On December 13th of 1993 Nirvana took the stage at Seattle’s Pier 48 and performed live on MTV. The set list included songs from the duration of the band’s career and is one of the their best recorded shows. They performed with great intensity an energy really feeding off of the ecstatic crowd. Pat Smear had joined the group as a live guitarist at this time, and the quartet really made great use of the stage. Choice cuts from the show would be “Drain You,” “Serve the Servants” and “Pennyroyal Tea.” It really shows what the band was capable live and how much of a total package they really were.
Archive for the ‘Interpretar’ Category
I met Max Moore at a show in Louisville a few years ago. At the time I had no idea that he did anything but jump off PA towers and know the words to every band’s songs. I soon discovered however that he was an incredibly talented musician and videographer. He lent his playing skills to Social Symphony and Mountain Asleep, and he continues to make great short films to this day.
Max has a knack for portraying ideas through film and storyline. The production is great, and the ending always leaves the viewer to think. His latest work, “Unsolved Phenomenons: the Legend of Goat Man” is a bit more light hearted than his other work but still displays his growing talent behind the camera. The short, which is a spoof of the Unsolved Mysteries series, has a true documentary feel and demonstrates Max’s ability to work in any genre.
The Great White North has housed some great post-hardcore acts over the years. North of America, The Holy Shroud, the Love and Terror Cult and now Animal Faces. Featuring members of the Love and Terror Cult and Authors, Animal Faces doesn’t waste your time, writing concise punk songs chock-full of jangling guitar chords, hard hitting bass and drums.
Their debut EP, “Analytical Dreaming” is a great demonstration of the current age of post-hardcore. It’s punishingly heavy, but at the same time there is a melodic edge dynamic. There are a lot of tempo switch ups, nosedives and breakdowns. It’s well thought out and challenging.
In support of the EP, here is their music video for “Forward Through.”
“Analytical Dreaming” is available for listening on the band’s bandcamp page.
Montreal has always held a very special place in my heart, and my friends there play a big part in that. Not only are they great friends, but they’re some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met. Bands like Expectorated Sequence, Kraken, Hawkes, Black Ships and Les Bois Francs have been in heavy rotation over the years and have put out some of the best albums I’ve heard from the Great White North. Now add to the list Carpet, which is comprised of my dear friends Arch and Wood.
In a time in music where “less is more” and minimalist genres like shoegaze and drone are making a resurgence, many acts are emulating sounds from the past but applying a clean face. Production quality has improved drastically, and the new wave of these genres is heard in a pristine light. Not many current examples tackle that authentic “low-fi” sound that is so prominent on old My Bloody Valentine and Earth albums, but Carpet has done just that. Huge, distorted piano and guitar tones. Buried vocals and minimal percussion. And yet, something about the chaos is charming. There are a lot of poppy elements that you really have to listen for. A lot of the sounds are distant and hard to imagine (I actually was surprised to find out Arch actually uses a ukelele instead of a guitar!). In true “MBV” fashion there are many melodic hooks buried in the mix, which make you dig through the fog of fuzz.
Already with a full length album under their belt, Carpet push on into the fall with a lot more tones to experiment with. I recently got to ask Carpet some questions about their happenings and what to expect in the future.
So what brought about the beginning of Carpet?
Wood: Arch being in so many loud bands, he just started a solo project to have total control of the ideas behind the music and I decided to help out .
Arch: I first used the name Carpet after jamming at a friend’s house in spring 2010. The whole idea was to write and record a song all in one afternoon. The whole Carpet thing came when I said “this song is more than shoegaze, it’s actually carpetgaze!” but the name just slept for a while. At the same time, I was discovering Audacity, the most basic recording program you can download for free, and I was trying to record cover songs, the first one being Earth Angel from the Back to the Future soundtrack. After that, I started writing songs with Audacity, for myself or the bands I am or was working with (Expectorated Sequence, Royaume des Morts). Then the idea of bringing back the name Carpet came when I started doing brand new weird compositions on the spot, just like the first time. It wasn’t really a solo project but more like a collective with myself as the engineer. Different people were featured in the beginning like Xavier of Solids, my dear friend Nic The Geek or some of my roommates, but Wood and Fraülein have been the only ones to actually stick around, for now.
Before you started writing music, did you have any ideas of what you wanted it to be musically?
Wood: No preconceived ideas about sound or number of tracks or anything like that. [We] wake up with a melody in our heads and put it into music !!
