Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Delta Spirit "History From Below" Album Details

Rounder Records is excited to announce the release of the new Delta Spirit record on June 8, 2010. Entitled History From Below, the record was produced by My Morning Jacket's keyboardist Bo Koster and Eli Thomson. History From Below is the follow up to the band's critically acclaimed debut, 2008's Ode to Sunshine, which Spin hailed in its four-out-of-five-star review, saying, "This rousing debut impresses mightily," while Filter called it "pure joy" and Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal said, "I make no pretense of objectivity with Delta Spirit, I love these guys."

"All we wanted to do is put the record together one song at a time," says Delta Spirit's singer/guitarist Matthew Vasquez about History From Below. "It's been three years of straight touring off our last record so most of the songs were written in hotel rooms and tested in front of an audience. We spent spent six months of this last year making a record that sums up three years of growing up."

History From Below was recorded at Prairie Sun Studio C in Cotati, CA -- the same place Tom Waits has recorded almost exclusively since 1991. The record is brimming with incredibly deep and moving songs that are alternately grand and explosive, always eloquent and melodic. It has a powerful energy that radiates musically, lyrically and vocally from the moment you hit play as it finally captures the uncontainable spirit the band exudes on stage.

The track listing for History From Below is:

Bushwick Blues
Salt in the wound
White Table
Ransom Man
Devil knows you're dead
Golden state
St. Francis
Ballad of Vitaly

Delta Spirit will hit the road in support of History From Below. The dates are as follows:

June 8 / Solana Beach CA / Belly Up
June 9 / San Francisco CA / Independent
June 10 / Portland OR / Doug Fir
June 11 / Seattle WA / Neumo's
June 12 / Vancouver BC / The Venue
June 14 / Boise ID / Neurolux
June 15 / Salt Lake City UT / Urban Lounge
June 16 / Denver CO / Bluebird Theatre
June 17 / Omaha NE / Waiting Room
June 18 / Minneapolis MN / Varsity Theatre
June 19 / Chicago IL / Metro
June 21 / St. Louis MO / Firebird
June 22 / Indianapolis IN / Radio Radio
June 23 / Columbus OH / Basement
June 24 / Cleveland OH / Beachland Ballroom
June 25 / Pontiac MI / Pike Room
June 28 / Boston MA / Middle East Downstairs
June 30 / New York NY / Bowery Ballroom
July 1 / Brooklyn NY / Music Hall of Williamsburg
July 2 / Philadelphia PA / First Unitarian Church
July 3 / Washington DC / 9:30 Club
July 5 / Carrboro NC / Cat's Cradle
July 6 / Chaleston, SC / Pour House
July 7 / St. Augustine FL / Cafe 11
July 8 / Orlando FL / The Social
July 9 / Atlanta GA / Masquerade
July 10 / Birmingham AL / Bottletree
July 11 / Haittesburg MS / Thirsty Hippo
July 13 / Little Rock AR / Juanita's
July 14 / Tulsa OK / Cain's
July 15 / Dallas TX / The Loft
July 16 / Houston / TX Mango's
July 17 / Austin TX / Emo's Outside
July 20 / Santa Fe NM / Santa Fe Brewing Co
July 21 / Tucson AZ / TBD
July 23 / Los Angeles CA / El Rey Theatre
July 24 / Santa Barbara CA / Velvet Jones

The Black Keys "Tighten Up" Music Video!

[] Move over, Keyboard Cat. There's a new musically inclined creature on the scene, courtesy of Akron rockers The Black Keys, and his name is Frank. Frank the Funkasuarus. The guys have released a new, unofficial video for "Tighten Up," and in doing so, have eased their way in as my favorite youtube video. You combine blues-y gritty rock & smooth-movin' dinosaurs? It's a can't miss in this girl's book (an albeit nerdy one, as it were). So, check it out below, and be sure to read the scroll. Frank is on the prowl for some puppet-loving ladies. I might just have to jump back to the Jurassic era. Frank moves pretty good.

The Deadly Syndrome Reviewed on Pitchfork

Pitchfork have reviewed the brand new album Nolens Volens from The Deadly Syndrome, giving the record a 7.7 out of 10...

[] A brief history of the Los Angeles rock scene, post-2007: Silversun Pickups are Best New Artist Grammy nominees for their second LP, a former McSweeney's and Men's Health writer hit the VH1 big time with Airborne Toxic Event, No Age's the Smell becomes a nationally recognized landmark, Devendra Banhart dates Natalie Portman, the lead singer of West Indian Girl marries Trent Reznor. And yet, all of those seem less implausible than the second Deadly Syndrome record being received so quietly. This band was on its way three years ago-- galvanizing live shows, fervent local support, and The Ortolan, a record which hit enough populist-indie pleasure points to transcend the notion that they were mere beneficiaries of Silver Lake's hype cycle.

I don't know exactly what happened to the Deadly Syndrome in the time since, but judging from Nolens Volens not much of it was good. The record sounds haunted by missed opportunities, isolation, and spiritual crisis. Solo acoustic opener "Villain" announces Nolens Volens as a totally different record than its predecessor-- the carnival instrumentation is dialed way back. You will no longer be hearing Wolf Parade comparisons. More startling are singer Chris Richard's vocals, which sound sapped of all hope, his yelp turned into a confessional plaint almost ashamed of itself before he turns accusatory ("why don't you just go fuck off and die? Is there anything you need?").

Despite a dangerously sweet piano lead, "Doesn't Matter" is no brighter, Richard shrugging through another morning wasted on sleep. "Party City" and the "Paint It, Black"-drone of "Deer Trail Place" conjure drawn blinds and the disappearance of once-familiar faces, but while they're visceral, they're not muscular. Instead, they convey a feeling the record as a whole absolutely nails, the twitchy confusion borne of someone feeling trapped by their own inaction.

As with The Ortolan, Nolens Volens rounds out with a synthetically composed epilogue, but the differences between the two are the most vivid illustration of the Deadly Syndrome's attitude shift. "This Old Home" was a Casio-heavy lark that conveyed a sense of humor the band mostly evidenced outside of their actual songs. "Heresy" is eight minutes of mournful drones and chipping snares. Hell, in the end I don't know if Nolens Volens predicts the band packing it in or hitting a crucial turning point. I'm hoping for the latter-- for all The Ortolan's pleasures, in retrospect it feels like a record that was going only as far as its ability to draw name-drops. Nolens Volens may be more sonically spare and emotionally despondent, but it's exponentially more honest and direct. This might not be the band's debut, but it feels like the first time we're really hearing what the Deadly Syndrome have to say.

— Ian Cohen, March 31, 2010

Them Crooked Vultures Live at BBC Radio 1 (Videos)

[] Them Crooked Vultures recently performed live in studio at BBC Radio 1 and the footage of their set has now hit the net. You can check it out below:


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quick Notes: Queens of the Stone Age / Anakin

*[] Queens Of The Stone Age have rolled out more European shows for the summer, here’s where you can catch them:

August 20th Ludinghausen, GER – Area 4 Festival
August 22nd Biddinghuizen, NET – Lowlands Festival
August 24th Berlin, GER – Zitadelle Spandau
August 25th Hamburg, GER – Stadtpark
August 28th Saint-Cloud, FRA – Rock en Seine
August 28th Leeds, UK – Leeds Festival
August 29th Reading, UK – Reading Festival

*You can now listen to the Anakin's [former ORION] debut single "Abort.Retry.Fail" over at This song is really awesome and I highly recommend for fans of the 90's space rock sound, and to anyone who misses ORION. Check it out already!

