanted something different this time,” says Tiger. “I think this record reveals more personal views on different things, and everybody can see things the way they want to. The girl with the glasses seemed like a good image for that. Plus, Elizaveta Porodina, who shot the pictures, is one of our very favorite photographers. We knew that this would look a lot better than the three of us.” Last year, Kadavar embarked on an extensive North American tour, which saw them play riveting sets at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, T.X. The band will be returning to the continent—which has made a unique, but mostly positive impression on the band—for another extensive tour once the new album drops. Tiger elaborates, “The burgers are better, the beer is worse. I love to tour in the States. It’s a little more exhausting because the distances are longer but the people always make it up.” On their next tour, make sure to hook them up with the finest beer we have to offer!








ortland, Ore.’s esoteric death metal merchants Shroud Of The Heretic are gearing up to release the followup to their 2013 debut full-length Revelations in Alchemy. Guitarist JT discusses form, manifestations, and the trio’s sophomore album, Unorthodox Equilibrium, due out July 31 via Iron Bonehead Productions. Having released Revelations in Alchemy only last year, did you have the material for what became Unorthodox Equilibrium in formation, or were you just experiencing a lot of inspiration? It was a combination of both, with much more of the former. Revelations in Alchemy took a very long time in production, and realistically, should have been released in late 2013. So, more time had passed between recording the two releases than was apparent. In fact, at our record release performance for the first record, three quarters of our set was material that would be Unorthodox Equilibrium. We were cognizant of and pleased with the absurdity of it. Was there anything you knew you wanted to focus on with the new record? Yes. We consciously allowed the songs to grow to completion before committing them to recording this time. This accounts for the longer compositions and more complex arrangements found on the new record. We looked long and hard at what succeeded on our first record and sought to understand why, and we took direction from those revelations—pun not intended. This led to a release that is much more formed, and much more representative of what we are as an entity. In these days of easy access to thousands of bands, is it important to keep your name current with releases and tours, or will those meant to hear your music hear it regardless, “success” be damned? I believe there is a hermetic axiom that applies here: “Everything is dual;








everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.” Simply, I don’t think you have to choose one strategy or the other. For us, the music is the manifestation of our goals being met, our goals being these manifestations themselves. We do not lust for or shun success. The album is already a success to us, even if nobody bothers to listen to it. Are you merely vessels for a message, a conduit for wisdom, or just trying to play memorable, forward-thinking death metal? This is a very interesting question and not something I’ve considered consciously. I suppose one hand shakes the other in our circumstance. We are explorers, and the material manifestation of our exploration—riffs, records, et al.—has grown in parallel to the mystical and metaphysical aspect. Form is the destruction of Force. What do you think caused the fragmentation of death metal into subsub-subgenres? You have visionaries and followers. This facilitates the clustering of sonic ideas. A visual depiction of the subsubgenres might look like Mycelial colonization. It’s in constant flux. This is good thing. Without genre taxonomy, we would be placing Danzig and Wormlust [under] the same umbrella term. That’s bad. If a group of musicians are influenced by the genres they are placed in, then they are of weak Will anyway. What can people expect from Shroud Of The Heretic in a live setting? Visual, aural, olfactory, and tactile stimulation. Smoke and bones. Darkness. If we do our job exceptionally well, gnosis.




s seedy as it might sound, Denver, Colo.’s Khemmis began like many late night crime reports do: on Craigslist. Guitarist and vocalist Ben Hutcherson explains, “I moved from Mississippi to Colorado three years ago to go back to work on my doctorate. [Vocalist] Phil [Pendergast] was already a student in the same program; we hit it off instantly. Looking to fill out the lineup, I put an ad on Craigslist. The ad included a picture of Jawas from ‘Star Wars’ carrying a Sunn Model T. [Bassist] Dan [Beiers] hit me up and we grabbed beers at TRVE Brewing where [drummer] Zach [Coleman] just happens to be the head brewer. He—having also recently relocated to Denver—was looking to join a band.” Absolution—the band’s first fulllength, released in early July via 20 Buck Spin—follows a demo EP that helped Khemmis grow and hone their sound. They worked with Dave Otero at Flatline Audio, who had a good deal of input on the vocal arrangements and harmonies, helping to create an album—six tracks, but clocking in at 41 minutes—that the band are proud of. Coleman says, “Dave really pushed Phil vocally and had a lot of input of the vocal arrangement and harmonies. We had all of the songs ready to go when we came in, so, mostly, recording was just laying it in as best we could—take after take after take.” Hutcherson elaborates, “We released a demo EP a few years ago, and while it helped us get our name out there, we feel that this album is far more cohesive and mature.” Khemmis is part of a specific subgenre of metal that comes with a distinct low and sludgy sound and is difficult

for some fans to get into. That being said, the quartet keep it melodic enough to hold the attention span of those who are used to typical chorusverse-chorus, two minute songs. “There is something about getting older that makes doom resonate with folks,” Hutcherson reflects. “The older I’ve gotten, the more appealing slow, heavy music has become. I lacked the attention span for it when I was a teenager, but at this point, a 20 or 30 minute song doesn’t seem unreasonable if it’s well-written.” Another attention grabbing aspect of Khemmis’ style is their dual vocal approach. One second, listeners are soothed by harmonies and the next, they’re shaken awake by screams and guttural growls. Hutcherson explains, “There are lots of bands that rely solely on clean or heavy vocals, but there aren’t a ton of contemporary doom bands that employ both styles. Though neither [Phil or I] have that wide of a range on our own, together, we can cover quite a bit of ground. It also allows us to experiment with different sorts of vocal layers: two heavy layers, a heavy and a clean, whatever.” Up next, the band is set to tour through the Pacific Northwest and West Coast beginning in August, with an East Coast tour in the works as well. While they’re already working on a follow-up to Absolution, they can’t believe the reaction that’s currently coming their way. “We’re just blown away by the reaction folks are having to this record,” Hutcherson says. “We are thrilled that people feel connected to our music, and we are excited about playing this material out on the road. If you make it to one of our shows, bring earplugs.”








y now, “screamo” is as much a steady fixture in heavy music as punk is. Sweden’s Suis La Lune have always been auteurs of this subgenre, showing the complex harmony and chaos the genre has to offer. Their upcoming EP Distance/ Closure—set for release July 31 via Topshelf Records—wraps up all of their versatility and excellence in an easily digestible package. How have you changed as a songwriter since the band’s inception 10 years ago? When we first started off, I wrote a lot of songs in a haste. Now, I take a lot more time with every song, I guess. The fact that we live in different cities and can’t practice that often makes it more important that we have a song structure to go for when we meet. Otherwise, we’d waste a lot of time in the practice space. How has the screamo genre changed in the last decade? I guess we used to be a bit more all over the place with our early songs. We used to sound really different from song to song. But I guess we’ve been moving forward as a band musically, and found a sound and an expression that speaks to us. The genre itself has seen so many good bands pass by during our years in it, from all around the world nonetheless. It is really nice to see that it’s no longer more or less just an American and a European thing, it’s so global these days. I really like it. Do you like the label “screamo”? Yeah, I don’t mind it at all. I’m not sure it’s the most fitting for our




music, but it comes pretty close, I suppose. What does the title of Distance/ Closure mean to you? It is the seeking of closure or ease, while feeling distant in your mind or unable to reach out. Constant struggle and the opposites of the two extremes. How does working towards an EP differ for you than a full-length LP? We like the EP format better. I personally think an EP is more compact and easier to get into. Working towards an EP, we can also put full focus on just four or five songs, and it makes the whole process easier. I’d really like us to write another album, too. It’s a great feeling, but we have a special thing for the EP format. Your songs use the dynamic of heaviness and atmosphere. How do those two things relate in your craft? The atmosphere, I think, maybe comes from the chords and melodies, which I enjoy writing the most, as well as our guitar sound. Together with parts of heaviness and the dynamic building, I only think it’s natural how they interact. What do you hope someone who hasn’t listened to your band since the first EP will get from this record? I hope that person would get the same overall feeling as from the first EP. The core of our new EP is very much the same as it has been





hilly’s indie punk rock scene has been on a roll lately, churning out one wildly impressive band after the next. Judging by their Jade Tree debut, newbies Dogs On Acid are keeping the streak alive. The band is comprised of former Algernon Cadwallader members drummer Nick Tazza, guitarist Joe Reinhart, and vocalist and guitarist Peter Helmis, as well as scene vet bassist Nate Dionne. With one EP under their belts, their forthcoming fulllength debut, and a 7” dropping on Asian Man Records coming out shortly, Dogs On Acid are poised to blow up this summer. So, how did this lineup—whose credits also include Snowing and Hop Along—come together? “I think it went something like: Joe texted me about playing bass with him, Peter, and Nick,” Dionne explains. “I said: ‘Yeah who is this?’ ‘cause I didn’t have his number saved. I knew then that I had two choices: save his number and go jam with them, or something else.” While some of the members share a familiarity, this exact incarnation is brand new. “Joe, Nick, and Peter played together for a while,” Dionne continues. “I had never played with any of them before, and I was fully prepared to whip them into shape whiplash style. I’m talking throwin’ chairs at all of them, screaming, and carrying on like a lunatic. Unfortunately, that didn’t have to happen, as they all knew what they were doing.”

When asked if their sonic departure from their previous projects was a conscious decision, Dionne jokes, “We actually made that decision collectively, but in a dream we all shared, so it was more of an unconscious decision.” Ba-dumching! Writing duties seem to be split evenly amongst the members, as Dionne attests, “We’re all big fans of letting each other do their own thing. Occasionally, Nick is allowed to write his own drum part, but only if he remembers to tune our strings before practice.  We can’t be bothered with that sort of thing.” This laissez-faire approach resulted in a stunning debut, but according to Dionne, the process required “a scattered,  crazy year. Why did it take a year?” he asks rhetorically. “Because our drummer is in charge of tuning our guitars…”



exan group Scale The Summit aren’t just leading the charge for instrumental metal: they’re blazing their own trail, in true Texan spirit, showcasing the power of music sans vocal chords. The fact that they are gearing up to release their fifth album in less than 10 years and getting better at their craft with each new album is just the icing on the cake. Guitarist and main songwriter Chris Letchford doesn’t hesitate when asked about reaching the fifth album milestone: “Absolutely blown away that we were able to stick around for four albums, let alone five.” Scale The Summit’s last record, The Migration, was a phenomenal instrumental album, so to say that their fifth effort is “highly anticipated” is like saying metalheads “kind of enjoy headbanging.” The album—aptly titled V, and due out Sept. 18 via Prosthetic Records—is a truly fantastic listen that expands upon the progression shown in The Migration and adds even more depth and grandeur to Scale The Summit’s core sound. The songs are given

more room to breathe, but when they do hit their metallic stride, it’s a damn stampede. Songs like “The Winged Bull” and “Trapped In Ice” are the group’s best yet. As with all of the band’s records, V tells a fantastic story, although it’s not quite as unified as usual. “This album is broken down with each track as its own story,” Letchford explains. “From the actual tracks with pretty obvious meanings to track titles that fit the overall image of each tune, we tried to mix it up a bit.” The album’s art is stunning and looks like it’s straight out of a children’s fantasy tale. “We had Duncan Storr [artist for The Migration] tie in each song to make one really magical piece,” Letchford elaborates. “It’s an absolutely epic collage of epicness!” All wasn’t sunshine and roses for Scale The Summit, as they had to bring in a new member after their previous drummer Pat Skeffington left at the worst possible time. “When Pat left, that gave us two and a half weeks to have drums written for the entire record,” recalls


INTERVIEW WITH BASSIST ADA here’s something in the water in Reading, Pa. After the breakout success of Black Crown Initiate, Reading’s other favorite sons, Rivers of Nihil, are set to release their mammoth sophomore record, due for release August 21 from Metal Blade Records. The album, Monarchy, is a gargantuan step up for the band— even considering the brilliance of The


M BIGGS BY NICHOLAS SENIOR Conscious Seed of Light—expanding upon their progressive and groovebased tendencies, while not forgetting how damn effectively Rivers Of Nihil can play death metal. Bassist, lyricist, and sometimes vocalist Adam Biggs says of the initial writing process, “We wanted to bring a lot more of the ‘progressive’



INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST CHRIS LETCHFORD BY NICHOLAS SENIOR Letchford. “When we talked with The Summit raise the bar they [new drummer] J.C. [Bryant], that themselves helped set. While details was sort of his audition. We told aren’t available yet, the band will be him, ‘You have two weeks to write touring extensively this summer and drum parts for 51 minutes of music,” fall, so those looking for an excuse he laughs. Bryant’s dedication and to see Scale The Summit live—like perseverance shows on V; his work you really need one—will almost behind the drum set is impeccable. definitely have the band near your city in 2015. For those looking for their next taste of instrumental prog, Scale


elements to the forefront, and really focus on creating a record with more emotional range than the last. I remember getting the initial mixes back for our first record and listening to it. I felt taken aback by just how relentless that record was, and could tell that we needed to reach for a little more subtlety the next time around. I think it works: the heavier parts feel heavier because they’re more earned in a way. The music has a certain depth that this band hasn’t achieved before.” One listen to Monarchy will put Biggs’ humble statements into context. Each of Rivers Of Nihil’s albums represents one of the four seasons. The Conscious Seed of Light represents spring, and Monarchy represents summer. “The ‘season’ in each album is sort of intended to be something of an emotional backdrop,” Biggs explains. “It’s there to guide in the writing process and create a narrative through-line for this whole group of records. You’ll find that the seasonal designation mostly changes the language used in the lyrics and influences the themes. The summer record in particular takes places millions of years after a mass extinction event that turns the earth into a gigantic desert wasteland. Eventually, a new form of intelligent life evolves, and they begin to govern themselves via a brutal sunworshipping religious dictatorship.

It’s a love story.” “It’s always, for me at least, a reflection of how I feel in the face of issues that are much larger than myself—or much larger than anyone for that matter,” Biggs continues. “Religion has always been a large part of my life, in that I’m pretty terrified by the idea of it. I feel like religion is some sort of absurd nightmare that humanity just can’t wake up from. All of that does indeed fuel a larger story I would like to tell over the course of these ‘seasonal’ albums.” Rivers Of Nihil has a few tours in the works that will likely take the band around North America a few times before the end of 2015, although nothing has been announced yet. “The only thing I ask everyone out there is to give the record a shot,” Biggs concludes. “Even if you didn’t like this band before, I feel like Monarchy might—just maybe—be your ticket in. If not, hey, fuck it!” He’s right. The album cover features one of artist Dan Seagrave’s best works yet—which is really saying something—and the fact that the art isn’t the most beautiful thing about Monarchy speaks volumes about Rivers Of Nihil’s growth. This will likely go down as the best progressive death metal release of 2015, and what a welcome surprise it is.






rooklyn, N.Y., rockers Royal Psalms aren’t newbies by any stretch of the imagination. The band is comprised of former Daytrader guitarist Gary Cioni, Crime In Stereo bassist Eric Fairchild, Aficionado vocalist Nick Warchol, and drummer Joseph Ruotolo. They released their debut EP, I Could Have Been Anything, in late April on Rise Records. I Could Have Been Anything is a heavy, emotive, and melodic alt-grunge effort that is sure to resonate with fans of Balance And Composure, Citizen, and Sainthood Reps. Have Royal Psalms retained a fanbase from your former bands? Are they receptive to what you’re doing? I’m hoping that will be the case, but I think it’s still a little early to tell. At this point, we’ve only played a handful of shows. So, aside from reading comments and checking the amount of hits we got on the Internet, it’s a little tough to gauge. I’m definitely looking forward to playing more shows and finding

out the answer to this question. I will say that we’ve definitely retained a lot of friends we’ve made over the years while playing in past projects, and it’s really nice to reconnect with some of those people after several years of being away from the music world.

