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“Out Among The Stars” Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

Out Among The Stars Album Review

Legacy Recordings

Released March 25, 2014

Genre: Country, Folk Rock

The toughest part of reviewing music is establishing a bridge between you and the artist you’re listening to. A link that gives you, as a writer, a steady foundation to appropriately and respectfully critique and sing praises about the music in question. Now, the difficulties arise when said artist has the cult status and worldly reputation of Johnny Cash. Like The Beatles or David Bowie, it is a music critic’s simultaneous worst nightmare and divine pleasure to work so closely with artistic majesty. But. maybe I’m gushing… actually, yeah, I’m gushing, but on this collection of Johnny Cash recordings set between ’81 and ’84 I get to the chance to play archeologist, examining the historical significance of the Cash chronology though unfortunately Out Among the Stars showcases Cash halted in an era of undetermined crossroads.

Although, in light of the recent news of Sony stringing up Michael Jackson’s legacy and pummelling it to see how much money falls out, it was a pleasant surprise to hear this collection of tracks being released on the basis of love as arranged by John Carter Cash, Johnny’s son. And while the key to a great posthumous record is the intention and sentiment behind it’s release, Out Among the Stars should be treated as a compilation rather than a full-release with a purposed order.

In the early 80s Cash was stuck in limbo. The thriving and plentiful landscape of the country scene that had kept Cash fed since the 60s had migrated on, leaving Cash with his rumbling vocals and dark sneering lyricism needing a revamp in order to make waves in the pop charts, this record is stuck in void somewhere between the transition. Take opening track and album titled ‘Out Among the Stars’. The clip-clop rhythm and giddy plod mismatches the solemn descriptions and vivid narratives that Cash is so renowned for, in his heyday he was a novelist of sorts.

Despite the attempted invigoration of his pop sensibilities, Cash relies of the same tried and true motifs that have been played to death on country records since the 1950s. The clap-trap diners, the unrequited love of fair ladies and woeful motility – I can forgive a lot of it since it’s not such a heinous crime considering Cash is the originator, the source of these tested themes and when they channel such rudimentary and principle fun, as with June Carter featurette ‘Baby Ride Easy’, how can I fault them?

However, album centrepiece and David Allen Coe cover ‘She Used to Love Me A Lot’ finds the balance between the upbeat and the subversive. Reading his autobiography, which I do recommend everyone has a look at, it is blindingly apparent that Cash has always had an issue with balance. Bull-headed determination and stubborn valiance amalgamated with an incredibly infectious chorus showcases the best of this record and channels the sublime among the forgettable. The Elvis Costello remix of this track, included within the record, is an interesting blend of country and 80s synth-wave, interstellar synths and expansive production breathe new life into a record that is tethered to the past.

Out Among the Stars resonates with the heart rather than the brain. Those looking for Cash’s magnum opus are sure to be disappointed but the humanity of Cash is resuscitated within. Cash’s personality shines through warmth and resolution on tracks like ‘Call Your Mother’ and second June duet ‘Don’t You Think It’s Come Our Time’.

Johnny Cash is an invaluably cherished songwriter and singer. His legacy will never fade and although Out Among The Stars doesn’t fulfil the atmospheric expectations, it caresses our hearts and reminds of how much we really miss The Man In Black.

 

FAV TRACKS: SHE USED TO LOVE ME A LOT (BOTH VERSIONS), BABY RIDE EASY , I’M MOVIN ON

LEAST FAV TRACK: AFTER ALL

SCORE: 6.3/10

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“Lost In The Dream” The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs

Lost In The Dream Album Review

Secretly Canadian Records

Released March 18, 2014

Genre: Indie Rock, Americana, Krautrock, Heartland Rock, Folk Rock, Singer-Songwriter, Alternative Country

Take a look at all of the album covers for The War On Drugs’ past two albums and you’ll find a hazy color palette placed upon an almost unrecognizable image. The music on the albums reflected these misty images as elements of shoegazing and ambiance produced a cloudy yet rewarding listen, smearing the country/heartland rock tunes of lead singer Adam Granduciel. On the band’s third album, Lost In The Dream, we see the haze fading away and the image, recognizable; yet the album’s title has a very nomadic connotation, “lost in the dream”, as if implying that the album sucks you into a zen like state. Yet the beautifully produced music on this album shines brightly with unique studio trickery, empowering choruses and shows that The War On Drugs have improved immensely on their music, this is a dream that you won’t mind drifting away in.

