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Do Make Say Think'
Do Make Say Think (Awaiting Repress)
• 1998 Debut Album Issued On Vinyl For The First Time
• Includes Screenprinted Jacket With Die-cut Window And Art Poster Insert
Do Make Say Think self-recorded its self-titled debut album in Toronto in 1996-1997 and self released the record on CD. It made its way to Constellation's stereo in spring 1998, just as the label was getting off the ground; we immediately fell in love with its blend of space rock, dub, jazz, psych and motorik influences, and with the fact that it was such a great-sounding and fully realized DIY recording. Constellation re-released the album in more extensive and elaborate bespoke CD packaging in early 1999 and Do Make Say Think became the label's fifth release (and the first from a non-MontrÉal band).
This terrific debut remained one of the very few titles on Constellation that was never issued on vinyl, as the label's limited resources in the early years, along with DMST's continuing output (they already had most of a sophomore record in the can when the debut got its CST release) conspired against a 2xLP pressing at the time. This historical aberration is now being remedied by a lovely deluxe double 180-gram edition of the album, with the CD's unique window-cut artwork and packaging translated to glorious 12-inch dimensions.
One of the first groups to define a newly genre blending aesthetics and collective/collaborative ethics of (post-) rock experimentation in the Toronto scene, Do Make Say Think also presaged the city's wider indie music reawakening in the early 2000s. The band has released a superb, dynamic and continually inventive series of instrumental rock albums since their auspicious debut (in one of numerous testaments to their quality and consistency, the group's subsequent four albums received ratings of 7.9, 8.1, 8.1 and 7.8 by Pitchfork). DMST's debut album brims with twilight atmosphere, a rich sonic tapestry that weaves a traditional rock configuration, dual drummers and analog synth through a mixing-desk sensibility informed by dub, electronic music, hip-hop and psychedelia. Song titles like "Highway 420", "Dr. Hooch" and "Disco & Haze" nod to the preferred states of altered consciousness that presumably prevailed in the studio, but the results are far from shambolic, hazy or indulgent. The album's long form instrumental excursions are marked by a focus on methodically deployed structures, transitions, flourishes and details that succeed in feeling natural, unlaboured, supplely rhythmic and enchantingly levitational.
Do Make Say Think has remained defiantly independent, uncompromising and artistically focused within a Toronto scene that's often tended towards hyperbolic fanfare and dubious careerism as the years wear on, continuing to be self-managed and self-produced throughout their long history. The band regrouped in late 2012(following a 3-year hiatus) to play Constellation's 15th Anniversary shows in Europe, where they absolutely killed. They have kept on with select festival performances and mini-tours in 2013. In celebration of the band's return to action - and to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Constellation's 1998 release of the debut CD - we couldn't be prouder to present Do Make Say Think on vinyl for the first time.1. 1978
3. If I Only...
4. Highway 420
5. Dr. Hooch
6. Disco & Haze
8. The Fare To Get There$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Stubborn Persistent IllusionsPressed On 2x 180-Gram Vinyl
Etching On Side 4 (No Music)
Includes 12 x 24 Art Print Poster
Do Make Say Think has been widely celebrated as one of the preeminent
instrumental rock bands of the 90s-00s. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the
group's first album in eight years - and a stellar addition to one of the most
consistent, inventive, exuberant, satisfying, and critically acclaimed discographies
in the 'post-rock' canon.
Following Other Truths (2009), the five members of DMST pursued other creative
projects, while all continuing to stay firmly rooted in Toronto. An invite from
Heartland Festival and Constellation to play the label's 15th Anniversary shows in
Europe in fall 2012 brought DMST back to the stage in very fine form - the band
worked up a bevy of gems from their catalogue and absolutely killed live. A
rekindling was sparked, leading to new writing and recording sessions
throughout 2014-2016. Overdubbing, 'underdubbing', gestating and mixing
was helmed by band members Ohad Benchetrit, Charles Spearin and Justin
Small at Ohad's studio th'Schvitz: Stubborn Persistent Illusions is a reminder and
continuation of the group's DIY ethos, and the integral role played by their
singular self-production acumen and aesthetic.
Do Make Say Think has a well-earned reputation for imbuing their instrumental
music with soulful and emotive narrative power that doesn't rely on obvious
tropes or bombastic dynamics. Among the band's special strengths is an ineffable
naturalism that avoids anything too woolly, proggy, purist or clichÉd, while
remaining a fundamentally guitar-driven group whose ornate four- and six-string
interplay balances rockism, pastoralism and electronic-influenced postproduction
in a class of its own. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is built from this
distinctive toolkit, at once familiar and as fresh as anything DMST has committed
to tape. A short Bhuddist poem about boundlessness and recurrence informs this
profoundly imagistic listening experience, amplified by the beautiful
commissioned paintings of the deluxe gatefold album art.
Stubborn Persistent Illusions testifies to the idea that an honest conviction in the
communicative power of cerebral instrumental rock need not imply pretension,
escapism, faux naivetÉ or nostalgia. Do Make Say Think enter their third decade
with a new album that helps reaffirm the promise of genuinely emotive,
narrative, restorative and life-affirming instrumental rock music - and will surely
rank among their best. Thanks for listening.1. War On Torpor
3. Murder Of Thoughts
5. And Boundless
6. Her Eyes On The Horizon
7. d=3.57h (As Far As The Eye Can See)
8. Shlomo's Son
9. Return, Return Again$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Forgiveness Rock Record (Limited Edition)Produced by John McEntire (Tortoise & The Sea and Cake), Forgiveness Rock Record features BSS alumni: Leslie Feist, Amy Millan and Evan Cranley of Stars, Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric, Jason Collett, Ohad Benchetrit of Do Make Say Think and Years, John Crossingham, Marty Kinack, Leon Kingstone and Julie Penner. Uniquely, the song Sentimental Xs features Leslie Feist, Emily Haines and Amy Millan singing together for the first time on the same song.
7 x 10 vinyl box set
Individually numbered and limited to 500 box sets
Includes MP3 digital download of the albumSide 1: World Sick
Side 2: Chase Scene
Side 3: Texico Bitches
Side 4: Forced to Love
Side 5: All to All
Side 6: Art House Director
Side 7: Highway Slipper Jam
Side 8: Ungrateful Little Father
Side 9: Meet Me in the Basement
Side 10: Sentimental Xs
Side 11: Sweetest Kill
Side 12: Romance to the Grave
Side 13: Water in Hell
Side 14: Me and my Hand$125.9910 Vinyl LP Box Set - 7 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Big To-DoATO Records is pleased to commence its relationship with the The Drive-By Truckers beginning with the incomparable rock band's label debut, The Big To-Do. The album is the band's 10th in their thirteen-year career and it features 13 new DBT tracks produced by their long time collaborator, David Barbe (Sugar, Bettye LaVette). Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley continue to handle chief songwriting duties here while bassist Shonna Tucker also contributes two originals. Brad Morgan (drums), John Neff (guitar/pedal steel), and Jay Gonzalez (keyboards) round out the current lineup.
The Big To-Do was recorded in three concentrated sessions during the first part of 2009: ten days in January, five days in March, ten days in May. That added up to 25 songs, a dozen of which sequenced into The Big To-Do. We had it mixed, mastered, and completely done, and Cooley wrote the best song that just needed to be on it, Patterson says with his raspy chuckle. This happens a lot with the Truckers, and it's always a good sign. So we went back in and recorded, mixed, and mastered 'Birthday Boy' pretty much in one fell swoop. Thirteen songs, then.
The balance of the remaining tracks, plus five more they've cut in the interim, will make up the Truckers' next album, which Patterson projects as a quieter affair.
This is, in large part, possible because the Truckers have such a long-standing relationship with David Barbe (ex-Sugar, etc.) and the Athens, GA, studio he calls Chase Park Transduction, which long ago Patterson helped to build so as to earn the right to record there.
It's gotten to where, that day of set-up time to get sounds and levels and all of that takes us about two hours, Patterson says. We can pretty much walk in the door, and we know exactly where to put everything to get that sound, so that's just one less thing to have to think about. I wanted to eliminate the distractions. That clarity of purpose translates into a delicious assortment of Trucker songs themed loosely around crime and (self-) punishment. The Wig He Made Her Wear, Patterson says, is both a true story (as seen on Court TV) and the closest he's come to making the movie he started out to make a decade or more back. The Fourth Night of My Drinking will speak for itself, and This Fucking Job (paired thematically with Cooley's wry Get Downtown) is arguably the most political song the Truckers have made since Living Bubba. Which leaves the deceptive, airy simplicity of Shonna Tucker's You Got Another and (It's Gonna Be) I Told You So to reckon with. We always knew she had that in her, Patterson says, delighted with the emergence of another strong songwriter in the band. It was never a secret. She was writing songs all along. But watching it come out has been a really amazing thing to behold.
Off the road, incidentally, didn't mean out of work. First off, there was the matter of cutting an instrumental album with the legendary Booker T, having previously served as the backing band to the equally legendary soul singer, Bettye Lavette. Potato Hole turned out all right, got a Grammy nod, and Neil Young added his touches separately even though it's pretty much a Truckers effort. But it's what they learned making Potato Hole that counts most. I think doing the Booker album really, really paid off a lot on the musical end of this record, even though stylistically it might not sound anything like that record, says Patterson, and then tells the story.
We made that record in four days, and that included the first day when it was, 'Booker, it's wonderful to meet you!' Maybe the third song we tracked just wasn't going the way he wanted it to go. We weren't quite understanding what he wanted. We were playing it right, but it wasn't right. All the sudden he just stopped the session. He gathered us around, and he told us a story about a Thanksgiving dinner, and the way it smelt in the house, he'd been on the road a long time, and they were all in - cousins and aunts he hadn't seen in several years. He said, 'It's just a day where nothing happens, but it's all really good.'
And we sat down and we played it, and we nailed it. It was like a revelation. We're a lyric-driven band, and our songs generally paint scenes and tell stories based on scenes. He instinctively knew that was how we operated. And I think it taught us a lot about how we operated. Going in and making this record, I could tell a real difference in the way the songs hold up musically. We put a little more care into that side of it than I think we ever did before because of what we learned from him.
...an absorbing hunk of smart, crunchy, guitar-driven music shot through with the bands vivid narratives, balanced storytelling, barroom punch, and Southern accents. Its a set that portrays desperate people trying to survive in these ever more desperate times, with the Truckers joyous pride and spirited attitude warding off any bitter aftertaste. Several songs are sad, and at times depressing, but the moods always point up. As it is for Bruce Springsteen, this blue-collar band not only believes in but preaches rock as salvation, and their iron-clad conviction suggests they wont have it any other way. --Bob Gendron, TONE Audio, Issue 271. Daddy Learned to Fly
2. The Fourth Night of My Drinking
3. Birthday Boy
4. Drag the Lake Charlie
5. The Wig He Made Her Wear
6. You Got Another
7. This Fucking Job
8. Get Downtown
9. After the Scene Dies
10. (It's Gonna Be) I Told You So
11. Santa Fe
12. The Flying Wallendas
13. Eyes Like Glue
14. Girls Who Smoke (vinyl only bonus track)$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Home Wrecking YearsBrendan Canning is the co-founder of the Toronto supergroup Broken Social Scene that includes members of Metric, Do Make Say Think, Stars, as well as Grammy-nominated Feist. One of the most enduring and influential alternative bands of the 00s. Their record 'You Forgot It In People' defined the "indie rock" era and paved the way for Canadian acts like Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade to break out. Canning's third solo album, 'Home Wrecking Years', is his first release with a full band since Broken Social Scene's 2010 release 'Forgiveness Rock Record'.
*'Home Wrecking Years' is backyard barbecue-ready indie album with heavy summertime vibes. Smart and breezy 4-minute pop tunes that run the gamut from 90s-era college rock to tropical baroque pop.1. Book It to Fresno
2. Vibration Walls
3. Keystone Dealers
4. Hey Marika
5. Once I Was a Runner
6. Nashville Late Pass
7. Work Out In the Wash
8. Money Mark
9. Sleeping Birds Like Lazers
10. Ana Don't Leave$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
180 Gram Audiophile Pressing Includes Art Print
Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and
Olivier Fairfield, long active in Quebec's experimental/punk scene, though
perhaps best known as core members of Timber Timbre, which spawned the
Last Ex project.
Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and
Olivier Fairfield, long active in Quebec's experimental/punk scene, though
perhaps best known as core members of Timber Timbre, which spawned the
Last Ex project.
Constellation knew nothing of this back story when the label received the
Last Ex demos in spring 2014; we just heard a compelling, compact, coherent,
highly evocative instrumental album that kept worming its way into our ears.
By the tenth time someone in the office said Let's play that Last Ex stuff
again - and everyone enthusiastically agreed - it was time to contact the
band. This music belonged in the Constellation catalogue: an instrumental
rock album of superb compositional and melodic sensibility, balancing
minimalism and restraint with atmosphere and tone, bound by a refreshingly
original approach to production.
Last Ex makes ample use of the electric guitar as both lead instrument and
textural sound source, structuring most of the pieces around deliberate
melodic and contrapuntal deployments of Spaghetti Western twang, while
distressing, degrading and redeploying those sonics through Fairfield's analog
tape-based manipulations. Trottier takes on most of the guitar duties, with
Timbre Timber's Taylor Kirk contributing on a couple of tunes as well. Tight
bursts of trap set rhythms played by Fairfield, and usually captured with just a
couple of microphones, along with consistently excellent basslines laid down
by both Simon and Olivier, propel the album and make this anything but an
ambient listen. Strings appear on several pieces, courtesy Mika Posen (also of
Timber Timbre), in a wide range of textures and treatments.
With its combination of assured lyricism, cinematic guitars, dusky analog
atmospherics and taut percussion, this is a vivid, concise and expressive
instrumental album that sits snugly between fellow label acts Do Make Say
Think and Exhaust on the one hand, Hrsta, Tindersticks and Evangelista on the
other. Fans of early Trans Am, early/mid Tortoise, Calexico and (obviously)
Timbre Timber should appreciate this as a very satisfying grower of an album
as well. Thanks for listening.1. Hotel Blues
2. Girl Seizure
3. Flûte magique
4. It's Not Chris
5. Resurrection Drive Part I
6. Nell's Theme
7. Trop tard
8. Cape Fear
9. CitÉ d'or
10. Hotel Blues Returns
11. Hotel Kiss$25.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Book About My Idle Plot On A Vague Anxiety (Awaiting Repress)The Japanese group Toe when releasing their debut The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety must have come to conclusion to release something dynamic and free. While at heart their debut is a calming, melodic post-rock affair, it adds interesting stop and go rhythm sections within the bulk of some of the album, a clear math rock influence. What is telling about Toe's work on this album is their clear potential to become more. Their dynamic, yet limited buildups aren't the ones you hear from traditional, uproarious, and grandiose groups like Explosions In The Sky! or more traditionally Godspeed You! Black Emperor; instead their clean shaven take on guitar structure and fantastic drumming by Kashikura Takashi is what matters the most. Rarely, if ever are piano structures, obscure samples, or electronics of any kind are introduced within The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety, which frankly is impressive.
The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety is at its core a strict representation of a minimalist post-rock affair. Its structures carry on by themselves without a huge ambient uplifting or pretentious, high-flying strings to back up any track. The album moves smoothly as it should, but Takashi's skill is exceptional, he carries this album with his smooth, diverse drumming. Amazingly it doesn't tire at all. Stylishly the band approaches an almost back-and-forth method between the rhythm portion of the album and its percussion - at times silencing out one to showcase the other, as seen in Past and Language. The album moves freely without hesitation or uncertainty, making the music so effective, but the parts not whole is really only needed as the structures don't need to be completely built up in an awe-inspiring 10-20 minute epic, but a melodic, serene, more or less peaceful 5 minutes of them almost jamming. Oddly enough this perception of them in a free-form basis of jamming is clearly not a reality because the rhythm structures and percussion fills are exceptional at their timings all over this debut.
The biggest strength of this Toe's debut is their patience within these tracks. Unlike other short, quick outbursts such as Grails, Toe still find themselves building the song suitable to their strengths and comfort zone. When they decide to trek outside of these waters, they're very minimal, in an experimented quick duration as seen in Music For You and Hangyaku Suru Fuukei. When the group decides to ramp up a song, they do so immediately from the inner-workings of Takashi and by doing so carve out a quick, tasteful foundation to start off on, evidence by I Still Do Wrong. While their stripped-down approach that feels almost too pure for most post-rock listeners, they seem to take their strides from Do Make Say Think and their label associates Mouse On The Keys and Enemies. What The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety accomplishes is a rhythm section that is entirely tight and sustained, that at times should feel timid or stale, but the drumming is frankly superb, allowing the band to reach new heights.
