Australian psych / stoner rock powerhouse Comacozer have returned with another instrumental freakout – Kalos Eidos Skopeo. The name of the album, of course, is a play on the words “kaleidoscope” or “kaleidoscopic,” suggesting that the music can be viewed / interpreted many different ways at once.
Take the opener, “Axis Mundi” (the cosmic / world axis), for example. It begins with squawking guitars that sound like something from a slasher film soundtrack, but the track becomes almost a meditative piece by the time it reaches the five-minute mark thanks to skillful use of guitar reverb and subtle yet precise drumming.
“Nystagmus” might bring on its namesake (involuntary twitching of the eyes) with its cosmic jam guitars, slightly creepy bass, and doom metal drumming. I love how “Hylonomus” (the name of the earliest known reptile) starts off sounding like it’s a spaghetti western song and then morphs into a Middle Eastern-flavored dream that might be happening in the mind of an ancient lizard dozing in the stump of a massive, dead tree. It then morphs a second time into a great groove that belongs in a car chase sequence in a big budget film. It’s great to hear Comacozer cut loose like this.
Need to knock out a wall in your house to expand your kitchen? Don’t bother with sledgehammers. Just play the closer, “Enuma Elish,” and aim your speakers in the right direction. The song is about the Babylonian creation myth which involves – among other things – the god Marduk defeating the goddess of the oceans and creating the earth and sky out of her body. Comacozer somehow manages to put all this epic stuff into one song (that last nearly 12 minutes).
You might have noticed that this album only contains four songs. Don’t let that worry you, because all of them are around thirteen minutes in length. It’s a full album of instrumental cosmic psychedelia and worth every penny.
Keep your mind open.
[You won’t get nystagmus from reading my posts, so feel free to subscribe.]
Today, one of the UK’s most talked about young bands (and new Dead Oceans signing) Shame shares theirnew single and video, “Concrete.” A bracing jolt of a song, “Concrete” races forward on a tightly wound post-punk riff, its call-and-response vocals capturing the turmoil and schizophrenic internal dialogue of the song’s subject matter.
“It’s about someone who’s trapped in a relationship and they’re being pummelled into surrender,” says singer and lyricist Charlie Steen. “It’s not about a physically abusive relationship – more an emotionally and psychologically draining one. The call-and-response vocals [between Steen and bassist Josh Finerty] is the central figure’s own internal dialogue. They are dealing with two different things that they don’t want to address.”
The band cite The Fall, Parquet Courts, Country Teasers, Television Personalities and Wire among their biggest influences, and the icily claustrophobic sound of “Concrete” sets it in a lineage with Magazine, Joy Division and Siouxsie & The Banshees.
As a lyricist, Steen is a modern flâneur, forensically observing the lives of others around him as they unspool and fracture, with Hubert Selby Jr. and Irvine Welsh his primary literary influences. “That graphic and harsh style of writing always interested me,” he explains. “It’s not about the shock factor; it’s about the fact they are talking about these things in such great detail without stripping anything back.”
The London five piece have swiftly earned a reputation as one of the most visceral and exhilarating live bands in the UK, their combustible shows being honed through a heavy touring schedule in the UK and across Europe. Cutting their teeth on the squat-punk scene in the Queen’s Head in Brixton in 2015, where they were taken under the wing of Fat White Family, the white heat of their gigs quickly landed them support slots with Slaves and Warpaint. They were also personally invited by Billy Bragg to play the Left Field stage at Glastonbury this year.
Following two official singles –”The Lick”/”Gold Hole” and “Tasteless” on Fnord Communications as well as the digital-only Theresa May-baiting “Visa Vulture” (described by Steen as “the worst love song ever”) – “Concrete” is the first track to be released as part of their record deal with Dead Oceans.
“We started this band as a joke that went too far,” deadpans Steen. “What we do is quite strange and quite weird, but I get to meet a lot of people and I get to hear a lot of things. I am interested in the surrealism of reality.”
Shame are:Charlie Steen (vocals); Sean Coyle-Smith (guitar); Eddie Green (guitar); Charlie Forbes (drums); and Josh Finerty (bass).