Arch: The concept of fun in Carpet is interconnected with spontaneity. We compose riffs or beats on the spot and add texture to it, then lyrics. Nothing is planned and everything happens when we actually hit “record”. Something noisy comes out, it’s not always good but most of the time it’s original!
How are the songs recorded and where?
Wood: The songs are recorded in Arch’s bedroom using the most minimalistic equipments.
Arch: ..like a desktop microphone and a cheap laptop with Audacity installed. Everything is done track by track, even the percussions. For this we rely on a metronome that we set up before starting anything. We record all of this at home trying not to annoy the neighbours, so mostly in my own bedroom or in the kitchen.
Talk about the unique instrumentation used in Carpet, how do you get the instruments to sound the way they do.
Arch: Instrument-wise, ukulele has become the center of the project. Most of us know how to use a guitar or a bass, but none of us can really wail on the ukulele. The different tuning makes it difficult for our brains to actually be able to use this instrument to its full capacity on the first time. This summer I kind of let that challenge lead me to Carpet. And you could probably say I got tired of playing drums and needed something new and eccentric. Distorted ukulele became my essence. Then of course for the songs we use everything laying around in my apartment.
Wood: Broken cymbals, a 3-string bass guitar.
Arch: A bass drum pedal beater, an old snare (that I hit only with my fingers). Fraülein plays keyboard in some of the songs.
Wood: Whatever we can find, we’ve even done drum tracks on the table using our fists… all in good fun!
Arch: Now to have them sound the way they do, at first I was just recording dry ukulele and pumping the volume in Audacity to the maximum. This was how I first was able to put distortion into the ukulele. Now with a pick-up, I am able to plug it and use effect pedals to amplify the sound. I basically use the same 3 pedals with all the instruments, them being a digital delay, turbo overdrive and a phaser, all of them work quite well with bass, guitar, ukulele and even vocals sometimes. I am definitely on the hunt for cheap pedals right now too.
What are your biggest influences for Carpet?
Arch: “Lo-fi” one man blackmetal bands have really influenced my vision of home recordings during the last winter, and so I am sure it played a huge part in the whole fuzzy sound of Carpet. After that, we try to create something catchy but noisy, and we let our fingers be guided on the instruments.
Talk about some of the songs in particular and how they came together.
Wood: Most of the skeletons of the songs are composed by Arch with me and Fraülein bringing in different melodies and ideas on vocal harmonies.
Arch: For the song “Irene”, I had found a riff on the uke while drinking my morning coffee with Fraülein, we then sat down in my room to record it (always with a metronome, it helps), I added a basic drum beat (only snare and kick), then shaped the structure into a simple formula with two riffs like “AAAA-BBBB-BBBB-AAAA” and added a few noises and a guitar track. It slept in my computer for a few days, then Wood came to hang out during the hurricane Irene (which was only like a heavy rain with lots of wind here in Canada). All three of us basically added a few instruments and did a brainstorm on Irene that became lyrics, we sang them, then posted the song online the same day just so our friends could get a good laugh.
What do you write songs about?
Arch: The first few songs didn’t have lyrics, only a few Gregorian chants-like moans. Then basically everything became a good subject for lyrics.
Wood: Everyday life, what’s in the news and what’s happening around us. We also talk about the hard times of moving, the club scene, food, horses, snakes, frogs.
Arch: and bed bugs! (which I happened to have in my apartment this summer).
Any instruments you’d like to experiment with in future Carpet recordings?
Arch: We definitely need to be working with more keyboards. Only a few songs have distorted piano in them, I definitely feel we could do a lot more there. For anything else, it mostly comes down to a question of budget, I’ve always dreamed of having fun with a cello but I never had the chance to have a date with one.
Wood: I’d like to do more stuff with voices and vocal experimentation, using voice more as an instrument. I’d like to try acoustic bass on some tracks as well.
What are the future plans for Carpet?
Wood: The goal would be to play some songs live and have either pre-recorded drum tracks to just play over or even mount a full band with drums, bass, keyboard, ukuleles and guitars, but when it comes down to it, it’s all about having fun, jamming with friends and creating stuff that naturally comes out without really taking the time to think about it.
Arch: I would definitely love to prepare a live performance for Carpet. I am turning 27 next year and yet I have not become a rock star like Jimi Hendrix. But before anything, what I truly want is to record some of our songs in a studio with a more decent production. I have learned over the past ten years that albums keep on living but live performances and bands are ephemeral.