- Marko Polovina (Sputnik Music)1. Hangyaku Suru Fuukei
2. Kodoku no Hatsumei
3. Tremolo + Delay
4. Mukougishi ga Miru Yume
5. All I Understand Is that I Don't Understand
7. Past and Language
8. Music for You
9. I Do Still Wrong
11. Everything Means Nothing$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For The Whole FamilyWhen Nick Lowe was approached by his record label about making a Christmas album, his reaction wasn't exactly one of comfort and joy. "It was more disquiet and alarm, accompanied by feelings of 'do they really think I would wish to sully my good name on this tawdry and vulgar commercialism?'" Lowe says with a laugh. "but that feeling lasted about thirty-six and a half seconds, before I came to and thought, 'Vulgar, tawdry commercialism? Yes, please, when do we start?' seriously, I thought, 'Wait a minute, this could be really good fun.'"1. Children Go Where I Send Thee
2. Christmas Can't Be Far Away
3. Christmas at the Airport
4. Old Toy Trains
5. The North Pole Express
6. Hooves on the Roof
7. I Was Born in Bethlehem
8. Just to Be With You (This Christmas)
9. Rise Up Shepherd
10. Silent Night
11. A Dollar Short of Happy
12. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day$22.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
Out Of The BlackThe raucous, schizophrenic sound of Out Of The Black - much like previous Boys Noize records - has as much to do more with Ridha's attention span as his choice in gear. "I get bored really easily with sounds," he explains, "The exciting part for me is trying to come up with new sounds, putting new sounds in a new dress. I'm sound obsessed. I buy a lot of machines and synths, and I'm always looking for a way to destroy sounds in an unconventional way. I'm always drawn to music and productions that sound entirely different or really naïve or sometimes just stupid. I don´t like it when it sounds too clean and generic, there needs to be some sort of soul. I guess that explains a lot about my sound which I think I instinctually capture. But I do try to keep in mind what I loved about dance music when I started doing this and how it made me feel. Those thoughts were also very much on my mind when I was making this record."
The new album nicely bridges the gap between his previous two efforts; providing the requisite in-your-face electro bang of classic Boys Noize on tracks like "What You Want", "Rocky 2" and "XTC", or more melodic songs like "Ich R U" and "Reality". At a time when mainstream electronic music-particularly the pervasive cultures of EDM and dubstep-have moved dance music out of the clubs and into the stadiums, Ridha is quick to acknowledge the old school house and acid records that shaped him as a DJ; the very same records that continue to bubble up as an influence on Out of the Black.
"I never compromise when it comes to creative or musical things," says Ridha. "I only do what I think is cool and what I like. It's not about what the market wants or what people expect. Maintaining artistic freedom has always been the most important thing to me - for my own music or for anyone on my label." As for the title of his new record, Ridha explains that this music isn't coming from out of the blue. In fact, it's the opposite. "I tend to make and produce music only at night," he says. "I also generally only perform at night, so this is music that's coming totally out of the black. Also, they say the color black can absorb all other colors, which is a cool way to think about making music. You absorb every other kind of music-every possible sound-and what comes out of you is something new, something out of the black."1. What You Want
4. ICH R U
5. Rocky 2
6. Ich Jack
7. Circus Full Of Clowns (feat. Gizzle)
8. Touch It
9. Conchord (feat. Siriusmo)
12. Got It (feat. Snoop Dogg)
14. Yellow (feat. Siriusmo)$24.99Vinyl LP + CD - 3 LPs Sealed Buy Now
LOSE"LOSE is a very apropos title because it refers not only to losing Ben, but also it's about a sort of nostalgia, a longing for a time when music meant everything to you and your friends, and it seemed like one great rock record could change everyone's life the way it changed yours," says D'Agostino. "It's about being in mourning for your long-held belief that music could literally change the world. That's the contradiction at the heart of LOSE... You're disillusioned, but somehow you can do nothing else but rail against that feeling mightily and try, once again, to make a record that makes you and everyone else 'wake up wanting to listen to records'."And indeed, the band, rounded out by bassist Matthew Whipple, keyboardist Brian Hamilton, and drummer Andrew Dole, alongside producer John Agnello, do little wallowing. This is a raucous affair, an Irish Wake, ultimately rooted in nothing less than a celebration of just being alive."I think this one is obviously more accessible than Why There Are Mountains or Lenses Alien," says D'Agostino, referring to the band's first two LPs, their debut having been awarded Pitchfork's coveted Best New Music. "The first two had a lot more stop and start," he continues. "This one has a ton of momentum. It's got fluidity and grace. I think I gave the lyrics more room to breathe, so you can kind of follow what's going on."1. Jackson
4. Place Names
5. Child Bride
9. 2 Hip Soul$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Eternally EvenIn regards to his second full-length, Jim James says I wanted to make an album that hopefully speaks to the issues of the day, many of which, sadly, are issues we have been dealing with since the beginning of time. Most of what I think about right now is how so many things in the world are SO fucked up- our political system is broken and corrupt...our earth is being destroyed by climate change...people are not treating each other with equality and respect... and I think- are we going to make it? Are we going to figure it out and fix it before it's too late? Can we ever truly open our hearts and embrace love in all its beautiful forms? I think it's still possible. I still have hope in humanity. I'm just trying to be a part of the discussion and encourage people to speak out for equality, to not be afraid to speak out for peace and love. All of us feel afraid at times in these absolutely insane times, but it's important we speak our minds, cast our votes, and do not give in to fear and hatred.1. Hide In Plain Sight
2. Same Old Lie
3. Here In Spirit
4. The World's Smiling Now
5. We Ain't Getting Any Younger Pt. 1
6. We Ain't Getting Any Younger Pt. 2
7. True Nature
8. In The Moment
9. Eternally Even$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Be More KindFrank Turner has announced his seventh studio album, Be More Kind, which is set for release via Interscope Records. Months after the release of Songbook, a career-spanning retrospective which also saw reworked versions of tracks from across the past decade, Be More Kind represents a thematic and sonic line in the sand for the 36-year-old. The new album combines raw political and personal universal anthems with the intricate folk and punk roar trademarks of Turner's sound imbued with new, bold experimental shades.
Be More Kind was produced by Charlie Hugall (Florence And The Machine, Halsey) and White Denim's Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block. "I wanted to try and get out of my comfort zone and do something different," says Turner. Originally, he contacted Jenkins and Block at their Niles City Sound studio in Fort Worth, Texas with the idea of recording a soul album in the vein of Dexys Midnight Runners. He found they were equally enthusiastic when he changed his mind and decided he wanted to record a more rock-led album with tints of electronic pop. "I have an obscure corner of my music taste where I'm into glitch electronic music and Warp Records," says Turner. "It's not an electronic record but I got into arpeggiator synths." While 2015's Positive Songs for Negative People was cut in nine intense days, Be More Kind was made over a period of seven months giving Turner the opportunity to turn songs on their head, try different versions, and shake up the dynamics within his band.
Turner was halfway through writing a very different sort of album, a concept record about women from history who had been ignored, when he was reading a collection of Clive James's poetry and one particular line compelled him to re-think his direction. The line, from a poem called Leçons Des TÉnèbres, reads: "I should have been more kind. It is my fate / To find this out, but find it out too late." "It devastated me the first time I read it," Turner says. "A lot of older, wiser people tend to say things like that, that the things that come out in the wash at the end of a human life are the way you treated the people around you. In the modern world, that's a lesson that all of us, myself included, could do to learn."
Turner and his band, The Sleeping Souls, were touring America in 2016 "when the world decided to go collectively nuts" and the songs that make up Be More Kind started to come together. "Somewhere in the record, there's a convergence of the ideas of personal and political, which is a central theme of the album," Turner says. One of the other driving themes of the album is empathy, even for your enemy. "You should at least be able to inhabit the mental universe of the people you disagree with. If you can't do that, then how do you communicate with people other than through force of arms, which is something we all agree is a bad idea."
The first track to be released from Be More Kind is "1933", a clattering, state-of-the-nation anthem. Furious and direct, it's inspired by articles Turner saw that suggested the alt-right was punk rock. "That filled me with a mixture of incredulity and anger," says Turner. "The idea that Breitbart or Steve Bannon think they have anything to do with punk rock makes me extremely angry." The other theme in the track is summed up by the line, "If I was one of the greatest generation / I'd be pissed / I'd be screaming at my grandkids / that we already did this." "These ideas are surfacing again that collectively as a species we've already shot down," says Turner.1. Don't Worry
3. Little Changes
4. Be More Kind
5. Make America Great Again
6. Going Nowhere
7. Brave Face
8. There She Is
9. 21st Century Survival Blues
11. Common Ground
12. The Lifeboat
13. Get It Right$25.99Vinyl LP -Sealed Buy Now
I'm Not The DevilCody Jinks was raised on country music but he cut his teeth on metal. "Metallica was king. They set the tone for me and I spent a good part of my youth wanting to be James Hetfield." After a dedicated stint as a frontman in a thrash metal band, Jinks willingly found himself back to where it all began. "My dad loved the outlaw country icons, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. That never ending consistency of incredible music growing up laid some very deep seeds. I'm mean, come on nothing better than mentally diving into 'The Hag' and metal when it comes time for me to write songs."