PRAISE FOR SHAME“This U.K. band marries performance, poetry and punk in a way I won’t soon forget.” – Bob Boilen, NPR Music
“Grimy post-punk with a whiff of menace” –Q
“Expect them to turn up the heat even more as they progress” – Time Out
“The forefront of a compelling new scene in the capital” – NME
SHAME TOUR DATES (North American dates in bold) Sat. Sep. 30 – Margate, UK @ By The Sea Festival Mon. Oct. 9 – Bristol, UK @ Louisiana Tue. Oct. 10 – Leeds, UK @ Lending Room Wed. Oct. 11 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen Thu. Oct. 12 – Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s Fri. Oct. 13 – Liverpool, UK @ Buyers Club Sat. Oct. 14 – Dublin, IE @ Workamn’s Club Wed. Oct. 18 – London, UK @ Scala Sat. Oct. 21 – Cardiff, UK @ Swn Festival Tue. Oct. 24 – Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen Wed. Oct. 25 – Groningen, NL @ Vera Fri. Oct. 27 – Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling Festival Thu. Nov. 2 – Reykjavik, IS @ Iceland Airwaves Festival Fri. Nov. 10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right Sun. Nov. 12 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
Mon-Nov-13 – Washington, DC @ DC9
Wed. Nov. 15 – New York, NY @ Home Sweet Home Thu. Nov. 16 – Allston, MA @ The Great Scott Fri. Nov. 17 – Montreal, QC @ M for Montreal Sat. Nov. 18 – Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck Sun. Nov. 19 – Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place Mon. Nov. 20 – Arden, DE @ Arden Gild Hall + Fri. Dec. 1 – Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere Sun. Dec. 3 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom * Mon. Dec. 4 – Heidelburg, DE @ Halle O2 * Wed. Dec. 6 – Köln, DE @ Gebäude 9 * Thu. Dec. 7 – Munster, DE @ Gleis 22 * Fri. Dec. 8 – Essen, DE @ Hotel Shanghai * Sat. Dec. 9 – Dresden, DE @ Groove Station * Mon. Dec. 11 – Hannover, DE @ Bei Chez Heinz * Tue. Dec. 12 – Bremen, DE @ Lagerhaus * Wed. Dec. 13 – Hamburg, DE @ Knust * Thu. Dec. 14 – Braunschweig, DE @ Eule * Fri. Dec. 15 – Rostock, DE @ Helgas Stadtpalast * Sat. Dec. 16 – Berlin @ Festaal Kreuzberg * Fri. Feb. 2 – Adelaide, AU @ Laneway Festival Sat. Feb. 3 – Melbourne, AU @ Laneway Festival Sun. Feb. 4 – Sydney, AU @ Laneway Festival Sat. Feb. 10 – Brisbane, AU @ Laneway Festival Sun. Feb. 11 – Perth, AU @ Laneway Festival
It’s a new day in the world of Ty Segall, and every truly new day means another truly great song! Captured in gleaming widescreen, “Alta” is a hometown jam that Ty (with his Freedom Band) has been playing at shows all over the place this year. It’s a nature jam as well – basically a “f**k-the-last-500-years” jam – which shows just how far back Ty‘s willing to go to get really back to nature. It’s a love song to the natural state of hometown grounds – and to convey the feelings, a wistful electric piano lick is ridden out on some crazy guitar horses and Ty’s heartstruck vocal. Ty(guitar, vocals, percussion) now reconvenes with the Freedom Band — Emmett Kelly (guitar, vocals), Mikal Cronin (bass, vocals), Charles Moothart (drums) and Ben Boye (keyboards) – for new single, “Alta,” recorded at Electrical Audio with Steve Albini during a break on tour this past spring. A shining new day indeed!
Ty Segall Tour Dates: Thu. Oct. 5 – Tucson, AZ @ The Rialto Theatre Fri. Oct. 6 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf Sat. Oct. 7 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall Sun. Oct. 8 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre Tue. Oct. 10 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse Saloon Fri. Oct. 13 – Joshua Tree, CA @ Institute of Mentalphysics
I still don’t know why Kasabiandidn’t sell out their Chicago House of Blues show last week. They sold out Chicago’s Metro a couple years ago when I saw them with Bo Ningen. Yet, here they were with fellow Brits Slavesin a venue about the same size, but tickets were still available at the box office an hour before the show. As one guy behind me in the crowd said, “These guys sell out at Glastonbury. Where the hell is everybody?”
That’s not to say there was barely anyone in the place. The venue was nearly full, and I was happy to see so many people there in time for Slaves’ set. I’ve been keen on this duo since I heard their single “Where’s Your Car, Debbie?” Their newest album Take Controlwas one of my top records of 2016.
