9 March 2021
As Days Get Dark
ARAB STRAP: Facebook
9 March 2021
As Days Get Dark
ARAB STRAP: Facebook
3 March 2021
Last week the debut longplayer FULL SPECTRUM
by THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA
(finally) arrived. One of the best albums of 2021. Fact!
Turn Up The Volume wrote: Manimal and Samara are a poetallica sensation. A new laser
light at the end of a mythical tunnel where anything can happen. Imagine Sylvia Plath fronting
a theatrical and mind-challenging psychedelic noise band. Their debut album is a multi-faceted opus in sound and vision. Compelling poetry exploring life, death, birth, past, present, and future embedded in a titanic thunder and lighting symphony going from perplexing metal to chill-out ambient. The final result is at times jaw-dropping, at times weirdly confusing, at times dumbfounding but always flabbergasting and fascinating. When surreality becomes reality you know something is about to happen.
Today TUTV wants to add: “These two artists care intensely
about everything they do and create everything – lyrics, music,
artwork, video clips, promo – with heartfelt love and passion,
and an awe-inspiring level of quality. Amazing!”
We are pretty excited that the authors of this
remarkable record, Daphne & Andrea, will
guide us through the journey track by track.
Andrea: With Atoms I wanted to compress about 4.5 billion years into a 5 minute long track. This track represents to us the circle of life from the different eras. The music and the lyrics really scan the timeline from creation to evolution, till death, and on and on.
Daphne: I wanted to bring out Andrea’s vision for the music – which was to tell the
story of the creation of the universe. I wanted it to be a more balanced story of creation, so I decided to combine my own writing with extracts from the sacred texts of both the Eastern and Western religions. So I chose and adapted from texts the Vedas and Buddhust scriptures and contrasted this with Gnostic and Hermetic texts, and the story of Genesis as told by Dante.
2. PSYCHOPATS’ MONOLOGUE
Andrea: “I was at this techno rave party and I thought,
“a fucking metal riff would be great with this kick!”
Daphne: I had been bombarding Andrea with really dark, hard, and heavy industrial techno tracks for a while…And then he came up with this track which completely blew
me away as it combined two of my music loves – [hard and dark] metal and techno.
This was actually the first recording we did together. It was totally impromptu, at least
for me. I remember Andrea sat me in front of the mic and pressed the record button,
and I froze. The magic happened when Andrea suggested that I should use some of my
old poems, so I pulled out an old manuscript with some of my old poems. My first instinct was to recite it – like a theatrical monologue, not to sing it. When I read the verses out
loud over the music, it fit so snugly within the music at the first take.
The lyrics are based on 7 sonnet poems that I wrote over a ten-year period. I kept a collection of poems in a notebook which I called the “Psychopath’s Monologue” – hence
the title of the song.
3. DEUS EX MACHINA
Daphne: We wanted to do something related to Greek Tragedy for this song. We decided
to base the song on the greatest tragedy of them all – Oedipus Rex, which was written by Sophocles and performed in Ancient Athens over two thousand years ago. I wanted the lyrics to be written and performed as it would have been in Ancient Greece, but also to keep the language accessible to a contemporary listener. So I had to do a lot of research on the structure of Greek lyrical poetry for this song.
Andrea: I wanted to add an extra nightmare on this one playing the Tar guitar with a Persian flavour because at the “premiere” of Sophocles play Oediupus Rex, which was performed in a theatre in Athens around 429 BC, the Greeks were facing an imminent attack from the Persian Empire.
4. MATA HARI
Andrea: The first concept behind Mata Hari was: How I will see the world in 2080?
Fucking worse than it is now! So…what could we do to reverse this trend? I thought we should reverse our lifestyle first. So I’ve made some changes and reversed some sounds.
Daphne: Mata Hari’ was probably one of the two songs which was purely grounded in emotion and feelings. The song is actually based on one of my paintings titled, “Feelings” https://daphneang.com/part-iii ] – which we used as the cover artwork of the single.
In both the song and the artwork, I wanted to capture the intensity of the feelings and emotions that arise from love’s encounter – much like what ‘Mata Hari’ means in Malay – “the sun” or literally, ‘eye of the day” or “day star”.
5. THE DESCENT
Andrea: As a surfer, I’ve always had a silent but deep connection with mother nature, especially with the oceans and seas so this track has the tempo of nature. Sometimes nature takes 6 minutes to completely change the environment around you.
Daphne: The lyrics are actually based on a poem I wrote in 2004 right after the ‘Boxing
Day Tsunami’ and earthquake which claimed 225,000 lives across Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and Thailand. When it happened, it struck very close to where I was, so the sense of danger was very real to me. The last line of the lyrics “climbing trees to have a glimpse of the world, crumbling nevertheless”, I wrote after watching the news which showed footage of stranded survivors perched on treetops over flooded areas in the aftermath of the Tsunami. It is uncanny that something I had written years ago fit perfectly with the music and message of a song that Andrea wrote years later – this is synchronicity perhaps.