Arctic Monkeys Set to Begin New Record After Tour

[] Arctic Monkeys are set to begin work on their next album immediately after their North American tour finishes next month.

Speaking to NME Radio's Jon Hillcock, the band are playing a series of shows, but rather than take time off they will begin writing and recording the follow-up to 'Humbug'.

You can listen again in full to the Arctic Monkeys' interview on the NME Radio blog now.

The band played probably their last UK show for the time being on Sunday (March 28) when they performed third album 'Humbug' in full in London.

"We've said we'll stop touring this album and we're eager to start working on new stuff again, not have time off again," explained drummer Matt Helders.

He added that though the group were keen to work with Queens Of The Stone Age's Josh Homme again as a producer, he was unsure whether both groups would be free at the same time.

"It's hard to say, both parties are up for it but they have a lot going on around the time we'd need to be recording," he explained, "but we'd like to."

While admitting he was not sure how the album would sound, frontman Alex Turner admitted the band have been writing new songs already.

"We haven't tied our shoelaces yet, so it's hard to say [what it would sound like] there's a few things we've been playing around together and we've spoke about how we might go about it," he said. "We haven't started walking yet, the laces are undone, never mind dancing."

The Twilight Sad Announce Tour Dates

[] The Twilight Sad have announced a tour where they'll support Japan's Mono. In related news, the band posted the video for "The Room" last month. Check that out below.

May 7, 2010 Los Angeles CA, California El Rey Theatre
May 8, 2010 San Francisco, CA Slims
May 10, 2010 Portland OR Berbati’s Pan
May 11, 2010 Seattle WA Neumo’s Crystal Ball
May 12, 2010 Vancouver BC Biltmore Cabaret
May 14, 2010 Salt Lake City UT Urban Lounge
May 15, 2010 Denver CO Bluebird Theatre
May 17, 2010 Omaha NE The Waiting Room
May 19, 2010 Minneapolis MN Triple Rock Social Club
May 20, 2010 Madison WI High Noon Saloon
May 21, 2010 Milwaukee WI Turner Hall
May 22, 2010 Chicago IL Lincoln Hall
May 23, 2010 Detroit MI Magic Stick
May 24, 2010 Cleveland OH Grog Shop
May 25, 2010 Pittsburgh PA Brillobox
May 26, 2010 Toronto ON Lee’s palace
May 27, 2010 Montreal QC The Twilight Sad
May 28, 2010 Cambridge MA The Middle East
May 29, 2010 Milford CT Daniel Street Club
May 30, 2010 New York NY The Bowery Ballroom
June 1, 2010 Philadelphia PA First Unitarian Church
June 2, 2010 Washington DC 9:30 Club
June 4, 2010 Durham NC North State Sound
June 5, 2010 Atlanta GA The Masquerade
June 7, 2010 Nashville TN Exit/In
June 8, 2010 Memphis TN Hi Tone Cafe
June 9, 2010 Baton Rouge LA Spanish Moon

Jane's Addiction Moving Ahead with Duff McKagan

[] Several photos of JANE'S ADDICTION working in the studio with VELVET REVOLVER and ex-GUNS N' ROSES bass player Duff McKagan can be viewed at

After JANE'S reunited for a third time in late 2008 — with bassist Eric Avery on board for the first time since the band originally broke up in 1991 — and toured last spring with NINE INCH NAILS, the group began feuding once again as it tried to record new music.

Avery did not participate in the 1997 and 2001 reunions, but was replaced at different points by Flea, Martyn LeNoble and Chris Chaney.

JANE'S ADDICTION frontman Perry Farrell recently told Spinner that it's "very likely" the band will have a new member following Avery's departure. The three remaining original members — Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins — have begun writing new music with a "mystery bassist," who has been identified as McKagan. Songs for the first new album under the JANE'S moniker since 2003's "Strays" are starting to come together. "We've got one great song so far called 'Top Dog'," Farrell told Spinner.

Porcupine Tree are NPR's Song of the Day

Porcupine Tree's "Drawing The Line" is NPR's song of the day, check out what they had to say...

[] For all its technical polish and fastidiousness in the studio, Porcupine Tree is often obsessed with technology's dark side. But the band has always conveyed a healthy skepticism for its own tools.

The Incident, Porcupine Tree's latest, focuses on how distancing words like "incident" turn suffering from natural and man-made disasters into mere box scores. The recording revisits pivotal events — both from the newspapers and from the life of singer-songwriter Steven Wilson — in the way a watercolorist might capture a scene while a downpour washes the paint off the canvas.

The arrangement of "Drawing the Line" veers between gentle keyboards — tinkling like a clinically depressed music box — and Wilson's crisp, soaring guitar solos, supported by sympathetic, nuanced drumming. Lyrically, the verses mix visceral and virtual imagery: "Dreamt the sound of stitches cutting out and discarding the used / recording all my problems on memory cards, your compassion unmoved." Wilson then delivers a bold ultimatum in his sweetly sardonic voice: "I take control / and I save my soul." Here, as on most of The Incident, the outcome might be unclear, but the bravado is bracing and welcome.

Irepress Issue Update

A message from Irepress...

Just wanted to let everyone know that our March 31st show at Northeastern University (After Hours) is still on. We finally did not have to drop off another show due to Sheel's injury. For the past week we have been in the rehearsal space with our good friend JR (Jon Reilly) on drums. It is a breath of fresh air to be rehearsing with a drummer since Sheel hasn't been able to play as of late. Sheel currently is on the road with his other band, Bad Rabbits, and you all may be wondering how he is able to play that material, and not ours. The material he plays for Irepress is much more grueling on his back since it is so technical, whereas the Bad Rabbits stuff is your basic pop drums, or just less technical to be exact. His back is still hurting through those sets though, and it is becoming more painful to even play those sets. Surgery is most likely to occur in the near future, which could put him out for a few months without playing any drums. We hope everyone can continue to give him support as it is a tough time for him in that regards. Irepress is his baby boy and it kills him not to be able to play right now.

Regardless, we will be playing shows again, and trying to keep the ball rolling. The writing process may be a little slow due to Sheel not really being able to sit behind the kit, but its coming along.

In regards to tomorrow's show, whoever wants to come please email, and we will put you on a list. Since it is a University show, it is mainly for the students, but outsiders are allowed if we have them on the list.

Hope to see you there and much love!!!

<a href="">Irepress - Adeluge by Exploding In Sound presents...</a>

Oceansize Issue Update / Kong European Tour Dates

[] Oceansize have checked in with the following update on their new album and more:

“…So what’s new? Let’s have a think. Umm. Oh yeah. The fourth album.

Done all the drums. Done all the bass. Except for that song Steven thinks he can get away with not learning by insisting the bassline remain programmed. Done some guitars – Part Cardiac, ….Rocket, Magpie Soup, Pine. Nearly brought the fucking walls down with these absurdly ace/loud new amps we’ve borrowed. We’re recording all the songs we played on our recent tour, plus a whole bunch of others. The stuff you wont have heard is probably the weirder stuff we haven’t worked out how to play for real. Some stuff comes about by experimenting with studio tools and approaching things verrrry differently. Some stuff has been written at home all alone by various members, all lonely sounding.

What’s it sound like? Dunno, but I’m getting to that giddy part of the recording where i stop being all confused by the direction and start getting very excited and saying shit like ‘Fucking YES’ all the time. Most of the songs are shorter, but with no less ‘ideas’. Steven just added about 3 minutes to ‘Oscar Acceptance Speech‘, which is now about 8 minutes long. Doesn’t really feel like it though. A new song called ‘A Penny’s Weight‘ came out of a tiny idea from a discarded massive idea that we’d spent loads of time on then decided was total bollocks. We’re prone to that – running with something for months and then all seemingly waking up and going ‘nah’ all at the same time. Maybe it’s like that thing where girls all start having their periods simultaneously if they spend enough time together. Certainly, our bursts of mild insanity seem more frequent now we’ve got a target deadline. Predictable as ever.