They came out oozing punk attitude and were soon tearing through songs like “Sockets” and “White Knuckle Ride.” My friend, Portia, had just seen them open for Buzzcocks earlier in the month and knew their set. She and I were the only people in the audience, it seemed, who knew how to reply when Slaves’ drummer and lead singer, Isaac Holman, told the story about how a man once asked him, “Where’s your hi-hat?” after a gig. The correct response, by the way, is “Fuck the Hi-Hat.” My friend and I were yelling it so much during the build-up to the song that people around us thought we were angry drunks.
People were still buzzing about them after their too-brief seven-song set, and I’d like to see them in a small venue where they’re the headliners. I’m sure that would be nuts.
Kasabian soon emerged and ripped into a fun set that had the crowd bouncing for most of the show. They started with “Ill Ray” and “Bumblebee” and had the crowd in their hands by the time they reached “Ez-Eh.”
A funny moment happened when they messed up the introduction to “Underdog.” “That’s the first time that’s happened,” said lead singer Tom Meighan. “I’m glad you were all here to see it.” They jumped back on the horse and nailed the song. Everyone laughed with them. Up next were three solid cuts, “Shoot the Runner,” “You’re in Love with a Psycho” (from their newest record, For Crying Out Loud), and “Club Foot.”
The rest of the show was just as fun, with “Empire,” “L.S.F.,” “Bless This Acid House,” “Vlad the Impaler,” and “Fire” being good highlights. It was a fun Tuesday night crowd (perhaps that’s why it didn’t sell out) rocking to two solid bands. It’s too bad if you missed it. Much praise also to the HOB and tour sound crews. The mix for both bands sounded great.
The premiere rock / hip hop / alternative music festival in New Orleans, Voodoo, has recently released one-day tickets for sale.
They have a good lineup, as usual. As for Friday, Kendrick Lamar is one of the biggest names in rap right now, and LCD Soundsystem should never be missed. Prophets of Rage are probably the must-see band of the year, and I’d love to see Marian Hill again.
She-Devils’ (Audrey Ann Boucher and Kyle Jukka) self-titled record is a lovely blast of electro dream pop that we need more of in this world right now. The opener, “Come,” is a slightly trippy seduction and (“Don’t try to resist me,” Boucher sings) I think a salute to orgasms. It’s the best song about such subjects since Frankie Goes to Hollywood sang about them. The follow-up, “Hey Boy,” mixes shoegaze and electro so well that you can barely tell where one influence ends and the other begins. I like the low-tuned guitar throughout it by Jukka, and Boucher’s voice is playful and a little bit dangerous. It’s the kind of track the Dum Dum Girls used to make.
“Make You Pay” feels like something out of a shoegaze sweat lodge as Boucher sings about exacting revenge (via firearm) against her cheating lover. In “Darling,” however, she professes her love again as the guitars shuffle like a soft shoe dancer around her. “How Do You Feel” and “Blooming” are ethereal dream pop songs in which Boucher questions both her lover’s intentions and her desires. “I can’t do anything for you,” she sings on “You Don’t Know.” Her lover doesn’t know what love is, so she can’t help him see what’s bugging her.
On the weird and wonderful “The World Laughs,” Boucher boldly proclaims “I want to go inside of you…” Well, well, well. The guitars sound almost like something from a reggae record that’s been left out in the Jamaican sun too long. Trust me, it’s pretty neat. “Never Let Me Go” and the closer, “Buffalo,” are haunting love songs with Boucher’s vocals coming at you like incense smoke down a dimly lit hall and Jukka’s instrumentations ranging from Angelo Badalamenti influences to hints of psychedelic-era Brian Wilson.
This is the kind of album that makes you want to hear the next sooner rather than later. Improving on this already fine record will mean something stunning in the future.
Keep your mind open.
[Hey, boy, don’t forget to subscribe before you go.]
I missed Day One of the 2017 Middle Waves Music Festival(Curse you, full-time job!), but I managed to make it to the latter half of Day Two. Sadly, I didn’t make it to Headwaters Park in Fort Wayne in time to catch Diarrhea Planet‘s set (Again, curse you, full-time job!), but I heard it was outstanding.
I snagged my press pass and soon spotted this pedicab nearby.
Yes, that’s an MGMTpedicab. You could hook up to a couple mp3 players attached to it and hear four songs of their upcoming album. It was a neat gimmick, and the four tracks weren’t bad either.
