Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quick Notes: Lady Bones, Cancers & Vomitface

*[] "To call Lady Bones a rock band would be a gross oversimplification. The Boston three-piece fuses the bleakness of post-punk with the raw energy of grunge but ties it all together with a melodic sensibility that’s rare amongst bands who achieve this level of gloriously squalid noise. “Botch,” the new single from their debut full-length, Dying, is a case-in-point. The song seems to grow out of the ground like a weed towards the sun, goaded along by Sean Gilston’s pained, gritty vocals. All of the sudden, the guitars start to grind against thrashing drums, pushed to the point of near-collapse. It’s a rabid hound of a tune, and you can hear it below."

Dying is out June 30 via Midnight Werewolf.

*[] "I’ve always found it interesting that cancer is both a horrific disease and an astrological sign — one of those weird etymological quirks of the English language that we’ve all grown up with and paid little mind to. Either sense of the word could be used to describe Cancers the band — “Missed” metastasizes in your mind and is hard to get out, and it’s also unpredictable, insecure, and temperamental. The new single from the Athens, GA-based duo represents a break from what they’ve done before, a shift away from the more straight-forward grunge of their debut album, Fatten The Leeches, in favor of a noisier and more chaotic direction. Punishing drum machine loops give it a cavernous feeling, Lenny Miller’s voice reflects back on itself and paints a picture of abject loneliness. It’s distorted and messy; a gnarly, twisted thing that heaves around with little regard for form, interested more in function. It’s really great. Listen below.

Cancers’ new 7″ “Missed b/w Helpless” is out 6/9 on Debt Offensive Records.

*[] "Some fulfill their dharma by writing long-winded prose, and others engage in day-long meditation practices. But for Brooklyn/Jersey City band Vomitface, they prefer to create head-banging, sway-inducing, noisy sludge-pop.

In the new video for their single "Never Make It," the punk trio soundtrack a yoga class. As students go through their somewhat robotic motions, frontman Jared Micah, drummer Preetma Singh, and bassist Sam Palumbo remain somewhat irreverent as they layer elements of hardcore, metal, and garage rock.

"I was greatly inspired by Roy Andersson's combination of images and ideas and wanted to craft a commentary on the spiritual aspect of yoga, which has now become a popular fitness technique, stripped of, for the most part, what its purpose has originally been for centuries," says director Shruti Ganguly.

The band's imminent sophomore EP, Another Bad Year (streaming in full over at Stereogum), showcases the band's new sonic direction. With tighter instrumentals and a more lyrical, melodic focus, the five-track compilation is definitely worth a spot on your playlist."

Jaill Ready "Brain Cream" for June on Burger Records

[press release] Burger Records is excited to announce the release of Jaill’s new album, Brain Cream, on June 30th. About six years and exactly one L since the Milwaukee act (then called) Jail put out There’s No Sky (Oh My My) on Burger Records, the Great Lakes surf rock outfit has returned to the roster of its first label—following two well-received records on Sub Pop.

Since the release of …No Sky (and 2012’s Traps, really), only frontman Vincent Kircher remains. New drummer Josh Evert—who fronts The Fatty Acids—preserves the beats. Jonathan Mayer, who’s the lead singer and guitarist of Surgeons In Heat, shines in a supporting role with a heft of bouncing bass lines and warm falsetto harmonies. Former John The Savage bandleader Mike Skorcz unabashedly excels with a steady stream of stripped down keyboard parts to add auxiliary depth.

The quartet convened at Louie Lino-run Resonate Studios in Austin, Texas in December 2013 and emerged almost two weeks later with Jaill’s most mature, thorough, and fully realized effort to date. Hear it on Brain Cream lead single “Got An F,” which was premiered by The A.V. Club today.


1. Just A Lovely Day
2. Getaway
3. Got An F
4. Slides And Slips
5. Symptoms
6. Change Reaction
7. Picking My Bones
8. Little Messages
9. Draggin
10. Pointy Fingers
11. Chocolate Poison Time
12. Look At You
13. Sweet Tooth Lovers (Bonus Track)


Thu. July 9 - Indianapolis, IN @ Joyful Noise
Sat. July 11 - Columbus, OH @ 4th & 4th Fest
Sun. July 12 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar (upstairs)
Tue. July 14 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Wed. July 15 - Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium
Thu. July 16 - Cambridge, MA @ Lilypad

Blacklisters Join Smalltown America Records + Ready "Adult" LP For Fall

A message from Smalltown America Records...

"We are delighted and humbled to announce that Blacklisters are joining the Smalltown America family.

Over the past few years, the Leeds quartet have deservedly earned their reputation as one of the UK's most confrontational and aggressive live acts. We are thrilled to welcome them to the label.

Forthcoming record 'Adult' is a typically uncompromising affair, riddled with the band's trademark, dark humour. Produced by Hookworms' Matt Johnson the album will be available this Autumn on all formats via our eStore. [EIS ed. note: we've heard this album and I can say it is without a doubt on the year's absolute best records].

To whet the appetite, check out their video for 'Clubfoot by Kasabian' from the first record "BLKLSTRS".

Monday, May 4, 2015

"Everybody With Fingerprints Make Some Noise, Beauty Pill is Important" an article by Emerson Stevens

Everybody With Fingerprints Make Some Noise,
Beauty Pill is Important

The music of Chad Clark first came to my attention in the early 2000's when my roommate brought home the Dischord Records 20th anniversary box set. It's a truly epic collection of punk and hardcore covering a wide range of of recording quality. Clark's mid 90's band Smart Went Crazy was a clear standout if for no other reasons than being decidedly un-punk, and distinctly well recorded. I dove head first into the two SWC albums. For me, they were one of those bands that seemed like they existed purely to satisfy my own peculiar musical fetishes. Clark's lyrics bounced between cuttingly honest and dripping wet with sarcasm:

“My name is not on the lease,
I'll come and go as I please.
I only sleep here for the heat
Ha Ha Ha..”