Ah rambling now but you don’t mind. I know you don’t. Record’s due later this year.

In the meantime, Kong (featuring our very own Mark and Steven Hodson, which not a lot of people are aware of cos they don’t like to mention Oceansize in interviews – just like DJ Smashy’s avoidance of subjects ‘Charidy’-based) are embarking on their first European tour this week, supporting the splendid 65daysofstatic. Go see them, especially if you have floor space/exotic drugs/fender guitars/amplification/shiny new things etc to spare.

Kong dates are available HERE!

‘Everything’s as sound as clean and Everything is easy’ All love.

Shaun Lopez Working With Deftones on B-Sides

[] Far guitarist Shaun Lopez has revealed that he is currently overseeing the mixing of some Deftones b-side tracks for a future release. The band previously worked with Lopez on their 2006 outing, “Saturday Night Wrist“. No word yet on when or where the songs in question will surface. The Deftones will release their new album “Diamond Eyes” through Warner on May 04th.

Lopez has commented on his ongoing mixing sessions for three Deftones b-side tracks. Speaking via Twitter, he offered the following:

“Crash course in mixing 3 tunes near completion… 10 hours later. Deftones are very good at covering a broad range of tunes for sure.”

The Whigs on Letterman / FREE MP3

THE WHIGS will be performing on Late Night with David Letterman tomorrow Wednesday, March 31st. The Athens, GA trio will be performing their first single, "KILL ME CAROLYNE," from their new album IN THE DARK, out now on ATO Records.

"KILL ME CAROLYNE" will be available for free download for a limited time at

The Whigs just finished a tour with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and are about to embark on a co-headlining tour with Band of Skulls. Check out the tour dates HERE.

"IN THE DARK is the sharpest distillation of [The Whigs] neo-college rock yet." - Rolling Stone

"IN THE DARK blends melodies from '70s Rolling Stones and '80s Replacements with '90s grunge underpinnings to build a whole new rock animal." - Newsday

"Garage rock that's heavy on hooks, riffs and swagger." - People Magazine "Critic's Choice"

"The best drummer in rock 'n' roll" - Esquire

White Belt Yellow Tag Release New EP / Issue Update

Yesterday saw the release of White Belt Yellow Tag's latest EP 'Always and Echoes'. As well as the title track - getting plenty of airtime from Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley at Radio 1 - the EP also includes two new tracks 'Postcards' and 'You Have no Friends' and an amazing remix of 'We All Have Sound' by the mysterious Rhysmix. It's available exclusively as a download from the reputable online stores at Amazon, iTunes, Napster, and

The band are just coming to the end of an enjoyable two week tour with The Automatic. Only today's show The Relentless Garage in London is left to go unfortunately as the shows have been great and the audiences very friendly. Those of you who got down the front nice and early on the tour to see the chaps thanks a lot.
After that there is only one more chance to catch the band live before the album is released:

03 April: Stockton Calling (WBYT are headlining the Georgian Theatre Stage.)

Easter Monday (05 April) 'Methods' the debut album is released on Distiller Records. You can pre-order it now from HMV or Play to ensure you receive your copy on the day of release.

There are some new films of the band up on the WBYT youtube page. The theme seems to be Justin's big brother ritually humiliating the band via the medium of subtitle.

Watch: Craig WBYT's trip to A&E

Watch: A film about Justin WBYT

Alternatively you can look at the amazingly spacey video for 'Always and Echoes'

Monday, March 29, 2010

Deftones Expand Tour Plans

[] The Deftones continue to expand their touring schedule, here’s how the dates now look:

April 24th Mexico City, MEX – Vive Latino
April 27th El Paso, TX – Club 101
April 29th Corpus Christi, TX – Concrete Street
April 30th Mission, TX – Las Palmas Race Park
May 01st Frisco, TX – Pizza Hut Park (“Edgefest“)
May 22nd Columbus, OH – Rock On The Range
June 11th Copenhagen, DEN – Copenhell
June 12th Donington Park, UK – Download Festival
June 13th Burgenland, AUT – Nova Rock
June 15th Brussels, BEL – Ancienne Belgique
June 16th Amsterdam, NET – Melkweg
June 18th Nantes, FRA – Hellfest
June 19th Scheessel, GER – Hurricane Festival
June 20th Newhausen ob Eck, GER – Southside Festival
June 22nd Torino, ITA – Colonia Sonora

The bands new album “Diamond Eyes” is slated for a May 04th release through Warner.

Mr. Gnome Interviewed on

A most entertaining interview with Mr. Gnome has been posted on

1. Tell us about the band?

We are a duo from Cleveland, Ohio that plays indie/psychedelic/rock music. We like time travel, porn, beer, liquor, marijuana, John Titor, The Frogs, and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. We travel around the country in a sweet ass ride called, “the Silver Bullet” and we enjoy sleeping on random people’s couches.

2. Have you ever been fed up with playing music or with band members, why?

Fed up with playing music?…no because that’s how we expel our demons. Band members? Yes. Sam’s actually locked in the closet right now on a timeout for calling me names that I WILL NOT REPEAT.

3. What was your first concert experience? Do you remember how you felt once the concert was over?
Sam: My first concert was when I was 5 years old and my dad took the family to go see Blood, Sweat and Tears. Shortly after arriving and taking our seats on the lawn, the cops approached my dad and said, “Where’d you get that beer? You can’t bring beer in here.” Then my sweet daddy slowly turned around and whispered in my ear, “Hey little buddy. Put this in your pocket,” and kissed me on the forehead. And that was my first introduction to acid…

4. Did you grow up wanting to play music, or when did the whole making albums thing come about and how?
Yeah, once I started doing drugs it all seemed to make sense. Sam just got into it for the orgies.

5. What qualifies you guys to be in a band?
I played the flute in Sixth Grade and Sam’s played the skin flute his whole life. That’s how we met, a love for flutes.

6. Do you have a favorite song you have ever written? Why?

We’re writing a new album right now so that’s a hard one to answer…our favorites are always the ones we’re currently creating…

7. What is your greatness weakness as a band?
Our band name. It seems to really piss a lot of people off. Come out from behind your computer and say it to our faces!


<a href="">Mr. Gnome - Vampires by Exploding In Sound presents...</a>

Far Streaming New Single!!

It is with great pleasure that I announce FAR have made their brand new track "Deafening" available for streaming on their official website The track is a first glimpse into their brand new album At Night We Live, set for release on May 25th. Check out the official cover art above. The excitement here at EIS is through the roof!

Stone Temple Pilots Discuss New Record's Recording

[] With Stone Temple Pilots set to release their first new album since 2001, the band members surprisingly found it easy to get into the groove of making new music again. Bassist Robert DeLeo told Billboard that he and his brother, guitarist Dean DeLeo, "always have music going on. I think it's a matter of always having that on the back burner. Then it's just the right time of saying, 'Hey, let's go make a record.' I think once we made that commitment, the music was presented and off we went."

The DeLeos and drummer Eric Kretz recorded most of the self-titled record separately from frontman Scott Weiland, who recorded his vocals in his own studio with producer Don Was. DeLeo said, "This record was made in a way that Scott wasn't really there for the creation of these songs, musically. We kind of guessed our way through it. It was challenging because we had to get as much as we could done to complete a song, but then we had to hold back 'cause we had to see if it was in the right key and stuff like that. The songs that were sent over to [Weiland] were pretty much in a completed demo form with a scratch melody on there, and Scott has the option to use the melody or not."