Always avoiding trends and ferociously choosing his direction was the only option from day one, even though that very path could have prevented success. "What is success if you can't wake up everyday being who you really are. In the end, that will catch up with you." Jinks has been tested countless times by his career choices. The better part of the last 15 years have included numerous empty bar rooms and a never ending financial loss. "Yeah, I've been pretty good at losing money. Not the greatest feeling in the world to be gone from home for long stretches of time, only to walk in the door broke. Luckily I've got a damn good woman in my life. She has stood by me with unmeasurable strength to say the least and it is an absolute fact that I seriously overplayed my hand when landing her."
His long, dark beard and endless array of tattoos are no fad. They unquestionably define Cody Jinks. His prototypical metal/hard rock band frontman look is not a well orchestrated image, but again, define Cody Jinks. Diving into to his album, I'm Not the Devil is the perpetual truth of who he is and where he has found himself at this point in his career. "I'm just glad that I ended up where I am now," Jinks said. "It makes complete sense that I'm at this place in my life. Country music found me when I was young and chased me down as I grew older"
Jinks' latest project is his deepest, darkest and most provocative album to date, with a metal common denominator, the apocalypse, running throughout the record. "It's a pretty scary time," Jinks said. "There are some evil people running things in the world. It hits me since I have a six and three-year old."
There's not a weightier song than the aptly titled "Heavy Load." It's the most apocalyptic song on the album but the dense cut, with a pretty violin break, is a gorgeous tune. The vocal hook grabs ears when Jinks croons "Train Jumps Tracks Some Time Ago/You Can't Root That Heavy Load." "That was the last song I wrote on the record," Jinks said. "I couldn't be happier how that one turned out."
"All You Can" features a pretty piano line and sobering wordplay. When Jinks belts out 'What Are You Living For," you can't help but think about the serious question posed in what is becoming an increasingly shallow existence. "I was really tired when I wrote that song," Jinks said. "We had been on the road for awhile. The bottom line is that if you're not helping people, you're not doing your job as a human being. It's time to quit feeling sorry for yourself and do something."
One of Jinks' favorite songs on the album is "The Way I Am," a cover of a Merle Haggard classic. "I love that song," Jinks says. "I wrapped it up just before Merle died. The song always resonated with me. I relate to that one since there are times I would rather be out fishing."
"No Words" is a stunner of a gritty, autobiographical love song, which is a throwback to how songs used to be written. It is a tuneful gem, inspired by reality. Jinks starts out dark as night. "My Whole View of the World has Changed/ I Guess that Comes with Age/I Don't Believe there is Good in Every Man Like I Did Back Then/I May Drink More Than I Should/You've Seen Me on the Floor/I Spent my Lifetime in this Cage I Built Around Me." But the song is actually a tip of the hat to his beloved wife of 19 years. "There Aint' No Words/ To Say How Much I Need You/With You Here/ You Make This Life I Lead Worth Living." "It's about my wife," Jinks says. "But the funny thing is that she doesn't like it. She thinks it sounds too sad."
With the title track "I'm Not the Devil," Jinks wakes us all up to the realities of mistakes and the heartfelt desire to be forgiven. "We are all guilty of mistakes and very guilty of pointing out the mistakes of others. Forgiveness feels so much better or so I think."
It's impressive how Jinks is getting his message across. Jinks utilizes space well in his songs. Notes aren't crammed in. Jinks lets his songs breathe. "After all I've experienced, I think I've matured," Jinks says. "I think you can hear it in the music. I've grown up."
Even though he still looks the part of the headbanger he was back in the day, he has moved on. "It's all for the best, Jinks says. "I'm where I was meant to be."
It's all about the music and the fans, who are the fuel that drives Jinks. "They come out night after night giving up hard earned money and precious time to see me play," Jinks says. " It's truly is amazing when you really think about it. The best way I can say thanks is by giving back with effort and gratitude."1. The Same
2. I'm Not the Devil
3. No Guarantees
4. No Words
5. Give All You Can
6. She's All Mine
7. The Way I Am
8. Chase That Song
9. Heavy Load
11. Church at Gaylor Creek
13. Hand Me Down$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Women & WorkATO Records is proud to announce the release of Women & Work, the new studio album from Memphis, TN's Lucero. Recorded at the historic Ardent Studios in Memphis, Women & Work was produced and mixed by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly) and finds the band making an impressive step forward in both songwriting and in the evolution of their signature Memphis rock and soul sound. Frontman Ben Nichols says, This record is Lucero doing what we do best. It's one part barrelhouse rock & roll and one part lonesome nights. The thing is, we are having more fun than ever playing both on stage and off and I think that shows on this album. Gatefold vinyl with CD.1. Downtown (Intro)
2. On My Way Downtown
3. Women & Work
4. It May Be Too Late
6. Who You Waiting On?
7. I Can't Stand to Leave You
8. When I Was Young
10. Like Lightning
11. Go Easy$19.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
UNIM-ART-5116xBroken Social Scene
Hug Of Thunder"I don't want to go out there being presumptuous," Kevin Drew says, "because, I've worn those presumptuous shoes before, and you don't want it to feel like, 'Oh, what a let-down.'" That's the fear when you bring back one of music's most beloved names seven years after their last album. But with Hug of Thunder, the fifth Broken Social Scene album, Drew and his bandmates have a right to feel presumptuous.
They have that right because they have created one of 2017's most sparkling, multi-faceted albums. On Hug of Thunder the 15 members of Broken Social Scene - well, the 15 who play on the record, including returnees Leslie Feist and Emily Haines - refract their varying emotions, methods, and techniques into something that doesn't just equal their other albums, but surpasses them. It is righteous but warm, angry but loving, melodic but uncompromising. The title track on its own might just be the best thing you will hear all year - a song that will become as beloved as "Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" from their breakthrough album, You Forgot It In People.
Its title, Drew says, captured what he wanted people to feel about the group's comeback, and how they sound playing together again: "It's just such a wonderful sentiment about us, coming in like a hug of thunder."
Broken Social Scene had reconvened, in varying forms, several times over the past four years - the odd festival show here and there, preferably ones that involved the least possible traveling. But the idea that they might turn their hand to something more than greatest-hits sets had been stirring since November 2014, when producer Joe Chiccarelli told Drew the group needed to make a new album.
"He started showing up at our label, asking if we were going to make an album," Drew recalls. "He just didn't give up; he just kept saying, 'You've got to strike, you've got to do this, the time is now,' and so finally we agreed."
As might be expected to be the case with a many-headed hydra of a group, getting all the principals to agree wasn't easy. Drew's co-founder Brendan Canning was keen, but Drew and fellow BSS lifer Charles Spearin took more persuading. A turning point for Drew came with the Paris terror attacks of November 2015, which made him feel the world needed an injection of positivity: "It just sort of made us want to go out there and play. Because I think we've always been a band that's been a celebration."
Canning picks up the story: "By autumn of 2015 we had started getting together and trying some ideas out, just getting back in that jam space, in Charles' garage. Then we set up shop in my living room and we were starting to come together in a very familiar kind of way, jamming in the living room, eating meals in the kitchen together, because that's what the band is about: 'Hey, let's all get on the same page and get the energies flowing in the same direction.'"
Recording finally began in April 2016 at The Bathouse studio on the shores of Lake Ontario, with later sessions in Toronto and Montreal, before the group went right back to basics. "It was very beautiful the way that it ended in Charlie's little rehearsal garage space," Drew says, "after going to all these studios. We just worked there, doing backup vocals and handclaps and all the shit we used to do when we were younger." And then it was to Los Angeles, where the album was mixed.
The result is a panoramic, expansive album, 53 minutes that manages to be both epic and intimate. In troubled times it offers a serotonin rush of positivity: "Stay Happy" lives up to its title, with huge surges of brass that sound like sunshine bursting through clouds. "Gonna Get Better" makes a promise that the album is determined to deliver. That's not to say it's an escapist record: Broken Social Scene is completely engaged, wholly focussed, and not ignoring the darkness that lurks outside. But there is no hectoring, no lecturing, but a recognition of the confusion and ambiguity of the world. As the title track closes with Leslie Feist murmuring "There was a military base across the street," the listener is caught in the division between the national security provided by national defense, and the menace of the same thing.
The gestation of Hug of Thunder was no idyll. When You Forgot It in People made their name, Broken Social Scene were young men and women. Fifteen years on, they were adults in or on the cusp of middle age, and - as Drew puts it - "all the adult problems in the world were happening around us individually, whether it was divorce or cancer". Three members of the band lost their fathers while the album was being recorded, "and it seemed like the days of going in the studio, getting stoned, drinking five beers and saying, 'Who gives a fuck?' were over".