The use of “Ha Ha Ha” as a straightforward, sung not laughed lyric, speaks to me on a level I still can't quite explain.

Our timing was good. Just as my friends and I had run out of SWC music to obsess over we discovered Chad Clark was hard at work with a new project; Beauty Pill held onto the wit, sarcasm and the sometimes eerily subdued vocal style that made SWC so intriguing, but went off in a very different direction sonically. At the time I liked to tell people I'd listen to any music, as long as it was doing something different, and suddenly Beauty Pill made me question what I thought was so unique about everything else I'd been listening to.

The songs on the band's two EPs and first full length, “The Unsustainable Lifestyle,” were challenging but not in an exclusionary way. They shrugged off conventional structure while being simultaneously so well filled out with pop hooks and ear-worm choruses, I found it hard to imagine anyone couldn't like them. So when I saw the band play Boston, touring on the Dischord released full length, my heart sank when I turned around at the end of their set, for the first time since they took the stage, and noticed the room was nearly empty and the few hipsters who had shown up were pressed along the back wall looking sad.

I went up to Chad Clark before their set that night. I'd already taken on too many PBR tall boys, and it was showing. He has a tall, intimidating figure, but a face that exudes kindness and is maybe hiding some deep fear. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “I love everything... I love everything you've ever done.” I don't think I won him over with this display, but I really meant it, and now with the arrival of “Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are,” eleven years later, I mean it just as much as I did then.

The concept behind BP, and it seems this album in particular, is to defy genre. Every song is meant to sound uniquely it's own, and follow whatever path the song wants to follow. There is a freeness to these compositions that bears comparison to that magical era of Jazz when the bebop guys started to experiment more heavily with improvisation. I think of Charles Mingus handing some charts to Eric Dolphy, knowing that whatever's written down is just a jumping off point and the real song is going to write itself. That said, there is nothing improvised about this album, it is maybe the most meticulously crafted record in my collection, and I mean every aspect of it. The double LP is a fully realized piece of art, that demands you to spend time with it, touch it, read every lyric and be ready to pop over to wikipedia a few times to dig even deeper into some of Clark's sardonic social commentary. It's production and mastering also deserve attention, buy the limited edition vinyl if you want to see what your stereo is really made of.

In the decade since “Unsustainable Lifestyle,” Chad clark found himself near death with a rare heart condition. The strains of illness, surgery and recovery kept him off his feet and away from the guitar. It seems he spent much of those quiet years rethinking the concept of songwriting and embracing electronics as a part of that. Clark's guitar work has always stood out to me, and while it makes a strong showing on this album, what's most fascinating here is the seamless blurring of lines between live and electronic sounds. This is emphasized by some fucking incredible drum work by Devin Ocampo whose pedigree in the D.C. scene may be more impressive than Clark's. These are two musicians who clearly speak their own languages, and by some wonder of fate ended up as collaborators. Clark's music weaves in and out of reality, an effect that is heightened on tracks voiced by Jean Cook, but Ocampo plays in the moment with tight, scientific intricacy. The percussion here, grounds the songs, but not necessarily on this planet.

Beauty Pill is important because it is pushing forward, evolving only as Beauty Pill in an age when music suffers from homogenizing over-exposure, and a pressure to grab listener's attention on the quick. We've been conditioned to take in new bands by brief snippets, judging their relevance to our interests within the first 20 seconds of a low quality youtube video. Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are is decidedly long, and will not permit this kind of intake. But you'll be hard pressed to find 20 seconds on this record that will not make you curious about the rest.

The last track is a cover; “Ann the Word” by a SWC contemporary in the D.C. scene, Lungfish. A random vocal sample plays a prominent part in the song, a voice saying “everybody with fingerprints make some noise.” I guessed it to be banter from an old soul recording, but without context, who knows. I googled the exact phrase and only one thing comes up.

An excruciating to watch set by a very bad comedian. The sample appears about 6 minutes in, spoken by the next comedian to come on stage, who piles insult onto the injury of an already embarrassing set. The sample is looped and distorted to a sinister timbre as Clark repeats the line “This is the last song I sung.”

Art is such a risky endeavor, there's always a reason to give up trying, and always some sinister voice happy to point out your failures. I wonder if that comedian ever did another set, I couldn't blame him for quitting. While Chard Clark's music has generally found decent critical praise, it's surely never been fully appreciated by the music world. Clark has been given plenty of reasons to opt out of creative life, but like any of the best, he's been driven to continue pushing his own boundaries. The decade gap between Beauty Pill albums may just have been long enough for the rest of the world to catch up with him.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

CROSSS Announce New Album "LO" + Tour Dates

[press release] CROSSS are back with a dense, ominous and cerebral album that expands on the formula which made their debut 12" Obsidian Spectre such a critical success. Once again, they straddle the line between metal and psych, with a noticeable shift towards the former. This is a record that hits hard on many levels.

CROSSS is a Canadian trio who take inspiration from 70’s proto-drone, lo-fi indie, noise and metal. Their dirge, punishing volume, and composition intensity is offset by haunting and memorable vocal melodies. Prodigious drumming and ambitious improvised guitar create moments of complex prolonged trance and meditative phrase.

The group began in Halifax, Canada in 2012 as a duo, but following several relocations and lineup shifts, is now based in Toronto, Canada and has grown into a trio.

CROSSS have toured extensively in Canada and the USA, and have shared the stage with Viet Cong, Built To Spill, Moon Duo, Thee Oh Sees, King Tuff, Dirty Beaches, Pop. 1280, and Oneida, earning the reputation as a captivating live band that is not to be missed. CROSSS’ debut 12” Obsidian Spectre was released on Telephone Explosion in 2013. Their follow-up LP titled LO will be released on May 26.


05/19 – Montreal – TBA
05/20 – Quebec City – Le Knock Out
05/21 – Fredericton – ReNeu Boutique
05/23 – Brooklyn – Palisades
05/24 – Western Mass – Hadley House
05/25 – Boston – Great Scott
06/05 – Montreal – Suoni @ La Vitrola
06/18 – Toronto – NXNE @ Garrison
06/20 – Ottawa – Ottawa Explosion
06/21 – Detroit – TBA
06/22 – Chicago – Empty Bottle
06/23 – Minneapolis – Hexagon
06/27 – Calgary – Sled Island TBA
06/29 – Edmonton – Wunderbar
07/01 – Vancouver – Red Gate
07/02 – Nanaimo – House Show
07/04 – Victoria – Goat Festival @ Logans Pub
07/21 – Cincinnati, OH The Woodward Theatre *
07/22 – Columbus, OH The Basement *
07/23 – Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place *

* = w/ Metz & Viet Cong

Ceremony Debut "Your Life in France" Video + Announce Tour with Tony Molina, Creative Adult, Pity Sex & More

[press release] After recently announcing their forthcoming album The L-Shaped Man and sharing a double video for album tracks "The Separation" and "The Understanding," Ceremony are back to share the video for another track from the new LP. "Your Life In France" picks up right where the first two videos left off in terms of Ceremony's lead screamer-turned-crooner Ross Farrar's stark, emotionally raw delivery.

The video's release comes along with the band announcing a full US tour, which kicks off in California in mid-May (following their record release shows in the Bay Area and LA in May) and sees them trek the entire country before wrapping in Portland in mid July. Check out "Your Life In France" as well as the previously released videos for "The Separation" and "The Understanding" and see below for all upcoming tour date and more The L-Shaped Man info.

Breakup albums mark a turning point for a band: the moment when their sound completely changes and reaches a new level of emotional clarity. All that heartbreak and malaise condensed into any single record often makes for a defining piece of work, no matter the genre. The best records explore the nooks and crannies of sadness, learning it inside and out - celebrating it.

Ceremony's fifth studio album, The L-Shaped Man, uses singer Ross Farrar's recent breakup as a platform to explore loneliness and emotional weariness, but it is by no means a purely sad album. Rather than look inward, Farrar uses his experience to write about what it means to go through something heavy and come out the other side a different person.

In order to tell Farrar's story, Ceremony have almost completely stripped back the propulsive hardcore of their previous records, turning every angry outburst into simmering despair. "We've always tried to be minimalists in writing, even if it's loud or fast or abrasive," says lead guitarist Anthony Anzaldo. "It's really intense when I hear it. Not in a way where you turn everything up to ten. Things are so bare, you're holding this one note for so long and you don't now where it's going-to me, that's intensity." That intensity is apparent on "Exit Fears," the first full song on the record. It meticulously pairs Justin Davis' loping bassline, which pulls the track along, with Anzaldo's icy, minimal guitar work. It brings to mind some alternate version of Joy Division that hasn't quite lost all hope. It gets close to exploding, but instead plays the shadows, never quite rising above a nervous simmer.

"A lot of the content has to do with loss, and specifically the loss of someone who you care deeply about," Farrar says. "There is no way for you to go through something like this artistically and not have really strong emotions of loss and pain. There's not really any way to hide that." Farrar, for his part, is singing with a new kind of intensity, his baritone swooping and retreating from stressed angst to unsettling near-mutter as he sings, "You told your friends you were fine/ you thought you were fine too..." and later, "nothing is ever fine/ nothing ever feels right/ you have to tell yourself you tried." It's the first of many lyrically direct moments, and it should be hard to listen to, but Ceremony have so effortlessly nailed the sound of sadness that it feels great to live inside for awhile.

The sound is abetted by producer John Reis, who honed his sound in seminal bands like Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes. Much of the gravelly aggression he experimented with in those bands is present on The L-Shaped Man.

There's a story behind the title too. "I was speaking to our driver Stephen while on tour," Farrar says. "We were talking about men in general and what shape they are...their body type. I said, 'I guess men are in the shape of an L. The torso is straight. Vertical. And then you have the little feet at the end.' There's this painter named Leslie Lerner who was living in San Francisco in the '70s and '80s and made these beautiful paintings. He died on my 21st birthday. A lot of the record is about the similarities in our ideas. In what we're trying to make. Things that have to do with love and losing love."

Pre-order the album on iTunes and and get instant downloads of "The Separation" and "The Understanding". Plus iTunes exclusive bonus track "Vivication" and iTunes exclusive pre-order only bonus track, "The Hide". Both bonus tracks will be delivered with the album on May 19 release date. You can also pre-order on Amazon MP3 and receive instant downloads of "The Separation" and "The Understanding" (click on the Amazon MP3 store option in order to receive instant downloads). Pre-order the CD and sea foam green colored LP on the Matador Store. Also on the Matador store you can pre-order a special bundle that includes the CD or colored LP along with a Ceremony T-shirt and/or a 36-page limited edition book of poems by Ceremony vocalist, Ross Farrar, which parallels lyrics from The L-Shaped Man.

Tour Dates:

5/22 Berkeley, CA @ 924 Gilman Street º
5/23 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex º
6/12 Visalia, CA @ Cellar Door *ˇ
6/13 San Diego, CA @ Strong Hold *!
6/14 Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge *!
6/15 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress *!
6/16 El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls *!
6/17 Austin, TX @ Red 7 *!$
6/18 Dallas, TX @ Sons Of Hermann Hall *!$
6/19 Houston, TX @ Walters Downtown *!
6/20 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks *
6/21 Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic Nightspot *
6/22 Tampa, FL @ Epic Problem *
6/23 Orlando, FL @ The Social *
6/24 Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn *
6/25 Raleigh, NC @ Kings *
6/26 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel +*
6/27 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer +*
6/28 Somerville, MA @ Cuisine en Locale +*
7/1 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom +*!
7/5 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place +*
7/6 Cleveland, OH @ Now That's Class +*
7/7 Detroit, MI @ Marble +*
7/8 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall +*
7/9 Madison, WI @ The Frequency +*
7/10 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry +*
7/11 Omaha, NE @ Sweatshop Gallery *ˇ
7/12 Denver, CO @ Moon Room *ˇ
7/13 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *ˇ
7/14 Boise, ID @ The Shredder *ˇ
7/15 Seattle, WA @ Neumo's *ˇ
7/16 Portland, OR @ Analog Cafe *ˇ

º with Negative Approach
* with Tony Molina
! with Uniform
$ with Radioactivity
+ with Pity Sex
ˇ with Creative Adult

Failure Reveal Album Art, Track List, + Free Single Download

[press release] Failure, who recently announced the release of their fourth album, The Heart Is A Monster (June 30, INresidence), share the cover art and track list for the 18-song album.

The band is also offering a free download of the single “Hot Traveler,” available HERE.

Digital and physical pre-orders for the new album are available now with digital pre-orders featuring an instant download of the song “Hot Traveler”. Physical pre-orders are available HERE.

Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards explain that their approach to writing and recording Fantastic Planet and The Heart Is A Monster have been similar, saying “The songs on Fantastic Planet appear more or less in the order that we wrote them… when, we do a song now, we write it and record it soup-to-nuts without moving to another song… It takes longer, but it makes more sense for us artistically to explore a song completely before moving on.”

Failure’s SXSW performance, which was the trio’s first live outing since wrapping production on The Heart is A Monster, included the new song “Hot Traveler,” which Entertainment Weekly said “had every bit the sonic thickness, rhythmic thump, and melodic bite as favorites like ‘Another Space Song’ and 'Heliotropic.’”

The Heart Is A Monster track list:

Segue 4
Hot Traveler
A.M. Amnesia
Snow Angel
Atom City Queen
Segue 5
Counterfeit Sky
Petting the Carpet
Mulholland Drive
Fair Light Era
Segue 6
Come Crashing
Segue 7
The Focus
Segue 8
I Can See Houses
Segue 9

Failure on tour:

May 1 Ventura, CA Ventura Theater
May 2 Mecca, CA Desert Daze
May 18 London, UK The Garage
July 2 Lawrence, KS Liberty Hall
July 4 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest
July 7 Columbus, OH LC Pavilion Amphitheatre w/ Jane’s Addiction
July 8 Lansing, MI Common Ground Festival
July 10 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE w/ Jane’s Addiction
July 12 Ottawa, ON Ottawa Bluesfest
July 14 Quebec City, QC Quebec City International Summer Festival

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sauna Youth Ready "Distractions" for June Release

[press release] An evolving band of future humans making truly irregular punk not quite comparable to anything else. 'Weird' is a meaningless platitude, and 'art punk' is a classifier that shouldn't be required.

Having started out in 2009 in Brighton, Sauna Youth ended up moving to London and changing line up to its current constellation in 2011. Attracted to the possibilities apparent within a DIY philosophy, the band self-recorded and self-released their own music until the release of their first LP, Dreamlands on Faux Discx/Gringo Records in 2012, creating a number of seven inches, splits and cassettes.

Comprised of Richard Phoenix (drums, vocals), Lindsay Corstorphine (guitar), Jen Calleja (vocals, sampler) and Christopher Murphy (bass), the band has naturally developed its sound in the three years since Dreamlands and is now in its ultimate form. All four members are also the band Monotony, which they formed while writing Distractions in 2014. Later in the year, they did two sessions over two days as both bands for Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music, and both Sauna Youth and Monotony were invited to play DRILL Festival by Wire. As well as playing in Monotony, members of Sauna Youth are also in the bands Tense Men, Primitive Parts, Feature and Cold Pumas.

They’ve previously played with Pissed Jeans, Thee Oh Sees, Ceremony, Ty Segall and Protomartyr and have played at both Liverpool and Oslo Psych Fests. They have plans for a European and US tour later in the year.

Upset the Rhythm will be releasing a split 7” in the run up to the LP release between Sauna Youth and Monotony.

Upcoming shows:

Sunday 3 May – Sounds from the Other City, Salford
Friday 5 June - Album Launch at The Old Baths, Hackney Wick


01. End Loop
02. Transmitters
03. New Fear
04. Monotony
05. Cosmos Seeker
06. Modern Living
07. Leather
08. Paul
09. Abstract Notions
10. The Bridge
11. Try To Leave
12. Future Tense
13. (Taking a) Walk
14. Creeping

Friday, April 24, 2015

HEALTH Share "New Coke" Music Video + Announce New Album for August

[press release] After recently announcing that they have a new album due in 2015, LA's HEALTH are back today to share the video for "NEW COKE," the first taste of music from their album DEATH MAGIC that is due in stores worldwide on August 7th via Loma Vista Recordings.

Watch the video for "NEW COKE" and see below for all DEATH MAGIC details.

(Loma Vista Recordings)
August 7, 2015

10. L.A. LOOKS

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mike Vennart (ex-Oceansize) Announces Debut Solo Album "The Demon Joke" under Vennart moniker

[press release] Ex-Oceansize frontman and current Biffy Clyro touring guitarist Mike Vennart has signed with Superball Music for the release of his debut solo album under the Vennart moniker. Titled ‘The Demon Joke’, the album will be released on the 22nd June 2015 and is preceded by a Pledge Music campaign.

Mike had this to say: “I’m delighted to be back in the artsy bosom of Superball Records, the label imprint set up specifically for my old band, Oceansize. They take good care of me in the way that every record label should - by encouraging me to make the records I wanna make. It’s a simple and beautiful arrangement.”

Superball label-head Thomas Waber adds:"Oceansize were always very close to my heart, so I am thrilled that Mike has finally gotten around to recording his fantastic, debut solo album. It's been long overdue!"

The Demon Joke’ will be familiar territory to fans of Mike’s old band, but this time with a maturity and optimism lacking in his previous work. The album is a rich, densely layered, emotional psychedelic fuzz-rock odyssey.

Dan P Carter of BBC Radio 1 fame has already commented: “I’ll let you in on a secret - the whole album’s amazing!” and you can get your first taste of it by streaming & downloading the stunning track ‘Infatuate’ for free below.

Mike also recently announced his first headline shows in the UK, as well as an appearance at this year’s Arctangent Festival and 2000Trees. The live band will feature former Oceansize cohorts Steve Durose and Gambler, who also feature on the album. Find all the dates below:

9th May – Sticky Mike’s, Brighton
10th May – Fighting Cocks, Kingston
11th May – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
12th May – Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
13th May – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
11th July – 2000Trees Festival, Cheltenham
20th August – Arctangent Festival, Bristol

The brilliant artwork for ‘The Demon Joke’ was created by Jon-Lee Martin and can be seen above. The album will be available on Special Edition Miniature Gatefold CD, Gatefold black vinyl with CD, & digital download.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cheatahs Announce New EP "紫 (Murasaki)" for May

[press release] Murasaki Shikibu’s life tale is one of rebellion: born into 11th-century Japanese aristocracy, where women were strongly discouraged from learning to read and write, she did so anyway, going on to pen masterpieces of poetry and prose depicting Kyoto court life. There’s a good dose of the same defiance to London four-piece Cheatahs, whose latest EP, the brilliant 紫 (Murasaki) - inspired in part by acclaimed Shikibu novel ‘The Tale Of Genji’ – continues their unpredictable evolution in searing fashion. 紫 (Murasaki) will be available from 4th May via Wichita Recordings.

Arriving a year after their debut album, and three months after their cult-acclaimed ‘Sunne’ EP, the four tracks on 紫 (Murasaki) see Cheatahs push their unique sonic blueprint even further, with the Canada-born Nathan Hewitt, Californian Dean Reid, British James Wignall and German drummer Mark Raue “exploring and embracing our cultural diversity more consciously than before.”

Bassist Reid’s Japanese-American heritage, for instance, is the spark for the EP’s scorching motorik title track. Over a wavering analogue synth line and maddening thrum of distorted guitar, the song imagines his parents’ first meeting in Kyoto from two differing perspectives. The first part is “a partly-fictionalised, modern take sung in English,” says Hewitt, “while the second, sung by Dean, is told in the form of a traditional Japanese epic tale.”

Second track ‘Warm Palms’ meanwhile “kind of crept out of nowhere,” according to the group. “We thought it would be interesting to treat the production on this one more like an ambient guitar piece, so we experimented with sounds and texture. Lyrically it's about recognizing your mortality and interconnectedness with nature.” Similarly reflective is ‘3D Milk’, a kaleidoscopic shimmer of contorting, self-made loops, threaded with faded analogue beats that revisits a strangely poignant memory from guitarist Wignall’s adolescence. “I used to go to a place as a teenager with friends called Old John, an 18th-century folly on a hill in Charnwood forest in Leicestershire, and revisited it recently,” says Wignall, who also takes vocal duties for the track. “The surrounding countryside is extremely verdant, but the visible precambrian rocks, the oldest on Earth, give it a primeval feel, too. It’s very peaceful but at the same time you're more than ever aware of how furtive nature is, that it's far from entirely benign.”

‘Wash Out’, the final track, perhaps best described as mystic surf-punk, is, says Hewitt, “as close to a bad acid trip as we’ll probably be able to soundtrack…” It completes a set of songs at once envelope-pushing and accessible: which is just as well, with a string of sold out shows supporting Radio 1 mainstays The Vaccines beginning on March 27. “We’re always trying to create new sounds, something different,” says Hewitt. It’s become a mantra for the feverously adventurous Cheatahs, who are showing no signs of slowing.

Live dates:

Sunday, 10 May 2015 - Birmingham, The Hare & Hounds ^
Monday, 11 May 2015 - London, Oslo ^
Wednesday, 13 May - Leeds, Brudenell Social Club ^
Thursday, 14 May - York, The Fulford Arms ^
Friday, 15 May - Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Saturday, 16 May - Bristol, The Louisiana ^
Wednesday, 20 May - Brighton, Prince Albert ^
Thursday, 21 May - Bruges, Cactus Club w/ The Hickey Underworld
Tuesday, 26 May - Bordeaux, Rock School Barbey
Thursday, 28 May - Barcelona, Primavera Sound

^ = co-headline w/ No Joy


1. 紫 (Murasaki)
2. Warm Palms
3. 3D Milk
4. Wash Out

Yazan Readies New EP "Howlin'" featuring Pile's Kris Kuss

[press release] If we’re being honest, New York is in a bad place. Commerce is trumping culture, cops are busting buskers, and only advertisements provide the little color decorating Manhattan streets. Yazan comes to help to resurrect the uncompromising creative spirit that recalls a time and place seemingly lost to bourgeois bars and faceless luxury condos.

Raised in the clouds at the top of a tower built on the river in the middle of the city, Yazan is back on Earth for the time being. He has spent recent years moving crowds to dance and cry with his sometimes delicate, sometimes frenzied sound, vibrating crowds en masse at basement parties in his secret underground Brooklyn laboratory. His performances are ceremonies of a shamanic sort, leading crowds into higher states with his deep grasp of sound and rhythm. His friendship and collaboration with luminary artist/comedian Reggie Watts has helped him to access that infinite universal spirit that guarantees no two performances to be alike.

Since releasing two raw solo records inspired by the power and simplicity of acoustic country blues and folks artists like RL Burnside and Bob Dylan, Yazan has returned with his first electrified release. On Howlin’ (Shoulder Tap Records), Yazan reimagines four of his country blues originals backed by powerhouse drummer Kris Kuss (PILE), recorded live at Kutch-1 Studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. His guitar chugs along in a backwoods style between soaring slide licks, while his voice throbs and warbles with crushing lament and playful joy. His sound is sky and and earth coming together in balance.

Yazan's four-track EP Howlin' will be released April 21st on limited vinyl and digital formats. He is currently on tour playing guitar for PILE, as well as opening select shows across the US (dates below).

1. Tell Me Baby
2. Howlin'
3. I Get High
4. Help Me


4/16 Carbondale, IL - The Swamp
4/28 Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right
(more dates to be announced soon)

Failure to Release New Album "The Heart is a Monster" in June

[press release] Failure release The Heart Is A Monster, the Los Angeles-based trio’s highly anticipated follow-up to 1996’s Fantastic Planet, on June 30 via INgrooves Music Group’s artist services division, INresidence.

“Trying to follow up Fantastic Planet was a bit daunting,” said Ken Andrews, who mixed the 18-song collection with the band acting as producers. “We’ve pushed the bar upward again, but at the same time, we’ve kept the signature sound of the band intact.”

“Thematically we’ve moved from the outer space of Fantastic Planet to inner space,” explained Greg Edwards. “From the dislocation of one’s identity to the complete erasing of it by sleep and dreams. I think we've used instrumentation in the service of mood and emotion to an even greater degree than on our previous records.”

“Failure is that rare band who define a sound that transcends space and time. They are truly iconic and their time is now. Listen,” said Bryan Mead, INgrooves Senior Vice President of INresidence, about the new partnership.

The band returned from a 17-year hiatus in early 2014 with a single Los Angeles date planned. The show sold out in seconds, which led to a North American tour, including a run of dates with Tool, and eventually back to the studio. In a recent interview with Noisey, Andrews admits by the time the band announced their first live outing, he, Edwards and Kellii Scott were already working on new music, saying, “One thing that Greg and I agreed on very early on, is that we did not want to reform for just one or two nostalgia tours. We wanted to come back as a full functioning musical force and creatively pick up where we left off with Fantastic Planet. That meant we needed to start experimenting in the studio first, which we did in late 2013. After a few months, we came to the conclusion that we were having a good time and that we liked the results, and that we thought the results were definitely Failure. We’ve been chipping away at a new album this whole time.”

In that same article, Andrews and Edwards explain that their approach to writing and recording Fantastic Planet and The Heart Is A Monster have been similar, saying “The songs on Fantastic Planet appear more or less in the order that we wrote them… when, we do a song now, we write it and record it soup-to-nuts without moving to another song… It takes longer, but it makes more sense for us artistically to explore a song completely before you move on.”

Failure’s SXSW performance, which was the trio’s first live outing since wrapping production on The Heart is A Monster, included the new song “Hot Traveler,” which Entertainment Weekly said “had every bit the sonic thickness, rhythmic thump, and melodic bite as favorites like ‘Another Space Song’ and ‘Heliotropic.’”

Failure formed in Los Angeles in the early ‘90s, releasing Comfort, their debut album, in 1992 via Slash Records. Magnified followed in the spring of 1994 with the band’s final offering, Fantastic Planet, released in 1996. Fantastic Planet earned a perfect 5-star score from Alternative Press with the magazine saying the album was able “to breathe life into the corpse of contemporary, guitar-driven rock,” adding that the band was “willing to stretch the definition of both their instruments and their songs.” The 17-track album is considered one of the era’s most influential and enduring rock records. Over the years, Failure has become known as a “band’s band” whose songs have been covered by such diverse artists as A Perfect Circle (“The Nurse Who Loved Me”) and Paramore (“Stuck On You”). Tool/A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan said, “Failure has been a huge inspiration to me. They say amateurs borrow and professionals steal. Well over the years this pro has robbed those poor saps blind.”

The band recently announced the vinyl reissue of Fantastic Planet, available exclusively via PledgeMusic.