6. MESSAGE FOR THE KING
Andrea: We were watching the Game of Thrones series for
the fourth or fifth time, so this came out really organically.
Daphne: This was pretty much me acting out something from The Blackadder!
It was probably the easiest to record as it came very naturally to me.
It worked perfectly as an interlude for the album [much like in the old days of theatre], providing some comic relief before the album descended into the valley of the shadow
of death with the next song, “Love in The Time of Pestilence”.
7. LOVE IN THE TIME OF PESTILENCE
Andrea: Definitely the most trickiest song for the album because I wanted the amplitude waveform view of this track to visualise the evolution and progression of the pandemic over the course of 2020. This song became our tribute and homage to all the healthcare professionals around the world, who have risked their lives to save the lives of others.
Daphne: This was definitely the most challenging song for me as well. We wanted “Love in the Time of Pestilence‘ to be a collective message, not just ours, so I decided to combine my own writings with some quotes that would document mankind’s experience of pandemics, plagues, and disease over the course of history. The lyrics include Latin proverbs and quotes from historical figures such as Aeschylus, Benjamin Franklin, and George Orwell.
This is to remind humanity that if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. I wanted the chorus of the song to be a warped version of Bob Marley’s anthem, “One Love”. But instead of “One Love, One Heart. Let’s get together and feel all right.”, ours would be, “One World. One People. One Disease. It’s in the air for you and me.” I guess the songs are similar in the sense that they are both a plea to mankind.
The cover artwork is based on one of my paintings titled, ‘Il Medico Della Peste’ or ‘The Plague Doctor’. [ https://daphneang.com/part-iii ] It was originally meant to be an abstract painting but Andrea saw the figure of the ‘Medico della Peste’ – a beaked Venetian carnival mask representing the physicians who treated victims of the bubonic plague. I continued the painting to emphasise the figure more. So it was definitely a befitting cover artwork for the song.
8. TCOMAS S01 E01
Andrea: Samara bought me a keyboard for my birthday. She played it on the same day and this song was born. Without Samara’s gift, this album would definitely have sounded very different.
Daphne: Tcomas S01 E01 is a storytelling song which is based on our manga comic series, “The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara“. We developed the script and characters together, and I painted the comic book cover and made illustrations of Manimal and Samara – which we then used for the cover of our debut single “Atoms”. The story is about a schoolgirl who runs away into the jungle to escape from society and the modern world. “All grown up, but alone in the wilderness, she discovers someone who would change the course of her life forever…”
One day, I was editing the script and listening to the recording we made with me playing the piano at the same time. I started reading the script out loud and realised that it fit perfectly within the music!
9. FULL SPECTRUM
Andrea: This is the only instrumental track in the album. A reminder that all technology is based on primitive needs. I wanted to evoke the experience of the unpredictability of life, our paths in life twisting and turning with every choice we make.
10. AT THE WORLDS ENDS
Daphne: We wanted this song to visualise the end of the world caused by human destruction, leaving mankind on a planet that is no longer able to sustain us. We wanted this so to bring attention to the damage human actions have brought onto to nature and our planet’s environment. But I didn’t want it to be your typical environmental activist song – so I wrote the lyrics to tell this message through a tragic love story of two lovers who bid farewell to each other on the last day on earth.
Andrea: This song has been inspired by a recent study by IPBES [Intergovernmental
Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services] which concluded that,
“Human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before.”
[ https://ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment ] The message of the
song is that we all have to do our part as citizens of earth.
Also, did we mention that TCOMAS also paints together as ELKYMY?
[ https://elkymyart.com/ ] We made sculptural 3D paintings inspired by
forms and flows in nature. We used a series of our paintings – also entitled
‘At The Worlds End’, as the cover artwork and title of this song.
[ https://elkymyart.com/at-the-worlds-end ].
11. THE GREAT NEWS
Daphne: I had finally finished writing the lyrics for ‘Love in the Time of Pestilence’. I had been putting this off for a long time as it was the most challenging for me. It was the last song we had to record to make our album complete. So it was a huge achievement and relief when this was done. Waving a freshly printed copy of the lyrics, I announced the great news to Andrea. He was so amused, we recorded it immediately.
Thank you very much, Daphne and Andrea, for guiding
us through Full Spectrum track by track…
THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA: Facebook
2 August 2020
Irish indie rock bohemians FONTAINES D.C. just released their second ‘difficult’ longplayer. A DEATH’S HERO is a stellar piece of work about the grim times we
live in seen through the eyes of young artists trying to make sense of all of it.
6 July 2020
THE MIGHTY ORCHID KING is the British answer to King Gizard King Gizzard & The
Lizard Wizard, that incredibly productive and mind-expanding Aussie collective. The
St. Albans psych prog rockers just released their kaleidoscopic debut album called
THE DOCTRINE OF INFINITE KINDNESS. A bold, existential, bizarro piece of work.