The War On Drugs are masterminds when it comes to muddying up the atmosphere, and they do it beautifully while they’re at it, carrying each rhythm gracefully, packing it buoyant instrumentation and production. The opening track “Under The Pressure” has tons of room to breath through as Granduciel sings Tom Petty style vocals over lushly composed instrumentation, a steadying beat that never overstays its nine minute length as it showcases dueling guitars, bright synths, and a gentle piano finish. The band’s magnum opus “Red Eyes” feels much like a long lost demo of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”, if it had actually been ablaze; powering solos, emphatic piano chords, and a steady beat . The song then rips itself open, and at the heartstrings, as Granduciel delivers one of the most, if not THE most, memorable moment of the entire album as it vacillates between a sound that is melancholic, to a sound that is empowering, a moment where the band are conscious of their weaknesses, and their strengths. Here, Granduciel sees himself as falling apart: “I would keep you here, but I can’t,” a disparaging realization that is both haunting and beautiful.

While the themes are disparaging, the album never hesitates to empower, with heartland rock tendencies to help. Lost In The Dream does well with the sound it gives, keeping its own unique style of heartland rock modern, cool enough for teenagers to listen to the album with their dads, dads obsessed with Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen. It does this so well because it utilizes aspects that made Springsteen, well, Springsteen. The themes and lyrics are easy to relate to, and the songs, easily accessible, but this accessibility is their biggest feat, and their most impressive illusion yet. Take “An Ocean In Between The Waves” for instance, where a clean yet purging solo rips the song apart, before closing the fragile song back up again, returning to the steady, dream-like heartland rock mixture, before climaxing into swelling cloud of emotion and grace.

Comparisons have been drawn between The War On Drugs and Bruce Springsteen, hell, even Tom Petty, up to the point where calling The War On Drugs a “dad-rock” band is a no-brainier. And if this is music that can truly meld pejorative perceptions with tunes packed with emotional awareness and intensity, enough to the point where 50 year old dads and teenagers can listen to the same music without arguing over its subversive or boring tendencies, it does a pretty damn good job at appealing to prevalent demographics. It’s here, where the evolution of the band comes to light, starting from subtle hints at their roots rock influences to wearing their influences on their sleeve, with bravado and pride.

However, it’s in the tiny, minuscule details where the ambitious and artistic scope of the whole album coalesces. Each song has a hidden greatness that only time can fully show; songs where a simple solo or comforting piano chords can upset the balance and feel of a song, boosting it up to proficient expectations. Not only does this drastically improve the album, but it expands the album’s horizons. Each listen rewards itself with new discoveries, new moments previously unheard the first time around. And with all these moments of self- realization, communal catharsis, and grand swells of emotion, it’s no wonder why this album can bring even the strongest of people to their knees. Breezy, yet heavy. Subtle, yet effective, the album’s power is inescapable, and its message, memorable. In a way, this is the band’s most personal album, yet their most expansive, and emotional, one. As Granduciel rediscovers himself, reinstating new life into his music, all of his work culminates into an album that really feels, alive.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Under The Pressure, Red Eyes, Suffering, An Ocean In Between Waves, Disappearing, Eyes To The Wind, Burning, Lost In The Dream, In Reverse

LEAST FAV TRACK: The Haunting Idle (if I had to pick one!)

Score: (9.3/10)

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Touché Amoré ANNOUNCE US TOUR WITH TIGER’S JAW & DADS

Now THIS is how you start you summer! If this tour is coming to your area, get on it A$AP.
Official Press Release Courtesy of Stephanie Marlow:
TOUCHE AMORE ANNOUNCES SUMMER TOUR WITH TIGERS JAW & DADS
North American Dates Run June 27th through July 26th

Los Angeles’ Touche Amore has had a whirlwind year; the band released its landmark third LP Is Survived By, supported punk/hardcore stalwarts AFI on tour with stops at Riot Fests Denver & Chicago, headlined almost all of Europe with Self Defense Family, and completed a co-headliner of North America with mewithoutYou.  Now, Touché Amoré is excited to announce a summer headliner with Tigers Jaw and Dads in tow.  This tour will canvas the United States for a full month, with pitstops in Quebec City, QC and Ottawa, ON – check out the routing below.