Was also made sure to bridge the gap between the two recording sessions, as DeLeo told Billboard. "Don was responsible for... sitting down with the band and kind of getting us together on the same page. Don's very good at doing that. He's a people person. And I think sometimes you need someone in the middle to bring the ends together, so to speak, and Don did that."

Stone Temple Pilots is out May 25 and the band plans extensive worldwide touring behind the album, well into 2011. While STP has toured the past two years playing the greatest hits, DeLeo says, "The difference now is it's going to be promoting a new record instead of just getting together and playing songs that you've played. It's doing that kind of promotion and touring again."

Filter Magazine Offers First Look at New Sleepy Sun Album

Filter Magazine have posted their First Impressions for the brand new Sleepy Sun album, “Fever” to be released on ATP Recordings on June 1st...


1. Marina
2. Rigamaroo
3. Wild Machines
4. Ooh Boy
5. Acid Love
6. Desert God
7. Open Eyes
8. Freedom Line
9. Sandstorm Woman

First Impressions:

- Sleepy Sun is definitely one hardworking band. After its first European tour last year, they returned home and started recording the follow up to the band’s critically acclaimed debut Embrace. And on this coming June 1st, this six-piece San Francisco-based band is set to release the band’s full length sophomore album entitled Fever on ATP Recordings.
- Introductory track, “Marina” is a solid melodious rock starting off slow in the beginning, but towards the middle of the song, persistent African rhythm and choir chants can be heard giving “Marina” a solid start-up energy. This surely will be one crowd favorite at the band’s live shows.
- Many said stoner rock is going nowhere but with Sleepy Sun’s Fever, they’ll prove you wrong. Even for non hard rock/heavy metal listeners like myself, I got hooked to the band’s acoustic tracks like “Rigamaroo" and “Ooh Boy”.
- One of the band’s strongest features lies in the emotional vaporous vocal of vocalist Bret Constantino and the sweet and soulful voice of Rachel William whom complimented the overall sound of Sleepy Sun, especially in tracks like “Sandstorm Woman,” “Desert God,” and of course, “Marina”.


doesn’t stray far from Embrace as they continue with heavy guitar riffs, ripping acid rock with added summery acoustic melodies.

The Black Keys Announce Spring Tour Dates

[] Ohio blues-rock duo, The Black Keys, have announced a handful of dates this Spring. Touring in support of their sixth studio effort, Brothers, the tour kicks off April 8th at the University of Iowa and includes high profile stops at NY's Madison Square Garden, Bonnaroo and two nights at Central Park SummerStage. Brothers hits stores May 18th via Nonesuch.

The Black Keys Tour Dates:

8 Iowa City, IA - University of Iowa Memorial
10 San Francisco, CA - Yuri's Night Bay Area 2010
17 Live Oak, FL - Wanee Music Festival
18 Miami, FL - The Fillmore at Jackie Gleason
19 Orlando, FL - House of Blues

20 New York, NY - Madison Square Garden

2 Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot
3 Denver, CO - The Fillmore
4 Kansas City, MO - The Crossroads
8 Minneapolis, MN - First Ave
9 Minneapolis, MN - First Ave
10 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
11 Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo

27 New York, NY - Central Park SummerStage
28 New York, NY - Central Park SummerStage

Ceremony "Someday" Single Reviewed on has reviewed Ceremony's single "Someday"...

[] Ever since My Bloody Valentine there have been no shortage of bands choosing to wallop our ears with washes of noisy guitars while teasing those same ears with muffled vocals, but not enough of them--either in the original shoegaze era or in its current "neo" phase--have bothered mixing a strong melody into the sonic assault. The duo calling themselves Ceremony, on the other hand, while making themselves inaccessible Googlistically speaking, have decided to put the "pop" back into noise pop.

Springing from the same Fredericksburg, Virginia trio--Skywave--that ended up giving birth to NYC's A Place to Bury Strangers, Ceremony are loud, no question. But right away see how they take the noisy, rapid-fire beat and use it as a framework for a melody both leisurely and tuneful. The first hint we get is the lilting--in fact, rather Cure-like--instrumental theme that emerges from the beat at 0:16. That's an ear-friendly hook before the singing even starts. The vocals, when they arrive, are buzzy but not buried; you can not only understand a good number of words, but the singer--either Paul Baker or John Fedowitz (both are listed with the exact same credits: vocal, guitar, bass, drum machine)--sings like he wants to be heard; he's got a portentous baritone, but he enunciates, while singing a catchy little tune when all is said and done. Rather audacious of him, especially on a song with this straightforward refrain: "Take my heart and my life/'Cause someday you'll be my wife." Borrowing a bit from a recent post by Michael Azzerad, one might argue that in a loud and angry age such as ours, using this particular aural toolbox to deliver an un-ironic, non-violent message of love and connection is more subversive than any effort to be just noisy.

"Someday" was released on a 7-inch single in January, and will appear on Ceremony's second full-length album, Rocket Fire, to be released next month [April 27th to be exact]. Both releases are on Killer Pimp Records, which also hosts the MP3. Thanks yet again to the indefatigable Largehearted Boy for the head's up.

**Don't forget you can download the band's track "Dreams Stripped Away" for FREE on GLORIOUS NOISE available HERE.

<a href="">Ceremony - Dreams Stripped Away by Exploding In Sound presents...</a>

Downtown Handshake "Doll Me Up (Acoustic Demo)" Video

Downtown Handshake have posted a video for "Doll Me Up" (Acoustic Demo) available on YouTube.

Elliott Smith Reissues Reviewed on Pitchfork

Pitchfork has reviewed recent reissues for Elliott Smith's From a Basement on the Hill and Roman Candle, giving them scores of 8.4 and 7.8 out of 10...

[] When Elliott Smith's final studio record, From a Basement on the Hill, was released in 2004, some people wanted to avert their eyes. It emerged in the aftermath of his suicide the year before, during which the shock over his gruesome death was compounded by troubling revelations. We were hearing about spiraling drug problems, ambiguities in his autopsy, and his fraught relationship with his family. For Smith's hardcore fans, the album's very existence was charged. Smith's family had assumed the task of completing the record and several contentious artistic decisions were made, including bringing in longtime producer Rob Schnapf and Joanna Bolme to finish a number of Elliott's songs that had been recorded as demos. At the time, the final result felt too hot to touch, and it remains the uneasy outlier in Smith's discography to this day.

It was a sad fate for what had been shaping up to be the most sprawling, ambitious record of Smith's career. Whatever troubles may have been plaguing his personal life at the time, Smith seemed thrilled at the direction his music was taking. In interviews, he exulted in having discovered a "big" sound that made sense for him-- one that squared his expanding ambitions with his demand for pin-drop intimacy. His previous record, Figure 8, coated his songs in a blinding sheen that suited him as poorly as the rumpled all-white tux he'd worn to the Oscars. Basement saw him recoiling from that polish without abandoning his dream of a bigger sound, and whatever else it might be, it's the most complete document we have of the music he was hearing in his head those final years.

The opening of "Coast to Coast" immediately gives us an idea of the changes Smith had in mind. After 40 seconds of haunted carnival music, a brambled wall of guitars presses in from all sides, with Smith's wounded tenor emanating weakly from the center. Everything feels uncomfortably, purposefully too-close; with mics pressed up against the instruments, every twitch and scrape is crystalized. The mix is startlingly vivid: When the first guitar is strummed on "Pretty (Ugly Before)", the chord doesn't ring so much as bloom, suffusing the song with soft light. "Strung Out Again" is a lurching waltz, with Smith's guitar lines creaking and stumbling into wrong notes. Elliott's voice, in this context, has never sounded lovelier or more ruined. No beautiful sound escapes without scars.