With more tour dates to come, the band has recently announced these performances:

May 1 Ventura, CA Ventura Theater
May 2 Mecca, CA Desert Daze
May 18 London, UK The Garage
July Ottawa, ON Ottawa Bluesfest

Thursday, April 2, 2015

EIS Review: Ty Segall Band "Live in San Francisco"

Ty Segall Band
Live in San Francisco
Castle Face Records; 2015
Review by Eric Gagne

...or, where I lament not being at this concert and only getting to listen after the fact. Right off the bat, this album sounds like a jackhammer. When you are in your bed, jolted awake by an actual jackhammer, the mere sound of it does not in itself fully describe what is happening. You are able to hear the machine gun driving through the concrete or pavement, leaving a dusty carnage as the echo ricochets and is absorbed by the surrounding buildings. But your brain does some work in piecing together the brutal details you are missing not having the corresponding visual. So it is with Live in San Francisco. This sounds sweaty and savage, like the Dead Kennedys live. The people in this room, who are both absorbing and reflecting the songs back at the band and into the mics, are palpable. Their vitality is audible in how the band cranks; it’s hard (though not impossible) to dig into the red when nobody gives a shit. The squeal and crunch of the guitars and drums is rife with that same secondary meaning; Jackhammer - road.

Truth be told, I live far away from the city streets, and the grinding wake up calls are more likely to come from the plows, worrying over the many feet of snow clogging the roads. This sensation is more ambiguous; could be anything out there - helicopter, snowmobile, mothership. Bright lights fracture through the windows. This is more of the album experience I have had with Ty Segall; nicely crafted with plenty of bleed, the sawdust still on the floor, the tools warm and well-loved.

In the live setting, band and audience are both currency to one another; it’s a symbiotic relationship that neither wants to acknowledge. We like to imagine we’re all connected on a higher level, that we’re part of some aesthetic elite; but it’s the anonymity of it all that empowers us. You scream and sing along, smash into one another, drink too much, the purity of the volume makes you new and untouchable. The Ty Segall Band is the electricity, the crowd is the conduit. This album makes them the detritus, scattered with beer bottles, cigarette butts, and the indeterminate ooze that finds itself on floors after concerts. They will forever retain the flashing images of this thrashing unit, the ringing in their ears is that concert careening into space, destined to find some extra-terrestrial perch on the other side of the galaxy. Or maybe this all describes the band, tossed aside at the end of the set, rotten guts from road living, wet cash in pockets. Yet somehow, everyone involved in this intimate exchange walks away, fulfilled with enough of the other to walk drunk out into the evening, head still humming, surfing that wonderful post-show glow.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An EIS Interview with CHERUBS

by Emma Behnke

Austin, TX band Cherubs are a bit of an enigma. Between 1992-4, they released two albums, most notably, Heroin Man: a blisteringly noisy record imbued with a jackoff pop sensibility that smacks of bands like Flipper and Big Black. Nearly 20 years since their last release (a compilation of singles and outtakes titled Short of Popular), Cherubs have dropped a fantastic comeback record: 2 YNFYNYTY. Guitarist and vocalist Kevin Whitley and drummer Brent Prager were gracious enough to take some time to answer questions about working with Brutal Panda as a label, maintaining the “Cherubs” sound, and some meditations on death, kebabs, and pole-dancing.

How long has 2 YNFYNYTY been in the works?
Brent: If you count “Evil May Acre,” exactly 20 years. If you count Brent and Kevin finding each other again, maybe 10 years. If you count Owen, Brent, and Kevin finding each other again, maybe 5 years. If you count writing the actual songs, maybe a year.
You’ve done a fantastic job of maintaining a kind of continuity between your earlier records and now, 2 YNFYNYTY. Did you consciously think about whether you wanted to, in a sense, pick up where you left off? 
Kevin: We had a bunch of almost songs that we thought were “Cherubs” and then we had a bunch that were “Good Shit Lollipop” and then we had one or two that were “Dallas Foxes.” We did not want to alienate people who knew us and we didn't want to alienate Brutal Panda. We wanted something that re-established Cherubs—so we could be trusted. If we came out with something “advanced” for us, people would feel like we were trading on past love and jacking off on their dime. We wanted to first fulfill the promise we'd made, and then push forward with those who were onboard. There are very few bands for me where I'll just get whatever they put out because I trust their commitment. We want to be a “love” band like that where people are just “in” and they trust that what is interesting for us will also be interesting for them. I think we will always be Cherubs, and that it will get more fucked up as it goes. Accessibly and non-accessibly. Trust that we have our most hedonistic interests at heart, that we pleasure ourselves without regard for others, and that if our pleasure is also yours. Well, there's nothing purer than that kind of commitment to selfishness. Total trust.
We went through about five sequences of the record before arriving at the most 'Cherubs' feeling one (if we were understood to be releasing our third long play and assuming Short of Popular was an EP). One sequence was too similar feeling to older Cherubs, so we took “Donkey Suite” off. One sequence was too cheezy, so we took “Fist In The Air” off. One sequence didn't have “So Jellified,” but that's such a Cherubs song that we had to put it back on—so we had to take “Red Carpet Blues” off. Then we didn't have “Evil May Acre” on there, and that’s the only oldy, so we had to jimmy it in there and move “Crashing The Ride” to Side 01. That's a lot of fresh lipstick getting to the final couch.
What was behind the decision to release the new record on Brutal Panda? 