These Five Horsemen of Eco-Anxiety combine Kerouac-esque spontaneous prose
with more direct protest songs about the ongoing destruction of our beloved, living
Earth. Their spectacular firstborn sounds like a sonic visualization of Stanley Kubrick‘s spectacular sci-fi vision ‘2020: A Space Odyssey’. Otherworldly, metaphysical, starry-
eyed and rainbow-colored. Several of the songs were written about their experiences
in the Extinction Rebellion movement, others were inspired by long periods of
isolation and attempts at enlightenment.
Sonically they mix their appetite for 60s harmony, fuzzy guitars, synth arpeggios with occasional impressions of samba, jazz, and house.
Sounds pretty far-out to my ears. Curious, aren’t you? No problem, ringleader Jonny Bennett will tell us all and more about ‘The Doctrine Of Infinite Kindness‘ track by track.
Let’s roll, Jonny…
1. (SUMMON THE SPIRIT)
“A recurring theme of the album is diving down deep inside our consciousness to
see what’s there — I was inspired by an idea from Sharon Salzberg that we can inherit trauma through generations. A lot of the lyrics were written spontaneously, often early in the morning. I’m endlessly obsessing about different ways to get the creative flow going – for a while summoning the spirit was about meditation then totally overwhelming my senses with crazy jazz and coffee while reading from my favourite site called Brainpickings.”
“We pick up again on this journey into the mind here. I’d been reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and remember being really struck by his Orwellian prophecy that love would be unnecessary for cyborg humans of the future.
The synth arpeggio section was on endless loop for a few days, I got totally lost in it”
“I like the juxtaposition of the fancy-free shuffle groove with the lyrics which are basically about escaping the fear of climate meltdown by getting intoxicated and the ensuing guilt of feeling like you’re ignoring the crisis. It’s not just about getting drunk, but anything that we lose ourselves in to avoid confronting reality. We included a line about the absurdity of obsessing over streaming figures while our actual rivers and oceans are being polluted. The irony is that checking our Spotify stats is all we do at the moment!”
“This is the jam song on the record and our usual live set closer. This dates back to
a rehearsal jam in 2017. I started playing this weird rhythm on the kit and as soon
as I heard Martin’s guitar riff I grabbed my phone to record it. We used to write all
our songs that way. The synth sound felt like a real turning point for us towards
more dance elements. These were very spontaneous lyrics again, evoking a kind of
fundamental connection between people and nature.”
5. I WOKE UP EARLY TO DIAL IN TO SOME SACRED FREQUENCY
“Another song about the sanctuary of the early morning before facing the chaos of the world. There’s even a mangled Trump quote in there — “violence on both sides” — symbolic of the way these everyday horrors encroach on our peace. This is the album’s central conflict I think, between the bliss of withdrawing from the world and the need to confront the existential threats we face.”
(From Martin) “Head started off with the little drum machine beat and a few guitar parts but was condemned to the depths of my computer before Jonny helped bring it back to life. Lyrically it was a real mess at first. Basically just written to try get the song ready for a gig, but it ended up becoming about boozing/partying but that it leaves you feeling worse off (in more ways than one). I feel there’s something there about burying your head that fits in with the environmental message of the rest of the album.”
“This one was written by Michael C. Rea AKA Symbol Soup, who doesn’t play with the
live band now but is still very much a part of our collective. I went overboard on the harmonies. It was about trying to move away from just stacking on top of the lead
line and instead create contrapuntal sounds where different voices sing different
rhythms and melodies to create these interweaving webs. I’m always trying to get
closer to that Brian Wilson sound!”
8. (GETTING BETTER, GOLDEN METTA)
“The interlude track sets up the last three songs. It’s kind of a play on the Beatles song, and like the closing song on the album is about a Buddhist meditation where you bring people to mind and wish them well – usually you start with yourself, then someone you really like, then someone more neutral and then someone you don’t like. I stopped drinking for nearly a year and started diving deep into all of these practices. Sometimes I’d try and meditate for two hours in a session — it was quite intense.’ ”
“This is the most direct song on the album about our ecological crisis. I was reading about indigenous protectors in the Amazon being killed as the Bolsonora government moved in to clear more land. The song is about the fundamental absurdity of chasing money at the expense of our life support system. It’s also about the hope of change. Last year a few of the band members were out protesting with Extinction Rebellion often playing with the samba band. It was an incredible feeling to be part of that community for a few weeks – you just start to lose all sense of your individual worries.”
10. THE INTERNET IS ANCIENT
“I remember listening to a podcast with a guy who claimed to have achieved enlightenment and he said one of the downsides was that emotions became so heightened afterwards that even seeing a moth flying towards a lamp became too
painful. I was reading a book about the mycelium networks between trees that allow
them to communicate, share resources, and protect each other. In this context a tree
in concrete with no friends seemed so sad. This song has quite a silly structure, there’s about 6 sections which repeat and a really strange key change.”