Smith wrote with painful economy and eloquence about his own shortcomings, and his words cleaved through bullshit with bracing force. During the Basement on the Hill sessions, he began writing about his drug problems and depression with an unprecedented clarity. It seemed like an implicit rise to the challenge he posed himself in "Strung Out Again", where "Just looking in the mirror/ Will make you a brave man." He sings calmly and directly about terrifying scenarios. After years of rehabilitation and relapse, he had boiled the exhausting cycle of lifelong addiction down to eleven brutal words: "Took a long time to stand/ Took an hour to fall."

The context is part of the reason listening to From a Basement on the Hill felt somewhat indecent in 2004. Now, Kill Rock Stars is re-releasing the album alongside a remastered reissue of his 1994 debut, Roman Candle. While it may seem odd that they've made no changes to From a Basement on the Hill-- if any record is crying out for B-sides or alternate versions, it's this one-- it nonetheless provides a unique opportunity, nearly seven years removed from Smith's death, to revisit the record as something more than a suicide note. Indeed, situating the two records as bookends to an extraordinarily fertile career may even help the volatile Basement on the Hill settle in more comfortably alongside the rest of Elliott's work.

Roman Candle, for its part, remains a fan favorite, and it contains some classic Smith songs: "Condor Ave", the title track, and "Last Call", in particular. And yet it mostly serves to point to all that Elliott would later become. It's wispier and more diffuse than his self-titled or Either/Or, and nothing here is as indelible as "Needle in the Hay", "The Biggest Lie" or "Ballad of Big Nothing". A few of the "No Name" song sketches drift in and out without leaving much of a mark-- Smith's music would become fuller, and his harmonic language more confident, on subsequent albums. The sound is there, though, unmistakable from the first note: the defeated whisper of the vocals, the deceptively intricate guitar work, and the angry little mantras ("leave alone, leave alone, 'cause you know you don't belong here"). From these beginnings, Smith would experiment with how much he could add to this framework without crushing it; on From a Basement on the Hill, he found a thrilling new plateau. Sadly, we can now only imagine where he would have gone from here.

Sweet Apple Reviewed on Pitchfork

Pitchfork have reviewed the upcoming album from Sweet Apple (J. Mascis / Witch), giving the record a score of 5.1 out of 10...

[] J Mascis' involvement in Sweet Apple might be the main draw for most, but it's also somewhat misleading. Like the other Tee Pee Records band in which Mascis is involved (sludge merchants Witch), his role here is strictly supporting. Sweet Apple's main man is instead John Petkovic, a Cleveland-area musician with his own three-decade career, in two respected yet unheralded bands (Death of Samantha and Cobra Verde).

After the passing of his mother, Petkovic drove from Cleveland to Vermont to visit Mascis and bassist Dave Sweetapple, which lead to him writing the 70s arena rock-like songs that would end up on Love & Desperation. There's a cathartic who-gives-a-shit vibe to the entire enterprise, which is great when Sweet Apple stumble upon something worth giving a shit about. A few songs (the glammed-up barnburner "Hold Me, I'm Dying"; grungy behemoth "Never Came") manage to successfully turn that trick. A Casio-abetted ballad like "Dead Moon" falls a little short of that mark, but it's a welcome digression. On much of the album, Petkovic unfortunately goes against his strengths as a songwriter, trying to strike a irony-free bad-to-the-bone rock-god pose that neither his voice nor words can back up.

He comes up with a few killer lines-- "I wasn't born, I was detached"-- and doesn't come up short as a singer for lack of trying (though his howling on "It's Over Now" comes close). However, all the not-so-tough talk about vampires and dead bodies and bad-ass chicks loses its luster after the third or fourth go-around. Coupling these clich├ęs with sky-high guitar heroics doesn't help matters (though the faux-epic "Blindfold" manages to sidestep that pothole with a truly epic guitar solo). At their best, Sweet Apple sound like they're trying to emulate the lovable-loserdom perfected by one of Petkovic's unsung Cleveland rock peers, Prisonshake. At their worst, such as "Goodnight", Petkovic goes on and on about him and his hard-luck honey while the group tediously grinds away in the background. It's a sour note to hit, especially on such a haphazard journey. From the sounds of things (both in the press materials, and, intermittently, in some of the songs), the journey that lead Petkovic to make this album was one he needed to take. Here's hoping that whatever road lead Petkovic to Love & Desperation ultimately gets him back to doing what he does best.

Frightened Rabbit Featured in New York Times After SXSW

In case you missed it... that's Frightened Rabbit on the COVER of the New York Times Arts Section (March 22). Frightened Rabbit tore through 8 shows at SXSW. Here's what "they're" saying:

"Must see-act." - USA Today, March 22, 2010

"It's anthemic: U2-style marches, with tremolo guitars, or folk-rock fingerpicking that starts to chime, as well as arena-singalong refrains that go "Whoa-oh-oh."
Yet Mr. Hutchison sings about loneliness and insecurity, with a voice that's shaky and smudged." - New York Times (New York, NY), March 18, 2010

"Delivered the best set of songs that I witnessed all week." - Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, NE), March 22, 2010

The group's third LP, The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, released March 9 on FatCat Records, debuted at #78 on Billboard's Top 200 and #14 on the Alternative Albums Chart. Meanwhile, the band's current single, "Nothing Like You," is currently the #1 alternative specialty single at MediaGuide and the album is #15 on the CMJ Top 200.

Just before heading to SXSW, lead Rabbit Scott Hutchison stopped by NPR's "All Things Considered" to talk about the new record. Listen HERE

Frightened Rabbit's full North American tour kicks off at Coachella, April 17. Tickets are going fast...

A Storm of Light Seeking Permanent Drummer

In a message from Brooklyn atmospheric doomsters A STORM OF LIGHT: "In just over two years since the band's inception, A STORM OF LIGHT has had the honor and privilege of playing with many great drummers: Vinny Signorelli, Jason Roeder, Pete Angevine etc. While this band is built around revolving members both in touring and recording, we've decided that a central three-piece will make us sonically / rhythmically stronger. That said, we have decided to look for a permanent drummer, one that can make STORM their primary focus, and be part of the band for the long haul.

When: ASAP. We will be recording in early fall and going to Europe from September 28 - Nov 1.

Where: Ideally we want someone in Brooklyn/NYC, or damn close. While we are willing to consider people outside of the area (New Jersey/Philadelphia/Upstate NY/Providence/Boston/DC etc). Please keep in mind that we are constantly writing, recording, practicing, touring, so you will have to been in Brooklyn very regularly.

Experience: We are preferably looking for people with previous recording/touring experience, and who can tour regularly both nationally and internationally. (nice, fun, dedicated, motivated, relaxed, on time, honest, etc, etc, etc.)

Contact: Please include links to your drumming/musical projects, and email us at: storm [at] astormoflight [dot] com. Thank you." -- A STORM OF LIGHT

Karnivool SXSW Video Interview / US Tour Dates caught up with Karnivool after their performance at the Full Metal Texas showcase for a quick interview...

The band are currently on a US tour with Fair To Midland, complete dates below...

