Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mini Mansions, the Los Angeles indie-psychedelia trio who released their self-titled debut album earlier this month on Joshua Homme's Rekords Rekords, share the video for "Wünderbars".



The band is currently on their first U.S. tour since the album release with dates below:

November:
30 Tempe, AZ Yucca Tap Room

December:
1 Tucson, AZ The Hangart
2 Santa Fe, NM The Underground
3 Colorado Springs, Co Triple Nickel Tavern
4 Denver, CO Moe's
5 Ft. Collins, Co Road 34
7 Chicago, IL Subterranean
8 Milwaukee, WI Mad Planet
9 Madison, WI The Project Lodge
10 Minneapolis, MN 400 Bar
11 Rock Island, IL Ribco
12 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville Mews
13 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
14 Dallas, TX The Nightmare
15 Houston, TX Walters on Washington
16 Austin, TX The Ghost Room
17 El Paso, TX TBA

Quick Notes: A Perfect Circle, ASIWYFA, The Felix Culpa

*[theprp.com] It would appear that new A Perfect Circle music isn’t the immediate focus for those involved with the band. A new tweet from group founder Billy Howerdel‘s other outfit ASHES dIVIDE, reads as follows:

“@aperfectcircle 2010 tour is done. Thank you all for the warm welcome back! Now back to work on @ASHESdIVIDE”

*And So I Watch You From Afar have posted a live video of the band performing "Set Guitars To Kill" from November 20th...



*[decoymusic.com] The Felix Culpa have posted a trailer for the reissue of their full-length Sever The Roots along with the additional EP, Bury The Axe...

Big Scary Monsters' Own One Man Army: Kevin Douch

Big Scary Monsters Records had themselves an incredible 2010 with a plethora of excellent releases, great new signings, as well as reaching a very special milestone. As Exploding In Sound has become fairly obsessed with the UK post-punk scene over the span of this year, our attention has been consistently shifted in the direction of BSM. The label is home to many of our favorite up-and-comers including Hold Your Horse Is, Shapes, Shoes & Socks Off, Tall Ships, Mimas, Dad Rocks!, Kevin Devine, and many others. Aside from their current roster, BSM has also released albums and singles from luminaries Meet Me In St. Louis, BlakFish, Pulled Apart By Horses, Secondsmile, Itch and so many other acts worth checking out. Head on over to their official website and browse around, I promise you'll find some music you love in no time. Owner/operator/one man army Kevin Douch was kind enough to answer some questions for us...


EIS: How/when did you first decide to start a label?

KD: I first began the label 9 years ago, whilst at sixth form here in Oxford. I had no previous music industry experience or knowledge, just seemed a fun thing to do!

EIS: How many people work together to make BSM possible? Are you really a one man show?

KD: Yep, it’s a one man show, although I get a lot of help from some awesome people, a cast made up of booking agents, press people, distributors and occasional interns.

EIS: What is a typical day in the “office” like for you?


KD: If you ask Tall Ships, it involves me reading emails on my phone and drinking cocktails. In reality, it’s more like reading emails on my computer and drinking Tesco Orange squash! Generally I’ll 4 days a week, 9am – 6pm, answering emails, packing mail-orders, updating the website, listening to music, checking up on press, sending updates to distributors and ordering new stock/supplies, before taking a break then getting back to it late at night. That’s my favourite time as it’s a lot quieter meaning I can get emails out without responses coming straight back at me. The 5th day of each week is usually spent in London doing meetings and going to gigs. I like to get out to other cities to meet people and, whenever I can, join our bands on tour for a little while, although that happens a lot less than it used to unfortunately.


EIS: You just celebrated your 100th release with Partied Hard, a collection compiling many of the labels highlights. Give us five of your favorite releases during the first 100 and their impact on you.

KD: Tough question! Five of my favourites would include ‘Variations On Swing’ by Meet Me In St Louis, both for personal reasons (it’s one of my all-time favourite albums) and from a label point of view, as it really defined where we were at the time, and brought a lot of new people to us. ‘Hollow Realm’ by Talons would also be in the list, for very similar reasons. I’d like to include one of Tall Ships EPs, but I really wouldn’t know which. Andrew W.K.’s square-shaped 7” single from earlier this year would definitely be in there, as that was a frankly ridiculous release and one I never dreamt would happen. And finally, ‘Partied Hard’, BSM100 itself, would have to be in the top 5, as I’m really proud of that one. It rounds off many years of hard work and the tracklisting is exactly as I hoped it would be.


EIS: Do you generally meet and exceed your expectations/goals? Do your expectations increase with each successive release? Is it hard to gauge where to set your goals at?

KD: I don’t really have too many goals. I like to get to the end of each year and check that we’ve sold more CDs, seen more people at shows, made new contacts and had more fun than the previous year, but don’t think too much about the next 12 months. For each release I’ll have a vague idea of how I’d like it to pan out, in terms of the spread of reviews, sales, etc, but generally they don’t effect the next release. All of our bands, despite being at much the same level, are in very different places, so it’s hard to set one rule for all. That’s the beauty of this job, though.

EIS: There is a strong sense of unity within the artists signed to BSM, is that something you try to push or has it happened on its own?

KD: I like to think of the label as a bit of a community. We try to support our artists well above and beyond the expectations of a traditional record label, and bringing the bands together whenever possible is something I’ve always worked hard on. We had our first Christmas Party back in 2002 and we’ve gone back to that idea every year since. We’ve also had four years of our 5-a-side football tournament, which is a great day every summer, bringing together loads of friends and ‘family members’ to hang out and compete!

EIS: I’m glad you brought up the 5-a-side tournament. That sounds like an amazing time, how did that tradition begin? Are fans invited to watch the games?

KD: It started a few years back when myself and Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) had a debate about who was better at football! Ever since then the tournament has taken place every summer, with 16 teams and nearly 150 unfit band members and music industry insiders coming together to run around in the sun, puke and drink for a few hours. Fans are of course welcome too. It's great fun, although Team BSM haven't done too well the past couple of years, so we need a return to form next time... Or maybe just a good ringer!


EIS: How did you feel when Blakfish and Meet Me In St. Louis told you they were breaking up after just one full length each? Both were seemingly on the verge of “blowing up,” do you as owner of their label say anything or is it something that you just have to except?

KD: I was gutted. Both of them were out of the blue (at least Toby’s departure from MMISL, perhaps not so much their break up shortly afterwards) and it was a shame as they were both developing really well. I’m just glad they both left us with such good albums.

EIS: Speaking of Blakfish, they recorded “Champions” [an album everyone should hear] in Seattle with These Arms Are Snakes’ producer Chris Common. Was the record ever released in the US? Have any BSM releases seen a physical release in the states?

