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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:



Bottom of the Aquarium, Top of the Heap…



A Documentary of Bad Men…

Fat Mike will be producing Get Dead’s second LP, which is currently being recorded at his Motor Studios in San Francisco and will likely be out sometime in 2016 via Fat Wreck Chords. After announcing the project, the band added: “Meanwhile, we are juggling NA meetings, court dates, tour van insurance fraud allegations, teaching in public school systems, fatherhood, as well us an unpayable bar tab at more than one Bay Area establishment.” Punk!

Nov. 13 will see the release of “Across The USA in 51 Days: The Movie!,” a documentary chronicling the Melvins’ 2012 tour during which they attempted to perform in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., in 51 days. Road documentaries can be a little samey, but given the unconventionality of the trip—and of Melvins themselves—this is likely a must-watch. If you still own a DVD player… Isn’t physical media dead? Did we not kill it?

America’s Most Hated... Emo Dude?


The subject of fan safety at shows is an evolving—and much needed— conversation, and Massachusetts four piece Speedy Ortiz have figured out an innovative way to help, recently launching a text hotline—(574) 404-SAFE—for fans to use during their shows if they’re ever feeling unsafe. Considering the amount of flat-out boorish behavior in the news over the past couple of years—and that’s only what has been reported— this is a positive step toward making shows accessible for everyone. Let’s hope it works and more bands implement it in the future! Bottomfeeder—the New Jersey hardcore band featuring Gaslight Anthem drummer Benny Horowitz, and members of Gates and Let Me Run—joined Good Fight Music and plan to release their second EP through the label this winter. It’s definitely not my place to ask, but are they married to their name? According to Google, there are already a whole lot of bands called Bottomfeeder.

Perhaps you’ve read the Internet outrage directed toward Turing Pharmaceuticals and its CEO, 32 year-old Martin Shkreli, who heartlessly, harshly and callously increased the price of Daraprim—a drug used to treat AIDS and cancer patients—from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Turns out Shkreli is an ardent punk and emo fan, and a superfan of Thursday, to the point where he’d purchased a used guitar from frontman Geoff Rickly and silently invested in Rickly’s label, Collect Records. Rickly—and the Collect roster, for that matter—had no prior knowledge of Shkreli’s dealings, but after this unfortunate story came to light and after Shkreli has continued to embarrass himself by fighting with people on social media, virtually the entire Collect roster along with Rickly have denounced Shkreli and severed all ties with him. There’s some form of dirty money in nearly every dealing in independent music whether we choose to believe it or not, but this is especially heinous. Good on Rickly and Collect for doing the right thing, even if it essentially puts the label’s future into murky waters.


Midwest “fuck you, get pumped” punks Direct Hit! are following The Offspring’s Dexter Holland, Municipal Waste’s Tony Foresta, and other titans of the industry into the hot sauce business. The band collaborated with Chicago based company Soothsayer Sauces to create Domesplitter, a Maruga Scorpion and Fresno Chili hot sauce. The caliente concoction which will allegedly be for sale at FEST in Gainesville, Fla., this October and will go great on a lukewarm slice of Five Star Pizza.

Jade Tree has reissued much of The Promise Ring’s back catalog on vinyl, including 1997’s influential Nothing Feels Good. This reissue will also be available on cassette, which… why are cassettes a thing again? Do I need to hit up a thrift store and dust off an old tape deck? Is that where we’re at in 2015? Will CDs eventually become a nostalgia purchase too? I have questions…

It seems that PUP are hard at work on a follow-up to their excellent self-titled LP. The band posted a message to social media that read, “Hi nerds today we started the new record for realsies,” and, well, you don’t just throw around “for realsies” unless what you’re saying is legit. So, look for a new PUP album, probably sometime next year, if we had to guess for realsies.


Leftöver Crack will be releasing a new album, Constructs of the State, on Nov. 27 via Fat Wreck Chords. Believe it or not, it’s the band’s first album in 11 years—Fuck World Trade came out in 2004, back when many of you were little baby crust punks. Did you know that Scott Sturgeon is only 39? I honestly thought he was at least 50… Maybe it’s the voice.




shines a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of FqP the LGBTQIA+ community and the world of alternative music. While queer representation is often refracted through the prism of normative curiosities and concerns, FQP features queer voices saying whatever they want, however they want. Don’t fear the realness.


around the same time I was figuring out my interest in playing the drums. I was very worried that I would never get to be in a band or write songs that people wanted to hear, because no one would relate to them… Because I was, you know, such a freak. I knew about Freddie Mercury and Elton John, but they seemed like exceptions to the rule. The rule being, “Queer People Can’t Rock Out.” So, I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m trying to write the songs my younger self would have taken comfort in hearing.


BH: When we were starting out, I personally felt like it was very easy for people to see us as a gimmick. Like, not only as a queer project, but as a queer drag thing. […] That sort of compelled us to really push our craft. For me, specifically, I spent, like, a solid year playing guitar every day, a few hours a day at least, and that sort of otherness really brought a sort of purpose for us to prove them wrong even further. The only advice I’d give people is: don’t try to be “different,” strive to be honest. Our honest is queer drag punk; it’s what we need to say right now. It’s what makes us different and relatable— hopefully—at the same time, because it’s just what we want to say and how we want to say it. “When you become the image of your own imagination, it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.” –RuPaul Andre Charles

that? “Our deaths,” adds Hopkins. “Look out for our deaths.”

New York’s preeminent “genre-queer” duo, PWR BTTM, have become the image of their own imagination, a harmonious blend of fuck-you drag and openhearted punk. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins seem to possess an instinctual understanding of the oft overlooked motivations behind the cultures they so seamlessly blend— the way punk’s high masculine aggression helps disadvantaged youth feel powerful and how the high femme fierceness of drag allows marginalized people to transcend their cultural bondage. PWR BTTM effortlessly embody this shared ethos: that artifice allows us to tell the truth about who we really are. Pick up their new record, Ugly Cherries, via Father/Daughter and Miscreant Records, and catch them in November on their East Coast/Midwest tour with Mitski and Palehound. After

BH: In a way, our music is for queer people, sure, because we’ve taken conscious steps to be transparent in our use of [gender neutral and queer] pronouns and subject matter. But, ultimately, it is, in a way, for anyone who feels misunderstood. That philosophy comes from an acting teacher of mine in college named Jack Ferver, who uses it as his sort of artistic mission statement. He says that the purpose of art is to take your personal myth—like, your story—and relate it so that it becomes iconic, or bigger than your own personal story. We try to tell queer stories in really big ways, so that they can go beyond the specifics of our personal lives and infiltrate other things we can’t possibly predict.

On Target Demographics:

LB: I have a couple of distinct memories from when I was figuring out my sexuality

LB: I think it can be very scary to put yourself out there, but it’s so necessary if you want to find your people. Many of the people who have been very supportive of us are people who came up to us after shows and said something. Just from a practical standpoint, standing on a stage in a room full of people and telling them your story—through song or otherwise—is the

most efficient way to link up with people whose stories have something in common with yours.


BH: We literally just keep mentioning Alyssa Edwards in these interviews and she won’t, like, love us. We used to watch “Alyssa’s Secret” before every show. I would say “Drag Race” has provided a weird language for us. Like, queer people have always been creating a language for ourselves. “Drag Race” and its infinite quotability equal a whole vocabulary we share. LB: Ben can say to me, “I feel very attacked,” and I know that he means he specifically feels the way Laganja [Estranja] felt in that episode of [the RPDR after show] “Untucked.” […] BH: It’s like a weird half-meaningless, halfcompletely-meaningful thing. It’s code. It extends beyond “Drag Race” into movies like “Paris is Burning” and “The Queen” and, like, queer ephemera of all kinds. LB: Queer people have spoken in code for, like, ever. Someone told me recently that gay men using female pronouns for each other is a relic from the early days, when they could be fired, shunned, or killed for talking about a male sexual partner. And, even though Ben and I make a point of being as indiscreet as humanly possible in our work, talking in code is still in our cultural lineage as queer people. And, thank God! We’d be nowhere today without those queens of the earlier days, talking about their boyfriends with female pronouns at the watercooler.





GET THESE BANDS ON YOUR RADAR! and relate to, and 50 percent talking at myself.” Sic Waiting will be wrapping up this year with an appearance at FEST in Gainesville, Flo., and shows with D-Cents Jerks in Puerto Rico. “FEST is an institution at this point,” Stinson says. “It’s the prototype for all the other DIY festivals springing up these days. I have a lot of respect for No Idea [Records], Tony [Weinbender], Sarah [Goodwin], and that whole group of people. Really, we are just stoked to be included this year. I’ve been trying to mentally plan out a way to not just black out for the whole weekend within like three hours of arriving.”



Sic Waiting’s new album title was no mistake. Derailer—out Oct. 23 via Felony Records—is a perfect metaphor for the obstacles life throws at you that send you barreling right off the tracks. Vocalist and guitarist Jared Stinson is no stranger to watching band members move on to new chapters in life. “The logical, and probably smarter decision would be

to move on as well,” he says. “Holding on to something for too long will keep you stuck in a rut, will prevent you from maturing and progressing, and is something I’m really fuckin’ good at.”

While many bands cite Florida death metal pioneers like Death and Morbid Angel as primary influences, few shun blast beats for time-tested sounds as effectively as San Francisco’s Vastum. Active since 2009, the five piece first made a name for themselves outside of the Bay Area metal scene with their first two albums: 2011’s Carnal Law and 2013’s Patricidal Lust. Those albums’ vocal fierceness and jaw-jarring riffs should be reason enough for death metal fans far and wide to mark Nov. 6 on their calendars, and remember to pick up the band’s next release, Hole Below, via Olympia, Wash., metal imprint 20 Buck Spin.

acts, Vastum’s members are all veterans with lengthy “ex-members of” credentials. They also actively perform in multiple Bay Area metal bands. Vocalist Daniel Butler and bassist Luca Indrio are in Acephalix, guitarist Shelby Lermo recently co-founded Extremity, and drummer Adam Perry also performs with Fallen Angel. Abdul-Rauf is the most prolific member of Vastum, writing and recording ambient music as a solo artist when she’s not performing metal with Hammers Of Misfortune or Cardinal Wyrm.

According to guitarist and vocalist Leila Abdul-Rauf, the new album builds on Vastum’s earlier recordings, without abandoning their primitive death metal roots. “The songwriting is more developed and varied on Hole Below,” she explains. “There is a lot more going on: more guitar layers, vocal effects, spoken passages, atonal chords, and ambient sections.”


As is often the case with tight, inventive



These thoughts can definitely eat at you, and while Sic Waiting’s past albums carried a more negative tone,

Each member’s various projects have been affected in the past five years by a metalhead migration to Oakland. “The reason being that non wealthy folks have been displaced from San Francisco and forced into cheaper areas,” Abdul-Rauf says. “Oakland is a slightly cheaper place to live, but not for long—rents are on the rise there as well.” Though they may spend less time in San Francisco due to gentrification, Oakland boasts plenty of acts to share the stage with

the band attempted a more positive vibe on Derailer. “With this one, there was a conscious effort to try to be better and be a little more positive, I guess,” says Stinson. “Or at least less negative. Though there are stark contrasts to that, like ‘A Red House and Bones’ or ‘Lies Are for Living.’ Almost every song we’ve written is 50 percent meant for the listener to take


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST LEILA ABDUL-RAUF BY BOBBY MOORE Vastum. “Oakland has a great mix of bands: death, doom, black, grind, noise, industrial, and death rock,” Abdul Rauf says. “Vastum doesn’t play live often, so when we do, it’s special, and with usually different bands every time. We seem to mostly play with touring bands, but some local bands we’ve played with are Dispirit, Scolex, Cardinal Wyrm, Pale Chalice, Infinite Waste, and Apocryphon.”

Whether this music was conceived in Oakland now, San Francisco five years ago, or in Florida circa the early ‘80s, Vastum have tapped into a rawness and realness that does not merely copy death metal’s founding fathers. That’s why Hole Below should be a late entry to any metal enthusiast’s annual top 10 list.


just had the drummer and bassist dub in their parts. The record after it is going to be much more group-oriented; we already recorded it, and are finishing mixing it now. I’ve [also] been collaborating with our current bassist Ethan [Ives] on some songs. We might have an opportunity to do some music work for a film, so we’re trying to get some demos done for that.” While he is now signed to a label, his beginnings were inauspicious, and he is known for having recorded some early material in his car. “I only recorded vocals in the car,” Toledo clarifies, “that was the only thing I felt I needed the privacy to do. And I didn’t always do it, just when I had a part that was difficult or embarrassing to sing. The cons are obvious: no acoustics, no ability to use decent equipment. Also, it either gets too hot or too cold very quickly, depending on what time of year it is. Anyone passing by is going to think you’re nuts. But the pros are that you can do whatever you want, no one can hear you, and there’s at least an illusion of absolute privacy that you can’t get anywhere else. I was listening to earlier recordings I did in my house where I was



INTERVIEW WITH BRITTANY & JARED PARIS BY GABY CHEPURNY Indianapolis’ ForeverAtLast took suffering for their art to an extreme with their newest release, Ghosts Again, out Oct. 16 via Victory Records. Lead singer Brittany Paris explains, “We started writing this record more than a year ago and, as it developed, we didn’t Julien Baker is about to turn in a remarkable solo debut. The record, Sprained Ankle, is haunting and dark; it’s beautiful in its starkness and, if it’s any indication of what’s in store, Baker is bound to have an impressive solo career. But for now, that career is only a part time pursuit, as Baker—a native of Memphis—still has college to finish. Over nine songs, the 20 year old sings with the experience of someone twice her age. The album, which was discovered by the folks at 6131 Records, is out digitally Oct. 23. “When 6131 contacted me about releasing it formally,” Baker recalls, “I was pretty overwhelmed, and it’s been great so far!” Aside from her solo endeavor, Baker is also a member of the band Forrister. “That’s something I feel like is common among musicians,” she explains, “they have multiple musical projects that allow them to pursue different avenues for their work,

really have a theme yet, but, as it went on, our songs tended to get darker, because we went through a lot. We had troubles with our family and things with our band, and then—it was really strange—we had a lot of family members die, we had friends pass away all pretty close together. It was all very strange.” and that’s how Julien Baker ended up existing. I just had these songs that didn’t fit with Forrister, which I decided to release as its own entity.” She continues, “When it comes to performing, I really feel the absence of a band; it’s a really vulnerable space to be on a stage alone and I enjoy having my fellow musicians and friends up there with me, it makes me more confident overall. That’s one thing I really value about performing with Forrister, and if and when it becomes possible, I think it would be awesome to arrange the Julien Baker songs for full band performance, just to have that feeling of sharing and participating with other people making music, not just me by myself.” Sprained Ankle will get an official release with an accompanying show in Memphis on Oct. 29. “I am playing a couple one off shows before that,” Baker adds. “After the






trying to sing ‘fuck’ quietly so my parents wouldn’t hear. Those didn’t age very well.” After Teens of Style is released, Car Seat Headrest will hit the road. “We’ll be getting into gear for our tour at the end of the year,” Toledo says. “We’ve got a lot of shows at CMJ in October, and after that, we’ll have Misfortune is nothing new to the band who had similar troubles while recording their last effort, February to February. Paris suffered a house fire and death plagued the band, which includes guitarist Jordan Vickers, bassist and vocalist Ezekiel Vasquez, and drummer Jared Paris. That being said, they’ve always looked towards the light and believe that with every loss comes a rebirth as well. Paris continues, “We wanted to tell people our side of the story and the things we’ve gone through, and relate to them, because you can feel very alone when you lose someone. That was a big thing for us, to really make sure that we portray to people, ‘Hey, it’s okay to feel sad about losing that person, but don’t live life by just feeling bad, they want you to live your life too.’” The growing process for them personally aligns with their creative growth as well. “Starting out, we were pretty heavy, we screamed a lot more,” Paris explains. “On this new record, it’s more aggressive sing-



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a new bassist coming to Seattle; Ethan will switch to guitar, and we’ll be a four piece when we go on tour.”


ing, which is fun. I think if you can make music really aggressive without screaming, then you’ve got something cool going on. So, it’s been an adventure to get to this point, but it’s been a lot of fun.” While the band doesn’t think much of it, many feel the need to label them “female-fronted.” Drummer Jared Paris says, “We don’t think it really should matter. I know Brittany doesn’t seek any extra attention being a female vocalist; she’s an equal member of our band.” Brittany Paris continues, “Now that you mention that, I never really thought about it all that much. It’s not necessarily like, ‘Hey, check this out, this is what makes us different.’ Maybe it’s an encouragement for young ladies to play music. I feel like a lot of girls get pushed aside from sports teams, music, bands, whatever it might be; it’s something I’ve seen sometimes, so it could maybe be an encouragement to young ladies, which is kind of cool.”



At just 22, Will Toledo—better known as Car Seat Headrest—has already put out 11 albums in just five years, releasing them directly through Bandcamp. Matador Records took notice recently, and now, he is set to release his first proper studio album, Teens of Style, on Oct. 30. “Teens of Style was the first record where I had band members playing on it and not just musical guests for instruments I couldn’t play,” Toledo explains. “It’s still more of a solo record, as I’d made arrangements and




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record comes out, I will probably continue playing shows in support of that for a while. Right now, I am just in school, taking care of my academic pursuits, balancing that with traveling to perform on

M O O R E breaks and holidays, pretty much every chance I get. So, for the foreseeable future, I will probably just be focusing on touring.”






queens of rock - THUNDERMOTHER

Countries like Germany, Sweden, Spain, and the U.K. are, at present, best for us.” Though the band is billed as Swedish, only lead guitarist Filippa Nässil, drummer Tilda Stenqvist, and bassist Linda Ström are from Sweden, while rhythm guitarist Giorgia Cartieri is Italian and Cunningham is originally from Ireland. “In Sweden, there’s a very high level of equality and it’s fantastic to see, as the support for women—not only in the rock industry—is above all other countries that I’ve noticed,” Cunningham says.

watch! The con being the fact that we get criticized and ridiculed for being females doing what’s apparently a man’s genre. It’s up to Thundermother to pave the way and inspire other females to just keep doing it and proving that we can be as good, if not better, than our male peers.” “Most male musicians, but not all, are quite supportive, as they understand the industry and know how tough it is without even being a female,” she continues. “Most venue owners are really great, as they want us in their venues. The problem lies usually with some tech guys, engineers, and festival workers, as they just see a bunch of girls on the face of it, but soon see that, when we start rocking out, it’s a whole different story. It’s just a shame that it takes having to play and ‘prove’ ourselves before we gain respect. But, with our continued hard work and positive attitude towards the haters and sexists, we will make a difference. Just watch us!”

Sweden’s open-mindedness toward traditional rock ‘n’ roll and progressive treatment of women made it the perfect birthplace for Thundermother, whose new album, Road Fever, is out now via Despotz Records. After all, Europe’s music press and venues are rather kind to likeminded North Americans like Biters

and Danko Jones, so why wouldn’t they support their own? “We are very lucky to be embraced by the amazing European press and other supporters,” says vocalist Clare Cunningham. “Certain countries are better than others, of course, as rock ‘n’ roll is a style that’s widely loved, but not appreciated as much as it should be.

Though Sweden is a relatively safe haven, Thundermother still catch some unfair flak on the road. “On a whole, as five females playing rock ‘n’ roll, there’s always pros and cons,” Cunningham explains. “The pro being the fact that it’s an interesting lineup that catches people’s attention and gets them curious. Because how could five women possibly play rock ‘n’ roll as good as men? Well, we do, people! So, come

Who would have thought that one of the buzziest bands in underground metal started out as a Pentagram cover band? When your band is comprised of members of YOB, Agalloch, Ludicra, and Hammers Of Misfortune, you’re bound to draw a crowd no matter what your musical output. Thankfully, VHÖL don’t waste their talent. “The intention of VHÖL has always been to make music that is fun and not overly serious or dark,” bassist Sigrid Sheie shares. “Even when the lyrics deal with heavy topics, the music will always come back to a sense of joy, not despair.”

musings, go blast Deeper than Sky’s second track, “3AM,” at full volume and try not to grin from ear to ear.

Part time speed freaks - VHOL




While the group’s debut was a bit more raw and stripped down, VHÖL have doubled down on their classic speed metal influence. The resulting sophomore record, Deeper than Sky—out Oct. 23 via Profound Lore—features the type of music that reminds listeners that metal is, was, and ever shall be fun. For those mourning the band’s black and sludge metal

The inspiration for the record came from guitarist John Cobbett’s love of fantasy and science fiction novels. The band wanted to allow the stories on the album to flow well with the ‘80s speed metal flair of the music, and the results are wonderful. Deeper than Sky is an all-caps awesome trip through space and time for fans of yesteryear’s metal. Its songs are remarkably fresh, perfectly highlighting the talent on display. The unfortunate part is that VHÖL is merely a passion project for these talented individuals, so keep a keen eye out for any opportunity to see them live. Sigrid explains, “VHÖL is not a full time band in the traditional sense, but we have worked really hard on this project and will plan some shows or short tours in the future.”


INTERVIEW WITH BASSIST SHIGRID SHEIE BY NICHOLAS SENIOR our recorded music, and, within a couple of weeks, we joined forces. It’s been a great partnership.” Though they’re thoroughly spacey, The Fantastic Plastics feel at home on the punk label. “In our mind, we are the future of the future and, as such, we think we are as much punk as we are electro, new wave, etc.,” he explains. “It’s not just about a specific sound, it’s about attitude, about breaking out from the norm, spreading a message, rejecting the status quo, and doing it with attitude. That is what we are about. To us, DEVO were just as punk as the Ramones.”

I N T E R V I E W W I T H M U LT I - I N ST R U M E N TA L I ST T YS O N P L AST I C BY M O R G A N Y. E VA N S Future wave Brooklyn, N.Y., free thinkers The Fantastic Plastics are an inspired signing for Altercation Records. The band are like DEVO’s cousins who really like the B-52s with a side of Metric and a glass of orange juice. Think post-punk with sassy attitudes and freaky dance floor vibes, all coalescing on their first full-length, Devolver, which dropped Sept. 18. The band’s connection to a label known mostly




for punk may seem odd to some, but multiinstrumentalist Tyson Plastic sets them straight, explaining, “Our mutual friend, Keith, booked us a couple of years in a row at a Robot Dance Party he throws at a club Travis runs in Connecticut, Snapper McGee’s. After our set, we ended up having a great conversation with [label head] Travis [Myers] about music [and] the biz, and we hit it off. He listened to some of

Genre aside, the band’s thematic content also keeps things interesting. “Much of the album takes inspiration from Orwell’s classic ‘Nineteen Eighty Four,’” Plastic explains. “[The track] ‘Thought Patrol’ is a reference to the Thought Police and Thought Crime. But, taken in the context of life in 2015, I think it can refer more towards social media and advertising. It takes some level of mind control to reveal only the bare minimum to avoid

the targeting of unwanted content and advertising.” Devolver’s album art takes it up another notch, and is reminiscent of tripping on acid while watching “Bladerunner.” Plastic retorts, “[Drum and bass programmer] Dylan [Plastic] is responsible for all of the graphics, and, believe it or not, he’s never tried any psychedelics. His dreams are psychedelic.”


Rarely do passion projects sound this passionate. Wilderness Dream were founded by mastermind Ben Murray, and their crossover thrash will appeal to fans of their members’ other groups: Heartsounds and Light This City. Wilderness Dream have all the punk energy of Heartsounds with the metallic fury of Light This City, but even fans of Murray’s previous works won’t be prepared for the auditory onslaught that is their excellent self-titled EP, out now on Creator-Destructor Records. Murray is upfront about how he views the band: “It’s a great outlet to write heavy music again and a catharsis for the more aggressive side of my personality. [Guitarist and Light This City alum] Ryan Hansen and I haven’t written together since 2008, when Light This City ended, [and it] has proven to be a great time. We’re going to focus on this band as heavily as Heartsounds, because fuck it, no rules! Heartsounds will continue on just as we always have; the new record we are writing is out of control, I can’t wait to share it with everyone.” What most surprised Murray most was the ease with which the songs came together. “I liked how spontaneous the writing

process was, and how it all came together really quickly at the end,” he says. “I like going into the studio with riffs still being super fresh, so you’re still pumped on them when the record is done, as opposed to having rehearsed the shit to death, sucking all the life force out of what you originally connected with, you know?”


Music this fast, frenetic, and heavy is best suited for shorter releases, and Ben plans to utilize that model for Wilderness Dream. “We are going to do another EP in February and have it out by summer 2016. So, more music soon, for sure! However, I think we’re going to stick to EPs now, so we can put music out more frequently. No full-lengths in the cards right now.” Music this awesome deserves to be heard in the live setting, and Wilderness Dream are happy to oblige. “We are doing a lot of West Coast touring in the next few months, so just keep an eye on creator-destructor. com for those dates,” Murray adds. What could have been just another throwaway passion project might just be your new favorite metal band. Murray’s only request for future listeners? “Just listen to it loud.”





INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST GRANT TCHEKMEIAN BY NICHOLAS SENIOR Recalling the best works of Millencolin and Lagwagon, Orlando, Flo., pop punks Suck Brick Kid are already close to mastering the art of the catchy punk ditty. The band’s debut EP, The Beast Goes On—out now via Smartpunk Records—is likely to be one of the best pop punk records of 2015, because Suck Brick Kid’s sound strikes the perfect balance between hooks and punk heart. Suck Brick Kid are the real deal. Vocalist Grant Tchekmeian discusses the band’s formation: “We had all played in other bands throughout the years, and I think it formed out of just trying to do something to change our complacency with life and music at the time.” He continues, nailing why Suck Brick Kid are going to be your new favorite band, “I think what we all loved the most was writing songs that we wanted to write without giving consideration to where the genre is today or what the new ‘hip’ version of pop punk is.” The Beast Goes On was produced by one of punk’s premiere producers, Andrew Wade, which explains why the album sounds so great. Fortunately for the band, the songs are as pristine as the production.

Suck Brick Kid have a lot in the works for this coming year. Tchekmeian eagerly discloses as much as he can: “We should be knocking out an East Coast run in February. We will be doing a Southwest run in March that includes a Smartpunk Records showcase at SXSW. We’re working on a bunch of West Coast dates in May. I’m sure the summer will be filled to the brim with shows! Also, we will be releasing an acoustic version of the record early next year that we are really excited about. We just wrapped up tracking those songs with Andrew Wade, as well. We have some B-sides from the record that we will most likely put out on a 7” sometime after, and we are working on a top secret split that will rule for middle next year. Obviously, a full-length will follow all that jargon.” Fueled by passion and a desire to plays shows for as long as possible, Suck Brick Kid’s enthusiasm is contagious. If The Beast Goes On is only the first set of songs the band have to offer, fans of quality pop punk should be eagerly awaiting more music from the next great Florida punk export.


White Widows Pact call the very center of Brooklyn’s hardcore scene home. The band began three years ago when the members wanted to start a metallic hardcore band. According to guitarist Travis Bacon, lead singer David Castillo brought him together with guitarist Nick Emde and drummer Kenny Appeli in the hopes of employing the liberal use of breakdowns in their music. After a few practices, they pulled bassist Brian Ponto into the mix and recorded their debut EP after the band’s first show in the fall of 2012, held at Castillo’s St. Vitus Bar, with sludge metal southerners, EYEHATEGOD. As Bacon says, “The rest is history.” Castillo—who fronts both White Widows Pact and Primitive Weapons—also serves as co-owner of St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn’s go-to underground venue. With other band members employed there as well, it would be easy to say they’re well on their way to building their own hardcore empire within the city. Bacon is the first to say that this assumption is false. “Saint Vitus has certainly built a scene that we’re certainly a part of, but it’s ultimately just a piece of the puzzle of the entirety of underground music in NYC. We’ve played there numerous times and some

of us are employed there. White Widows Pact is a band on its own, not a crew that surrounds a venue. Additionally, I feel like our association with hardcore has dwindled over the years. While there are a few hardcore bands we’ve played shows with over the years, most of the time, it doesn’t mesh too well for us. I could give a laundry list of reasons for this, but I would rather just say our sound and vibe seems to resonate better in the metal world.” This sound translates directly to the band’s first full-length release, True Will, out Oct. 16 via New Damage Records. While most associate White Widows Pact with the hardcore scene, Bacon feels their sound has grown and this release is more on the metal side. “The EP was really what we consider a ‘glorified demo,’” he explains. “It’s the product of about 20 practices when we were still in the earliest stages of finding our sound and working together as musicians. The LP still has the same NYHC [and] Southern metal sound, but with a larger emphasis on U.S. [and] European death metal, as well as a zillion other subgenres. We also really tried to expand outside the realms of a typical hardcore sound with this release and have gravitated toward a more metal sound.”







INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/BASSIST WYAT T SHEARS BY JAMES ALVAREZ Vada-Vada: “an idea that represents pure creative expression that disregards all previously made  genres and ideals.”  – Wyatt Shears

Like “Hakuna Matata” before it, VadaVada ain’t no passing craze. At least not if Wyatt and Fletcher Shears—the identical twin, fashion model, punk rock tag team

Gun to head, if you were forced to name the first great punk rock poet, who comes to mind? Allen Ginsberg? William Burroughs? Neal Cassady? No, Walt Whitman. His classic “Leaves of Grass” was practically 2 Live Crew in poetry form in its time.

audience outside of the Rockies thanks to a deal with Bloodshot Records. Of the impetus for their unholy union, Cook explains, “Bloodshot bought us a nice dinner and a cheap hotel room.”

So, it’s a bit fitting then that Denver based punk rock cowboys The Yawpers turned to Uncle Walt when searching for a moniker to tie their songs to. The term “yawp”—meaning to utter a loud, raucous cry—is rather apt for a band who play gritty, loud American rock music, bringing to mind grease-stained jeans, scuffed black boots, and plenty of spilled, stale beer. “Like it is for most bands, the name is just a placeholder,” vocalist and guitarist Nate Cook says dismissively. “I was burning through a lot of poetry when we formed, and Whitman strikes me as a true American voice. The source work for the name is one of my absolute favorite pieces, and though a bit arcane, the word just seemed to fit.” Almost five years in the making, the band have poured their ambitions into a stellar 12 song debut, American Man, which is finally getting an

So, what’s next for The Yawpers? “We are getting back on the road and touring our asses off for this record,” says the plainspoken Cook. Perhaps a Hemingway quote would have been more apropos?






Embracing this quirky proto-punk ethos has helped turn this misfit band of brothers into legitimate hometown heroes in their native Southern California DIY scene. The band looks to bring their potent blend of avant-garde tunes, fashion and sweaty punk gigs to a larger audience with the release of Haha, and will continue doing whatever the hell they feel like, as usual. “I think everyone has a point of realization,” Shears reveals. “I think ours came in our teenage years, and that was to do what we do, but do it our own way.”



You can hear everything from Meat Puppets to Springsteen in The Yawpers’ songs, but when asked if he has any musical influences that would surprise people, Cook replies, “Oh, I don’t know. Everyone has guilty pleasures, I suppose, but surprise? Not sure. My perfect band would be if Freddie King and RL Burnside backed up a Nick Cave fronted version of the Butthole Surfers.”


Upon first listen, the band—which also includes vocalist Stu McKillop, guitarist

“The most natural and effective way that we usually write is when it feels right and when we can,” Shears says of HaHa’s creative process. “I find that basing things off of gut feeling is usually my personal key to creating something genuine. I would hope that people understand what

it means to be Vada-Vada and how it’s a positive thing. It’s a state of creativity. I think wherever we’ve gone, we’ve gotten a great response regarding that.”

“The Denver music scene is, seriously, blowing up right now,” Cook adds. “Nathaniel Rateliff, In The Whale, Dragondeer, Eldren… I could go on. There’s some serious depth to the scene, and it seems like the world is starting to take note.”


Youth Decay began when members from Comeback Kid and Daggermouth wanted something to do between tours. Guitarist Stu Ross says, “We just wanted to do a fun [project] when we’re home. Drink beer and hang out. That was why we started. Then, after we started playing a bit, we were like, ‘Oh, this is actually pretty good,’ so then, we were like, ‘Okay, maybe we should take it more seriously.’”

known as The Garden—have anything to say about it. The phrase encompasses the band’s no fucks given, anything goes outlook on creative expression and life in general. It also explains the ginormous mashup of musical styles on their new album, the aptly titled Haha, out jointly on Burger and Epitaph Records since Oct. 9. The record jumps back and forth between galloping dance punk, electronic mania, and quasi-spoken word hip hop in a snap. Songs like “Vexation,” “Egg,” and “We Be Grindin’” almost sound like three different bands, but it miraculously all meshes together in a Vada-Vada kind of way.

Ben Gibbs, bassist Dana Edwards, and drummer Loren Legare—sound like they would fit into the pop punk genre, but the further you move through their newest release, The Party’s Over—out Nov. 6 via New Damage Records—it’s clear that they’ve got more going on than the typical Blink-182 soundalike. “There’re definitely elements of pop and there’s definitely elements of pop punk and there’s elements of hardcore and skate punk,” Ross outlines. “Overall, I just like to say we’re a punk band.”

INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST NATE COOK BY JOHN B. MOORE With the new release, Youth Decay worked to arrive at their current sound, one that’s slightly less gritty than what’s on their first EP, Older, Fatter, Drunker. The band took their time refining everything from guitar tones to vocal harmonies, and worked with McKillop at his studio, Rain City Recorders, throughout the entire process. “We did all the tracking pretty hastily [on Older, Fatter, Drunker],” Ross explains. “So, it came out a little grittier than our newest recording, because we were in and out really quick. We had a lot more time and a little more money to play with, so we were able to take our time with [The Party’s Over].” Young musicians often have to work hard to find the right sonic fit, but Youth Decay’s members are seasoned. “Just because the other bands that we are involved with have moderate success doesn’t mean that [Youth Decay] will instantly have that same level of interest for people,” Ross counters. “It’s definitely starting fresh. We are a new band in its infancy at this point.” While that might be scary for those who feel they shouldn’t be starting over by that point in their career, Ross finds the entire

process exciting. “It’s super hands on, and it’s cool, because there’s no real telling where this could go,” he says. “If there is any sort of positive return on [the record], it’s going to be a good feeling to know that we put the effort in to make it happen.”



STEVE VON TILL A Life Unto Itself











When A Will Away began writing the songs for their latest EP, Bliss, earlier this year, the band had one thing on their mind—or rather, not on their mind. “We just stopped caring,” frontman Matt Carlson says matter-offactly.

Naugatuck River Valley thing that you can possibly do,” Carlson says of the band’s blue-collar hometown—and stayed up until the early morning hours writing and making as much noise as they wanted. It turned out to be just what they needed.

At that point, the Connecticut band— Carlson, guitarist Collin Waldron, bassist John McSweeney, and drummer Sean Dibble—were planning to record a full-length, but the songs they wrote for the record left them feeling uninspired. “We wrote it, and it was terrible,” Carlson admits. “I think the problem was we were trying to target an audience that wasn’t really us. We were trying to target an audience that we thought was marketable or a demographic that we might be able to make a splash with, but for whatever reason, it didn’t feel right.”

“It finally came down to, we’re gonna make one release that represents us as musicians and as people,” Carlson recalls. “We’re just going to put ourselves as out there as humanly possible, and it’s going to be entirely, organically us. And we’re not gonna talk about the song structures, and we’re not gonna talk about what we are and aren’t gonna do. We’re just gonna do it, and if it feels good, we’re gonna keep it. I think there’s a point when you realize it doesn’t matter if your music is traditionally marketable or if it’s up to some other genre’s standards. It really just matters that it feels right to play and that it evokes something in somebody else.”

After talking with their then record label, Quiet Fire Media—run by the band, Head North—the band decided to do an EP instead. The band returned to the songs they’d been working on and realized none of them would do. They needed to start from scratch, and they only had three weeks to do it before going into the studio to record. So, they decamped to a factory in Naugatuck— “which is probably the single most

From the response Bliss has gotten since its release in March—plus the band’s recent signing to Triple Crown Records, which is rereleasing the EP in October—the songs are indeed evoking strong feelings from listeners. The band move easily from uptempo pop punk on “Play Dead” to heart-on-sleeve emo


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST LEVI BENTON BY MACIE BENNETT Miss May I formed in 2007 in Troy, Ohio, and have not slowed their pace since, releasing five records in eight years and playing multiple Warped Tours. Miss May I are relevant in metalcore, but their ability to experiment within their genre has earned them a diverse fanbase. Their newest full-length, Deathless, is available now via Rise Records, and they will be touring the U.S. with Parkway Drive until early December. Why did you choose the opening track, “I.H.E.” as the single for Deathless? We wanted people to know that this record was the first time that we were kind of mean. We haven’t been mean in a long time, and we never had a record that showed that side of ourselves. We wanted people to know that it wasn’t just inspirational solos, this time it’s a lot darker.


The song’s lyrics—“I hate everything/I



hate everyone”—are pretty aggressive, but is “I.H.E.” about more than just anger? It’s so weird that that’s the tag on the song, because it’s really out of context unless you really read the song. We’ve always been the nice guys and we’ve been pushed to the edge over the years. What we really wanted to show was that we couldn’t put a smile on our faces any longer. For Deathless, you returned to Joey Sturgis, who produced your first two albums. Were you trying to get back to your roots? We missed the sound of what we had with Joey. We wanted to throw everybody for a curveball. I feel like we were doing this trend, and we wanted to be a band that was different, because everything now is all so predictable and a lot of our peers are going with trends. So, we just thought, “Why don’t we go back with Joey and just release



INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST/VOCALIST MAT T CARLSON BY BRIT TANY MOSELEY that fluctuates between guttural wails and pleasantly sung refrains on “10 or 11.” The EP’s swan song, “Be Easy,” is also the standout track. The chorus is catchy and ripe for singalongs at a pop punk show, but its lyrics offer a closer look into the band’s mindset going into Bliss. “I never got to say goodbye/ But it doesn’t matter/‘Cause it never mattered,” Carlson sings, sounding completely resolute and sure of himself.

explains. “The subtitle of the record is ‘finding comfort in the pointlessness of life.’ It’s a self-indulgent trip down this weird path in the back of your brain where you’re trying to figure out the rights and wrongs, when, all of a sudden, everything turns gray. We took to it, and it spoke to us in a big way.”


“When I say that we stopped caring, the tagline for Bliss is, ‘It doesn’t matter, because it never mattered,” Carlson

a really heavy record?” I think it was a good curveball, because everyone really likes it and it was unexpected. Is the technicality of Deathless’ guitar riffs a style you are trying to stick with or are you just experimenting? We’ve always tried to be technical and change it up, and I think Joey and the engineer Nick [Sampson] really pushed us to make sure it was guitar heavy. We’ve always felt like the old school metal band with long hair, and we were like, “What could we do to take it to next level? Let’s bring riffs back.” Because a lot of our peers are following this trend where a lot of riffs and solos are being left behind. How do you find the time to write new material, especially with touring? We just learned after our last record how to record on tour, and that was a huge thing for us, because we could just demo and track on tour and lay down ideas. We’ve always had ideas, but it was like vocal memos in phones and it got kind of lost in translation. Now that we could all record on computers, we were like, “Oh my God, we can record at a festival in Europe.” So, we had a bunch of material already. We kind of hustled it along, because we had Warped Tour and were like, “We’re not going to do a tour and not have a heavy record this time.” What bands were you listening to that may have had some influence on the album? Vocal-wise, it was Parkway Drive. I knew we were going heavier, and I started working out listening to them in last few years. It’s got a lot of melody for heavy vocals and it inspired me a lot with pit calls and breakdowns. It opened a door for anger I think we never released.




INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST RENE D LA MUERTE BY ANNETTE HANSEN 13 years ago on Halloween, Montreal psychobilly band The Brains began their career as horror tinged rock ‘n’ rollers. As their anniversary approaches, the band have some big things planned. From kicking off a Canadian tour to releasing their seventh full-length album, The Brains have a lot to look forward to this fall. With a mutual love for rock ‘n’ roll and all things creepy, the three piece—featuring singer and guitarist Rene D La Muerte, Bassist Collin The Dead, and drummer Phil The Beast—go above and beyond their psychobilly label, mixing punk, metal, and even Latin styles. “For me, it’s very, very important to play music, not to play a genre,” explains Muerte. “I’m not able to be just in one genre. I like rock ‘n’ roll, but I like metal… I like Latin music too, like meringue, salsa. I put all that together and it just makes The Brains. People labeled us in the beginning—of course, because it has to do with the theme of zombies and rockabilly—but it’s more than that, what we do.” On Oct. 30, the band release their latest fulllength record Out in the Dark via Stomp Records and Sunny Bastards Records. The album features their signature horror themes and genre defying sound, although, the band took a new approach with their latest creation. “This one is a bit different,” Muerte begins. Prior to this most recent record, Muerte had written much of the band’s lyrics, but Collin The Dead offered a new plan this time around. “Collin was like, ‘Hey man, let’s do an album where I write the lyrics,’ and I was like, ‘You know what? If you do that, I’ll write all the music and I’ll do everything else,’” Muerte explains.

He also decided to change things up by writing the album’s music on piano rather than guitar. After creating the songs via a series of back and forth messages, Out in the Dark was born. “Out in the Dark talks a lot about what scares us inside,” Muerte expresses, “and that we can actually grow stronger and kill it. It’s got a lot to do with that horror movie theme, but most of all, it was the work of musicians in the studio. That’s why I’m really proud of this album.” The Brains plan to hit the road starting in Quebec City on Oct. 29. The band are known for their tight and polished live shows. They hope to offer their listeners a show that is equally genuine and entertaining on the upcoming dates. “We’re real. When we’re on stage, it’s us,” describes Muerte. “What you’re seeing is a rock ‘n’ roll show. What you’re seeing is a super good singer, a super good bass player, a super good drummer. The energy that every song brings out that people connect with, we connect with them. That’s what it is: it’s rock ‘n’ roll.” The band also hope to take their live shows south of the Canadian border. “I’m looking forward to going to the [United States],” Muerte notes. “It’s like, all these places have fans and it’s been five, six years since we’ve been down there.” With new music and new shows just in time for the spooky season, the band are feeling pretty good as they begin this next chapter in their career. Muerte muses, “It’s perfect, because it’s 13 years of The Brains on Halloween when [Out In The Dark] comes out. It’s pretty amazing how life is.”



INTERVIEW WITH STEVE MOORE AND A.E. PATERRA BY BRANDON RINGO Since their emergence over a decade ago with their debut, Cosmos, the Pittsburgh, Pa., duo of synth player and bassist Steve Moore and drummer A.E. Paterra have been somewhat of an anomaly. Zombi are signed to Relapse Records, but do no play extreme metal. They utilize horror-inspired synth, but don’t play “horror music.” What they do play is badass synth-driven instrumental rock… from space. After a long hiatus followed by a tour with their idols Goblin, the band are revitalized, and their recently released fifth full-length Shape Shift is a perfect soundtrack for interdimensional travel in a 1970 Chevy Nova. What sparked the songwriting process for Shape Shift, and what was your mindset like going into that process? SM: We had been sporadically trading ideas back and forth via email for a couple years, as we did with our last two albums, but we weren’t really happy with the way that was going. In December of 2013, we were asked to open for Goblin on tour [and] that was the inspiration we needed. After tour, we were so pumped, we scrapped a lot of the ideas we had been trading via email, got together in my basement, and jammed like we used to back in the Cosmos and Surface to Air days. We went into the writing process with a level of confidence I hadn’t felt in a while, and I think it shows in the music. How do the other projects you’re involved in affect the songwriting process for Zombi? AEP: Our songwriting for Shape Shift wasn’t affected at all by our solo endeavors. Shape Shift was the two of us writing together on our respective instruments; I rarely start anything I write with drums, and I’ve only heard bass from Steve on a couple of his solo recordings. With Spirit Animal and Escape Velocity, we were file sharing, and writing for this album warped us back to 2006 or so, back to the days when we lived in the same city and our instruments shared the same space. I like Escape Velocity and Spirit Animal—I think they’re good albums, and I don’t want to dismiss them as albums that weren’t “us”—but they weren’t indicative of music we would necessarily write when we’re sitting across from one another in a room.

SM: In the beginning, we’d get together in one of our apartments or our practice space and write together. Sometimes, I’d bring in an idea, sometimes Tony would have an idea, then, we’d build and arrange by jamming and seeing what works. As we mentioned, the last couple albums were written remotely; we’d record demos individually then trade back and forth. Which was fun, but by the time we were working on Escape Velocity, we were coming up with such fully formed demos on our own that there wasn’t much room for collaboration. But with Shape Shift, almost every track was sort of spontaneously generated by improvising together. I hate to keep using the term “jamming,” but I don’t know how else to put it, and besides, the ‘90s are back. Does creating music without guitars open the doors wider sonically to what kind of sounds you can create, or does it make it more difficult? AEP: There was a time when we first started where we felt we needed to have a guitarist in the band. The idea of playing as a duo was very foreign to both of us at the time. We played with a few people, but in the end, it was so much easier for us to write on our own, and we just started playing shows as a duo and kept it that way. There’s a certain musical background and style we’d want out of a guitarist, and it wasn’t easy for us to find someone we jived with. To me, it makes the live end of things a little more difficult, as it would be easier to make our sound bigger and give us a little more freedom, but at the same time, it pushes us to fill that space on our own and we both like that challenge. It’s always nice to hear when people are amazed at the sound we emit with two people live. Is the darker sound of Shape Shift something that you set out to do specifically? SM: Interesting… To me, it doesn’t feel as dark as our other albums. To me, it feels more austere and powerful. It makes me want to do pull-ups or drive a high performance vehicle really fast. We basically didn’t have any preconceptions about how we wanted the album to sound, it came together in a very natural way.





Hooded Menace’s upcoming fourth album couldn’t be named any more perfectly. Darkness Drips Forth—due out Oct. 30 via Relapse Records—perfectly describes the Finnish band’s horror fueled death and doom mash-up. The album sounds like a slow motion slaughterhouse, as Hooded Menace has gone further down the doom route. Its festering evil is oppressive, but that doesn’t stop Darkness Drips Forth from being one hell of a good time for horror and extreme metal fans.

Fortunately for Hooded Menace’s fans, the Finnish group has been prolific, releasing quite a few EPs, splits, and a compilation, not to mention three full-lengths in four years. Guitarist Lasse Pyykkö discusses the difficulties of continuing to release material: “I was a little bit afraid it’d be difficult, to be

Darkness Drips Forth was a first for the band in two ways. It is the first full-length that they recorded as a unified band, and it was the first time they recorded outside Finland. Hooded Menace traveled to Skyhammer Studios in the U.K. to work with the excellent Chris Fielding. Makkonen states that Fielding was able to bring in some fresh views on how things sound, and it’s clear that the outside production gave Hooded Menace’s sound an added layer. The songs are still haunting and melodic, but the instruments are clear and powerful, coming together to produce the best Hooded Menace product yet. Hooded Menace are massive horror fans, and utilize “The  Blind Dead”  series as de facto mascots, much in the way Iron Maiden uses Eddie. This is apparent in the beautiful cover artwork over the band’s career. While previous albums dealt with horror and horror homages more directly, the band decided to go in a bit of a different direction with Darkness Drips Forth. Makkonen


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST JAKE SPEK BY THOMAS PIZZOLA Nervous are a ripping noise punk trio from Oakland, Calif. The band—vocalist and guitarist Jake Spek, drummer Jacob Harris, and bassist Conrad Nichols—dropped their sophomore record, Duration and Delusion, as a joint release between Twelve Gauge Records and Spek’s newly formed Turbulent Records on Oct. 23.

different: less poppy, noisier, angrier. We also wrote Duration and Delusion with our bass player Conrad, whereas the songwriting was basically done with just Jacob and I, on the self-titled album. It is similar in that I think it still does have what stands out about Nervous as a band from the self-titled album, and expands upon it.

How is Duration and Delusion different from your self-titled debut? How is it similar? I would say that, sonically, it is much

What issues were you trying to address with the lyrics for the new album? Going into writing Duration and Delusion, I really wanted to approach it as a holistic






Bassist Markus Makkonen states that the band’s slower direction was quite natural. “Things went quite naturally toward more extreme outcome this time,” he says, “as like a counter effect or something. I mean, Effigies of Evil had a lot of that Cathedral-esque ‘rocking’ vibe, whereas the new one simply does not rock at all. Instead of chugging, this album rather crawls. Making darkness like this just felt very natural. I don’t know if we ‘aimed’ it to be our slowest record, but it just turned out to be like that, with natural evolution.”

honest, but once the first song was down, I became a bit more aware of the direction I was going into, and the rest of the songs came together quite painlessly.” Hooded Menace— and their fans—are blessed to have the band at their creative apex, both in quality and quantity. It’s a rare ability to be able to churn out such impressive music with such speed, even if the music is anything but fast.

states, “Horror is pretty much the subject in everything we do, lyrically. In the past, our lyrics have been pretty straightforward, movie script like in their style. This time, we decided to cypher things a bit and go for a little bit more absurd and abstract way of storytelling. Now, we would rather paint images with our lyrics than simply tell spooky stories. We experimented with this kind of direction with ‘Monuments of Misery,’ a song that appeared on a recent split with Loss, and it just felt like the right path to go with the whole album too.” The darkness of the stories plays into the doomier sound of the album, creating a wonderfully symbiotic relationship between the music and lyrics.

The band are set to tour across Europe in December with Mourning Beloveth and Shores Of Null, and the results are sure to be crushing. Although there is nothing planned, Hooded Menace are hoping to get back to the U.S. at some point, as their 2014 Maryland Deathfest performance is still being discussed. Consider yourselves lucky, Europe. In the meantime, fans Stateside can enjoy the audio equivalent of the most beautiful horror movie imaginable. Let the darkness drip forth!

piece about time, how we perceive time, how it shapes how we conduct ourselves in society, and how we look at and apply history to our understanding of things. From reproduction of capital and time as a resource, down to our masculinized understanding and fables about it—Father Time, etc.

the same things. We work together and live together and create together, so it’s really just natural that we tour together. We are getting to a place where we are putting a lot of focus on the band and are ready to tour more than previously. Short answer: definitely more than we have been.

What was your motivation for starting Turbulent Records? What are your plans for it? Ultimately, I just want to expose bands that I really love to people. Same as other labels, really. My interests are bands that are radically minded and confrontational, sonically or otherwise. I want to move away from the straight white guy-centric music industry that is so alienating toward people who are marginalized even in alternative spaces. My plans are to put out records by real freaks who hate society for real freaks who hate society; whether that comes out through screams and cries or through humor. Are there plans to do any touring once the record comes out? We just got back from a month long European tour and it was so incredible; we love each other and hate so many of


How important is it to keep the band as DIY as possible? To me, more important than this idea of DIY, is to move things in a more radical and anti-capitalist direction. I am OK with letting people do things with and for us as long as we have an understanding that we are working in a direction to bring words of insurrection to people. DIY is only as effective as we are individually, where I think that working with people who are better than I/we are at specific things can be beneficial.

What is the current music scene in Oakland like? Scary as hell and I love it. There is some truly terrifying confrontational queer freaky music happening in Oakland and I absolutely love it. Sounds of resistance in a place that needs it so badly right now.




I N T ER V I E W W I TH D R UMMER S COT T BAT IST E BY HUTC H Oakland, Calif.’s Saviours—a band gaining momentum by the second—are unleashing their fifth full-length album, Palace of Vision, Oct. 30. After a litany of singles and three albums on Kemado Records, the band moved to Listenable Records to continue melding all facets of classic metal. Their newest record is big, unearthing a heavy, thunderous low end which propels amazing gallops and lead shreds. Epic in a true sense. Scott Batiste pummels drums for Saviours. He says of new bassist, Andy Anderson, “He has been with us since summer 2014. He’s a ripper and fits right in.” The chemistry from a year of touring before they hit the studio is evident. While Anderson had some songwriting input, guitarist Sonny Reinhardt provided the bulk of the writing. With songs written, they entered the studio with a proven formula. Batiste explains the regiment: “For the last two records in the studio, we’ve done the ‘song per day’ program. [We] do a whole song every day top to bottom, from basic tracks—which we’ll do live—to overdubs and vocals. When everything is tracked, you mix. We generally work a little faster than one a day. I think we did 10 songs in eight or nine days this time. It works well for us. [Vocalist and guitarist] Austin [Barber] is only singing a little bit each day. We’re not listening to four straight days of guitar solos. It keeps everything in perspective song by song; you can really focus on the feel and the tones of every song. It takes a little more time and you need a decent size studio to accommodate having all the live stuff set up. [Producer] Billy [Anderson] was a little unsure of doing it this way, but we were pretty stubborn about making it work. In the end, I think he was stoked on it. He got killer sounds, great performances with the vocals and the solos. He’s a wizard.” Saviours admit the sounds of Thin Lizzy, Motörhead, and Dio-era Sabbath raised them, but no one could accuse these dudes

of resting on their forefathers’ formulas. There are chugging riffs, enabling comparisons to Iron Maiden on “The Beast Remains” and thrash on “The Devil’s Crown.” Or check the album’s closer, “The Seeker,” for down-tuned doom metal sway. Unique flavor and unfettered talent fuel the furious tracks on Palace of Vision. “We have more riffs than we know what do to with,” Batiste attests. “If a riff sounds like it might be too ‘familiar,’ we’ll make changes. If not, we just drop it. We’re our own worst critics in that regard.” Consistently topping themselves, aiming for progression at each turn, Saviours’ labor has reaped quite an album. “I just heard this album on headphones for the first time,” Batiste reveals. “There’s a lot of cool shit going on with the mix that Billy did. I hope some people will experience that. Ben Teeter, [ex-U.S. Christmas], did some synth stuff throughout that is pretty insane too. Live, it’ll be leaner and meaner and more of a kick in the teeth.” That anticipation to expose these strong tracks to the fans will be rewarded when they tour with Corrosion Of Conformity, Nov. 16 to Dec. 10. Afterwards, they tour with Christian Mistress with dates in the South. They get a break for Christmas, then hit Europe in February, with additional festivals scheduled in June. “I’m amazed at some of the things we’ve been able to do and places we’ve gone with this band,” Batiste states. “Everything from being super out of place on Ozzfest to playing subterranean, anarchist, cave bars in France to smoking joints and drinking hot beer in deserted sniper towers on the Latvia/Lithuania border. We’ve made some great lifelong friends all over the world playing music. We don’t have any delusions of grandeur. We’ll just keep doing it as long as we like doing it.”





For Canadians, Victory Records’ Erimha have been spending an awful lot of time in the U.S. lately. But rather than heading to the ballpark to catch a Phillies game or chowing down on greasy fast food while at the Super Bowl, they’ve been touring in support of their sophomore release, 2013’s Reign Through Immortality. As a matter of fact, they’ve toured so much for that record and their 2010 debut Irkalla that a brand new full-length entitled Thesis Ov Warfare was born in the process. It may be a “road baby,” but this vicious problem child comes with a professional level of maturity that vastly overshadows their previous releases. The “ov” in Thesis Ov Warfare seems to denote a Crowleyian leaning. Are the songs rooted in the occult? Erimha has always been tainted by the occult. In the past, we’ve always used fictional stories to let different internal convictions flow through the music, but on this record, we felt it was more personal and aimed directly to the basic situations we were living in. Certainly, the album lets some inspirations like [Aleister] Crowley shine through, and probably many other great minds of our time. What was it like working with Ken Sorceron—vocalist and guitarist of Abigail Williams—on the orchestration for this record? For everyone who knows Ken, I would say it was “Greasy” [smiles]. But, all kidding aside, Ken has always been someone we’ve highly respected for his work in different bands, and after many discussions with him on tour, it was no question. Ken was the mind that we needed for this record. Do you consider your music to be black metal or “blackened metal”? What are some of your influences? In fact, we don’t consider the band a black metal act. Some of us grew up listening to Norwegian black metal or even Cradle Of Filth or Behemoth, but then, some of us grew up with Lamb Of God, Slipknot, Pantera, etc. Regarding of the genre we play, we never consider our music to be based on something precise. We are really open toward musical genres to integrate





in what we do, and Erimha is based on exploring beyond our boundaries and unknown places. You’ve mentioned how traveling since Reign Through Immortality has helped you free your mind musically. Are you referring to literally touring, or a more figurative travel in which you searched for new ideas to broaden your horizons? It’s a mix of both, actually! We, of course, physically traveled a lot in the U.S and drove thousands of miles, but we like to take a look at what you can learn from it. Being away from our normal nine to five jobs or just the overwhelming presence of society leads you to question a lot of things. It’s a really awesome feeling that hits you right on the spot, but then, you get back home and everything is normal again. It’s always weird to balance both worlds. Do any of the lyrics on Thesis Ov Warfare stem from personal experience? Every song on Thesis Ov Warfare is based on a personal matter. Some of us had to go through different situations at home and, for a while, it was certainly getting to us on the road. This album was an outlet for our rage. I think the album itself is our understanding and acceptance of these situations over the last four years. What have you learned from touring with other bands, or just about life on the road in general? We actually did three U.S. runs for Reign… from ‘13 to ’15, and it’s just overwhelming. There are so many unknown aspects of touring that, when you’re plunged into it and have the actual chance to challenge yourself, it’s amazing. To meet other bands is always something interesting and you’ll never know if you’re going to hit up a douchebag, a rockstar, or just an amazing dude who will become a good friend. But, for us, the highlight of touring is the unknown, where you are confronted with the best and worst parts of yourself. To us, it’s the journey that matters more than the destination.






INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST MIKEY DEMUS BY GABI CHEPURNY Skindred has been around the block more than a few times. As the band moves closer to its 20th birthday, guitarist Mikey Demus recounts how it all began: “Four very different guys who didn’t go to school together or grow up together ended up spending 15 years circumnavigating every music-hungry corner of the globe, driven by a love for distorted guitars, a heavy beat, and a relentless need to keep going. We’ve played just about every club, arena, shithole—and a few stadiums for good measure—we could get our grubby little hands on, seen bands, fads, scenes, and cliques come and go, been put on a pedestal, dropped like a bad habit, won, lost, fought, loved, around and around and around the world, and lived to tell the tale.” While the band—which also includes lead singer Benji Webbe, bassist Dan Pugsley, drummer Arya Goggin, and DJ Dan Sturgess—always had a general idea of what their sound should be, the members have incorporated more than a few different influences throughout Skindred’s lifetime. One of them, the biggest and possibly most surprising, is the band’s physical location. Demus says, “The band has obviously evolved a bit over the years. I think coming back to the U.K. had a big impact on our sound; our identity became a bit more solid. We knew who we were all of a sudden. At least, it feels like that now. Whenever I write at home, I’m always thinking about how it’s going to work live. What kind of song is it going to be, what’s the feel, how will the tempo or riff affect the crowd? Our live show is so important, songs have to stand up to a certain vibe. At the moment, I’m all about the riff. I think we all are. That may change in the future, but I feel like we’re in a really good, edgy place right now.”




The chronic evolution of sound and the band as a whole has brought them to where they are today, with their newest release, Volume, out Oct. 30 via Napalm Records. “Sonically, we always want it to be crushing, always,” Demus says. “I think we get closer to that every time we record. Working with the same producer really helps; there’re less surprises and a bit more familiarity with what we and our instruments can and can’t do. That was a bit worrying at first, but now, I’m really happy with where we’re at. If we made another album like Volume next time, at least in terms of attitude and direction, I think we’d all be pretty stoked.” For those who have seen the band live, it’s the onstage energy that may be Skindred’s most defining characteristic, and there’s a reason for that. “The will to keep going!” Demus exclaims. “It’s strange, even writing a little history of the band for this interview has been a real reminder for me. The things we’ve seen and done, our shared experiences, good and bad. We’ve had so many amazing things happen for us over the years, and more than our fair share of bullshit and heartbreak too. A lesser group of guys would have probably called it quits a long time ago, for one reason or another. It’s quite rare to find a band who’ve been going the length of time we have without losing a few guys along the way. I’m so proud of us for staying the course. I think we all love this band so much, and can’t really imagine our lives without it. We all have so much energy and time vested in Skindred. I’ve spent almost my entire adult life doing this.”



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST DAMIAN HERRING BY BRANDON RINGO Over the course of their relatively short career, Horrendous have already proven to be a crown jewel of American death metal. On their first album, The Chills, they showed that Swedish death metal doesn’t have to be made in Sweden. On 2014’s hands down album of the year, Ecdysis, they took the genre to incredible new heights in terms of melody and genuine heaviness. Now, just a year later, the band are releasing Anareta Oct. 27 via Dark Descent Records. The album takes elements of Ecdysis and injects even more vitriol, texture, and neck-snapping riffs, going even further to prove that they are one of the most important bands in the USDM scene. How soon after recording Ecdysis did you begin writing Anareta? I don’t specifically remember the first writing session for Anareta, but writing actually began before Ecdysis was released. Some of the ideas on this new record were actually written prior to the Ecdysis recording sessions, but most of the record was written post-Ecdysis, as you’d expect. Did beginning work on this album immediately, rather than having to tour the world for two or three years supporting Ecdysis first make the process more enjoyable or cathartic? We don’t know what it’s like to tour the world for a couple years, or even to tour at all, but it sounds like it can get to be pretty exhausting. With our particular way of writing songs, I don’t think we would get very much done if we had to write while on the road, so, in that sense, our freedom is conducive to us being able to compose and record in a timely and enjoyable manner. That said, our group writing for the album was done during a handful of sessions, so I don’t think playing a few more shows would have held us back too much. Did you have a particular sound in mind for Anareta?

I don’t think we had any specific vision for the sound other than the fact that we wanted to continue to improve and write even better music than we had before, something even bigger, and more powerful. We want to go wherever our music naturally takes us during the writing process, and are excited to see what happens. After receiving so much praise for the badass Ecdysis, did you feel any pressure to top it? Yes and no. It’s awesome to see and feel that praise for something you’ve worked so hard on, but well-received albums also lead to fans developing high expectations. We, of course, want to live up to that and deliver an album that exceeds expectations. On the other hand, we are able to mostly ignore those pressures, because we have our own intrinsic drive to improve at our craft, and we are confident that our best effort will be more than enough. We are always looking to get better, so this force supersedes any outside pressures. Ecdysis was about evolution. Is Anareta a continuation of those themes, or are the two albums separate entities? I think the lyrics on Anareta are more personal in their explorations of the negative spaces that inhabit the subconscious. There are exceptions on the album, of course, but the general lyrical themes explore the crisis of the self and the worlds—physical and psychological—in which we are forced to live. Ecdysis was different in that it was more focused on external sources of alienation and repression, and the music often expressed the desire to transcend them. I think the music on Anareta is more of a reflection of the manic experience of struggling with identity and coming to terms with one’s place in the universe.


The Phage—“pronounced like ‘F + Asia,’ minus the ‘uh’” vocalist William Keegan clarifies—deals with the cabin fever so many road warriors encounter while touring for months upon months. It can become a blur for any band, and Keegan is quick to note “border crossings and anywhere on the 10 freeway” as big areas where the insanity—or phage—takes over. “Just jokes on jokes on jokes until everything is a big confusing mess,” he continues. “Sometimes, we use Marc Maron[‘s ‘WTF’ podcast] to calm the phage or books on tape. ‘Coast to Coast [AM’ with George Noory] is good for phage calming.” The band relate their cabin fever to an infectious phage gradually taking over their minds, much like the

first season episode of ‘Star Trek Voyager’ that the title gleefully references. “It’s a coincidence that the album’s lyrics fit with the episode, but we all agree that they do end up fitting,” Keegan admits. In order to combat this psychosis, the band took a simple approach to recording, one that wouldn’t see them spend years toiling away as was the case on 2014’s Badillac. “The idea was to simplify,” Keegan states. “There are very few overdubs. Badillac had at least five guitars on every track. The Phage has two guitars with the occasional acoustic guitar. Also, we limited the amount of time that we spent on everything.” To help achieve this vision, the band sought out the production work of famed musician Tommy Stinson. They had come in contact with Stinson after opening for The Replacements at an L.A. show. Due to Stinson’s limited availability, the band hastily pulled together their material. Once in the studio, Stinson’s productions techniques really took shape and helped the band flesh out their ideas naturally and




After a year off, together PANGEA have returned more raucous than ever despite a new, shockingly simple approach. On their latest EP, The Phage—out Oct. 16 on Burger Records—the California outfit returns with six tracks serving as a standalone musical statement that illustrates everything that have made them so beloved over the years.

INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST WILLIAM KEEGAN BY DOUG NUNNALLY swiftly. Keegan elaborates, “Tommy chose most of the gear that we used, amps mainly. He wanted it to sound live to get as much energy across as we could. I think that we did a couple of takes of each song and usually kept the first take.” In only a few days, The Phage was completed and allowed the band to break

I found I had two records: New York Before the War being the more immediate, more accessible in some ways, and Outsiders being a little heavier, a little darker, and maybe a bit more damaged. There are [no] rules, no album cycles—that’s one of the freedoms of the 2015 bullshit music business modern reality. Was the raw sound of Outsiders a conscious choice? It was done fast and reckless, trying to catch a moment. Producer Don DiLego pushed me to let go and be fearless. It reminded me a bit of how I made my first record, even though I was a lot more frightened back then. 

INTERVIEW BY JOHN B. MOORE Jesse Malin has been a hardcore kid, a glam rocker, and a solo troubadour worthy of a Springsteen duet. Though his new songs are a bit quieter than those from his Heart Attack or D Generation days, a strong punk rock vibe still runs throughout his music. Nowhere is that more apparent than on his current record, Outsiders, a collection of raw, sometimes dark tales of hope and despair that’s available via One Little Indian and Velvet Elk Records. Recorded deep in the Pennsylvania woods, the album comes out just months after his last release, New York Before the War. With the




floodgates flung open, don’t be surprised if there’s more new music on the way soon. Were some of these songs initially intended for the recent New York Before the War or were you just feeling particularly inspired? From writer’s block, a D Generation reunion, insecurities and mental breakdowns, it became a huge floodgate that opened up and I found myself with about three records worth of material. After recording them in different places, with some of the same musicians and some different,

Is there a general theme that ties these songs together? The theme would probably be characters who have a lot of beauty and personality in their hearts, but are fucked up and find themselves struggling to keep it together. Musically, I wanted something more rhythmic. Even though we would rock, I wanted it to swing a little bit more than usual. I wanted the heartbreak to feel like there was no consciousness to it. Live and deal with it as it comes. It’s been almost five years since the last D Generation reunion, but you released a Record Store Day album earlier this year. Are there future plans for the band? We just did a festival in Spain with ZZ Top

their maddening cycle. It’s a record that they’re eager for fans to discover. Keegan clarifies that it shouldn’t be taken as a hint about their future musical direction, but he admits their next LP, like The Phage, will be “a little different than anything we’ve done before.”


and L7. We have a bunch of songs recorded and an album that will hopefully come out at some point. The reunion shows were a lot of fun, but we also recorded about 25 songs for future release in the twilight zone. What’s next for you?  I hope to tour with my band—who I’m so excited to be playing with—in support of Outsiders, and just this whole new kind of rebirth of my career. Getting out on the front lines and out in the crowd with some of the old fans, as well as supporting some new groups and going to some places that I’ve never been, both artistically and geographically. Keep it going, stay out of a straight job, and try to stay moving for as long as I can. 







Nate Allen is best known as one half of the prolific folk punk duo Destroy Nate Allen, in which he crafts infectious anthems to lift spirits and destroy pretentions alongside his wife and constant collaborator Tessa Rhyne Allen. The pair has over 15 releases and nearly 1000 intimate, inspirational, unforgettable shows under their Technicolor belts. Now, for the first time since 2006, Allen has stepped out on his own to self-release a solo record, Take Out the Trash, featuring his backing band The PacAway Dots. “Take Out the Trash would not have happened without Tessa telling me start a side-project,” he assures. “Her role this time was mostly as a sounding board— at least at first—but, as is often the case, I roped her in more than intended. She ended up playing bass on a tour and the record eventually swallowed part of our life.” “It wasn’t intentional, but Take Out the Trash has, in some ways, become a personal statement to take out my own trash and invite others to do the same,” Allen explains. “At the end of 2012, I was running into walls. My ‘can’t stop, won’t stop’ defaults were not healthy in any way. I had hoped to process and grow privately, but I wrote an album instead.” This “trash” comes in two principle forms. The first? “I’m basically a workaholic with a stress addiction when I am unchecked,” he admits. “I have a deep desire to feel secure and validated by peers through my work, and I’ll go to extreme lengths to earn this. I was definitely on the tip of that mess when I wrote Take Out the Trash.” Secondly, “Roseburg, Ore., where I grew up, was very white, conventional, and fear based,” he says. “I was definitely a product of this thinking, as well as the victim of some abuses in our tiny town. I would say I’m on a journey out of insular thinking and healing as a result.” “Jump forward to 2013,” he continues, “and I was fortunate to be involved in some very specific discussions about racism while I




O ’ D E A T H

was writing Take Out the Trash. As I processed my part, I had new understandings of how (white) privileged I am. I’m pretty sensitive and really hate to see people harmed or marginalized, so when I’m part of the problem and I realize it, I am both convicted, heartbroken, and—often— moved to action.” That action took the form of 10 challenging tracks that invite listeners to question their perspectives and open their hearts and minds. Allen produced and recorded Take Out the Trash in his basement in SE Portland, with Tyson Kingrey engineering and adding drums and “fancy” guitar tracks, then handed it off to Rob Bartleson at Haywire Recording for mastering. “There is a line in the song ‘Social Equality’ that sums up my goal for …Trash,” Allen says. “‘The ideas that correspond with all that we’ve done wrong we are all free to exchange.’ I want to give people permission to turn from broken patterns towards health. I believe we are all in a growth process and can make choices to live better lives.” True to form as a perpetual nomad, Allen will be touring the Midwest in October and taking the record out west later in the year. “Touring so much has altered how I view and do life,” he adds. “Initially, that brought a basic maturity to me as a person and performer, but […] the more I soaked in different cultures the more I gained. It is really incredible to see the diversity and uniqueness of each place. I look at each differing experience as a gift that shapes me in some way.” Allen concludes, “Releasing Take Out the Trash was loaded with life lessons, growth, and tears, so I’d love to say I have a big break planned, but I’m gonna start working on ‘Nate the Video Game’ again soon, and I’ve already demoed out loads of songs, so my plate is full. My life is a mix of making lists, and then discarding my nonessential ideas.”


e Fortman, Klaus Eichstadt, L to R: Whitfield Crane, Dav o Shannon Larkin, and Sonny May Cordell Crockett, Zac Morris,

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INTERVIEW WITH DARON BECK AND JON TEAGUE BY MIKE GAWORECKI It was an auspicious sign when Texas based outfit Pinkish Black signed to Relapse Records in December of last year. Pinkish Black’s first release for Relapse is their third full-length album, Bottom of the Morning, out Oct. 30, and they feel very comfortable at their new home. “We felt like, before, we were marketed only towards metal, but Relapse, we feel like they know exactly what to do with us,” says vocalist, keyboardist, and synth master Daron Beck. The title of the album started as a joke, drummer Jon Teague says, but it’s actually taken on quite bleak significance for the two bandmates. “It just popped up when both of us were sitting here feeling terrible,” he says. “Yeah, Jon came up with it,” Beck says. “I have a problem with getting sick in the mornings a lot of times, and my remedy is to sit in the floor of the bathtub, sit in the shower basically. That’s basically what I consider ‘bottom of the morning’: when you’re just waking up and you’re sick and you’re needing to go to work and you’re just filled with dread and you’re just laying in a puddle trying to make yourself feel normal. That’s ‘bottom of the morning.’ But, yeah, it started as a joke.” Once they explain it that way, it goes from being a funny turn of phrase to a metaphor for the entire band itself. The music the pair makes is dark and doomy and visceral, but also spacey and atmospheric at the same time. It connects on multiple levels, just like the dark joke that is their album’s title. “I think it’s worked into all of our music, because it’s something we’ve had to deal with in the past,” Beck says. “I’ve been to the hospital numerous times over the past years. Jon’s had his own medical issues as well. We’re pretty happy people, but we have a lot of things in life that we have to deal with. Things like sickness and just life in general work their way into our music, for sure.” Beck doesn’t mention the misfortune the two have with: they were originally the “doom jazz” trio The



most obvious had to deal two-thirds of Great Tyrant,


but the band came to a tragic end in February 2010 when bassist Tommy Atkins tragically committed suicide. They’re finally releasing the album recorded during that era, The Trouble with Being Born, on Relapse alongside Bottom of the Morning. Just like they can joke about the “bottom of the morning,” Teague and Beck see the release of The Trouble with Being Born as a way to make peace with the loss of their former bandmate. “We feel as though having the actual album out to discuss, rather than just the repercussions of that band ending, is a better way to discuss the whole story,” Beck says. “It’s like finishing a puzzle sort of, putting all the pieces in their place. It’s something that was hanging over our heads. We like the songs that were on the album. We wanted to continue to play them, but we didn’t want to continue to be The Great Tyrant without Tommy. You can’t play a lot of those songs without him. But we wanted to get the songs out there somewhere. We feel like this is the most respectful way to address the whole subject, by having it all come out, to just talk about it, talk about the album itself.” The band does plan to play one song from The Trouble with Being Born, “Handhelder,” on their fall tour with Relapse labelmates Zombi. It’s hard to think of a better tourmate for Pinkish Black than Zombi, except maybe Italian prog rock cult heroes Goblin, whom Pinkish Black opened for on a North American tour last year. Teague and Beck are both grateful to have connected with such likeminded bands. “We play goth shows and the goth kids are like, ‘What are those metal guys doing up there?’ And we play metal shows and the metal kids are like, ‘What are those goth guys doing up there?’’ Beck says. “The fact that we’ve gotten to tour with Goblin and we’re about to tour with Zombi is pretty phenomenal. We’re definitely kindred spirits, so we’re very fortunate to have hooked up with them.”