March 30 Baltimore, MD The Quarter
March 31 New York, NY Gramercy Theater
April 1 Philadelphia, PA The Note
April 2 Hartford, CT Webster Underground
April 3 Providence, RI Club Hell
April 5 Toronto, ONT Wreck Room
April 7 Cleveland, OH Peabody's
April 8 Louisville, KY Phoenix Hill Tavern
April 9 Chicago, IL Penny Road
April 10 Flint, MI Machine Shop
April 11 Madison, WI The Annex
April 12 Minneapolis, MN The Rock
April 14 Denver, CO Marquee
April 16 Sacramento, CA Boardwalk
April 17 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour

Hooray For Earth Ready Official Debut / Free MP3

New York City and Boston-based foursome Hooray For Earth are thrilled to announce their signing to Dovecote Records and re-release of their MOMO EP June 1st through their new label home. Originally only digitally available as a 5-song EP through the exclusive eMusic Selects program, Dovecote's reissue will be available on CD, special clear vinyl, and digitally and sees the addition of sixth track, "Rolling/Nectarine," which features Jessica and Cristi Jo Zambri of Zambri.

"We met them for beers, and based on our mutual love of Enya and flourescent-colored Ibanez guitars, we quickly decided Dovecote Records would be the best label to release our EP," confesses band leader Noel Heroux of the signing.

Hooray For Earth formed in Boston, MA in 2005 and soon after self-released their rock-leaning eponymous debut album in 2006. When band leader Noel Heroux moved to New York City after the release of their Cellphone EP (Dopamine) in 2008, the city's bustling energy instantly inspired him to explore his electronic leanings, using a love of Eno, Aphex Twin and Autechre to create his own style of synthesizer processing. The result is an EP that expertly blends crunchy rock with layered electronic pop and countless influences in between. A wash of warm synths coasting under Heroux's languid delivery opens MOMO on single "Surrounded By Your Friends," a combination so inviting it was picked for play on Good Morning America. "Comfortable, Comparable" follows with rollicking keyboards and perky drums, while distorted guitars buzz over heavy-hitting rhythm and 60s-style vocal harmonies on "Form."

Hooray For Earth is Noel Heroux (vocals, guitar), Christopher Principe (bass, backing vocals), Gary Benacquista (guitar, keyboard) and Joseph Ciampini (drums, backing vocals) with MOMO co-producer Josh Ascalon as part-time live-percussionist. The band has played with Passion Pit, Deer Tick, Holy Fuck, Mission Of Burma, Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, Oh No Ono, and Depreciation Guild in the past and will tour the US in support of MOMO's release this spring. In the meantime, check out Hooray For Earth's recent feature on ABC's Amplified HERE or video for "Surrounded By Your Friends" below.

"The Boston rockers spew big guitar noise, crafty synths, gripping melodies, and intricate aural theatrics with massive style and ridiculous aplomb. They need to be famous." -- The Boston Globe

"A little bit 80s synth pop, a little bit indie rock and a hell of a good time." -- New York Press

"Surrounded By Your Friends" by Hooray For Earth from Mathematical Park on Vimeo.

DOWNLOAD: Hooray For Earth - Surrounded By Your Friends (right click, save as)

The Moses Gun Interviewed on

The Moses Gun were recently interviewed for WindyCityRock.Net...

"An enlightening Q&A feature by Frank Krolicki. Guitarist/Vocalist Vell Mullens opens up about The Moses Gun's past, present and future. Includes a free mp3 download of "Broken Neck" from the recently released "Strobe Session" EP." Check out an excerpt from the interview...

[] One of the best things about the Chicago "indie rock" scene is that it never fails to offer up a diverse, unpredictable mixture of sounds under that single generic label. Case in point: the hard-driving, grungy-yet-ultimately hard to pigeonhole rock of The Moses Gun, comprised of vocalist and guitarist Vell Mullens, bassist Rich Harris and drummer John Marszalek. Although the band have been a part of the Chicago music scene since the mid-90s, they've just this month released their official recorded debut, The Strobe Session, and are celebrating the release with upcoming gigs at Phyllis' Musical Inn (March 27), Double Door (April 27) and the RockBox (May 7).

Download mp3: The Moses Gun - "Broken Neck" (right click, save as)

In honor of the new release and live shows, Mullens took the time out to answer some questions for WCR about the band's history, approach and plans for the future:

WCR: To begin, give us a bit of background on The Moses Gun - how and when did the band come together, and how has it evolved over time?

VM: Rich and I met on the far southeast side of Chicago in 1989 and immediately found common musical ground - Metallica, Depeche Mode, Husker Du, Hendrix, Rundgren, The Smiths, Zeppelin. We're both very guitar-oriented and share an appreciation of the challenges of getting heard and making a mark musically. The idea to form a musical entity occurred quite naturally. We adapted the name "The Moses Gun" in 1995 as we jammed along on rough early versions of our core songs with a Dr Rhythm drum machine in my coach house apartment at Crystal and Hoyne.

Johnny had been on our radar since 2001 and when his previous band (Machete Monks) dissolved, he came on board in late summer 2007. Johnny is a very studied, regimented and expressive musician and a star of Proviso West's world-renowned marching band. His playing style really pushes things along, you know?

After years of fits and starts, sidetracks and other projects that just weren't quite the right thing, we believe we have found the optimum lineup to bring our songs to life. We've accomplished more in the last two years than we had in the previous 12 largely because we have set definite goals for ourselves: create, record, promote, play, repeat.

For people who haven't heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

Lately it has become apparent that we're best described as grunge or Chicago-style post-punk. I personally am just coming out of a fuzzy period where I would self-consciously attach descriptive terms to our sound that just plain were not in my vocabulary five years ago. Indie rock? Avant-garde post punk? Indie garage? Heavy melodic noise rock? Grunge, after all the dust has settled, pretty much sums up what we’re going for. Dynamically-shifting heavier melodic rock music with guitar, bass, drums and vocals. I recall sitting straight up in bed out of a semiconscious state late one night in 1991 as I heard the opening chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on XRT. As the track grew heavy I remember saying aloud to no one "That's it! That's what it's all about, right there!" Our lyrical content is both personal and spiritual. More focused on snapshots of time periods and states of mind than narrative statements about politics. Humanity feels most natural to write and sing about.

You recently recorded an EP called The Strobe Session. Tell us about the recording process and some of the specific songs. If you could pick one song you most want people to hear, which would it be?

Working - if you can call it that - with Jamie Wagner at Strobe Recording was an absolutely enjoyable, relaxed experience. We provided him and Kevin recordings we'd done at practices of the songs we wanted to include and he was prepared from day one to help us put them across in a way that best suited us. It's a very raw and live-sounding recording which was the goal from the outset, but it also takes you to some different levels within that live house. I mean, you don't spend the entire recording in one sonic mindset, you know?

Since taking a journey through our entire sonic "house" was one of the main goals of the recording, I would pick "Broken Neck" as the track from The Strobe Session which best exemplifies what we were aiming for. From concept to performance, I think it really stands out and it's got that wicked beat you can bop your head to.


Quick Notes: Disappearer, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, & More

*[] Disappearer have lined up a trio of dates with The Austerity Program and Phantom Glue, here’s where you can catch them:

April 29th Allston, MA – Unit 11 (feat. Furnace)
May 01st Providence, RI – Mules
May 02nd Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool

*Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has been teasing a new project over the past few weeks through a series of pictures and if the caption of the latest shot to be posted is to be taken at face value, sessions for it are now winding down. The picture in question, which carries the caption of “Last day of the session!” can be found HERE. In late 2009 Reznor announced that “2010 has a number of things planned including new material from nine inch nails and something else that isn’t nine inch nails.” Previous photos posted from the sessions have shown Reznor behind the microphone, further escalating the speculation on the project.