Then there's the fact of the size of the ensemble, and the number of competing voices. "You don't always get the final say with Broken Social Scene," Canning says, with a certain degree of understatement. He compares the process of getting everyone to agree on a song to party politics: "It's like you're trying to get a bill passed through the House - you have to be really committed to wanting to win."
But, still, if they were to return, it had to be with everybody, no matter if that meant things might get unwieldy. "I'd like to believe that Broken Social Scene can be whatever it can be," Canning says, "but I think the fact we'd gone away for so long meant we really, we really couldn't have done the same thing without everyone involved, you know?" The story of Broken Social Scene, he insists, was built on the involvement of everyone, and so if the story was to be continued, those same people had to return.
"The thing that has changed is that the relationships between us are established," Drew suggests. "And in a family, you ebb and flow and you come and you go and you're in love and then you're annoyed - but it's established now, the relationships aren't going anywhere, you know? And I think through time, because we've been through so much together, personally and professionally, when we're all on stage, everybody knows what they're doing, everybody has a melody to back up someone else, you feel supported, you're a crew, there's nothing but protection all around you."
Canning picks up the theme: "Before we were making this record, I said to everyone: 'We all basically want the same thing, we might just have slightly different roadmaps on how to get there. So how do we stray off on certain country roads but get back onto the main thoroughfare?'"
That Broken Social Scene was a family again, driving along the same main road, became apparent to UK fans in September 2016, when the group - with Ariel Engle the latest woman to assume the role of co-lead vocalist - came over for less than a handful of festival shows, to test the waters. Their Sunday teatime appearance at End Of The Road - an ecstatic hour of maximalist music, physically and emotionally overwhelming - ended up being one of the biggest hits of the festival. It achieved what Drew has always felt music needed to do: it created transcendence, a pocket of time where everyone present was living only in the moment.
"My 11-year-old nephew asked me, 'Uncle Kev, why do adults get drunk?' and I looked at him and thought, 'OK, brilliant question, I'm going to give a brilliant answer,'" Drew recalls. "And I looked at him for about 10 seconds and I said, 'Because they want to feel like you. Because they want to feel like a kid again, they want to forget everything, they want to be innocent.' We are built in a way now where you can't do that because you're walking around with the anti-transcendence box in your pocket, and in your hand, and in your home, and on your bedside table: it's the anti-transcendence. It's called your phone! And we're getting killed, we're getting killed!"
So what do Broken Social Scene want listeners to take from Hug of Thunder? Canning wants it to make them "pause for the cause and maybe just leave things in your life alone for 53 minutes". For Drew, it's about what it's always been about: making the connection. "I just hope they understand that there's others out there, that they're not alone," he says. "I know that's silly! But you'd be surprised how many times I've had to tell people, 'Hey, you're not alone on this, you're not alone thinking these things.' I mean, with the title Hug of Thunder, I want to hold people. I want to fucking hold them. And when we do shows, I'm not: 'Look at me, I'm elevated up on the stage,' It's: 'We're here with you, this is us together.' Broken Social Scene is about the people, and it's always been about the people."1. Sol Luna
2. Halfway Home
3. Protest Song
5. Stay Happy
6. Vanity Pail Kids
7. Hug of Thunder
8. Towers and Masons
9. Victim Lover
10. Please Take Me With You
11. Gonna Get Better
12. Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Deer Tick Vol. 2The best art often challenges widely held preconceptions about performance and beauty.We're moved when we find the sublime in the gross, entranced when crassness collides with grace. It makes poetic sense that one of this practice's finest current purveyors is named after a blood-sucking survivor.
Deer Tick: undercutting expectations since 2004.
I think a lot of my favorite artists have always done stuff like that, Deer Tick front man John McCauley says from his home in Nashville, reflecting on his band's love of unexpected mashups: tender lyrics layered over pissed off guitars; classical music flourishes delivered nearly naked and high. Deer Tick's perfected it all, mostly as an outlier, revered by a legion of fans, respected by peers, but not part of any one scene. With their highly anticipated new project(s), two new albums released simultaneously titled Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol.2, the crew from Rhode Island prove that their punk-roots rock has only gotten better with age.
Ambitious and smart, the twin albums complement one another but also stand independently.Vol. 1 is classic Deer Tick: folk-rooted acoustic guitars and soft piano cushion out-front vocals. Vol. 2 commits wholly to the band's longtime garage-rock flirtations for a triumphant foray into punk.
McCauley sees the two records as a natural progression. I think it's something that wa sbound to happen, just because I've always had one foot in each door, he says. Every album we've put out has had its manic moments in one way or another. I felt good enough about everything that I was writing to think that we could truly separate our two big interests: quiet and loud.
It's been four years since Deer Tick's last release Negativity, and devotees have grown restless. It wasn't that the band-made up of McCauley, guitarist Ian O'Neil, drummer DennisRyan, and bassist Christopher Ryan-was withholding information. They just weren't sure they had anything more to share. It wasn't anything that we actually talked about, McCauleysays. We never said, 'Hey, we should take a break,' or 'Maybe this isn't working anymore.'We just took some time off. We'd just done our 10-year anniversary shows, and I had a kid like two weeks later. He pauses before adding with a hint of a laugh, We just kind of got comfortable away from each other.
McCauley, O'Neil, and the two Ryans popped up solo and on others' projects. Personal lives also underwent massive changes, especially for McCauley, who married Vanessa Carlton and became a dad. The couple's little girl is now two years old. For the first time ever, Deer Tick-an all-consuming band known for constant touring and steady artistic output-took a backseat.
When the band came back together for their beloved after-party shows at the Newport Folk Festival, the reunion reminded them what they missed about creating with one another.Playing that week with the guys made me really want to do it-it made everyone want to do it, McCauley says. So we started making some plans to go in the studio.
The result, recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, is a bold double punch that reminds us not only why Deer Tick has been so missed, but why they've become important artists. The songwriting on both volumes is masterful. McCauley wrote most of the tunes alone, but O'Neil and Dennis Ryan also make killer contributions. Self-aware and never self important,McCauley excels at provocative lyrics that are sometimes confessional, sometimes accusatory. His compositions capture those internal contradictions that define us, like rock and-rollsongs of myself delighting in the multitudes and putting them on display.
Vol. 1 opener Sea of Clouds is a dreamy mediation on letting go, featuring stripped down instrumentation that swells into a mini-symphony, all anchored by angelic harmonies and McCauley's familiar melodic snarl. It's not the only time McCauley mulls over what it takes to move on. Heart-tugging Only Love mixes sadness and hope for a snapshot of impending loss. I thought, 'Nobody writes a song about that kind of weird, ominous feeling you get inthe final 24 to 48 hours of a relationship,' McCauley says. I wanted to capture that mood in a song.
Sauntering Card House is a flamenco-soaked threat with grotesque imagery, while lounge readyCocktail is a wry, piano-fueled stroll through fond boozy memories. I guess it's kindof a song about my strange relationship with alcohol-I'm still learning how to deal with it,McCauley says. I'm not a teetotaler. I've tried that. It's not for me. I'm not into the support group thing. I enjoy life with a drink. Trying to keep my life in balance can be hard, but it's something I'm capable of doing now.
Tricky relationships with drugs and alcohol are addressed in different ways on both volumes.Hushed Vol. 1 closer Rejection pulses with vulnerability. I wrote it about trying to help somebody in some way, McCauley says. What was going through my mind but I didn't say in the lyrics is just reaching your hand out to somebody who's going through substance abuse problems. Vol. 2's Jumpstarting-a favorite track of McCauley's-offers the same kind of lifeline: he shouts startlingly sweet promises over crunchy guitars.
Look How Clean I Am immediately follows. Written and sung by O'Neil, the song doesn't poke fun at sobriety but offers a droll take down of how some use it as a means or marketing vehicle to further celebrity. It's one of many genuinely funny moments on the project. JumpingS.M.F., (aka Shitty Music Festival) written and delivered by McCauley, takes hilarious shots at a summer institution. I thought I'd write that one for any band who's ever had a bad time at a music festival. It's one of my attempts at humor on the record, but then it just kind of comes off as anger, McCauley says with a laugh.
McCauley wrote gorgeous instrumental Pulse thinking about the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. He lets his piano do the talking. It's a Whale is punk perfection, all screams and growling guitars. That's probably the most political I'll ever get in a song, McCauley says. I tried to put myself in the really dark head space of maybe a men's rights activist or something like that while trying to poke fun at it. His chants of Atta boy! Atta girl! are the ideal blend of smirk-inducing and scary.