KD: That album was never released in the States, but some of our others have been, either through BSM or labels we’ve partnered up with. Talons album is coming out via Topshelf Records (based in MA) this month, and they’re also working with us on Grown Ups. Kevin Devine and Walter Schreifels both have labels in the States too, and we have plans to put some more stuff out there ourselves next year.

EIS: I saw in a recent interview you mentioned BSM would be represented at SXSW this coming March. Can you give any details regarding that?

KD: Kevin and Walter will both be there but I don’t think any of our UK bands will be. It’s a bit early for all of them so it’s more likely you’ll see one or two of them in 2012. SXSW is amazing but it’s a very expensive festival so the timing has to be just right.

EIS: Any chance of a UK based BSM band touring the states anytime soon?


KD: Hopefully. It’s something we’re working on at the moment. It’s difficult to get bands across to tour the US as costs are so high and building a sizeable profile can take a long time.

EIS: You also have your own packaging design company called ACD/Sleeve, which made the physical case for Partied Hard which is really awesome. How did you get into doing that? Are you constantly creating new forms of packaging?

KD: I set that up with a friend of mine who’s a bit of a genius. He has a degree in design and has these ideas just seem to come to him so easily. We both believe that people need to put more effort than ever before into the packaging of physical releases, so that’s what we’re attempting to do. A lot of the BSM releases next year will be released in ACD/Sleeve cases, and many other independent labels have been in touch about theirs too, which is awesome. It’s something I’m really enjoying working on and Tom has some frankly ridiculous ideas we’ll be unveiling soon.



EIS: What do you look for in a band when signing a new act?

KD: I like to see that a band is hard-working, pro-active, honest and fun. Obviously it’s the music which attracts me first and foremost, but there are a lot of other factors which are just as important as that. There are so many resources available to bands these days, I’m always disappointed when I see unsigned artists failing to take advantage of them. I think some people still have the very outdated view of signing to a record label = “we’ve made it, someone else will do the hard work”.

EIS: What do you think the most important role of a label is in 2010?

KD: I did a radio interview for a local BBC station this afternoon and was asked a very similar question, so this is something I’ve actually been thinking about a bit today. For me, having someone with a bit of knowledge and experience to help you with working towards your goals as a band is the biggest asset us labels currently boast. Whether that comes in marketing ideas, gig promoter contacts, planning, being able to tap you into an existing fanbase or whatever else, it’s a set of skills young bands don’t always possess. A couple of years ago distribution probably would’ve been the big one, but tools are now readily available to get your music onto iTunes and, unfortunately, the state of the physical market here in the UK isn’t very good at the moment, so although this is obviously still very important, I wouldn’t necessarily see it as the main reason for a band to go looking for a label.

EIS: As major record labels find themselves becoming increasingly less relevant, do you think it has become more favorable for a band to sign with indie labels?

KD: I think so. More and more bands are breaking through with indie labels these days and the feelings towards majors continue to nosedive. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next 5 – 10 years.

EIS: What advice would you give someone looking to start their own independent label?

KD: Be sensible, take your time to figure out what you’re doing before you pile lots of money in, find a band or two you honestly, 110% love, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help and advice.

EIS: There seems to be so much great post-punk / post-hardcore coming out of the UK recently, can you attribute that to anything in particular? Did bands like Fugazi and Unwound leave a big impression on the scene?

KD: They certainly had a big impact on bands here, and around the world, I’m sure. I don’t think there’s any one thing in particular which the quality of our bands could be attributed to, though. We seem to get a good spread of exciting new bands springing up from cities all over the country, and 2010 has been one of the best in living memory for new artists coming through. I can’t wait for next year and seeing how some of them develop. We’ll be running another 52 part singles club, the same as we did this year, through 2011, so without wanting to sound like a cheap advert… Keep an eye on www.bsmrocks.com if you want to find out about a lot of good new music.


EIS: When I first heard about the singles club last year, I thought it was a brilliant idea [offering the labels finest as well as other incredible UK acts such as Shield Your Eyes, Tropics, BATS, Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea, Vietwow! + more]. I know I will definitely be subscribing for 2011. Was 2010 the first year you’ve done that? What brought the decision to share the label’s artists as well as unsigned acts & bands signed elsewhere? How has the response been?

KD: Its really been a process of working towards what eventually became the '10 Collection. I had a 5 year idea of something I wanted to play around with and develop, kind of a tester for a way I wanted to try pushing the label, and it's going really well so far. In 2008 we gave away four digital samplers (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), each containing free downloads from the bands we'd be releasing in those seasons. In 2009 the idea evolved and we asked people to subscribe to receive four CDs (again, named after the seasons), which would contain live, demo, remix and cover songs from our bands, and a few of our favourites, which all tied in with some online promotions and bonus content. And then in 2010, we started the series as it is. Next year it'll be keeping a very similar guise, but we'll be tweaking the way the music is delivered, giving people more options and slightly lowering the price, whilst still offering the same incentives to subscribers. I'm still toying with the idea of adding a premium version and perhaps a few other things, but that will likely be a last minute decision. The one thing for sure is there'll be another 52 MP3s coming out next year from the best new and unsigned bands around.


EIS: We’re already HIGHLY anticipating the release of Shapes full length debut in 2011, what else do you have in store for us next year?

KD: Shapes just started record their album in Sweden today and I cannot wait to hear what they come up with! We’ll also have new albums from Dad Rocks! and Kevin Devine, as well as a new single from Tall Ships, EPs from Men and Tangled Hair, a book from Shoes And Socks Off and no doubt a whole lot more.

EIS: A book from Shoes and Socks Off? What will it include? Will there be music to go with it?

KD: This is something we've been working on for a while now and should finally see the light of day in the spring. I don't want to give it all away just yet, but it's going to be a 50 page book and there will be a LOT of music with it. I'll tell you more as soon as I can, but it's a concept I'm hoping to try with other bands afterwards, should the SASO one prove successful.

EIS: Thanks so much Kev. Looking forward to everything you have in store for 2011 and beyond.

Please take the time to check out some of the incredible music of Big Scary Monsters Records...









Monday, November 29, 2010

Deftones Offer Alternative Take on "You've Seen The Butcher"

[theprp.com] A new Deftones b-side has made its way online, you can check out the ‘Midnight Airport Version’ of “You’ve Seen The Butcher” below. The version of the song was the result of a recent studio session between band frontman Chino Moreno and Shaun Lopez of Far.

It appears on the newly released single for their track “You’ve Seen The Butcher“, which is now available overseas.

Deftones - You've Seen the Butcher (Midnight Airport Version) by shaunlopez

Quick Notes: ...Trail of Dead, Cage The Elephant, Omar Rodriguez Lopez + More


*“Summer of All Dead Souls” – the first single off …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’s new album TAO OF THE DEAD is out today! The track is now available for purchase at iTunes, Amazon.com, and ThinkIndie.