I wandered to the food court to snag a slice of pizza and noticed one vendor truck was a portable barber shop / styling salon giving out free haircuts. I debated partaking in one, but opted to check out some music instead.
One thing Middle Waves does that makes them stand out from most other music festivals is that they offer two free stages for the entire two days. This is genius. Some of the best bands play these free stages, so make sure you check out these shows next year. Again, it costs you nothing to see them.
I saw two local bands on a free stage this year, and both were excellent. The first was Wolfbearhawk. How do you not see a band with that name? They played a solid rock set, and it was good to hear some power chords after a long, hot day of work.
I then walked to the other free stage to see Selector Dub Narcotic. This wasn’t to be, however, because SDN (known in real life as music producer Calvin Johnson) was yanked off the stage as soon as I arrived after he stood on one of the monitors.
I was told by two other press members that Calvin Johnson attempted to move two monitors from the center of the stage just before I arrived and the sound booth guy told him not to move them. He then attempted to move them again and the sound booth guy warned him he would be cut off if he attempted it a third time.
As I arrived at the stage, the sound booth guy was standing at stage left and watching CJ as he performed a freestyle rap without any microphone or instruments. CJ then stood on one of the monitors at center stage and the sound booth guy told him he was cut off / done and he pulled him to stage right. Another man came out from stage right as CJ was being pulled away. Fans began yelling, and one yelled, “You can’t do that!” The man who entered from stage right yelled back, “Yes, we can. That’s OUR stuff.” So, the guys contracted to do sound for this stage were concerned CJ was going to break something.
Fans began pounding on the stage and nearby police officers ran to the scene and made sure nobody stormed the stage. No one was injured. No arrests were made. No one was handcuffed. No pepper spray or Tasers were deployed. I didn’t see the officers put a hand on anyone in the crowd. One officer stood on stage while CJ packed up his minimal gear and seemed to be having an amicable chat with him as fans booed. CJ told fans he’d take his gear somewhere west of the stage and play there. He instead came into the crowd and finished his rap among the fans, took some photos, grabbed his backpack and then left without looking back while a MW volunteer walked with him. The sound booth guy who shut CJ down did at one point walk to down center stage and attempt to get his attention while he was rapping amongst the fans. I don’t know if this was going to be an offer to play his set, but the dye was cast by then and CJ was out of there.
I hung out by the free stages for a little while and eventually caught a great set by Ft. Wayne’s Love Hustler. They put down a great set of electro-disco-funk. I knew it was going to be a good set as soon as I saw a key-tar and a “golden throat” guitar effect microphone on stage. They put on the best set of the day, in my opinion. I’m eager to hear their upcoming EP.
The Middle Waves Twitter feed recommended getting to the main stage early for headliners MGMT. They figured a long line would be the result of extra security checks there. They were right.
I got in quick thanks to my press pass (Thanks again, Middle Waves!), and MGMT were already playing their blend of trippy electro and psychedelic rock.
This was my first time seeing them live, so I was surprised to see five people onstage. MGMT is mainly two guys, but I’m sure they need more people to replicate their sound live. They played a good mix of old and new tracks. One big highlight, of course, was “Fated to Pretend,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
They announced that their upcoming album is “rugby themed,” and played “Me & Michael” from it. It’s a catchy tune, and I thought, “Yeah, MGMT recording an entire album about rugby seems right.”
Outside the main stage area, fans were peeking through the fence and standing on pillars and what-not to see and hear MGMT’s set. It made me grin. It’s always good to see “old school” concert cheating like that.
So, another good festival put on by the Middle Waves crew. There were some bumps, like any other festival, but I think they’ll improve on them and come back stronger next year.
Toronto, Ontario’s Play De Record(411 Spadina Avenue) is a haven for vinyl enthusiasts. The place is packed with records for you to feast your eyes (and wallet) on as soon as you walk in the door.
This is all in the first room, by the way (and only a small sample of what was available there). Once you get done browsing all the new arrivals and reissues, you end up here.
Yes, more records await you. Most of them in this back room are, as the sign says, vintage vinyl.
You also might’ve noticed that sign mentions “studio gear.” They sold a lot of good stuff there. These wonderful toys were along the right wall as soon as you walked into the store.