Touché Amoré’s Is Survived By was released by Deathwish Inc. in September of 2013 to great critical acclaim: the album was hailed as “a damn romantic perspective writ large via screech and shred” by SPIN, hit multiple year-end lists for 2013, and TA vocalist Jeremy Bolm graced the cover of Alternative Press Magazine as the band was named one of the 100 Bands You Need to Know in 2014. The album was also Pretty Neat Grooves’ Album of the Year, scoring the coveted 10/10 rating. Check out our review of Is Survived By by Touché Amoré here.

Ticketing links and more news coming soon, in the meantime keep up with the bands on this great tour at:
Touche Amore – www.toucheamore.com
TOUCHE AMORE / TIGERS JAW / DADS
June
27  Pomona, CA @ Glasshouse
28  Pomona, CA @ Glasshouse
29  Camarillo, CA @ Rock City
30  Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro
July
1  Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Clubs
2  Fresno, CA @ Strummers
3  Las Vegas, NV @ S. Nevada Sports Centre
5  Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
6  Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
7  Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
8  Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone Cafe
9  Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco
10  Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
11  Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend
12  Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
13  Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
15  Long Island, NY @ Revolution Bar & Music Hall
16  Providence, RI @ Met Cafe
17  Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
19  Quebec City, QC @ L’Agitee
20  Ottawa, ON @ Ritual
21  Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
22  Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
23  Milwaukee, WI @ Rave Bar
24  Minneapolis, MN @ The Garage
25  Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
26  St. Louis, MO @ Firebird

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Jack White reveals track listing for new album; listen to title track, “Lazaretto”

Jack White has unveiled the first official single and title track from his new album, as well as the complete track listing. Check out the listing below and listen to a stream of the new single “Lazaretto.”

1. Three Women
2. Lazaretto
3. Temporary Ground
4. Would You Fight For My Love?
5. High Ball Stepper
6. Just One Drink
7. Alone In My Home
8. Entitlement
9. That Black Bat Licorice
10. I Think I Found The Culprit
11. Want And Able

Jack White recently recorded and released the “World’s Fastest Released Record”, on Record Store Day at Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee. White took the stage at Third Man Records’ Blue Room just after 10 a.m. to perform a live version of the title track from his forthcoming album Lazaretto, which is out June 10, along with a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Power of My Love,” for the B-side. As soon as the performance wrapped up, the masters were rushed off to be pressed into 45s, complete with sleeves printed from pictures taken at the Blue Room gig that morning. White then ferried the direct-to-acetate records back to Third Man to sell to customers. Have a listen below:

“Lazaretto” (Studio Version)

 

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“Communion” Black Walls

Black Walls

Communion Album Review

Self Released

Released February 3, 2014

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental, Shoegaze

I like to think of music as an extension of the soul, if you believe in that kind of thing. Not to say that one’s spiritual or theistic beliefs should have any influence on the overall admiration of an art-form, but when confronted with genuine beauty forged solely by human hands, one can’t help but let their mind voyage among the divine and ponder their place among nature – though dramatic, Black Walls’ new full-release Communion had such an effect on me.

On this experimental/ambient project from Canadian songwriter Ken Reaume we witness a progression from the post-psyche influences on 2012’s Acedia to a more sprawling and venturous release – dealing with the metaphysical and the anxiety of existence hooded in a shroud of dynamic noise and mystery, at a forty minute length only packing an understated five tracks needless to say there is a lot to digest here.

To label music ‘drone’ conjugates some imagery I don’t really see as appropriate for Communion. I think of metallic shells filled with empty wiring and binary programming, I understand the term refers to the minimalist and sustained characteristics of the music but I can’t help but feel it as the antithesis of Communion as a piece of art for there is not a lick of synthesis among it’s construction. A truly organic record that harnesses nature in all forms – human and worldly. Each track is a gentle flyover of terrain and landscape each with it’s own unique dimension and atmosphere.

Opening track ‘Communion’ has a pulsing reconciliation to it, an extensive lowering into peace and tranquility payed off with patience. Black Walls has no room for grandiose statements or climaxes; it’s beauty is found in the subtle intonations peppering each track, like the sharp intakes of breath within ‘Field Two’ giving a familiarly respiratory feel to it or the shimmering tremolos that punctuate ‘Untitled’ sounding that a delicately channeled Explosions in the Sky. These idiosyncrasies breathe humanity into Communion and, like us, the music has far more to it than what a surface encounter reveals. And this is where Communion might fall short for many, the diligence and attention put into it is equivalent to what is received. The lyrics are rarely audible, however the emotions evoked through the melodies far compensate for the lack of discernible wording. Don’t be fooled by Black Walls’ disguise, though beautiful and serene it’s not as passive as it might feel on the first listen.

On top of that Communion is a visually stimulating piece of music, the images generated from each track will probably resonate from person to person, for example, on ‘PTSD’ the haunting and reverbed guitars forms a feeling for me, one I haven’t felt in a long time, of a unsettling reminder of visiting a place I haven’t seen in a long time and being acutely aware of what’s changed – these emotions transcend through the audio, meltingly vivid and unbound by judgement. An album not for those with fleeting attention spans however those who give it time and dedication will find themselves lost within it so far as that when it’s finally over you’ll be left with an overcoming sentimentality, like waking up from a really lucid dream.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: PTSD / COMMUNION

LEAST FAV TRACK: FUNERAL WAKE

SCORE: (7.5/10)

 

Listen to Communion

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“A Little God In My Hands” & “Oxygen” Swans

Swans

A Little God In My Hands and Oxygen Track Reviews

Young God, Mute Records

Released 2013 (Oxygen), March 21, 2014 (A Little God In My Hands)

Genre: Experimental Rock, Noise Rock, Art Rock, No Wave

Upon opening up the new Swans track “Oxygen” on YouTube, I noticed several suggested videos on the sidebar such as “I Fell Down The Stairs,” “So Much Pain! – Vlog #49” and “HOTEL CHOKE SLAM”. I’m not sure what the correlation between Swans and, what seems to be, view-hungry YouTube vloggers is but the titles could not be more fitting to the two previews from the record To Be Kind due out next month.

     “A Little God In My Hands” is a spontaneously noisy screech fest. The sudden bleak, destructive choruses (if you could call them that) are colored with distortion and feedback, which easily make them the most interesting parts of the track. The best word to describe the constant background groove under the bursts of noise is creeping; the bass line makes you want to walk in with dramatic Scooby-Doo-like steps to each quarter note and the piano starting in the second verse seems outright evil under Michael Gira’s yelled, schizo vocals.  Unlike “A Little God In My Hands”, the track unravels very linearly. Layer by layer is introduced until the mix is filled with blaring guitar, scratchy hi-hats and deadly horns in the latter half. Everything concludes in the end with a monstrous beating on every instrument.

“Oxygen” has a similar tone and gets even more groovy. For something as loud and rude as it is, “Oxygen” sounds like a demented funk rock song somewhere between James Brown and The Jesus LizardThe tracks are a definite kick in the face, especially after The Seer from 2012. The abusive repetition is still there, but the delivery and structure couldn’t be any more different. The fact that there seems to be structure at all puts these aspects miles ahead of The Seer, in terms of accessibility and dare I say, enjoyability. I did enjoy The Seer but I also found myself mentally forcing my brain and body to endure the two hour, two disc mind-number. These two tracks find themselves totaling about 15 minutes and although that is brief for Swans recent work, it is incredibly refreshing. Instead of drone soundscaping, Swans have taken a delightful noise-filled rhythmic approach that expands on the grittier sound of their earlier work.

These two sneak peaks are making everyone rightfully antsy for this new album and I would not be surprised if “HOTEL CHOKE SLAM” is one of the phrases Gira hollers over some chugged chords somewhere on it.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

 

(8.8/10)

Basic CMYK

Austin City Limits 2014 Lineup Annonced

Austin City Limits Music Festival takes place Zilker Park in Austin, Texas from October 3-5 and 10-12. The festival’s lineup has been announced.

Outkast, EminemBeck, the Replacements, Belle and Sebastian, Lorde (weekend two only), Spoon, Interpol, St. Vincent, Pearl Jam, Skrillex, ChvrchesLana Del Rey, Major Lazer, Chromeo, Jenny Lewis, tUnE-yArDs, Icona Pop, Broken Bells, Phantogram, Sam Smith, Zedd, Childish Gambino, Jimmy Cliff, Temples, The Gaslight Anthem, Capital Cities, the Avett Brothers, and more will perform.

This year, the festival will feature artists ONLY performing on weekend two this year, as opposed to all artists performing on both weekends. Visit their site to purchase tickets and more info on who is performing on which weekend. Have a look at the lineup below

 

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Interview With George Clarke and Kerry McCoy of Deafheaven! (Part 2)

Read our first part of the interview before continuing:

PNG: Are you guys excited for Primavera Sound, Bonnaroo, and Governor’s Ball?

GC: Yeah, I think Primavera mostly. All are cool. It’s gonna be weird ’cause were really the odd man out, but that’s part of what I like about it; just the challenge, and getting to experience those fests and see bands I respect. And we’ll hopefully get to meet [them]. Yeah I’m excited. Fests are cool. You know they’re hectic and kinda busy but we always have fun in that environment. I’m looking forward to it.

PNG: Since Sunbather blew up have you met anybody that has been an idol of yours in the past, or anything like that?

George:We got to meet Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine, and that was pretty huge. And then Gary Holt from Exodus and Slayer, that was cool. That was kind of unband related, but I guess it happened during the course of us being a band. We’re not really like big dogs. We haven’t really had the opportunity to meet a whole lot of people, yet. I think when we approach those festivals if there’s someone walking around that I really want to shake the hand of, hopefully I’m drunk enough to where I can. It’s nerve-wracking man. It was super nerve racking meeting Kevin Shields. So hopefully fingers crossed. Pretty much the same him and Gary Holt.

Jon: Have there been any celebrities shout to y’all because of Sunbather?

GC: Yeah no one major. There was that one dude… Fred Armisen. He likes our group.

Michael: Fred Armisen has the best taste in music.

George:  He sent our publicist like an email requesting one. Or he wanted to buy one. Him and then some other dude, that you tweeted at one time, that alt comedian. He works on Children’s Hospital.

Jon: Oh, that’s Rob Corddry.

Michael: Is he that one that always looks like…

Jon: He’s the clown.

George:  Yeah he tweeted about our record one time. That’s about it I mean nothing crazy.

Jon: Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray tweeted at us one time; that was pretty crazy.

George: Oh yeah Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind.

PNG: Oh that’s really cool!

George: Yeah that guy likes our record. He’s funny.

PNG: It’s kind all over the place.

George: Yeah it is. It kinda shows you how far it’s branched out, which is cool cause that’s something you’d never really expect.

Michael: I mean you got a guy who never really thought he’d like metal…

Jon: Yeah, he’s been trying to get me into hardcore, heavy music for a long time. He’d suggest Nails, Power Trip, and Touché, I succumbed to Touché. Then, he suggested Deafheaven-

Michael: It took him a long time, but…

Jon: He made me listen to it on vinyl, and I kind of listened to it in secret on Spotify. And then one day I went up to him like, “My God, “Dream House” is freaking amazing!” And then he’s like, “You’ve been listening to it?”

George: Yeah people get into heavy music through different angles. I’m happy you did. I appreciate it.

Michael: How did you get into heavy music?

George:Magazines. Radio, initially, then just seeking stuff out. I used to go to a record store and just pick out the most gruesome cover and then buy it. I found Hatebreed’s Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire that way just cause I thought the cover looked hard, Sepultura’s Arise, Marduk’s Plague Angel, I bought that record because of the cover. It was definitely before streaming was a thing, it was when downloading was like first starting, but I didn’t know how to work any of it. So we just had record stores.

Kerry: Mine was just pretty much from meeting him. I wasn’t into much stuff like that and then I met him and he showed me that. I showed him a bunch of punk stuff.

PNG: So do you think Cali Punk has an influence on your band at all?

Kerry: Not so much, maybe in the super early development of me as a guitar player I guess it has some influence, but not really. Not in the band.

Michael: So it’s not really like a musical influence but it’s kind of like a a motivation.

Kerry: Me as a human being.

George: Yeah just bands you get into when you get into bands.

Jon: Like gateway drugs…

Michael: So, hypothetically speaking… Let’s say I somehow convinced my principal to let you guys play in my high school auditorium, would you guys do it for a benefit show?

Kerry: [For some money]

Michael:  How much would it cost?

George: (laughs) No, we wouldn’t. I mean I appreciate it, certainly.

Michael: I ask everyone that question…

George: I mean, it wouldn’t be fun. Playing in a high school, playing what we play. Trying to do what we do and having the crowd be how we want them to. You’d have people getting dragged out. Something would happen it just wouldn’t be the full experience. And I wouldn’t want to take away from anyone who was there to see us.

Michael: I ask everyone that question cause I’ve never been to a house show or done anything cool like that, cause I don’t have anybody to go with. So I just ask everyone about house shows.

GC: Don’t trip off house shows. They’re fun, it’s just a big party.

Michael: I think the DIY culture is cool that’s all.

George: No absolutely it’s what you grow up in and what a lot of people have invested a lot of energy into. Definitely respectable.

Michael: One last highschool question: we go to an all guys school [so this is important to us], who were your highschool crushes? Celebrity Crushes?

George: Shannyn Sossamon

Kerry: I didn’t really have any…

George: Yeah just girls at school. And like hot older girls that would like go to shows. It was weird. I don’t know it’s hard. If were sticking with celebrities lets go with Shannyn Sossaman. It’s the one that comes off the top of my head.

Jon: Have you guys done anything cool since coming to Dallas?

George:  Nah we just got here. We’re just starting to hang out right now and just do our things.

Michael: Are you guys leaving tomorrow to meet up with BTBAM?

George: Yeah and then we’re going to meet up with the tour again.

Jon: ’cause we know Weekend has the day off tomorrow.

George: …we have the day off too. We’re meeting up with them after a drive.

PNG: Cause they said they wanted to see the Grassy Knoll.

George: Yeah we may, we may. It depends on how adventurous we feel.

Michael: You want to try record shopping?

George: Yeah no, no record shopping. I don’t like buying records on the road they always get messed up which is unfortunate because there’s a lot of good stores around the country, but no I keep all that stuff at home. I don’t bring any breakable things. Everything gets ruined on tour so I travel really light.

Michael: Ok, well I don’t have anything else. Thanks so much guys.

George: No problem.

Watch Deafheaven perform “Vertigo” below:

Read our review of their latest album, Sunbather

Deafheaven_-_Live_2013

Interview with George Clarke and Kerry McCoy of Deafheaven! (Part 1)

Our palms were sweaty, our knees were weak, and we were nervous. After our interview with Shaun Durkan , I (Jon) mustered up the strength, greeted and introduced myself to the lead vocalist of Deafheaven, George Clarke. I inquired about the interview and he happily obliged. Guitarist Kerry McCoy sat next to him, idly scanning his Twitter on his phone, and bassist Stephen Clark was chatting with other bands nearby. With our questions ready, and an iPhone quietly recording, we interviewed one of our favorite bands about record players, DIY shows, high school, Shannyn Sossamon and touring.

PNG: So how’s the tour been?

George: Tour’s been good, we’re about four and a half weeks in. It’s been a longer run because we’ve been in cold weather for the most part, but uhh, the crowds have been responsive, and people in the package have been really cool. We’ve been hanging out with Intronaut every night and enjoying those guys especially. And I guess, you know, full speed ahead.

PNG: Why’d you guys decide to go to Spillover MF and not South By So What?!? with BTBAM and all those other guys?

George: Uhh that, uh, that festival wasn’t really, I dont think it would’ve been beneficial for us to play it. We’re kind of a really strong outsider, and we probably wouldn’t have done too well. I think that this [Spillover MF] is more of our crowd and we have friends playing and, for us it was just the better option.

Michael: You probably chose the better choice too. I’ve been to South By So What?!?! for two years in a row and it’s just a bunch of scene kids. (laughs)

George: I just, you know, not my thing.

Michael: Yeah, to each his own. So, what’s it like being on Deathwish Records?

George: It’s cool. Tre’s a cool dude, you know, they support us about everything we need and have a good attitude about it and are open to everything we do creatively, and that’s all you can ask for: loads of support and open-mindedness.

Michael: It seems like one big family. I know Nick from Touché Amoré did the artwork for Sunbather, am I right?

George: Yeah, us and those guys have a good friendship. There’s certain bands on the roster that we connect with really well, that we’ve sort of grown together with. And uhh, it’s a good thing.

Michael: Do you have any other best friends on the Deathwish roster?

George: Uhhh, I think we’re friends with Oathbreaker people, who are great, uhhh, (to Kerry) who else? Yeah that’s probably it. We’re good friends with the Touché guys, that’s who were closest with, and umm Nick Basset plays on a Deathwish band and he’s played with us for a while. He’s a good friend of ours.

Jon: Kerry, how do you approach riff-writing, because the riffs on Sunbather  are just sticky…

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Kerry McCoy (left) and Jon Birondo (right) at Club Dada in Dallas

Kerry: I write it on an acoustic guitar first, to make sure it’s decent and then I put it into a loop station and keep adding to it until I have a full song.

Michael: How do you approach pedals?

Kerry: I fake all of it, I don’t know anything about petals. I have like a tap-tempo, digital delay, and a chorus and a reverb and I bullsh*t my way through the rest of it.

Michael: True (laughs).

Jon: So Sunbather was named Metacritic’s Number One album of the year. How did you guys react to that?

George: It’s cool. Umm, the thing about critics is that it’s something that holds weight, but really doesn’t. I’m flattered by all the positive criticism, but at the end of the day, it’s just one person’s opinion. What matters to me is getting out and playing shows for people that are really invested in the band and just connecting in that way, but it’s cool. It’s interesting.

Michael: So it’s like “Take it with a grain of salt?”

George: Very much so. I don’t like to read our press, when we get some things it’s cool, though. I appreciate it, it’s awesome.

Jon: How was the 285 Kent show? I’ve been watching those videos for the whole week and-

George: It was great! It was kinda crazy, we didn’t play until 3 in the morning, so it was hectic and long, but it was fun and good people put it on and promoted it. We’re always happy to work with people that want to work with us.

 

Michael: Do you prefer DIY venues or smaller venues than big ones? Does it matter?

George: I used to. I used to prefer smaller… stages. But as like our music has become more technical and we have to… you know, there are certain things that need to be heard, and there has to be a certain sound on stage. I do like playing something with a better sound system, more clarity. I think it’s better for the audience overall. But both have their advantages. Right now, I’m kinda enjoying the stage. Its fun.

Michael: So like house shows aren’t fun anymore?

George: No, I mean house shows will always be fun. It’s just if I had the preference, I wanna.. uhhh, one of the important parts of this band is sounding good. And I want it to sound like the record sounds. And in a live setting you just need a certain amount of muscle to be able to do that, and house shows, you know, just can’t provide that. House shows are really fun; they’re the funnest shows you can play. So, if and when we do them, it’s a great time, but I feel like in order to give to the audience what we want to give we need to sound how we need to sound.

Jon: Cool! What’s music, nowadays, that’s not metal, music that fans would be surprised that you like listening to?

George: I don’t know, we’re pretty open about our musical taste. I don’t know anything people would be surprised about. Stuff I’ve been listening to lately: Lots of Grouper, Active Child, lots of Spins, Nick Cave, and… yeah those three records. I’ve been sitting on them for a while. I’ll keep it at those three, it’s easy, Grouper, Active Child, and Nick Cave.

Michael: So those are the three big ones right now?

George: It’s like on a daily basis, I’ll probably hear each of these records like once a day, or every other day. I mean so much time in the band, and I kinda like soaking in a record, and so we have a good month sink them in.

Michael: Do you have enough space in the van for a record player?

George:For a record player? Oh no, oh we wouldn’t anyway… Having a record player in your van would be really inconvenient, and I would worry about it too much. No I mean everything’s just digital in a car.

Michael: Oh yeah I assumed it was vinyl…

George:Yeah… spinning record… its just the terminology I use…

Michael: Aight, I understaynd. So what do you guys aim to do the rest of 2014?

George: We’re touring a lot! The main goal for this year is to tour as much as possible, play as many places as we can play, and hopefully at the end of the year when we calm down from all the shows we can start focusing on writing new records.

Jon: Are you planning on coming back to Dallas?

George:Yeah, I don’t know… were doing a US in June. I want to say Dallas is gonna be there. I know Austin is and I think Houston is so I’m gonna assume Dallas. Right now I don’t know, I won’t know for a few weeks, but yeah, I mean I love playing here. We played here last summer, and it was awesome, and I’m happy about tonight. We’ll keep coming back.

Michael: So you guys just came back from SXSW, right?

George:No, no we’ve been on a full US tour, but we didn’t touch South By this year. It just couldn’t fit in to our plans. We’ve done South By for two years, and maybe we’ll do it next year, but for this year it just wasn’t in the schedule.

Michael: So, what was it like in the past?