All of Carpet’s discography is currently available at their bandcamp:
Learn more about Carpet here:
As a musician and a critic, I get very excited about new music. When I heard about the new Ben Verellen project Helms Alee a few years ago, I began listening intently and watching the band from afar. I was never a religious listener, even though I enjoyed the band very much, until the release of their latest album “Weatherhead.” There is so much material to sink your teeth into; its a very eclectic release. This past July I finally got to see the trio perform live when they opened for Torche and Big Business. Needless to say I was not prepared for the monstrous sound that awaited me. I walked in as the band began their song “Pretty as Pie” and immediately took note of Verellen’s epic guitar lead intro. The reverb and delay made the part sound gigantic, especially in the hall like environment of the Bottom Lounge. And finally when bassist Dana James and drummer Hozoji Margullis joined in for the big verse, the impact felt like the explosion of an atom bomb. This band sounds huge, and they really know how to use dynamic. Their softer parts, as demonstrated in songs like “Music Box” and “Epic Adventure Through the Wood,” really make the heavier parts seem all the more devastating.
If I had to put a label on this ground-breaking act, I would say it is the new wave of grunge music. It has all the characteristics of darker 90s alternative rock music that was bred in Seattle, but is mixed in a bowl with ingredients from today’s experimental and metal genres. The song “Music Box” is a great example of that, with a ballad-like feeling that might be found on an old Alice in Chains record. Verellen’s vocals stray away from gruff normalcy and produce a more calming effect, matched up with laid back bass and drums and never ending guitar melodies.
Note that the band never ventures into the realm of rock that might be deemed “cheesy,” they always manage a very tasteful use of their influences and formulate them to be something new and exciting. Just think of it as if grunge/alternative rock never took a turn for the worse. It was never influenced by the very 80s cock-rock travesties that it set out to dethrone and destroy.
From their set at the Bottom Lounge, the song “Mad Mouth.”
What the critics are raving about, their latest effort “Weatherhead,” available from Hydrahead Records.
I hope you find the verse of this song as punishing as I do, the track “Pretty as Pie.”
I never went to the Fireside Bowl in its glory days, but last December it hosted an early Brighter Arrows show so I made sure to attend to get a feel for the place. Early in the bill, a local Chicago band called Droughts was performing. Little did I realize that it was my friend Will Seals new band. The band was awesome, like a brash mixture of post hardcore and shoegaze. The drummer, John Siorek had hardcore like precision, making every hit super definite and clean. There’s some technicality in the mix, with a few off patterns to help break up the traditional time signatures. Seals’ guitar playing matched up with fellow guitarist Nick Spiese is washy, reminiscent of later My Bloody Valentine. Over and under all of it, bass player and vocalist Joe Klomes supplies a backbone and frosting, with syncopated bass variants and vocal patterns that lay in and out of the cut. The vocals vary from being traditionally post hardcore shouting, to hardcore style crew parts, to soft hum like singing that nestles the rest of the instrumentation like a security blanket.
To be honest, the combination of influence is perplexing, but it works well. Rather than walk the fence between hardcore and indie like most post hardcore acts of today, this band is in a whole different yard, on a whole new fence. I’m hoping that more post hardcore and screamo bands will take note of the shoegaze influence and maybe introduce more melody to the scene.
I recently attended a show at the Clint Eastwood house featuring Droughts, Brighter Arrows, William Bonney and Beggars. Here is Droughts performing their song “Paper Cut Outs.” Notice the Sparta like chord progressions throughout the song, very awesome.
Here is the band’s debut demo, titled “Unmoved.” It is available through their bandcamp.
From “Unmoved,” the song “Stillborn.”
And you can find Droughts LIVE at the Empty Bottle on August 23rd, along with Beggars:
I’m not sure what sparked my interest in the 90s sound. It could be because I grew up listening to music during that decade and that’s really when I started finding my first bands. Something about the note choice of a lot of bands just really makes me feel nostalgic, especially bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Mudhoney and Foo Fighters (throw Nirvana in there too). I guess the easiest way to sum these bands up would be by saying that they’re larger than life.