I could’ve fiddled with that stuff until they closed if they’d let me. This wrecka stow is on the edge of Toronto’s Chinatown, so you can get some good food and then buy a bunch of vinyl. It’s a win-win.
This has been a good year for shoegaze. Two legendary British shoegaze bands returned after long absences with great records. One of them is RIDE (Andy Bell, Loz Colbert, Mark Gardener, and Steve Queralt), whose newest record, The Weather Diaries, is a welcome return and a sharp piece of work.
Opener “Lannoy Point” has the layered, echoing guitars you love from RIDE and lyrics about being wiser with the passage of time. They’re ready to get a lot of stuff off their chests. You can’t help but think the hard-hitting “Charm Assault” is about certain politicians on both sides of the pond. Lyrics like “Your charm assault has scarred the world. It looks so ugly as your lies begin to unfurl.” and “Privilege abused at every turn. Serious as a heart attack, he’s standing. He sets fire to your world and lets it burn.” hit as hard as the drum beats.
“All I Want” was one of the first singles off the record, and the decision to make it so was a no-brainer. It blends shoegaze and electro very well (and those drum beats are jaw-dropping), and the lyrics cover familiar shoegaze ground – loneliness and the urge to improve one’s lot in life. “Home Is a Feeling” is lovely dream pop, and the title track could be about global warming, but I think it’s about being overwhelmed by media (“When I was younger, it was simple. You didn’t have to question everything.”) – and the guitars build to a static-like roar by the end.
The name of “Rocket Silver Symphony” pretty much sums up the way the song sounds. It’s electric, bold, bright, and bursting with energy. “Lateral Alice,” a song taken from some of Andy Bell’s dreams, is a kick-ass rocker. “Cali” is Bell’s love letter to surf, sand, and sun in the U.S. The guitars in it are as wonderful as you hope they’ll be in such a song, and the vocals get ahold of your mind and won’t let go. You’ll want this on every summer playlist you make now.
“Impermanence” is a beautiful song about the end of things – life, relationships, even random physical objects like windowpanes. Bell tries to cope with the end of a relationship (while guitars soar all around his vocals) by meditating on the impermanence of all things, but it doesn’t help him much. “White Sands” (another song referencing beaches) muses on illusions we create and our struggles to let go of them. It’s hypnotizing in many ways, as is most of the record.
Good shoegaze always hypnotizes you. It causes you to get lost in dreamscapes and to notice the moment around you. It’s nice to have these musical Zen masters back among us.
CLUTCH ANNOUNCE WINTER PSYCHIC WARFARE TOUR DATES WITH DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT & THE OBSESSED
Clutch has just announced Winter tour dates for the continuum of their Psychic Warfare tour. Supporting the tour will be Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed. Fan club pre-sale tickets will start at 2:00pm ET today, public stale starts 10am ET on Friday. Exclusive fan club pre-sale tickets and show info available here: mt.cm/clutch. The on sale date for the 4 Florida shows is TBD due to the hurricane in the region. Check the bands official website www.pro-rock.com for all upcoming ticket and show info.
Clutch will be entering the studio in early 2018 to begin work on their 12th studio album.
Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch. The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent, No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts. Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).
Clutch, Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed Tour Dates:
Wed, 11-29-17 Greensboro, NC at Cone Denim Entertainment Center
Fri, 12-01-17 Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues
Sat, 12-02-17 St Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live
Sun, 12-03-17 Fort Lauderdale, FL at Revolution
Tue, 12-05-17 Saint Augustine, FL at Backyard Stage @ St Augustine Amphitheatre
Wed, 12-06-17 Pensacola, FL at Vinyl Music Hall
Fri, 12-08-17 Baton Rouge, LA at Varsity Theatre
Sat, 12-09-17 San Antonio, TX at The Aztec Theatre
Sun, 12-10-17 Houston, TX at House Of Blues
Tues, 12-12-17 Springfield, MO at Gillioz Theatre
Wed, 12-13-17 Lincoln, NE at Bourbon Theatre
Fri, 12-15-17 Peoria, IL at Limelight Eventplex
Sat, 12-16-17 Nashville, TN at Marathon Music Works
Wed, 12-27-17 Clifton Park, NY at Upstate Concert Hall
Thu, 12-28-17 Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom
Fri, 12-29-17 Richmond, VA at The National
Sat, 12-30-17 Knoxville, TN at The International
Sun, 12-31-17 Columbus, OH at Express Live
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more information, check out the band’s website: