Monday, May 30, 2011

Obits' Scott Gursky Leaves Band

[] Drummer Scott Gursky has parted ways with Obits. The band issued this statement on their Facebook page:

"Ladies & gents, we are very sad to announce that our youngest & handsomest member has decided to move on from this tawdry Obits cacophony. It's been a fun run & we look forward to seeing Scott on the other side of the drum kit, merch booth & at various camping sites along the eastern seaboard."

No permanent replacement has been announced, but the band has tapped Girls Against Boys drummer Alexis Fleisig to fill in on their upcoming tour dates. Obits released Moody, Standard and Poor earlier this year via Sub Pop.

Fucked Up Streaming "David Comes to Life" on NPR

[] It was only too fitting that the members of Fucked Up had just finished eating fish and chips in Northumbria when I called them. They were on tour in storied English territory, perhaps just miles away from the fictional Byrdesdale, the small factory-town setting in David Comes to Life, the sonically hard-to-pin-down hardcore band's rock opera, due out June 7.

"It's a little picturesque," vocalist Damian Abraham (a.k.a. Pink Eyes) says of Northumbria in a phone interview. "I pictured a little more decay in this part of the country."

For a four-act musical with meta-narrative plot twists like something out of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town, the album starts as a defiantly bright light in a bleak world. Even by drummer Jonah Falco's (a.k.a. Guinea Beat) basic summation, David Comes to Life "is a love story": Boy (David Eliade) has boring life, boy meets girl (Veronica Boisson), boy and girl plan act of grand protest. After a multiple-guitar introduction, "Queen of Hearts" serves as the ecstatic, bright-eyed anthem of the doomed lovers. By the effusively hopeful chorus, sung alternately by Abraham and Cults' Madeline Follin, you're already cheering for David and Veronica, much the way you'd cheer for Broadway lovers.

"The first act is reflective of the way that our band tends to have an idealized, rose-colored idea of that time in England," Abraham says. "There were a huge amount of problems, but even those problems seem fascinating. It was the first rise of the working class and the real last stand, unfortunately, [before] the conservatism of the next decade."

So, yes, David Comes to Life is not only a love story, but also a commentary on 1980s English politics and Reaganomics. But before you start Googling Margaret Thatcher, know that the history only sets the scene. This is an album about questioning, and that's when the plot spirals. Just before Act II, the bomb of grand protest goes off early and kills Veronica.

"This is clear that this is not going to be the happy tale of a young man finding love in a loveless world," Abraham says. "What we wanted to do here is to take the more 'pop,' sunny, driven, twee-influenced songs in the first act and take it to the more heavier Fucked Up songs."

That's what's bewildering about this band: By "heavier Fucked Up songs," Damian Abraham doesn't mean straight-ahead hardcore ragers; he's referring to the windmill-guitar heroics of The Who, whose members have recorded a couple of rock operas themselves.

Act II opens with "Running on Nothing," the anthem Tommy's namesake never barked — the first line even winks to the pinball wizard: "How could we have been so blind?" It begins a meta-narrative stretched over the next two acts that introduces David's former lover, Vivian Benson (mostly sung by Toronto singer-songwriter Jennifer Castles), and an interloping narrator fighting for the protagonist role, Octavio St. Laurent, who literally has a bit of a God complex.

"The ultimate idea for that stage direction would be a reveal [of] a narrator who's been shown offstage, much like in Our Town," Abraham says. "The narrator can move simultaneously between the narrator role and interacting with the narrators onstage."

Unreliable narrators pop up often in literature, but rarely do they interact with the characters. But what Fucked Up does here with Octavio mirrors the themes of the band's excellent, genre-defying 2008 album, The Chemistry of Common Life: struggling with the question of God.

"I'm still wrestling with the same problems," Abraham says. "I hope that someone can look over the entire catalog of the band, and what would begin to emerge, hopefully, would be this image of a band that's constantly questioning. We're not trying to provide answers for anyone, because we're just as flawed as anyone else. I think that's what we're trying to portray in David, too. He's not a smart person. David's a dumb person like everyone in this world is dumb. Everyone here is capable of making incredibly stupid decisions. It is questioning the God above, questioning the God below, but also questioning the world that needs the God in order to function."

And, without spoiling it, that's the somewhat frustrating thing about the last act of David Comes to Life: Everyone seems to come out clean. Abraham told me that "there's never 100 percent truth given," and while he points to Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon as an example of a story without one truth, nobody escapes the hand of fate in that morally challenging 1950 film. There is either justice for one, or for none at all.

But as musically and morally sprawling as David Comes to Life is — as much as its libretto is a chore and a delight to plow through, as much as it takes from the '70s punked-up glam of The Undertones and the gritty underground of hardcore, as much as it doesn't want to offer any answers — David Comes to Life shines that defiantly bright light in a bleak world. And Fucked Up's members are holding it high above their heads, unsure but damn willing to try their hand at love. Damn the costs. And that's why Veronica had to die.


Soundgarden Add More Dates to Tour

[] Soundgarden have added a Calgary, AB stop to their forthcoming North American tour, making the schedule shape up as follows:

07/02 Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre*
07/03 London, ON – John Labatt Centre*
07/05 Ottawa, ON – LeBreton Flats Park (“Ottawa Blues Fest“)*
07/06 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena*
07/08 Newark, NJ – Prudential Center*
07/09 Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater*
07/10 Mansfield, MA – Comcast Center For The Performing Arts*
07/12 Fairfax, VA – Patriot Center at George Mason University ^
07/13 Philadelphia, PA – Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing ^
07/14 Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata Spa & Resort – Event Center ^
07/16 Chicago, IL – UIC Pavilion ^
07/18 Denver, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre ^
07/20 Stateline, NV – Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena ^
07/21 San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Center ^
07/22 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum ^
07/23 Las Vegas, NV – The Joint ^
07/27 Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome #
07/29 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena #%
07/30 George, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre #%<

* w/ Coheed and Cambria
^ w/ The Mars Volta
# w/ Meat Puppets
% w/ Queens of the Stone Age
< w/ Mastodon

Quick Notes: Melvins + Clutch

*[] The Melvins‘ impending live album “Sugar Daddy Live” can now be streamed online in its entirety via The effort will see a release tomorrow, May 31st, through Ipecac and captures a performance the band played at The Busta-Guts Club in Downey, CA.

*[] Fan-filmed footage of Clutch‘s May 28th ‘acoustic’ performance at Earshot Music & Movies in Greenville, SC has hit the net with highlights available below. Watch more videos from the session HERE.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Quick Notes: Pink Floyd, Weezer, Arctic Monkeys + More

*[] Roger Waters has hinted that he will never reunite with Pink Floyd again after stating he has "no wish" to work with the band again. The singer raised hopes of a full reformation earlier this month (May 12) when he was joined onstage by former bandmates Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason at a London O2 Arena gig.

The concert, which was part of Waters' 'The Wall Live' tour, was the first time that Waters and Gilmour had appeared onstage together in London since the Live 8 gig six years ago. They also played a four-song set for the Hoping Foundation at a fundraising event in Kiddington Hall, Oxford last year.

*[] So here’s a video of Weezer covering Radiohead‘s “Paranoid Android”. Josh Freese on drums.

*[] Like many of us, David Letterman had to laugh a little when announcing the Arctic Monkeys‘ performance on The Late Show with David Letterman. And who can among us can blame him? What being, even a comedic genius like Letterman, can actually resist letting out even the slightest of giggles with an album title like Suck It and See? But once again proving why they’re such an impressive live act, the band rocked Ed Sullivan Theater on Thursday night (May 26th) with a rendition of “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”. Utilizing the power of leather jackets, the performance was exactly the kind of straight-up rock goodness the lads should and can deliver any night on stage. It was so good, in fact, we almost forgot about the album title. Suck It and See hits stores June 7th via Domino Records. Thanks to The Audio Perv for video support.

*[] The Appleseed Cast has unveiled a new track entitled "End Frigate Constellation" that will appear on their upcoming EP Middle States, due out June 7, 2011. Check it out via Alternative Press.

*Eksi Ekso have announced dates for a mini East Coast tour, beginning this coming Monday, May 30th at Kung Fu Neck Tie in Philadelphia, PA. Check out the complete schedule below...

Mon May 30 Kung Fu Neck Tie Philadelphia, PA
Tues May 31 Bruar Falls, Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY
Thurs June 2 Middle East (upstairs) Cambridge, MA
Sat June 4 The Elevens Northampton, MA

*[] Another installment of Decibel‘s look back at Isis‘ career in the now former band members own words can be found over at

Dredg Announce Tour Dates

[] In addition to firming up their impending overseas run, dredg have announced a new west coast trek with Fair To Midland and Trophy Fire. Dates for both treks can be found below:

06/03 Dortmund, GER – FZW
06/04 Nuremberg, GER – Rock im Park
06/05 Nurburg, GER – Rock am Ring
06/07 Hamburg, GER – Ubel & Gefahrlich
06/08 Bielefeld, GER – Ringlokschuppen
06/09 Interlaken, SWI – Greenfield Festival
06/10 Zagreb, CRO – Mars Fest
06/11 Vienna, AUT – Novarock
06/13 Paris, FRA – TBA
06/14 Amsterdam, NET – Melkweg
06/15 Berlin, GER – Wuhlheide
06/16 Helsinki, FIN – Kaisaniemen Puisto
06/17 Legnano, ITA – Land Of Live
06/18 Leipzig, GER – Festwiese (“Projekt Revolution“)
06/19 Oberursel, GER – Hessentag (“Projekt Revolution“)
06/21 Ravenna, ITA – Rock Planet
06/23 Madrid, SPA – Sala La Riviera Madrid
06/25 Munich, GER – Messe Riem (“Projekt Revolution“)

With Fair To Midland and Trophy Fire:

07/22 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
07/23 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
07/24 Boise, ID – The Venue
07/26 Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep
07/27 Albuquerque, NM – Launch Pad
07/29 Mesa, AZ – Nile Theatre
07/30 Las Vegas, NV – The Lounge at Palms Hotel
07/31 San Diego, CA – Soma Sidestage
08/02 Pomona, CA – Glass House
08/03 San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brewing Company
08/04 San Jose, CA – Plaza de Cesar Chavez
08/05 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
08/06 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall

Big Business Add New Member, Ready 7" + Tour Dates

[] Big Business have added guitarist Scott Martin of 400 Blows/Crom fame to their lineup, bolstering their lineup to a quartet. In addition to that, the group will be releasing a four song 12″ entitled “Quadruple Single” through their own Gold Metal Records label on July 26th.

A new track from it by the name of “Always Never Know When To Quit” can be streamed via Stereogum.

The track listing for “Quadruple Single” will run as follows:

01 – “Always Never Know When To Quit”
02 – “Ice-Cold War”
03 – “City Ham”
04 – “Guns”

As previously reported, the band will mount the following tour with Torche and more in support of the outing:

With Torche, Helms Alee:

07/07 Houston, TX – Walter’s On Washington
07/08 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
07/09 Birmingham, AL – Bottle Tree
07/11 Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
07/12 Miami, FL – Churchill’s
07/13 Orlando, FL – The Social
07/14 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
07/15 Greensboro, NC – Greene Street Club
07/16 Washington DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
07/17 Baltimore, MD – The Ottobar
07/19 Philadelphia PA – First Unitarian Church
07/20 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
07/21 Boston, MA – Middle East Downstairs
07/22 Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place
07/23 Cleveland, OH – The Grog Shop
07/24 Newport, KY – The Southgate House
07/25 Grand Rapids, MI – The Pyramid Scheme
07/26 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
07/27 Indianapolis, IN – The Hoosier Dome
07/28 Chicago, IL – The Bottom Lounge
07/29 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
07/30 Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room-Street Stag
07/31 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
08/02 Salt Lake City, UT – Club Vegas
08/03 Boise, ID – Neurolux
08/04 Seattle, WA – Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room

With Torche & Thrones:

08/05 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
08/06 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
08/07 Los Angeles, CA – The Troubadour
08/08 San Diego, CA – Casbah
08/09 Scottsdale, AZ – Martini Ranch
08/10 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
08/12 Dallas, TX – Club Dada
08/13 San Antonio, TX – Korova
08/14 Austin, TX – Red 7
08/16 Tucson, AZ – Club Congress

Trent Reznor + Karen O Cover Led Zeppelin for Trailer

[] A bootleg of the new trailer for the upcoming David Fincher-helmed remake of the film (and book series) “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” has leaked online below. The film notably once again finds Fincher enlisting Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and frequent collaborator Atticus Ross to helm the score.

In turn, the aforementioned trailer features Reznor (and presumably Ross‘) new interpretation of Led Zeppelin‘s “Immigrant Song“, complete with Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O handling the vocal duties.

Pulled Apart By Horses Live from EIS SXSW Showcase

Check out some footage of the always incredible Pulled Apart By Horses live from our Exploding In Sound + Friends of Sound showcase during this year's SXSW. The videos come courtesy of Jim Stroud, our vote for father of the year, as he has somehow managed to raise his young daughter to be one of PABH's biggest fans...

LaFaro Ready Sophomore Album "Easy Meat"

[press release] Polar opposite to the delicate poise of the influential jazz bassist Scott LaFaro from which this Belfast quartet takes their name, LaFaro are a wrecking ball of a band. Their rhythmic post-hardcore is designed to pulverize dance floors and leave no bottle of beer undrunk – this is music distilled to its fundamental elements – ‘We hark back to time when rock music was still fun’ states lead rabble-rouser Johnny Black ominously.

Recalling The Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Helmet (with whom the band have toured Europe) and NI heroes Therapy?+ LaFaro have character, chops and emotion oozing through every seedy riff ‘I love to write about life’s dark little secrets – the things we all know happen but never get discussed’.

On ‘Easy Meat’ their sophomore offering, LaFaro have transplanted their sound into a black, hellish and apocalyptic space. Gone is the echo of grunge, it has been replaced with metal’s electric chair. Part meditation on Northern Ireland, part metal concept album ‘Easy Meat’ is a dense, troubling and exhilaratingly kick ass affair – these are riffs to shoplift to.

The LP will be out at the back end of the summer, preceded in August by a limited edition 7” vinyl release of the title track and select, UK/Ireland tour dates with pop-punk princes Ash:

06/06/11 – Whelan’s – Dublin, Ireland ***SOLD OUT***
07/06/11 – Playhouse – Portrush, Northern Ireland
08/06/11 – Empire – Belfast, Northern Ireland
23/07/11 - Glasgowbury

"Easy Meat" is set for release on 12th September through Smalltown America Records. A single will also be released on Monday 29th August called "Meat Wagon" on 7" & download. Stream the album's first single "Easy Meat b/w Wee Buns" on the band's Facebook page HERE!


“Sounds like a compilation of all the best bits from your old favourite bands squeezed into glistening, lubed up fist of metallic punk muscle” – Kerrang!

“Shot through with the intelligent humour of their countrymen… rock ‘n’ roll rarely sounds this sexy, fun and heartfelt” – Big Cheese

“…a short sharp shock of heavy, abrasive grunge rock carved from big dumb riffs, savage caveman drumming and the rantings of an evil old pervert” – Irish News

“Blistering riffs that bounce about the skull like the best of the post-grunge punk fraternity.” Mike Diver – BBC

“Rocks with a ferocious, frenetic spirit few bands could rival” – Rocksound

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jane's Addiction Debut "End to the Lies" Video

[press release] Jane's Addiction have partnered with ArtistDirect to debut the music video for their track "End To The Lies", which comes from the band's upcoming album 'The Great Escape Artist'. To direct the video, the band enlisted the help of ShadowMachine Films (Adult Swim's Robot Chicken) to create a visually stunning piece of art. The video can be viewed HERE (or below).

"I'm really happy to work on this video for "End To The Lies" with Alex. He clearly gets what Jane's Addiction is about and the roots of where we came from. We came up in a very artistic community," said guitarist Dave Navarro. "This video encompasses that through merging LA streets and street artists with sexuality and the beauty of music. There is no better way to define what this band has always been about."

Jane's Addiction will release their new album 'The Great Escape Artist' in August through Capitol Records.

The Twilight Singers Announce European Summer Tour

[press release] The Twilight Singers will return to Europe this summer to perform at several major festivals including: Glastonbury, Pukkelpop, Oxegen, T In The Park, Open’er Festival and others. The band will also headline a select number of shows during this run, which will take place in: Nijmegen, Utrecht, Hamburg, Basel and Madrid. For the most up to date information on ticket sales for all upcoming shows visit the link above.

A few other performances will be added to the summer run and announced in the coming weeks.

The Twilight Singers upcoming tour is in support of the band’s critically acclaimed new album Dynamite Steps (Sub Pop). Clearly the next chapter in an already long and stellar career for lead singer Greg Dulli, Dynamite Steps has been one of the best-reviewed albums of his lengthy career on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The most sonically expansive album of the band’s career…” - Uncut

Dynamite Steps, his strongest, most widescreen set since the Whigs' mid-'90s heyday…” - Spin Magazine

“On The Corner and Never Seen No Devil make this his most brilliant set since 1993 classic Gentlemen.” – Shortlist

“Unleashing a persona that's part barroom romantic, part serial killer, Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers project has now eclipsed his Nineties soul-grunge outfit Afghan Whigs.” - Rolling Stone

The Twilight Singers are in the home stretch of their final US tour in support of Dynamite Steps, which will conclude in New Orleans next week on June 3rd at the legendary Tipitina’s.

Since the late 1980’s Greg Dulli has been a musical force to be reckoned with. Rising to fame as the magnetic leader of the Afghan Whigs during the 80’s & 90’s. When the Whigs split up at the end of the decade, Dulli followed his muse and began to innovatively fuse indie, soul and electronic sounds in his post-Whigs collective The Twilight Singers, who released their first album, Twilight As Played By The Twilight Singers, in 2000. Their beloved second album Blackberry Belle followed in 2003, followed by a covers album She Loves You in 2004. 2006’s Powder Burns made many critics “Best Of” year end lists. In 2008 Sub Pop veterans Dulli and Mark Lanegan returned to the label as The Gutter Twins for their debut album Saturnalia.


6/25/11 Pilton, UK - Glastonbury
6/26/11 Nijmegen, NL - Doornroosje
6/28/11 Utrecht, NL- Tivoli
6/29/11 Hamburg, DE - Knust
6/30/11 Gdynia, PL - Heineken Open’er Festival
7/02/11 Bonn, DE – Rheinkultur
7/03/11 Basel, CH - Sommercasino
7/05/11 Madrid, ES - Caracol
7/06/11 Oeiras, PT - Optimus Alive Festival
7/07/11 Bilbao, ES - BBK Live
7/09/11 Kinross, UK - T in the Park
7/10/11 Kildare, IE – Oxegen
8/19/11 Hasslet, BE – Pukkelpop

Sleeper Agent Ready "Celabrasion", Tour Dates, + More

[press release] Sleeper Agent will hit the road with fellow Bowling Green, Kentucky natives Cage the Elephant and Atlanta's Manchester Orchestra beginning today, May 27th, in Houston, TX at the Verizon Wireless Theater. The band will be giving audiences a taste of what's to come when they release their riotous debut album, Celabrasion, on mom + pop music this August.

Describing their music as akin to "The Ronettes on speed," Sleeper Agent make hook-laden scuzzy garage-pop rooted in both soul and Southern rock - all fueled by drummer Justin "Keyser" Wilson's manic rhythms and the dueling harmonizing vocals of vocalist Alex "Kidd" Kandel and guitarist Tony "Tutone" Smith, who is also the band's songwriting force of nature. Not only do they cite such musical artists as Jay Reatard, The Strokes, Pixies, T-Rex, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin as influences, they are also influenced by horror and sci-fi flicks, as well as stand-up comedians. "We just want people to listen to the music and have fun," says Smith. "It's pretty obvious that's what we want when you listen to the album."

The album's first single "Get It Daddy" has been receiving wide acclaim in recent weeks. My Old Kentucky Blog said "this raggedy rouser chugs out of the garage firing on all cylinders, crazy legs and rubberneckin like so much foam over the rim, up in your grill with a level of unmitigated joy rarely heard since Jack and Meg got so serious... Keep your good eye on these kids, and good luck getting this one removed from the old cranium." Esquire said "these co-ed garage-rock saviors-in-waiting offer two minutes that sound like the most original - and forceful - introduction to a new band we're likely to hear all year."

Produced by Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, The Whigs) and recorded last July at Nashville's Tragedy/Tragedy Studios, Celabrasion reflects the easy camaraderie in this band. "We've all been involved in the Bowling Green music scene for years," Smith says. "As our other bands wound down, Justin and I decided to form another band in which we'd both sing. After a mutiny occurred with that line-up, we asked Alex to join as the new vocalist, allowing Justin to get back to playing drums. After several different musicians sat in for certain shows, we recruited Lee Scott and Josh Martin to fill out the rest of the missing parts."

Sleeper Agent is Tony "Tutone" Smith (guitar/vocals), Alex "Kidd" Kandel (vocals), Justin "Keyser" Wilson (drums), Lee "Grizzlee" Williams (bass) Scott "Saga" Gardner (keyboard) and Josh "Junior" Martin (guitars).

Maybe it's your turn to "Get It Daddy"... here's why:

"The just-signed Sleeper Agent are about to be something massive. The Kentucky-based quintet's playful, Southern fried, boy-vs.-girl power pop is instantly loveable..." - SPIN.Com

"These co-ed garage-rock saviors-in-waiting offer two minutes that sound like the most original - and forceful - introduction to a new band we're likely to hear all year." - Esquire

"Rambunctious drums, fuzzed-out guitar, yelped vocals, and a dollop of "Ooh-oooh"s and we've got a firecracker of a jam. I have a strong feeling that catching these guys live may be the best way to full soak in the sweat of their southern fried soul-punk. Mmm, mmm, good." - The Burning Ear

The band's upcoming tour dates are as follows:


5/27/11 - Houston, TX - Verizon Wireless Theater *
5/28/11 - Austin, TX - Stubb's Bar-B-Q *
5/29/11 - Dallas, TX - The Palladium Ballroom *
5/31/11 - Tempe, AZ - The Marquee Theater *


6/1/11 - San Diego, CA - Soma *
6/2/11- Los Angeles, CA - The music Box #
6/3/11 - Santa Barbara, CA - KJEE at Santa Barbara Bowl *
6/4/11 - Bakersfield, CA - Rockin' Roots Krab Fest
6/5/11- San Francisco, CA - Hotel Utah
6/7/11 - Eugene, OR - McDonald Theater *
6/8/11 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom *
6/9/11 - Seattle, WA - Showbox Sodo *
6/15/11 - Boston, MA - Club 939 ^
6/16/11 - Vienna, VA - Jammin' Java ^
6/17/11- Whitesburg, KY - Summit City ^
6/18/11- Atlanta, GA - Smith's Olde Bar ^
6/20/11- Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsey ^
6/22/11 - St. Louis, MO - Firebird ^
6/23/11 - Cincinnati - 20th Century Theatre ^
6/24/11 - Lexington, KY - Busters ^
6/25/11 - Louisville, KY - Headliners ^
6/27/11 - Chicago, IL - Schubas


7/2/11 - Milwaukee Summer Fest

*With Cage The Elephant and Manchester Orchestra
# With Manchester Orchestra
^ With Company of Thieves

Sleeper Agent by Sleeper Agent

Friday, May 27, 2011

Funeral Party Entering The "Golden Age"

Review by Mark Somers [email] 5/14/11

Coming out of East Los Angeles, Funeral Party’s full length debut The Golden Age of Knowhere is engaging and deceptively complex. Combining the “poetry with a dance beat” style of fellow Los Angeles natives The Airborne Toxic Event with the energy and emotional vulnerability of At The Drive-In and The Academy Is…, there is incredible tension in every song. Singer Chad Elliott sounds like he is bordering on screaming through most of the album as if he is constantly reliving the final arguments of a bad breakup. No matter how bright the guitars and danceable the beats, there is a sense there is something underneath ready to burst to the forefront. This album is volatile in all the best ways.

Dripping with cynicism, “New York Moves To The Sound Of L.A.” puts modern hipster culture fully on blast while giving it a new anthem. Much like Failure’s “Stuck On You”, this is a lyrical indictment of pop music buried inside a subtle parody of a pop song. “Car Wars” is the kind of dance song that even the most harden rocker can love, thanks in part to a guest guitar solo from Omar Rodríguez-López. Starting with guttural screams and ending near a whisper, Elliott displays both maturity and vulnerability in a tremendous vocal performance for “Finale”. Inhabiting a slightly softer space, “Where Did It Go Wrong” is reminiscent of early tracks by The Strokes. “Just Because” is an honest and apathetic take on the culture of self discovery.

“Postcards Of Persuasion” is a surprisingly open and mature ode to love lost with some more of Elliott’s brilliant vocal work. Returning to energetic party sounds from the front end of the album, “Giant” combines funky bass with screaming guitars and layered vocals to make a richly complex track. The infectious and lively “City In Silhouettes” hides a strong undercurrent of melancholy and longing throughout. “Youth & Poverty” is an explosive bit of storytelling with an incredible buildup. “Relics To Ruins” a powerful ballad for a city where escape is near impossible. Building to its triumphant conclusion, title track “The Golden Age Of Knowhere” closes out the album on a high note. The melancholy of the previous tracks is replaced with hopeful battle cry.

For a band that did everything they could get dropped by their former label, Fearless Records, over being pushed into “pop punk”, it is surprising to think that Funeral Party may have released the album that could be the blueprint for the next generation of pop punk bands.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quick Notes: Radiohead, Deftones, Portugal. The Man + More

*[] Radiohead’s Phil Selway has said that the band knew from the outset that their new album 'The King Of Limbs' "wasn’t going to be an immediate record."

Speaking to Drowned In Sound before he performed a solo gig at Liverpool Sound City festival, the drummer also said the album was "a reaction" to the band’s 2007 effort 'In Rainbows'. "With 'The King of Limbs', we all knew that it wasn’t going to be an immediate record but a lot of great records have been 38 minutes long," he said. "It's that old chestnut of a grower." He added: "Every record that we’ve done has been a reaction to the last one and 'The King of Limbs' carried on that tradition for us."

Radiohead's 'newspaper album' version of 'The King Of Limbs' came out earlier this month. Selway, meanwhile, is confirmed to perform a solo gig at this summer’s Truck Festival in Oxfordshire.

*[] The ‘Mustard Pimp remix’ of the Deftones‘ track “You’ve Seen The Butcher” has been posted for streaming and download over at A remixed version of the video for the track can also be seen at the aforementioned link as well.

*Portugal. The Man are offering FREE downloads of their entire national tour via their website HERE. Just ten days after every show, that set will be posted and available to anyone for FREE, making it possible to get a new live album nearly daily from one of the better live bands around. Check it out now, and don't forget the band's latest album In The Mountain In The Cloud will be out July 19th.

*[] Is anyone better suited to cover Johnny Cash than ex-Screaming Trees growler Mark Lanegan? He's dark. He's brooding. And the Seattle grunge vet lends a gently sinister quality to his cover of "The Beast in Me" for The Hangover II soundtrack. After all, he's a former heroin addict who has seen a few rough mornings himself.

Lanegan plays Cash's somber acoustic ballad on an electric guitar, its notes ringing in waves of tremolo. "The beast in me / Has had to learn to live with pain / And how to shelter from the rain," Lanegan sings. "And in the twinkling of an eye / Might have to be restrained / God help the beast in me." STREAM HERE.

The Hangover II soundtrack, which also features songs by Kanye West, Wolfmother, Deadmau5, and Jenny Lewis, is available now.

*[] As the Sub Pop blog notes, slowcore pioneers Low recently recorded a short acoustic set for NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts" series. Harmonizing over an acoustic guitar and nothing else, married co-leaders Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker sing songs from the new Low album C'Mon. The video is here.

*[] “The porch lamp’s burning,” murmurs Curt Kirkwood, “but no-one’s home.” Rock hacks love hanging reviews on lines like this because the job’s done for them. Fortunately the Pups [Meat Puppets]’ thirteenth album has more than enough nifty moments. The pop-psych of ‘Incomplete’ could be SFA if they’d been raised in the Arizona deserts rather than Cardiff, and there’s damn fine country classicism to be found in ‘Lantern’ and ‘Town’. The fires of cowpunk masterpieces like 1984’s ‘Meat Puppets II’ still clearly burn underneath their Deadhead Americana - whether those flames will attract the attention of unsuspecting passers-by is another, possibly irrelevant matter.

*[] According to band vocalist/guitarist Brent Hinds Mastodon are nearing the completion of the recording process for their next album with only a few things left to be tracked. Speaking to Spin on the sessions, Hinds described the album with the following:

Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye — those albums took too long to make. This only took us a couple weeks to record and there’s a totally different feeling to it. It’s a jump-on-your-bed, get naked, and go streaking kind of record. I haven’t had this feeling about a Mastodon record since [2004's] Leviathan. It’s just fucking awesome.”

“We’ve got a song about fighting, there’s a song about lifting heavy stuff, there’s a song about people on meth creeping around in trees trying to get the best wood grain out of a tree to sell it at Lowe’s for [drug] money… The album is kind of silly. We’re taking the piss out of things.”

More on that, along with some more tentative track titles from the effort can be found over at Spin. In addition, the band have made a number of new photos from the sessions for the effort available through their official website.

*[] Decibel have begun a series of articles featuring now former members of Isis looking back at their career together. You can check out the first installment at with further articles planned throughout the week

As previously reported, the group plan to release their series of live outings digitally over the coming months with more details available here.

*[] If you're looking to set up your unwitting friends into a good comedy routine, just say to them, "You wanna see Me You Us Them?" Eventually, you'd all wanna say "yes," because this Brooklyn trio (already legendary for appearing in a Guitar Hero commercial & having literally "lost" a bassist somehow) mold together not just Sonic Youth drone-grooves and guitar screams but also shoegaze melodicism and palatable bits of screamo without making it sound like a mess. In fact, they sound like they know exactly what they're doing. With Grandfather and Milk and Blood this Sunday, May 29th at Piano's in New York City.

*The New Regime has released Part 2 of The Making of Speak Through The White Noise. See Ilan Rubin talk about the recording process and a look into the tracking of the album. The New Regime will be on tour this summer with Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, and Colour Revolt.

Rival Schools Interviewed in Filter Magazine

[] Ten years ago, the post-hardcore scene was made just a little better with the release of Rival Schools' United By Fate. How could it not? Assembled with members of bands like Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, CIV, Youth of Today and more, the band carved their own place in the scene with a unique sound.

Years of temporary hiatuses, new musical ventures and family creations later, The guys decided to give it another go with a new album titled Pedals, and a full-scale tour.

We got a chance to speak with vocalist Walter Schreifels and drummer Sam Siegler about the reunion, current tour and their thoughts on the current music scene. Be sure to pick up Pedals, out now.

You guys are currently on tour, what's different about touring now rather than 2001/2002?

Walter Schriefels: The tours are shorter as we all have kids and are reluctant to be away for as long. For that we have a lot more fun and we get along much better. I like to think that we have matured as people. We're more selective about what we do. Back then we felt more pressure to tour all the time because that was what you're supposed to do; it wasn't always the right decision.

Sammy Siegler: Things back then seemed more serious, more money was being spent and tours seemed longer. These days we really try and have fun, or course the internet has been invented and that makes things a touch easier, not to mention cellular technology.

For those who may be attending one of your remaining shows (like myself), what can they expect? For a lot of us, it's our first time seeing you.

WS: As it's a headlining show I feel we're pretty informal. We were just for Trail Of Dead in Europe and were limited to a 45 minute set, I was happy to be on tour with them but I felt the possibilities of our set were a limited because in order to fit in all the hits we had to stay concise. I enjoy the freedom to fuck around more, I think that allows for more unique shows.

SS: We've been playing for longer recently; it's nice to headlining and be able to delve into it a bit. Recently we covered Wanted Dead Or Alive, as well there have been spontaneous ska versions of our tunes.

What's the plan after this tour wraps?

WS: We're playing Lollapalooza and playing festivals in Europe this summer. I imagine we'll do some more touring in the states in the fall. I'm hoping we get to Japan and Australia as well.

SS: After the west coast? We're doing Lollapalooza this summer and a few weeks of European Festivals in late August, I think there is a North East US run in October. We're trying to release this "leaked album" we did a few years back, as well record some new material.

A few of your former bands (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today) have announced reunion shows this year. Will any of you be partaking in any reunions this year?

WS: I will be part of the GB shows. I love playing with GB every once in a while as it keeps me connected to the HC scene and my friends in the band. YOT asked me to play in Europe which was nice but I passed, GB is enough for me HC reunion wise these days.

SS: Sure, I did a small YOT jaunt, although I'm not doing the ones going on now. Walter is doing the GB stuff, and he and I are doing a CIV show together in Spain. It's all pretty sparse, but a lot of fun when it can happen.

What are your hopes for the future of this band for the next 10+ years?

WS: I want to make more albums and grow creatively. We've started on a new Rival Schools album and we're going to release our "unreleased album" at some point in the upcoming year. I love playing with Rival Schools and I'm psyched to see what we're able to come up with.

SS: It would be great to release an album every two years, play some fun shows, and then turn it into a Broadway Musical, like Spiderman meets Jersey Boys or something.

Le Butcherettes Interviewed in Blare Magazine + Acoustic Session

[] Popular music analyzers would hastily claim musicians such as Lady Gaga to be political activists. While she may be in her own right, the artist’s controversial nature barely touches LE BUTCHERETTES’ rash, outspoken personality with a sound stemming from garage and punk. As frontwoman Teri Suaréz told us, such an attitude rises from creativity, a trait that has both its positives and negatives.

Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin has been noted to say “Creativity is a challenge” and that it “bridges the conflict between our individualistic and our sociality”. Do you agree or feel as if you can relate to that?

Definitely agree. When you’re creating you’re going up against your own personal limits but as well as the limits of others. The creative process provokes that line in the sand and that’s the beauty in it. It’s challenging. That man from Bad Religion is a very smart intellectual. It sort of relates to a book that I’m reading right now called Our Band Could Be Your Life. It’s about DIY punk and how bands grew to the point by overcoming challenges with creativity. The first chapter on Black Flag starts to explore that.

Why is it some individuals feel the need to be creative through music?

If they didn’t they would damage themselves. They’d just become waste. If I wasn’t in a band and wasn’t involved in music I would probably be in Denver or Guadalajara drinking heavily everyday. I don’t do drugs but I would be doing drugs because you’re solely focused on your problems. Music makes you not think about your insecurities. Instead, it plays with them and converts your weakness into an animal that’s controlled, but brought out through singing or your instrument of choice.

Do you think you tested your creativity on Sin Sin Sin?

I wrote those songs when I was 19 so it’s hard to say. The labels in Mexico would come to our shows and show they liked us but they didn’t want to sign us. We weren’t what they were looking for as they wanted popular music. When we were actually making the record, myself and others like Omar Rodriguez-Lopez who produced it, agreed Sin.. is pop inspired. There are elements in some songs that are pop. But, Mexico has a lot more than rock; an underground scene is unique, but theirs is much more unique. They looked at us and said that’s been done before; Joan Jett and Marnie Stern exist.

That was hard to take in because I’ve been trying to be different all my life. Our next album will be better in a progressive way and will be different from anything we’ve ever written. That’s why there’s variety on this record and who knows what will happen next. It might be rap music.

Was it difficult to test your range, creating short tracks and then others that were nearly twice as long?

A bit but I owe all of it to Omar for that. He pushed me to do things I never thought of doing. He’d look at a song that was just over a minute long and tell me not to be afraid to add an extra chorus or make this one longer than it already is. It was hard at the beginning because the group started with guitar and drums. We wanted to be basic; but when making this record for Le Butcherettes, Omar told me to do more.

You’ve stated before the live stage is where you can “free your animal”, free who you really are. Don’t you find that difficult when there are so many eyes on you content on making their own personal judgment?

It’s horrible. Most of the time, I can be extremely nervous. Like my boyfriend invites me to have dinner with his family at his house and everyone there has their eyes on you as they criticize every action you make. There, I’m much more restricted and quiet. On the stage, there’s the same feeling you get from those watching you but I’m required to sing, perform and express myself. There is a visible barrier there and I try to my best to ignore it.


In other Le Butcherettes news...

Teri performs a live Acoustic version of the song “I’m Getting Sick of You” on the Indie 103.1 Radio show called Sala De Espera which can be streamed HERE. You can download or stream the entire episode #26 as a podcast HERE it also has the acoustic of “Henry Don’t Got Love” and a brand new not yet released song called “Shame”.

Tall Ships Confirm UK Tour Plans + More

[press release] Tall Ships, the loop pedal wielding trio from Brighton, by way of Falmouth, have been confirmed to support We Are Scientists on their June UK tour. The dates, which include Koko in London, will be the biggest so far for the three-piece, following on from last years treks with Minus The Bear, 65 Days of Static and Maps And Atlases, as well as their current jaunt with Three Trapped Tigers.

Alongside supporting We Are Scientists, Tall Ships have added two shows in Kingston on 16th June; playing an intimate, free instore at Banquet Records (6pm) before hitting New Slang later that evening. They also play a number of summer festivals including Bestival, 2000 Trees and (the freshly announced) Hop Farm, the same day as none other than Prince! Straight after this they hit the studio to record their debut album, set for release in Spring 2012. Having been picked out by NME as one of the 20 bands you must see at last weekends Great Escape and earning unanimous glowing reviews from all who saw them at Live At Leeds, this summer promises to be very bright indeed.