Kevin:  They begged and bribed us with free ramen. It came from Owen’s relationship with the Red Fang drummer. They did a cover of “Carjack Fairy” and are on Relapse. The drummer made introductions I believe. The BPandas work/worked at Relapse—but we're not “functiony” enough for Relapse. The boutique taste and workings of something more refined were perfect for us. Relapse were not quite snobby enough: with their willynilly releasing of “cool,” “heavy” music and their unrealistic need for bands to “play” and “tour” and “support.” They just seemed like old school “do-the-work” types. We just like to press buttons and sprinkle coke on beautiful asses—and BP is down with that.
In the process of songwriting, recording, and production: how do you maintain an accessible hook without losing it under all the distortion? 
Brent:  The idea is for everyone to come hard for their own agenda, be it the maintaining of the Pop or the obliteration thereof, and somewhere in the middle it becomes whatever product of whatever battles were picked/fought valiantly for/deferred and relinquished. 
Kevin:  There is a point where distortion is adding all these overtones and ghost tones to the original signal (maybe adding isn't the right way to put it) and that mixed with the original tone creates this intersection where it all feels a bit symphonic. It sounds beautiful and crazy, like a vacuum cleaner or food processor can. A washing machine or dishwasher can get some good shit going sometimes too. Brent and I were in Kebabaliscious getting some killeur sandwiches (ed note: Kebabaliscious rules, sandwiches are indeed killeur) and they were playing this churning slugging metal back in the kitchen. We were devil-horning by the register and asked them what they were listening to and they said, the TV I guess, we don't have any music on. And we said but we hear that shit back there and it's badass. And they said oh that, that's just the blahblahblah processor that's doing the thing. And we said turn that shit back on.

Buttons, knobs, frequencies, tones, man. Any tube thing with Ampeg written on it. And then a Norelco shaver…

On that topic, “Baby Huey” is my favorite track on Heroin Man—it’s a heavy song balanced on a bizarre and ridiculously catchy mix of samples: a collision of gritty and synthetic textures. How did you make it? 
Brent: For me it started with ex-girlfriend angst and ended with a gorilla alarm clock that plays 4 drumbeats you can choose from. There was way less intentionality than the finished product implies….it was a MOMENT we had in the studio. We had several. That’s what kept me coming back for more. I was a bit nervousto see if the moments still happened after the fast forward and lifestyle changes…listeners will have to decide that for themselves but for me that shit is ON THERE. 
Kevin:  We had the monkey clock with the multiple disco sound settings, and we had the disco sound lighter with the one disco sound - and they were both good. At first we started with the golfer that gets cheered for, but the beat wasn't there, it was too golfy, and it was making us edgy and mad. It would have taken ProTools to sort it out and we wouldn't have that for another 5-10 years or so. So we recorded the monkey clock for 4 minutes instead. Owen came up with the verse bassline while walking down to Circle K, and I added the guitar and chorus when he got back. The song is about respecting (or not respecting) a waitress at a titty bar for sticking to her guns and staying off the pole. This was before pole dancing was in the Olympics. Everyone one knows it's Wendy.
The music culture in Austin is notoriously romanticized—and Cherubs are usually referenced in conjunction with bands like the Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid. At the time, did you consider yourselves a part of a particular “scene?”
Brent: I always felt about our “place” in the scene as I did about my place in the cliques of high school where I was tangent to many but a true member of none. 
Kevin:  We were considered a Trance band, and from the outside it looked like a scene, and when we went out it definitely was a scene, but it wasn't like Wings or Top Gun. We didn't hang with each other and be buds. The mystique seeped like a magic gas, far and wide. Thank god for mystique: that shit makes u look good. Our scene was with Slug from San Francisco, and with Pete from Unsane. Kitty Thai Spicy.
What’s your respective stance on Austin as an environment for music, at least from your experience 20 years ago and consequently, now? 
Brent: This blace is Appenin! Whywestilltawkinaboudit. 
Kevin: You better bring something to the table here if you want to make it happen. I remember David Sims (of Scratch Acid, The Jesus Lizard) getting crucified when he said, “we're from Austin, land of 10,000 shitty bands.” But he was right: it takes a lot of shitty bands to make a few good ones. Now there are probably 30,000 shitty bands in Austin and that's what it takes to make the good ones that you actually see. It's ridiculous here. Stupid's in the water, and it's making the good shit happen. Men are complimenting other men's mustaches and beards here—wtf?
In the past few years, a substantial number of “noise-rock” bands that were mostly active in the 90’s have announced tours or are recording new material: Shellac, Failure, Drive Like Jehu (though more of a one-off tease), Slint, etc. It seems like there’s a pronounced audience that’s remarkably diverse in terms of age, and by extension, the way they’ve grown up consuming and discovering music. Does your decision to reunite have anything to do with this general trend?  
Brent: That trend had the opposite effect if anything, keeping us away out of fear and being just plain jaded weirdos…however the idea of spilling ourselves into another generation and newly diversified audiences in general really got me excited to see how we’d be received and thought of by some fresh ears. I don’t discern between new or old fans for the most part but its fun in the course of writing and sculpting these songs to identify passages as “this part’s for the kids” or “ the old farts’ll love that one.” 
Kevin: We were pressed to get back together years ago but it has taken us until now to be able to do it. I wonder if we all have managed or mismanaged our lives enough that we just now have synced orbits enough to even consider it? We've all been trying to prepare for a miserable retirement scenario, and maybe we've collectively realized that we'll all be dying of infection under a bridge anyway so we might as well yolo like a young dumbass for a second. Death is a prime motivator. Fucking DEATH—think about it. Thinkinnnng…Ok that's enough. Scary shit. Not all that comforting. Not zen about it. Yolo.
Lastly: can we expect more Blondie covers? 
Brent: If I have my way. 
Kevin:  Aand fuck no. Wait, which ones would you think are good candidates for a heart transplant? “Hanging On The Telephone,” maaaaaybe. But after that? U tell me. Yolo.