“This is the most experimental moment on the record but also I think the most groove-based. All the instruments in the verses are based on a rudiment pattern on the drum kit – I was trying to do a kind of Tony Allen linear thing with guitars and bass emphasising different parts of the groove. There’s a few polymetric moments on the record but this is the most out there – we’d been listening to Polygondwanaland by King Gizzard and also Your Queen Is A Reptile by Sons of Kemet. There are sections where the guitars are in 7/8 while the drums are in 4/4 – I think this chaos reflects the central theme of sending out unconditional love to all beings. I hope that we leave listeners with a positive uplifting message at the end.”
Thanks, Johnny for this revealing breakdown.
May the road rise with The Mighty Orchid King!
Stream/buy album here…
THE MIGHTY ORCHID KING: Facebook
19 February 2020
With their highly turbulent debut album called 3D ROUTINE Leeds furiously outspoken and electrical misfits MUSH show loud and clear that alternative guitar rock is vividly alive and angrily kicking. One moment they rage manically like dissonant legends Devo, then again they freak out like New York City‘s new wave innovators Television on speed, with clamourous frontman Dan Hyndman reminding me of infamous blank generation punk Richard Hell‘s fiery vox.
And their agitated, enraged and frenzied impetuosity fits their razor-sharp and biting political views perfectly well. In these troubled times we need engaged young wolves
like these hungry bohemians raising their worried voice supported by the necessary decibels to shake things up. Time to know more about this intensified and iron-cast
debut longplayer. Therefore, we invited the band to guide us through 3D ROUTINE,
track by track.
The track by track breakdown…
1. Revising My Fee ”
“Felt right to have this one as the opener. It’s on the rawer/faster side of things, nice to chuck a couple of energetic ones in off the bat for a debut. It’s a bit politically minded but not as well considered as some others, more of a tangential moan about conditions. It’s packed with riffs and has a nice wig out at the end, it’s fairly representative.”
2. Eat the Etiquette ”
“I thought this one was the big hit, it’s pretty concise and has that repetition thing. To me, it sounds like pop music but actually ‘Revising’ took off a lot more. Thematically it’s a bit of an attack on the ‘common sense’ and maybe the centre ground. Apparently, it sounds like fast Devo, which I can live with.”
3. Existential Dread
“For about ten seconds this is the closest we ever got to sounding like the 60’s, then it goes all grunge and 90’s. Lyrically does what it says on the tin.”
4. Coronation Chicken
“Important point of the record for me. This is when is throws a curve ball and starts to go a little off the rails. Gets a bit groovier and different sounds introduced. It’s a bizarre track musically, very busy, backwards guitars snuck in at points. Song is about public scrutiny and toffs.”
5. Island Mentality
“Can’t be bothered to talk about the content of this track anymore and it doesn’t take much unpacking. Musically it was fun as we chucked a synth and a saxophone on.”
6. Fruits of The Happening
“Song’s about friends, addiction, inevitability of things. Nice change of pace on this one, some nice violins too.”
7. Hey Gammonhead
“Probably the most slacked out track on the record. Lyrics very silly and tongue in cheek. Found the term Gammon to be very amusing and articulate lot of things in a single word. Inevitable I would write a song about it.”
8. 3D Routine:
“Can’t articulate exactly what this means but it makes sense to me. More on the abstract side, kind of about the obscurity of day to day routine. Musically the most ambitious on the record all sorts of stuff going on.”
9. Gig Economy
“Recorded a new version which felt the right thing to do. Hopefully people like it as much. It has a new guitar solo and added tambourine courtesy of Phil. It’s about austerity and job security.”
10. Poverty Pornography
“Straight down the line punk tune. About representation and exploitation of the so called ‘underclass’ in the media.”
11. No Signal in the Paddock
“This song is about existing in an echo chamber. We lost our shit in the studio on this one and started doing some random Beck type keyboard sounds all over it. Time will tell if we regret it, even some auto tune antics.”
12. Alternative Facts
“The song that made us ha! Marc Riley played this on 6music when about five people had heard of us. Only felt right to stick it on the record. Had to go last due to the length. Songs a fairly known entity at this point but it’s a new version so hopefully people enjoy.”
Thank you guys for guiding us through 3D ROUTINE.
Mat the road rise with MUSH!
Album also on Spotify…
You can listen and/or buy the album right here.