Royal Psalms

You guys began writing the EP in 2013, right? Why’d it take so long to release it? It was kind of slow out of the gate. It’s somewhat of a long distance project, because Gary Cioni and Eric Fairchild both live in Brooklyn. Joe Ruotolo lives in New Paltz, and I live a little further upstate in Albany, N.Y. I’ve never been a part of a long distance project before and, at first, it was difficult to get everyone on the same page. […] In addition to the long distance, I was in the process of opening up a restaurant in Albany with one of my ex-Aficionado bandmates, which was an enormous undertaking. As a result, there were times when the band had to get put on the back burner here and there during its early stages. Finding a balance between the two things is a weird “adult problem” that I’ve never had to deal with in my past experiences playing in bands, so it took a while for me to perfect that. Once the band grew out of its infant stages, things got a lot smoother. As we started completing some songs, developing a sound, and developing some chemistry together, the band became a lot easier to prioritize and get excited about. As a result, we became more productive, and eventually got to a point where we actually felt like a

INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST NICK WARCHOL BY TIM ANDERL normal, functional band. It just took a while to get there. Did you always plan to debut the band’s recorded material as an EP? Why not an LP? I think the plan was always to put out an EP before putting out an LP. I think the EP gives you a chance to introduce yourself to the world without the massive pressure and commitment of completing a full-length record. It’s like a soft opening… Or better yet, it’s like preseason. We get a chance to get out there on the field, see which things we’re good at, see which things need work.

Then, we can reflect on those things, and hopefully be more refined and an all around better team once the regular season starts. Regret seems to be a predominant theme on the record. What is one thing that you regret? A lot of the lyrics are about reflecting on choices you’ve made throughout your life and wondering what things would have been like if you’d chosen differently. It’s something I think about a lot. […] So, I guess it’s never one specific regret, it’s more about the idea of regret.




INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST hicago punk stalwarts Horace Pinker have been holding it down since 1991, and are back in rotation with a three song 7” entitled Recover, out on Dead Broke Rekerds this summer. The band hope to tour this fall and release another full-length next spring. It’s cool you put out a 7”, ‘cause your the last album came out three or four years ago… We call it one or two [years]. Technically, it’s really probably three years ago. We released it in Europe, and then our friends put it out here in the States, so it had two release dates. What do you have to say about this bunch of songs? I’m really happy with it. We’ve been recording with Mass Giorgini for a long time at Sonic Iguana in Indiana, so it’s kind of like a family reunion now. We’re good friends. But unfortunately, my best friend, our drummer [Bryan Jones], decided

SCOTT EASTMAN BY JANELLE JONES to move to Sydney, Australia, for a few years for work—because we all do have day jobs—and he decided he couldn’t work with us on this, because he was far away. He chose his own replacement. Dan Lumley works at Sonic Iguana off and on; he’s engineered with us and he’s a pretty well-known drummer. [He’s played with] some well-known acts like Screeching Weasel, among others. He said yes. We were stoked [and] honored. We had no idea he’d go ahead and write the drum tracks for us, so when we arrived to record, it was a weird process; we’d never done it this way before. We’d written the songs, but not the drum parts, and when we got there, the drum parts were all written for us. He’d studied our drummer’s methods and style, and I say that with a smile on my face. But also, in all seriousness, he’d thought about how we arrange songs. He laid down the drum tracks, and said, “If you want me to do something different, I will,”

but we totally loved them. Bryan was really happy about it. We play the songs out live now. Bryan’s back. What influenced these songs lyrically? On Local State Inertia, we tried to tie a lot of those songs together, so a lot of that is just about being stuck in a place in your life and not being able to change your routine. You’re just getting stuck in what you’re doing; you’re not seeing anything with fresh eyes anymore. So, for the new record, I didn’t wanna do that anymore. That was a little depressing. This one’s more about trying to get to know yourself more. Most of my lyrics are personal; I’m not railing against the system. I’ve written political songs, but they’re more like stories than political diatribes. In terms of Recover, I guess it’s trying to break out of that rut, or a call to change yourself and do what you want because life is short. I think the lyrics say it a little better than I just did. “Last to Fall” was inspired by one of the old songs we did. I remember

when we used to tour a lot, we’d play a lot of squats in Europe and we’d talk to a lot of people who were really politicized and had a lot of interesting things to say. But I was always struck by the fact that I thought it was a little trendy and shallow. What were you going to be doing in 20 years? Were you still gonna be fighting the system and living that same kind of lifestyle? So, that song was a vindication of still playing punk rock after 20 years, and remembering people back in the day who were very self-righteous and would question if you were punk enough or if you were political enough. Are you going to be working on a new full-length and put some of these songs on it? I think we probably will. We’re working on a new full-length, so we’ll probably put one or two songs [from the EP] on there, not the whole thing. We’ll make it important and unique, and save a song just for this record.







ntario’s Counterparts are masterful at blending together the melodic and heavy elements of hardcore. All of their songs are rife with meaning, and vocalist Brendan Murphy’s Twitter account is hilarious. Their new full-length, Tragedy Will Find Us—out July 24 via Pure Noise Records—is a necessary addition to your hardcore collection. How have you changed since the last record? That’s kind of tough to say, I think. When you make these subtle changes, or drastic [ones], you don’t really pick up on the changes you make yourself, conscious or unconscious. It’s better suited for other people, because they’d notice. I think I’ve been able to buckle down and work a lot harder. Since [The Difference Between Hell and Home] came out, we’ve been touring, and when it came to writing and recording this record, there was a weird moment of “All right, no more bullshit. We need to devote everything to this fucking band.” I’m sure there’re negative [changes]—I’ve gotten more sarcastic and stuff. Were you surprised by the reaction to The Difference Between Hell and Home? Hell yeah. When that record came out, we just started breaking into America, and leaving Canada. So when it came out, we had been touring America, but we were just “that Canadian band.” But when that record came out, we made a name for

INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST BRENDAN MURPHY BY JOHN HILL ourselves, so we were a little higher on the bill, kids were actually excited for us. We were doing better financially; up until that point, we didn’t really know if we’d be able to do it full time. Luckily, people cared and still care. There were elements of melody and heaviness in the band before, but they flow more seamlessly on Tragedy Will Find Us. Was that intentional? It was intentional in the sense that it was talked about with the rest of the guys in the band. We agreed we wanted our songs to have more structure, as opposed to: “Oh shit, why is this breakdown in the middle of this sweet sounding part, this is fucked up.” There’s a time and place for that, and what happened is— when you write three records, you stumble on what you think you’re good at. The Difference Between Hell and Home was a good mix of the other records before it. It’s about finding your strong suit. When it came to writing [this record], we had three records and an EP, so we knew what we were good at, and saw our strongest points. I mean, there’s still parts on the record like, “Just put a fucking breakdown [there].” But that—and having a better relationship with [producer] Will Putney, who did Between Hell and Home and this one—helped massively. Do you consider this an angrier record that the last one? Yeah, it’s definitely coming from a darker place. Writing …Between Hell and Home, I wasn’t in nearly as rough

shape as writing this record. It’s a bit more spiteful, with songs actually directed at people who have wronged me. So, it’s a bit angrier. …Hell and Home had this positive undertone, and not to say [Tragedy…] doesn’t, but it’s harder to spot. It wasn’t so much me wanting to write an angry record, it was just what happened as a result. Where did the title come from? It’s from the song “Tragedy.” That kind of summed up the record for me, and how I was feeling. Like, even if you’re in a good spot, there’s a chance of something going horribly wrong. I spent a couple years being blind to signs and feeling on top of the world, and having that ripped out from under [me]. It’s kind of pessimistic, but it’s how I feel. More so, [it’s] about being prepared and knowing how to deal with that. Horrible things happen to every living thing; it’s

about coping and dealing with that. Saying that out loud now, it does feel like a fucking bummer [laughs]. So, maybe it’s not pessimism, but more a realization that bad things will happen, and it’s necessary to repair them later? Absolutely. If you read the lyrics to “Prophets,” I was very positive and never experienced anything but that. When shitty things happened, I figured I could either let things go and let everything pile on top and suffocate me, or learn how to deal with it and fight and get through it. Not to say people who haven’t experienced something horrible yet aren’t strong, but when you go through them, you really do learn to cope and become a lot stronger as a person. That has a bigger hand in defining the real you, as opposed to having a perfect life, where it’ll hit you that much harder.







wedish doom outfit and dark arts practitioners Year Of The Goat unleash their new full-length The Unspeakable July 31 via Napalm Records. Does the world need another “occult rock” band? We’re not in the business of providing the world with what it really needs, we’re in it for pure selfish reasons. If people wish to put us in any compartment, we’re fine with it, [it] doesn’t really mean a lot to us. If we were only aiming at making it big, we’d be half naked riding wrecking balls instead. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, bands like Blue Oyster Cult and Aphrodite’s Child wrote songs about occult subject matter. What do you think caused it to go away for the last few decades, and what has led to the current explosion? Maybe it has a reasonable explanation in counter reactions to something else going on in society. Maybe it’s possible to connect it with an interest in spirituality occurring at these times, or for some, maybe it’s just a “shock effect” to oppose




the organized insanity better known as religion. Aphrodite’s Child was cool, for sure. Our singer Thomas [Eriksson] made a duet of [Aphrodite’s Child’s] “The Four Hosemen” with Farida [Lemouchi] from The Devil’s Blood on a Griftegård single commemorating [The Devil’s Blood founder] Selim [Lemouchi] and [Griftegård drummer] Jens [Gustafsson], who both passed away not too far apart. How did making your second album The Unspeakable differ from Angels’ Apocalypse? We frown upon the feeble mass consumption of single tracks these days. It’s a creative journey, and of course, we learn from what we’ve previously done, but we’re not really sitting down with a model for improvement… Maybe we should [laughs]! About eight minutes into the song “All He Has Read,” you guys sound so much like Kansas… What can I say, we found ourselves in the studio, listening back to some stuff, thinking the exact same thing. Between the six of

us, we cover a lot of musical terrain. We all bring something to the table, and the influences shine through—sometimes on purpose and sometimes by chance.

we’ll lock you up, but if you’re convinced you got a loophole out of your wrongdoings by engaging in a symbolic cannibalistic act, then you’re OK.”

Lyrically, what inspires you? Everything that has made us who we are today, everything we’ve ever read, every movie we’ve ever watched, every song we’ve ever heard. For this album, we narrowed it down quite a lot to the world of horror and the written word: “All He Has Read,” get it? We can’t help it that some of our spiritual worldview shines through at times, but it was not the ambition with this album.

What can fans expect from a Year Of The Goat live show? Do you have any tour plans for the rest of the year? Maybe we would have reached a bigger audience by now if we were to wear ghoulish masks and drench ourselves in pigs’ vomit, but our fear of “Scooby Doo” prevents us from putting ourselves at risk of being exposed for not being “true” [laughs]! We’re discussing a touring possibility with another band in Europe for the fall. Let’s hope the American audience will take us in, and that we can work something out there as well. If we ever come to the States, we must however, take a trip to the [Petersburg, Ky.] Creation Museum, as I read [Answers in Genesis president and young Earth creationist] Ken Ham is building himself an Ark. Now that’s one guy who wastes money that could feed the poor!

Do you think black metal and Viking metal have taken root in Scandanavia due to a desire to return to their nonChristian roots. Maybe that’s somehow why the black metal scene flourished here. One of the most secular places in the world has a social climate where you don’t question people for holding irrational and insane beliefs as long as those beliefs involve the Judeo-Christian God idea. “If you believe you’re Napoleon,





or Dave Matrise, lead singer of Jungle Rot—who have been playing old school death metal since before it was old school—not a lot has changed during the last 20 years of the band’s existence. “I don’t think, as a scene itself, that it’s changed that much at all,” Matrise says. “Ever since we’ve been doing it, it’s always been that same scene. But as the music goes, I think you couldn’t push the level any further, the bar is set so high now. It’s incredible the way the music has turned over the last five years. That being said, it’s actually a treat for us, because there’s not too many people doing what we’re doing left anymore—this old school style. It’s really starting to take off again and we’re here to ride it.” Jungle Rot’s current lineup consists of Matrise, guitarists James Genenz and Geoff Bub, and drummer Joey Muha. Anyone familiar with the




band knows that they’ve seen their fair share of changes over the years. Matrise, Genenz, and Muha have been together since 2005, and the three like to keep a revolving door of drummers. “We never really keep permanent drummers, we kind of like that,” he says. “We like having a new breed in there; we like having to feed off of them and the vibe that you get from that, so we always rotate drummers. I think that people who know Jungle Rot know that me, Geoff, and James are pretty much the identity of the band.” “For Jungle Rot, it’s just what you’re expecting, we’re not trying to change it up and we’re not trying to shock the world,” says Matrise. “It’s just good, straight up, old school death metal. It’s fun to get into and it’s fun to play, and I think there’s a variety. Out of 11 songs, I think it’s easy for anybody to find two or three that they’re going to really get into.”

The album came out June 30 via Victory Records, and covers the timely topic of police brutality, a subject that’s been dominating media attention for the past few years. “I think it’s the best we got, the title is Order Shall Prevail, it’s very current,” Matrise concurs. “It’s about police brutality, the power that the police have today and how we’re dealing with the government and control. We like to voice ourselves on that, and the songs are right where we want them to be.” This time around, Matrise was able to fulfill a lifelong dream: to work with metal legend Max Cavalera. The two recorded vocals on “Fight Where You Stand,” track four of the new release. “When I first started, Max was another one that had a big influence on me,” Matrise explains. “It’s just crazy how it all came together; I still can’t believe it happened. That’s stuff that you dream when you start out. I had no idea 20 years ago that I was gonna have Max sing guest vocals on the

album. We did the 70000TONS [OF METAL] cruise, and Max was standing there. He said he was excited, because he had never gotten to see us live. We just kind of hung out for a bit and started talking; it came up as guest vocals and it seemed he was really serious about doing them, so we kept pursuing it. The timing was right and it came out great. Both our vocals came out perfect. It’s a beautiful thing.” 2015 seems to be the year of dreams for Matrise and the rest of Jungle Rot, as the band will be hitting the road with the rest of this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Festival lineup. “We’ve been doing so many underground tours lately that this is the first time we’re getting to step out of it,” Matrise says. “And to play in front of a different crowd—that’s the most excitement that I’m getting out of this, because I think a lot of people don’t know who we are. Some will, some won’t, but I think we’re gonna shock a lot of them and we’re hoping for the best.”



ast winter, the mysterious black metal siren known only as Myrkur dropped her debut EP on an unsuspecting world. The release garnered much acclaim from the metal sphere, even after Myrkur’s was revealed to be Amalie Bruun of indie pop stalwarts Ex-Cops. Now, she is back with her official debut, M—out August 21 on Relapse Records. The new album has more of the dueling angelic and tortured shriek vocals that graced the EP, but also features collaborations with members of Ulver and Mayhem and displays even more haunting, old school Nordic vibes.