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST COLIN YOUNG BY JAMES ALVAREZ Twitching Tongues drop their massive new album, Disharmony, Oct. 30 on Metal Blade Records. Led by the Young brothers, Colin and Taylor, this Los Angeles wrecking crew have been galvanizing mosh pits in the hardcore underworld for years. Now, with their third album and Metal Blade debut hitting shelves, the band is set to bring their infectious amalgamation of hardcore and metal to a whole new level. Heads up, this record is a monster. “Overall, that’s always the goal, you know? Write the absolute best thing that you’re capable of,” vocalist Colin Young says of Disharmony’s many gargantuan qualities. Anthemic songs, killer production, eye popping cover art—Twitching Tongues’ new record has all the bases covered. “Aside from hardcore, punk, and metal, pretty much every genre of music is currently only out to write a song or two that is good enough to sell their record,” Young laments. “The art of creating a full, cohesive album listening experience in popular music is dead. If I don’t like track nine as much as I like track one, I’ll feel that we failed. In this case, every song is special for different reasons.” Disharmony is a ginormous hodgepodge of different extreme music genres, influenced by the band’s years of touring, personal strife, heartbreak, and listening to copious amounts of King Diamond. The result is a darker, technically precise, and thematically epic collection of songs that is sure to put Twitching Tongues on the tips of everyone else’s. The opening title track goes from creepy synth to hardcore beatdown to Slayer thrash, all mixed with Young’s contagious vocals. And that’s just track one. “Aside from a few of the solos, all of the music was written just by Taylor and I,” Young explains. “All coming from different influences and ideas of the general atmosphere we wanted to make for each song. Whether it be super aggressive throughout [“Disharmony”], a doom ballad [“Love Conquers None”], or a fast, brutal New York/Japanese

hardcore song [“Cannibal”]. Then, we work around the idea and build on each draft.” The result is an incredibly diverse and enthralling record that feels fresh and different at every turn. “In the grand scheme, it’s a doomy death metal album disguised by a singin’ buffoon,” Young says. A buffoon who sounds like a million bucks. Chalk this up to Taylor Young’s ingenious production job. Yes, aside from his duties as Twitching Tongues’ guitarist and skin basher in Nails, the other Young brother is also a burgeoning music producer and engineer, having spent time behind the boards with Xibalba and ACxDC to name a few. Taylor has produced all of Twitching Tongues’ previous records, but on Disharmony, he’s truly outdone himself. “I completely agree that it is the best overall sound he’s achieved recordingwise,” Young gushes. “I am obsessed with the way it sounds. It sounds as big as a modern metal record without sounding as fake as they normally would.” The other benefit of writing and recording with your own brother at The Pit Studios in Van Nuys, Calif.? “I live there as well,” Young reveals. “I can wake up at noon and go record a song in my boxers.” From the epic title track—and its eerie music video that’s currently lighting up YouTube—to infectious numbers like “Love Conquers None” or “Insatiable Sin” that are packed with hooks for days, Disharmony is bound to turn heads when it drops on the band’s new home, Metal Blade Records. “We were asked to sign with the label after our pal [guitarist] Andy [Williams] from some band called Every Time I Cry… Or Every Time I Lie… I can’t think of it right now, but anyway, he recommended us to Metal Blade CEO Brian Slagel,” Young explains. “It was a great decision and we’re looking forward to the future with them.” Same here, Mr. Young. Same here.













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INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST MATTY MCKINNEY BY JOHN B. MOORE Despite putting out one of the best punk albums of 2010, Old Haunts on the Horizons, many assumed the last few years of inactivity signaled the end of Seattle punks The Hollowpoints. Hell, singer and guitarist Matty McKinney was among those who assumed the band was probably D.O.A. But after some rough times—including a struggle with drugs—the band are finally back with a new record, Rocket to Rainier, out now on Sailor’s Grave Records. It’s a blistering baker’s dozen of loud, melodic punk rock singalongs, worthy of its predecessor. It’s no coincidence that the album shares a title similar to the Ramones classic, as Hollowpoints has managed to channel that same frenetic energy as their East Coast brethren. What have you guys been up to since the last record? We’ve all been through some really substantial changes in our lives. I’ve personally had to try to grow; I tried the drug thing and, as usual, that didn’t work. It never does, but that’s an area in my life that I’ve worked hard to keep those demons at bay. The record itself describes much of what we have lived through over the past five years—addiction and lost love—but also we’ve had some happiness for sure! We’ve added some new little members to the Hollowpoints family: [drummer] Dan [Colley] and [guitarist] Will [McCarthy] are fathers now and [bassist] Benny [Early] is soon to be! Did you ever consider breaking up? We did consider breaking up. Definitely, when I was walking through hell on my own, we weren’t practicing much and it seemed like this record would never get out. We finally decided to make a final stab




at it. We practiced real hard, man, kinda put ourselves through musical boot camp to try to clean things up a bit. Why was now the right time to come back with a new record? Honestly, I’m not sure now is the best time. We did have a European tour that we wanted to have it for, but that was cancelled unfortunately. So, now, we are going to try to do some showcase style shows and tour a little before the year is over. What was the inspiration behind Rocket to Rainier? A lot of what I was describing before. I hope and feel like a lot of these songs are very identifiable to anyone stuck in addiction, who feels betrayed by the world, but ultimately has hope because of the real friends they have watching their back! We had a lot of fun making this thing, too. It’s really the first record where we collaborated so much in writing the songs; Ben and I even wrote most of the lyrics together, which was a new thing for us. Was this the first record you produced yourselves? Well, not exactly. We have had our hands in producing all of our music, but we have had people in the past who we looked up to make some of the calls at the board. What’s next for the band? We are excited to play out the remainder of the year. A little trip north to Canada is in the works too! I believe there’s some more domestication headed our way, so it’s hard to say exactly [laughs]. I haven’t stopped writing in the meantime, so, who knows? We might have another or more to come; it’s what we love to do.



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST KEVIN STARRS BY TIM ANDERL Unemployed for two years and with minimal job prospects on the horizon, Kevin Starrs set his sights on making a life as a professional musician. It wasn’t long before the English rocker was sharing the stage with his musical heroes in Black Sabbath. Heavily influenced by late ‘60s psychedelia and heavy metal, the band time warps listeners to the sinister, post-flower power era when murder, the occult, corruption, and violence began to capture the attention and appetite of pop culture devotees. The band are currently in the midst of a nearly sold-out U.S. tour in support of their latest for Rise Above Records, The Night Creeper, a nail-biting opus that finds the quartet at their most malevolent, creepy, and exploratory. What artistic works have had the most profound impact on you as you’ve grown into adulthood? I guess it is just certain genres of films, really: horror films—which I started watching when I was younger—and then, moving on to film noir and stuff like that. Those sorts of things have always made an impression on me, as well as music obviously. Black Sabbath changed everything for me. As soon as I heard them, it was different than anything I’d ever heard before. Was touring with Black Sabbath intimidating experience for you? Yeah, it was pretty bizarre. But it was good when we got used to the whole thing, playing on such a large stage to so many people. In some ways, it was just like playing any other gig. You can’t really see the audience too well, because it is so dark out there. The only difference is that you’re so far away from each other. Once we got used to it, it was fine. That has to be a pretty big milestone for a project that you started by self-recording in your own home?

Yeah, we never thought that would ever happen. We just had some songs and thought, “Let’s get into the garage and record some stuff.” I never ever thought that we’d even play any gigs. Then, eventually, it all just took off. What was your creative process for uncovering The Night Creeper’s narrative? Just watching films. There was nothing in particular that inspired it, but just absorbing the whole genre of film noir—watching that over and over again, watching how it was framed, and the shadows… That triggered my imagination of a shadowy character who is The Night Creeper. So, it was a pretty deliberate process? You were trying to entrench yourself in things that would spark your imagination? Exactly. That’s exactly it. I also picked up collections of old pulp collections and copies of Black Mask magazine, just real trashy pulp detective books. Then, there were other things as well, more violent versions of film noir. Once I had the influence, it was just waiting for the music to come. Violence is a prevalent theme in your work. Do you believe people are still shocked by violence or are we all pretty desensitized? I think we really love it now. It has become like an addiction or a sugary treat or something. We need more violence and we need to watch it on TV all the time. We’ve been completely desensitized to it and need to have it in front of our faces constantly. That’s what you get when you look in the newspaper. It is all about violence and hate, and it is just giving people what they want, really.


No genre is quite as mercurial as synthpop. Sure, there are plenty of rock and folk musicians perfectly capable of tonal ambivalence, but no other genre better suits this approach. For fans of the genre’s spacious and shadowy soundscapes, there’s no better band to turn your ear toward than Portland, Ore.’s Wild Ones. The band’s new EP Heatwave—out now on Topshelf Records—is a fascinating four song collection that really moves past the “pop” aspect of synthpop offered up on their 2014 debut Keep It Safe. This time around, they travel deeper into the dismal abyss of “synth” in order to really expand their identity and fulfill some inner sonic desires. Since their debut, vocalist Danielle Sullivan has openly expressed her desire to move forward into darker territory, and it seems she finally got just what she wanted. “I really love music that has a moody, somber feeling,” Sullivan reveals. “I just want to try to capture what makes us really excited in music that we listen to, so naturally, that means navigating those feelings. The first song we started writing for Heatwave was the EP’s closer ‘Loveless.’ I think that was the furthest from our past material we could get at the time, and it

was a lot of the inspiration for the EP— just moving towards that direction and forming the themes.” While “Loveless,” with its tribal percussion and vocal overdubs, does offer a stark departure from Keep It Safe, it’s perhaps the lyrics on Heatwave that have drifted furthest from Wild Ones’ previous work. Instead of abstract ideas filling the songs’ empty space, Sullivan really pushed herself to attack the lyrics in as a narrative, one that would really drive home the gravity of the sounds the band was creating. “A lot of the stories on Heatwave were inspired by strong, bold women who were in charge and just really interesting and unique,” she explains. “So, I thought I had to really play to those characters. I tried to make each song actually have characters who you could understand, relate with, and follow from a beginning to an end.” Sullivan admits she faced remarkable hurdles when attempting this new style of writing, but unlike other writers seemingly in over their heads trying to raid this style, Sullivan found herself struggling for different reasons. “It’s just nerve-wracking to be so forward,” she says. “It leaves



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST DANIELLE SULLIVAN BY DOUG NUNNALLY you more open to criticism when you’re so direct and clear. This was really an experiment for myself to be brave enough to write songs that are linear and build on each other.”

work firmly on repeat.

Sullivan’s experiment more than paid off as the band have created a spectacular companion piece to their debut that establishes them as their own compass for moving forward. It’s something that will surely raise the ire of their contemporaries, but also earn them complete admiration. Fans would be wise to keep Wild Ones’








If DIY street cred was currency, vocalist, guitarist, and bassist Todd Burdette could retire today. His past includes Deathreat, His Hero Is Gone, Severed Head Of State, Tragedy, and Warcry. These hardcore bands were uncompromising, heavy, downtuned, and furious. Joined by vocalist and drummer Tim Call, who has an impressive roster of metal bands to his name, Nightfell are a powerhouse on paper. When the two write songs and produce killer black metal thunder, the result is a powerhouse on the turntable too. Call runs Parasitic Records, which co-released Nightfell’s debut, The Living Ever Mourn, with Southern Lord. Their new full-length, Darkness Evermore, is out now on 20 Buck Spin. “Things just didn’t work out as planned [with Southern Lord],” Call laments. “We had already known Dave [Adelson from 20 Buck Spin] and knew he was interested. It seemed a better fit. I think it fits the band better as well.” Their new label is the only logistical variation this time around. Call explains that this record is the “same situation as the first one. We recorded with our friend Evan Mersky at Red Lantern Studios in Portland, [Ore.]. He did a great job on the first one and was very easy to work with. There was no doubt about working with him for Darkness Evermore. There was more actual time spent in the studio on this one, and a little more studio spontaneity as well. Once the drum tracks are done, most of the work falls on Todd. This time around, it was more of a challenge, because we were incorporating Julia [Kent]’s cello tracks, which were recorded at a separate location.” That cello delivers the portentous atmosphere that has culminated from Burdette’s prior bands. The ominous and dark miasma of pain and suffering on Darkness Evermore permeates the




listener’s headphones. “Julia Kent played the cello tracks, otherwise everything else has been conjured in the studio by the two of us,” Call says. “Using different sound landscapes obviously allows us to change the atmosphere more and make the vision more unique.” The final tweaking and finicky specifications came due to the tinkering of Brad Boatright. The album’s first two songs cover 20 minutes. These tracks are heavy. The low end galloping helps expand on the black metal riffing. “We spend a lot of time weaving the songs together,” says Call, “listening back to rehearsals and making adjustments as everything develops. Much easier to write with only two members.” Soon, however, the band will begin playing live, requiring more people to be involved. “Dedication and ability to making the vision as true to our intentions as possible is the most important factor in selecting the live members,” Call adds. Call summarizes the record in simple terms: “False hope. Paranoia. Imminent Death.” He chooses to comment on the world while “living our lives outside of anyone else’s opinions or influence as much as is possible. Letting go of hope, living in reality. People will take different things from [the record]; that isn’t up to us, nor is it a concern.” The song titles—single word entries such as “Cleansing,” “Eulogy,” and “Collapse”—fall in a chronology that seems to mirror a ritual, a damning prediction. “It’s all falling apart,” Call assures. “If people want to spend their life performing fruitless tasks to fulfill their emptiness and retain a false hope, that decision is entirely up to them.”


Innumerable current bands credit heavy metal’s founders as key influences, from obvious reference points like Black Sabbath to lesser known, yet equally influential, groups like Blue Cheer and Coven. Few capture nascent metal sounds—and the two-guitar attack perfected a little later by Wishbone Ash—as effectively as Leeds, England, shredders Gentlemans Pistols. Formed in 2003, the veteran outfit includes founding guitarist and vocalist James Atkinson, a hardcore punk veteran best known for his stint in Vorhees. He has guitar duels on stage and in the studio with Bill Steer, formerly of grindcore progenitors Napalm Death, death metal legends Carcass, and fellow ‘60s and ‘70s revivalists Firebird. The band’s Nuclear Blast debut, the Hustler’s Row LP, hit shelves on Oct. 16. When Atkinson started the band, he had specific goals for the group’s sound, which were soon expanded via the influence of a record-collecting friend. “I wanted to do something that mixed The Sweet, Deep Purple, and The Dead Boys,” he says. “The idea was to play hard rock, but keep it short and punchy. Around this time, a good friend of mine who actually ended up putting out our first 7” would come to my house with bags of obscure ‘70s rock records, and we’d spend nights listening through and finding the nuggets on these albums, which also helped shape the sound of the band.” At their heart, Gentlemans Pistols are a metal band, but on first listen, it’s hard to categorize them alongside bands that reflect newer influences. Because of this, the group often finds themselves playing with the old-timers they revere or with

like-minded contemporaries. “When we first started gigging, we were playing with all manner of bands,” Atkinson explains. “A lot of the time, people took one look at us and couldn’t really understand what we were doing. It was a good challenge winning a crowd over, though. There have been a few great matchups for us over the years. I really enjoyed playing with Danava and Saviours, and then, getting to play with re-formed bands like Pentagram, Leafhound, and Incredible Hog was pretty close to the kind of music we play. These days, we play with a lot of bands in the stoner and doom scene, and that’s cool, as I guess some of our influences are shared with certain bands in that world. We are just happy to play to people who want to hear it.” More than a decade of hard work and Steer’s reputation have landed the band on one of their genre’s most storied labels, Nuclear Blast. “I guess Bill was the connection here, with Carcass,” Atkinson says. “He and [vocalist and bassist] Jeff from [Carcass] made the label aware of Gentlemans Pistols, and things moved on from there. Everything has been great since then and we are excited to get the album out there.”



INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER KEN TAYLOR BY PATRICK MARION Seaway are a pop punk outfit hailing from Oakville, Ontario. They specialize in bringing back the carefree attitude of pop punk with goofy lyrics and massive guitar hooks. Fans affectionately refer to them as the “Seaboiz” after they played a parody boy band for the music video of their single “Your Best Friend.” You can catch Seaway on tour with Knuckle Puck, Head North, and Sorority Noise this fall and pick up their new album, “Colour Blind,” on Oct. 23. I figured I would start out right away with asking, will the ‘Seaboiz’ be making an appearance on the new album? Oh yeah, the Seaboiz are on hiatus right now. They are definitely going to pop up again some other time, but you’re definitely going to see some of the “fun” vibe the Seaboiz have. We’re not really a band that takes ourselves too seriously. The new album that is coming out is definitely not Seaboiz, but it’s going to take people out of their element when it comes to the norm of what is seen in this genre. How was working with Pure Noise records? It’s been awesome working with them from the start. They are a great label, but [they’re] also small. Everything is either done by [founder] Jake [Round] or Dale. They are just great guys to work with. Ever since we first started talking to them, we knew they were going to be the ones we were going to go with, because they were so excited. Everything has been really smooth and they let us do what we want. They really get what we’re going for. I’m pumped for that record to come out and to see the product of what we’ve done together. Is it just a happy coincidence that people who are actually colorblind are able to see the artwork for your new album Colour Blind? That is actually a happy coincidence. We were just using those colors to see

what it looks like, but we never even thought of it before we saw what people were saying about it. Colour Blind is a line from one of the songs, but it’s also used as a metaphor. We just really liked that line and it was just a weird name we all agreed upon. We definitely did not preplan that one.

the yawpers

So, what’s the worst venue you’ve ever played—without giving away the name of the venue or the city? [Laughs] I’ve already thought about what it is. Now, I’m just trying to figure out how to say it without giving it away. Okay, this is going to be a pretty easy one. It helps, though, that I can’t remember the name of the venue anyway. We were out in the middle of the desert, and we were looking forward to this show initially, because it’s in a city primarily known for aliens. So yeah, you probably already got it. We get there and realize it’s just the worst place ever, for me personally. So, we roll up to the venue and there’re actually about 100 kids there waiting outside the venue, but only, like, 13 of them actually paid to get inside the show. The rest of them just hung outside. While we were playing, the speakers blew during the opening band, and the rest of the time, we had to turn the monitors around and juice back. During our set, there were maybe one or two people watching and two 4 year olds running around the floor. Halfway through our set, we just gave each other “the look,” and we’re like, “This is our last song.” It was one of those moments during your tour career where you just go, “Ugh, why am I here? What am I doing with my life?” Every band seems to have a story like that and it’s interesting to hear just how bad it is. You need to play a couple bad shows so you can really appreciate the good ones.


‘American Man’

tap disparate, murky pools of the s into the musical lexicon; dark country American to kinetic punk,

acid blues to flared jeans boo gie, low-brow backdrops pitted against hig h-minded literary references. It’s an edgy, engros sing trip. CD / LP / DIgItaL

Also from Bloodshot: BAnditos Ages BArrence Whitfield & the sAv ” sky age sav “Under the 3039 W. Irving Park Rd. Chicago, IL 60618






Dan Barrett is a musical machine. His main two projects, Giles Corey and Have A Nice Life, include rumination on sadness while taking on every genre an instrument can touch. For his newest solo project, Black Wing, Barrett escapes the world of the traditional instrument and brings true despair and emotion into the digital world. His debut, …Is Doomed, was released Sept. 25 via The Flenser. How did you choose the varied textures present on Black Wing’s songs? It’s interesting to me, because I don’t really know anything about electronic music. Black Wing is basically if you took Giles Corey or Have A Nice Life and only had these electronic instruments to them. A lot of the tonal kind of textural things I like in other kinds of music, I look for elsewhere. Because it’s all electronic—it’s all MIDI—so, there’s a wide range to mess with things, and for discovery. Especially for me; I’ve never been much of a gear person. Is it exciting to take on such a different medium? Yeah, I need stuff like that. I think if I knew more about music, I wouldn’t need to do stuff like that so often. All my music stuff is self-taught; I took like two lessons and quit, because I’m a very impatient person. For me, I have a limited palette in terms of what I can do musically. It’s not like “next year will be the year I shred,” because I can’t physically shred on guitars! [Black Wing] really took on a life of its own, but went much better than I expected. Do you have to set parameters for yourself when you start a new project? Almost always, there’s something. I have an incredibly hard time being creative without boundaries. I think that if I do








anything with no direction whatsoever, I revert to things I’m very comfortable with. There’s some chord—I think it’s, like, a D chord or something—and every time it comes up, I’m like, “Oh Jesus Christ, here we go again. The Dan Barrett chord!” You’ve previously said that much of the inspiration for the record came from medical problems? I had heart arrhythmia; my heart would slow down speed up at weird times. You feel it more than normal and it caused me anxiety. My father passed away suddenly because of massive heart failure, so I was very aware of heart problems. I went to the doctor, did the treadmill with all the stuff attached to you. So, this all culminated in me losing a bunch of weight, going to the gym, and saying, “I can never die!” The whole thing was very weird, and came out with this thing that gave me a higher chance of having a stroke. For me, it was the first time I’d ever had to think, “I physically age.” I’ve never been the youthful type, but it never occurred to me that “my physical body will die.” Not in a cool, goth, melancholy way, probably in a shit-in-a-bag, bright neon lit room thing. So, I needed to get at whatever that was all about.