You want to know how they sound on stage? Check this razzle-dazzle footage…
MUSH: Facebook / band photo on top by Broth Tarn
17 February 2020
Last Friday, on Valentine’s Day, Canadian psych-pop outfit ELEPHANT STONE – formed in 2008 – launched their sixth album, titled HOLLOW. An intriguing and fascinating concept lonplayer with an overall spellbinding and spiritual resonance despite the gloomy context of the LP, making me think of George Orwell‘s brilliant dystopian novel 1984 but npw with the social media as Big Brother. Mastermind, singer/songwriter, and renowned sitarist Rishi Dhir, worked, in between creating his own work, with legend Beck and cult bands such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre and he started recently new projects the Acid House Ragas and the wonderful MIEN, with members of The Horrors and The Black Angels.
About the new Elephant Stone record Dhir said: “I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of unhappy people out there who are trying to find a way out. They are looking for meaning and something to believe in… or nothing to believe in. We all want the same thing but are trying to achieve it in different ways. With this in mind, we wrote and recorded this new album. I set forth writing a song-suite telling of a world of unhappy souls who have lost connection with each other.” He also revealed that he was inspired by The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’, Pretty Things’ fourth album ‘S.F. Sorrow’ and the second side of The Beatles’ classic ‘Abbey Road’ LP.
As a devoted Elephant Stone myself, having seen the band playing live several times,
it’s a great pleasure to have Rishi Dhir guiding us through Hollow track by track…
Here’s Rishi‘s track by track breakdown…
1. Hollow World
“This was the trickiest song for the album as I knew it was to be the opener and I wanted to make sure it pulled the listener in. And it’s the beginning of the whole Hollow concept. I rewrote the track a few times before arriving on this version. I think having my 9-year old daughter sing on this really helped elevate the song.”
2. Darker Time, Darker Space
“I had a Pete Townshend-ish guitar riff lying around and messed around with some
weird vocals sounds with a Neu!-ish back beat. This is where things really start
going bad on earth…”
3. The Court and Jury
“This began with a sitar riff and was initially just an intro for Land of Dead. I decided to make it it’s own thing telling of the court system who decides who will leave for New Earth.”
4. Land of Dead
“Building on the same musical scale used in Court and Jury (bhairavi scale in G) I wrote
this riff on sitar as well. I injected with some Pretty Things/Sabbath stoner rock:) New earth is also dead.”
5. Keep the Light Alive
“The last of humanity arrives on new earth to find it devoid of life. The children ask the parents for guidance and support. I brought in my daughter and a couple of her friends
to sing. I love this song!”
6. We Cry for Harmonia
“The adults begin worshipping Harmonia (spaceship) as their god and saviour. They
lack skills for living in such a harsh climate. Musically, this song was an extension of
the choruses of Keep the Light Alive… I like the folky/Dylan-esque verses which then
go into an Everly Brothers-ish part and then into outer space.”
“This is the comedown/epilogue of side A. The last of humanity turn against their new god
Musically, amazing tabla performance by long time collaborator Shawn Mativetsky and my lovely wife Kirsty on backing vocals. I really like the middle 8 on these tunes.”
8. I See You
“This is one of the older songs writing for the album. Very proud of the middle 8 on
this one too… got this gothy vibe to it…”
9. The Clampdown
“Wrote this track on piano. Interesting fact: My piano was tune to 443hz rather than the standard 440hz. So, I had tuned all my other instruments to 443… was tedious but very rewarding in the end! Love Robbie’s guitar tones on this one.”
10. Fox on the Run
“Another older track from the album… the final version is built on a solo demo/jam I did
in my old studio in 2017. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to improve upon the demo, so just kept as is and layered tracks on top. A definite highlight of the album for me.”
11. House on Fire
My family had a fire at our house in late 2017 and then I went on tour supporting
the Dream Syndicate two days later. It was really hard on my wife and kids… this song
is pretty much me saying I’m sorry and that should’ve stayed home to help them.
12. A Way Home
An extension of the last song…. me returning home after leaving my family to fend for themselves… also ties in well with the album concept.
Thank you, Rishi for guiding us trough ‘HOLLOW’.
May the road rise with Elephant Stone!
Listen and/or buy HOLLOW right here.
14 February 2020
After their gloom and doom debut album Konark Und Bonark, a nightmarish psycho opus remarkable for its both otherworldly and creepy metallic sludge disorder, Belgian erratic combo ELEFANT returns with the synthtastic motherrocker called BEHAJUNG.
A more accessible work, except for the schizophrenic and hair-raising moments which make me think of longtime weirdos The Residents. Anyway, the experimental misfits
have entered another bloodcurdling sound area with layers of special effects, some
steamy knockouts, some puzzling razzmatazz, and an overall arresting new Sturm Und Drang sonority of which, even after several spins, you still haven’t a clue how to define it. Therefore we invited Herr Wolllf, the band’s musical maestro to tell us more about their second electroshock longplayer.
The anecdotes by Herr Wolllf, track by track…
1. Ultra Plus Ultra
“This one was bound to be the first song of the album. Lyrically it’s about the heroic
deed of walking the dog…”
“This one I wrote like in 10 minutes and I really love it. It’s pretty complex rhythmically and dissonant as fuck! The lyrics go back to Robert Frost‘s poem ‘Lodged’ showing humanity who’s in power.”