McCauley says he believes Sea of Clouds and It's a Whale probably best capture theextremities of both records. He's right, of course: it's Vol. 1's quiet vs. Vol. 2's loud-Deer Tick's dual personalities, finally channeled onto two distinct and equally brilliant records.These albums represent a new phase of my life that I haven't entirely figured out yet,McCauley says. I don't really know what's going to happen, but that's part of the excitement for me.1. Don't Hurt
3. Look How Clean I Am
4. It's a Whale
5. Tiny Fortunes
7. Wants / Needs
10. Mr. Nothing Gets Worse$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
CurrentsFirst Pressing Limited to 1500 on Blue-Green Haze Vinyl
Includes Download Card with WAV Files
The album was self-recorded and self-produced in their home studio in Tyler, TX - the band's first time recording completely independently, which proved to be a rejuvinating and rewarding process.
The new album sees Eisley's signature tapestry of rich harmonies, delicately woven over the band's most intricate instrumentations yet. The relaxed, creative setting also allowed for the band's most collaborative effort to date, seeing more prominent bass and guitar lines than ever before, a song written and sung by lead guitarist Chauntelle DuPree-D'Agostino (her first ever full-song solo lead vocal performance), and guest performances from Merriment and Say Anything's Max Bemis.
"Currents is honestly the first time we've had total and complete free reign over the making of one of our records and it felt so liberating. We were able to dig deeper musically; There are lusher arrangements and more abstract themes. I feel like we really were able to experiment this time in the studio while still enjoying doing what we love which is essentially writing pop songs," explains vocalist/guitarist Sherri DuPree-Bemis.
"I think our fans have always appreciated that Eisley doesn't sound exactly like every other band and I think we've succeeded in taking that element a bit further on this record. We're more confident as a band than we have ever been. I think the people that have always loved the darker, whimsical side of our sound will be very pleased with the songs on this record while the people who have enjoyed what's melodic, simple and sweet about Eisley will be quite pleased as well. The title Currents, to me, is relevant to how we feel as a band at this point in our career. The current is constantly moving and flowing no matter what and that's what we've always done together and plan to keep doing."1. Currents
2. Blue Fish
3. Drink The Water
4. Save My Soul
6. Real World
7. Wicked Child (feat. Merriment)
8. Find Me Here
9. Wonder English
10. Lost Enemies
11. The Night Comes
12. Shelter$16.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
REDD-MET-3615xThe Black Dahlia Murder
NightbringersAny band that has earned an army of devout followers through dropping seven killer full-lengths - and touring their collective ass off for sixteen years - could perhaps be forgiven for thinking they could take it easy as they wade into their eighth release. But that's just not The Black Dahlia Murder's style, and Nightbringers is testament to that. Having released their most accomplished, aggressive, and emotionally diverse music to date in the form of 2015's Abysmal, the Michigan quintet have once more pushed themselves to new heights, and the 34 minutes of searing melodic death metal that comprises Nightbringers is riveting listening. "I always feel a responsibility to the people who support this band when we start making a new record," asserts vocalist Trevor Strnad. "The pressure that comes from people being excited to hear what you come up with next can be intimidating, but it's so exciting that those people love you so much for just doing what you do. It makes you want to honor what you've done in the past, but also excite them with where you go next, and that definitely drove us on Nightbringers. When we started writing I honestly didn't know we had this album in us, and I feel really proud of it. It's a great moment for us."
Rather than meticulously plan things out or stick rigidly to any kind of template, when it comes to writing The Black Dahlia Murder prefer to let things happen organically. In the hands of guitarist Brian Eschbach - who co-founded the band with Strnad in 2001 - and new recruit Brandon Ellis (Cannabis Corpse/ex-Arsis) Nightbringers is rich with dynamic riffs that are at once fresh and classic TBDM, resulting in a collection that shifts through many moods and effortlessly incorporates various elements of extreme metal. With guitarist Ryan Knight having amicably stepped down in 2016, the addition of twenty-four-year-old Ellis to the band's ranks has helped usher in an exciting new era. "He's very professional for his age, I think he's skilled far beyond his years, and his live energy is exceptional. When Max (Lavelle, bass) joined the band he challenged a lot of us on stage to raise our personal bar, and Brandon's pushed that even further," states Strnad. "Brandon coming into the band and writing a bunch of songs was an awesome surprise too. He really took the reins, and this record is also the most involved that Alan (Cassidy drums) has been too. The way that we were doing the demos and bouncing things back and forth he had a lot of room to do what he wanted to do, and I think it's definitely a more colorful album for that. I also think as we get older the emotional content goes up. I think we better realize how to grip the listener. Personally, I try to write lyrics that are going to match each part, and kind of ramp up those feelings that we're putting across." Strnad's statements are vividly borne out by every moment of Nightbringers. For fans attending 2017's Summer Slaughter tour, the first taste of of the record came with the inclusion of the title track in their set, which has an undeniable immediacy to it, rich with hooks and boasting a "circusy, evil and playful" air. By contrast, "Catacomb Hecatomb" is suffused with tragedy, the mournful tone of its slower passages deeply affecting. This too is dramatically different to "As Good As Dead", which has some swagger to it that Strnad likens to Megadeth, or "Matriarch", described by Eschbach as a "wild, neoclassical romp" and stands as one of the most cutthroat and all out aggressive tracks in the quintet's arsenal. Upon first hearing the latter, Strnad was intent on matching its visceral intensity. "I felt inspired to write very violent lyrics to it. It's told from the perspective of a woman who is trying to have a child and not having any luck, and she goes kind of crazy and stalks this other woman who is due to have a child. She finds her moment to take it from her, cutting it right out of her stomach." While Strnad explores a variety of themes and ideas with his lyrics, they are united by the album's title, which embraces a tenet that has been central to The Black Dahlia Murder's output since the very beginning. "A lot of archaic ideas that are still upheld - such as marriage and monogamy - came from Christianity, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, and to me, death metal has always been bucking that. It's 'being-the-villain music', because we're the enemy of Christianity, the enemy of all that is good and traditional. Death metal is for free thinkers, it's for showing people the path to inner strength and operating on your own will, instead of being told what to do and living in fear, and songs like the title track and "Kings Of The Nightworld" are about leading a legion of awakened minds into battle." Following this theme also motivated Strnad to forge into ever-darker territory, even when this meant tearing things up and starting over. "I felt I needed to rise to the occasion to make as much of the blood and guts and heinousness as possible, and there was actually a couple of points where I rewrote some songs. I just didn't feel like they were dark enough, or violent enough, so I was really trying to ramp up the monstrous aspects of things, and definitely trying in different ways to take down tradition."
Rather than decamp to a single studio, the members split off when it came time to start laying down the songs - all well versed in how to get the best out of their individual performances. With former bassist Ryan Williams once again assisting, the drums were tracked at The Pipe Yard in Plymouth, Michigan and rhythm guitars in the band's practice space in Warren, Michigan [was bass tracked there too?]. Ellis then recorded his many blistering solos in his home studio, while Strnad headed to Full Force Studios on Long Island, with Joe Cincotta (Suffocation, Internal Bleeding) overseeing his sessions. For the unique and haunting cover art they turned to Kristian Wåhlin, aka Necrolord, who has designed seminal artwork for the likes of At The Gates, Bathory, Emperor and also TBDM's 2007 release, Nocturnal. "I think he's the most prominent artist when it comes to classic releases in the melodic death metal genre, and kind of bringing things full circle with it being the ten-year anniversary of Nocturnal felt right. By now people probably wouldn't have expected us to go back to him, so it's kind of a surprise, but at the same time it's a very classic cover too." With the band celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the aforementioned album by playing it in its entirety on Summer Slaughter, it has given them a moment to reflect not only on the road that has led them to here but also that which lies ahead. "When I think back to when we started the band I feel very proud of everything we've done, and I also see a lot of improvement over the years," says Strnad. "In the early songs I can hear us as kids, and then segueing into our adulthood as musicians and writers, but sixteen years in I still feel young as a band. I feel like we have a shit ton left to do, and I think we're sitting pretty with the best lineup we've ever had. I also think Nightbringers could be our finest hour yet. I feel very strongly that it will affect people, I want to get all of these songs in people's ears, and I want them to check out everything we've got on this record. There's so much variety and so many great ideas, and I think that this could take us to another place."1. Widowmaker
2. Of God and Serpent, of Spectre and Snake
6. Kings of the Nightworld
7. Catacomb Hecatomb
8. As Good as Dead
9. The Lonely Deceased$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
BeulahBeulah. It's a small, complicated word with a tangle of meanings.
It's the title of John Paul White's new album, his first in nearly a decade, a remarkably and assuredly diverse collection spanning plaintive folk balladry, swampy southern rock, lonesome campfire songs, and dark acoustic pop. Gothic and ambitious, with a rustic, lived-in sound, it's a meditation on love curdling into its opposite, on recrimination defining relationships, on hope finally filtering through doubt.
Beulah is also a White family nickname. "It's a term of endearment around our house," White explains, "like you would call someone 'Honey.' My dad used to call my little sister Beulah, and I call my daughter Beulah. It's something I've always been around."
Beulah is also something much loftier. For the poet and painter William Blake, Beulah was a place deep in the collective spiritual unconscious. "I won't pretend to be the smartest guy in the world," says White, "but I dig a lot of what he's written. Beulah was a place you could go in your dreams. You could go there in meditation, to relax and heal and center B photo credit: Allister Ann 119 west 57th street, penthouse north, new york, ny 10019 t 212.741.1000 www.sacksco.com SACKS A CO. N D yourself. It wasn't a place you could stay, but you came back to the world in a better state."
And perhaps the music on this album originated in that "pleasant lovely Shadow where no dispute can come." According to White, the songs came to him unbidden-and not entirely welcome. "When these songs started popping into my head, I had been home for a while and I was perfectly happy. I wasn't looking for songs. I didn't know whether any would pop back in my head again, and I was honestly okay with that. I'm a very happy father and husband, and I love where I live. I love working with artists for a label that I think is doing good work."
Far from the grind and glamour of Nashville-where he worked for years as a working songwriter before stepping into the spotlight himself-White settled in his hometown of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a wellspring of gritty Southern rock and soul since the 1960s. Together with Alabama Shakes keyboard player Ben Tanner and Shoals native Will Trapp, he founded and runs Single Lock Records, a local indie label that has released records by some of the Yellowhammer State's finest, including Dylan LeBlanc, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and legendary songwriter and keyboard player Donnie Fritts. The label is based in a small ranch house a stone's throw from White's own home, which would come in handy when those songs started invading his head.
"Honestly, I tried to avoid them, but then I realized the only way I was going to get rid of them was if I wrote them down. I got my phone out and I'd sing these little bits of melody, then put it away and move on. But eventually I got to a place where it was a roar in my head, and that pissed me off." Due to his experiences as a gun-for-hire in Nashville, White was reluctant to romanticize the creative process, to turn it into a spiritual pursuit. "Then one day I told my wife I think I'm going to go write a song. She was as surprised as I was. I went and wrote probably eight songs in three days. It was like turning on a faucet."
Most artists would kill for such a downpour, but White was wary of the consequences. He knew that writing songs would lead to recording them, which would result in releasing them, and that means touring and leaving home for weeks at a time. "As soon as I write a song, I start thinking what other people might think of it. I've talked to friends about this: What is it about us that makes us do that? Why can't I just sit on my back porch and sing these songs out into the ether? I don't have an answer for it yet, but I think it's just part of who I am. I need that reaction. I need to feel like I'm moving someone in a good way or in a bad way. I need to feel like there's a connection."
White threw himself into the project, no longer the reluctant songwriter but a craftsman determined to make the best album possible-to do these songs justice. He cut several songs at the renowned FAME Studios in his hometown, where Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Allmans, the Osmonds, Bobbie Gentry, Arthur Conley, and Clarence Carter recorded some of their most popular hits.
One product of those sessions is "What's So," which introduces itself by way of a fire-andbrimstone riff, as heavy as a guilty conscience-the kind of riff you wouldn't be surprised to hear on a Sabbath album. But White's vocals are gritty and soulful, a product of the Shoals, almost preacherly as he sings about earthly and eternal damnation: "Sell your damn soul or get 119 west 57th street, penthouse north, new york, ny 10019 t 212.741.1000 www.sacksco.com SACKS A CO. N D right with the man, keep treading water as long as you can," he exhorts the listener. "But before you do, you must understand that you don't get above your raisin'." It's the heaviest moment on the record, perhaps the darkest in White's career.
At the other end of the spectrum is "The Martyr," one of the catchiest tunes White has ever penned. The spryness of the melody imagines Elliott Smith wandering the banks of the Tennessee River, yet the song is shot through with a pervasive melancholy as White wrestles with his own demons. "Keep falling on your sword, sink down a little more," he sings over a dexterous acoustic guitar theme. This is not, however, a song about some unnamed person, but rather a pained self-diagnosis: "These are the wounds that I will not let heal, the ones that I deserve and seem so real." White knows he's playing the martyr, but he leaves the song hauntingly open-ended, as though he isn't sure what to do with this epiphany beyond putting it in a song.
The rest of Beulah was recorded in the Single Lock offices/studio near White's home. "I can be more relaxed about the process. We can all just sit there and talk about records or baseball without feeling like someone's standing over our shoulders. That's a big deal to me, not to feel pressured. And I'm only about twenty yards away from home, so I can walk over and throw a baseball with my kids or make dinner with my wife."
Some of the quieter-but no less intense-songs on Beulah were created in that environment, including the ominously erotic opener "Black Leaf" and the Southern gothic love song "Make You Cry." As he worked, a distinctive and intriguing aesthetic began to grow clearer and clearer, one based in austere arrangements and plaintive moods. These are songs with empty spaces in them, dark corners that could hold ghosts or worse. "There were certain moments when Ben and I would finish up a song, listen back to it, and think how in the world did we get here. But that's just what the songs ask for. These are the sounds in my head. This is the sound of me thinking and living and breathing and doing."
Once White had everything assembled and sequenced, it was time to give the album a title, to wrap everything up for the listener. Beulah stuck-not only because of family history or Blake, but because White realized that making music was his own trip to Beulah. "If you had to sum up what music is for most people in this world, it's that. It's that escape. It's that refuge. You go there and you come back and you use that to help you with your life. You always have that as a place to go."1. Black Leaf
2. What's So
3. The Once And Future Queen
4. Make You Cry
5. Fight For You
6. Hope I Die
7. I've Been Over This Before (Feat. The Secret Sisters)
8. The Martyr
9. Hate The Way You Love Me
10. I'll Get Even$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
What A Time To Be AliveAfter the shocking, and for many, demoralizing result of the 2016 election,
"I didn't buy the silver lining some were promoting that 'well, at least art and music will
be great now!'," says Superchunk co-founder and frontman Mac McCaughan.
"Obviously, any sane person would gladly trade four to eight years of terrible music for not
having our country dismantled to satisfy the whims of a vengeful child and his enablers."
That said, good music and art still have a lot to say, and the urgency of
current events gave Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon the momentum to make
something new sooner than later. "It would be strange to be in a band, at least our
band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we
live in and that our kids are going to grow up in." Enter What a Time to Be Alive,
recorded and mixed by Beau Sorenson. It's a record, says Mac, "about a pretty
dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen
Indeed, like so much of Superchunk's music in the band's nearly three
decades together, the songs on What a Time to Be Alive meet rage and anxiety
head-on with the catharsis and exhilaration of loud punk fire and vulnerable
pop energy. Like 2013's I Hate Music, which focused on death, loss, and the
role of music in an aging life, the new record brings spirit to the frontlines of
pain-it's as defiant as it is despairing, as much a call to arms as a throwing up
The record features more guest backing vocalists than any previous
Superchunk album, including Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Katie
Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Skylar
Gudasz, and David Bazan. "Part of that was wanting a feeling of community," says
Mac. "I think that's important to not be completely bummed out about everything all the
Despite the album's driving force, it would be a mistake to call the album
political, which suggests it has anything to do with parties, policy, or anything
that can be broken down into a rational difference of opinion. "We're not trying
to offer policy solutions in the confines of a three-minute song," says Mac. "It's about 'how
do you live / not go crazy' in the current climate when it seems like every day there's a new
outrage being perpetrated."1. What a Time to Be Alive
2. Lost My Brain
3. Break the Glass
4. Bad Choices
5. Dead Photographers
7. I Got Cut
8. Reagan Youth
9. Cloud of Hate
10. All for You
1. Black Thread$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
FFSCollaborations don't work, or that's what FFS would have us believe on their debut
album. When the seminal Los Angeles duo Sparks and Glasgow-based quartet
Franz Ferdinand decided to record together, it was a flawed and potentially
disastrous idea, right? Wrong, as FFS is one of the strongest albums of either bands'
Produced by Grammy-award winning John Congleton (St Vincent, David Byrne)
at London's RAK Studios, the album FFS took 15 days to complete. 'Kimono My
House'-era Sparks fans will recognize how FFS highlights their classic pop rock DNA,
and Franz Ferdinand fans won't be dissapointed to hear the band at their peak of
their powers as they bring their exhilaratingly unique and witty modern rock sound
to the collaboration.
Very much a new project, FFS doesn't truly sound like either band, but a striking and
fascinating mutation. "The real motivation was to make something new, not 'Franz
featuring Russell Mael', or 'Sparks with Franz Ferdinand backing them," says Alex
Kapranos (of Franz Ferdinand).
"You can't chart what is Sparks and what is Franz Ferdinand," suggests Ron Mael (of
Sparks). "I think each band unconsciously relinquished a little of who they were in
order to enter new territory."
So in the right hands, collaborations DO work, and beautifully. The strength of the
two bands is bigger than the sum of the parts.1. Johnny Delusional
2. Call Girl
3. Dictator's Son
4. Little Guy From The Suburbs
5. Police Encounters
6. Save Me From Myself
7. So Desu Ne
8. The Man Without A Tan
9. Things I Won't Get
10. The Power Couple
11. Collaborations Don't Work
12. Piss Off
13. So Many Bridges (Bonus Track)
14. King Of The Song (Bonus Track)
15. Look At Me (Bonus Track)
16. A Violent Death (Bonus Track)$27.99180 Gram Audiphile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Carving Out The Eyes Of God (Awaiting Repress)After the release of A Haunting Curse, Goatwhore stayed busy playing multiple tours across all over the world including a coveted spot on 2007's Sounds of the Underground and 2008's Ozzfest in Texas where metal juggernauts Metallica closed out the day of metal. Other tours and dates included Sunn O))), Hatebreed, All Shall Perish, Celtic Frost, Venom, Fear Factory, Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, God Forbid, and Amon Amarth just to name a few. Obviously Goatwhore kept themselves busy throughout the course of the album cycle playing with a wide variety of bands proving just how multi faceted the group's reach is.
Enter 2009: New Orleans, LA's sons of American no-frills black metal, GOATWHORE, have just announced that the title of their fourth full-length album, and second for Metal Blade, will be Carving Out the Eyes of God. For the follow up to 2006's A Haunting Curse, GOATWHORE headed back to St. Petersburg, FL to record with producer Erik Rutan at Manna Studios with mastering being handled by Alan Douches of West West Side.
Vocalist Ben Falgoust comments on the direction of the new album; I don't really know how to explain this. I don't want to come off with the typical speech about how this record is our best yet and all of that. I will say that I am quite pleased how it has turned out and all parts relating to it. I feel every member put a great deal of effort into their part of the project. I even feel Erik Rutan busted his ass even more this time to make us feel that we didn't take any steps backwards in the recording and production of this release. I don't even really care what the critics say. I think the end result is basically coming up with something you have put a lot of work into and the satisfaction achieved in completing it. I will say that the new material is ripping metal and we still have that 'Goatwhore' sound, whatever that may mean for each individual that enjoys or hates what we do. Just look at it as another step in the evolution of this band. Each person that hears it will have his or her own perception of it. Like it or not, we don't have a say in it. The only thing we can do is just keep writing the way we do and accept the criticism. Doesn't mean we are gonna listen to the criticism and change. Just give it an honest listen and if you dig it, awesome! If you don't, then pass it on to a friend or use it as a new drink coaster.
Guitarist Sammy Duet had this to add; Dark, heavy, evil. Erik Rutan did one hell of a job on it. If you don't like it... kiss my ass.1. Apocalyptic Havoc
2. The All-Destroying
3. Carving Out The Eyes Of God
4. Shadow Of A Rising Knife
5. Provoking The Ritual Of Death
6. In Legions, I Am Wars Of Wrath
7. Reckoning Of The Soul Made Godless
8. This Passing Into The Power Of Demons
9. Razor Flesh Devoured
10. To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Deadweight (Awaiting Repress)Pressed On Colored Vinyl
WAGE WAR If you think that you've already heard it all when it comes to heavy music, you just haven't heard Wage War. The group - which is composed of vocalist Briton Bond, guitarist/vocalist Cody Quistad, guitarist Seth Blake, bassist Chris Gaylord and drummer Stephen Kluesener - formed in Ocala, Florida, in 2013 and instantly started playing all over the area, quickly getting signed to Fearless Records the old fashioned way: By sending a song to the label. From there the group linked up with the production team of Andrew Wade (Neck Deep, Motionless In White) and A Day To Remember vocalist Jeremy McKinnon who produced their 2015 debut Blueprints together and returned to produce the sophomore full-length Deadweight, which the band started writing immediately after they finished their debut.
"I'm very proud of Blueprints but a lot of those songs were written seven years ago so who we are as people and musicians these days is drastically different," Quistad explains - and a listen to Deadweight confirms that statement. "I think a big strength of this new record is the continuity of sitting in a room together and playing instead of trying to send files back and forth," he continues. "We were truly grinding out songs and I think this album still sounds like Wage War but, at the same time, it has some of our most melodic moments as well as some of the heaviest." The latter is evidenced on songs like "Stitch" which is certain to incite frenzied mosh pits for years to come and displays an aggression that the band has only hinted at in the past.
"We really tried to not overthink things on this record and just do whatever worked for the song, even if it was something that people might not necessarily expect," Quistad says. For this reason, the band decided it made sense to enlist the aforementioned producers who truly understood Wage War on a deep level. "There were so many early mornings and late nights making this record and it was such a pleasure to work with Andrew and Jeremy again because you could tell that they really cared about it and would go to any ends to make it the best that it could be." From the explosive production to the alternately screamed and sung vocals of "Don't Let Me Fade Away," all seven of the people involved in the making of TBA worked as one unit in working toward the same collective goal.
Lyrically, Deadweight sees the band exploring both personal to political issues in a way that's as raw and honest as the music that supports them. "This record is very much a snapshot of the past year; we are all very positive people but in 2016 we went through so much from seeing the world for the first time to scraping the bottom at some point emotionally or with relationships," Quistad admits. From 3 a.m. run-ins with refugees in Europe to flying home only to be confronted with the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, there was no shortage of content to draw from this time around. "We didn't hold anything back when it came to this record, so hopefully it's as therapeutic for listeners as it was for us."
In a heavy music scene that's increasingly formulaic, Wage War pride themselves on the fact that they listen to a diverse range of music. "I'm a big fan of country music which surprises a lot of people and other guitarist Seth is really into pop music," Quistad explains. "We have an appreciation for all kinds of stuff and I think that all of it bleeds into the album in some way even if it's not always blatant." Take the song "Johnny Cash" which recalls the country tradition of paying homage to a pioneer of a genre while still retaining the heaviness of the act. "We get called metalcore a lot but we've never pledged allegiance to any genre because we always want to do something beyond that in the sense that we just listen to what we love and try to incorporate that into Wage War."
More than anything though, the band can't wait to get back on the road and start playing the songs from Deadweight live. "We played three hometown shows at the end of last year where we would include a new song and it was so cool to see the crowd react to the new material," Quistad says - and it's obvious that palpable excitement goes both ways. "This album is the truest representation of Wage War in the sense that we wanted to put every part of us under the microscope and come up with something that we're not only proud of but also encompasses what we want to be as a band and the kind of musical statement we want to lay down," he summarizes. "I would say this is a defining album for our band."1. Two Years
3. Don't Let Me Fade Away
8. Never Enough
11. My Grave Is Mine To Dig
12. Johnny Cash$18.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Holding All The RosesI think that this record does a really good job of conveying what we do and what we're about, Blackberry Smoke singer-guitarist-songwriter Charlie Starr says of Holding All the Roses, the band's fourth studio album and its first Rounder release. Indeed, Holding All the Roses compellingly captures the energy, attitude and honesty that have already helped to make Blackberry Smoke one of America's hottest live rock 'n' roll outfits, as well as a grass-roots phenomenon with a large and fiercely loyal fan base that reflects the band's tireless touring regimen and staunch blue-collar work ethic.
The 12-song set-produced by Brendan O'Brien, whose previous production clients have included AC/DC, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young-showcases the Atlanta-based quintet's emotion-charged mix of bluesy rock, gospel soul, and country, with Starr's raspy twang matched by his and Paul Jackson's snarling guitars, Brandon Still's hauntingly expressive organ and piano, and the propulsive sibling rhythm section of Richard and Brit Turner. The songs' musical and emotional appeal is further elevated by the band's three-part vocal harmonies and expanded arrangements that make judicious use of fiddle and added percussion.
The five musicians' instinctive musical rapport manifests itself equally strongly on such surging rockers as Let Me Help You (Find the Door), Living in the Song and Wish In One Hand, and on such intimate, introspective tunes as Woman in the Moon, Too High and the stirring, acoustic-textured No Way Back to Eden. The album's musical and emotional depth demonstrates how Blackberry Smoke continues to extend and expand the Southern rock tradition.1. Let Me Help You (Find the Door)
2. Holding All the Roses
3. Living in the Song
4. Rock and Roll Again
5. Woman in the Moon
6. Too High
7. Wish in One Hand
8. Randolph County Farewell
9. Payback's a Bitch
10. Lay It All on Me
11. No Way Back to Eden
12. Fire in the Hole$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now