STREAMING: Wrekmeister Harmonies’ “You’ve Always Meant so Much to Me”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Wrekmeister2

Do not adjust your volume. Despite a roster of luminaries from the Chicago metal and avant-garde scene, including Jef Whitehead (Leviathan), Sanford Parker (Minsk, Twilight), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), Drew Markuszewski (ex-Nachtmystium, Avichi), and jazz cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, this project from visual artist JR Robinson starts off squarely on the noise/drone end of the extreme spectrum. But don’t worry – even though You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me begins quietly, it doesn’t stay that way. It builds until, a little over halfway through, it erupts into crashing, monumental doom, and you finally understand why Robinson brought in all those monsters of metal. Apparently there’s a visual component, but we don’t have that; we do, however, have a premiere of the full (single track) debut of Wrekmeister Harmonies. So put on your headphones, close your eyes, and prepare to be forcefully transported to the land of the ice and snow.

[Sorry, you missed it! Check out this music video instead, though – it's pretty cool.]

***This LP-only release is pressed on virgin vinyl and presented in a super deluxe old-style tip-on gatefold jacket with exclusive artwork from Simon Fowler (Sunn O))), Boris, Earth, Wolves in the Throne Room). It comes out on June 11, courtesy of Thrill Jockey, but you can preorder it here

Trevor Strnad Track-By-Track Of Black Dahlia Murder’s New Album, Everblack

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, listen On: Monday, June 3rd, 2013

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** The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad details the band’s new album, Everblack, in this track-by-fucking-track run-down. Whether you’ve followed the Detroit-based outfit from their humble Motor City beginnings to the mountainous perch from which they gaze down lovingly and loathingly (that’s a word, shut up) at fans and critics alike, Everblack’s a monster of cross-genre brilliance. So, click play and read along. Sadly, Trevor didn’t include a bouncing dot to punctuate the description to the tunes. Next time, bros.

TRACK 1. “In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me”
The opening sequence of this song puts the listener at Elizabeth Short’s funeral, looking over the shoulder of her killer, who is silently (and anonymously) in attendance. It tells the tale of his brief love affair with The Black Dahlia and his motives for cutting her down in such a grisly, vengeful manner. I’ve wanted to do a song dealing with the actual murder for some time; I thought it would be nice gesture for the fans. When I heard that somber intro and thought immediately of funeral procession, I figured now was time as there was no better way to reassure fans that we haven’t strayed from our sound or intent (nor been negatively affected by the line-up changes) than to drop an actual Black Dahlia Murder song on them. It even has that old Unhallowed feel to it. The song is pretty manic vocally and is gonna be doozy to perform live. Better start my tongue push-ups!

TRACK 2. “Goat Of Departure”
This second song is a real blast heavy tune… fast paced and very melodic. In my mind this is a quintessential Brian Eschbach penned BDM song—nice powered wig (read: classically-influenced) riffage and an ultra-catchy chorus to boot. Lyrically, it deals with the origins of the goat as a symbol of evil and how the lamb came to represent the Christian… the goat of departure was cast out into the desert bearing the sins of man on his back… he was the original scapegoat. It talks about the beginning of the ‘horns’ hand sign that we metal heads know and love… the emblem of our very pride and joy.

TRACK 3. “Into The Everblack”
This song is fucking cool… part futuristic (the chugging syncopated verses) and part old school (the slow ominous chorus). Lyrically speaking the song is about death without salvation or any notion of heaven. It’s saying that when you die you are just dead and nothing happens… You rot and worms crawl into your face. There is a nod to Entombed’s Left Hand Path in the middle of the song where I have incorporated the headstone inscription from the album’s artwork. I thought it would be a cool gesture for any old school fans who were paying attention.