“Eazy’ is balancing between Minor / Major, Happy / Sad, Annoying / Soothing.”
‘I will make you go, take a step forward
Let’s take you home, enjoy the walk
I will help you cope, take a step inward
and take you home, enjoy the walk’
4. Water Always Flows Down
“I’m a sucker for choir and vocal music. In Elefant most of the lyrics are pretty upbeat
(no irony) and here i’m trying to put stuff in perspective: humanity might have wandered off its path, but hey, water still flows down. We might destroy ourselves and everything around us, but atoms will survive!”
“This is one of my favourites! It’s not sexy. It’s too sad and too slow, but I love
the drama. The title is also the most beautiful word with ‘lll’ consecutive lll’s!”
5. Welcome To Life Sonny
“A fond welcome to my son Elko, the destroyer of death. Musically it turned
out to be our take on 80’s wave boom tchak-ing all the way through…”
“A Meeting with Death: Sit down, loosen up, have a cookie. The whole album deals with life/death in a direct or indirect way. Do you choose life or death? It’s got a great oriental vibe provided by our lord of oud: Dr. M. Flamand.”
7. The Dooor
“Tony Clifton in the house! I think in 2019 I was half Wolf, half Tony and this song reflect that. Soundwise to me, it’s Slayer performing in a Bollywood movie.”
“This song was also sung by Tony. Musically, it was inspired by Mariachi music,
but it mutated to this thing called 3-3-3.”
9. A Conversation In A Room
“I needed a little pause before the last track and I remembered this canon.
It’s an invitation to a conversation if the occasion would arise.”
10. My Race Race is Better Than Your Race
“This one’s a bitch to play, but what a lovely squeaky bitch! It’s a reaction to the fear/propaganda that has been pumped in our veins by the press and politicians.”
close your doors for they are coming
close your borders, the water’s rising
close your eyes, the sun is shining
shine your light ’cause all are hiding
forget your rights for they are coming
sell your profile, the water’s rising
shut your voice, the sun is shining
buy a choice ’cause all are hiding
close your doors
close your eyes
they are coming
the sun is shining
Thank you Herr Wolllf to guide us through
Behajung! May the road rise with Elefant!
One more thing. From day one the Elefant squad, on stage, dressed as deranged scientific engineers in white outfits and their faces smeared with white chalk, but that’s over now. The band burned their camouflage and look almost normal now.
23 October 2019
LADY LAZARUS is the solo project of California-based singer-songwriter Melissa Ann Sweat. A stirring and compelling artist with an alluring vox who released her first album Mantic back in 2011. And now here’s her fourth LP, titled ‘IMPOSSIBLE JOURNEY OF MY SOUL TONIGHT’. An intriguing and genuinely moving, cathartic work covering some of her darkest experiences and most profound emotions. All her heart-whole and soul-touching musings, mostly voice & piano, will make you silent as Lady Lazarus‘ intimate meditations have a universal, recognizable dimension most of us can relate to. Here’s the artist herself shining a light on all nine, bewitching tracks.
The track by track guide…
1. I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
“This first track really set off the whole tone for the record and was the linchpin that started to bring all these songs together as a whole in my mind. It is the introduction to the “dark night of the soul” and is a song of empathy, holding space for, and relating to another’s deep pain. I truly feel that empathy, understanding, and compassion are going to become even more essential human currencies as we evolve, and we need these expressions of – what are essentially love – now in our world more than ever.”
2. DRIVING THE STREETS OF YOUR TOWN
“Unlike all the other songs on the record which came to me at the keyboard or piano,
this song came to me when I was waking up from a dream. The melody was right there, and all I did was stumble down to my keyboard and pluck it out. It’s a song about home, but moreso of not being able to go home again because it and you have changed so much… and you feel like a ghost driving the streets of your old town. I can’t help but
feel that way myself, though I’m sure many other wandering souls can relate.”
The wandering clip…
3. I RECALL JULY
“I wrote this song in Austin during a summer storm, and the lyrics recall a stormy relationship that reached a sudden culmination and breaking point, though the good times and the love we shared live on in memory. It’s wistful, romantic, but also grateful for experiencing this kind of love: “If I called you up / would it be enough / to accept my love?“. Haven’t we all wanted to call the one that got away and maybe say, thank you?”
4. GIVE A LITTLE BIT OF YOURSELF, BABE
“Give A Little Bit” is my sexiest song on the record, in my humble opinion, and is meant to honor my post-breakup phase of re-exploring my sexuality and letting my appetite run wild. It’s also meant to encourage intimacy in myself and others, opening up to other people in meaningful ways, and not being afraid to show your truth and who you really are.”
5. GOLDEN HEART
“Conversely, this may be the sweetest song on the album. It’s inspired by one of my past partners and our relationship in which I truly felt unconditionally loved, perhaps for the first time in my life. I’m still searching for that “golden hearted” person again, but I’m grateful to have a lot of heart and hope.”
Golden heart in motion…
6. A BLOOM IN REVERSE (YOU CAME HERE TO LOVE)
“I’m really fond of the 60s/70s British folk feel of this song, and perhaps even evoking a time before that… there’s almost a chamber music quality to it, and the composition is very odd. After I wrote it, it reminded me of Fairport Convention‘s classic, “Who Know
Where The Time Goes,” in its themes of time and how it so mysteriously passes in this life.
I, unfortunately, had several young, female friends and acquaintances pass away in the last few years before writing this song, and I feel I subconsciously wrote it in honor of them: “A rose is all that life shows / how it grows nobody knows / but when it goes, ohhh…”
7. “…AND IT IS ALL RIGHT
“All Right” is the oldest song on the album, dating back to 2014 when I wrote it. I feel it has a timeless quality, and I’d like to think Tom Waits might enjoy the melody and singing and playing it sometime. Like many of mine, the song has some dark themes of feeling lost in life, but is meant to be a comfort and a kind of existential lullaby.”
8. NOW THAT I’M ON MY OWN
“This more folky track played on upright piano contains my first swear word ever in
one of my songs… f*ck yeah! My grandfather was not so keen on it after I warned him,
but I personally felt very proud to see that explicit label on the album. This is a song about being fed up with emotional abuse, going out on your own, and embracing your new path, still with love and courage in your heart – and sometimes you just need to curse about all that.”
9. ALL I WANTED TO BE IS FREE
“The final song on the album is my version of what a soul sounds like after many lifetimes of reincarnation on this earth having finally broken the karmic bonds and liberated herself to freedom. Soul freedom. Kind of like what a rainbow would sound like bursting through the cosmic dark. The incredible sax played by my friend Tony Devincentis is the embodiment of that emancipated spirit, and it has brought me to tears of joy and relief upon many listens.”
Thank you Melissa Ann for guiding us through your
new album. May the road rise with Lady Lazarus!
1 October 2019
DOWN THE LEES is a red-hot-blooded Belgium based noise rock trio, led by impressive Canadian vox and guitarist Laura Lee Schultz. The band just released their tense and high-strung album, called ‘BURY THE SUN‘ recorded by Chicago‘s legendary noise expert Steve Albini. Here Albini shines because of the perfect way he gives space to Schultz’s voice, the prominent heroine of this striking record, and because of the flawlessly balanced way he surrounded the vocals with the scorching quiet/Loud/quiet power of guitar, bass, and drums. But, again, the poignant force in the middle, is Laura Lee Schultz. She not only wrote all the songs but gave them all a vivid soul and a beating heart with the powerful and arranging assistance of her great band. She will tell you more of all of her babies, right below, Track by Track…
Here are the songs…
Here’s Laura Lee…
1. Bury the Sun
“This was the first song that was written for this album, so naturally it comes first. Also, it should be on top of the pile of immediate action. Climate action. It speaks of the climate crisis we are facing and how a lot of people are so blind to it. It makes me so sad and worried for our planet. “When will we wake up?” We may just wake up to nothing.”
2. A Cynical Age
“Have you ever noticed how many school shootings are happening? One is too many. “Amazing Machine, put your hands into the air, only 17”. I like that this upbeat tune turns dark and ominous on a dime. Which is what it must be like to be one of those kids. Going through your school day then all of sudden you “are hiding under tables in the library”.
3. Just a Kid
“When we started on this song, it was a poppy number. Then Kwinten laid his bass magic on it and it is now a stand out track. Imagine never knowing who your father was. Imagine having a mother who kept that information from you. Imagine having to live through a war. And now, imagine never being able to talk about it. “Do you even remember? Now
we all forget his name.”
4. War Torn
“Another song about war! It’s like there is a theme. And yes, this album has a theme. Death. A song about missing your loved ones who were lost in senseless acts. “I’ll make believe that you are here and not lost like all the daughters.”
5. Penny Straight
“The most energetic song on the album! We love playing this one live. A cheeky number about straight women breaking gay women’s hearts. Awww.”
6. We All Belong On This Surface
“We are in a very interesting and scary time right now. There are many people coming out from under their rocks, belittling and threatening the well-being of others. “God willing they say, killing all whose different” I know it sounds cliche but it’s so true, can’t we all just get along??!!! Ugh.”
7. Antiseptic Heart
“This song is about artists feeling vulnerable and trolls throwing negative, hurtful comments at them. We, as artists, have to have a thick skin, and sometimes, the skin
isn’t thick enough. Forcing them to quit making their art or worse, quit living. There is something inherently wrong with someone who takes pleasure in ripping someone
else’s livelihood apart. “It’s too late to eviscerate the tragically unkind.”