*Helmet are plotting a June 22nd release date for their new album, “Seeing Eye Dog“. The outing will be issued via Work Song, an imprint label headed up band mastermind Page Hamilton’s manager alongside singer/songwriter Joe Henry. In the meantime (pun not intended), Hamilton recently spoke with Noisecreep at length about the album, you can find out what he had to say HERE. Furthermore, the band have booked the following dates with more to be announced soon:

May 21st Flint, MI – The Machine Shop
May 22nd Columbus, OH – Columbus Crew Stadium
May 23rd Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel
April 24th Glendale, AZ – UFEST

*The Deftones recently wrapped up filming a new video for their track “Diamond Eyes” with director Roboshobo (Metallica, Mastodon). You can expect to see it in the coming weeks. The song itself serves as the title track to the bands new album which was recently brought forward to a May 04th release date.

*Them Crooked Vultures have been tapped as the musical guest for the April 12th episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!“.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Roman Traffic Post New Song / Announce Singer's Departure

In anticipation for next week's Roman Traffic concert at The Church in Boston, MA, the band have posted a brand new song, and sadly the last with current lead singer Benjamin Grenville. Here's what the guys had to say on both of the matters...

"We introduce to you "Old New", our final song with Ben. It was a great experience working on this song. We tracked drums with producer Alex "The Greek" Hatziyannis at Old Folks Home Studios and he also helped out by mastering the track for us. The rest was recorded and mixed on our own (and mostly by our very own Matty A). It was a lot of work but the five of us had an amazing time working together. We hope you all enjoy it."

"We regretfully announce that our vocalist Ben will be leaving Roman Traffic due to personal reasons. We have had many great years of writing, collaborating, recording and touring with Ben, not to mention the brotherhood bond that bandmates ultimately enjoy. He will be sorely missed, and we wish him all the luck in the world moving forward in life.

We will be rocking at Church of Boston on April 2nd as a send off show for our friend. It's also an Animal Shirt party, so wear your finest Animal tee and have a kick ass night with us!

Even losing such an important piece like Ben will not end Roman Traffic. We will be continuing on as a foursome until we can fill the missing role. Keep coming back for updates on our progress as we move on to the next chapter of Roman Traffic’s existence.

We would like to thank everyone for listening to our efforts with Ben as vocalist, and for supporting us through thick and thin."

This news has devastated myself, and I'm surely not the only one. Roman Traffic with Ben as their lead singer have been one of my absolute favorite bands since the first time I played Calico, and were always the band I secretly wanted to launch my record label with as the flagship artist. Ben will be greatly missed here at, but I have no doubt that the rest of the guys will continue moving forward making quality music. IF YOU LIVE IN BOSTON, DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO CATCH THIS LINE-UP ONE LAST TIME. They are seriously an incredible live band, and I hope to see you there!

<a href="">Gravehaven - The Mirror by Exploding In Sound presents...</a>

Saturday, March 27, 2010

(Damn) This Desert Air Interviewed on Italian Webzine Fire Alive

(Damn) This Desert Air were recently interviewed by Italian webzine Fire Alive, check out an excerpt below, and the full interview can be read HERE. The band will release their Pop Up Records debut EP, Distance Waits on April 27th.

[]FA: How did you get in contact with Bastardized Recordings? How going on the deal with them?

Craig: We got in touch with Bastardized of Germany by way of a good friend of mine from England... pointing a finger to maybe 10 or so labels that might like what we're doing, have a positive independent mindset, and basically are cool people. Out of those that we introduced ourselves to and followed up with, we were well received by 3 and were having a conversation with each about this EP we were just finishing up, showing our last EP as reference and a good test-mix of one of our new songs. Out of those conversations, Bastardized was the most genuine, and never let up in their excitement for us and bringing us on board.

FA: Are you thinking already about a promotional tour of your upcoming release?
If so, tell us something more about, please.

Mike: We’re trying to work out the details for a European tour in support of our EP, Distance Waits. Hopefully in the near future. I would tell you more but the rest is classified. If you knew we’d have to terminate you.

Craig: Hahaaa. The simple answer is YES, we were asked to visit Germany/Europe in 2010. The details of working it out have just begun, to see what we all can pull off as a team, band, label & promo... that's the non-simple part. We're also looking into getting some tire mileage outside of our general area stateside (to promote also the Pop Up Records release of this same EP) and have constant road-trip queries out.

FA: Talking about “Distance Waits”: Tell us something about the time you’ve spent in the recording studio, please.

Craig: Time spent on this recording was detailed and thorough. We wanted to really get into some nuances to make the songs stick out on their own. We're a pretty dynamic band by nature, so different amp sounds, effects, re-tracking to get the right feel/tone/presentation/character were no strangers to us for each instrument. We're very democratic (almost to a fault) for the reason of wanting everyone to be pleased at the end of the process.

FA: What’s the meaning of “Distance Waits”, for you as people living in today’s world and society? Are you guys bringing a message to the kids?

Craig: It's a phrase taken from the song "Ghost I Own." I think of it as longing, reaching, yet accepting...a phrase that conjures thoughts of an infinite destination, an endless desire to head through the tunnel for the light that never goes out.


While the official SXSW showcases commenced on Saturday, those that were wise enough to stick around caught another full day of free shows and exceptionally good concerts. I started my at one o’clock at the Six Stages Over Texas Block Party, just on the outskirts of the city. Arriving a few miles from where the show was taking place, it became obvious I was going to need to run to make sure I caught all of Austin’s favorite up-and-comers STEREO IS A LIE. After beating out the enormous competition to claim The Deli Magazine’s “Best New Artist” for 2009, SIAL played a scorching hot set in the early afternoon sun, comprised of nearly every track from the band’s upcoming debut. SXSW is a festival tends to focus on new music and the “next big thing,” and ladies and gentlemen, STEREO IS A LIE may very well be just what alternative rock needs. The band roared with cool washes of guitars, keys, and a very tight rhythm section, as band leader Glynn Wedgewood brought his songs to life with a charming snarl of Brit rock via Austin, TX. Imagine The Verve, Oasis, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s unholy offspring, and the sound of this quintet becomes more clear. Extremely accessible and radio friendly without ever sounding contrived, soulless, or mass produced, these guys are destined for great things, so be sure to check them out. The band enveloped the outdoor stage with their massive shimmering sound, playing personal favorites “Get It Right,” “What We Do,” and closing with the magnificent and time appropriate “Last Call”.

The rest of the day found me taking on a new SXSW experience… staying in one place for the entire time. With the absolutely incredible line-up presented at the Giant Steps, Radar Recordings, Translation Loss, & Sargent House present: Goodbye South-By Party, there was no reason to leave. The showcase has become a yearly event at Red 7, culminating the week’s extravaganza, presenting a slew of bands that truly offered a feeling of community as everyone enjoyed the day’s music. The show took place both indoors and on the patio, as sets were beginning directly after the others finished for a complete day of constant rock euphoria.

The show opened with band I was most eager to witness live, Belfast Ireland’s And So I Watch You From Afar. The four young fellas’ instrumental post-rock / progressive hybrid can only be described by one word… explosive! The band chugged through sludge and nimble fretwork into wide open bursts of manic virtuosity as the band leaped around the stage in a storming frenzy. Their presence demanded the crowd’s attention, opening their set with “Set Guitars to Kill,” and tearing through their sonic palette on more recent songs like “S is for Salamander” from the recently released Letters EP. Having played many of the largest venues in the UK supporting Oceansize, these guys are true performers in every sense of the word. The energy from the band was infectious as the entire audience nodded their heads, stunned by ASIWYFA’s fiery intensity.