“I definitely did not feel I had to prove anything for the EP,” Bruun says. “The EP was just my demos, some of them are very old. I never really made them with the intention of anybody hearing them, you know? With this album, I had to get used to the fact that other people were going to be playing the songs and that I was going to work with a producer, but I only wanted to work with one person.” That one producer was none other than Ulver mastermind Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg. “I would send demos to him and he could immediately hear the potential in the songs,” Bruun reveals. “He’s the executive producer of the album, so you could say he’s the producer, but he’s really become sort of a mentor for me.” “There’s one song on the album that sounded so much like Bergtatt, [Ulver’s debut album], and he said, ‘I think this sounds like something I’ve heard before,’” she continues, “but he was flattered that I wanted to carry on Bergtatt in a different era and he wanted to do that with me. Unlike other projects where there were other people in my way, working with Kristoffer, he sort of made it easier for me to make the record I had dreamed about.” M is a dazzling record that runs the gamut from awe-inspiring splendor, to kick down the door metal rage. The glorious choral arrangements and piano work that made Myrkur’s EP sound so out of this world are even more gorgeous this time around, while the wicked guitar riffs and pummeling black metal assault are beefed up as well. Of her collaboration with Mayhem guitarist Teloch, who plays throughout the album, Bruun says, “He is, first of all, very talented and has more of a solid technical way of playing riffs than I do.” Teloch’s whirlwind playing—just like Garm’s uncanny ear—helped Bruun create the sonic vision she hoped to achieve on M. Of course, recording your debut album in cool ass places like Emanuel Vigeland’s Mausoleum outside Oslo, Norway, is pretty sweet as well. “We did all the choir parts and some of the screams in the mausoleum,” Bruun says. “It’s a tomb that’s completely dark and has 11 seconds of natural reverb. So, we took a whole day in there. It was fucking freezing and dark, but it sounds very good. The first scream you hear on the record is done in there, so it has this sound of death almost.” See? Cool stuff.






itizen has become discordant. On their new album, Everybody Is Going to Heaven—out now via Run For Cover Records— the band specifically focus on contrasting textures to make a record that is dangerous and bold. Take opener “Cement” for example. Vocalist Mat Kerekes sings in a low, Ian Curtis-like moan. But, in the background, guitars blaze away while what sounds like radio static pulsates through the track. Or, there’s “My Favorite Color,” which opens with a nasty gash that would make the Swans proud. “‘My Favorite Color’ was me sort of trying to open a song the same way Sonic Youth would,” says guitarist Nick Hamm. “I love dissonance and laying with my guitar beyond the chords and whatnot. I had more fun on this record because I was really able to beat my guitar up.”

The band’s harsher new direction comes as sort of a surprise to longtime fans. The Michigan/Ohio band’s debut LP, 2013’s Youth, favored a mellower, more somber tone. Whether or not it was totally accurate, the band were dubbed emo or post-hardcore by the press. Although there were hints of classic indie elements in the release, the band found themselves utilizing the pained elements of bands like Saves The Day and Thursday. Everybody Is Going to Heaven finds the band breaking from their past and taking on a more daring, vicious sound. In part, this is due to the influence of producer Will Yip. The band recorded the new album at his famed Studio 4 just outside of Philadelphia, where Yip has produced bands including Polar Bear Club, Tigers Jaw, and Hostage Clam. “Working with Will is always incredible,” says Hamm. “I sound like a broken record, but there’s nothing like it. The only people who exist at that time are the people in the studio, and we definitely tried to shut off the outside world.” While working on the album, the band made a direct choice to break from their

past. As a band, Citizen decided to make a record that would challenge them and push their skills into new territories. To emphasize this, the band released “Cement” as their first single. A bold first statement, the song opens with a pounding bass—think Peter Hook—before an undulating guitar drifts into the groove while Kerekes adds his icy vocals. Youth it is not. Ironically, the band thought that “Cement” was one of the least radical tracks. Hamm says, “People were really surprised by ‘Cement’ being sonically different than our old stuff. But we actually released it first because we thought it was the least shocking. I think the song really set the tone of the album when we wrote. Mat started the writing for it and then it turned into this really cool rock song.” The result was a record that was something quite a bit different than what they band had produced before. Would the fans accept the band’s harsher vibe? Hamm says, “We knew it would be a polarizing record and, so far, that’s been true. I think it’s the record we needed to make. A lot of people, maybe myself even, view Youth as a sort of lukewarm record. We wanted the reaction to be love or hate, so I can’t be too shocked

when someone hates it. But I’m not too nervous about public reception,” Hamm clarifies. “I think there’s been some reviews of the new record that are a little misguided or misinformed. People like to shoot out these buzzwords that don’t actually apply. In the end, we’re the only ones who have to like the stuff. So, whatever.” Interestingly, the band weaves religious symbolism through the album. There’s the title of course, but also songs like “Weave Me (Into Yr Sin)” and allusions to the saints. “I’m not religious or anti-religious,” Hamm says. “I can recognize when religion helps people and when it hurts people. Honestly, it didn’t play as much of a role on the record as one might think. But, I do think it was interesting to refer to feelings and situations in this almost holy light.” This type of lyrical and sonic expansion is the backbone of the record. “The album’s creation was natural and meticulous,” Hamm explains. “We set out to make a record different than Youth. But, on the other hand, we had no interest in writing that way anymore. I think the record is [intended to] set ourselves up to be able to do whatever we want to for future records.”










ameron Boucher is becoming an extremely prolific musician, and he only just graduated from college. You may know him from his emotive hardcore project Old Gray—who deliver catchy yet resonant albums—but his other band, Sorority Noise, is picking up a lot of steam. Their new record Joy, Departed dropped June 16 via Topshelf Records. You graduated recently! How was that? I’m so glad to be out of college, for one. [Laughs] The professor who recorded this album is more than a teacher; he’s like a really close friend at this point. He got the job when I was a sophomore, and I didn’t care for the lady before him. First day I walked into his office, he was listening to Grails and Converge, and I knew we were going to be friends. Was it hard balancing schoolwork with band stuff? It was weird. Like, freshman year of




college, I sucked. I was not doing well at all. So, my grades were bad, and my parents were like, “You should focus on school.” I played shows, but it wasn’t a focus or something I was doing a lot. By sophomore year, I was like, “Fuck this, this is something I have to do.” With music, it’s like, “All right, I’m gonna be gone this whole weekend,” and it made it easier to book my whole time. I thought playing music and touring while in school helped my academics, because I knew what I wanted to get done at every moment. Pretty murky, but it works. What was your first tour ever? I play in another band, Old Gray, and we went out with this other band, William Bonnie, who has members of Merchant Ships. We did eight days on the East Coast. My mom’s land cruiser got broken into in Philly, some shows didn’t work out, but it was a great time, because now, I’m involved in the scene where it’s like someone booked a tour,

and we hop on. […] I miss that aspect of it; everything is more regimented now. What do you get out of playing in Sorority Noise versus Old Gray? They’re totally different beasts. Every song that gets written is just an acoustic song to start, for both bands. Halfway through, I can decipher which band it’s for. I can be a lot more tongue in cheek for Sorority Noise versus Old Gray. So, I can definitely tell where I’m going to go. Old Gray is much darker, and the only reason I scream is because that’s the only way words can come out for it. It’s difficult to balance and deal with, and creates two totally different outlets. What does Joy, Departed mean to you specifically? It comes from an old Mozart piece called “The Magic Flute.” It’s a pretty old phrase; I believe in “The Magic Flute,” it says, “How I long for joy

departed.” I think, for me—like, it means different things for all of us. But for me, it’s about how quickly emotion can change, so joy may leave and something takes its place. What do you hope people who have never heard Sorority Noise take away from this album? One thing I’ve been pretty vocal about on this record is there is a selfdeprecating element in the lyricism, but I’d like people to realize mental illness is not the end all be all. I hope people pull away that there are brighter parts. At least know that’s not everything, and you can write major key lyrics and minor key music. The music never stays stagnant and it goes from heavy to pop, and I don’t think it’s offensively so. I just want people to say, “Wow, that was different.”








radle Of Filth’s newest fulllength, Hammer of the Witches—out July 10 via Nuclear Blast—is number 11 in the band’s growing catalog of epic-length recordings. “We basically spent about four months recording it on and off,” says lead vocalist Dani Filth. “When I say ‘on and off,’ we [didn’t] record on weekends, but we were pretty much doing 11 hour days. We originally went into the studio with 16 tracks, and the producer was like, ‘Hmmm, maybe a little ambitious, almost like a double album,’ so we trimmed three of them straight away. They’re good songs that we plan to use in the future. I know the record company may want all these tracks, but it ain’t gonna happen. It’s not like we do Ramones-length songs; they’re all pretty busy and lengthy.”

As the band changed, so did the music industry, due mostly to advances in technology. While the ease of file sharing makes it easier to write albums, according to Filth it is simultaneouvvsly killing bands and their music. “I put it this way: it’s taken, since the inception of this album, about a year. It would be like working for a year, saving up for, like, a mortgage for a house, or a nice car, or expensive holiday, or something like that, and then someone coming along and going, ‘You know what, I’m taking that off of you.’ You go, ‘Well, that’s unfair.’ But that’s exactly what it’s like.” The singer fears that the future of music is a bleak one, one that will be riddled with toorigorous tour schedules, which may not be the answer to a struggling industry as fans can only afford to see so many shows.

Filth—the founder of the band, and the only original member who now remains, 24 years after its inception—says the record could easily be mistaken for a concept album due to the extensive artwork that accompanies it. “We’re always involved quite closely with the artist,” he explains. “We always make it a point to work with really great artists and this guy is no exception. In fact, out of all the artists who we’ve used over the years, this guy is pretty much cream of the crop. He’s a Latvian artist called Artūrs Berzinsh, and one would be mistaken that this was a concept record because he did such an amazing job. People have only seen the cover; they haven’t seen how great the art extends throughout. We really had to twist the record company’s arm to get a double picture disc done, which I’m really looking forward to.”

Despite recent setbacks, Cradle of Filth— the current incarnation of which also includes bassist Daniel Firth, keyboardist and vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft, and drummer Martin Skaroupka—are a bonafide success. The band began with a grandiose vision of playing for large crowds and touring the world, but at the time, thought this was just a dream. “I think when you start a band, you always have, like, this vision; you don’t really picture yourself playing in front of two people in the dark,” Filth jokes. “You have a vision of you on a big stage and thousands of people, and whether that’s an idealism that you fully realize or not is another thing. People say to me, ‘Are you going to be doing this in 20 years time?’ and I say, ‘I hope not,’ [laughs]. Because I just can’t imagine it. And I think when we first started the band, we just didn’t think that far ahead. We had ambition, we knew how to get it, we knew how to deliver the goods and what have you… We had a vision and a voice, but we probably didn’t foresee it having this longevity.”

Much of Cradle Of Filth’s success can be attributed to Filth’s uncommon vocal style, a mix of screams and growls that most vocalists aren’t able to achieve. He began honing his skill through trial and error, and today, he works with a doctor who specializes in throat manipulation for opera singers to refine and hone his delivery. While certain aspects—like Filth’s unique pipes and the band’s writing process—have remained the same, Cradle Of Filth has seen more than their fair share of changes over the years. Most recently, guitarists Richard Shaw and Marek “Ashok” Šmerda replaced the band’s two previous axmen when personal issues and injuries prevented them from touring.

Cradle Of Filth will tour throughout the rest of 2015, and 2016 will bring their first U.S. tour in four years, which coincides with the band’s quarter-century birthday celebration.







n a scene defined by cranking up amps, screaming opinions into microphones, and hurling your body off of stages, those of us who prefer standing in the back of the room and watching often feel somewhat left out. Armed with his hauntingly introspective lyrics, quiet energy, understated humor, and trademark lisp, Dan Andriano is the hero we socially anxious misfits deserve. The second full-length from his solo endeavor Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room—available July 17 via Asian Man Records and Xtra Mile Recordings—perfectly captures the experience of the introverted extrovert in its title: Party Adjacent. “I guess, to me, it means a couple different things,” Andriano explains. “But I guess, [it’s about] feeling what it’s like to still be at the party, but more as an observer. Sometimes it’s super fun… Sometimes it’s a total drag.” Andriano began playing punk rock as a teenager. After contributing to several releases for his early bands Slapstick and Tuesday, he was approached by his friend Matt Skiba, who needed a new bassist for a project he had started roughly a year earlier. Nearly 20 years, nine full-lengths, and innumerable fans bearing heartskull tattoos later, Andriano’s contributions to Alkaline Trio have become just as iconic and beloved as its founder’s. While this pedigree may make some consider him an elder statesmen of punk, Andriano warns, “I’m not ready to become an elder statesman of anything… That sounds like plateauing, or just coasting. I want to write forever, I want to always try different things.”




So far, he’s been making good on that claim, contributing bass to a Ben Weasel solo record and several releases by Brendan’s Kelly’s side project The Falcon, and spearheading his own solo career. The first Emergency Room release—2011’s Hurricane Season, also for Asian Man—found Andriano writing, playing, and recording the album singlehandedly, a process he says “drove [him] a teensy bit crazy.” After the record was finished, he immediately began writing what would eventually become Party Adjacent. “I don’t feel like I’m prolific enough to ever intentionally stop writing,” he says. “Last summer, I was at a point where I felt like I was almost done writing [Party Adjacent],” Andriano recalls, “but I had no idea about where and with whom I was going to record.” Not wanting to recreate the maddening process of working alone, he “started to get really anxious, which caused some pretty bad writer’s block.” He phoned Asian Man founder Mike Park “to talk about it, and he basically said, ‘Don’t freak out, let me find you a studio out in the Bay Area. I’ll introduce you to some great musicians. Just make a record… Don’t overthink it.’” Park put Andriano in touch with producer Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb The Music Industry! fame, as well as drummer Kevin Higuchi who plays in The Bruce Lee Band and on Rosenstock’s solo efforts. The last piece of the puzzle was guitarist and vocalist Mike Huguenor of Hard Girls— “Who I love!” Andriano says. “I feel like Mike Park knows me as well as

anyone, [and] he knew me and these dudes would get along super well… Now I have three new great friends.” Party Adjacent is the newest evidence of Andriano’s refusal to coast. His iconic voice sails over the top of songs that feel both experimental and well within his wheelhouse. Opener “Pretty Teeth” reveals his infectious pop sensibility before opening up into a full on ripper, while “Don’t Have a Thing” is a slowed-down heartstring plucker and “Lowrider” integrates lap steel and more than a little twang. “It’s all just the kind of stuff I envisioned me doing with a band that wasn’t Alkaline Trio,” he explains. “Still rock, but different. […] ‘Pretty Teeth’ is an extremely personal song, but they all mean quite a bit to me—I have a really hard time writing songs that don’t. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been the kind of writer who can just turn on the news or hear someone else’s story and be able to write a decent song about it… I should work on that more.” While the album feels like a step forward in Andriano’s evolution, not all of the tracks are new. “There’s one song on the record called ‘Snake Bites’  that I actually wrote about 10 years ago in a London hotel room while on an Alkaline Trio tour,” he admits. “I never really had a place for it until now.” Perhaps some of the record’s new vibe is due to the production’s new blood, as Rosenstock’s jangly whimsy is always lurking in the mix. “They’re my songs, they mean a lot to me, and Jeff really knows how to respect that,” Andriano establishes, “[but] there were a cou-

ple that I wasn’t happy with. […] So, I knew I wanted to tear those apart completely and just let Jeff bring a totally fresh ear into the equation. He really stepped up on those and blew me away with what he came up with. I’ve already started bugging him about making more songs together.” Before that happens, Andriano will focus on promoting the new record, and releasing lyric videos for both “Enemies” and “Lost.” After that? “There’s definitely going to be a tour later this summer,” he assures. “I’m gonna try to have as much of the band together as possible. For this first run, I feel very strongly about that.” Party Adjacent, while something of a sonic departure, maintains Andriano’s characteristic narrative of hope and moving from dark to light. “I don’t think anyone likes being stuck in a hole, but life can be scary, and big decisions can be intimidating and difficult,” he says. “So, sometimes, it’s easier to remain stagnant, remain in the bad or painful situation, because who knows? The grass may be even browner on the other side. But with the help of some good friends and loved ones, I’ve just always tried to be the best dude I can be. I trip and I fall quite a bit, but sometimes I end up on a kickass waterslide with a delicious margarita… Figuratively speaking… Or literally, either way.”


Words to live by.




old Cave is Wesley Eisold’s intriguing effort at a dark wave resurgence. Think the electronic hooks of Gary Numan’s synth driven by the bleak beats of Doktor Avalanche— Sisters Of Mercy frontman Andrew Eldritch’s drum machine—complete with all black attire and gothic ethos. Cold Cave’s latest album, Full Cold Moon, was originally released in May 2013 via Eisold’s Heartworm Press, and was put out on 12” vinyl by Deathwish, Inc. this June. While Full Cold Moon is a compilation of recordings originally self-released as 7” records throughout 2013, the LP provides a starting point into understanding Eisold’s caliginous aesthetics. “Live, I really like playing ‘A Little Death to Laugh,’” says Eisold of the first song on Full Cold Moon. “I’m happy with that and ‘God Made the World’, though ‘Young Prisoner Dreams of Romance’ may be my actual favorite [song on the record]. I love the feel of that song, the longing in it, the lyrics, and that I played guitar and bass on it with one hand.”


While Eisold was born without a left hand, this physical challenge has never gotten in the way of his music. In Cold Cave, he says he plays “synthesizers mostly, often ran through effects. [Also] some piano, bass, and guitar. I write all the music and lyrics on every record. A couple songs I’ve cowritten the music to in the past with some friends who were around me at the time.”




Some of Eisold’s musical collaborators include Prurient—aka Dominick Fernow—guitarist Sean Martin of Hatebreed, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, drummer London May of Samhain, industrial pioneer Boyd Rice—aka NON—and Cold Cave’s photographer, videographer, and designer—and Eisold’s girlfriend— Amy Lee. Eisold says he especially appreciates “Amy and Boyd, because

they have the rare trait of being hyper intellects, but aren’t pretentious. Kind, smart people are my favorite type.” Eisold explains that Cold Cave live performances have been he and Lee “for about three years, which is the longest running lineup yet,” he confesses. “I’m more interested in the person than their musical role. There are different types of songs in Cold Cave. Some work better with a live band, and some don’t just because of the instruments used on the recordings. Lately, I’m leaning towards the electronic side of the band.” Eisold elaborates that Cold Cave’s ideology is to “stay true, whatever you do. Sounds simple, but most don’t. By reality’s default, I suppose I am a misanthrope. But I love beautiful things and kindness. I felt at home when I found the music. I came up feeling different than everyone I saw. I was bottled up, so when I started [making music], I exploded.” When asked about Heartworm Press, which has released materials from Rice, P-Orridge, and artist/author Jonathan Shaw, Eisold explains, “I wanted to release my writing, and also writing from friends and authors I liked. Now, I release a lot of the Cold Cave material through it too. I always made zines growing up that were related to punk and hardcore, with random writing of mine. Heartworm Press grew from that world.” This summer, Eisold plans to take Cold Cave on the road for a limited, three city engagement. “New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,” he says. “I’m finishing an album for a 2016 release. I did two years straight of touring from a squat in Kathmandu to the O2 in London, and am plotting what’s next. There will be more new music soon. All I want to do is create. It’s not exactly like playing God, but you have to do what you can to make your own world more livable.”




Sleep paralysis is a real and terrifying phenomenon... Upon waking, your mind is conscious, but still hazy and susceptible to all sorts of freaky visions, while your physical form lies incapacitated and often forgets to breathe. This creepy condition has plagued California based singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe for years and helps contextualize her new album—the aptly titled Abyss—and its striking cover art. Dropping August 7 via vanguard leaders Sargent House, Wolfe’s fifth studio album is another haunting jewel in the singer’s stellar discography. Abyss successfully expands upon the touchstones of Wolfe’s previous records—impassioned vocals, gloomy vibes, heartfelt balladry, and traces of electronic grandeur—but also ventures into darker and heavier new sonic terrain.


t’s not like any of the songs are directly about sleep paralysis,” Wolfe explains, “but it’s kind of an influence… It’s something that I’ve had for a long time. I’ve had sleep and dream issues my whole life.” This longstanding battle with the sandman is something Wolfe has come to terms with, but never thought to address on record until now. “It definitely affects the way I view reality and creeps into the way I write. I think on this album, my friend Brian [Cook, Russian Circles bassist and Sargent House compatriot] made me realize that it’s affected the way that I write more than I thought.” “The one I deal with is where I wake up and there’s a figure in my room coming towards me,” she elaborates. “It’s obviously not real, but it feels very real.” Wolfe compares the whole ordeal to Henry Fuseli’s famed 1781 painting, The Nightmare, which depicts a demon sitting on a hapless woman’s chest while she sleeps. The painting, just as the condition itself, has been spooking people for centuries, but as Wolfe explains, “My take on it is a little bit of a surreal way of viewing reality.” So, while there’s no one single track on Abyss about REM-derived sleep demons, it’s the larger grapple between the conscious and nether realms of the human psyche that captures her interest. The album’s opening track “Carrion Flowers” sounds like an aural psychological mindbender. The song is five minutes of lumbering distorted riffs, lockstep percussion, and electronic madness that propel the listener down the winding rabbit hole that is Abyss. The blogosphere went nuts this spring when the first single, “Iron Moon,” was released. It’s another dynamic and oh-so-heavy jam that drones and wails and lobs blood-curdling chunks of feedback alongside Wolfe’s arresting vocals. Internet warriors could hardly contain their delight at the thought of Wolfe going the doom metal route. Wait until they hear “Dragged Out,” another dirge-like skin-crawler with freaky atmospherics. Wolfe’s soulful delivery collides with a howl of tortuous effects that’s reminiscent of a gorgeous nightmare session. “I’m always kind of trying to dive right into things that I’m interested in,” Wolfe says regarding her album’s bold new direction. “I think a lot of touring affected the sound of the re-




cord. We tour with some really great bands that were obviously inspiring. We wanted to write some songs that would be fun to play live, that would be heavy live.” Wolfe and her regular crew—featuring cowriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Chisholm, drummer Dylan Fujioka, and viola wizard Ezra Buchla—were joined by Russian Circles axeman Mike Sullivan in the studio to help flesh out Abyss’ rich and varied sonic landscape. “There’s a lot of guitars and a lot of feedback on this album. At the same time, I wanted there to be these moments where it’s more stripped back and really intimate too,” Wolfe explains. “I wanted the album to have a raw feeling where people could connect to it whether it’s a heavy or a quiet song.” “When I asked Mike from Russian Circles to be on the album, it wasn’t a decision I made because he’s in a heavy band or something,” she clarifies, “it’s because he’s a good guitar player and when we were writing one of the songs he just so happened to

be staying at my house. He ended up recording on one of the demos and we thought we should have him on more songs. Even though Ben wrote most of the guitars on the album, Mike contributed such great feeling and sounds; it was such a cool collaboration between great musicians.” The heavier doom moments on Abyss are juxtaposed with the record’s ghostly, ethereal numbers. Like night terrors interrupted by fleeting moments of peace, songs like “Maw” and “Simple Death” serve as two of the album’s stunningly gorgeous highlights. Wondrous melodies coupled with Wolfe’s soaring voice, these songs burst with emotion and transport the listener to a vast and distant dreamscape. “Maw” in particular feels like Danny Elfman’s lost score to some fantastical Tim Burton movie, with sweeping cinematic arrangements abounding. The song was inspired by the late Robin Williams’ 1998 film “What Dreams May Come.” “I watched it again after Robin Williams died,” Wolfe shares. “I was

just thinking about being separated from the person you love, trying to find them in this dreamy afterlife. I was also thinking about my own sleep issues. You know how you’re in bed with someone and they’re kind of sleeping peacefully next to you, and you’re just awake in your thoughts, how it’s so strange how you can feel so alone at that moment.” Through her own experiences, Wolfe has come to understand the powerful hold dreams and the subconscious can have on people. “They can almost act like a memory,” she says. “I’m not interested in dream interpretation or anything like that, it’s more like the surreal feeling of being in the afterlife or something. Writing this album, there was definitely a conscious decision of wanting to dive into the subconscious. Going into the deep parts of my own mind, parts that may have been suppressed or untapped. I definitely suppressed certain parts of myself through self-doubt and maybe pushed things away,” she reveals. “On some of these songs, I was trying to exorcise those things and get some things out that I wasn’t talking about.” When Abyss hits shelves this August, the music world will be vying to explore this intricate and evocative new sonic tapestry. Wolfe’s poignant, doom infused voyage through the psyche is heavy, heartfelt, and stands tall as the most cohesive and haunting album of her career. Abyss continues the epic genre bending Wolfe explored on her previous record, Pain Is Beauty, while maintaining the subdued earnestness of her acoustic album, Unknown Rooms, all while furthering the doom and gloom atmospherics of her breakthrough release, 2011’s Apokalypsis. “There’re a lot of different people involved on this album,” Wolfe says. “A lot of them are the same people I’ve been working with for years now. Some of them are from my hometown, and some are people I’ve met living in Southern California.” When looking back on Abyss, both the completed project and the long journey to get there, Wolfe says fondly, “It’s about us growing together as musicians and coming back together to work on stuff. It’s sort of a culmination of all the rad people who I’ve worked with and things I’ve learned over the years, for sure.”




Desapa rec ido s The Menz inger s Mustard Plug Off With Their Heads

Into It. Over It. Mo der n Lif e is Wa r

Tee nage Bottl ero ck et Modern Baseball Weston (reunion)

Mewithoutyou BigWig Title Fight As Fri end s Ru st (reunion)

The Hotelier / Chumped / The Sidekicks / Elway / Pianos Become the Teeth / Tim Barry / Masked Intruder / Riverboat Gamblers / Smoke or Fire / Defiance, Ohio / Mikey Erg Chris Gethard (Comedy) / Somos / Pentimento / Iron Reagan / Night Birds / Restorations / Young Widows / Banner Pilot / Copyrights / PUP / Beach Slang / FOXING Jeff Rosenstock / Drug Church / Signals Midwest / The City On Film (Full Band) / Crusades / Kepi Ghoulie / Tiltwheel / Sonic Avenues / Chris Farren / Annabel / Heartsounds Timeshares / Prawn / Great Cynics (UK) / Old Flings / The Murderburgers (DE) / Banquets / Frameworks / We Are The Union / Spraynard / Crocodiles / Look Mexico / Blacklist Royals Direct Hit / Arms Aloft / Such Gold / Cayetana / War on Women / Dikembe / Steve Adamyk Band / Superheaven / Loma Prieta / Lee Corey Oswald / 350+ BANDS!




Just one listen to Between The Buried And Me’s latest record, Coma Ecliptic—out July 10 via Metal Blade Records—and it’s hard not to hear a new twist on the band’s classic sound. Vocalist, keyboardist, and lyricist Tommy Rogers agrees. “[Coma Ecliptic] definitely is different, but we’re the kind of band who like to take risks. We want our fans to put on a new record and not know what’s going to happen. From day one, when we started writing, it felt different. We never try to plan what we’re going to on each record, but the one thing with this record: we didn’t want to repeat The Parallax. We did an EP and a full-length, so we wanted to move onto something new. This direction just came so natural to us.”







“From day one, it felt like us,” he continues, “just a little more melodic and a little more focused. It feels like the natural next step for our band. Our only rule is to write the best songs we can at that given moment and make them as genuine as we can. The great thing about us is that every single record is perfect for that time period and for what we were going through and the kind of music we wanted to express at that point.” Considering the fact that Alaska, Colors, and The Parallax II are all considered modern classics, it’s hard to disagree with Rogers’ position. While many progressive metal bands balk at the idea of incorporating this much melody and focus into a record, Between The Buried And Me are definitely not most bands. Despite their past success, Coma Ecliptic just might be the band’s best record yet.