Their new album TAO OF THE DEAD is set for release on February 8th on Richter Scale Records/Superball Music. While you eagerly wait for the album, get your copy of “Summer Of All Dead Souls” now!

*Cage The Elephant's Thank You, Happy Birthday (Jive) is featured in SPIN Magazine's "The 27 Winter Albums That Matter Most". The record will be released on January 11th, here's what they had to say...

[SPIN.com] As tempting as it might be to read "Cage the Elephant" and "Thank You, Happy Birthday" together as a sort of absurdist poem, the first phrase is a rock band from Kentucky and the second is the name of a sophomore album that stands to be fateful, as sophomore albums often are. Cage the Elephant's self-titled debut established the group with a strutting sort of funky rock sound, and the follow-up comes with such extra-cocksure stated influences as Pixies, Mudhoney, Butthole Surfers, and '50s surf rock. It also follows some time during which, according to their press release, the band "engaged in indulgences that took them off track and they battled their share of demons and creative doubts." Consider the stage set for a rise or a fall.

*Omar Rodriguez Lopez has released yet another solo album Mantra Hiroshima which can be streamed/purchased HERE. The album features frequent collaborators Zach Hill and Juan Alderete de la Pena, and is definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of Hill or Rodriguez Lopez. Mantra Hiroshima is Rodriguez Lopez's sixth album of 2010, here's hoping that The Mars Volta will be back in '11...



*Red Bellows have posted the third video in their studio series detailing the recording of their debut album...

Foo Fighters Get Back To Basics on New Album


[FMQB.com] The Foo Fighters have said that they will be back in full force in 2011, and they have already scheduled some live appearances for next year. Now, Dave Grohl also has spoken to Q magazine about the band's stripped down recording technique for their next album, which is due in spring 2011. Instead of recording in a state-of-the-art studio, the band set up camp in Grohl's garage and worked with producer Butch Vig, who produced Nirvana's Nevermind. Grohl also invited his old bandmate, Krist Novoselic, to play on the track "I Should Have Known," marking the first time he's worked with either man in nearly 20 years.

"In my hotel room in Perth, Australia on a Them Crooked Vultures tour, it all came to me," Grohl said about working on a new Foo record. "I was sitting writing a new song and I thought, 'OK, we should make a documentary about the recording of this new album and make it a history of the band too. Rather than just record the album in the most expensive studio with the most state-of-the-art equipment, what if Butch and I were to get back together after 20 years and dust off the tape machines and put them in my garage?' I literally backed the minivan out of the garage, pulled the lawnmower out, put a drum set in it and set up mics. We soundproofed the garage door so that my neighbors wouldn't call the cops."

As for working with Novoselic again, Grohl said they have always stayed in touch. "One of the things about the expanded Nirvana family, it doesn't matter how much time has passed, when you see each other you're immediately connected by that, by the good and bad things," he explained. "When I see Krist, I hug him to celebrate our lives, but I also hug him to console him. There's a song called 'I Should Have Known' that I thought would sound great with his bass-playing and accordion-playing. It's probably the darkest song on the album."

Grohl also collaborated with Bob Mould from Husker Du on a track called "Dear Rosemary," and other song titles include "A Matter Of Time," "White Limo" and "These Days," which Grohl said "might be the best song I've ever written."

Meanwhile, the Foos have been confirmed as one of the headliners for next year's Sasquatch! Music Festival in Gorge, WA in May, and the band will play two massive gigs at the Milton Keynes Bowl in the U.K. on July 2 and 3.

Weezer Kick Off "Memories" Tour Performing "Blue Album" and "Pinkerton"


[Billboard.com] There may be only a few '90s-era alt-rock stars left, but none has had a more unique path to sustained relevance than Rivers Cuomo and his bandmates in Weezer.

Consider: After their self-titled breakthrough (now known as "The Blue Album"), which was a mainstay of MTV and radio, they followed up with "Pinkerton," a collection of quirky, not-as-immediate songs many considered career suicide. Since then, they've released inconsistent power-pop album after inconsistent power-pop album, each with a hit or two but otherwise falling, generally, into a realm of unremarkability.

So why, in music lover circles, are they still relevant? Somehow in the past decade in a half, that second record, "Pinkerton," has gone from being considered the band's career albatross to its creative zenith. It's an album full of cathartic, unrequited love songs that have garnered (deserved) credit for birthing the emo movement and have given a generation of geeks consolation when caught on the losing end of an imbalanced relationship. It stands in stark contrast to its predecessor, "The Blue Album," which spawned hits like "Buddy Holly" and "Undone (The Sweater Song)" that have become massive radio touchstones.

Over two nights at the Gibson Ampitheatre, at the launch of a short string of dates they're calling the "Memories" tour, Weezer explored both parts of their legacy, blasting through "The Blue Album" front-to-back on Friday and "Pinkerton" on Saturday -- a nostalgia act mimicking the industry wide trend of touring behind classic albums (think: the Pixies' "Doolittle" tour; Sonic Youth playing "Daydream Nation"). Though it's a move that could be seen as milking Gen X dollars (the nearly sold out shows were held at a venue with capacity of 6,000-plus, twice the size of the Palladium in Hollywood, where Weezer stopped on their last traditional tour), it actually felt more like a convention of bespectacled like-minded souls indulging their inner 15-year-old while relishing in their devotion for a band that's proven to be on par with other successful '90s holdovers like Green Day and Foo Fighters.

That they are. Over the course of both the full album sets (as well as an opening set, each night, of more modern hits, as well as the occasional B-side), Weezer proved that their songs are not only worthy of their legacy, but stand up against just about any of the current crop of radio hitmakers as well. Night 1's surprisingly raggedy "Blue Album" set not only showcased those aforementioned hits but "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here," played live for the first time since 1996 in a smoldering bout of melody with a chug-like impenetrable guitar riff, and "Surf Wax America," whose shout-along "You take your car to work/I'll take my board" can be reinterpreted as recession-era escapism.

Though strapped to his guitar for the second set, Cuomo -- long regarded as shy and hermit-like -- found his way into the audience during the first, singing "Hash Pipe" mid-crowd even while being assaulted by scores of fans. Cuomo also invited "Lost" actor Jorge Garcia (whose face alone is the cover of Weezer's newest album, Hurley) onstage to sing the recent hit "If You're Wondering If I Want You To (I Want You To)," looking like an elf next to the actor's ample, hirsute body.

Still, all that, along with a slideshow each night showcasing the early stages of the band's career and a cameo by Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, who opened, on "Island in the Sun," was build-up to the second night's run-through of "Pinkerton," a record once dismissed by Cuomo, which the mainstream barely knows but has become a fan favorite. Many of its songs hadn't been played by the band in years. Fittingly, even with the album's running time of 34 and a half minutes, it was tighter and more meaningful than "The Blue Album" set.