TRACK 4. “Raped In Hatred By Vines Of Thorn”
So obviously about The Evil Dead, a horror movie near and dear to many a metalhead’s heart. Horror and metal have had a long marriage and this is far from the first time a death metal band has commented on the subject (Deicide, Death, and Embalmer spring immediately to mind) but here we have focused on the particularly violent vine rape scene. In my version the woman is pregnant and her baby is eaten from inside of her before she is torn in two by the bewildered vines. Horror, Pain, Gore, Death… the whole nine yards, as they say!

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TRACK 5. “Phantom Limb Masturbation”
This one is slightly influenced by the documentary called Whole. It is about sick people who harbor the desire to have their limbs removed in order to feel more “complete.” These people have some kind of incomplete body map and it causes them to view their limbs as unnecessary and uncomfortable. The character in the song fantasizes from the time he is young about having his arms crushed by a passing train or his legs bitten of by the jaws of a hungry shark in captivity… constantly dreaming of the day when he’ll have a reason to get the extraneous limbs removed for good. This is definitely the heaviest song on the record and has a somewhat Morbid Angel-esque quality to the verse riff that I absolutely love. This is where the slime has been living lately.

TRACK 6. “Control”
“Control” is a concise, catchy number by the amazingly talented Ryan Knight. Ryan has the tendency to write our most melodic songs of recent years, and this one is no exception. My goal here was to take the listener to one Jeffery Dahmer’s apartment… Room 213, to be exact, where he would attempt to zombify living victims in order to keep them as his brain-dead sexual companions. The motivation for his murders was that of control; he feared being abandoned so greatly that he would kill to maintain his company. He drilled into their skulls and poured various chemical concoctions in to dissolve portions of the brain with varying degrees of success. Jeffery Dahmer, this bud’s for you!

TRACK 7. “Blood Mine”
Another Ryan Knight rocker, this one takes the listener below the surface of the earth where a legion of vampires are farming captured human beings for their blood-crazed consumption. They force the terrified humans to reproduce and basically treat them as livestock. I think this is a banger for sure and the chorus is catchy as hell… Feed on the weaklings!!! Harvest this nectar of life!!!

TRACK 8. “Every Rope A Noose”
This is definitely the wildcard song of the album… it has a vehement black n’ roll feel that was something we hadn’t attempted before. The lyrics are written in that total nihilistic black metal attitude… fuck everything and kill yourself.

TRACK 9. “Their Beloved Absentee”
One of the most melodic numbers, this is one of the best song on the album in my opinion. I love the soaring melodies and chunky NYDM style passage near the end. This one is about how God is a twisted and perverted voyeur that enjoys to silently watch as us humans suffer and slowly destroy ourselves.

TRACK 10. “Map Of Scars”
This last song is very dramatic and frosty affair, steeped with Swedish sounding black metal guitar work and an ultra-heavy symphonic intro and outro. The lyrics deal with two girls who have a penchant for mutual mutilation… they masturbate in blood and are covered from head to toe with gnarly scars as a result of their wild and shameful fetish. It talks of their fall from innocence to their corrupted world of promiscuity and filth where they currently writhe.

** The Black Dahlia Murder’s new album, Everblack, is in stores June 11th on Metal Blade Records. Order it HERE or face being metalknapped, blindfolded, thrown into a rusty van, and dropped in the middle of Brightmoor. Trust us, it’s not worth it.

For Those About to Squawk: Waldo’s Pecks of the Week

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, May 31st, 2013

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Holy hell! I’m FIRED the peck up about this band from Baltimore. NOISEM release Agony Defined on A389, and man, is this a ripper! Part old-school Kreator, part old Pestilence at times, these kids — and I do mean kids — get this deathy thrash thing down pat. This thing moves and breathes, and has a stellar production from Kevin Bernsten of Triac fame. Recently opening the Maryland Death Fest, and soon one of the Scion Fests, one should be on the lookout for this monster of a CD/12-inch. There’s enough variance here to not make it samey and boring like a lot of the newer thrash bands. This has one foot FIRMLY in the death vein, and the other in amped-up thrash. Do yourself a favor and check this out. My favorite release of the year so far. 9 Fucking Pecks