The video for ‘Antiseptic Heart’ …
8. Please Pain
“People like to ridicule. The pleasure pain of being cruel.” Some people
get a kick or a high out of hurting people. I just don’t get that.”
“The album comes to an explosive end, which is how we like to end our shows.”
Thank you Laura Lee.
May the road rise with Down The Lees!
BURY THE SUN is available on Bandcamp
DOWN THE LEES: Facebook
(promo photo on top via band)
14 June 2019
Chicago‘s SHE RIDES TIGERS describes themselves as a fuzz guitar riff-laden power-trio blurring the lines between psychedelic rock and power pop. They just released their debut album titled SCARS. A multifaceted work with changing tonality matching changing moods. From the lifelike human touch of ‘Scars Of Allegory’ to the jangly tension of ‘Should’ve Known Better’ and lots of other amplified sentiments in between to discover. Guitarist and vocalist Joe O’Leary will help us out and guide us through the record track-by-track…
Here are the songs…
Here are the stories…
1. Scars of Allegory
“This song started with some big open chords and a breakneck drum beat in a basement jam. It was originally going to be a hard-hitting punk song until I accidentally hit the ‘shimmer‘ effect on one of my pedals. Suddenly there were octaves and overtones that made the melody more sad and spacious. We were led to this melancholy feeling and the lyrics ended up being centered around the challenges we go through as individuals and within relationships, where each person takes on damage throughout their lifetime. That damage becomes a defining feature of who they are, so why not feel proud about showing our scars?”
2. Perfect Crimes
“This gigantic fuzz pedal riff landed with a thud during the first or second jam we had with our then new drummer, Ryan. It just felt like us, and the timing of where the riff and drum beat met had a lot to do with our collective obsession with Led Zeppelin. The lyrics were a cathartic exercise in acknowledging some past romantic relationships and then letting them go. This song was one of the first we wrote together and, to us, it serves as a stylistic transition between the EP ‘Standing On The Edge‘ and the new album.”
3. Take a Bow
“We all have points in our lives where we know we weren’t at our best but we somehow achieved a kind of sloppy grace and kept going. There’s a 70’s glam feeling of debauchery in general, which we channeled with pride on this song. When you’re on a roll partying and sleeping around, it can become a spectacle to the people around you, almost as if you’re putting on a performance. This song explores the mentality of doing all the dirty things no matter who’s watching, and to drunkly yet charmingly take a bow for whomever catches the show.”
4. Heart Worth Breaking
“Here we are again with a song about relationships. It flips the idea of relationship aspirations on its head and explores the perspective of measuring the strength of your relationship with another person by way of finding out how deeply each person can break the other’s heart at any given moment. Sometimes the vulnerability we reveal when we open ourselves up to someone else can make it feel like a piece of ourselves is slipping away and being swallowed up by the other person with regards to the affection, lust, and self-disclosure that occurs.”
5. Out of My Mind
“Ryan began warming up one night at Populist Studio, where we rehearse and write, and James [Scott, bass and vocals] and I both looked up as we heard this strange drum pattern he was absentmindedly doing. We both grabbed up our instruments and just started bashing away to it. That became the verse of the song. The melody inspired a sense of longing in me and chorus lyrics began to surface about the anxiety of leaving [and being] left behind. The verse lyrics are like a character (poorly, but charmingly) pitching the reasons why they shouldn’t be left behind while also revealing a general dissatisfaction with the average “work-eat-sleep 9–5″ lifestyle many of us feel trapped within. This is my favorite song to sing on the album, and my favorite guitar solo to play live at the moment.”
6. Something to Believe In
“We grew up playing punk shows in Midwest basements, garages and VFW’s in the 90s. Each band member carries an underlying punk ethos, and this song simply let that bubble to the surface without trying to dress it up in something clever. The lyrical theme follows suit with a nostalgic look into my punk rock past as a teenager and the simple reality that it was. It’s another song about being cool with where you came from and what shaped you, and letting it go so that it no longer has any hold on who you may grow into.”
7. No Way Out
“The MC5 will always be a source of inspiration to this band, just as much as desert rock bands like Queens of the Stone Age. Sonically, we smashed these two styles together and a song about the consequences of our actions took shape. It’s another one about glorious debauchery, where you do all the wrong things even though you know it’s wrong, and you just go down in a blaze of glory. We’ve all been there.”
8. Should’ve Known Better
“This song poses a possible reality where the fanatical supporters of Donald Trump (and others like him) suddenly wake up and realize they were fooled. We didn’t want to make it sound angry, it’s quite fun to play. The instrumental section in the middle might be one of my favorite on the record.”
Thank you for the track-by-track breakdown, Joe.
May the road rise with SHE RIDES WITH TIGERS!
SHE NEEDS TIGERS: Facebook
(Photos Led Zep & MC 5: AP Press / Getty)