Guitarist Brian Bell seemed particularly involved, nailing the guitar breaks on "The Good Life" and headbanging his way through "El Scorcho," far and away the two-night run's emotional peak. For the last song, the soft, heartbreaking "Butterfly," the stage's backside was removed, letting the sound out into the open air. It's an apt metaphor: For the better part of two decades, the magic of "Pinkerton" -- and, with it, Weezer's legacy as more than just by-the-books hitmakers -- has been bottled up.

Apparently, everyone's in agreement: Now's the time to let it out.

Mr. Gnome Concert Review on LA Music Blog


[lamusicblog.com] My first brush with mr. Gnome was their brand new (terrifying) video for “Vampires.” Drug-addled, costumed adults perform on the set of a children’s show as mr. Gnome plays from the corner. Before long, the bunny rabbit is eating someone, a bloodbath ensues and ends with gunfire. You don’t get to see much of (mr. Gnome bandmates) Nicole Barille and Sam Meister, but you are struck by their dark sense of humor and individualistic approach to music-making. Needless to say, I was excited to see them perform live at Silverlake Lounge and they didn’t disappoint.

The show started with Nicole and Sam frantically setting up the stage by laying down throw rugs and setting up their instruments. A woman approached me and asked if I was a mr. Gnome fan. I told her that I’d only just recently heard of them but was looking forward to seeing them play. She proudly said, “That’s my nephew right there and they’re great! They’re from Cleveland, Ohio!” I took her immense pride as a great sign. After a quick guitar tune and mic checks, the show began.

Due to their highly cinematic music videos and offbeat music, I was expecting a theatrical show full of antics and costumes. In reality, mr. Gnome are much more down to earth. They came dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Apart from providing their own throw rugs, there was no adornment on stage. Instead the show relied solely on their music, and as it turns out, they don’t need anything else.

mr. Gnome’s fans will know that their sound can go from contemplative and moody to in-your-face punk music within the space of a minute. Nicole’s clear, beautiful voice rings out like a bell against the rapid pace of her steady guitar-playing. Sam plays the drums like a man possessed. It was difficult to even get a clear picture of him because he is always fully in motion. The crowd paid rapt attention and cheered raucously between songs. There were several times through the show that I caught myself dancing without even realizing I was doing it.

My final verdict is that Sam’s aunt has a reason to be proud. This duo from Cleveland, OH is the real deal. They are one of those unique bands that manages to sound even better live than their own studio recordings (which are great). They also suck you into their set from the beginning to the end you don’t ever want to happen. Never a dull moment, I am officially a fan and will definitely be seeing them again. If mr. Gnome is coming to a city near you, do yourself a favor and go!

Pulled Apart By Horses Offer Update

Pulled Apart By Horses have posted an update regarding their brand new single, free music videos, and tour dates...

*"YEAH BUDDY" OUT TODAY!

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH YEAH BUDDY! Our latest single is out today with brand new b-side "SOFT HANDED PUNK"! You can purchase it from all good record stores and iTunes. Click HERE to buy the 7" from our online shop.

YOU WHAT? You ain't seen the music video yet? Blimey people, check it out below...



*FREE VIDEOS

So a few months ago we played a little show to a crowd of video cameras in London at the Lexington. We've been sat on this and have decided to poop it out for you to watch with beady eyes.

Some of you may have already gotten your hands on this super special gift, but if you haven't, click HERE to get 6 FREE videos! You'll need to put in your email address, but don't worry, you won't be added to the list twice!

*MORE LIVE SHOWS

A whole heap of new shows have just been announced for us which are a tiny bit further than we've been before. First up in January we're heading to The Netherlands for Eurosonic. Then, in March, we're off to Australia for Golden Plains Festival and two club shows. Finally we'll be hitting Texas to play SXSW 2011 which we're mondo excited about. [**so is Exploding In Sound]

Over on our side of the world there are still four dates left on our UK tour, we're playing a special free show in Leeds with Vice and Dr Martens and we'll be celebrating NYE in style this year in the wonderful city of Bristol. Finally in January we'll be returning to Newcastle to play our re-scheduled date at Cluny's.

All the forthcoming dates are below. If you're planning to come and see us this Thursday at The Garage in London, but don't have a ticket yet, don't be shy! There are only a handful remaining so make sure you get yours!

29.11: Leicester University (14+)
30.11: Portsmouth Wedgwood Rooms (14+)
01.12: Brighton Audio (16+)
02.12: London Garage (14+)
03.12: Leeds Vox (18+) - FREE ENTRY
31.12: Bristol Fleece (18+)
11.01: Newcastle Cluny
13.01: Eurosonic, The Netherlands
10.03: Annandale Hotel, Sydney, Australia
11.03: The Tote, Melbourne, Australia
13.03: Golden Plains, Melbourne, Australia
15-19.03: SxSW, Austin, USA

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Magic Isn't Real" But PILE Certainly Are.

Pile have proven once and for all that it doesn’t take a fancy major label or big budget production to make an incredible album, self releasing Magic Isn’t Real, a clear cut choice for one of the best albums of 2010. Growing up during the musical rich 90’s alternative rock scene, Pile wear their influences well, drawing from a dynamic range of bands incorporating the best elements of grunge, post-punk, and indie guitar rock. Imagine Nirvana, Barkmarket, Fugazi, Pavement, and early Modest Mouse blended together in a dingy basement loaded with explosives and you can begin to grasp the aural confines in which Pile operate. Magic Isn’t Real is unbelievably engaging, full of immediately crushing riffs, triumphantly harsh guitar tones, and wildly addictive vocal melodies at all times. The Boston trio (who play live as a quartet) waste no time during any of their songs, launching head first at all times into honest and brutally infectious tunes that only get better with every listen. Pile flexes their musical muscles often, able to effortlessly mix sludge with soaring melodies, scathing rawness with quirky catchiness, and blinding aggression with a keen sense of humor. This album has the makings of a classic; it’s really only a matter of how many are lucky enough to know of its existence. For all readers of Exploding In Sound, this is required listening. You can thank me, or better yet, thank Pile later.


The warm and fuzzy “Uncle Jill” opens the record with a warping vocal melody as vocalist/guitarist Rick Maguire lets loose with a delicate soaring intro before briefly whipping his vocals into a fury as the band rise into the oncoming crash. The song takes an unexpected turn with about a minute left as twinkling space rock guitars launch forward into creative polyrhythms and the pummeling rhythm section. “Came as a Glow” features a burly bass line from Matt Becker, rumbling deep beneath the shimmering melody. The low end heavy approach benefits Maguire’s vocals, as his woozy delivery navigates through the stomping riff work, engaging the listener as the guitars swirl continuously heavier. The band bash away into a thick stoner rock riff generously muddied with feedback. Drummer Kris Kuss’ bass kicks open “Pets” before the hazy vocals stumble into the mix with sludgy optimism. The guitars and bass intertwine for a stunning dirge rumble as Maguire’s vocals soar into a frenzied yelp. His scream is passionate but honest, more in line with Ian MacKaye or Kurt Cobain than anything remotely metal. Pile keep you on your toes as they switch into the mathy bridge of the song, opting for shifting time signatures before slamming you directly back into the wall. “Levee” is punchy and unapologetic, crushing rhythms balanced with a thunderous riff and aggressive vocals.

“#1 Hit Single” roars with the type of riff that could tear paint off the wall, and the vocals ooze with the same ferociousness. Becker and Kuss’ rhythm moves like a wrecking ball before dropping out to reveal an infectious guitar line that leads the song into new melodic territory. The punk rock spirit is in full bloom as the band switch back into demolition mode for the songs climatic ending. The sinewy vocal intro to “Two Snakes” sets the melodic tone for the noisy and anthemic track. Guitars and bass are warped into overdrive, trickling together as they experiment with loud and soft dynamics. “Octopus,” one of the records many stand out moments displays Maguire’s clean vocals at their catchiest, belting out with a grungy murkiness that will be stuck in your head for days to come. The rhythms contort within the often atonal melodies, bringing to mind the latter half of Fugazi’s brilliant career, creating their own unique sonic wall of sound that’s raw, heavy, dark, and ominous yet highly catchy and accessible.


A thick slab of low end unfolds into stinging guitars on “Away In A Rainbow!” another vicious showcase of Pile doing what they do best. Undertones of surf inspired guitars sit below the monstrous thudding mayhem in a manic cloud of smoke and highly controlled chaos. Maguire’s vocals shift between rough yelps and falsetto croons as the band play with time and space, bending the melodies as far as they can without breaking. “Don’t Touch Anything” sounds like a product of years and years of listening to the Pixies and Fugazi, and I seriously couldn’t be happier with the results. Dissonant, intense, and melodically stunning, Maguire’s vocals are on full display before the crack of the riff hits like a lead pipe to the head. The song ripples in and out with aggressive walls of guitars and Kuss’ booming drums, sharp sense of dynamics, and one of the best vocal melodies in recent memory. This is intelligent punk rock at its finest, and it kicks some serious ass. The rusty jangle of guitar noise that is “Sweat Lodge” makes for the perfect closer to the record, unruly and violent, short and to the point, this is not your typical easy release. Rather than dropping you off gently at the end of the ride, Pile chose to rattle your brain with one last hard charging blast, ending abruptly and leaving you ready for more.

Pile has created a monster with Magic Isn’t Real, a rowdy hybrid of everything we love about rock, strewn together brilliantly. The record is an absolute masterpiece, thrilling from start to finish, and the band is still fairly young. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for Pile, magic may not be real but there is certainly something special going on here. One listen and you will be hooked, so go ahead and download yourself a copy because hearing is believing.

For more on Pile visit the following sites:

*Official Website
*Facebook
*Myspace
*Bandcamp

Guards Offer "Swimming After Dark" For FREE Download


[rhythmcircus.co.uk] Trying to pigeon-hole Guards' sound is like trying to tell Frank Black that the Pixies were just an indie band. God knows you're wrong - whatever type of music you'd like to say it is. Released on independent Welsh label 3 Syllables Records, Guards' debut 7-track EP drops into all digital stores this Monday 22/11/10.

The band, also comprising Caroline Polachek of Chairlift and James Richardson of MGMT's live band have been climbing a tidal wave of hype since their first couple of tracks started setting the blogosphere alight a few months back. Keep an eye on the Rhythm Circus website for a track-by-track breakdown of the debut EP this Monday, and in the mean time, you can download a little taster of the EP right HERE!

GUARDS - Swimming After Dark by Toast Press

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quick Notes: Glassjaw + Left Lane Cruiser


*[theprp.com] Glassjaw have made another live performance video available for viewing online. The latest in the series is for their track “All Good Junkies Go To Heaven” and can be viewed over at their official website, Glassjaw.com.

*Left Lane Cruiser have posted their brand new track "I Lost My Mind" on Alive Naturalsound Records website HERE. The song comes from the band's upcoming release Junkyard Speed Ball, more info coming soon.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Dirty Dishes Post Live Video of "Stolen Apples"

The Dirty Dishes have posted a live performance of their track "Stolen Apples" from WZBC 90.3...

Dirty Dishes - Stolen Apples Live from Jenny Tuite on Vimeo.

Pink Floyd Cancel Reunion Show


[NME.com] Pink Floyd have passed up the chance to reform after the members learned that a forthcoming charity show they were set to play was to be staged at Jemima Khan's house.

Drummer Nick Mason said the band turned down the chance for the surviving members to reform for the first time in five years after they learned it would take place in the home of the ex-wife of retired Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan.

"That particular event wasn't right for a reformation of Pink Floyd," he told The Independent. "I said I would do it, but it was a charity event for suits, and it felt wrong to turn a small thing into a big deal just because Jemima Khan was in attendance."

Mason recently said he was keen to reunite Floyd for charity gigs, but the last time the band played together was at Live 8 in 2005, with keyboardist Richard Wright, who died in 2008.

He added: "Why play for a lot of posh totty instead of some of the other things we should save that up for – a Live 8 type of thing."

In July Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour performed together at a charity event.

The Sword Post "Lawless Lands" Video


[SPIN.com] A redheaded sorceress! Spaceships! A damsel in distress! It's a true sci-fi storyline in "Lawless Lands," the new music video from Austin metal act, the Sword. The clip is the second in a video trilogy inspired by Warp Riders, the band's most recent record, a concept album based on an original sci-fi narrative. Watch HERE!

In the video, the band members play intergalactic soldiers (albeit clad in, um, t-shirts and jeans) who cruise the cosmos in a spaceship, willing and able to do the bidding of their sexy female commander. As the ship navigates through asteroid fields and dodges meteors, the band performs "Lawless Lands," a chugging, gloomy cut that nods to Black Sabbath.

The band then descends upon a foreign planet, emerging from their spacecraft and drawing -- shocker! -- swords in their attempt to rescue a young lady. Amid a furious crescendo of guitar licks, they speed her back to her home planet.

The intergalactic scenery -- starry skies, desert planets, gray polygonal spaceships -- upholds a classic sci-fi aesthetic. "I love it when the spaceship is on screen," bassist Bryan Richie tells SPIN. "It looks like we made it into an episode of Star Trek."

The band kicks off a U.S. tour November 27 in Baton Rouge, LA. Click here for dates.

WATCH: The Sword, "Lawless Lands" HERE!

Bear Hands "Burning Bush Supper Club" Reviewed on Pitchfork


[pitchfork.com] Does Wesleyan, the arty Connecticut liberal arts university, attract boys with raw, nasal voices and penchants for shimmering keyboards and huge waves of overdubbed psychedelic guitars to its halls, or does the school simply turn its students into those sorts of musicians? Either way, it has quite a track record of contributing to the Brooklyn music scene (see: MGMT, Amazing Baby, and the other band of Das Racist's Victor Vazquez, Boy Crisis). And now, following the success of MGMT, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden's former classmates and opening act Bear Hands have thrown their hat into the ring too, finally releasing their full-length debut three years after issuing the Golden EP.

What sets Bear Hands apart from not only their former school friends but also the rest of those outer-borough inhabitants enamored of reverb pedals, ramshackle rhythms, and throbbing bass, is their quirky sense of humor. Frontman Dylan Rau, who has both the unhinged bark of Isaac Brock and the reedy, sinewy whine of MGMT's VanWyngarden, sings about eating cats or Julien Donkey-Boy, the title character in Harmony Korine's bizarre Dogme 95 film. And despite its markedly slower pace and haunting arrangement, "Wicksey Boxing" has its own inherent wit, given that it takes its name from a slurred-drunk pronunciation of "whiskey boxing," a sport best to avoid.

But amid such punning-- and other, more abstract lyrical turns-- Bear Hands have a softer, more earnest side, too. On "Belongings", Rau sings, "At the gentle age of nine, I bought my first 45/ And then I drink, yeah, I drink, yeah... I smoke a little weed." It's a song that's suffused with the excitement of first falling in love with music and a nostalgia for the innocence and excitement of youth. If anything, though, it is Burning Bush Supper Club's musically softer moments that are its weakest.

Bear Hands excel at crafting songs that chug manically under a cloud of reverb or coax wallflowers out onto the dancefloor with an infectious marriage of musical precision and experimental messiness. But after seven straight tracks of upbeat psych-rock, "Wicksey Boxing" kicks off an album-ending run of mostly plodding, mid-tempo tunes. Though Bear Hands get the atmosphere right on these slower tracks, layering echoing effects over sparse riffs, starburst synth crescendos, and Rau's most vulnerable warble, these more muted, intimate songs feel lacking next to the passionate drive and playful spirit of the rest of the album. Overall though, Burning Bush Supper Club is the album Congratulations should have been: one that sharpens the lush, hedonistic surrealism of reverb-laden psych-rock into tightly focused anthems that are just anarchic enough as to be unpredictable.

— Rebecca Raber, November 24, 2010

Nine Inch Nails "Pretty Hate Machine [Remaster]" Reviewed on Pitchfork


[pitchfork.com] For reasons I won't get into here, my little brother spent the first couple weeks of ninth grade in a Baltimore psych ward. While he was in there, he desperately wanted one of his tapes, and that tape was Pretty Hate Machine, an album already a few years old at that point. Rather than bringing it to him, my dad decided to listen to it, making it about 90 seconds in-- to the first "Bow down before the one you serve/ You're going to get what you deserve" bit on "Head Like a Hole"-- before deciding the album was Satanic and throwing it in the trash. I tried arguing the point with him ("No, dad, he's talking about money! Listen to it!"), but he didn't budge. For much of the 1990s, Pretty Hate Machine was that type of album: One that could inspire fervent, devotional need and absolute revulsion, largely depending on the age of the person hearing it. And that's even more impressive when you consider that it's basically a synth-pop album.

The greatest trick Trent Reznor ever pulled was convincing the world he was the devil. With his biblical-phallic band name, his reportedly furious early live shows, his fishnets worn as sleeves, Reznor staked out a position for himself on the Alice Cooper shock-rock continuum. Reznor certainly talked a big game about his industrial influences, even taking part in the Wax Trax! collective Pigface, but it wasn't the punishing megaphone-addled arm of industrial that most informed Reznor's debut album; it was the genre's nascent new-wave period. Scene kings Ministry, after all, started out as floppy-haired New Romantics. And so, for that matter, did Reznor himself; Google Exotic Birds sometime.

Reznor would progress further into scraping roar not long later; 1992's "Wish" was certainly no Depeche Mode song. But Pretty Hate Machine is haunted, synthetic dance-pop through and through. The beats have muscle, but it's not metal muscle or pigfuck muscle or even post-punk muscle. "Head Like a Hole", the big hit, is probably the most rock thing on the whole album, but even that song opens with "Heart of Glass"-esque percussion ripples before the drum machine thunder and weird hooting noises come in. "Terrible Lie" is built on synth-scrapes that, in less distorted form, could've shown up on a New Order single, and "Sin" likewise has a whole lot of "Blue Monday" in its DNA. Whenever a verse ends during "Kinda I Want To", we get a quick little reptilian disco synth-fight. Glacial new-age keyboard tones abound, and big nasty guitars really don't. And Reznor knew how to mine this form for all the emotional catharsis it was worth, which was a lot.

But Reznor still stood out as a rock star, maybe the rock star of the time. Largely, that's a credit to his absolutely magnificent rock-star voice, one of the finest of his generation. On Pretty Hate Machine, Reznor sounds tough but also strained and vulnerable. There's a huge, frustrated mall-kid aspect to his voice, to the way it goes from defeated mutter to impotent yowl in no time flat. It's like he knows how petty he can sound, but he can't help himself. There's plenty of rancor on Pretty Hate Machine, too, much of it directed at some unspecific "you" that made his frustration all the more relatable: "I gave you my purity, and my purity you stole." On "Terrible Lie", he never bothers to specify what the lie in question is; does it matter? "Why am I seething with this animosity?" he asks, like even he doesn't know and can't justify it.

READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW HERE.

Constants "If Tomorrow The War" Reviewed on Exclaim


[exclaim.ca] Boston-based Constants first grabbed the national spotlight with their vegetable oil-fueled tour bus, and now bandleader Will Benoit has converted his unused barn to a solar-powered recording studio, where tracks for If Tomorrow the War were laid down. The follow-up to last year's triple-LP, The Foundation, The Machine, The Ascension, the new record was produced by none other than Godflesh/Jesu guru Justin Broadrick. The whole album is a heavy step forward for the band, still firmly rooted in the post-hardcore realm, but now with aggressively catchy singles that trade fragility for a little discord. "Your Daughter's Eyes" approaches the Life and Times with more velocity and "The Sun, the Earth" resounds with Baroness-like melody while retaining effective call-and-answer choruses with dual vocals. "In Dreams" and "A Quiet Edifice" encapsulate the more familiar tones that Constants have made their own ― a wall of echoing guitars and soaring, Junius-styled vocals ― and "Maya Ruin" adds electronic beats beneath the noise. While "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" references U2 guitar tones, Benoit inserts his best imitation of Molly McGuire's Jason Blackmore amongst the shimmering, Kylesa-like chords of "Spiders in White." With its fetching Cold War-era cover art, If Tomorrow the War captivates in more ways than one.

Pulled Apart By Horses Offer FREE Six Song Live Video Series

Pulled Apart By Horses are offering six videos recorded during an Exclusive Live Session the band played at London's Lexington. All you need to do is sign up to the PABH email list HERE and get your hands on 6 free videos!!

Existing members of the email list - enter your email address and country at the above link to access the video downloads. Your email address will not be added to the list twice.

In case you're not familiar with the band, check out some of their incredible music videos below, then be sure to go over and download their live session videos. I cannot wait for SXSW to see these guys...





Dredg Set March Release Date + Live Video

[theprp.com] Dredg are aiming for a March 29th release date through Superball Music for their new album. Further details on the effort, which was produced by Dan The Automator, are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, fan-filmed footage of the band performing a new track in Boston, MA last night (November 24th) can be found below:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Kaleidoscopic Bliss of Mini Mansions

Los Angeles' Mini Mansions are a three part dynamo of psychedelic pop. After spending the majority of last year touring the nation with the likes of Them Crooked Vultures, Autolux, Sleepy Sun, Minus The Bear and others, the trio headed into the studio. The band, comprised of Michael Shuman (Queens of the Stone Age), Tyler Parkford, and Zach Dawes signed to Josh Homme's Rekords Rekords label for the release of their self titled debut album, a swirling kaleidoscope of dreamy harmonies and infectious melodies. Mini Mansions have created honest pop music with a grand sense for texture and a constant need to push the musical envelope in new and exciting directions. The guys were kind enough to answer a few questions before heading out on their upcoming headlining tour [check out dates HERE!]...


EIS: Hey fellas, I first off just want to say thanks for taking the time to do this interview, I really appreciate it. Your debut record has been out for two weeks now, how does it feel to have it completed and available?

Zach Dawes: It feels like a good morning, when your alarm goes off and you don't even care about the snooze button because the day is going to be that good.

EIS: How long have the three of you been playing together? How’d you meet?

Tyler Parkford: We've been a band for just about 2 years now. Mike and Zach have been friends since grade school. Zach and I were college chums. I can't really pinpoint the exact process of formation, it was a pretty quick turn-around. We were available and decided to assemble together based on our mutual desire to sculpt some sort of pop that always lurks in the bushes.

EIS: The album feels as though it’s packed with singles but manages to remain cohesive at the same time. Is there an overarching theme to the record?

TP: Well there's something very tall and sneaky arching over the record, but I have yet to catch it. We've never explicitly laid down the theme-line so there's a lot of murky territory going on. I think, if anything, a large part of that cohesiveness comes from the "vignette" micro-songs we put in. They sort of broke-up the record into three rooms and gave the whole thing a sense of place and a more vivid environment to listen to.


EIS: For an album as varied as it is, the flow is exceptional, was that an important aspect for the band to have the record run with a complete structure?

Michael Shuman: Yes. As Tyler touched on, we were trying to make a somewhat cohesive record. A record that you listen to from start to finish. We are record lovers and I personally love listening to a record where you say to yourself, "this is the perfect end to this record," OR "I love the way that record opens up." I think we had those thoughts for this record, as well. It seems pretty important to put thought and effort into the structure. You can have a bunch of great songs, but if you put all the ballads up front and the all the grind-core ones at the end, it probably won't seem like such a great piece of work.

EIS: There is an obvious Beatles influence, with a strikingly similar sense for harmony and melodic song writing mixed with a modern noise rock aesthetic. Did you all grow up huge Beatles fans, or was it something that happened over time? Any other major influences on the record?

TP: We all come from different musical dork-clubs so that's hard to say. We're definitely all deeply attracted to Beatle-esque / Zombie-ish / Kink-y harmonies but I think we've never really wanted that attraction to push us into creating hyper-allusive throw-back material. I definitely sprouted my own 12-year-old ears listening to the Beatles, Love, ELO and Elliot Smith but that's just a thin layer of crispy sprinkles in the big frosty. To me it's really a matter of placing that harmonic influence in a stranger backyard, your own backyard.


EIS: What was the writing sessions like for the record? Did everyone work together to create the songs?

TP: It depends on the song. We all take part in formulating the material into a three-piece context, but the very basic roots of that material is based on melodies and lyrics written by me and Michael. Some of these pieces are much more collaborative part-by-part tag-team high-fivers, while others are based on material we had written separately, sometimes years prior, so it's definitely a mixed bag.

EIS: Michael, has your time playing in QOTSA and spent with Josh Homme rubbed off at all in your music? As the head of your label, has he shared any good advice on making it as a new band?

MS: Josh is like the big brother I never had. So yes, I definitely learn some things from him, as he is more experienced in certain things than I am. I think any musician you play with will rub off on you in some way. I'm just lucky that I have been surrounded by great musicians. Josh has a great work ethic, whether it's being creative or working on the business aspects of a band. I think we get along and work together so well because we share that work ethic, and the same instincts. But overall, on this particular record, a lot of Zach and Tyler rubbed off on me musically.

EIS: Much of the press associated with the band comes from Michael’s involvement in Queens of the Stone Age, has that been helpful or do you find people expecting heavier music from Mini Mansions?

ZD: It has been helpful in getting attention from people in the press ;) - I think after people hear Mini Mansions, they will expect Queens to be heavier, which I feel bad about because its setting a new bar for Queens, but I know they're capable so I am happy to push them and hopefully they will get some attention after our record comes out. After all, the Beatles are on iTunes.


EIS: I’ve been able to catch the band several times on your tours last year, some of which seemed to have gone over better than others. How did the tour with Them Crooked Vultures go over for the band? Do you prefer to tour smaller venues with more psychedelic oriented acts? Which tours audience has been the most responsive?

ZD: The Vultures shows ended up being great. They got better show by show. The first was rough because we weren't announced so I walked on stage and some kid in high school that probably just found out about Physical Graffiti yelled "Hey, you're not John Paul Jones!"... "but that bass is sick bro" - Then some distraught Red Sox fan through a beer before we even played a single note. Red Sox lost that night, no tongue in cheek, so the crowd was rowdy and the next show in Philly, was when the Phillies were in the World Series and there was a game on during our set. We're basically trying to book more shows that won't be affected by baseball.

EIS: You guys just announced a slew of tour dates taking you through most of December. Will you be headlining these shows? Are you bringing any one out with you for the tour?

MS: We are doing this tour on our own. Although we are going to have some great locals on every show. So instead of the same circus that travels to the next town, each city will get a one of a kind bill. We try to hand pick all the bands we play with. It is hard to do that when you don't know each cities great local bands, but we do our best to research what bands would make for a great show.

EIS: The live incarnation of Mini Mansions is fairly lo-fi, are you at all worried about recreating some of the album cuts in that setting? Do you take live performances into account when writing?

MS: No and no sir! I actually think that our live show has more balls and sounds larger than the record. The record has a lot of subtle nuances that are important to the song, like bells, guitars, etc. but they are needed to convey our songs in a live setting. I think that the record and live experiences are supposed to be different. And I think records are supposed to have as much production as necessary. We didn't worry about trying to pull something off live. We just made the record we wanted to, and then figured out the different, live version of the songs.


EIS: Let’s talk lyrics… can we get any insight as to what brought on the lyrics of “Majik Marker”? Have you in fact been the victims of “ticky diabetics” with a knack for prank calls? Has Evil Knevil expressed any endorsement interests?

TP: Evel Knievel's people have yet to confront us about that and we don't mean to make light of diabetic prank callers. Personally, I like to save words for last so that, once written, they shadow whatever indescribable feelings the raw melody conjures up in me. "Majik Marker," without lyrics, sounded like a string of abstract accessories falling perfectly in place with one another, so the lyrics became this shopping list of half-awake predicaments and strange protocols that exist indoors. Even the gym!

EIS: Has the radio begun to embrace the band? Do you think radio play still matters these days?

MS: Radio matters. It just doesn't matter as much. If 100 more people hear your music because of it, I think that is a success. Shit, I'd be happy with 10 more listeners! That being said, I think mainstream radio is pretty disgusting right now. Everything I hear sounds like a big smoothie: a blend of every kind of fruit you found in the dumpster. College radio at least plays relevant music that has some sort of individuality. Honestly, I don't really know if college radio is embracing us. I sure hope so though. I used to work at KXLU Los Angeles (the best college radio station!), so I know how much it can help and how good it feels for a true music fan to be excited about a new band. I want that for our record. But mainstream radio is a definite no-go for us Mini Mansions.

EIS: In your opinion… best environment to enjoy the debut album?


ZD: A kegger at the moontowers. In bed while reading some R.L Stine. Driving the road to Hana. But if you want to know the secret, we did to Blue Planet what Roger Waters did to The Wizard of Oz, and the first person to figure out what disc we picked will get free tickets and merchandise to the rest of our shows. Forever. But, in regards to your question, hopefully with headphones, no computer and all the way through. And if there is a computer involved, turn on a trippy screen saver.

EIS: What can we expect from Mini Mansions in 2011?

ZD: We will hopefully come out with Mini Mansions survival kits for 2012, which is naturally the next Y2K. 12 years apart, like Chinese Astrology. So we will start recording the next record to shake those sophomore slums in a theatre near you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Marnie Stern Album Review on Letters From A Tapehead


[letters-from-a-tapehead.blogspot.com] Marnie Stern is as uplifting as she is complex, and has had two albums to push her sound and define her musical identity.

Remarkably, when most bands are as easy to trace as a set of footprints, Stern resides in her own genre, sharing her wild idiosyncratic finger-smithing and mathematical dialogue with percussive maestro, Zach Hill. His own elaborate skill set tends to Stern’s quirks with kindred understanding and finesse as he’s consistently in tune with whatever she’s doing. Cynics may dub her pretentious, but this music pours out of her so organically it’s too easy to chalk her up as just an ostentatious cult idol - especially with her new album, the highly personal ‘Marnie Stern’.

Up until this point, Stern has been a spastic rock pep rally wrapped up in innovation. ‘Marnie Stern’ is no less dazzling from a technical perspective, but she bares so much of her soul on this record that her reflection and woe outshine her musical abilities. She admits during Transparency is the New Mystery, “I’m not enough,” and it’s kind of a bummer.

For Ash was written for a deceased ex-boyfriend. Vocally, Stern’s upward register manages to sound heavenly, or joyful, even when unintentional. For Ash sets the album’s tone, but you feel as though the difficulties that influenced ‘Marnie Stern’ are something she is actually working through. Even ultimatums like “If you won’t let me in / I’ll have to give you up” (Risky Biz) stem from a dissatisfaction, but also determination to move on. So, the album is pensive but remains positive, and, although most of it is driven by catharsis, the punk/funk stride of Nothing Left or the moments of sonic haze in Her Confidence convey her enthusiasm to make complex and heavy rock music.

Female Guitar Players Are The New Black (love that title) is a discordant mix of time signature changes and wild fretwork, and Gimme’s springy chords transition into carpal speed soloing as Hill makes his sticks fly. Stern’s music is more cohesive than ‘In Advance of the Broken Arm’, but the alienating sections of guitar-fueled free-form rock remain her most prominent device; even if she does hold back somewhat on Cinco De Mayo - a close as she gets to a straightforward rock song. Hill’s percussion complicates the music, but the mechanized tone of Building A Body offers him an opportunity to minimize his approach.

Marnie Stern’ ends with The Things You Notice: sonic balladry finding lush melody somewhere in its echoing dissonance. Hosts of musicians actively seek out a sentimental cliché to pull some heartstrings, but Stern refuses to resort to a Hallmark methodology. The album wears her name; it wouldn’t pay for her to be false.

Disco Doom Post Update: "Trux Reverb," SXSW, Tour Dates + More


A message from our favorite band from Switzerland, Disco Doom...

"TRUX REVERB out 26th of Nov in CH! You had the teaser, now you can get the record: this Friday 26th is the Swiss release on DEFER RECORDS, distribution from IRASCIBLE.

The album will also be available in early 2011 on Rakete Musik (D/AUT) and The Static Cult Label (USA). Buy a CD (now) or VINYL (mid December, with code) from us order@discodoom.net or as digital DOWNLOAD on the DD Bandcamp site or on CDBaby or iTunes.

*SXSW: Disco Doom will play the South by Southwest Festival, Austin/Texas, in March 2011! Hell Yeeaahhh!

*CONCERTS:

J&L Defer - play this Friday 26th of November at the Restaurant Josef in Zurich (Josefstr.)

Disco Doom will present the new record live, playing gigs from December on in Switzerland and France. Gregoire Quartier (Cortez, Black Cargo, Deconstructing Drumboys) will play the drums for us.

02. 12. Rössli Bern
10. 12. Living Room LUGANO
17. 12. Chrämerhuus LANGENTHAL w/Dans La Tente
18. 12. Grabenhalle ST. GALLEN supporting Giant Sand
23. 12. Salzhaus WINTERTHUR w/Aie Ca Gigle

end January/beginning February FRANCE Tour:

12.2.11 Werkstatt CHUR
19.2.11 Queen Kong Club NEUCHATEL w/Aerolithe

More to come

*MERCHANDISE:

We'll bring new merchandise to the shows: the records, some shirts and lovely postcard sets.

[editor's note] In the meantime, please enjoy one of my favorite Disco Doom records...