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST PHIL CROSS BY GABI CHEPURNY The U.K.’s Continents are back with a new full-length, Reprisal, out Oct. 30 via Victory Records. The band took off running in 2010, quickly gaining followers and receiving attention from bigger labels by 2012. The band’s trajectory seemed to only go up until 2013, when two major tours fell through at a moment’s notice. Lead vocalist Phil Cross explains, “2013 was a mental year for us. We came back from Japan and had two huge tour offers for 2014, so the next 12 months was near enough a full calendar. What happened was the tours all got canceled within the same two weeks, leaving us with nothing in place. This happens to a lot of bands we know, but we had no agent or manager to guide us on what to do next.” Following the letdown, the band— Cross, guitarist Darryl Sweet, vocalist and guitarist Rhys Griffiths, bassist Dom Turner, and drummer Duncan “Ken” Hamill—made every effort to pull things back together. Then, the realities of the music industry set in. Though the challenges they faced put a strain on the band, they also fueled material for Reprisal. “We tried calling in favors off people who wanted contacts off us before,” Cross explains, “or to jump on things with people we had helped out when they started out who were now in positions to help us, but you start to realize that in this industry, no one gives a shit unless you’re riding high, or they’re getting something from you. Not everyone is like this, but people we have known for years have become selfobsessed and just plain arrogant, so we decided to let it all out on this album.” “There was also the issue of me losing my confidence to record on this album in the studio,” he continues. “However weird that sounds, I would not stand in

the room and do any pre-production, as I basically hated what I would hear and kept trying to compare myself to other vocalists. This caused further delays in recording, as I thought the band deserved better.” Cross notes that Reprisal is different from the group’s previous effort, Idle Hands, in more than a few ways. “We had three months to write and record Idle Hands,” he explains. “We are proud of it and the response to it was amazing, but we [wanted to] stand out from the other bands. So, we had all of 2014 to get our acts together, step it up, and write something that we enjoyed and hopefully could help us stand out. If it doesn’t, then, at least we can say we tried. Reprisal actually means something to us this time ‘round. It’s written about the band issues and ongoing self-confidence issues I had as a vocalist. We went for a more natural, raw sound on this album rather than hiding behind the over-processed sound to try to make ourselves stand out.” While the band are at a good point right now, the struggles of last year pushed them to their breaking point. On their Facebook page, they currently list their influences as “You,” an honorable mention to the fans who kept pushing them forward during tougher times. “This is aimed at the fans who basically kept us going,” Cross elaborates. “During 2014, we became so close to calling it a day, as we all had writer’s block and a few petty arguments, but we played a few festivals in the summer and the response was insane. It helped us realize we had forgotten all about the fun aspect of creating music and that we need to learn these people got us to where we are, so lets do it… Things are good.”




f it weren’t for the period of intense confusion, soul-searching, and self-reflection that follow a heartbreaking loss, there would be no industry for grief counselors, religious congregations would wane, and art and literature would lose much of its reflective gravity. Unfortunately, for the people who experience them, these periods leave permanent scars on their psyches and identities, and the process of letting go of that pain is one they must continually wrestle with. Kylesa are intimately familiar with this phenomenon. “I lost my mother to cancer in 2011 and moved back to North Carolina one year before to be with her and my grandmother, cutting the touring cycle for Spiral Shadow very short,” vocalist and guitarist Laura Pleasants recalls. “Almost immediately following her death, I had to move back to Savannah, [Ga.,] to begin writing Ultraviolet, because the band was pretty much on hold at that point. I was in a terrible, terrible place.”

was a really calm period for us, we’d write a really calm record,” Cope jokes. Amidst these changes and struggles, one thing remained a constant for the band: the continued push to elevate their sound and push the boundaries of heavy music. On Exhausting Fire—released Oct. 2 via Season Of Mist—the trio of Cope, Pleasants, and drummert Carl McGinley demonstrate their desperate thirst for growth, further exploring and integrating psychedelic rock, new wave, Americana, ‘80s goth, and death rock influences into their punk-metal playbook. Simply, Exhausting Fire is their most diverse

and fully realized effort to date. “We’ve always taken influence from a lot of different kinds of music,” Cope says. “They’ve been present on the other records, although maybe in smaller doses. The cold wave influence started really appearing more on Ultraviolet, and even more on this album.” “I think [our influences] are more pronounced,” Pleasants agrees. “We’ve been toying with psychedelic since the 2003 split with Cream Abdul Babar, and even earlier than that. I’ve been a fan of goth and new wave forever, so I guess it was gonna happen sooner or later. We really got into putting the gothic sounds into Kylesa with the record Static Tensions. Basically, we’re big fans of music, not just metal.”

Captured at the familiar confines of the Jam Room in Columbia, S.C., Exhausting Fire sees the trio immersing themselves deeper into their process by refusing to hire an outside producer. “It was exhausting, but I was prepared going into it,” says Cope. “I made sure I was at a place in my life where I could devote my attention to the album. I knew it was all I’d have time for. But because I’ve been producing for so long, I know how to pace myself. I know when my ears are burning out and when to stop before I reach the point of fatigue. I’ve been producing for longer than Kylesa’s been around, so I have control of it.” “Things have settled down for me now and I’m in a good place,” Pleasants concludes. “But, you know, life has its ups and downs. Love is almost as intense as death. It’s been a rollercoaster of a few years! And, that is exhausting. That said, I think that the new album also sheds some light onto some of the darker themes. There is hope and mention of new beginnings like in the song ‘Shaping the Southern Sky.’ The good thing is that I am in a good place now mentally and physically and I am rebuilding towards a happier future. I love my family, I love my boyfriend, I love my friends, and I love Kylesa and our fans. And I love playing and creating original music. Life is good.”


“Since then, life has moved on and the band itself has gone through some internal changes,” she continues. “The scene has changed. The industry continues to change. I have changed. Exhausting Fire has a lot to do with human relationships and the rebuilding of one’s self. [Guitarist and vocalist] Phillip [Cope] and I were going through different relationship struggles, but very intense ones, and they were happening around the time we were writing. So, I was in an epic meltdown emotionally while trying to write a record. It was the best outlet, no doubt.” Cope echoes her sentiments, saying, “Life is hard for everybody, not just us. A lot of the things that we were experiencing during Ultraviolet was some intense stuff, emotionally. Now, the struggles that we are facing have a different kind of intensity. How do you rebuild and strengthen yourself? Most of Kylesa’s material is about the human struggle, and we try to write in a way that other people can relate to. We want people to take these things and see the similarities in their own lives. Creativity comes from chaos, for sure. Perhaps if there








t’s been about five years since The Saddest Landscape last put out a full-length, but they still managed to keep busy over the past few years. The Northeast band—whose members are spread out across several states—spent time touring in the States and overseas, put out a number of singles and EPs, and also changed their lineup a bit. Their latest release, Darkness Forgives dropped Oct. 23 via Topshelf Records. Did you consciously take some time off between After the Lights and Darkness Forgives? I don’t look at it as we took time off; we were still pretty busy. We released a 12” EP, a split 12”, and four 7”s, as well as toured Europe and the U.S., so a lot was done. Also, we had a couple lineup changes, which may account for some of the perceived time off. Ultimately, we just wanted to make sure we were completely happy with all of the songs on the record and that took a little time, but the end result is a record we are proud of, so whatever time was taken was worth it. How does being spread out geographically affect how you write

songs and practice? We are living in what might as well be four different states and meet to practice in the middle of us all. This distance caused the four of us to work on parts and ideas as much as possible on our own and made us all want to come to practice ready to kill it, armed with as many song ideas as we could all in an effort to make each time we met up count. We are also now masters of the voice memo feature on our phones, just to make sure ideas aren’t forgotten before the next practice.

Is there a general theme to the songs on this record? A general sense of working through the darkness, that we can do better. The idea that maybe hiding in the shadows isn’t always good, even if it is comforting. Trying to work out your demons, come to peace with loss, let those around you know they are cared for, knowing you will fuck up and it’s OK. Hearts can mend, letting go of regret, it is OK to feel good once in a while, and learning to forgive. Portions of your album sales through Topshelf are going to the charity To Write Love On Her Arms.

Have you worked with that group before? Not directly with the group. We did raise some money for them with our part of the The Saddest Landscape/ Frameworks split 7”, but that was it. Topshelf has been great at encouraging their artists to give to charity, and for our record, we wanted to choose a cause that felt close to us, as well as could benefit some of our fans. Over the years, we have met a lot of people who have confided in us that our music has helped them through some tough times, be it self-harm, depression, addiction, etc. We wanted to choose an organization that has the resources to help these people, is easily contacted, and is more youth centered. I also have met people who have spoken highly of how they were treated by TWLOHA, so we wanted to support them in the minor way we can. Finally, we wanted to remind people they are not alone, there is no shame in feeling depressed, and ultimately, that there is hope. You have some shows coming up outside of the Northeast, which is rare. Is it difficult to find time to tour?

Yes. We all wish we could tour more and are always hoping to go to new places, but the reality is we just can’t. Between jobs and personal relationships at home, there just isn’t much time to be on the road. We are trying to change that, though. Already, by the end of the year, we plan to hit about 20 of the U.S. states, so by our standards, that is a lot. That said, if we are playing near you, please come see us, as it may be a very long time before we are back. So, what’s next? Finally getting this record out and doing those shows in the States. After that, we are looking into going to Japan in early 2016, then hopefully, getting back to Europe next summer. Knowing us, a pile of 7”s will come out too. Our other guitarist, Daniel [Danger], and myself are toying with the idea of buying a record pressing lathe; if that happens, I am sure there will be a whole series of limited projects released.






owloon Walled City ravaged ears, speakers, and expectations with 2012’s Container Ships and shared splits with Thou, Batillus, Fight Amp, and Ladder Devils. On their third album, Oct. 9’s Grievances via Neurot Recordings, the band have adjusted their heavy for more focus on structure, timing, and delivery. Still exhibiting a harsh, abrasive sound, the music has the impact of receiving news that all of your friends perished in a mudslide. While some see Kowloon Walled City as a sludge, band, vocalist and guitarist Scott Evans asserts, “I don’t think anybody has ever said the word ‘sludge’ at band practice.” However, this San Francisco quintet produce tracks of heavy, grimy isolation, while embracing the power of restraint. “We’ve been experimenting for a while with cleaning up our guitar tones,” Evans says. “It feels like using a precision tool instead of a hammer. [Guitarist] Jon [Howell] is great at weird precision. We try to keep that heaviness and weight, but from this slightly different angle.” Weird and frenetic, little pulses and larger waves of tics and slaps battle for the listener’s attention. The heavy is still there. Basking in “Backlit,” the teetering sway of a gear-grinding riff—layered with anticipation due to reticent drums—brings down the pace and the mood. The pulsating march of the quicker “The Grift”



Evans has been tinkering in The Matrix so long, he still can’t comment on the final product. “I need another year or two to [form an opinion]. I am so close to our recordings while they’re being made. It takes me a while to detach and hear them objectively.” What he can comment on is the dudes at Neurot being patient and appreciative of their new band. “Honest and supportive and helpful” are the words Evans uses. “And we’re still on great terms with Mike [Lara] and Bob [Lugowe] at Brutal Panda,” he quickly appends. Grievances was recorded by Evans, who says, “For better or worse. I always record our band.” The tracks were done at Sharkbite in Oakland. “Sharkbite has nice gear and a big, great sounding live room,” he adds. “That’s the same place we tracked

Container Ships.” As always, they play together live as they record, which is palpable in the final recordings. “Then, we recorded vocals and mixed at Antisleep, my studio,” Evans notes. “I think basics took four days. Vocals were lots of short sessions over the course of a few weeks. Mixing was three or four days total, mostly done very late at night after work.” The process mirrors that of Container Ships, “but it didn’t feel the same,” Evans says. “Very different drum and guitar sounds, and very different songs. Plus, mixing in my studio was a big improvement.” The growth of the band comes through in each track. The rolling cascade of depressing tones in “True Believer,” and a desperate beckoning in the chorus, encapsulate the synchronicity.

Evans explains. “Over the years, I’ve realized that it’s not natural for me. I feel more at home working with a small set of ingredients, each of which is important. Working this way comes naturally to all of us. It’s nice to just get to the point, and have a point to get to.” After Grievances drops, Kowloon Walled City will do a week of West Coast shows with Fight Amp in November. “After that, we’re still working it out,” Evans says. “But, we’re hoping to do some good things next year. Depends on if we kill each other first or not.”


There is a salient ethos in this band. The approach to recording, the use of minimal effects pedals, and the artwork all express power in simplicity. Less is more. “I have friends who are very good at making complex art, or managing enormous recording projects,”



equals in stunning savagery. Noting that these songs had been written for two years, Evans readily accepts the blame—or praise—for the extensive process. “A lot of that is me,” he begins. “I edit and edit and edit. At first, that was unnatural for the rest of the band, but by now, I think we’ve all adapted. We’ll work on a part for two months. Then, throw it away if it’s not happening. Being honest with yourself about these things isn’t always fun, but it’s worthwhile.” This persistent driving force to go back repeatedly and hone these songs shows the stubborn dedication of these five men.








ead vocalist Kris Kneale had never tracked vocals before one night in 2013 when he and his friend, drummer Danny Ricco, decided it would be fun to make a hardcore record. The two, who together had moved to NYC from Florida, wanted to do something creative, just to see if they could. So, they did, and three quarters of the way through design school Kneale realized that music was where it was at for him. Once the pair began taking Go Deep seriously, an ever-revolving door of band members began as well. Currently, the lineup includes Kneale, Ricco, guitarist Josh Lozano, and bassist Rodrigo Gaibor, who will move to Los Angeles by way of a U.S. tour in November. Kneale says, “We’re touring out there, and then, we’re staying for an undetermined amount of time. It’s really the weather and the vibe that we’re going for. I couldn’t help but feel like everyone in L.A. had it ‘too nice,’ like they lost touch with reality. I wanna be like,

‘You have no idea, what you have right now is 68 degrees in February.’ It’s completely fucking unfair.” This won’t be the band’s first time in the Golden State, as they followed the same path to Los Angeles when they recorded their upcoming release, Influence, out Nov. 6 via 6131 Records. The two toured to L.A. and rented a practice space where they lived for three weeks before getting caught and kicked out. Afterward, they resorted to living in Kneale’s 15 passenger van for the remaining two months, then tracked as much as they could in less than a week at a recording studio some friends hooked them up with. “We worked day and night in this studio, just in this little windowless room,” Kneale says. “I think we wrote 30 songs. You go into a dark place when you’re doing something that’s so creatively intense like that, I think. I’ve never made a full-length before, so it was quite an experience. There’re a lot of amazing parts and a lot of really dark, low points. We did all the

pre-production that we could before we got to the studio. We had five days booked, because that was all we could afford, and tracked the whole record in five days, not including vocals.” The way back home was not as sweet as the sunshine and palm trees the band left behind. While stopped in Chicago, they returned from lunch to find Kneale’s van had been stolen. The van was recovered, but their computers, hard drives, and nine guitars were not. Despite this, the band still had most of the album intact and was able to finish it at Ricco’s home recording studio. Dealing with a stolen van on the way back from a seven month trip away from home only added to the standard difficulties that come with being in a band, especially one from New York. “I feel like NYC is always our home, and it’s very possible we’ll be back after the winter, but it’s really tough,” Kneale explains. “We pay rent on our apartment and we pay rent on a studio space, and then I have the van, so I have to pay tickets and insurance. Tickets are a reality of living in NYC. Then, I pay subway fare. It’s just hard. The odds are stacked against you unless you’re an indie pop band that’s really making money. So, it creates a scenario that

makes it very hard to go all in. It’s easy to do on the side, outside of your job, but it’s not easy to make your band your main focus.” Along with the standard monetary requirements, insanity makes the list of prerequisites for Being In A Band 101. Kneale explains, “As a small band on tour, you really hope for 50 to 100 dollars a night, and you hope for that knowing that even if you get that, you’re probably not going to break even. It’s definitely crippling, I think, for the scene in general, because it is so hard to break even on the road. You do it because you love it and you hope that things will change in the future. The problem is you have to have a few hundred dollars extra for the inevitable flat tire, and you better hope that there’s no big problem, because if you do run into a big problem, the tour’s done. It’s this sickening level of risk that only certain people in the world are crazy enough to dive in, but I think that’s what makes us so powerful, essentially, or that’s what really brings us together is that we’re all just kind of, like, fucked up kids who are willing to do this because we love doing it.”










Laura Jane Grace pauses and then lowers her voice, “it was terrifying. It was the end of the set and I closed my eyes for just a second. A crowd surfer surfed forward and kicked a microphone down my throat. I had the whole thing in my throat. I pulled the microphone out and got so pissed that I smashed my guitar. It’s just part of the job, I guess… Pretty soon I’ll have no teeth left.”

The Against Me! frontwoman is reflecting on just one of the trials and tribulations leading up to the recording of the band’s new live album, 23 Live Sex Acts, which was released Sept. 4. Saying that a lot has changed since the band’s last live album, 2006’s Americans Abroad, would win you the Nobel Prize for understatements. Since then, the band have been through six members, including three drummers, moved from an independent label to a major and then, to their own Total Treble, and… Let’s see… What else…? Oh yeah, Grace came out as transgender, socially and physically transitioned, separated from her longtime partner, and then, the band released the intimate retrospective Transgender Dysphoria Blues. 23 Live Sex Acts functions as a companion to that landmark studio album and casts

Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ aesthetic onto the live show. “I feel like the new live album is the statement of the beginning of a new era,” Grace explains. “Aside from wanting to take a snapshot of touring for the last record, we wanted to give ownership of the songs to the people who are new to the band. It’s a new beginning, even if it signifies the end of something else.” On the live record, many of the songs have radically different arrangements and some have

with TSA. “I had someone pat me down and, then, after they were done, they looked over at their partner and said, ‘This is why I hate my job,’” she recalls. “I realized that there was nothing that I could say at the time. So, I went through security and filed a complaint. Maybe nothing will come At the very beginning of the from it, and maybe something record, the band’s most ded- will, but that was my recourse icated listeners may detect available at the time.” a secret code, a distinct patpitta-pitta-pat drum loop Despite incidences such as that sounds strikingly similar these, Grace believes things to the famous intro to Crass’ are getting better for trans “Banned from the Roxy.” folks. “Between 10 years ago Grace explains, “Crass, for and now is a world of differme, were one of my all time ence,” she says. “In the past defining bands. They influ- three years, you’ve just graduenced me politically and so- ally seen people come around cially more than anyone else. and be accepting that there That opening drumbeat is are people of different variaso angry sounding. When I tions on the spectrum. People are starting to understand pronouns more. People are starting to accept the concept of gender-neutral bathrooms. There still is much more work to be done.” been lyrically reworked to focus on trans issues. Grace mentions that the changes in the songs happened organically. “That’s the way songs live and grow,” she says. “If you play songs for a long time, you just hope for a new way to approach them.”

first started the title track for Transgender Dysphora Blues, I built a loop out of that drum fill and wrote the song to that loop. So, Crass ties back into that record.” The release of 23 Live Sex Acts signals a sort of triumph; it’s a memento from the conquering of a difficult period in both Grace’s and the band’s lives. Despite this triumph, Grace still must deal with daily difficulties stemming from her status as an outspoken trans artist. Just before this interview, she ran into some nasty trouble at the airport

“For example, generally, when there’s conflict, I try to deescalate,” she says. “But, there’s something to be said if someone is spouting out hate and you stand up and voice the opposite opinion. Even if you’re not going to change that person’s mind, it sometimes pays to do that. When you speak out against that kind of thing, people are realizing that there are trans people in their community or even family, and it makes it more of a normalized thing. It increases acceptance.”









oing a band again was never on my radar,” Lee Dorrian states. Dorrian is responsible for vocals on legendary albums by Napalm Death and the doom gods Cathedral. Now, he has been recruited by two other mammoth figures of the doom world, guitarist/bassist Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening. This duo was responsible for Electric Wizard’s zenith years, as well as Ramesses, while Bagshaw also slings riffs for Serpentine Path. Dorrian simply offers, “I have stayed in touch with the pair of them, loosely. Over the past few years, we got in touch more frequently.” Bagshaw had been coming back to England where he would share a few pints with Greening, which turned into the two jamming. They then asked Dorrian to belt out some tunes. “I really liked the material,” Dorrian shares. “It wasn’t anything new, but the approach was fresh. It was really heavy.” Dorrian told the pair to record the material in October 2014, and he liked what he heard, but advised the two “to let the songs resonate. Step away and gather some ideas.”




After four months of gained objectivity, the duo remained persistent, repeatedly asking Dorrian to sing. Knowing the time and energy it takes to run his label, Rise Above Records, he remained hesitant. “I let the songs sit with me for a few months,” Dorrian recalls. “I was thinking how to approach them. By March 2015, I had all the lyrics written. We recorded the songs quickly. I wanted the songs to be raw and spontaneous.” The result is With The Dead, a self-titled album featuring six unrelentingly heavy doom tracks. The horror-soaked blues dirges—peppered with horror film samples and swirling reverb—relay a vicious, vile viewpoint on our society. Dorrian reflects, “I always still have these ideas, whether anxieties or positive ideas, just without a band as an outlet. I didn’t miss continuous touring or the uphill struggles of being in a band, but starting fresh with this band is liberating.” With that jolt, the three legends entered Orgone Studios in North London. Dorrian recruited producer, Jamie Gomez Arellano, with whom he had recorded the final

Cathedral album, and who had recently helmed the board for Ghost and Paradise Lost. “We knew what we wanted,” Dorrian says. That focus had them using only eight days for all the instruments. “Vocals were done in one take for each song, totaling two hours,” he explains. “We didn’t want it to sound nice. We wanted brutally uncompromising. [The album] is rough around the edges. We wanted it to be abrasive. Production these days is too perfect, too clinical. Which loses the vibe. We had more of a punk approach to this.” Reflecting the terror-fueled sounds is the artwork. Dorrian had his friend, Ester Segarra, snap pictures that are straightforward and dark. “I wanted the record to be simple, and I think the photo represents that,” Dorrian says. “Striking and primitive. The idea was a communion of death. I thought of zombified priests. I like to reflect the way real life can be like a horror film, showing the inside of your mind and how you view the outside world.” That view is stark. Dorrian expands, “I look at the world around me and I get dis-

illusioned at what I see. It gets frustrating the way people can be selfish towards each other and manipulative just to get what they want out of a situation. I see people slowly becoming self-obsessed. It’s sinister. It’s sad. I am very positive about life in general. But, you must be aware of what you want in order to see a better world. And the way to express that is through dark lyrics. Through the years, a melancholic, nihilistic album is what I have turned to for escape. It’s like an exorcism.” With The Dead allow their listeners to indulge in that macabre sense of the world and its inhabitants. The feelings are vividly intense, leading to that cathartic emotional exorcism. Afterwards, the exploration of those emotions permits the listener a purging exhale, but leaves them wanting more. Will there be more? “I would like to think this is a proper band. I would like to do shows and another record,” Dorrian concludes. “We’re playing it by ear.”




atain have been sworn to the dark side of existence for close to two decades now. In recent years, no other black metal band have captivated audiences or courted controversy like Sweden’s bloodiest export. Their devotion to the literal dark arts as bonafide Beelzebub disciples and their penchant for incorporating animal blood and fire and brimstone into their live rituals/concerts makes their continued success in the doggedly conservative U.S. of A. all the more baffling. If anything, this speaks volumes about the power of Watain’s music. Shock value and favors from the dark lord can only take you so far in the Wild Wild West free-forall that is the 21st Century music biz. Watain continue to carve out their own stench laden scar across the metal realm thanks to their ever expanding roster of killer tunes, blistering live show, and fervent passion for all that they do, and this same zeal spreads throughout their rabid fan base like wildfire. “A Watain show is no place to be ‘cool.’ It is not an environment to

feel ‘casual’ in,” vocalist and bassist Erik Danielsson explains. “It is a place where fists and blood must pump, heads and hearts must bang, where mind and soul must burn.” There’s that passion again. Watain have been touring hard in support of their fifth studio album, 2013’s The Wild Hunt, crisscrossing the globe on multiple occasions. “The stage itself is my main focus, small or large,” Danielsson says of the band’s status as unholy road dogs. “As long as we are able to draw the proper energy from the room and the audience is willing to partake in it, I’m content that our efforts will be worthwhile.” Last winter, Watain embarked on one of the gnarliest package tours in recent memory. The Black Metal Warfare tour saw Danielsson and crew on a co-headlining run with the original bad boys of Scandinavian black metal, the legendary Mayhem. “The first part of the Black Metal Warfare tour was a very inspiring tour to be a part of,” Danielsson reveals. “We have done a fair share of U.S. tours by now—six to be exact—and all of them have been special in their own way. Having

Mayhem and Watain co-headline proved to be a very explosive and dynamic combination. Both bands represent our respective era of black metal in separate ways, and the result of those two forms of expression intermingling becomes something quite unique. I think everyone involved in the Black Metal Warfare project felt that we had to pursue this one further, especially since the first leg only covered about half of the U.S.” Yes, that’s right. Watain and Mayhem are preparing to hit the road again this fall for yet another bruising edition of the Black Metal Warfare tour, targeting the corpse painted practitioners they missed last time around. “The tour seemed to attract a variety of people, of which many had their eyes opened to new, terrifying vistas of the many headed abomination of black metal,” Danielsson shares. “This is important, and worth taking further. So, we decided to do a part two. In general, the combination of different ‘generations’ was also represented in the audience, which led to a more wild and unpredictable scenario in terms of the overall atmosphere of the shows. Having Revenge on the last tour was a very important factor as well. They brought a level of intensity and urgency that you could almost touch. This time, we will have Rotting Christ opening the shows, which I personally see as a great honor, and I really look forward to seeing what the addition of some ancient Greek darkness will do.” But what exactly will Watain do? Aside from barrel across the stage each night, that is. Watain subscribe to an anything goes form of creative expression that results in the band giving no fucks about the desires or expectations of outsiders. Basically, the band do what they feel like. “People talk about songs, sound, direction, style as if art and music would consist of mathematical theories and business calculations,” Danielsson says. “To me, writing music with Watain is like a studded iron gauntlet reaching deep into the hidden bowels of the earth, pouring whatever comes up into our steaming cauldrons, and watching an ill smoke rise in the forms of songs, artwork and lyrics.”