'Hit The Floor', the bands next single, is released on 7" vinyl via Big Scary Monsters/Blood And Biscuits on 13th June and is expected to sell out on pre-order alone. It's available now from

Stream 'Hit The Floor' via Soundcloud (below) and check out the video for recent single, 'Plate Tectonics', here!

Current tour dates:

26th May – Preston, Mad Ferret (with TTT)
27th May – Bristol, Start The Bus (with TTT)
28th May – Brighton, Elizabeth Manor House, Meadowlands Festival
31st May – London, Cargo (with TTT)
1st June - Exeter, Lemon Grove (with We Are Scientists)
13th June - Middlesbrough, Empire (with WAS)
14th June - Leamington Spa, Assembly (with WAS)
15th June - London, Koko (with WAS)
16th June - Kingston, Banquet instore (6pm) and New Slang (11pm)
17th June - Brighton, Concorde 2 (with WAS)

"The mathy skronk of Battles, Foals’ wounded hearts and The xx’s sense of space, all tempered by a freeness of mind that only comes from breathing a dose of sea air each morning" - NME

"Hit The Floor is biting, brilliant and certain to rope you in" - Q

Hit The Floor by Tall Ships

Graveface Records Update: Hospital Ships, The Nighty Nite, + The Loose Salute

An update from Graveface Records...

"Hello! Below are the new albums I have up for pre-order today. All of them come with instant mp3s. There are some samples below.

*Hospital Ships

If Oh, Ramona was Jordan Geiger’s bedroom-pop debut album, then Lonely Twin is the sound of Geiger’s Hospital Ships solo project moving up to a three-room suite. Exploding outward on album opener “Love Or Death,” Geiger gives voice to those “...on the outside, always looking in,” while injecting enough electronic beats, buzzing organ riffs, and joyous handclaps to elevate this sophomore Hospital Ships album from modest humility to self-assured confidence.
Perhaps that’s because Geiger, a native of Lawrence, Kansas, former member of Shearwater and the Appleseed Cast, and principal member of the now-defunct Minus Story, has taken the fractured Midwestern influences of The Flaming Lips and Bright Eyes to fresh new heights.

1. Love or Death
2. Honey Please
3. Bird in Furs
4. Galaxies
5. Phantom Limb
6. Carry On
7. Anyone Everyone (FREE mp3 below)
8. Old Skin
9. Reprise
10. Little Dead Leaf
11. New Life
12. Dani Love of Mine (Bonus vinyl only track)

LP: Record Club members receive cyan blue splatter on piss yellow vinyl. All other customers receive highlighter yellow splatter on baby pink vinyl. All customers receive an 11x17 retail poster. First pressing 250 & all copies hand-numbered. The vinyl has a bonus song, comes with two inserts (one of which is silk-screened) & you'll receive an instant download of the album plus the bonus album, Lonely Twin Lo-Fi. The vinyl will hit you by the release date. Click here for a crappy photo of the vinyl release. It should be noted there are not many retail copies available so I thought I'd offer them up to the mailing list first before promoting on the web.

CD: The CD is packaged in a gatefold slip & the first 500 copies are hand-numbered. All customers receive an 11x17 retail poster. You'll receive an instant download of the album plus the bonus album, Lonely Twin Lo-Fi. The CDs will you hit you by the release date.

Click here to purchase this release.

Hospital Ships 'Anyone Everyone' by Graveface Records

*The Loose Salute

Four years on from the critically acclaimed 'Tuned To Love', The Loose Salute are back with an album of splendid, rueful charm - a triumph of heart and soul. The music is still wearing it's bubblegum heart on its sleeve but it's bruised, tougher, wiser. Opener 'It’s A Beautiful Thing' captures the band’s spirit in one song. A swoonful, melody-cut diamond that chases down that elusive dream, a hymn to battling through that manages to be both crestfallen and hope filled. One side of 'Getting Over Being Under' is all about celebrating much loved influences, West Coast, Beach Boys, Nashville, they're all there, but they venture further afield and conjure authentic Delta Boogie in 'Sister Corita', an almost Bolan-esque stomp on 'Run Out Of Morning' and the folky Fairport shuffle of 'Perhaps She’ll Fly'.

1. It's a Beautiful Thing
2. Run Out of Morning
3. Hermosa
4. Perhaps She'll Fly
5. Happy I Don't Count (free mp3 below)
6. This Is Love
7. Sister Corita
8. The Three of Us
9. So Out of Time
10. That's What You Said
11. The Curse of Caring

LP: Record Club members receive coke bottle green with baby blue haze. All other customers receive electric blue with grey haze/splatter vinyl. All customers receive an 11x17 retail poster. First pressing 250 & all copies hand-numbered. The vinyl will hit you by the release date & you'll receive instant mp3s whilst you wait. Click here for a crappy photo of the vinyl colors. Like above, it should be noted there are not many retail copies available so I thought I'd offer them up to the mailing list first before promoting on the web.

CD: The CD is packaged in a digisleeve & the first 500 copies are hand-numbered. All customers receive an 11x17 retail poster. The CDs will you hit you by the release date & you'll receive instant mp3s whilst you wait.

Click here to purchase this release.

The Loose Salute - Happy I Don't Count by Graveface Records

*The Nighty Nite

John Congleton and Jason Garner of The Paper Chase have teamed up with some good friends to form a new band called The Nighty Nite. Joining them are members of Wires Under Tension (Chris Tignor), Shearwater (Kevin Schneider), and the Hospital Ships (Jordan Geiger). The band's debut EP Dimples is set for release on June 21st via Graveface and sounds like the soundtrack to a tragic black comedy, as if Woody Allen made a horror movie about a punk rock band.

The four songs on The Nighty Nite's Dimples EP echo and marry John Cale's sardonic mix of pop/orchestra/skronk and the atmospheric doom of late-period Scott Walker. "Some people have told me it's the darkest thing I've ever done", says Congleton. "I don't know if I agree but so be it if so."

1. Dimples in their Dimples (free mp3 below)
2. This Silly Bag
3. In My Hospital Gown
4. Meaningless

LP: Record Club members receive solid blood red vinyl. All other customers receive standard black vinyl. All customers receive an 11x17 retail poster. First pressing 275 & all copies hand-numbered. Comes with a lyric sheet. These will hit you by the release date & you'll receive instant mp3s whilst you wait. Like above, it should be noted there are not many retail copies available so I thought I'd offer them up to the mailing list first before promoting on the web.

CD: The CD is packaged in a recycled gatefold sleeve & the first 500 copies are hand-numbered. All customers receive an 11x17 retail poster. These will you hit you by the release date & you'll receive instant mp3s whilst you wait.

Click here to purchase this release.

The Nighty Nite 'Dimples in their Dimples' by Graveface Records

Please consider going to see their very first tour:

5.28 The lightbulb club - Fayetteville AR w/ This Will Destroy You
5.29 MOTR Cincinnati OH w/ This Will Destroy You
5/30 Columbus @ The Summit w/ This Will Destroy You
6.1 Brighton Music Hall - Boston, MA w/ This Will Destroy You
6.2 Bowery Ballroom - NY, NY w/ This Will Destroy You
6.3 Johnny Brendas - Philadelphia, PA w/ This Will Destroy You
6.4 Sonar Club Stage - Baltimore, MD w/ This Will Destroy You
6.5 Rock and Roll Hotel - Washington DC w/ This Will Destroy You
6.7 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA w/ This Will Destroy You
6.8 Lexington Avenue Brewery - Ashville, NC w/ This Will Destroy You
6.9 The Earl - Atlanta, GA w/ This Will Destroy You
6.10 Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge, LA w/ This Will Destroy You
6.11 The Double WIde - Dallas TX w/ This Will Destroy You
6.12 The Parish - Austin TX w/ This Will Destroy You

Thanks a ton for reading and for your support!"

Ryan Graveface

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Exploding In Sound + Friends of Sound SXSW Showcase Videos!!

Several months have gone by since SXSW has ended, but that doesn't mean the fun is done just yet! Our friends at Stereo Typing are just getting around to posting their recaps of the world's greatest music festival, and today's update includes a great write up from our showcase which featured the insanely great line-up of Pulled Apart By Horses, Markov, Disco Doom, Zlam Dunk, Gypsyblood, and Gift Horse. You can find his review of the show HERE. In addition to the kind words, they have posted videos of Gift Horse performing their new track "Black" as well as Pulled Apart By Horses unleashing the furious "I Punched A Lion In The Throat"... Ultimate power indeed.

Quick Notes: Soundgarden, J Mascis, Cave In + More

*[] Soundgarden have added a NV stop to their upcoming summer tour which will see select dates opened by Queens Of The Stone Age, The Mars Volta, Mastodon, Coheed And Cambria and Meat Puppets. The new date to be added can be found below:

07/20 Stateline, NV – Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena

*[] An interesting visit this week on Acoustic Cafe with J Mascis, talking a bit about his new release "Several Shades Of Why", his solo debut. The Dinosaur Jr. front man and co-founder delivers some extremely concise comments about doing an acoustic record and being a first-time father, while playing some songs from the new disc and a 1986 classic! Check it out HERE.

*Check out Cave In's entire performance during Krazy Fest 2011 @ Expo Five in Louisville, KY on May 21, 2011...

*[] Baroness have made a number of brief sneak peeks from the writing process for their new album available through their official website,

*[] Australian rockers Silverchair have announced an "indefinite hibernation." "We formed Silverchair nearly 20 years ago when we were just 12 years old. Today we stand by the same rules now as we did back then... if the band stops being fun and if it's no longer fulfilling creatively, then we need to stop," the trio said in a statement on their website. "Therefore after much soul searching we wanted to let you know that we're putting Silverchair into 'indefinite hibernation' and we've decided to each do our own thing for the foreseeable future."

*Mr. Gnome are gonna be hoppin' back in the van for a few regional dates starting this Friday in Cleveland, OH. Dates below, please visit their show page for details.

May 27, 2011 • Beachland Tavern • Cleveland, OH
June 3, 2011 • Darkroom • Chicago, IL
June 4, 2011 • The Frequency • Madison, WI
June 11, 2011 • Skully's • Columbus, OH

*[] On last night's episode of the BBC TV show "Later With Jools Holland", the young UK indie revivalists Yuck stormed through a thoroughly satisfying, fuzzed-out version of "Get Away", the opening track from their self-titled debut album. Watch the video below, via Prefix.

*[] Only a few tracks into Hammer No More the Finger’s second full-length album Black Shark, you could reasonably sum up what the Durham power-pop trio is all about with a close examination of the opening riff. It’s sprightly, agreeable, in a brisk time signature and ultimately a bit unremarkable compared to their debut Looking for Bruce. You have to appreciate the sincerity of the ’90s indie resurrectionists, but “Atlas of an Eye” and “The Agency” explores little that wasn’t dissertated already. They even name-check Looking for Bruce repeatedly in the latter’s hook. Then, just when you think you have the band figured out, they quiet the clamor midway through “Leroy” and “Thunder n’ Rain,” and in floats a bed of strings that punctuates the band’s ability to write sticky lyrical hooks better than a clatter of drums or charmed guitar riffs ever could. Hammer No More the Fingers could still fit both of their LPs snugly into an hour-long live set, but Black Shark doesn’t quite feel like the race to the finish line that Looking for Bruce was. Whereas they might have gone head-first into the shout-along chorus on a song like “The Visitor,” here they take a deliberate approach to their release points. Their upbeat tenor remains, however, even when the disenchanted imagery evoked by the lyrical content suggests otherwise. Still, a marked change in direction aside, Hammer No More the Fingers may never bowl you over with innovation. The golden era of bands that inform the music of HNMTF isn’t yet far off enough to evoke nostalgia, but verse-chorus-verse with big hooks and good songwriting like on Black Shark will never go out of style.

*Download the debut EP from RED BELLOWS "EPONE" HERE. Then go catch them live at T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge, MA on June 2nd with Moniker and Those Wolves Actually Happened. For more info, click HERE.

Le Butcherettes Featured on SA Current

[] “Before I say anything, I need 24 hours to process what I just saw,” Adrián Sosa, drummer for Latin Grammy-winning tango/electrónica collective Bajofondo, said seconds after Le Butcherettes’ show at South by Southwest in March. “This is a very intense, edgy band. And she’s incredible, incredible.”

A writer from the Los Angeles Times would blog later, saying the band was “the best act I saw” at SXSW 2011. Days ago the LA Weekly compared the frontwoman’s voice to that of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, but added that this one “sets itself apart with a husky rawness that gives her voice a more emotionally authentic feel.”

They were all talking about 22-year-old Teri Gender Bender (born Teresa Suárez in Denver), who moved to Guadalajara when she was 14 and started Le Butcherettes, a female two-piece garage rock band with drummer Auryn Jolene. Their Kiss & Kill EP earned them “Best New Artist” and “Best Punk Record” awards at Mexico’s Indie-O Awards in 2009.

Shortly after that, Gender Bender and Jolene parted ways on bad terms (Jolene claimed she didn’t like “the direction the band was taking,” while Gender Bender accused her former partner of demanding royalties for songs she didn’t write). None of that mattered to Omar Rodríguez López (The Mars Volta), who was hooked after catching them live in 2008 and signed the band to his label. Gender Bender moved to Los Angeles and reformed Le Butcherettes with Gabe Serbian (The Locust, Cattle Decapitation) on drums and Jonathan Hischke (Hella) on bass, although Rodríguez produced and played bass on all tracks of Sin Sin Sin, the full-length debut by Le Butcherettes, released on May 10.

“Omar Rodríguez gave us some advice,” Gender Bender told the Current by phone from Los Angeles. “We should have a bass player all the time, because in concert I often go crazy and I need the bass element to keep the music in check.”

“Going crazy,” in Le Butcherettes’ world, may mean donning a bloody apron onstage, French-kissing a pig head, sweeping the stage floor with a broom (posing as a lowly housewife), or doing a backward flip into the audience when you least expect it. Or all of the above. This is not just body surfing: at SXSW, her backward flip included a full somersault, her head seeming to hit the floor. The crowd was stunned, not knowing whether this was part of the act or if she had been seriously hurt. After a few seconds, she jumped back onstage as if nothing had happened and continued covering limited guitar skills with ferocious strumming.

“Everyone has their own way of playing the guitar, and I have mine,” she said about the fact that she only plays four strings and has her own way of tuning the instrument. The opening riff of “Henry Don’t Got Love,” the first single off Sin Sin Sin, sounds like a six-year-old picking up the guitar for the first time before exploding into an in-your-face garage attack. “The beginning of ‘Henry’ started with my brother, who is a huge cyber nerd and always plays at a site that has a very similar theme song. Unconsciously, I picked that up and used it as a ridiculous intro, and then bam!”


Earthtone9's "For Cause and Consequence" Reviewed on

[] earthtone9 exist within a weird little bubble in the UK metal scene. Raising their name with younger fans of heavy music invariably produces shrugs of shoulders and “whuuh? who’re they?” response, and outside Britain you’ll get more reaction bringing up Sikth than you will this namedropping earthtone9. However, if you happen to fall into the narrowish demographic of British metalheads who came of musical age around the turn of the millenium (alongside approximately 90% of the Thrash Hits’ contributors), then earthtone9′s albums will have a special place in your record collection.

Around the time nu-metal was falteringly establishing itself as the dominant metal force among unruly teenagers, earthtone9 were one of the few up and coming British bands of the era that outright rejected the notion of emulating the cash cow bands coming out of America, and instead pushed an agenda equal parts Tool, Neurosis and heck, even Helmet at times. It says much for the quality of e9′s trio of full-length albums (and assorted EPs) that by the time they split up in 2002, they had (somewhat) succeeded in selling the idea of progressive metal to a generation generally more obsessed with how baggy they could get away with their pants being, and how thick and ridiculous their wallet-chains could hang. So it was when we discovered just over a year ago that the band was planning to reform for a handful of shows, we almost immediately started crossing every finger and toe we could that this would eventually blossom into something a little more permanent than five old mates mucking about for some easy festival performance fees.

For Cause and Consequence is the end result of all those hopes, as well a significant groundswell of support (both moral and financial) via Pledgemusic. The EP very much builds the musical tropes that earthtone9 collectively fortified around themselves nearly a decade ago, with opener ‘Tide of Ambition’ comfortably sitting alongside ‘evil crawling i’ and ‘Star Damage (For Beginners)’ as a hyper-dense demonstration of e9′s musicianship. Vocalist Karl Middleton works through his familiar patterns, making full use of his strained-shriek vocals on the chorus, before lending his equally impressive clean-singing voice to the choruses for some thick doses of personality.

‘Ghosts’ capitalizes on a different aspect of e9′s signature style, this time with Middleton acting as the principal architect effecting the tonal changes between verse and chorus. Starting as a slower, guitar-driven crunch with Middleton’s vocal pacing matching the tone and timbre of the guitars, upon the onset of the chorus the song switches gear and it is the now-accelerated melody of Middleton’s lyrical proclamation that “No-one can question their Ghosts” that takes charge of the track’s direction.

The millstone e9 had to unfairly bear for much of their career, that of the-British-Tool-that-never-quite-made-it, returns in the form of ‘The Trail That We Carved Out’. The track ditches rough-vocals almost entirely, and instead uses the impressive stick-skills of Simon Hutchby and Dave Anderson’s deep and moody bass throb to slowly build atmosphere behind Middleton’s ethereal vocals. earthtone9 restore the pace with the EP’s closing track, ‘Reborn’, which sees e9 truly branch out from their comfort zone with guitars that practically sneer during the verses, but widen into dirtier six-string workouts, choppy interludes, or bigger, beefier versions of their initial arrangements as required.

It is damn lazy to sign off reviews of reformed bands with over-used phrases such as “it’s like they’ve never been away!!!!”, because if you break it down then that’s damning praise if ever there was some. To say a band sounds “like they’ve never been away!!!!” is to accuse them of permanent stagnation. The feeling For Cause and Consquence leaves the listener with as it closes is that while earthtone9 are mindful of what made them work in the past, they are by no means tethered or restricted by that knowledge.

Ume Announce New Summer Tour Dates

Austin, TX's Ume have lined up the following dates this summer...

Sat, June 4 - Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves w/ Kylesa
Sun, June 5 - Fayetteville, AR @ Rogue
Tues, June 7 - Covington, KY @ Mad Hatter's
Wed, June 8 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock
Thurs, June 9 - New York, NY @ Piano's
Fri, June 10 - Asbury Park, NJ @ The Saint
Sat, June 11 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Rock Shop
Sun, June 12 - Cambridge, MA @ TT the Bear's
Mon, June 13 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Neck-Tie
Tues, June 14 - Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar
Wed, June 15 - Toronto, ON - NXNE FESTIVAL @ Drake Hotel (11pm)
Thurs, June 16 - Chicago, IL @ Memories
Fri, June 17 - LIVE video stream from the Threadless Warehouse in Chicago (12:30pm st)!
Sat, June 18 - Denver, CO - WESTWORD FESTIVAL w/ Yo La Tengo, Chromeo, The Sword
Fri, July 1- Springfield, MO @ The Outland
Sun, July 3 - Milwaukee, WI - SUMMERFEST
Fri, July 22 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk w/ Mission of Burma
Sat, Aug 27 - New Braunfels, TX @ DIA DE LOS TOADIES FESTIVAL w/ The Sword, Black Angels, Toadies
Sun, Aug 28 - St. Louis, MO - LOUFEST w/ The Roots, TV on the Radio, Cat Power, Deerhunter


Arctic Monkeys' "Suck It and See" Reviewed on Stereogum

[] Arctic Monkeys’ James Ford-produced fourth album is consistent. “Consistency” on the Josh Homme-helmed Humbug at times equaled same-same doldrums; on Suck It And See, the sustained “vibe” contributes to an ambiance and arc that remains interesting as it picks up steam. It’s not all that difficult figuring out why: In this case, less proves more. The band’s traded in Humbug‘s layered, at times overburdened and fussy production (e.g. “cue the psychedelic choir!”) for a simpler, lighter sound, one that offers more space to showcase, unfettered, the nuances of Alex Turner & Co’s growth as songwriters. As promised, it’s poppier than its Black Sabbath-influenced predecessor, and we’re told much of it was recorded in live takes with Ford with fewer overdubs. As a result, it feels exceedingly clean, even when it’s loud, making Turner’s dirt and romantic sexiness that much more compelling. You know, contrast.

The 12-song collection establishes an intimate vintage feel with opener “She’s Thunderstorms,” one that lasts to the final notes of excellent closer “That’s Where You’re Wrong” with subtle variation. Nothing flashy here, but it works. The understated feel demands (or suggests) closer listening: Really, you’re going to want to pay attention to Alex Turner’s lyrics — “Now I’m out of place, and I’m not getting any wiser, I feel like the Sundance kid behind the synthesiser,” “Topless models doing semaphore wave their flags as she walks by and get ignored,” “Do you still feel younger than you thought you would by now or, darling, have you started feeling old yet / Don’t worry, I’m sure that you’re still breaking hearts with the efficiency that only youth can harness,” “Our love is like a studded leather headlock / your kiss, it could put creases in the rain / You’re rarer than a can of dandelion and burdock / and those other girls are just postmix lemonade,” “I poured my aching heart into a pop song / I couldn’t get the hang of poetry / That’s not a skirt, girl, that’s a sawed-off shotgun / and I can only hope you’ve got it aimed at me,” etc. — and the way he delivers them. Words become the focus over studio trickery.

So far you’ve heard the Matthew Helders-sung dud “Brick By Brick,” the heavier, more successful first single “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair,” and the mellower, sexier “Reckless Serenade.” (Suck It And See basically shifts back and forth between the latter two songs’ styles.)

Fans may recognize the prom-ready “Piledriver Waltz” from Turner’s solo Submarine EP. If you saw the guys on Jools Holland you also caught “Library Pictures” and The Hellcat Spangled Shalala” (along with live “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” and “Reckless Serenade“), so in the end, perhaps not too many surprises, but the playful (but affecting) ballad “Love Is A Laserquest” and swaggering, almost doo-wop-ing title track, and catchy jangle-rock closer “That’s Where You’re Wrong” (with a guitar part somehow reminiscent of vintage New Order) are some of the strongest songs on the collection. (For whatever reason, the Monkeys are at their best on this one when they turn down the distortion and amplifiers.)

Beyond any particular track, it’s the approach that’s worth noting and recounting. The guys have always written good songs. By looking back to simpler times with the benefit of greater scope and experience, Suck It And See finds the Arctic Monkeys especially comfortable in their maturing skin, able to deliver the charisma and hooks that intrigued folks in the first place without too many distractions. It’s nothing mind-blowing, no, but it’s a solid collection of smart (alec) rock ‘n’ roll, one that gets better with repeat listens.

Suck It And See is out 6/7 via Domino.