George:It’s a s**t show. It’s really chaotic and suffocating, and really, really fun but really really tiring and there’s always something eventful happen. It’s a huge party that you have the responsibility of playing multiple times over the course of the couple of days that it lasts. Its fun. We’ve had wild times.

Michael: I haven’t heard anyone say it’s relaxing all over the place. So…

George: Its just really… Intense. It’s always intense.

Michael: So what were you guys doing when you were in high school?

George: Not paying attention. Going to shows. Drinking. Girls. All the things you kind of like want to do but shouldn’t do… I guess that was kind of my high school. It was good.

Michael: Do you have like a favorite high school concert memory?

George:I went to so many. I mean when I was like 16 I went and saw Mogwai with Interpol and The Cure. Probably the first Curiosa Festival. That was one that sticks out.

Watch Interpol perform “Roland”

Michael:Oh wow! (To Jon) That is YOUR lineup…

Jon: I love ALL those bands. That sounds great!

George:Yeah, it was really tight, and The Rapture opened, and then came other people. Oh yeah and Cursive played. Man that was a fun… that first Curiosa was sick! And then just punk shows, like northern California, like Bay Area, punk shows. Like everyone… that’s just what you did. I could name off a million bands that, you know, wouldn’t matter this way or that way, but were really fun to see back at that time.

PNG: Do you like to be active, when you’re at a punk show, like stage diving and s**t?

George: I mean like… I’m 25 now. I went to that American Nightmare reunion and stage dove then, and cracked the back of my head open, and I was bleeding a ton, and I went to the bathroom in the venue and I looked in the mirror and thought “eh not anymore… too old…” I mean not too old, but too old for me. I prefer just watching a band now. But yeah back in the day yeah… I got so f***ed up like we’d always leave shows with bruises, and cuts, stuff like that, or worse. It evolves.

Michael: Is it like, “I don’t have the same kind of energy or tolerance for pain?” or…?

George:I just don’t care as much, truthfully. That’s what the kids are for, and I think everyone has their moment when they want to do that, and yeah, I just don’t care enough. I’m on the flipside now where I really like enjoying watching a band perform, and I enjoy the performance, rather than the interaction of it. I like to see the way bands play, and how well they play, and things like that. Focus on that, focus on the songs, rather than just being as wild as I can and seeing flashes of the band in my periphery.

Michael: How was the American Nightmare show?

George:It was fun, it was fun. I was never like a huge… like I was never really into that band like super hard, but their drummer is a dude that we know and he hooked it up and I recognized some songs from when I was younger. A lot of friends, old friends, it was fun. They were good, they played really well, and I got a little too ecstatic at one point… front flipped and payed for it. Pretty bad.

Michael: Did you have a group of friends that you went to shows with in high school?

George: Uh… Yeah, Yeah. I think everyone does, right?. I think I went to a couple shows by myself, but only knowing that there were going to be people there with, but yeah there was always like a good group.

PNG: Yeah, all our friends like country, so we’re kind of like on our own.

George: Yeah that’s grand stuff. It happens,

PNG: I guess going to a Catholic private high school doesn’t’ help. But (laughs)-

George: It doesn’t, no you gotta go to Downey High in Modesto. Yeah Modesto’s where the cool kids are. If you wanna get high in the bathroom and talk about f**king nerve agents or something like that, go to Modesto.

PNG: Is that where you went?

George: yeah…

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2…

New York, NY- Jan. 17, 2014  Disclosure performing at Terminal 5

Watch: Disclosure’s full performance at Coachella 2014

Rising to the top of the electronic genre game, UK duo Disclosure returned to Coachella for the second year in a row. Their 11-song performance featured standalone singles and tracks from their amazing debut, 2013’s  Settle, including “When a Fire Starts to Burn”, “Voices”, “You & Me”, and a remix of Jessie Ware’s “Running”. The brothers then brought out three special guests: Aluna Francis  for “White Noise”, Mary J. Blige, for  “F For You”, and Sam Smith for their smash hit  Latch”.

Replay the full, dazzling experience below that helped close out the first weekend of Coachella 2014:

Setlist:
When a Fire Starts to Burn
You & Me
Grab Her!
White Noise (with Aluna Francis)
Voices
What’s in Your Head
Confess to Me
Running (Disclosure Remix)
Help Me Lose My Mind
F For You (with Mary J. Blige)
Latch (with Sam Smith)