Well, I’m on a tear with things I like this time. Seventh Rule release the industrial sludge of AUTHOR & PUNISHER’s Women and Children, and your fine feathered friend has been looking forward to this since the latest release of Ursus Americanus. This is hard to peck down, really, at times sounding like Godflesh or Swans, at times kinda veering off into uncharted sludge territory. This thing is pecking PUMMELING. A one-man band from California who performs with servos and moving machinery that he engineered, the live show is nothing to squawk at either. Industrial, sludge, doom, noise terror. 8 Fucking Pecks.

BLACK DAHLIA MURDER‘s Everblack. Well, one should know what to expect from this melodeath band, this being their sixth release and all. And, well, there’s not much to say about it except that it’s a BDM record. That being said, it’s not derivative or boring. This thing is pretty mean, and melodic at times. The production here is a little dry, but not too dry; everything can be heard clearly and it does have feeling. There’s something in the production I don’t really like that I can’t really put my beak on; maybe it’s a little midrange? It’s hard to really peg down, but it could be my avian ears are a little blown out. This is a fine release, and one the band should be proud of. How many death metal bands can say that their sixth record is great, or even good? Not many, but BDM can certainly fly that flag. Go on with your bad self. 7 Fucking pecks.

Man, I feel almost too positive here. Until we meet again. Waldo out!

We Are All South of Hanneman Now

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured On: Friday, May 31st, 2013

South Han shirt

We all come to grips with death in our own way.  Personal loss has informed much of our favorite music, and last month a much more widely experienced sense of loss affected the heavy music community when Jeff Hanneman passed away.  Artist Justin Bartlett’s tribute to the late guitar hero came about as an online art project called South of Hanneman, as well as a series of t-shirts designed to celebrate Jeff’s life and impact.

The website itself is visually flashy, including a video and various web effects.  Bartlett – whose work been featured front-and-center by Dragged Into Sunlight, Lord Mantis, and Decibel‘s own 2012 tour advertisements - enlisted the help of other artists to realize his vision for the sight.  Mark Riddick is a longtime freelance illustrator whose work has been used by Coffins, Dying Fetus, and Suffocation, and he has designed an incredible “Angel of Death” shirt.  Antichrist Kramer’s paintings have graced albums by Inquisition and Vasaeleth, and the collage-style tee that he created is pretty amazing.  Farron Loathing, poster master for our beloved Maryland Deathfest, loaded up a sweet serpent-n-flames design.  London-based French spit up a great two-color “Altar of Sacrifice” design.

All proceeds from shirt sales will go toward charity, though the artists involved are still open to suggestions as to which charity Jeff would have been proud to benefit.  We’ll all come to grips in our own way, and Bartlett & company’s approach give us lots more reasons to throw horns again.

Addendum:  At the request of the artists, when Tweeting or Instagramming about the project please include “#southofhanneman”.  They will use this to try to keep track of the chatter that the project stirs up.

Also, I should probably mention that Justin told me, after reading the post, “I think I might be getting too much credit there!  These two guys, Jeff (who did the video) and Andrew (concepts and organizing) came up with the idea – but I just made it bigger by asking the other artists.”

Chaos in Tejas Fest: the Gmail Interview

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, uncategorized On: Thursday, May 30th, 2013

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The ninth annual Chaos in Tejas fest begins in Austin, TX tonight. I have barely recovered from last weekend and Maryland Deathfest, but ever since attending CIT for the first time last year, I made the promise to myself that sleep, work and all that other crap can be worried about later when there’s more live extremity to be experienced.

As you can see, there’s a fair amount of crossover with MDF what with Bolt Thrower, Manilla Road, Abigail, Terveet Kadet, Infest, Tragedy, Kromosom and Ice Age. But CIT has its share of highlights (Los Crudos, Final Conflict and Left For Dead) anddoes quite a bit in bringing bands from overseas, especially a shit ton of European and Japanese hardcore bands, though this year appears to be the lightest in terms of content from the Land of the Rising Sun. Oh well. I recently tracked down CIT’s head booker, Timmy “the Texas turd” Hefner for a Gmail chat about the baby he’s been nurturing for nine years with all the short forms and punctuation lapses you’ve come to expect from internet conversations left in for shits and giggles.

Deciblog: OK…so, let’s start from the start. What was the impetus behind starting Chaos in Tejas?
Timmy: Well, I did a fest together with Ken at Prank Records about 10 years ago. The following year me and him started working on another one, but he realized he was just too busy and it didn’t make sense for another one just yet with releases and such not coming out around then for new bands and since we had already started i just decided to do my own
Deciblog: Tell me about the humble beginnings of the first CIT fest.
Timmy: Started with just like 22 bands over like 3 days and only one venue. Now it’s 150 bands and like 10 venues so it’s def grown. Also it was mostly punk when it first started and def has branched out since then as well.

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Deciblog: Aside from being mostly punk, would you say there was a common theme or philosophy about the bands you were booking or what you were trying to accomplish with the fest?
Timmy: I guess punk in mindset was more important then punk sounding and it still is. I mean Dead Moon played one of the early ones and I find them more punk then most things people consider punk. They have been doing their own thing for like 30 years and self-releasing records and recording their own music.
Deciblog: In branching the fest out, have you ever had difficulty when approaching non-extreme music bands when trying to book them?
Timmy: A bit but not so much at this point.
Deciblog: When the fest was small and still featuring mostly punk/HC bands, did the first wave of metal bands you booked have any reservations?
Timmy: Yeah, a bit. The politics, or lack thereof, in metal is hard with the punk community which is built on politics for the most part and i def get it and understand.
Deciblog: Is the number of bands you bring from overseas something that’s always a goal for you?
Timmy: Yeah for sure. The fest has made me able to fly over small bands from Japan and Europe that otherwise couldn’t tour here, which is great. I def grew up on Japanese HC as well as HC from all over.
Deciblog: How long did it take before you had the know-how and $$ to do it “properly” in terms of getting bands visas and all that jazz?
Timmy: I’m still learning! Haha… The visa process is always a learning process and you never know when they will ask for more flyers or more contracts etc, etc.
Deciblog: With regards to the Japanese bands, what’s the process like dealing with them, especially when language is a barrier?
Timmy: Always tricky for sure. I have a lot of really good friends over there, been there like 7 times. So usually I have a friend help me out if they can’t speak English.
Deciblog: Do you speak any Japanese?
Timmy: Nah, I wish. Took classes for a minute but got busy and didn’t go back.

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Deciblog: Is CIT something you do full time, year round? If not, what do you do otherwise?
Timmy: I’m a booking agent at Ground Control Touring. That’s my real job so to speak.
Deciblog: How long does it take to put together the line up each year, generally speaking?
Timmy: Kind of the whole year off and on. Like a lot of the bands playing this year I was working on for last year and they didn’t happen, so they just got pushed up to this year.
Deciblog: How difficult was it to coordinate the fest once it moved to using multiple venues around downtown?
Timmy: I mean of course more work but since i deal with all of those venues year around it’s not so bad
they are all great and know how to run their own shows which helps a lot and all are super close to each other.

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Deciblog: What bands are still on your “bucket list” that you’d like to bring to CIT?
Timmy: Not a ton honestly: Motorhead, Gauze, the Feelies…hmmmmm i’m sure more
Deciblog: What’s been your most memorable or interesting CIT moment?
Timmy: Memorable is hard with so many. I mean it’s fun to put together my dream line ups, but i think maybe Cock Sparrer and Bastard. They are 2 of my all time favorite bands. Bastard had never played the US ever and Cock Sparrer had never played Texas ever and had been like 15 years since they played the US even. I had never seen either and both were dreams come true.
Deciblog: How much are you able to balance out having to work all weekend with taking the time to see the bands you want to see?
Timmy: Def running around all weekend, but I make time to see the stuff I have never seen or really love
Deciblog: What do you feel CIT does differently than other fests?
Timmy: I guess one way it’s mostly different is it’s a bunch of stuff you can’t normally see, one offs and reunions. I try and make it special. Also, I love that it’s all in clubs with no big outside stage. Music like stuff on Chaos doesn’t need to be outside at 2pm.

Decibrity Playlist: Kings Destroy

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, May 30th, 2013

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As someone who takes the subway every day, I’m disappointed in myself for never having thought to pair albums with various lines. So I give loads of credit to Kings Destroy vocalist Steve Murphy for not only coming up with the idea (not to mention his preference for express trains and disdain for the L), but executing it. As you’ll quickly figure out, his band’s roots stem from the very city whose subway cars he has obviously spent a lot of time riding. So, in honor of A Time Of Hunting, the band’s latest record that was just released on Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont’s War Crime Recordings, we welcome you to ride along with him through four of the five boroughs. Feel free to listen along here.

Void/Faith–Split (1982)
D train
The D train runs express in the Bronx. If you stand up front and look out the window at the tracks rolling by at 50 mph, you see SMITH and SANE spray painted on every single I-beam. SANE bombed the Brooklyn Bridge before passing away too young. His brother SMITH is a living legend. This album, especially the Void part with its raw, noisy, discordant and shockingly dark tones, from 1982 is a perfect way to spend time on the subway.

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Bl’ast!–The Power Of Expression (1986)
4 train
These guys produced some of the most crushing music of the era. Again discordant but organized and thoughtful at the same time, juxtaposing deeply thoughtful songs like “The Future” with angry punk/surf songs like “Surf and Destroy”. They blew people away with their loud CBGB matinee. I took the 4 train there that day. It ruled.

Melvins–Stag (1996)
N train

Their last foray on Atlantic. Even weirder than usual for them, with lots of trippy parts mixed with their trademark heaviness. Sometimes you’re standing in a crowded subway stopped between stations and the oppression of being locked in a cement and steel vault 40 feet below the concrete jungle sets in your mind and you just need to block it out. You know people are getting pissed off and you could be there for one minute or one hour. It’s part of riding that damned steel tube for transportation. You turn this album up and and check out of reality, man. It’s a dark freakshow and its had a permanent effect on my psyche.

Bauhaus–In The Flat Field (1980)
J/Z trains

NYC’s most efficient subway from Queens through Brooklyn to Manhattan. What better way to ride this bad boy to the Lower East Side to have a drink at Motor City than to listen to Bauhaus’ first album, kicking off with “Double Dare” and heading straight through “In The Flat Field”. Roll seemlessly through town with your goth look with the almighty “Stigmata Martyr”. You can’t go wrong with this album and you can’t go wrong on the J train either.

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Boogie Down Productions–Criminal Minded (1987)
5 train
The 5 train is a true New Yorkers’ train, servicing a huge part of the Bronx, including the projects that KRS-One lived in. This seminal hip hop album featuring DJ Scott La Rock (RIP) changed hip-hop with its style and message. With samples from AC/DC to James Brown to dancehall reggae
and inflammatory lyrics that ignited cross-borough lyrical warfare, it stands the test of time and has an important place in hip hop and NYC history.

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Cro-Mags–The Age Of Quarrel (1986)
L train
If you have to ride NYC’s official hipster subway line from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I feel for you. It sucks. It’s overcrowded, it’s not serviced well and don’t get me started on the “ridership”. If you are forced to ride this bastard, put your headphones on and turn the Cro-Mags up to 10. Let the Cro-Mag army invade your skull. This album was written for this subway–”Malfunction”, “World Peace”, “Show You No Mercy” and “We Gotta Know” will have you giving off such a negative vibe that perhaps you will gain some extra space.

*Order a copy of A Time Of Hunting here.

**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:

Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

STREAMING: Kalmah’s “Deadfall”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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For your streaming pleasure today we have a track from Kalmah’s new album Seventh Swamphony. Listen to “Deadfall” below.

Preorders are available in the band’s webstore. The album will be released via Spinefarm on June 18.

From the press release: Finnish death metal legion Kalmah are pleased to unleash their seventh studio offering this June, titled Seventh Swamphony. Recorded at Tico-Tico Studios in Kemi, Finland, the follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed 12 Gauge release was mixed and mastered at Sweden’s Fascination Street Studios by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Soilwork, Paradise Lost, et al) and showcases the Oulu outfit’s signature brand of frantic, yet melodic death metal tempered here by a new-found epic mournfulness.

Road Rituals: Blood Ceremony Tour Diary, Part 2

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: diary, featured, tours On: Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Pre-show vampification

Pre-show vampification

***As chronicled by Alia O’Brien, singer/flutist/organist for Canada’s finest occult rockers, from their current tour with Kylesa, White Hills, and Lazer/Wulf. Remaining tour dates listed below; preorder their phenomenal new LP, The Eldritch Dark, here

Many people that we met in New Orleans insisted that the city is alive, and a short stay in America’s most haunted city suggests this is true. We arrived at our hotel early in the day and used our abundant time to explore the French Quarter. Condensation rained down on us from the awnings of music clubs and cafes; a byproduct of the soupy air that envelops the neighborhood and its inhabitants.  “You haven’t really been to New Orleans unless you’ve gotten drenched,” a local assured us, and we quickly realized that humidity is one of the defining features of the city. Sean and I couldn’t resist taking a tour of the city’s most notorious haunted buildings, and our guide was quick to point out that the high density of weird happenings in the city hinges upon its dankness, as spirits tend to linger in misty climates.

At night the French Quarter hummed with a distinct pulse as its streets filled with music. We were excited to offer up our own sounds to a city with such a rich musical history, and what better venue to play than One Eyed Jack’s? With its arched stage and dramatically-lit green room, it still retains traces of the glamour of old fashioned show business.

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Vampification redux.

 

The day after the show, we wandered the streets with members of Kylesa and Lazer/Wulf, sampling some of New Orleans’ famous cultural wares: jambalaya at Coop’s Place, various Abita brews, and some live traditional jazz. Brad, Lazer/Wulf’s drummer, performed the Herculean feat of sampling Louisiana’s hottest hot sauce, and lived to tell the tale! As our stay drew to a close, we found ourselves reluctant to leave: the city had cast its spell over us.

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This sauce will haunt your ass.

 

The weirdness followed us to Texas, where we happened upon the Monolithic Dome Institute on our way from Dallas to Austin. Founded in the 1970s, the Institute is both a campus and experimental community. Although fully functional, there was absolutely no sign of life in the neighborhood, save for a lone goat tied to a stake outside of one of the homes. The entire complex felt a bit like the set of The Prisoner. A mile out from the Institute, we encountered an abandoned gift shop called the Starship Pegasus–also a Monolithic Dome. Not quite as majestic as the Enterprise, but an excellent photo opportunity!

BC 4

“I am not a number!”

BC 5

The Pegasus was infested with fire ants, not tribbles.

 

In Austin we played an open air stage to an enthusiastic and packed house. Afterwards, we moved to a bar called Valhalla, where we blasted the Who and early Priest on the jukebox, sampled various local beers, and played a bit of pinball. Special thanks go out to Cece from Phobia for bringing delicious vegan cupcakes for Kylesa and ourselves, and to Gary from Mala Suerta and his friend Brent for hosting us for the night, and encouraging us to stay up until 6AM drinking and listening to doom metal.

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Cece from Phobia and her friend Mia made these. So sweet!

BC 7

White Hills at the merch booth in Austin.