Next up on the indoor stage was Dublin, Ireland’s shoegaze / post-rock collective, Butterfly Explosion. I had never heard of these guys before, but upon catching their set, I am thoroughly hooked. The band plays a brooding post rock style with gigantic washes of guitar, serene and peaceful ambiance, and calmly drifting vocals. The quartet played several songs from their recently released debut album Lost Trails, showing off their gorgeous song craft with delicately layered swirls of guitar feedback. Their set ceased to contain any vocals after the second song, as their post rock tendencies took the forefront. Considering the fact that I had never heard of the band, they certainly were able to impress me, so much that I brought their album as soon as they got off stage.

The mighty Tuscon, Arizona four-piece Juarez blazed through a set of their catchy stoner metal meets pop inspired melodicism that fans of Torche have come to know and love. Having played an official day party the day before, Juarez slayed their fans and friends with a nonstop chug of hook laden stoner riffs and crushing rhythms. Lead singer Dana Fehr’s vocal melodies are what sets this band apart from the pact, as they burrow deep into your memory, his voice clear and strong, never allowing the chaotic crash of the band to drown them out. Texture is a big focus for the band, as they blend their doom pop with ambient soundscapes and enormous drums courtesy of Mike Sanger. Highlights included “Orgy in Red” and “Old River, Dry River,” a track recently released on a split 10” with Junius. I can only hope that 2010 will have lots in store for Juarez, as the band certainly have what it takes to create a buzz in the indie metal world.

What was once The Postman Syndrome, was then Biclops, and is now East of the Wall, New Jersey’s favorite progressive metal shape shifters. Primarily an instrumental band, East of the Wall experiment with complex time signatures that would make the average metal fan’s head reel, and do so with grace and extreme heaviness. The rhythm section of Brett Bamberger (bass) and Seth Rheam (drums) kept my attention throughout the entire performance, as the two played with expert precision, banging out some of the most complex prog of the day, while remaining clean and structurally sound. The primarily instrumental band wasn’t without monolithic guttural screaming from deep within several of the band’s guitarists. Next up, Battlefields took the stage, bringing their doom-core metal to the outdoor stage to a packed audience. Their compositions have all that doom metal fans have come to know and love, it’s slow as molasses, heavy as a ton of bricks, and the sludge kicks up into full blown mud storms from time to time without much warning.

Northwest, Indiana’s prodigal sons Native followed on the inside stage, showcasing the many reasons the band were added to the triumphant roster at Sargent House Records. The band’s music is a refreshing blast of post-punk energy, from four guys that I highly doubt are of legal drinking age yet. Their set was full of aggression, angular riffs and rhythms, and intense screamed vocal performance. At times their lead singer/bassist would be rocking far too hard to bother with vocals, at that point turning the mic down to the audience’s level, where friends and members of La Dispute shouted out with equal force. The band were far heavier than they appear on record, with the shouted vocals turned into all out screaming, but perhaps that just comes with the intensity of the amped up live show, as These Arms Are Snakes, certainly a large influence on the band, had a similar boost to their vocals in a live setting. These young guys can play their asses off, and they did just that, and with Native we have the start to a very bright and promising career.

Junius took the stage next, and as always, stunned everyone within ear shot. The band have clearly mastered their sound, and their live shows are as much artistic spiritual awakenings as they are beautiful new wave meets post-rock inspired metallic gasps of fresh air. Check out my full review of Junius’ performance from the night before in the Day 4 coverage HERE.

It was with great anticipation that I awaited Fang Island’s set, as the band had garnered an enormous amount of hype from their multitude of shows earlier in the conference. While I may have waited until the final night to catch the band, the band clearly could have played another ten shows that week. The progressive pop and overall happiness they exude sprawls from the band’s live show, heavy on the prog. The quintet has been buzzing brighter than anyone during the past month, and it’s easy to see why. The three guitar assault the band displays on their Sargent House debut album sounds even bigger live, without the band simply layering on overlapping textures, but rather each guitarist playing something entirely different. Exploring strange time signatures galore, the band opened with “Dreams of Dreams,” leading directly into “Careful Crossers” as the four-part vocal harmonies were pushed over top the shifting rhythms and ever expanding riffs. As the saying goes, “can the drummer get some?” and in Fang Island’s case attention must be paid to Marc St. Sauveur, their unbelievable man behind the kit, capable of switching times back and forth without ever missing a beat. The band debuted some new songs, as well as their former single “Daisy” and the triumphant “Treeton”. The band were considerably more light hearted and jovial than the majority of the bands playing the event, but still fit very well amongst the day’s music. Clearly not phased by playing with bands of a far heavier nature, Fang Island will be touring this Spring with Doomriders, Caspian, and label mates Red Sparowes.

Just as the optimistic sound of Fang Island came to a close, Boston’s apocalyptic stalwarts Constants delivered a crushing set with wall of sound guitars that blanketed the audience in a tide of feedback and distortion. A glimpse of melody shimmers under the massive soaring hypnosis, adding delightful texture to the menacing sound. The trio played loud and distorted, with no ear drums safe and nothing rising up to the top of the mix. Singer/guitarist Will Benoit’s voice was pulled below the sea of noise, adding an element of melody that serves as another instrument and nowhere near the focal point. That very focal point, at least from my perspective, was entirely in the hands of drummer extraordinaire Rob Motes as he cranked out stunning syncopated rhythms and heavy earth rumbling fills, and dazzling cymbal crashes that provide their bursting sonic envelope with direction and the overall feeling of general greatness.

This evening contained a first that has been long overdue, the first time I’ve witnessed the epic nature of Caspian live and in person. Hailing from my current hometown of Beverly, MA I have had many opportunities to catch the band live before, which much to my dismay I foolishly squandered. I suppose sometimes you have to travel to the other side of the country to find what your hometown has to offer… but regardless, catching Caspian live was an exceptional experience. While Mogwai may be given the credit as the originators of post-rock’s quiet to loud signature, Caspian pulled it off with more beauty and power than anyone I’d seen before. Absolutely gorgeous guitar driven ambience soothes and calms the audience before the volume knobs are gradually turned to 11 and all of a sudden Caspian are blowing the eager crowd away with unbelievable energy as the band thrashes around the stage perfectly in tuned to their enormous music. The drumming is as simple as can be, allowing for the three guitar attack to take center stage as it rises into glorious crescendos and bruising storms soaked with distortion. The band closed their set with an spectacular rendition of “Sycamore,” as the song neared its final outro, the stage became filled with the drummers from nearly all the day’s bands, loading well over ten extra percussionists onto the stage for one of the most epic breakdowns I’ve seen. Caspian have made a believer after this performance, and I think it is safe to say I will not be missing any more of their concerts.

Heading back indoors, New York City’s Rival Schools were already blasting out their blend of power pop by way of post-punk to an excited crowd. After releasing their one and only album and taking a near decade long hiatus, the band are back and ready to drop their new release through Photo Finish / Atlantic records this summer. The audience ate up the fun loving sound, as Walter Schreifels (Quicksand) and company were clearly having a great time. The band was the final act of the SXSW experience, and was thrilled to be there with the full house of fans that had stuck around. The band may have done a bit of drinking in anticipation for this last breath of rock, as Schreifels was playing with an unusual looseness, bordering on the line of sloppiness, but carefully never crossing over. Spirits were high as he shouted thanks between each songs, louder than the actual song preceding it. They played a selection of new songs with interesting explanations to their origins, as well as fan favorites “High Acetate,” “Undercovers On,” and “Good Things,” to which Schreifels announced, “Hey everyone, we all have health care!” Good things certainly came to this year's SXSW, and I'm already looking forward to good times at 2011's conference.