Coma Ecliptic tells the story of a man who, while in a coma, journeys through his past lives. Each song is a different chapter in this man’s life, which allows the tracks to stand alone, yet still feel connected. Rogers really enjoyed the freedom this format gave him and the band. “We’ve been doing the concept thing for a while,” he explains. “Sometimes, you get stuck, because our music goes a lot of places. Sometimes, you get lost within the story. My job is to create a story that works




with the music, and if something is happening in the lyrics that doesn’t fit the story, that’s a problem. So, I try to create a story that gave me a lot more freedom and let me create new worlds and scenarios in each chapter. It allowed me to really expand on some different things.” Above all else, Coma Ecliptic is a surprisingly vocal heavy album, and serves as a wonderfully melodic showcase of what Rogers is capable of. “I’m very happy with the results. It was a lot of work and self-doubt on my part, even behind the scenes,” he admits. “I wouldn’t say that there was any pressure, because this just sort of happened when we started writing the songs. A lot of the metal stuff didn’t work, and I just wanted to take a different approach. I like putting myself in new positions and keeping myself on my toes.” Rogers found some unlikely inspiration by witnessing Danny Elfman sing with a huge orchestra playing songs from Tim Burton films. Elfman exuded a certain intensity that Rogers wanted to tap into. “I basically tried to reevaluate my voice,” he says. “[I] tried to learn new things about my voice, and tried different approaches while recording. At the end of the day, I love melody, and I love a good hook. People who have heard my

solo stuff [as Thomas Giles] know that, but I haven’t really been able to explore that a lot with this band. With this record, there were a lot of opportunities to create big choruses, and I loved that. I love over the top rock, like Queen, Radiohead, and The Beatles. Those were things I was able to tap into with this record, and that was a lot of fun, even though it was a lot of work.” Rogers’ solo work has also contributed immensely to his growth in Between The Buried And Me. “Confidence is such a big part of singing,” he explains, “and I feel like the solo stuff helped me analyze my voice on the sidelines and really learn more about myself. I think that’s really helped with my writing, giving me that added confidence.” However, the band aren’t leaving metal behind altogether. “When you’re writing, you want to excite yourself. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a great feeling about going into the studio and belting out some brutal shit that makes you sound like a monster,” Rogers says. “But at the end of the day, if I can create some unique melody around this part and make it come to life in a different way, that’s way more rewarding than just adding some screaming over it. It’s not that I want to give up my screaming or the metal aspect of

our sound; I just wanted to try new things on this record.” “I think we’re in a good place right now,” he admits. “We’re very lucky. The writing process for us always goes really smoothly. We have such a good team, and we write so well together. This record had some of us a little worried at different stages, but we’re very relieved with how it turned out. We gave each other the freedom to do more. With every record, we’re like, ‘Shit, what else can we do?’ I think after this record, it gave us a lot more confidence going forward.” Between The Buried And Me are truly in a great place, adding yet another classic record to their discography. Coma Ecliptic is a metal opera of the grandest scale, showcasing a band who refuse to stagnate. Throughout July and August, the band will embark on the modern prog-lover’s dream tour: The Coma Ecliptic tour with Animals As Leaders and The Contortionist. “I’m really excited to start this tour with some good friends of ours and play the new songs!” Rogers exclaims. Between The Buried And Me’s live show is just as legendary as their music, so be sure to catch the band playing their new songs this summer.




rank Turner really likes The Mountain Goats. The indie band—and brainchild of John Darnielle—have been around since before Turner was playing in Million Dead, but recently provided a bit of inspiration while he was writing his new album, Positive Songs For Negative People, which will be available August 7 via Interscope Records.

“They have a song called ‘This Year,’ and the refrain is, ‘I am going to make it through this year if it kills me,’” Turner recalls. “That’s the vibe I wanted for this record. It’s almost like defiance in the face of disaster. It’s the idea of shaking your fists at God and going, ‘Yeah, that’s all you fucking got? You’re gonna have to do better than that to kill me!’” Anyone who’s heard Turner’s past five albums will recognize that punk rock attitude: equal parts stubborn, brash, and rebellious. But things are different this time around. After the darkness that surrounded Tape Deck Heart—a breakup album told from the point of view of the perpetrator, i.e. Turner—Positive Songs for Negative People is, overall, an uplifting album about persevering even when things have turned to shit. Turner had his share of rough patches in 2013 and 2014: health issues—a back injury led to canceled festival dates and a break from playing guitar live—the loss of a close friend, and his first bit of negative press. After all that, he still managed to create an album that defies the assumption that sadness leads to giving up. Of course, this is still Frank Turner. He’s never been one to shy away from sharing his feelings and failings in his music. And although the word “positive” is in the album title, so is the word “negative.” In the case of Turner, you can’t have one without the other. “I’m not a fan of self-help books or ‘don’t worry, be happy.’ I’ve always been more of a Radiohead fan,” he says, laughing. “I’ve always




enjoyed sad music more than happy music. I don’t want to go into it, but I’ve had my ups and downs with depression and that kind of thing. I’m not sure my friends would describe me as a happy-go-lucky person. I think that if one is a pessimist, one is likely to be pleasantly surprised in life, or more likely to be pleasantly surprised, so it’s a winning strategy.”

The strategy works quite well on Positive Songs for Negative People. As its title implies, the album is a study in contrasts. It’s about striving to see the good in situations even when you’re the kind of person who’s more apt to do the opposite. Songs like “Get Better,” “The Next Storm,” and “Glorious You” illustrate this the best, acting as the album’s mission statement. The choruses are inspiring and just itching to be sung at a raucous sold-out show. “Out of Breath” is a two minute punk song made of piss and vinegar with Turner taunting all of his detractors, “Somewhere down the road, well, there’s a ditch and there’s a hole that marks a spot where you will lie when you are cold.” It might not seem like a particularly warm song, but the fact that Turner is able to look at his critics and somewhat cheekily say, “So what?” is pretty impressive when you consider the backlash he received from some journalists as he became more popular. “Just before Tape Deck Heart came out, I had some journalists in the U.K. who suddenly didn’t like me,” Turner recalls. “Starting to work with a major label obviously annoyed some predictable people in the punk scene. It was a difficult patch in my life, and over time, I learned how to deal with that kind of thing. I came through the other side of the emotional tunnel I was dealing with, and also learned how to be a public figure, which is something you don’t get lessons in; you learn on the job.” Turner keeps the pace moving with “The Opening Act of Spring” and

“Love Forty Down,” pairing upbeat melodies with lyrics that take a critical look at his own shortcomings. However, there is still a lesson to be learned, self-improvements to be made. “I’m long in the tooth, but I’m ready for the truth,” he sings on “Love Forty Down.”

Then there are tracks like “Mittens” and “Song for Josh.” At first listen, they sound like two of the most heartbreaking songs Turner has written—and he’s written a lot of sad songs. While Turner doesn’t deny their sadness, he sees them differently. “‘Mittens’ is more of a song about saying, ‘I deserve better than this,’ and learning to revalue myself a little bit. It’s about someone who didn’t give a fuck about me, but it’s also about realizing that and moving on from it. Similarly ‘Song for Josh’ is about a very sad time in my life. It’s about losing a close friend of mine.” Turner wrote the song for his friend Josh Burdette, who was head of security at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Burdette committed suicide in 2013. “My response to the suicide, [to] that event, is to try to find a way of dealing with it better next time around, having a long look at it,” Turner says. “To me, there is a positive ember in those coals.” Turner is currently playing a string of dates overseas, but will head to the U.S. for a headlining tour in September. So far, his slightly sunnier outlook—both in regards to his life and new album—is still intact. “Usually, quickly after mastering a record, I start to poke holes in it and start to figure out what’s wrong with it, and I haven’t really started doing that yet with this album,” he says, somewhat surprised. “This feels like an overview of what I’ve been doing since my debut record in a way. It feels very definitive to me.”








hen Elway stopped being 10-4 Eleanor, they burst onto the punk scene armed with a deal with Red Scare that began with 2011’s Delusions. There was already a built-in audience for their style of anthemic, melodic, endearingly flawed Fest-punk. Though the band’s writing shared a certain well-read lyrical sensibility with their heroes, The Lawrence Arms, these were songs fans were meant to enthusiastically shout along to while accidentally spilling cheap beer on and rubbing spotty beards with fellow showgoers. There wasn’t necessarily anything new about Elway’s music, but that wasn’t really the point: it was a well-worn style of punk, competently performed. Four years later, the tide has changed. Elway are a little older, a little wiser, and seem less cognizant of fan expectations. After 2013’s Leavetaking, that well-worn melodic punk sound had overextended its shelf life and something had to give. Vocalist and guitarist Tim Browne spent the next two and a half years writing the songs that would become




Better Whenever, the band’s third LP and by far their most mature and unconventional work to date. Elway eschewed the gloss of Chicago’s Atlas Studios where they’d recorded Delusions and Leavetaking and returned home to Fort Collins, Colo., to track Better Whenever more or less live, in the same space where they were born as a bvand. The result is a raw recording full of small mistakes and brimming with beautiful character. “In a way, we wanted to do something a little more lo-fi, and get a more earnest, live representation of what our band sounds like,” Browne says. “Atlas is really good at crafting a really pretty, glossy product and I like the way that sounds, but these songs are a little more earnest than our previous ones. We wanted to record at a more leisurely pace with our friends and get something that sounds more like our band, as opposed to something

that’s just the best our band could possibly sound.” That vast shift in the vibe and feel of Better Whenever was due in large part to the recording techniques and philosophies used, explains Browne. “We decided to do it so we would keep an entire take that goes all the way through, so there’s some moments where the guitars aren’t necessarily in tune or we’re off-pitch. We were just looking for something that sounds raw and more like we sound live than something that sounds wrung through a series of production and post-production. I think it’s more ‘correct’ [as] what actually comes out of the speakers, cabs, drums, and straight into the mix, rather than being chopped up, compressed, or manipulated in any way. It’s just a different approach than the Atlas approach which was [to] go over lines and sing them; this one I wanted to just shout, and if it sounded right we kept it, even if it was a little off-pitch.” The writing for Better Whenever can be traced all the way back to before Elway’s genesis; Browne wrote “Albuquerque Low” in 2003, he says, and “we weren’t really doing much with it [before].” The rest of the record was written during a long process that stopped and started throughout 2013 and 2014, and into the first days of 2015. “I was living in Chicago with [bassist] Joe [Henderer]. [Guitarist] Brian [Van Proyen] and [drummer] Garrett [Carr] were back in Fort Collins. We were touring, and in between touring, I was sitting around in the filthiest basement I’ve ever lived in. I

was living with the Typesetter guys in their gross, unfinished basement over the winter, and I wrote the bulk of the record—at least on acoustic guitar and the lyrics—between November 2013 and January 2014. I moved back to Colorado in May 2014 after we got back from Europe, and we all kind of coalesced. Garrett and I primarily got together and worked on the structure of the songs and fleshed [them] out, and it was all done and ready by January 2015. We went into the studio shortly thereafter. So, like the recording process, the writing process was slow and spotty and incremental.” “We did a lot of touring in 2013 and 2014, and it was sort of tough to just sit down and write a record,” Browne continues. “Leavetaking was [written when] we were all living in the same town, had taken some time off together from touring, and wrote it really quickly.” He says that Leavetaking “was a record about running away, something I constantly fight the impulse to do,” but that Better Whenever’s themes are far less transitory. “We’re a lot more comfortable now,” he concludes. “This record is about what we want and how comfortable we are. We’re trying to avoid some of the Festpunk posturing that’s followed us in our eight years as a band. This is us writing the songs we want to, playing them how we want to, and worrying about the rest of that other shit later.”





tockholm, Sweden’s Katatonia released their live concert DVD “Sanctitude” on March 31, an 80 minute recording of a moody candle-lit performance at Union Chapel in London. Featuring 17 songs spanning the band’s impressive discography, the release is a must have for all of Katatonia’s diehard fans. Fans have wondered how long you’re going to support 2012’s Dead End Kings releasing new material. Do you ever want to say, “It’s our band, we’re doing what we want. Be patient”? We’re not worried about people forgetting about us, but it’s a fact we need to get back into the touring cycle to maintain an income and keep the band alive. However, this time around, I think we’re most certainly excused for being on our third year since Dead End Kings, since we’ve managed to put out two live albums/DVDs, the Dethroned & Uncrowned album [featuring reworkings of the songs on Dead End Kings], and the EP of B-sides along




the way. I mean, if that won’t keep our fans at bay, I don’t know what could. Are you tired of focusing on the same material for three years? It’s strange, but we still haven’t grown tired of this album. Believe it or not, we’re still referring to Dead End Kings as the “new” album and not the “last” album. Why did you choose to record “Sanctitude” at Union Chapel in London, as opposed to somewhere in Sweden for more of a hometown show? Simply, there wasn’t a Swedish show booked on this small tour. I guess we could have recorded “Sanctitude” at one of the cathedrals in Germany, but Union Chapel in London seemed too perfect to pass [up]. It was also the last gig of the tour, and sold out in advance. What inspired the title “Sanctitude”? How does it affect you when fans say Katatonia’s music has gotten them through hard times? I thought Katatonia, Union Chapel, and this tour could be summoned

in just one word and meaning: the quality of being sacred. Some kind of inner peace both for us and our fans. It’s, of course, very rewarding when [fans] declare Katatonia’s words and music have helped them in their lives. It gives all of us a sense of purpose, and a deep value. How long did it take to get the sound right in that space? It’s almost instant! Of course, our talented sound guy did a great job in tweaking the right frequencies at the time of the show, and needless to say [vocalist and guitarist] Bruce Soord [of The Pineapple Thief] did an amazing post-mix on the album! Aside from being labelmates, do you see similarities in the ethos of Katatonia and The Pineapple Thief? Would “Sanctitude” have been the same album without Soord’s involvement? Bruce Soord was the perfect guest musician to be part of this experiment; he was our first choice, and the first guy we turned to. Bruce is such a laid back, nice guy, but also a very

competent and professional singer and guitar player, so we made sure we took use of his talents as much as we could. I don’t necessarily see a connection between Katatonia and The Pineapple Thief, other than both bands being very sincere and exploring the moody aspects of music, but of course you have undeniable taste and result of both in Bruce’s and [vocalist] Jonas [Renkse’s] side project Wisdom Of Crowds! Where does Katatonia go from here? Further into the bliss! To be honest, it’s really hard to predict and discuss where we’re going and what we’ll sound like, because although we’re sitting at the steering wheel, we can’t see more than the road ahead before it turns. We’re familiar with the current terrain, but the more north or south you go, the more it changes. So, where are we heading? I guess you’ll have to wait and find out on the next album!




he Sword are not necessarily focused on innovation. For over a decade, they have been winning metalheads over with their New Wave of British Heavy Metal-inspired riffage and their lyrics about elves and goblins, and they’re not about to mess with that formula. That’s not to say the band haven’t progressed, especially as lead vocalist and guitarist J.D. Cronise matures as a songwriter. Their last album, Apocryphon, was a little more rock and a little less thrash than their earlier work. They continue that trend with their new album, High Country, out August 21 on Razor & Tie. “I’d say we’ve definitely continued along that trajectory or even accelerated it,” Cronise says. “The new album is probably a bigger step forward musically and creatively than any album since our first one. It’s very much a rock record.” The band toured for nearly two years after releasing Apocryphon,

but nothing Cronise wrote for High Country was written on the road. “I needed to sort of take some time and recalibrate my instrument, so to speak,” Cronise explains. It wasn’t just the harsh realities of tour life that kept the creativity in check. Cronise says that after 10 years of being in The Sword, he found he was unconsciously putting limitations on himself, which ultimately became detrimental to his creative process. So, he decided to open things up for the new album. “I felt a need to approach songwriting a little differently,” he says. “There are a lot of things on the album that might surprise some listeners. Basically, we just did whatever we felt like.” The band continue to evolve in other ways, too. After selfproducing their first few albums, The Sword used an outside producer for Apocryphon, and decided to do so again with High Country. “We wanted to work

with someone who could offer creative input and had a different perspective on where our sound could go,” Cronise says, noting that that’s exactly what producer Adrian Quesada— former guitarist for Grupo Fantasma—brought to the table. Cronise adds that, for the first time, the band worked with a full-time engineer in the studio, which allowed Quesada to concentrate more on producing. “In the past, we’ve worked with engineer/producers, but this was more like having a fifth band member in the studio.” Meanwhile, the album was mixed by J. Robbins, who was the producer for Apocryphon. “J. knows how to make rock records sound like they’re supposed to, and we thought he did an amazing job mixing Apocryphon,” Cronise says. While High Country is not a concept album, per se, Cronise explains that nature is “sort of

an interwoven theme to much of the album.” Not quite the high fantasy The Sword are known for, but not that far off, either. The Sword are also a band who really take their cover art seriously; it is an integral part of their image. Comic book artist J.H. Williams III was commissioned to make the cover for Apocryphon. This time around, The Sword enlisted an artist named Jetter Green. “I sort of just stumbled on his work in a store one day,” Cronise explains. “Like the album itself, the cover art is probably not exactly what people would expect, but it’s really cool.” The Sword’s tour in support of High Country so far only includes European dates, but Cronise assures they will be touring North America later this year.





ormed in 1993, Kansas City, Mo.’s Boys Life were at the forefront of the mid ‘90s emo rock movement. Boys Life delivered dissonant, math-y guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll that was celebrated in basements, coffee houses, and rock venues through the Midwest and beyond. The band completed their 1997 touring cycle and promptly called it quits, citing exhaustion. Few anticipated that the foursome would ever reunite. That was until Topshelf Records announced that the band’s sophomore LP, Departures and Landfalls, would be rereleased in August. After a 20 year absence, the band have also announced that they will embark on a short reunion tour in August to celebrate the reissue. Have you received a fair amount of correspondence since the announcement that you’d be reissuing your sophomore LP? Yeah. It’s a little surreal. When we were first approached about reissuing it, my first reaction was, “Why?” I figured everyone who wanted it already had it. But as soon as we made a little Facebook announcement, a flood of old friends began contacting me to tell me they were excited. Last year, you made some comments about being opposed to a Boys Life reunion. What changed? I was. Even now… I didn’t really see the point of jumping on the reunion train with all these other bands. I kinda felt like I didn’t want to do




it, just to be a pain in the ass. But then, John Rejba, the bass player, he’s worked so hard to get the ball rolling and he’s so excited about it. That made me want to take a different stance. It became an opportunity to hang out with those fellas. So, I let go of some of my judgmental feelings about it. They were like, “It’ll be fun and we’ll get to hang out,” so I thought, “OK, that’s cool then.” What caused the band to call it quits in the first place? We were just young. We were just kids in a band navigating relationships and jobs and shit. All of our friends were going off to college, graduating, starting their careers, and we were in this band. I think we came to a crossroads… We just worked way too hard and it got old. We’d fight like cats and dogs about stupid shit. I lived with [guitarist] Joe Winkle and toured with Joe, so I was within three feet of Joe for fuckin’ 10 years. You’ve got to get away from people eventually. We didn’t know how to navigate the band, friendships and all that stuff. We were all pretty tired. Are you doing a full-blown support tour in August? Personally, I can’t. Three of us have kids and steady, everyday jobs. I run a business, [drummer] John Anderson runs a business, Joe and John Rejba both have careers that they are doing. That’s been the biggest challenge: finding a few days to get away. We’ll do between six and 10 shows,




and that will be it. Kansas City, [Mo.], Chicago, [Brooklyn, N.Y.], D.C., maybe Boston and Philly. [No dates are currently scheduled for Boston or Philadelphia, but a show in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been added.] Who is re-mastering the record? Are you going back to Bob Weston? This is awful, but I don’t even know who is doing it. I heard it, it sounds fantastic. Whatever they did to it was cool. They probably ran it through some awesome plug-in. I think it sounds a lot better. So it’s worth getting? Definitely. Buy three or four copies (laughs). How will you describe your involve-

ment in the ‘90s punk scene to your son when he is old enough to ask you about it? I don’t know. It’s weird. I think if he listens to the records when he gets older, he might ask, “What is this?” That’s hard. I think you kind of had to be there—a little bit in the moment—with the music. Maybe I’d just explain to him that, at one point, this was weird and important to a lot of folks. [Drummer] Brendan Canty from Fugazi is a buddy, and he’s got four kids. I remember asking his kids when they were 10 or 12, “Do you have any idea who your dad is? Your dad is a legend.” They were like, “Yeah, no. Our dad is annoying.” So, hopefully, my son will think it’s cool. And I hope he’s a drummer, so I can make him play with me. That would be great.


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f you’re a fan of pop punk, you’re probably already well versed on New Jersey’s Man Overboard. Since 2008, the quintet have been releasing music specifically tailored for the genre, and with their latest album, Heavy Love—released June 30 on Rise Records—it seems that the group has outdone themselves yet again.






INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST WAYNE WILDRICK BY DOUG NUNNALLY “It’s probably our most dynamic with more clarity than the previous album both lyrically and musically,” EP had, and it’s almost like hearing the proclaims guitarist Wayne Wildrick. grieving process unfold in real time The statement carries a lot of weight from album to album. when you consider the sonic risks the band took with this record. For On a lighter note, the band were also a band so closely associated with the influenced by the pure diversity of pop punk genre, the band went into the musical world. Weezer, Belle & writing and recording “not wanting to Sebastian, The Velvet Underground, perform a line on some musical grid,” Howlin’ Wolf, The Strokes, states Wildrick. From experimenting Swervedriver; many bands and artists with sounds and tones to opening helped shape the record, but in terms up the space within each song, the of the guitar, one band in particular band found multiple ways to really expand their horizons in a gamble that ultimately paid off in spades. Wildrick admits that Heavy Love is still “a very guitar driven record,” but thanks to producer Bill Stevenson, it’s one that the band felt more confident than ever executing. The brains behind Descendents began the process by hitting it off with the band through a Skype call that lasted close to four hours. In his studio The Blasting Room, Stevenson went to work on making sure the essence and groove of each song was the primary concern of the band. “That really boosted our confidence,” Wildrick proudly conveys. “You can hear that confidence in the whole band’s performance.” When listening to the record, it is the cohesive vibe that sets it apart from the band’s already rich catalogue. Stevenson’s laser focus helped the band achieve that cohesion and so much more than the group could have imagined. Much like the band’s 2014 Passing Ends EP, Heavy Love focuses mostly on tragedy. “[It] definitely influenced everything leading up to the first day of recording the album,” Wildrick says. “While both releases have similar themes, Heavy Love is a more recent account of where we are as a band and as individuals. We’re further along in the emotional process, so the way in which we’ve been dealing with life has changed.” The album looks at tragedy

stood out. “Torche has had the biggest influence on my guitar playing since they released Harmonicraft,” Wildrick proclaims. “I always go to them when it’s time to play, for inspiration.” While the sludge elements of Torche are subtler than anything on this record, the way the guitar shapes each song on Heavy Love strongly parallels Torche’s breakout third album. Writing the guitar parts wasn’t easy, as Wildrick explains, “I find it difficult to achieve that balance between a soulful performance and a highly calculated one. I find myself second-guessing my performance choices, but Bill and Jason [Livermore] were such huge influences when it came to validation. I could sit there all day wondering if this take had enough honesty to it, or if this beat was out of sync. But they were there to tell me when it was on the money, and I trust them wholeheartedly.” Heavy Love is undoubtedly a standout album for Man Overboard. It’s confident and bold with enough guts to really take risks, something most pop punk artists tend to shy away from. It aims high, but it surpasses those lofty expectations thanks to the meticulous care each member gave to each song. Overall, it’s an album that is not only going to drive the band forward, but hopefully the whole pop punk genre as well.







ocalist and unofficial Pope of the Church of Metal, Papa Emeritus III, has been summoned, and soon he and his Nameless Ghouls shall once again traverse our land. Linköping, Sweden’s Ghost— known as Ghost B.C. in the States— will embark on their “Black to the Future” tour of North America from Sept. 22 to Nov. 1 in support of new “sacred psalm” Meliora, out August 21 on Loma Vista Recordings. The album’s title—which is Latin for “better”—and the tour’s name are hints of what the proceedings entail: Ghost have given their tuneful, gloomy metal an update. The Nameless Ghoul who plays guitar says that, in addition to inventing a new, retro-futuristic vibe for Meliora, he feels the band also produced an overall stronger album than its predecessor, 2013’s gold-record Infestissumam. “As a whole body of work, dramaturgically, [the new album] flows better than Infestissumam,” the Nameless Ghoul says. “The overall sound is more powerful and a little more poignant.” The band intend to make each of their records diverse, so the Nameless Ghoul says it’s difficult to pick one song that represents the entire opus. However, the lead single, “Cirice,” is not only indicative of the breadth of influence brought to bear in the album’s songwriting,




it’s also a pretty apt mission statement for the band itself. “‘Cirice’ is probably the song that represents most of the things that we are,” says the Nameless Ghoul, “in the sense that it has this sort of longer, doomy instrumental track. Doom and being instrumental is part of what we’re doing. Then, the actual song is this heavy riffage; it’s sort of ‘Kashmir’ [by Led Zeppelin] meets power ballad in a strange way that I think we have always done quite well—combine heavier stuff, and then, all of a sudden, throw in this [album-oriented rock] chorus.” The cover art for Meliora features an Art Deco Papa Emeritus sculpture-building that looks like a set from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. It’s a grim futurist vision that the Nameless Ghoul explains is a conscious attempt to evolve their image the same way Iron Maiden did through Derek Riggs’ iconic covers featuring Eddie the Head in different eras, locales, and situations. “Normally, when you’re playing quote-unquote ‘occult rock,’ it gravitates toward some medieval, gothic thing,” the Ghoul says, “because that is just the nature of horror and the devil, basically. And I think that we needed to make a record where we could transform all the pieces that are typically us: we’re simulating a church—an organized religious authority—we’re simulating a mass, so we still need it to be in a churchlike environment, and we need

Papa, and we need Ghouls.” The band decided to go with what the Nameless Ghoul calls a “pre-apocalyptic” vision: the year is 1929, the setting is “the highest ministry inside the Empire State Building. […] So, no cobwebs, no cemeteries, no dungeon-like, gothic underworlds, but sort of a dry, upscale, sophisticated milieu. It’s supposed to be a contemporary spell.” All of Ghost’s records are social commentary on contemporary issues, so the Nameless Ghoul says he can guarantee the band will transform again in the future. “Honestly, the typical way of doing spooky rock is more traditional,” he says. “But because we haven’t had any spiderwebs on this record, we can go all the way the next time.”







ear Factory may have more than two decades of history, but they’ve always been a band primarily concerned with the future. Even the band’s signature sound—combining the precision and brutality of death metal with lush synth atmospherics and drum machine blast beats, while juxtaposing vocalist Burton C. Bell’s anguished, guttural growl with his soaring, clean melodies—seems like the product of some dystopian world of tomorrow. But there’s always some little glimmer of hope or beauty shining through, and their prolific use of technology shows that Fear Factory are no technophobes. Far from it. “I’m a fan of technology.




I’m a fan of where it’s going to go, [and] I’m a fan of where it could go,” says guitarist and songwriter Dino Cazares. “But there are some downsides to it. People have less and less human contact with each other.” This sense of alienation is certainly present in just about everything Fear Factory has put out, but Cazares says that the band explores both the good and the bad of technological progress. The “man vs. machine” trope may be easy to pin on Fear Factory’s music, but with their new album, Genexus—out August 7 on Nuclear Blast—they’re turning that theme on its head. Classic Fear Factory records like

Demanufacture and Obsolete are glimpses of a world in which the lines between man and machine have blurred to the point that we’re forced to ask exactly what it is that makes us human. Genexus, on the other hand, tells the story of an android living in an age when technology has advanced far enough that artificial intelligence can think, feel, and evolve the way humans do. “‘Genexus’ is a hybrid of two words: genesis and nexus,” Cazares says. “Genexus is basically the next evolution in robotic and human technology—how technology has evolved, and where it has evolved to, to where we have androids that look and act like humans, androids so human that they don’t even know that they’re androids, they think that they’re human.” If that’s the context, Cazares says the album’s concept is that “our human soul has been hacked, and was able to be downloaded to a machine. The dangerous part is how it becomes more intelligent than humans. There’re plenty of

movies about it, but it’s becoming a reality. What [Genexus] is about is this humanoid that’s a hybrid of man and machine living among us, and its daily routine, and what it sees, and what it learns every day.” The concept of android intelligence not only informed the theme of Genexus, but also fit the actual recording process, according to Cazares. The band worked with longtime collaborator Rhys Fulber to produce the record. “He comes from the world of electronic music, and basically all digital,” Cazares explains. “Whereas, we used Andy Sneap [who has produced for Testament, Killswitch Engage, and Trivium] to mix the record, and he is basically known for being more of an organic type mixer. We felt the hybrid— choosing the two guys to work with us—created something new for us and our approach to how we make records. […] We’re very proud of what we achieved, and we hope people will get into it as well.”







ate Eternal have been conquering the throne of the death metal netherworld for some 18 years now. Vocalist and guitarist Erik Rutan— the band’s guiding compass and a prominent fixture of the underground metal scene—has led Hate Eternal into battle with hulking new slabs of chaotic tunes every three years like clockwork. Well, almost. Hate Eternal’s newest album Infernus will be out August 24 on Season Of Mist, which marks an excruciating, unprecedented four year gap between releases. The record stands out amongst the band’s stellar catalog—King of All Kings; I, Monarch; Phoenix Amongst the Ashes, c’mon!—as both the longest awaited Hate Eternal record, and the gnarliest sounding album of their entire discography. “I think the new Hate Eternal record is the best sounding album we’ve ever done,” Rutan says proudly. A bold statement, from the owner and production wizard behind Mana Recording Studios, the man who’s basically spent the last decade making luminaries like Cannibal Corpse and Goatwhore sound like a million bucks. “I tried to approach the production of this a bit different,” he explains. “Every production decision I’ve made has been deliberate. For Phoenix…, I wanted it to sound like an early ‘90s death metal record, tracked to tape. I wanted it to have a cold, dark vibe to it. With Infernus, I




wanted it to be more pristine, but without sounding what I think of as modern, with quantized or sampled drums. I like to capture good performances and really bring out the best in people. With this new record, I just wanted to have less of a massive wall of sound and more definition in the instrumentation, a little bit more hi-fi.” Apparently, by hi-fi, he means a literal sonic beatdown of the senses. The quality on display on Infernus tears the saying about teaching old dogs new tricks to shreds. Six albums and nearly two decades in, Hate Eternal is all but reinventing the wheel as far as pummeling death metal goes. Song’s like “Pathogenic Apathy,” “Chaos Theory,” and the title track show a band at a creative and aggressive peak with no signs of slowing down. “‘Infernus’ is one of my favorite songs on the record,” Rutan says. “It’s so unique; there’s a lot involved in the guitar work and it’s a special song for me for personal reasons. ‘Chaos Theory,’ that’s a song that [bassist] JJ [Hrubovcak] and I were working on, and started just sort of freestyle jamming on stuff. The drums on that song are one take; we really tried to go for a gut-punching type of song. Like [a] ‘three dudes jamming together’ type of vibe. For vocals, I took an in the moment approach: a little more visceral, in your face, barking like a Rottweiler. ‘Pathogenic Apathy,’ on

that song, I really just went for it. Instead of editing out the breaths in between, I just kept it, so it has this really aggressive vibe to it.” Why the ungodly four year wait between 2011’s Phoenix Amongst the Ashes and Infernus? “A lot of times, why our records take three years in between is because I produce so much at the studio, I’m very busy,” Rutan reveals. “Between producing and touring,

we’re on a three year cycle. A lot of bands these days pump out records every month so they can tour and continue to make money. For me, quality is more important, so I never rush anything, especially with Hate Eternal. Usually, when we finish a record, we start writing immediately, but what set us back this time is that Jade Simonetto, our last drummer, left the band. It took us a year to find Chason [Westmoreland], our new drummer, to find the right guy.” Thanks to the power of the Internet and the fine folks at Sick Drummer Magazine, Hate Eternal managed to connect with their powerhouse new skin-basher in time to record their latest face-melter and candidate for death metal album of the year. “Chason on drums, he’s a very dynamic drummer,” Rutan gushes, “with a more primal, animalistic vibe to his drumming. I think his drumming added an element to Hate Eternal that’s unique and different from Jade, just like Jade was different from [former drummer] Derek [Roddy]. I think he did a fantastic job.”




n a way, NOFX have been successful despite themselves. Their 32 years as a band have been spent entirely on the cutting edge of the punk underground: they shunned radio in the mid ‘90s while many of their contemporaries were dominating playlists (Punk in Drublic still went gold in the U.S. anyway). Though they’ve softened their stance somewhat in recent years, the band have rarely granted interviews or taken advantage of traditional press opportunities. That dramatically shifted in 2011 with the Fuse series “Backstage Passport,” which chronicled NOFX’s travels as they attempted—and sometimes succeeded—to play shows in exotic locations, with results ranging from hundreds of fans chaotically balcony-diving in Chile to a sparsely attended gig in Taiwan. Through all of it, fans got to know the members of the band and their crew on an intimate level and forge a connection with these characters in a way that—for some weird reason—only reality TV can foster. One of the main characters of “Backstage Passport” was Kent Jamieson,




NOFX’s longtime manager, tour booker, and sound guy. His relationship with the band—generally love channeled through exasperation— was the heart of the show’s first season. Now, “Backstage Passport” is back as a DVD documentary in which band and crew attempt to make up shows in Mexico, Peru, and Colombia that were cancelled during the initial run. Jamieson was there for all of it, and admits, “It was such a long process, because we did it independently this time, without help from a network or a major production company. Our camera crew, Jeff and Ryan, edited the whole thing on their own; it took forever to boil it down to something we were all happy with, and to find a natural ending to the story. The process was ongoing until about a year ago.” Many of the difficulties of touring in these places remain the same, Jamieson says, citing “shady promoters, riot cops, [and] drugs,” but he adds that they “wanted to keep it real and not just fall into the same story patterns. In the end, I think we managed to keep it fresh without having it seem contrived. I was really worried there

would be a lot of animosity in places where we had previously canceled or had the shows shut down, especially from fans who had spent great amounts of hard earned money and time to see us. I was surprised that they were so happy to have us back. But as you’ll see in ‘Backstage Passport 2,’ the story doesn’t end there.” Challenges abound: securing work visas, dealing with language barriers and unfamiliar promoters, and—perhaps most difficult of all—corralling the band themselves. There’s also equipment, and stage and sound setups to worry about. “The challenge is mostly just having to make junk work,” Jamieson says. “Having toured the world at every level, our crew prides itself in being able to make a show happen no matter what we’re handed.” Jamieson likens setting up shows in the “western world” to “shooting fish in a barrel.” “We have great relationships with great promoters who we have worked with many times over. But many of the ‘far-flung’ promoters were relatively or completely untested. I booked lots of the ‘Backstage Passport’ shows based solely on emails.

If a promoter sounded trustworthy, then we went with it. And, as you have seen, those [shows] rarely worked out as planned. But when they did, it was amazing, and some of those promoters are now among those we count as friends. NOFX will be working with them again when we tour in support of ‘Backstage Passport 2’ in December.” Peru was one of the more chaotic locales of Season One, but Jamieson is happy with the outcome this goround. “Going back to Peru was awesome. The promoter, Gonzalo, is seen in the Peru episode in Season One,” he says. “He’s right next to [Fat] Mike when he is playing acoustic in front of the hotel in Lima. We met him that night, and he and I got along. He said he could put on a great NOFX show.” Jamieson is coy about the show’s actual greatness, as well as the return of Yolanda, the infamously incompetent Peruvian promoter from Season One. “As far as whether he did [promote a great show] or whether Yolanda shows up… I don’t wanna spoil any surprises.”



I N T E R V I E W W I T H T Y L E R G I B S O N B Y K E L L E Y O ’ D E AT H

What inspired you to start making art? I started messing around with graphic stuff during college, where I was studying audio engineering. I learned a little bit about Photoshop and designed a few DVD portfolio cases for

friends. The first “job” I got was a flyer for a benefit show for kids, literally a picture of Cookie Monster with some text over it. Then, two and a half years of unemployment, couch surfing for long periods of time (Thanks Steve, Kyle, Mexico, Brian & Ziwadi,) a lot of free time, and an estranged sensei who pushed me in this direction. I think I always had an eye for aesthetically solid designs, just no idea why they seemed well executed. I’m pretty sure Derek Deal was my first big design inspiration, even though he’s not a direct influence on my work. Basically, I started doing it for money when I realized that designs equaled cigarettes and DiGiorno [pizzas].

How did that evolve into an actual business? To quote a much less materialistic man, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” It started to become a legitimate thing when I was designing for my old band [Random Orbits], and other people saw what I was doing. I would do designs for way below industry standard—even DIY punk rock standard—and was getting too much work. Once demand goes up, time becomes an issue and prices ultimately follow. I was kind of blessed to have so many people asking me to create things for their bands or hot sauces or whatever early on. It didn’t become


oom Toof is the alias of West Coast graphic designer and illustrator Tyler Gibson. Though he’s only been in the game for five years, Gibson has done design work for clients such as Nothington, PEARS, Elway, Cobra Skulls, and Brendan Kelly, and is responsible for laying out the entirety of the magazine you now hold in your hands. To view his portfolio—or commission your own original piece—check out, or by just googling doomtoof. “I got really lucky with my handles,” he says. “Except my Xbox Live Gamertag: that’s ToomDoof.”

reliable as a “career” until recently, but once I changed my old moniker to Doom Toof—which rolls off the tongue easier— in some dumb way, it sort of legitimized what I was trying to pass off as a job. Who was the “less materialistic man”? I believe it was Heath Ledger as The Joker from the Christopher Nolan film “The Dark Knight.”

A worthy inspiration. Who else inspires your work? There are a ton of artists who I look at and think, “What the fuck am I even doing?” There’s John Kenn Mortensen—a modern day Edward Gorey—Greg Abbott, Draplin Design, Jason Lubrano—aka Righteous Indignation—The dudes at VNM, and fine artists like Paolo Girardi, Heironymus Bosch… I’m




also a huge fan of children’s books and TV, particularly “Gravity Falls,” “Steven Universe,” Pixar and DreamWorks animation, “Superjail!” and all that weirdo crap on Adult Swim. Although none of that is reflected in my work, because I suck. As silly as it sounds, Shia LaBeouf is a huge inspiration to me, too. I’ve always been a fan, but once he left mainstream Hollywood, and started doing weird art installations and hanging with the common man, he became this prophetic gift from the heavens. “Don’t let your dreams be dreams” and “If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up” might have originated from another’s mouth, but those inspirational messages never stuck with me until Shia’s impeccable delivery. What does your process look like? There are a lot of artists who like to go into detail about their process, but the truth is that I’m usually 100 percent clueless where to start. I do a lot of collage art because I’m not a great illustrator, so most of the job is harvesting elements and trying to fit them together. I didn’t start sketching out ideas until just recently, which has helped, but I overthink shit and it never turns out how I envision it. My desk is a mess of records, Diet Dr. Pepper bottles, and random crumbs. My “other desk” is my naked gut where I sit my laptop. As far as things




I listen to while I work, music is kind of distracting, so there’s a lot of silence. Really, since the music industry is my living, I tend to listen to [podcasts] like “Uhh Yeah Dude.” And the usual “This American Life” crap. What can potential clients do to make you stoked to work on their shit? What can they do that will really turn you off? The best clients I have usually just say, “Hey, you do your thing” or give me a vague idea I can vibe off of. That sounds like I smoke a lot of weed and I totally don’t, but that’s the best way I can describe it. And they are happy and come back… The only clients who piss me off are the ones who don’t know what they want, tell me to do whatever I want, and then don’t like it. They give me no clues as to what they’re really looking for. Also, if you ever have to be chased down for a payment, you’re an asshole and deserve to have your paycheck withheld. All skilled artists—whatever the medium—depend on that money. There’s literally nothing worse than having to throw on the business hat and be a dick. Nobody likes doing that. I sound like Mr. Krabs, but it’s just part of the business. How are you working to evolve as an artist? Whenever I have downtime, I find myself fucking around with something. I try to learn as much as I

can to make myself a more diverse tradesman, but you can’t be great at everything, so I’ve got to focus on something and just give it my all. For the last few years, I’ve been fighting an uphill battle with sketching and illustrating. I can draw weird monsters and things without complex musculature, but drawing from real life is something I’m interested in. I really want to illustrate a children’s book someday. It’s in my five year plan. Are you doing anything to expand your business? I’ve got a plan to rebrand at some point, but I think the Doom Toof moniker might stick around. I would like to have a more “professional” portfolio for different jobs. I’ve got a t-shirt line called Dead Northern in the planning phases, but it has a pin in it until I find other artists I want to work with. I think the biggest part of the picture is just keeping myself levelheaded and thirsty. I always told myself that I’d quit the day I became satisfied. That sounds hyper-douchey, but it’s the best way to explain how much knowledge and growth means to me. Anything else you’d like to add? I just want to apologize to all of my

clients who I’ve whined or yelled at for no real reason. I can get emotional. I just want everyone to know that this is a stressful job, like being a trauma surgeon or an oil rigger. Sometimes, things get salty, but we can get through it.


did, owning my vision, or shaping my vision, but I did need some help and RFC were so down to help with a lot of the logistical legwork, [so] I’m not spending eight hours a day packing records or answering emails about download codes. They’re helping me, but still know that it needs to be my thing.” Despite his desire for control, Yip seems pretty open about what shape Memory Music could take in the future. “It’s definitely wide open, but ver the last five years, Will Yip has become as bright of a “star” producer as the scene would likely allow. Inside the friendly confines of Conshohocken, Pa.’s Studio 4, he has worked extensively with bands like Balance & Composure, Title Fight, and La Dispute on some of their most successful albums. This hard work has snowballed into his schedule being busier than ever— bands now need to book studio time with him “about nine months in advance,” he says.


But Yip’s new boutique label, Memory Music—whose inaugural release is Tigers Jaw’s Studio 4 Acoustic Session—isn’t so much a victory lap for his success as it is a byproduct of his respect for classic record label culture. “I’m fascinated by original R&B and rock record label culture, like Sun Records and Motown Records,” he says. “The coolest thing about those [labels] was everything they were putting out was being created at that studio and each performer was so unique in their own way, that there was a vibe that they interacted with inside that room. Even though it’s




the same room, each band uses it in a different way. Some bands, you hear more of the room and less of the band, and others, vice versa. It’s this fascinating thing about how all these bands react [differently] to this very live room. Our room is so lively; it’s my favorite room I’ve ever been in. I’m in love with this room.” Yip’s enthusiasm is palpable and infectious: he speaks eloquently, but quickly, as if the words are simultaneously forming in his brain and exiting his mouth. He’s wanted to start a label for a couple years now, he says, and the story of how it’s now happening sounds like fate. “Back when I released that comp [2013’s Off The Board – A Studio 4 Family Compilation], I did two celebratory shows with Anthony Green and Tigers Jaw—200 people, [they were] really small shows, but really cool—and Anthony was saying how wild it was that it was so quiet. Everyone was just soaking in Anthony; there wasn’t any talking. That’s the highest form of respect, when people are quiet and listening. And [because of that], you heard the room. Tigers Jaw [was] the

same way: you heard them the way you imagine that they write together, that they practice together.” “It was just so cool and we recorded it,” Yip continues. “The audience [members] were getting a copy of it as part of the ticket, but I held onto these shows and I knew that they were so cool. Everyone got so busy, nothing pushed me to do it until [Tigers Jaw vocalist and guitarist] Ben [Walsh] called me and said, ‘Hey, we’re booking an acoustic tour and we would love to put that stuff out, because it’s so good. Would you wanna sell it to Run For Cover, or would you just like to put it out?’ At that moment, I knew what was gonna happen, [that] this was the perfect introduction to that boutique label I was trying to do, representing that room in every way. No overdubs, no editing, just a raw band interacting with a room that I’m in love with.” Run For Cover’s involvement with Memory Music is purely logistical, Yip says. He outs himself, while laughing, as “a control freak” and notes that he “wanted to do this on my terms with no other company owning what I

anyone who knows me knows I never go into something without a plan,” he explains. “It’s open in the sense that I’m down for everything as long as it’s in the shape of this motif of that oldstyle record label culture. I definitely already have ideas of original material that I believe in, of a whole vision of [putting] out music I believe in that wants and needs a home and wants that studio to be the home. That’s really it.” He’s coy about naming names for obvious reasons, but notes that he “has a couple artists and original records lined up” for Memory Music. More sessions are in the plans, too, “just because that was so fun and anyone who heard it knows how special it is, the character of those songs. A lot of my friends have side projects that I love, but [they] don’t want to necessarily commit [to a more traditional recording setup]. We have the means to do a record here, inhouse, so there’s no specific vision of ‘I’m gonna put out five records this year, six this year.’ Running a label isn’t my full-time job, so I can let it come really organically.”



Selling records—either at a store or out of my garage—has been a constant since I can remember.” “Records are so cool…” he continues, “well… because they fucking are. Seriously, what’s better than smelling a record jacket, or dropping the needle on the table, or passing the jacket around a group of friends? Plus, they’re round and circles are awesome.”



f you went into Jupiter Records a little while ago, the first thing that you’d find was a killer staring down at you with cold eyes. Sitting on the shelves was an extremely rare 1970 pressing of Charles Manson’s LIE: The Love and Terror cult record, which infamously featured his horrid visage on the jacket. Of course, someone bought it almost immediately. Lest you think Jupiter Records is all about demons, not too long after that, up on that same shelf was an original Sun Ra record on the Saturn label—the label that the celestial, weirdo avant-garde jazz musician famously ran and pressed himself. And get this: it was signed by that celestial bandleader. If you collect records, you know how insane that is. Of course, someone bought it almost immediately. “Honestly, the weirdest thing that we’ve gotten was John Carradine’s sick LP The Child Seducers,” says

owner Steve Zimmerman. “It’s exactly what you think it is and it’s fucking gnarly.” Zimmerman founded the store outside of Wilmington, Del., two years ago after moving from Arizona, where he had his own shop for five years. Situated in the middle of a suburban community, the store is something of a hidden surprise. The aged, wooden porch outside makes it look like an Old West general store from a distance, but once you step inside, you’ll find tens of thousands of records of all types. Obscure punk? Check. Classic Rock? Check. Hip Hop? Check. Power pop? Check. Gogo funk? Check. Hella sweet dollar records? Check. Audio sex manuals? Check. “The initial stock came from my personal record collection, coupled with a few collections that I picked up in the months leading to my opening,” Zimmerman says. “The stock has quadrupled since then.

Jupiter Records has taken a bold approach to the now loved/hated annual Record Store Day. Instead of loading up on the pricey exclusives— which always end on eBay anyway— Zimmerman purchases large, private, curated collections full of rarities and sells them instead. The last Record Store Day featured white whale records including an Australian press of AC/DC’s Let There Be Rock, an original pressing of The Nuns’ first LP, Italian presses of Joy Division albums, a 10” of Beastie Boys’ “Get It Together/Sabotage” EP, and more Smiths records than you could count. Zimmerman explains, “Record Store Day was kind of cool when it started. We needed it at my store in Arizona, because the economy was totally in the shitter. But, our philosophy right

now is ‘fuck it.’ If your store wants to do it, go for it. We do our own thing, and people seem to like not waiting in line with the flipper douche bags and all the shoving and arguing and trying to get a 7” that they already have, but this time it’s on urine colored wax. Go support your local record store every week. And if your store does Record Store Day, and you support it too, great!” If you step into Jupiter, you’ll probably run into Zimmerman, or Jamie, a bearded guy who loves sludge-punk. Records are constantly spinning. While you’re shopping, you’ll hear everything from Pink Floyd to 9 Shocks Terror to Bowie to Del The Funky Homosapien. All types of collectors, from obsessive maniacs to people just kicking back, flow through, especially on Saturday, their busiest day. “Jupiter Records is special for one reason,” Zimmerman concludes. “It’s fucking mine. You can come visit and shop here, but at the end of the day, I made it, it’s me all over in there. And that feels amazing, to create a space that so many people love. It feels amazing to support my staff and treat them well and let them kick ass for me, too. It’s basically home.”






I N T E R V I E W W I T H OW N E RS J T H A B E RSA AT A N D T R AV I S M E Y E RS BY M O R G A N Y E VA N S ltercation Records made a significant impact on the worldwide punk scene in an era when album sales were in the toilet. How did they stay afloat? By genuinely caring about quality and finding great punk bands. This New York and Texas based label—how’s that for national punk unity?—walks the walk and “fights the good fight.”


How did the label start and what was your first big release? JH: Basically, I moved to Austin

from New York, and [Altercation] Magazine was winding down. Print as an industry was changing, and the costs were crazy. Blasé DeBris from Albany, N.Y., sent me a demo to review and it blew me away. Travis and I started talking about a label to put it out, and here we are a decade later! What cuts the mustard enough to end up on the label roster? JH: The live show is absolutely important. Ambition and touring.

The best band in the world who stays home will never go anywhere. There is no “big break” in this industry; it is a ladder of small opportunities that you keep climbing through hard work. Be undeniable. And honest. TM: You got to own the stage when you’re on it. That is first and foremost! Your roster is great: The Grizzly Band, Svetlanas, American Pinup… JH: We both have to be a fan of any band we work with. I feel like after this long, Travis and I can both spot a possible Altercation band right away. It’s a tough to define chemistry. But we don’t work with assholes, so I’m pretty fond of most of the people in our bands. TM: There are so many folks out there doing so many amazing things, trying to keep real music alive. It gives me hope for the future of rock ‘n’ roll and makes me proud to know we’re in it with people who are in the trenches just like us. Our fucking bands are second to none. What is your advice for someone starting a label now? JH: Be prepared to work until you fall over. If you are looking for a cash grab, you will be bummed out. Distro of quality is very important and very difficult to get set. Don’t go cheap on things like artwork and production quality; it will show! TM: Don’t quit your day job, pal! [Laughs] That’s my label advice…

How do you define success? TM: It’s simply being happy with whatever it is you are doing. Maybe that’s a bit cliché, but I’d rather put out a new record from a band that I really like and think needs to be heard than make a wad of dough off some real estate deal. Since we truly believe in every band we’ve ever signed, I guess that makes us successful. It’s been a good 10 years, and I’m looking forward to the adventures the next 10 bring. How is the label upholding your motto, “Fight the good fight”? JH: I still am proud of our logo and motto. Kind of like the old DOA motto “Talk minus action equals zero.” TM: It does feel like a fight a lot of the time, and really, it is. The music business is a motherfucker; no one— and I mean no one—gives a fuck about you or your bands until they have a buzz, and then everyone is interested, but usually in a vampire type way. That being said, we understand it. It’s the music business and business is the operating word. Every step you take is a fight for the next position, the next festival, the next issue of a magazine, and the fact that you have to convince everyone that this band or that band needs to be heard is a never-ending battle. Luckily, we’re scrappy fellas and like a good altercation!



oncerts. Festivals. Reunions. Acoustic jamborees. If you’re devouring these pages, you probably love live music as much as we do. Here some of the premier shows going on this season, in your neck of the woods.



PENNYWISE & CANCER BATS Danzig—the punk-metal crooner and icon—is set to embark on a month long tour with punk rock veterans Pennywise and the hardcore road dogs in Cancer Bats. Expect a night of beer soaked singalongs and massive choruses at each stop. Please plan accordingly.



Punk rock champions Rise Against are bringing their friends in Killswitch Engage and Letlive with them on a monster two month trek across the U.S. Letlive’s amped up stage presence, Killswitch Engage and their plethora of metalcore riffs, and, ya know… Rise Against’s gargantuan collection of hits sounds like a surefire recipe for good times.










Prepare yourselves for the most mind-bending, time signature shredding tour of the summer. The prog metal warriors in Between The Buried And Me are hitting the road this July supporting their new album Coma Ecliptic, and bringing the guitar wizards in Animals As Leaders and The Contortionist along to further destroy your senses. Expect nothing short of complete instrumental sorcery from this tour.




E M E R G E N CY R O O M w/ Pet Symmetry, High Dive, Spraynard

Quirky punk mastermind Jeff Rosenstock is hitting the road with his pal(s) Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room this summer. Rosenstock will be supporting his rollicking new album We Cool?, while Andriano will be promoting his second full-length solo album, Party Adjacent, which Rosenstock also produced. Here’s to another rocking collaboration between the two… in clubs and venues across the country!




The riffs lords in Torche are teaming up with the Japanese noise mongers in Melt-Banana for what just might be the loudest tour of the season. Prepare for a night of soaring hooks, pummeling guitars, and spazzy experimental goodness at a club near you.



osh Brown is many things. A loving father & husband, Vermont chicken farmer, stay at home dad, kimchi enthusiast, Lookout! Records official historian (unofficially), and laser disc wizard... Just to name a few. But most importantly, Josh Brown is a record collector. He has amassed a modest 3000+ piece collection with 15-20 of those being Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass Bands seminal album Whipped Cream & Other Delights. I asked him to step in for this issues FTR and give us some sage wisdom on one thing most record collectors have to deal with at some point: the dreaded storage problem. Here, Josh lays out a decent plan of attack to keep your 7” records organized and take up as litte space as possible.*

THE BEST 7” RECORD AND CD STORAGE SOLUTION EVER! I’m mostly [sharing] this because I wish I had come across this [idea] when I was trying to figure out how best to store my growing collection years ago. Sure, there are tons of threads on Vinyl Collective and Pinterest showing people’s record collections, but one can only see so many shoeboxes and Expedits before clicking “close tab” out of boredom. As I’ve said previously, I was never super impressed with the cardboard storage bins places like Bags Unlimited sold. I got lucky and scored some strange-sized plastic milk crate-type bins early on in my record buying life that fit one row of LPs or two rows of 7”s, with room to spare for flipping through.
That said, I never liked the fact that they took up so much floor space. As the collection grew/grows, continuing to add another milk crate just wasn’t an option. I found a record nerd message board with an older user who had a collection of over 30,000 LPs, and somewhere in the range of 5,000 45s and other 7” records. He happened upon a legal size—legal paper is 8” by 14”—filing cabinet, and realized that each drawer will hold two rows of 7” records perfectly. I was on the lookout—heh!—for several months before I found mine. It was at a thrift store, and seems to be built out of Soviet-era tank scrap metal or something. It’s heavy as can be empty, solid as granite, built to last, and all the hardware and rollers are in excellent shape. I’m guessing it was in an office for a few decades before they went out of business or digitized, or just downsized or something. It’s perfect. On top of all that, it was $10. Each drawer holds a little over 300 records. With five drawers, this behemoth will easily hold 1,500 7” records. At the back of each drawer is a little slider to adjust the capacity. As the drawer fills up, you slide this back and the drawer can hold more. This allows for always keeping the records vertical or mostly vertical, regardless of how many records are in the drawer. As




drawers by accident. This cabinet has no such feature. I was concerned at first that it could tip, especially with curious kids in the house. I loaded it up and checked it. To my surprise and relief, I can open three drawers full of vinyl all the way before it even gets close to tipping over. Luckily, the drawers do have a thumb latch button thing that makes it difficult—really, impossible—for little hands to open the drawers… So far… [I’ve also used] DVD bins for CD storage. This had the same issues I faced with storing 7”s in milk crates. As the collection grew over time, I’d have to keep adding bins and stacking them, or have them take over all the floor space. Stacked bins aren’t ideal, obviously, as grabbing an album from a bottom bin means un-stacking and restacking bins all the time. No good.

is the case with mine, it also allows some “bonus” storage back behind the slider for oddball things that don’t go or fit with the normal 7”s. I’ve got things like 8” records and some oversized box sets back there. A lot of newer filing cabinets have a safety feature that locks all drawers closed except for the open drawer. This keeps it from tipping over should you open two of the top full

As it happens, storing CDs the way I want to store them—out of jewel boxes, [with] tray card, liner notes, and disc all tucked into a poly sleeve

á la most 7” records—requires similar dimensions as 7” records. So, I used the bottom two drawers of the filing cabinet to hold about 900 CDs. I’ve yet to invest in the poly bags, but I’m super happy with being able to browse CDs like they’re 7”s, flipping from one to the next, looking at the artwork. Keeping them [away from] 4 year old prying eyes and hands, mostly out of the dust and high traffic is also a plus. They stay alphabetized; no more shifting CDs in wallets when I get new/old ones; and liner notes, discs, and tray cards all live together. I also made some bin cards out of scrap paper and cardstock to help browse alphabetically a little faster. You can see these in action in both the 7” and the CD drawers. I’ll go over those in [the] future.



o there you have it, Josh Brown’s Ultimate Guide To 7” Storage. If you liked this, check out more of Josh’s nerd ramblings over at 1000yesterdays. and geek out with him over crimpshrine or whatever the fuck he’s into. *insert record pun outro*

“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at people who love the sound of breaking glass.” - Matty Luv, RIP

the day enjoying “the view” under the surreptitious black frames of my faux Ray Bans.

cherries on my joints lit for the better part of a year.

We land in Manilla. The cab ride from the airport pretty much sums up our whole South East Asia trip. Malice— no law. Two to four people sitting sideways on a motorcycle holding an infant child while buzzing in between stopped traffic. Dozens of extra passengers clinging on for their lives to the outside of a Jeepney as they blow through the red lights of every major intersection. It is literal chaos, and since I’m afraid of driving in vehicles, I close my eyes the whole way to our friend Led’s. I’ve been on tour playing guitar with First Blood for a few months now, and every city it’s the same drill. We get to a spot with Wi-Fi and most of the guys post up on the Internet while Peanut and I head into the unknown. In Hong Kong, we hit ancient Buddhist temples embedded high in the mountains by riding the cable cars. Bangkok was filled with the sweat of whores in the after hours soccer and sex clubs of Patpong. In Japan, it was the Yakuza run Karaoke bars ‘til 6 a.m. with some of the guys in The Refused. Now, it is time to get some shopping done. Peanut and I gear up to leave Led’s house when he suddenly jumps in front of the exit to the gate. “You guys can’t go out in this neighborhood. You both have blonde hair and blue eyes. You’ll be kidnapped.” Man, if I had a dime bag for every time I heard that one. But he is dead serious and, as our host in a strange land, we respect his wishes. His compromise is to take us to the mall. The only thing I hate more than driving is the fucking mall. At first glance, the Green Hills Mall in downtown Manilla is a high-class two




story shopping mall. Its modern facade is complete with automatic glass doors, and it even has a decent food court. The stores and kiosks are jam packed with merchandise and customers. But after about one point two minutes of browsing over the selections, something feels a little funny. The fancy sunglass stores sell Ray Bans for two dollars. The sports store sells LeBron James jerseys for four dollars. What?! We are standing in the bootleg capital of South East Asia. I’ve never been much of a consumer, but look at this as a business opportunity. I buy 40 pairs of Ray Bans and stuff ‘em in my bag to take back to NYC. The investment returns fruitful. I am still a freshman in NYC at this time and don’t have a lot of money, so the plan is to carry these sunglasses in my backpack at all times for any extra cash I can get. On the train, I get a group of students for 10 dollars each. In the park, I get some fashionista drinking a bottle of wine for 40. At the ball game, a dad and his kid for 20. I nickel and dime on these knock off Ray Bans and, when I run out, I PayPal Led and he sends another parcel. It is a beautiful system and keeps the

In August, a group of my friends plan a day trip to Fort Tilden beach. For those of you not in the know, it’s like the hipster “Weekend at Bernie’s” without the messy cadaver part. Fort Tilden is an old WWII fort in Queens where all the snow bunnies from Brooklyn drive out to play topless on the near-radioactive shores of NYC’s Far Rockaway. That’s right—just beautiful babes frolicking topless on the deserted dunes. They’re playing big games of volleyball, doing intense yoga sessions, waxing up the surfboards—all with the fruits from the vine in plain view. I see no better place than a topless beach to peddle my goods from the Far East. Knowing that everyone here is from Brooklyn— well, the Midwest newly transplanted to Brooklyn—I approach each blanket surrounding our own with a great deal. One pair of glasses for 20 dollars and two pairs for 30. People will buy anything when they’re hungover, because I sell out of 25 pairs to 20 different people in about 15 minutes. Tired from hard work, I spend the remainder of

After five or so hours under the sun, my leg is twitching for one of those things I like. I lift up my glasses and look to my friends: “I’m going to the van to roll one. It’s too windy out here.” A look of astonishment comes over their faces and everyone starts laughing uncontrollably. They are busting at the seams and I turn around to see if there is something behind me. My friend Annie hands me her compact mirror. I look and discover a black unibrow across my forehead that would put Frida Kahlo to shame. I wipe at it, but it won’t go away! The sun had melted the black paint from the imitation Ray Bans right across my forehead, and nothing I can do is removing it. I laugh like hell as I scrub at the paint with my towel. It doesn’t budge. I stand up, trying to gain my composure, when I suddenly remember the 20 or so customers I had on the beach blankets surrounding us. I never told them the glasses are fake, but I certainly never told them they’re real. Regardless, I’m not sticking around to explain shit—but that’s when we notice a large man with a tribal armband tattoo and his girlfriend with the belly button ring starting to approach our blanket. He is holding his pair of sunglasses high in the air and his eyes are locked on me under the raccoon rings of black paint staining his face. I shove my towel into my bag and look at my friends…


“Hey guys—so, how about that joint in the van?”

New Noise Magazine - Issue #19  

Featuring: Frank Turner, Between The Buried And Me, Chelsea Wolfe, NOFX Backstage Passport 2, Man Overboard, Ghost, Cold Cave, The Sword, Ci...