 

Our journey from Austin, TX to Albuquerque, NM began smoothly, but ended in near disaster.  We spent the night in Littlefield, the birthplace of Waylon Jennings, and were making good time in the morning, so we decided to take a break to visit Billy the Kid’s tombstone in Fort Sumner. A bit of lunch and we were back on the road.  An hour east of Albuquerque, however, and our van begin to swerve from side to side.  Within a few moments, a sound like a canon shot erupted toward the rear of the van as our tire blew out.  Our drummer, Mike, calmly steered us over to the highway shoulder as we rattled at 55mph on the wheel’s rim.  Once we had stopped, we got out and were able to assess the damage.  One touring van; three tires.  Lucas and Mike volunteered to make the one mile hike to the nearest rest stop as Sean and I stayed with the van, trying to locate the car jack, and wondering how many rattlers and scorpions we’d encounter under the blazing New Mexico sun.  Assistance arrived when a state trooper pulled up to help us change the tire.  We thanked him and gave him a t-shirt and a copy of our first album, which he blasted out of his squad car as he peeled away.  We were able to make the gig in time. One way or another, the show must go on!

BC 8

Minor setback on the road in Fort Sumner. Freedom isn’t free!

BC 9

Another minor setback.

BLOOD CEREMONY
w/ Kylesa, White Hills, Lazer/Wulf
05/29 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl
05/31 Calgary, AB Dickens
06/01 Regina, SK The Exchange
06/02 Winnipeg, MB The Pyramid
06/03 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
06/04 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s Oasis
06/05 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
06/06 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
06/07 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
06/08 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
06/09 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlies
06/11 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
06/12 Ottawa, ON Maverick’s
06/13 Montreal, QC Il Motore
06/14 Brooklyn NY Northside Fest (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
06/15 Albany, NY Bogie’s
06/16 Boston, MA Middle East Downstairs
06/18 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
06/19 Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
06/20 Asheville, NC Asheville Music Hall
06/21 Atlanta, GA The Earl
06/22 Savannah, GA The Jinx

Brent Eyestone, Graham Scala & Ryan Parrish (Highness) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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How’d Highness come together?
Brent Eyestone: Highness is a name I’ve wanted to use on “something” over the course of several years. There’s been just about as many lineups while the ultimate realization was being formed. Originally, the band was to be half of the All-American Rejects and half of Forensics when Mike, one of their guitar players, was recording Ben Weasel just up the road in MD. He had allotted extra time to go in and work on Highness material, but technical issues ate up all those days and we never got around to it. The songs written for that version also had the current aim toward working catchiness into an overall heavier feel toward new results. The current lineup really took shape when I brought a batch of new songs to Graham, who I played with in Forensics. After working on them, the consensus was essentially, “fuck it, let’s stop Forensics so that we can focus on these songs and getting the right people to realize the sonic potential of it all.” That night we called Eric and before I could get the full question out, he butted in and told us he’s on board with what we’re trying to do with this sound. We played with some close friends on bass and drums for a while, constantly refining and shaping what we had. It was stalling for a bit, so when Ryan quit Darkest Hour and mentioned he wanted to play with Graham and I, we did some shuffling that resulted in him on drums and Brandon Evans on bass. All of the sudden, half of City of Caterpillar was in the band, which made the inner nerd in both Graham and myself hit the proverbial inhaler.

Full-time band or more of a project?
Graham Scala: It’s neither and it’s both. We’ve got a good number of miles between us all and the five of us may only grace the same room a few times a year, but there’s considerably more energy and dedication devoted to this than there would be if it was just something we were doing to kill time while waiting for something bigger to come along.

Does Highness differ from your previous bands?
Graham Scala: It’s been over a decade since I’ve been involved in anything remotely as melodic as this. I can play heavy or weird music ’til my fingers fall off, but to involve myself with something so accessible without feeling like I’m working too far afield from my previous work has been a satisfying challenge.
Ryan Parrish: Highness is by the far the most unique sounding musical endeavor I’ve ever participated in. There are so many diverse influences and creative voices at work here, either in the practice space writing music or on the artistic side, for instance the album art (done by bassist Brandon Evans). There’s nothing like this out there I’m aware of and I hope to keep pushing all aspects of this band that direction as we grow.

Is there a message to Highness?
Brent Eyestone: I’m a big fan of music that stirs a listener around a bit inside, but leaves a silver lining with a slight touch of urgency chasing it. While the messages are open to interpretation, I do hope that meaning is found for people on a personal level… and that one foot keeps getting put in front of the other toward each supporter/listener getting that much closer to a fulfilling experience on their own terms.
Ryan Parrish: Lyrically, that may be a question best answered by Eric Richter. But, sonically, I believe our message and intent is to create something that has a very heavy, energetic fullness to it while simultaneously easing the listener with atmospheric soundscapes and beautiful guitar and vocal harmonies.

What is it about music that keeps you and fellow Highness musicians interested in forming bands, doing collaborations, and so forth?
Graham Scala: One point of overlap between us is the degree to which our tastes are expansive. I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I hear something that resonates with me, I want to do it. So with Highness I got to tick off “play with a bunch of people whose music I’ve listened to for half my life” from the list of bands to start. If I can just get my psychedelic country band, my Bolt Thrower ripoff, and my ambient dub projects going maybe I can catch up with the rest of the list.
Brent Eyestone: My dad put it best a few years back: “In all the years I’ve known you and watched you grow, I’ve never seen you more happy than when you’re writing music with your friends.”

Where can interested folk acquire Highness’ music? Wait, didn’t give the entire album away for free? OK, I guess physical copies are available.
Brent Eyestone: Hold is available in physical formats via CD and 180 gram LPs. We encourage everyone to get them via their local record store first and foremost. Barring that, US listeners can get it direct from Magic Bullet Records and international listeners can get copies via Dischord Records. Digitally, it’s available from iTunes and all the usual suspects. We also occasionally team up with online sites to give away songs and/or the whole thing for free, so keep an eye out.

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Studio Report: The Body

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured On: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

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The Body’s Lee Buford is a man of few words, but he makes up for it with his band’s sheer amount of recorded output. They’ve hunkered down in Machines with Magnets in Providence, Rhode Island, and they are using their time in the studio to its fullest. “We’re recording three records right now at the same time. We started the Thrill Jockey one last Sunday or Monday [May 19 or 20th], and we did most of that stuff. The choir can listen to it and figure out what they want to do, have a couple days to check it out. We’re going to do their overdubs beginning of next week. We’re here technically until [June 6].”

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention – there’s a choir. Their tour mates, the 24 member all-female Assembly of Light choir, will be making an appearance on their first full-length for Thrill Jockey (tentatively due in October). “I’m friends with Chrissy [Wolpert] who does it, so when we’re in Providence, we like to do stuff with them. Plus it sounds awesome.”

The duo of Buford and Chip King are doing pretty much everything else on the album, even down to the producing and engineering. As the whole choir thing implies, the as-yet-untitled record won’t be your typical doom project. “It’s a lot weirder, probably. Pretty weird. Like a lot more overdubs, drum machines and a lot of tape loops and stuff. But it’s in the same vein, I guess, it’s kind of hard to make something not sound like us after this long.”

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As for the other two projects, expect more unexpected material. According to Buford, “One of them is more electronic-y, more sampled drums and stuff, and the other is a collaboration with our friend Neill [Jameson] from Krieg.” You can expect those from RVNG and At a Loss recordings, respectively.

Jameson should be providing some vocals for the Thrill Jockey release as well. Other collaborators include Scott Reber of noise project Work/Death and, really, whoever else happens to be around. The Body don’t really plan things out; they just kind of let it happen. So basically, expect something at some point, and expect it to be weird and undoubtedly some of the most punishing music you will ever hear.

http://thrilljockey.com/thrill/The-Body