When asked about the Internet warriors’ kneejerk disapproval about The Wild Hunt’s non-ear-shredding

numbers like “They Rode On” and the album’s title track, Danielsson responds by saying, “It has been interesting to see how a song like ‘They Rode On’ would serve as a baseball bat to so many kneecaps [laughs]. For once, that wasn’t really the intention, but hey, what do you know. The sound of ‘They Rode On’ and ‘The Wild Hunt’ is not a result of going in a certain ‘direction.’ Directions are for people who are afraid of the unknown, who need to ‘plan’ their works of art. We have never felt a need to do that; there’s no map or compass at work here. No, these two songs sound the way they do because our intention was to shine a light on a—at that point in time— very prevalent part of our being that, until then, had not manifested within Watain. Anyway, it has been a bit sad to see how much debating and general talk there has been about these two songs. In hindsight, we probably thought that people would perhaps have an understanding of Watain that encouraged a wider perspective, but it turned out many people saw us as a band right next to whatever other black metal band they might have heard of. I am, of course, pleased to have given such shallow minded people a well earned slap in the face, but like I said, I am also a bit confused as to what the fuck the fuss is about.” As they prepare to invade North America once again this fall, one can’t help but wonder what lies ahead for Sweden’s reigning kings of the obscene. Given Watain’s history of being fiercely independent, it is impossible to pin down their next move. Danielsson does offer hints regarding their future and the next chapter in the storied Watain saga. “Motörhead is one of the most important bands in my life. Their consistency—not only musically, but with everything they do—is something I admire greatly,” he says. “Then, there are bands like Black Sabbath, who seem to always be on a journey, and on that journey, always seem to end up in very interesting places. Each of their albums takes you to a new yet somehow strangely familiar place. Within Watain, I think you have both parts. The consistency is toward black metal aesthetics: the diabolical, the sinister, and the severe. These constants constitute the backbone of our journey, they are the vessel. Where it takes us depends on which way the winds of the black gods blow.”







orwegian black metal unit Tsjuder—pronounced “shoo-der,” for the uninitiated—have never been shy about what their music stands for. They have no interest in dumbing down the essence of extreme music. It is what makes them who they are. When Tsjuder disbanded in 2006, they were not able to keep themselves away from the pure black metal aggression that has fueled them since the early ‘90s. Their new record, Antiliv—out now via Season Of Mist—is a testament to the brutal endurance of this late second wave black metal band. No matter whatever the circumstances, every album you release

is guaranteed to be extreme black metal. Why is that? I think it is because we want Tsjuder to be that way, to be raw and savage black metal. If some of us want to play something different, we will do it with another band. That being said, it does not feel like a straightjacket. There is much musical variation in our music, hidden beneath the noise. What does Antiliv mean? “Antiliv” is Norwegian for “Anti-Life.” A good album title should reflect both the musical expression and the lyrical content of the album. Antiliv does that. Many black metal bands are incorporating different elements into their sound. Are you open to that or are you purists?

I do think it is necessary to include inspiration from different types of music when you compose black metal, but with Tsjuder, the result must be brutal. Antiliv has been four years in the making. What did that process like? On [2011’s] Legion Helvete, [drummer] AntiChristian started to play a more vital role, participating in the composing from the very start. This was even more pronounced on Antiliv, where some songs were composed with guitar and drums. These songs have more rock ‘n’ roll influences—read: Motörhead—than the other songs. It has definitely affected the music. I think it is for the better. What was the reaction from fans and press to the streaming of “Demonic Supremacy” back in July?

Season Of Mist wanted to release a song, and it had to be this one because it was already known after we performed it on Hellfest in 2014. The song is good, so that was fine by us. It is not very representative for the album, however, being even more influenced by music like early Bathory and Celtic Frost than we usually are. I haven’t really checked with the press, but people seem satisfied enough. You’ve said that the lyrics for Legion Helvete were written back in 1994. Is everything on this album new? Yes, all the lyrics on Legion Helvete are written between 1993 and 1995. All the lyrics on Antiliv are new, except the lyric “Ved Ferdens Ende.” That song was written and composed back in ‘94 and appears on the “Ved Ferdens Ende” demotape from ‘95. The excellent lyric “Krater” was written for Tsjuder by [bassist Tor Risdal] “Seidemann” [Stavenes of 1349].


How has black metal changed over the years, and do those changes matter? A turning point, for me, was when black metal got soft in the late ‘90s. It seems to me that, whereas black metal music has a very limited commercial appeal, the image with spikes and corpsepaint appeals to a broader crowd—like an extreme version of KISS. The soft black metal bands became big and people started to confuse them with true black metal. In the ‘90s, I was a bit annoyed by that, but today, I do not really care anymore. Let people play and listen to whatever they want. The changes in the black metal scene have not affected Tsjuder.


Tsjuder 44



How does it feel to be chosen to play the 70000TONS OF METAL cruise in 2016, and how do you intend to represent true black metal on a Caribbean cruise? Yeah, it sounds awkward with black metal on a cruise. But I guess it boils down to a stage, a crowd, and the band. It does not really matter where it is. I will be in the mountains and cannot play on these shows. [Idar] “Archaon” [Burheim] from 1349 will be my stand-in. He is a very good guitarist, so it will be fine. Tsjuder has been around since the early ‘90s. What is the stopping point for Tsjuder? I do not know. Last time without the band felt like having lost a leg or something else of vital importance. Time will tell.



After 11 years of procrastination, NYC’s finest authority antagonists march forth with that crack rock steady beat on 13 new songs about police, prisons, religion, war, destitution, state power & environmental devastation. ON TOUR NOW!


MUTINY AT MUSCLE BEACH Debut album for Fat from Jersey’s finest hardcore surf-punks, NIGHT BIRDS ON TOUR NOW! FATWRECK.COM

First new solo album for Fat from JOEY CAPE of Lagwagon and Bad Astronaut!

LETTERS TO MEMAW 7” Two brand new songs from New Orleans hardcore upstarts PEARS! New full length coming soon! ON TOUR NOW!



each Slang frontman James Alex is the first to admit that things have been moving pretty fast for the Philadelphia based band. In the span of just over a year, the group—Alex on guitar and vocals, bassist Ed McNulty, drummer JP Flexner, and guitarist Ruben Gallego—have put out two nearly flawless EPs: Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken and Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street. They have grabbed the attention of everyone from punk rock purists to the indie tastemakers at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, have been courted by a slew of record labels—eventually signing with Polyvinyl—and still managed to find time to write and record a full-length album. Even before the ink dried on the band’s Polyvinyl contract, the new album was almost entirely written, mostly in order to make room for the new songs continually crowding Alex’s head. But first thing’s first: the highly anticipated The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us will be released Oct. 30. “I pretty much had it written, at least 70 percent, beforehand,” says Alex. “I don’t know what to do with my time when I’m not writing, whether it’s writing a great song right off the bat, or trying something and watching it crash and burn. That process of the crash and burn is how I get there… I’m not that disciplined in life, but I am with songwriting.” The band’s two 7” EPs were put out by Dead Broke Rekerds and Tiny Engines respectively, but as they started closing in on their first proper full-




length, finding a permanent home for the record and band became more important. Polyvinyl, the label that has introduced the world to bands as varied as Japanoides and White Reaper, was launched by kids who grew up obsessing over shows and putting out zines, making the partnership feel natural. “I’d never heard anyone have a grumpy word about that label or those guys,” Alex explains. “They’re just a big bag of sweethearts, and it’s been that way from the moment we started working together. It has felt like absolutely the right decision.” That the label didn’t have a distinct “Polyvinyl Sound” also helped to solidify Beach Slang’s initial hunch. “We knew we weren’t going to be pushed through this meat processor and, all of a sudden, we were going to sound like what ‘X label’ barfs out,” says Alex. “We certainly didn’t want to do that. That was a red flag that I never saw from those guys; that would have been a deal breaker. You can look at the roster and listen to their bands and know that they’re not constructed that way.” With songs spilling out of their notebooks and a label deal already locked in, the band decided to stick with the familiar when the time came to enter the studio. They once again called up their buddy, producer and engineer Dave Downham. He and the band built up a strong rapport while making the last two records together, and the short trek from Philly to Downham’s studio in nearby Haddon Heights, N.J., allowed the band to sleep at their own places each night.

“After doing a couple of EPs with us, he gets us as a band,” Alex says. “In a perfect world, you want to grow with your engineer. And [be] able to speak to him in shorthand… He just feels like a member of the band at this point.” Veterans of the Philly scene, Alex started out in the Lehigh Valley pop punk band Weston, while Flexner, Gallego, and McNulty were part of Ex-Friends, Nona, Glocca Morra, and Crybaby. Each of those bands tick off different marks on the punk rock spectrum, but when the members came together as Beach Slang, they began to refine a sound more akin to The Replacements, Superchunk, and other indie rock staples. The group played everywhere around their hometown, supported by a fantastically impressive and diverse music scene. While the music world may just now be discovering that the City of Brother Love has more to offer than cheesesteaks and “Rocky” movies, bands like The Menzingers, Dr. Dog, The War On Drugs, and innumerable other stellar groups weaned on Yuengling beer and shitty winters have been playing basements shows and house parties around the city for years. The Philly scene reminds Alex of California punk in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “I remember coming up with the California music scene,” he says. “What I thought they always did right: as one band kind of got big, they took out other bands on the road, so as a result, the entire scene sort of rose together.” Philadelphia subscribes to a similar

ethos, and this pocket of brilliant musicians drives everyone to try just a little bit harder. “There’s something really beautiful that happens when you’re inside a whole bunch of people making a whole bunch of good stuff,” Alex adds. “You’re driven and pushed and challenged in a really friendly way.” Essentially, you don’t want to be the one band who just phone it in. Now that the world is finally tuning into Philly’s indie and punk scenes, whenever Beach Slang play a festival, it feels like a neighborhood reunion. Indeed, Beach Slang have been getting plenty of invites to play festivals across the country, but the band’s defining tour moment came from Cursive earlier this year. “When you get an email from Cursive asking if you want to go out on a U.S. tour for five weeks, it doesn’t get any better,” Alex says. “At that point, we didn’t even know what we could be or what we could do.” Joining the Cursive tour meant quitting their day jobs, and that was the moment Beach Slang decided they were all in. “Cursive made it very easy for us to jump off that cliff,” Alex assures. It looks like the band made the right decision, as the dream offers keep coming in, including a recent opening slot offered by former Replacement’s bassist Tommy Stinson. “This is it. We took the safety net away, and now, we’re walking the line,” Alex says. “We’re just going to keep playing as much as we can, as hard as we can until it feels like the time is right to work on LP number two.”








t. Louis, Mo.’s Foxing built their identity on the concept that they weren’t going to be around forever. It’s something everyone must come to terms with at some point in their life, but there are few people alive, and even fewer musicians, who embrace this concept as confidently and almost defiantly as this young band. On their new record, Dealer—out Oct. 30 on Triple Crown Records—they’ve pulled together an impressive collection of pensive and spacious songs that tackle the reality of mortality in a hauntingly indelible manner. Like the title suggests, Dealer is a record that confronts troubling issues head on instead of thoughtlessly sweeping them under the rug. Bassist Josh Coll admits the album’s title isn’t one that can be easily described, but says “it feels straight and direct, which somehow represents the album in the best way.” Coll reveals that their last album, 2014’s The Albatross, was about isolation and depression, but more how relationships play into them or “how different themes come into play when dealing with another person.” For Dealer, Coll is adamant that it was “deeply introspective on an intensely personal level.” Here, the band trade feeling depressed and brokenhearted for feelings like paranoia and uneasiness, especially in regard to more troubling issues




that they felt compelled to address. “It’s a lot heavier in terms of things that you deal with when you’re alone, as opposed to the ways that those things come to play when you’re with somebody,” Coll adds. The band utilized a number of different writing and recording techniques in order to flesh out this overarching concept. To start, the band made the decision to spend less time writing in order to gain a better understanding of the urgency the record required. “We really wanted to exercise that part of our songwriting,” Coll remarks. “We were interested in what would come out when the five of us are in a room together for a month straight instead of just sitting around, second-guessing everything over and over.” Coll feels much more personally connected to this collection than any of their previous efforts, because “it showcased our tendencies as writers and really allowed them to become truly distinct.”

Pearl Jam, and here he is guiding us in a way that really helped make Dealer the record it is.” Bayles suggested the band track the songs individually, as opposed to relying on the group setting that created The Albatross. The members worked one on one with Bayles, who encouraged them to explore their own instincts when approaching each part. “We had already written the songs and heard each others’ parts,” Murphy explains, “but we tried to leave as much open space as possible for when the recording started. When we finally heard each part, it was after someone like Ricky [Sampson] had finished the guitar part in his own way. We’d listen to it and, if anybody had any suggestions, they could say it then. That’s just something that we had never done before.”

Another thing that helped the band complete such an ambitious undertaking was working with acclaimed producer Matt Bayles, whose contributions to the record were practically inestimable. Vocalist Conor Murphy enthusiastically testifies about the ways Bayles helped the band conquer a new sonic dimension. “[Bayles] is just a force to reckon with,” Murphy reveals. “He’s worked professionally for so long and has such a deep catalog that it meant a lot to us that he not only wanted to work with us, but also showed us the respect he did. The guy’s worked with


This allowed the band to completely flesh out the lyrical ideas constructed by Murphy and Coll, and helped them create some truly memorable compositions on Dealer. On “The Magdalene,” Dealer’s first single, the band build tension throughout the song with the clever use of melodic dissonance, which hammers down the uneasiness Coll mentioned earlier in relation to the ideas of theology. On “Night Channel”—a song Murphy calls his proudest moment on the record—the band approached the songwriting directly, which Murphy notes “didn’t result in anything revolutionary, but helped us no longer come across great songs accidentally, instead actively striving for it and achieving it.” From top to bottom, Dealer is as candid and straightforward as the title suggests. It’s a musically rewarding record that continues the band’s acknowledgment of mortality in a way that’s surprisingly cathartic and almost epiphanic. As music lovers explore the record’s themes and tones, it becomes shockingly apparent why Foxing have been able to become one of music’s most interesting acts after only two short years.






ou could say that 2015 has been a really good year for West Virginia based power pop band Rozwell Kid. If they were making a documentary about the band, it might be called “2015: The Year Rozwell Kid Broke.” After releasing their third full-length, Too Shabby, in late 2014, embarking on their first U.S. tour with their old friends The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and playing huge festivals like Denver’s Riot Fest and Austin’s South By Southwest, Rozwell Kid took the proverbial next step the old fashioned way: nonstop touring and playing fun shows.

“We didn’t know what we were gonna do with Rozwell Kid, or when we were gonna get the opportunity to do that,” he says. “When we got offered the full U.S. tour, we were like, ‘Yeah, the record’s coming out, let’s do it. We’ll see what happens. If nothing else, we can go around the country and see what happens,’ and, man, it just hasn’t stopped. One tour after another came right up and we just hopped on and took everything we could. You know that saying, ‘Make

Getting to tour with West Virginia ex-pats The World Is… and seeing vocalist David Bello, guitarist and vocalist Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak, and guitarist Dylan Balliett release Harmlessness via Epitaph Records at the end of September was and is super cool according to Hudkins. “It’s incredible what Dave, Dylan, and Derrick are doing in The World Is…” he says with pride. “Being West Virginia natives, it’s cool to see them doing some really incredible stuff. This new record coming out, I foresee even greater things happening for them. It’s so awesome to know that they came from the same weirdo state that we’re from, and we’re operating out of.” “It’s tough to get out of West Virginia and do stuff,” he admits. “Just because, I don’t know, it’s pretty isolated. […] That’s why Rozwell Kid has toured so much. It’s because there’s not, like, a huge scene here in West Virginia to really, like, mill around in for a while and thrive on. You have to kind of get out there and play for other people and play other places soon-

er, I feel. That’s the way I feel it works.” Rozwell Kid certainly did that this year. Hudkins estimates that, between the start of the 2014 U.S. tour and the end of 2015, when Rozwell Kid wraps up their tour with The Get Up Kids, the band will have played roughly 175 shows. Get in the van, man… Looking ahead to Rozwell Kid’s Halloween night performance at FEST this year, Hudkins recalls their performance at last year’s FEST. “The thing about FEST is, there’s so much going on and so much good music and bands playing at the same time that, if someone comes to see you, they really want to see you. Like, they’re going out of their way to come see you. […] I remember feeling the energy in the room, and I think, yeah, that was a big moment for us. We really felt like, ‘Hey, maybe we can do this.’” Enjoying a break from the touring, Hudkins is hanging out in his hometown of Kearneysville, writing new Rozwell Kid songs, and looking ahead to recording a new album in 2016. “We’re all really, really excited about the future, and where we’re going to go,” he concludes. “We’re just pumped to keep doin’ it, and see what happens next.”



“It’s been a really good year,” vocalist and guitarist Jordan Hudkins says. “The record came out at the beginning of that tour, and we hav-

en’t stopped since.” Joined by his old friends, lead guitarist Adam Meisterhans, bassist Devin Donnelly, and drummer Sean Halock, Hudkins— fueled by hummus—hit the road with Rozwell Kid’s infectious version of rock that channels his teenage affection for bands like Green Day, Weezer, and The Rentals. Nobody knew how good 2015 would be for the band, Hudkins says, especially after Meisterhans relocated to Nashville two years ago.

hay while the sun is shining’? Or, ‘Strike while the iron is hot’? That sort of thing. I don’t know how hot the iron was, but we were definitely taking every opportunity that came our way, and being like, ‘Yeah! Let’s go! Let’s do this!’”




BAND: Iron Reagan / Municipal Waste / No Friends


LENGTHS YOU’VE GONE TO FIND A CLEAN BATHROOM: Hotel lobby bathrooms are always the best. Just go in the nicest hotel you can find in the area, act like you are staying there, and blow up the spot… with your butt.


IF YOUR BAND WERE A FEST STAPLE FOOD: Coconut cake from Reggae Shack!

BAND: SMOKE OR FIRE BANDS TO WATCH THIS YEAR: As Friends Rust / Desaparecidos / Lagwagon / The Menzingers / Ninja Gun / Nothington / PUP / Riverboat Gamblers / The Sidekicks / Weston / Wonk Unit / Off With Their Heads would have been at the top of my list, but they play the same time as my solo set. CUTOFF JORTS IN THE HOLIDAY INN POOL, YEA OR NAY: Doesn’t matter what I think. It’s gonna happen every year. Dude soup.

BAND: Jeff Rosenstock / Antarctigo Vespucci LENGTHS YOU’VE GONE TO FIND A CLEAN BATHROOM: I usually just shit five times within an hour of waking up!


BAND: War On Women


MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: I hooked up with this girl who was wearing the same type of black slip-on Vans as I did. About a quarter of a mile into my walk of shame the following day, I came to the brilliant conclusion that these weren’t my shoes on my feet. Her shoes were a lot smaller than mine to boot. She had to leave town before I could get ahold of her, and I had to wear her shoes for the entire last day of the weekend. My feet hurt and I was tragically hungover. We also made out in a ditch that night. Classy guy, right here. Up the punx.

CUTOFF JORTS IN THE HOLIDAY INN POOL, YEA OR NAY: Bikinis for everyone! Your body is just fine.

MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: When Bomb The Music Industry! played the Kickstand one year, we were so bad that it made Laura Stevenson cry on stage while playing with us. Pretty sure there’s video of that.

THE APPROPRIATE JUSTICE FOR LINE CUTTERS: Being called out, shamed to the back. Nothing too extreme!

ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME FEST ATTENDEES: I’ll be a buzzkill: you’re gonna miss half the bands you’re trying to see. But once you accept that, everything is a lot nicer. Instead of trying to hustle around, stick to one spot and check out some new bands. Make new friends and hang out at a hotel pool. Be nice to everyone around you; we’ll all appreciate it. And when all else fails, give me $500.


BAND: The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die PARTY ALL WEEKEND OR REST UP: This question makes me want to listen to Earth Crisis for the next month until FEST. CUT OFF JORTS IN THE POOL, YEA OR NAY: I much prefer store bought cargo shorts. Why do I have to do the work to make my jeans into shorts? Spencers at the mall already sells them next to the black light Metallica posters.

BAND: Wilderness Dream / Heartsounds LONGEST YOU’VE GONE WITHOUT SLEEP: Not that long, probably. That’s a young man’s game, that whole drinking ‘till 5 a.m. business. I’ll drink until midnight, then my body shuts down, because smoking weed in bed sound nicer than hangin’ out with super drunk bearded punishers.


CUT OFF JORTS IN THE POOL, YEA OR NAY: I don’t get in the pool. Nooo way. Wrong person to ask! LENGTHS YOU’VE GONE TO FIND A CLEAN BATHROOM: I’ve walked like two miles, I believe. I’m like Costanza when it comes to finding a clean facility. THE APPROPRIATE JUSTICE FOR LINE CUTTERS: Throw em’ to the gators.


BAND: PEARS LONGEST YOU’VE GONE WITHOUT SLEEP: What’s more impressive is how long I’ve gone without waking up.

THE APPROPRIATE JUSTICE FOR LINE CUTTERS: Is morality not subjective? Be your own God.

BAND: Antarctigo Vespucci / Chris Farren


IF YOUR BAND WERE A FEST STAPLE FOOD: I would probably be a Beefy Crunchwrap® Supreme from Taco Bell, because with their new Late Night menu, you can’t go wrong! CUT OFF JORTS IN THE POOL, YEA OR NAY: For a child or an adult? I think cutoff jorts in a pool for a little boy is fine, but if it’s an adult, it’s time to grow up and buy a bathing suit. ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME FEST ATTENDEES: Drink a lot of water, get 12 hours of sleep each night, and limit yourself to seeing one band per day.

THE APPROPRIATE JUSTICE FOR LINE CUTTERS: I believe in kindness. People lose their humanity at festivals over small things. ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME FEST ATTENDEES: Listen to your body—as well as the music. Take time for food, hydration, sleep, and quiet. Remember to be patient with others and yourself. This way, you can enjoy the chaos. There is so much of the global music community present, so make a new friend and learn new perspectives in between all the music.


MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: I put my balls in an ice chest cup holder on accident.

IF YOUR BAND WERE A FEST STAPLE FOOD: Reggae Shack’s jerk tofu, because there is nothing else.


IF YOUR BAND WERE A FEST STAPLE FOOD: Somebody else’s bagel. Because I always end up eating part of somebody else’s bagel at FEST. Or a bean burrito from Taco Bell, no cheese. Fuck cheese and anyone who loves cheese.



LENGTHS YOU’VE GONE TO FIND A CLEAN BATHROOM: Peed behind the door of our van in a public parking lot. Really had to go, because of all the Shirley Temples I drank.


IF YOUR BAND WERE A FEST STAPLE FOOD: Probably tacos from Boca Fiesta with that super hot sauce, because if you touch us, you have to wash your hands before touching your… eyes. PARTY ALL WEEKEND OR REST UPT: Party some, drink some water, do some yoga, party more. Or just party the whole time and shit in your own pants; I don’t really care. ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME FEST ATTENDEES: Come to my free Yoga For Punks class on Saturday morning! It will get you healed up and ready to party more!

becomes something we simply can’t do anymore. We decided it was more important to us to get some closure on the band, rather than be one of those bands who is suddenly gone one day. What is everyone working on next? [Drummer] Brian [Maguire] is currently in a couple other bands already—Latent States and These Giants—so I’m sure he’ll keep doing that and recording bands at his home studio. The rest of us are probably gonna take a bit of time to focus on boring adult shit for a while. [Bassist] Chris [Larsen] and I are both moving, most likely to Nashville, so who knows?



or a band who formed just “for fun,” Banquets have had a hell of a ride. Over five years, the Jersey four piece have put out a trio of full-lengths, each more popular than the next, toured the country several times over, and helped launch a record label—Black Numbers, owned by guitarist Dave Frenson—in the process. Half a decade in, Banquets have decided to pull the plug, going out with a


aybe punk isn’t dead, but it has had plenty of near death experiences. What do you get when you mix vocalist and bassist SeanPaul Pillsworth of Nightmares For A Week and Anadivine; drummer Justin Meyer of Graffiti Souls, Anadivine, and Jerk Magnet; and guitarists John Collura of The Ataris and Mike Saffert of Hidden In Plain View? The breath of new life into pop punk’s lungs! Punk may be on its ninth life, but New York’s The Red Owls are its equivalent of a green mushroom in Super Mario Bros. Their debut EP Do You Feel Any Better is available via Paper + Plastick. How did you and Justin Meyer decide to form a new pop punk band? It is a throwback, and it is something that’s the style I’ve wanted to play now for the last two years. A little faster and embracing some of the bands I was listening to growing up. The band I was playing in, Nightmares For A Week, didn’t have the ambition to play that way and it wasn’t in our style to take that on. I wrote a bunch of songs and had Justin, our drummer, come over. I said, “These are maybe gonna be new Jerk Magnet songs,” the first band we were in. I thought it would be fun and get everybody to play on ‘em. We did four or five songs as demos. I sent [John Collura] some of the stuff I did, and then, he sent me all this stuff he’d been sitting on. Songs. He’s an




new melodic punk rock record, Spit at the Sun, a final set at FEST, and a number of dates to close out the year. Why is the band calling it quits? As a band who started as a “for fun” project, we’ve accomplished everything we’d ever imagined possible and more. Between work, getting married, moving out of the area, buying houses, and all that other fun adult stuff, we’re finding it harder and harder to be even a part time band. We wanna put an end date on it before it

Did you go into this record knowing it would be your last? Yeah, we’ve known the band was going to have to end sooner rather than later for a while. We initially had two songs written, and while arguing about what to do with them, ultimately landed on the idea of doing a third LP. Doing anything less than an LP seemed like it would be a really cheap way to go out after spending so much time on our band. Where and with whom did you record? We recorded with our friend Brett Romnes at The Barber Shop Studios in Lake Hopatcong, N.J. We first met Brett

when I Am The Avalanche took us out for a couple tour dates a few years ago. Working with Brett and the rest of the crew at The Barber Shop was awesome. Brett’s a beast and powered through brutal food poisoning—which I’m pretty sure I gave him, and he never complained—to finish almost the entire recording in four days. Pedialyte and Brett’s iron will saved our record. Do you anticipate playing the occasional show together after FEST? We’re going to continue to play shows through the end of this year, and probably play our final show in early 2016. We’re gonna do our best to play our favorite cities again before we call it a day, and then, play a final local show. This year will be our last FEST, though. So, if you’re not from the East Coast, I’d recommend catching our set there. Are you going to continue to run Black Numbers? Absolutely. I’ve got a bunch of cool stuff lined up right now. A few records are currently at the plant, and I’ve got a few more that are in the infant stages. I have no plans to pull the plug on Black Numbers any time soon.


amazing writer. No lyrics, but verses and choruses. It was great stuff. So, we took his stuff on and booked a day, and it instead became The Red Owls EP. Your vocals are in impressive mix of raw punk and professional studio takes… I’ve battled between just recording what I do live, a fair representation, and having too much of a fascination with Bad Religion punk rock choirs or vocal harmonies that blow me away. So I say I’m going to keep it raw, and then, I hear the end result and it’s not [laughs]. “If we bury the harmonies, they’ll be a supporting thing.” But they are always right there. I didn’t want a studio performance, and it is stuff I can sing live. Nightmares For A Week was half sing, half yell, and was easier to pull off. This is stuff that I’m confident I can pull off live. Does that differ from when you were originally doing pop punk? Yeah. I was elected to be singer even in bands after that, but I didn’t have a strong sense of pitch. I used to torture every engineer we were in the studio with. “That’s kind of cool, but you’re flat.” I had no concept of how to do it other than the way I was doing it. So, it would take me forever. For me, it took a lot longer, I don’t know why. I wonder what kind of singer I’d be if I didn’t look up to so many nontraditional singers. All the guys I grew up with were like

I N T E R V I E W W I T H B A S S I S T / V O C A L I S T S E A N - P A U L P I L L S W O R T H B Y M O R G A N Y. E V A N S Fat Mike from NOFX or Milo [Aukerman] from Descendents. I wonder how many bad habits I picked up from punk rock [laughs]. What’s next? We’re writing for the album and doing shows. We’re doing Jersey and Boston. FEST. Kingston, [N.Y.], our hometown. We did things backwards in this band, where the demo was actually a release. So, we wrote and recorded a demo that’s now a release on Paper + Plastick. It’s going to be released

before we’ve played a show! I’m happy The Red Owls got on FEST from [them only] really knowing me from Nightmares For A Week. FEST, I know, that’s the weekend every year where the shit really comes together. I’ve been fortunate enough to play a lot of [fests], from Warped Tour to ones that only lasted a year. But FEST, there’s something different about it. I’m psyched and hope we go over. I don’t know when we’re playing, but I know it’s on Saturday!




eafheaven have already achieved the impossible. Their breakthrough album, 2013’s Sunbather, was the perfect amalgamation of black metal urgency and post-rock earnestness, and was one of the rare underground records to garner both critical and commercial success. The young band, led by vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, were catapulted beyond the confines of their extreme metal homestead into a strange crossroads of mainstream appeal and recognition. Sunbather was written from a place of yearning and despair, by a pair of literal starving artists who dreamed of escaping their dismal surroundings. Where would the band go now that they had “arrived” in their careers? “We’re incredibly lucky,” Clarke says frankly, “and the band is, in my opinion, stronger than it’s ever been.” One might assume that Deafheaven would go the softer, friendly route in order to capitalize on their newfound exposure. You would, of course, be gravely mistaken. Instead, the Deafheaven lads have gone the opposite route. New Bermuda—the band’s new record, out Oct. 2 via ANTI- records—finds the band going darker, heavier, and even more metal than ever before. The album’s opening track and first single, “Brought to the Water,” rips like Sons of Northern Darkness era Immortal, but is bolstered by Deafheaven’s awe-inspiring hooks and melodies. “We generally put the




first track as the one that sets the tone for the rest of the record,” Clarke reveals. “We just wanted something to represent the whole album if it’s the first thing people hear.” “Brought to the Water” successfully serves its purpose as the canary in the coal mine that is New Bermuda. The darkness, the ferocity, and the heavy fucking metal do not let up until the closing track, “Gifts for the Earth,” which brings to a halt the album’s barrage of blast beats in favor of some groovy indie rock arrangements, but still features Clarke’s newly cemented, uber torturous rasp. And that’s the “pleasant” song… about suicide. “I can totally see someone going, ‘Oh, this is a hit single, guys!’” McCoy laughs, mimicking an uptight record executive, “but I almost feel like that’s false advertising.” Clarke joins in, saying, “We can release it as a single, honestly, and I wouldn’t have a problem with that. I think the only reason that we didn’t is because it’s the anomaly of the album. I kind of like it that [track] stays at the end; it kind of wraps the record up in a cool way.” Album ender aside, New Bermuda is a beast of a record and is easily the most vicious and extreme collection of songs of Deafheaven’s career. That being said, the band still manages to infuse haunting and straight up gorgeous melodies into these tunes, turning legitimate metal bangers into bona fide soul touching anthems. “The difference with these songs,” McCoy explains, “is there was a lot less reverb and a lot less emphasis on

the spacey-ness and the atmosphere, and lot more focus on riffing and letting a guitar do what a guitar naturally does. I think we kind of did that with the vocals as well. Instead of having the typical atmospheric black metal approach of burying it in the background, we kind of almost gave it that Emperor or Immortal kind of sound, putting it right in the center, in a harsh way. Less reverb, more palm muting, a lot more typical almost technical style riffing instead of a lot of delays and tremolos. Obviously, there’s still a lot of that, but there was definitely a conscious effort to make it more rounded.” The two years the band spent touring in support of Sunbather— expanding from grimy metal clubs to large outdoor music festivals— helped refine their musical chops, strengthened their chemistry, and paved the way for the gnarlier terrain they’d explore on New Bermuda. “I use touring to really hone in on range and control, and utilize my voice in a stronger way,” Clarke reveals. “By the time we got to recording, I was just in a better space. I was a lot more confident. I think all the touring has definitely made us a tighter band. I know that when [drummer] Dan [Tracy] and Kerry really start getting into it and start fleshing out the skeleton of a song, ideas bounce back and forth really fluidly.” McCoy describes the band’s creative approach behind New Bermuda, saying, “I feel like if you try to write a record with the thought in your head, wondering, ‘How am I going to do this live?’ you’ll end up limiting yourself, which we never like to do. The thing that the massive

amount of touring did, like George said—we’re able to read each other better and grew tighter as a band. Once a set becomes second nature and you can do it with your eyes closed, you kind of naturally expand on it in sort of unconscious ways.” The hazy, dreamlike atmosphere of Sunbather has given way to the bold and nightmarish clarity of New Bermuda. While their breakthrough record tended toward the transformative, New Bermuda is about embracing the harshness of everyday life. “The record kind of deals with the notion of false promise,” Clarke reveals, “of building something up in your head too much and reconciling the reality of the situation. That goes far beyond just being in the band and goes on to a personal level. The record, in part, does deal with some of my early frustrations dealing with relocation.” But the addition of Los Angeles smog and traffic into the Deafheaven universe can’t take full credit for New Bermuda’s aural assault, as Clarke says, “It was readjusting to a new life. I had been sort of living this San Francisco life for so many years, not so much the location, but the lifestyle changed.” “Every record is really like a timestamp of where we’re at, at that point,” McCoy says. New Bermuda represents Deafheaven: 2015, a band in their prime, cranking out metal jams for the ages.








ometimes the shittiest days can inspire the best material. For vocalist Chris Roetter, an entire dragging year sparked the words behind Like Moths To Flames’ third full-length record, The Dying Things We Live For. Released on Oct. 23, the record reveals a new side of the band stemming from the hardships of their own realities. “2014 to date was probably one of the worst years of my life,” says Roetter, explaining the lyrical inspiration behind the new album. “It was just one of those ‘when it rains, it pours’ type of things. It wasn’t one thing, it was just many. So, it kind of fueled my desire to write an album. Rather than writing really bubbly stuff that we can’t really go out and portray live, this is stuff that we can go out and feel. People can tell that there’s real emotion behind it when they see it, I think that’s mostly what we tried to accomplish.” One of the major hardships the band dealt with over the last year was parting ways with guitarist Zack Huston, one of the key songwriters of the band’s discography. “[Huston’s depar-




INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST CHRIS ROETTER BY NATASHA VAN DUSER ture] kind of gave us the opportunity to, I guess, reinvent the band,” explains Roetter. “When you do things a certain way for so long, it can kind of become a little redundant. For us, we were going in on our third album, and I think it was just time for a change of pace and that’s what we’re looking forward to.” Eventually, after writing and recording their record in the spring of 2015, The Dying Things We Live For was completed to the satisfaction of Like Moths To Flames, and they were ready to drop their first single, “Thrown to the Wind.” “I feel like there are songs on the album that really give away what we were trying to do,” says Roetter. “We didn’t want to give it away right away. I feel like [‘Thrown to the Wind’] is a song that shows kind of where we were headed with the sound as far as quality, production, and the overall tone of

the album. It was just the best way to introduce the album. It wasn’t something that didn’t make sense for us. That was just our plan with the roll out: it’s a quick introduction with an aggressive take on the album.” While their single is regarded highly by the band, several other songs really caught Roetter’s ear after their completion. “I like the song ‘Wither,’” he says. “I think that’s, like, the general favorite throughout the band. That’s the last song on the album. ‘The Art of Losing’ is the song that I think really showcased what the band did on the album as far as really separating ourselves from the last two [records]. It’s just a little bit different and we’re kind of excited about it.” The album as a whole captures the mood and vibe Roetter was going through throughout most of 2014, hence the rather intricate album ti-

tle. “It may be kind of a morbid way to think about things,” he says, “but every day, we’re dying. We’re kind of coming closer to the end of the line or whatever, and this is my way of truly embracing things that I love and showing that I am dying to live for them in a sense. Like, it covers a pretty broad area as far as family and the band. We’re all getting older, the band could be seeing its last few years, but we’re still living for it. It still gives us our sense of belonging, our sense of something to live for.” So far, this new approach seems to have really helped the band, not only as an emotional release for Roetter, but as a musical experiment for the band as a whole. “At the end of the album,” Roetter says, “we all listened back and were like, ‘This is what we wanted to accomplish.’ We did exactly what we wanted to do.” Fans will have a chance to check out some of new material live when Like Moths To Flames head out on their upcoming Australian tour with Northlane.





t’s been seven years—again— since H2O’s last record, though most wouldn’t know it based on the band’s activity level in that time. “It’s kind of our thing, isn’t it?” longtime bassist Adam Blake says in a tone that communicates a certain irreverence about the whole thing. He and the rest of the long-running band just dropped their latest, Use Your Voice, via Bridge Nine Records, a perfect band-label marriage if there ever was one. It’s got all the standard hallmarks of a classic H2O album, an aggressive, yet positively and brightly channeled exuberance many bands half their age wouldn’t dare to attempt.

Though the band take pains to “not step outside our lane too much,” as Blake eloquently puts it, those long layoffs between recording occasionally pay unexpected dividends. “With the way the world is changing,” he starts, “the last three times we’ve made a record, from a technological and sonic standpoint, have been completely different, [including] the way we record it, due to the advantages in recorded technology, so it always kind of feels like we’re going into a science fiction book—like, ‘We can do that? Really?’ The fact that we don’t [record] so much means that when we do, it feels like a treat, an exciting, playful kind of thing; it doesn’t feel stale. It keeps it more interesting.” When




pressed for an example, Blake reveals, “One thing we did on ‘True Romance’ is—it’s the last song on the record and during the outro, there is a very subtle use of piano, the lead guitar part is played on a piano.”

H2O can get away with using pianos at this point, subtly or not. Through two decades of hard work, countless tours, and several unfortunate trends in punk and hardcore, the band have stayed true to themselves, from signing to a major label at the height of punk’s most recent flirtation with commercial viability in the early 2000s to maintaining their acutely era-specific style now, when most hardcore music is bleaker than ever. “We’re aware of what the popular hardcore styles are,” Blake says. “We’re friends with a lot of the dudes, but it would be really forced for us to try to sound like those bands. It just wouldn’t be us. The music we play is the music that expresses who we are best. We’re not 20-somethings just starting out. We’re older dudes, and this music’s been a part of our lives. We have our own identity and that comes through with the band; we know who we are and we know our strong points. We just stay true to ourselves.” Staying true to oneself means not worrying about fitting in and H2O are no different. “I don’t necessarily

think we do [fit in], and it’s something I’ve been wrestling with, the word ‘hardcore,’” Blake says. “I would say that H2O and a lot of our fans are representatives of what hardcore, sonically, used to sound like. If you listen to hardcore as it sounds now, it doesn’t sound like the bands of our era. So, it’s almost like, well, what does the word signify? Is it a certain sound or message? I came to the conclusion that it’s a certain energy, and that energy transcends style and venue; you know it when you feel it. It makes you wanna make changes, and it makes you feel like pushing through and being better. In that regard, we fit in really well with the newer bands, but at the same time, we do sound like a band from our era.” H2O are headed to Eastern Europe in late October for a string of shows, playing far-flung countries like Slovenia, Hungary, and Poland that don’t see western bands too often. “The audiences are extremely enthusiastic, they’re stoked to have bands come play. When you go to those countries, you really kind of see a very exuberant, positive spirit at the shows,” Blake says, “but it’s in direct contrast to what’s going on outside. Having been to a lot of those Eastern Bloc countries you see—it hasn’t even been that long since the decline of Communism, and you can really see it and feel it and it makes you feel a little

bit entitled. We thought, we’re doing a big Euro tour called Persistence in January, we thought we would go to Europe before that because, while we love the American audience, the European audience has always been really good to us, so we wanted to get over and play for those people.” It’s an interesting thing for a band of H2O’s longevity to go do, but Blake appears as excited as ever, even as a, shall we say, older gentleman. When asked if, at his age, playing shows is sometimes difficult, he quickly rephrases as, “You mean, you’re old as fuck and does it hurt to jump around?” He continues, “Sometimes, but I will tell you this much: whatever endeavor it is, if you play enough shows, it does [get hard] sometimes and I feel like I don’t wanna do it. But, as one of five guys in a band, I just hope that when it’s my night [to feel that way], that the other four guys are fucking fired up. I’m lucky: I’m easily excited, so those nights, for me, are very rare, but 99.99 percent of the time, playing a show is just about as fun as it gets, especially with a new record out. I got at least three years until I’m sick of these songs.”



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matter how unfunny or eye roll-y it can be. You have an entire webisode about Crocs. Do you actually like Crocs? [Bassist] Ryan [Scott Graham] non-ironically loves his Crocs. He actually wears them all over. He played a sold out headlining show in Chicago with them on! Very ridiculous. [Laughs] INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST TYLER SZALKOWSKI BY NATASHA VAN DUSER


he last year has been an absolute whirlwind of new experiences for New York pop punk band State Champs. After the release of their critically acclaimed breakthrough record The Finer Things, the band found themselves diving head first into a cycle of constant touring that took them all around the world. This adventure not only sparked some great stories and experiences, but inspired the latest step in their musical career: the creation of their sophomore full-length Around the World and Back. Released Oct. 16 via Pure Noise Records, the album picks up right where The Finer Things left off. What was your mindset while writing and recording Around the World and Back? We went in with open minds. We wanted to try some new stuff, experiment a bit, and get a little freaky. And we did! We felt a little pressure having to follow up The Finer Things, but it wasn’t at the forefront of our minds like, “We have to beat The Finer Things!” at all. We just set out to make a record that we thought was awesome and, as a result, at least I think, it’s way better than our last record.  What are some of the major musical influences on this new record? We definitely channeled some of our inner The Starting Line and other early 2000s Drive-Thru [Records] bands. There’s a track with a more pop influence and a track with a more Acceptance/Anberlin influence. It’s hard to explain! 




What inspired the album title? These songs are the culmination of us traveling around the world and back. Before we put out The Finer Things, we had never left North America. By the end of 2014, we had been in 14 different countries across four different continents. We wrote a lot of these songs while we were touring as well. To us, it just made sense. It’s also a lyric from one of the songs that happens to be one of my personal favorites!  You recently released the video for “All You Are Is History.” Why did you choose that track as a single? We wanted to release that song as a single because it has a lot of energy.  We wanted to show that this record is full of life. The [breaking and entering] theme of the video was developed by Max Moore, who also shot the video. We really liked the idea, because it’s a breakup song and we thought it’d be cool to have that sort of revenge vibe. Also, who doesn’t like seeing things get destroyed in slow motion?  Do you have a favorite track yet? I have a couple. I love the song “Shape Up,” because the melody and structure are absolute fire. On top of that, [vocalist] Derek [DiScanio]’s lyrics in that song have what I think is a great message. Really though, I love the entire record. Picking singles was very hard for this one! 

You recently released The Acoustic Things, featuring acoustic versions of the tracks on The Finer Things. Will you release an acoustic version of the new record? There is an acoustic song on this new record. Can’t guarantee you’ll hear anything live for a while, but I do think we’ll do another acoustic record.  You’re primarily a pop punk band, but you’ve played with heavier acts like Vanna and Sworn In. Are you influenced by heavier sounds? We love heavy music. All of us were in heavy bands before State Champs, some of us for years and years. We definitely have some underlying heavy tones; that’s what we were writing and playing for so long.  

How are you preparing for your upcoming tour with The Wonder Years? We’re very excited for that tour. Not preparing anything crazy, just rehearsing some new songs to get in the mix since our record will be released right before that tour. What sets a State Champs live show apart? I think our live show is very interactive and full of energy. Derek is a great frontman and really good at getting everyone into the set, whether it’s clapping, singing, jumping, stage diving, etc. All in all, we like to have fun, and if you come to a State Champs show, we hope you like to have fun too.


What inspired the “Shot Boys” webisode series? We decided to create “Shot Boys” because we love shows like “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and wanted to do something different. Tour update vlogs and all that are cool, but they can be boring.  We wanted to deliver a new type of content, no




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am Russo has been keeping one hell of a schedule since his 2013 release. Punk veteran Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms discovered Russo and connected the U.K. native with the folks at Red Scare who put out his record, Storm, and convinced him to call in sick to his day job for the next few months so he could trek across the U.S. as part of the Red Scare Across America Tour. Aside from touring with Kelly, he shared stages across the globe with Frank Turner, Tim Barry, and Lucero, before finally settling down to record his next record, Greyhound Dreams, available now. The record picks up nicely where Storm left off, with 10 new roots-y tracks. Dan Andriano and Brendan Kelly from The Falcon put you in touch with Red Scare, correct? Yes, I was lucky enough to get on a tour with those guys in the U.K. and

we became fast friends, which was pretty surreal for me being such a huge fan. Brendan does a lot of A&R for Red Scare, and he sent some of my songs from Storm over and convinced Toby [Jeg] it would be a good idea to put the record out. At the time, I was working odd jobs and really living hand to mouth, and it gave me hope to know that someone across the ocean had heard my stuff and had enough faith in me to stick their neck out. I felt a part of something for the first time in a long time. That’s pretty much how I’ve felt ever since.  Toby and Brendan take a chance every time they do anything with me, and I’m really grateful they’re both such reckless alcoholics.  I feel like the happy mistake of the family: they didn’t plan me, but they’re OK with me being born.  Most of the time.  Is there significance to the album title, Greyhound Dreams?

SAM RUSSO I N T E R V I E W B Y J O H N B . M O O R E The title came to me while I was “Moving North,” and I feel like I wrote watching my dog run. He’s the most it a hundred times. Roo Pescod plays beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and I piano on it, and it just finally came get lost in watching him run some- out how I wanted it to after grinding it times.  I was just staring at the wet out for so long. That felt good. There’s grass, it was early morning before also a song on there called “Western work, and I was stealing a daydream Union” that I wrote with my good while he flew around the little track friend James Hull from Leagues Apart he runs on.  I got home, wrote the almost five years ago. We rewrote it, words down, and they just made gave it a lick of paint, and it just felt sense to me. I thought about it all right closing out the album. It’s the day at work and, when I got home, I first time I’ve written a record from wrote a song called “Dream All You scratch, because with Storm, I had Want.” [It was] the first song I wrote this narrative that I cobbled together for the record, and the line came out from these songs that were basicalas, “I dream like a greyhound taking ly diary entries; Greyhound Dreams the lead.”  The whole record is about is less linear and more thematic. chasing your dreams. Never giving up. Do you have plans to tour the U.S. Have you found time to work on when the record comes out? your novel? Nothing concrete, but I am Still working on it.  It might take me itching to get back over.  Cue a lifetime!  Between work and music Toby!  I’d love to do another huge and having any semblance of a life tour.  Something I can quit my job in between, I’ve really struggled to for would be an absolute dream. keep her up. [Portland, Ore., novelist and singer-songwriter for Rich- What’s next for you? mond Fontaine] Willy Vlautin gave I have three record release shows me some great advice, he said, “Keep over here in the U.K., then, I hit the going no matter what.” I’ll carry that road with Dan Andriano over here in a long time. November. Beyond that, I’m just going to keep chasing and chasing until When did you start working on the something gives out!  Wish me luck. songs that made it onto Greyhound Dreams? As soon as I finished Storm, basically.  There’s a song on there that literally took two years to write. It’s called





“I’m a

This interestingphrase kicks off Allison Weiss’ record New Love—out now on SideOneDummy—and it serves as an essential bridge from the musician’s past works to her latest. On her previous records, heartbreak and loss dominated the lyrical tone in a way that would make anyone’s heart truly ache. But on New Love, Weiss expands upon what an aching heart truly means as she draws inspiration from what her lyrics in the past had desperately pined for: a blissful, loving relationship. That doesn’t mean New Love is full of cheesy pop songs that evoke feelings of first dates and corsages; instead, this makes it an album with just as much introspection, apprehension, and confidence as her previous records. Probably more.

sucker for an aching heart.

“I love writing songs about relationships,” says Weiss. “This was an interesting record for me, because I hadn’t gone through a breakup and I had to write all these songs while being in




this totally normal, happy relationship. I tried to really tap into the fact that I never really get over anything. I have OCD, so that makes me totally obsess over everything constantly. As a result, a lot of the songs are just me being unsure about how I feel.”

Utilizing her obsessive and doubtful personality paid off handsomely on New Love, as it portrays an interesting clash of emotions. The record overflows with rich confidence from the start, but hiding underneath this stream of assurance is a strong undercurrent of doubt and apprehension. Its uneasiness is not centered on thoughts like “What if you leave me?” but rather, on drastic upheaval, both personally and professionally. On top of the new relationship, the period predating New Love saw Weiss move across the nation to California, something that could trigger anxiety in anyone. To add to the palpable tension, she found herself trying to create what would become her strongest record to date in a timespan considerably less than she had become accustomed to. “When it came time to re-



cord, we only had 12 days to track it,” she explains. “We just went for it, and somehow, finished it all in 12 days, which was the shortest time I’ve ever spent tracking a record.” Naturally, anxiety really started to rear its ugly head. “I was deathly nervous while we were doing it,” Weiss continues. “Was it going to feel rushed? Were people going to think I didn’t spend enough time on this? I’m such a perfectionist that this was really hard for me to deal with. It definitely comes through in the way I write songs and make records, as well as how I live my life.” Still, Weiss admits that the brief time they spent in the studio worked out for the better, as it allowed her team to really let the songs guide them in the appropriate direction. “When I was writing the record, I demoed everything out and the final songs are pretty close to that,” she says. “Because we had limited time, so many decisions were gut-based, and it’s really cool how this record turned out because of it. There are parts that are sloppier than they would be if I had weeks to perfect it, but I love how it sounds. We spent over a year track-

ing the last record, while this one was, ‘Get in there and get it done.’ There’s just this energy that would have been missing if we had all the time in the world.” That energy drives New Love to its place as one of 2015’s most fascinating ones. It comfortably straddles the line between pop and rock music, as Weiss’ guitar tendencies communicate her admiration for upbeat music. “I just really love how straightforward pop songs are,” she reveals. “I don’t know if I’ll ever write a true pop record, since I grew up listening to punk rock and playing in bands, but I’m pulled in so many directions musically because of what I like, so there’s also going to be a strong feeling of pop on my records.” It’s the way all of these contradictory concepts interact with each other on New Love that’s just so mesmerizing. There’s the confidence from a new relationship clashing with Weiss’ pervasive anxiety, as well as the brashness of the guitar trying to fight off the accessibility of a pop record. It makes New Love neither a pop nor a rock record, nor even a love record, but simply, a great record that anyone can hear themself in. It’s a record you will instantly lose yourself in, but Weiss’ shaky and confident voice is always there to guide you to some much needed clarity.






f you’re a fan of the ‘90s DIY post-punk noise alt rock scene, you probably don’t need to be told that reissues and rarities label The Numero Group wrapped up its career-spanning Unwound box series on Sept. 4 with the release of Empire. The fourth and final installment in the series collects Unwound’s 1998 album Challenge for a Civilized Society, the double album swansong Leaves Turn Inside You from 2001, and a fourth disc of singles, B-sides, and demos. Drummer Sara Lund says that going through Unwound’s entire catalog—seven albums released between 1995 and 2001, plus a mountain of live recordings, demos, and other unreleased material—gave her, bassist Vern Rumsey, and vocalist and guitarist Justin Trosper a new perspective on their old band. “We were all sitting on piles of ephemera: there were live tapes, there were videotapes, there were flyers and photos and everything,” she says. “I think with the trauma of the breakup, we’d all sort of turned our backs on [Unwound]. And 10 years later, we were willing to take a look at things again and actually acknowledge this project, this band that had been such a big part of our lives and had been a part of other people’s lives.” When the trio got together for the first time a few years ago to talk about building an Unwound online archive, they hadn’t all been in the same room together since their last show in 2002. Shortly thereafter, The Numero Group approached the band about the reissue series, and their own archive project took a backseat. “Numero Group approached us,” Lund says. “They had been getting into the

idea of putting out stuff from the ‘90s. They’d just done the Codeine box set. They approached us and basically said, ‘Hey, we want to do this totally completist collection, where we release every bit of Unwound’s recorded material. It will be the biggest project we’ve ever done on a single artist.’ And so, we said, ‘Why, that would be an honor, thank you very much.’” Lund says that, in assembling the box sets, the band rediscovered some things that reminded them why they loved Unwound in the first place. “I did hear some songs that I had completely forgotten existed,” she laughs. “So, that was a surprise. To be able to put so many years between then and now, and just go back and hear them now, really far away, being a different person in a different life, I was able to appreciate it in a way that was almost impossible for me to do at the time, in the middle of living it. In the midst of it, something can always be better. That’s sort of the artistic way, what keeps you always driving to create: ‘It’s not good enough, we can do better.’ I couldn’t listen to the records without cringing at something, but now, I can listen and just be like, ‘Oh cool, cool music guys.’” Another thing Lund realized is why some people just didn’t get what Unwound was all about. “The people who got it, really, really got it,” she explains. “Most people did not get it. And I can hear it and say, ‘Yeah, this doesn’t sound like what was popular then. No wonder we weren’t popular!’”

boretum”—a song from 1994’s New Plastic Ideas, which is collected on the 2014 box set Rat Conspiracy—has made her appreciate the song on a different level. “I think the version on New Plastic Ideas was fine, but being able to listen to those live recordings of it made me realize how much more powerful a piece of music it grew to be.” Another standout is “Laszlo,” featured on the rarities album that comes with Empire. The song was previously only available on a Trouble Man compilation. “That’s a crazy song,” Lund laughs. “There’s another demo on there where you can hear remnants of ‘Terminus,’” Lund says of Empire’s rarities collection. “It fell apart in the state it was in and turned into something else. Also a super crazy song, so intricate. To hear the way we went from being a sloppy punk band into being this pretty tight, intricate, musically proficient band in kind of a short amount of time was cool to listen to. If you listen through all the records, you can hear us learning how to play our instruments. And, by the end, you can tell we know how to play our instruments,” she laughs. Of course, Lund is excited for everyone else to reconnect with Unwound’s body of work as well. “It is really nice to see and hear and feel that the music we created has this resonance this many years later, that it still means something to people, and that new people are discovering it and it means something to them.”

Lund has even come away from the experience with some new favorite Unwound tracks. She says that listening to the live recordings of “Ar-




LABEL SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH LABEL MANAGER CHRIS STOWE BY GABI CHEPURNY A-F Records began in 1997 in Justin Sane’s parents’ garage when his band, Anti-Flag, wanted to release their music. They decided to start releasing music from their friends bands, too, and everything grew from there. Label manager Chris Stowe has been at A-F Records for about four years and takes care of signing bands, managing projects, and getting the bills paid. “Ya know, manager shit, but with punk bands,” he says. His bosses, the members of Anti-Flag, hold true to their personal ethics even in the business side of their label. Even in a less than lucrative economy, they pay fair wages and don’t pander to the typical—and often sleazy— business model found at many recording companies. Stowe says, “I’m not really sure how other labels do stuff. Ultimately, we all work really hard to be able to do what we love for a living. We’re a very real family here with a common goal, so that’s probably part of it too, which at times can make it feel less like a business and more like a team. I guess the answer to that question is simply that they care about the team. Taking care




of each other is a priority, so we’ve always just figured out how to do it, ya know? If you want to do something bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to make it possible.” While many labels have folded in the recent past, A-F Records has weathered the storm, something Stowe attributes to their ability to avoid the traditional music biz landscape entirely, thanks to the punk ethos. “I think there’s some sort of misconception about what exactly the music business landscape is—at least for me and what we do at A-F,” Stowe says. “We put out punk records, basically. Essentially, everyone on the label comes from a punk rock background and we all share a similar upbringing. So, the trials and tribulations of the real music industry don’t really apply to us.” That being said, Stowe also knows that it’s A-F Records’ heart, and not greed, that keeps it afloat. “There’s no illusion that anyone is going to get rich,” he clarifies. “That’s the main reason that the music industry imploded in the first place: a bunch

of rich white guys weren’t getting rich anymore because people figured out how to steal music from the Internet. Because their system was based on pure greed as opposed to the desire to put out good music that you care about and believe in, they didn’t have anything to fall back on. So, that whole thing crumbled. But, where I’m coming from with what we do, it’s pretty easy to sustain because we put out good records and the people who listen to this kind of music are notoriously really good at supporting it. We’re lucky that we can be a part of a community like that.”

The future of A-F Records looks much like their past: delivering high quality records to high quality fans. Stowe says, “We’ve got some cool records coming out at the end of the year, some cool records coming out next year. That’s the plan for the future I guess (laughs), just putting out cool records that we love and hope other people will love too.”






ou might not know his name, but if you’re a fan of modern day thrash metal, then you’re probably familiar with his eye-popping artwork. Andrei Bouzikov is a San Francisco based artist who has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the contemporary mosh pit scene such as Skeletonwitch and Municipal Waste, just to name a few. Raised in Belarus during the waning days of the Soviet Union, Bouzikov immigrated to the States at 16, graduated from art school, and has been cranking out beautifully twisted visuals that reflect the dismal Cold War environment of his youth, namely war, religious oppression, “broken dreams, and an uncertain future.” You know, metalhead stuff. What was it like growing up in two different countries? Did this diverse exposure influence your artwork? Growing up in Belarus was very different from what my peers experienced in the U.S. We had a totally different set of problems: no food or clothing, my parents would work without pay for six months at the time. The ‘90s was hell in my home country; some of my friends turned to alcohol, extreme violence and crime. It was desperate and difficult times, but it made us appreciate little things, like good company, friends, and music. We kids didn’t have a place to go, so we would hang out at old overgrown cemeteries, ice frozen rivers, or we would go into the woods and dig out old WWII fortifications and looked for lost Soviet treasures. In the U.S., I really appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to work too much to get life’s necessities: food, clothing, and occasional records. Becoming acclimated to American culture after my post-Soviet childhood played a big role in my paintings. I call it “Chernobyl in Walmart!” How did you first get involved in the heavy metal underworld? What was the first band or project you tackled? I worked on a lot of show flyers for punk bands in the Bay Area. In 2001, a good friend, Jeff Leppard [RIP] from STFU asked me to help him out with

an EP cover; that led to many other LP, EP, and t-shirt gigs for local punk and hardcore bands. I think my “big break” came with the help of friends from Municipal Waste. [Guitarist] Ryan [Waste] and [vocalist] Tony [Foresta] asked me to work on the Art of Partying album cover art. After that, I slowly started getting calls from other thrash metal bands and labels. What is the collaborative process like between you and the bands you work with? Are there certain types of bands or subgenres that you feel more drawn to? It’s very easy. Guys from the band outline the general feel of their cover art concept; maybe they have a specific idea or maybe there is a feeling they want me to portray. After that, I do a set of quick drawings and sketches, then we decide on the final composition and I do a more detailed drawing with all of the details in place. When sketches are approved by the musicians, I let my inner Bob Ross come out and help me out with a happy little painting. Were you familiar with the other acclaimed “metal artists” before you joined the scene, such as Dan Seagrave, Philip Lawvere, or Pushead? Yes, certainly. I paid a lot of attention to album covers ever since I was a kid. I remember going to record stores and just staring at Dio and Manowar LPs. I always admired Pushead’s use of lines, [Ed] Repka’s use of color, and Joe Petagno’s explosive energy. I am also a fan of art in general and always look at any printed art or illustrations. I’m glad that album art is still alive and there are fans who appreciate that type of painting! Is there any piece that you’re especially proud of? Cannabis Corpse is always fun to work with. Hellmouth paintings are some of my favorite, Skeletonwitch was a challenging, but very rewarding album cover. Hopefully there’ll be many more I’ll be proud of.









veryone has a different view on what’s collectible,” says founder Chris Honetschlaeger, while sitting in his loft office. It overlooks the store, and is chockfull of autographed memorabilia, classic issues of Playboy, and of course, records. “There’s not a single person on the planet who doesn’t have an affinity toward something tangible. Everyone collects something. The whole idea of collecting is reflected here.” Honetschlaeger and his partner, Chadwick Hemus—formerly of Amoeba Records—established The Record Parlour in 2013 with the intention of creating a multidimensional experience. In addition to offering collectible, old vinyl—50,000 pieces that cycle through every three months—The Record Parlour hosts elaborately produced events; presses exclusive, limited run vinyl from live performances in the store; and offers expert equipment repair for vintage items only. Plus, Honetschlaeger and Hemus are opening up a lounge next door, an extension of the experience they offer at The Record Parlour. “There are certain thoughts that come to mind when you think ‘record store’: very boring, very dusty, very arrogant, very dry,” says Honetschlaeger. “If you open up a record store buying records for $5 and selling them for $15, it’s going to be a very slow grind. It’s possible, but we’ve had months where ancillary business has made up 50 percent of our entire revenue for that month.” At a Record Parlour event, professional equipment is in place, as is a trained sound engineer. There is only one band on the bill, and the

focus is on helping them deliver the best show possible. Both The Record Parlour and the artist promote the event. The Record Parlour has held charity events, birthday parties, casino night fundraisers, as well as the wrap party for Dave Grohl’s “Sonic Highways,” which filmed a few episodes at the store. Drawing crowds that contribute both to the atmosphere and notable merchandise sales, Record Parlour performances are opportunities that extend to pressing the evenings onto vinyl. “We’re capturing a moment in time and selling it to the fans as a collectible,” says Honetschlaeger, who has an analog record lathe for cutting vinyl right on site.

“There’s no catch. We have exclusive rights to sell it for six months and we’ll split the profits down the middle, with us absorbing all the costs and doing all the work. They did things like this all the time in less sophisticated surroundings. We can do it here.” You’d be advised to pick up these exclusives on the spot as The Record Parlour can’t help you unearth one later. If you’re not able to find what you’re looking for in the bins, it’s best to check back regularly, as the store could be receiving a truck full of records from any number of sources at any point in time. The first weekend of each month is a massive $1 sale, but these pop up mid-month as well, depending on how much excess stock there is. On average, vinyl is priced between

$7.98 and $12.98 and in good condition. “We put everything on the floor,” says Honetschlaeger, brandishing a $400 early Miles Davis original issue record on Prestige. “A lot of stores make the mistake of holding back their good stuff and selling it privately online. Even if people don’t have the funds to buy the expensive stuff, they want to see it. We have an online store, but everything cycles through the floor. We’re trying to brand the physical location.” “Vinyl is a disease for a lot of people and they can’t let go,” he concludes. “I love the music more than I love the format. Whenever I see a good record, I have to physically touch it and spin it once. I have to hear it, and then I can let it go.”







LP / C D / TAP E / MP 3 “Beach Slang['s]...uplifting confessionals become euphoric punk anthems about squeezing every second out of life.” -NPR

OU T N O W “...distortion-laden anthems that [feel] plucked from a Replacements-hosted episode of 120 Minutes.” - Stereogum




My name is Jonathan Minto, but since the age of, like, 5 years old, I’ve been known to almost everyone as Minty. I’m from the Southwest of England, where I still live today, out in the countryside near a small market town. I play bass in a punk band called Caves, and throughout the past five years, we’ve been traveling around Europe and America playing our little socks off. I counted 17 countries and 22 states… I just did all of those places back to back in the past few months! And if Caves aren’t on tour, I’ll probably be on tour with a friend’s band somewhere else.” What’s your background in photography and how long have you been shooting? I grew up around cameras and photography, and had a few 35mm point-

and-shoots as a child, but got my first “proper” camera in 2008: a neon pink Diana F+. I took it away with me a few times while I was playing in Citizen Fish. I would shoot 120 black and white film and develop it myself in my bathroom when I got home. And then, after a few years of shooting lots of color 35mm on toy cameras and a janky SLR, I eventually invested in an expensive D-SLR and have since been trying to make the most out of it! [Laughs] Film still cannot be beaten on look, but digital is just so convenient. I can shoot a show at night, and then, edit the photos on a laptop in the van during the eight hour drive to the next show. What is it about the way you create an image that sets you apart from other photographers? I go to a lot of shows; I think that helps! Also, I only really take photos of bands I love to watch, and I’d like to think that comes across in the shots. Occasionally, I’ll get lost in that mo-

ment of music and miss a cool photograph, because I’m air-drumming with my camera, but so be it. How hard is it to tell a story with an image? Do you think the story comes after or before your shutter releases? Or does this thought even cross your mind? Sometimes, you will see a moment that tells a story by itself and all you have to do is frame and capture it, and sometimes, you won’t see the story in an image until you’re reviewing the photo days, weeks, months after the moment happened. Almost any photo can have a meaning and a message if you want it to. I’d probably say the photos of mine people think have the most meaning actually have the least, and vice versa. How do you keep from getting bored with photography and art in general? Whenever I get bored of shooting one thing, I’ll just try snapping a different subject altogether. It’s real easy to get

burned out if you just shoot the same thing over and over and over. Variety is the spice of life! I really enjoy doing up-close macro nature photography and taking long exposures of the stars late at night… Who are a few of your favorite bands to photograph? One of my favorite bands to take photos of is the two piece band 1994! from Lancaster, Pa. Their shows are usually pretty wild! Another favorite would be Hop Along; I joined them at the Headroom studio in Philly as they were recording their latest LP, Painted Shut, and it was an amazing experience! That album is insane! And I feel should probably add Against Me! to this list, because Caves just toured with them for a month and I shot every set of theirs. It was a pleasure each and every time. Check out Jonathan Minto’s work at and instagram. com/photominto, and listen to Caves at!





best thing. “I don’t have a dollar man, but I do have half of this roach.” I held up the half smoked joint. He looked left and looked right to make sure nobody was looking, then, he eagerly grabbed at it. He leaned into the car, right into my face and said…“This better be some good shit man!” He tossed the bottle of water onto my lap and, as quick as he showed up, disappeared. I will accept this as a miracle once again. divine miracle, I needed just a drop to my lips. I needed, I needed… “Yo, man! You want some water?”


make it a point to share the drugs. Getting high alone is weird. Sometimes warranted, but, for the most part, if you’re in the situation to share, you should. Think about the guy at the party who rolled in with three of his boys, and yet, he is the only one popping molly. That’s fucking weird. Being a man who believes in paying things forward, I also strongly feel that when you share the drugs it comes back around. A few examples, as follow… *** I had just moved to New York from Hollywood, and I was misfortunate enough to have landed in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I was catching the M Train into the city to buy some weed. I had finally got a guy’s number after a weeklong drought and headed there first thing in the a.m. I was standing on an above ground platform looking down at my apartment. It was strange, because it was around 11 a.m., but literally nobody else was on the platform but me. I heard a deep voice grumble behind me… “You got a lighter?” I turned around to a large black man in full army fatigues. He was somewhere in his late 30s and he was dangling a giant blunt from his lips. “Sure—if I can take a pull off that.” He said nothing. I handed him the lighter. A giant puff of smoke rose in the air as he puffed away on it like Groucho lighting a Cubano. He took three or four hits and passed it to me. As I put it to my lips, he turned and walked away. He literally walked off the platform and down back onto the streets. I puffed away on the blunt and was overcome with confusion. It hadn’t seemed real. And by the time my train came, I was so stoned I convinced myself he actually wasn’t a real human being but an apparition, sent to me and only me from a place divine. *** I was on my way to the airport to shoot in glorious Madison, Wis., when my producer called to let me know he hadn’t




secured the stuff I like. Now, you see, the worst part about that ole pesky drug habit is the traveling. The uncertainty is the hard part—but you find that it finds you. To be honest, I couldn’t sleep a wink at the swanky hotel they put me up in. It was the itch that had me up. When we got to set, we had to walk two miles to the tip of a peninsula stretching outwards the center of Lake Minona. The boys were setting up a crane so we could get a glorious shot of the sunrise. Meanwhile, my clients from the agency who hired me and I bullshitted at the water’s edge about all the century-old homes lining the lake, currently owned and operated by fraternities. I shifted my weight on the rocks and felt something squishy under my foot. A light must have shined upon my face like when they open up the suitcase in “Pulp Fiction” when I looked down to find a locked and loaded, ready to go half an ounce of grass on the ground. “Is that marijuana?!” the client exclaimed as I tucked it into my back pocket. “Maybe. I’ll let you know after I try it out…” That night, I didn’t make it to the client’s big, fancy dinner. The next morning on set, when I arrived, I didn’t even make it out of the car before the client greeted me with… “What happened to you last night? You smoke that weed you found and get too stoned to show up to the dinner?” I laughed, “That’s actually exactly what happened.” *** I do have a rule about smoking and driving. On this occasion, however, I was stopped dead for 30 minutes in front of Yankee Stadium on the Maj Deegan Expressway heading upstate. I mean no movement on a 95 degree August day in New York City at 5 p.m. This is literally an apocalyptic scene. I pulled out one of those things I like and lit it. Halfway through the joint, I couldn’t take another puff. Stung by a cottonmouth dead in my tracks. Oh, Lord! I needed a

I jumped I was so startled. I looked to my left and hanging in my window was a small Latino man standing no higher than 4’ 10”. His clothes were torn and tattered and he had a giant gap between his teeth. In his arms, he brandished two bottles of dripping, ice-cold Poland Spring Water. I reached for my wallet without hesitation. No money! I’m sure this small man standing in the middle of 87 North doesn’t take debit cards, so I search for the next

*** Now, I know the word “miracle” is a strong word to use. I also understand how shallow these stories may seem on their surface. But I think there is a bigger idea here, an underlying conversation to explore about getting back what you put into the world by sharing. So, on that note: share the drugs. Give them to the world, for it will come back to you.


And foremost, share them with me.

Cathartic and powerful, The long-awaited fth full length studio album from The Saddest Landscape. Available everywhere October 23, 2015 on CD, vinyl, cassette & digitally.

Also available from TOPSHELF RECORDS:



New releases coming from Happy Diving, Enemies, Ratboys, Innnity Girl, Weatherbox, Wildhoney, Boys Life, Sundials, Pretend & Special Explosion.


SUIS LA LUNE Distance / Closure OUT NOW

New Noise Magazine - Issue #21  

Featuring: Against Me!, Beach Slang, Watain, Deafheaven, Unwound, H2O, Miss May I, Kylesa, Kowloon Walled City, Allison Weiss, Like Moths To...