When I listen to Torche, I get that same feeling of nostalgia. I feel like I’m in my mom’s car turning the radio dial until I found my local alternative rock station. It’s memorable and thought provoking. BUT, I feel that Torche sounds huge, all the time. We’re talking mega, like 8 stacks mega. Fuzz-laden melodies matched with concrete bass and drums. It’s a monster of a sound, but the kind of monster you want to come to all of your parties. For me, it’s like taking everything I liked about the 90s and fusing it with everything I love about modern day over the top heavy drone and hardcore.
When I finally got around to seeing them live on their last US outing, I was very pleased with their live set up. A lot of amps, a lot of energy and a lot of passion. These dudes seem to genuinely love playing every night and it really gives off this unique aura that the crowd can get involved with. Here is “Healer” and “Across the Shields” from their set at the Bottom Lounge.
The band recently repressed their classic “Meanderthal,” available through the band’s webstore and Hydra Head. For collectors, the band pressed the demos from the album on 10″ and released it limited to 1,000. It’s also available on cassette here.
From “Meanderthal,” the classic song “Grenades.”
P.S. My friend Jesse has a really rad blog comparable to what I’m doing here. He’s from Waterloo Ontario and does some great work for bands and the music scene in Southern Ontario. Check his blog here: http://uncrossyourarmz.tumblr.com/
I met John Sacha many moons ago when my old band played a show with his friend’s band. We kept in touch through the years and eventually met up again in Kalamazoo. His new band, The Reptilian, played a couple songs as a three piece at the beginning of a show at 902 Davis. In the years after that first appearance, the band went through two bass players before settling into their current line-up, once again as a three piece and in many minds, writing the best music of their careers.
After hearing the news of their reformation as a three piece I was excited to hear what they would come up with. Little did I know that they’d explore a more “punk rock” route with shortened songs and quickened tempos. The intricacy is still there, but there’s a new raw energy and quality that has become the back bone. The vocals are crass, the tones are brittle and the messages are more blatant and personal. With their most recent full length, “Full Health,” The Reptilian has once again established itself as one of the dominant voices of the underground punk community, with many heads turned in their direction watching for the next leap.
At their recent show in South Bend (as a part of their tour with Cloud Mouth) we sat down with the trio and asked them a few questions.
Here they are performing the songs “Pretty Big Doses” and new song “Ryan” at Generic in South Bend.
One of my personal favorites, the song “Aerosmith Kids” off of “Full Health.”
Recently one of the powerhouse tours of 2011 (being Big Business, Torche and Helms Alee) made a stop in Chicago to perform at the Bottom Lounge. Big Business took the stage second, starting right into a set of old favorites and new classics. The trio had quite a crowd reaction, with many attendees singing along through looks of sheer bliss. Touring in support of their recent self-release titled “The Quadruple Single,” the band certainly made a lasting impression on the full house and will undoubtedly be welcomed back with open arms.
Before seeing them I was only familiar with “Here Comes The Waterworks,” but I had grown quite fond of the release and was eager to see how it would translate live. Sure enough, through a wall of amplifiers playing at ground splitting volumes, the live show was everything I had hoped for and more. Nothing better than a metal influenced rock band pushing over 110 decibels or higher.
Here’s a video of their song “Focus Pocus” from the show.
Here’s their newest effort, “The Quadruple Single,” which is currently only available live but will soon be in stores.
The first song off the new EP, “Always Never Know When To Quit.”
Where to find Big Business:
It’s not often I walk into a band’s set and feel as if I’m back at the first punk show I ever attended in 8th grade (for your information, it was a local political punk band called Red Carpet Rebellion). But as I walked into the wall of distortion and quickly tempo-ed chord progressions of Beggars’ set, I felt like a long haired teenager all over again. There’s some raw quality about the band’s music that makes them fall off the fence between punk and hardcore into punk’s yard. And, as the band continues to write more and more music, they seem to embrace this quality and continue on further from the fence, really providing the Midwest with a new voice from the lesser traveled of the two paths.
Beggars are still a young band, with many years and miles to embark on ahead of them. But from their first 7″ release, it is easy to read the potential written into the liner notes. The quartet is thirsty and off to the right start, nestling themselves into a nurturing community of peers and fellow punk/hardcore acts.
Recently the band played in South Bend, IN and we were able to get to know them a little better.
Here’s a video of their songs “Wasted” and “Get the Hint” from their show at Generic in South Bend, IN.
There debut EP is beautifully done. It is titled “Bail-Out” and is available on Chorus of One.
Here is the song “Wasted” off of the EP.