Seattle’s Vile Display of Humanity have crafted a deceptively morose record with their self-titled full length, burying a discordant sense of melancholy beneath layers of thrash, hardcore, and vicious punk rock. The gloom that permeates the record comes on subtly, as if gradually leaked into the savage solution that is their hot nerve shredded sound. But eventually the mournful nuances bond to the acidic hardcore and the effect is that of poison on the tip of a blade.
After head turning performances at Field Trip in Toronto and Northside Festival in Brooklyn, Calvin Love recently wrapped up a successful North American tour with Netherlands’ Jacco Gardner. In September, the Toronto-based songwriter will return to the road for North American dates with Mikal Cronin. To coincide with the announcement, Calvin is also sharing his video for “You & I.” Recorded live at David Dunlap Observatory in Toronto, the video was shot by fashion photographers Raina + Wilson. Check out the new music video, complete list of tour dates, and Super Future details below.
Anyone with even a passing interest in music knows to be wary of the dreaded supergroup, a term saturated with even more odious connotation than the often cringeworthy solo project. Even as a casual fan of Def Leppard and a somewhat larger though still non-committal fan of Stone Temple Pilots, I wasn’t expecting much from Delta Deep, the latest supergroup comprised of guitarist and vocalist Phil Collen of Def Leppard, bassist Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots, lead vocalist Debbi Blackwell-Cook best known for her backing vocal work with Luther Vandross and Michael Buble, and percussionist Forrest Robinson of TLC, and India Arie amongst others. The quartet deliver pretty much what anyone would expect; extremely faithful takes on rock-n’roll-tinged blues and soul fed through a filter of sleek studio musicianship. There were never any pretenses that this was going to be cutting edge or boundary breaking. Delta Deep very carefully draw contour lines that they never cross and you know what to expect from the very first note. In fact, you’d swear you heard each song playing unobtrusively in the background of millions of cinematic biker bars and roadhouse jukeboxes.
Cult of Youth have been keeping quite busy since the release of their magnum opus Final Days. In keeping with their ambitious touring schedule, the band are slated to head back to Europe for most of the month of October. In conjunction with this announcement the band are sharing two videos from their recent KEXP sessions which give really great insight to their power and energy as a live band.
Pitchfork says of their recent album: “Final Days’ exhilarating, cathedral-toppling spectacle could prove to be the career game-changer that ensures his band remains a cult no more.”
Present Day Plague, the title of Detroit hardcore-thrashers SNAFU’s new full length, fittingly conjures to mind the bacterially infectious shredded punk that saturates its deceptively brief 19 tracks.
“Subhuman Scum” is the first of several segue tracks, moments when we can catch our breath before being dragged into the next pummelling track of concentrated vitriol. There’s a science fiction drone to these segue tracks, accentuated by distorted sampled dialogue. It’s the eerie sound we might hear in our heads as we cross into a quarantine zone, unaware of the fetid abominations we may by provoking. Rolling drums down in the mix hint at the true sound of SNAFU, undiluted by effects and studio wizardy, opting instead for bared wounds braving toxic nights. A build of shrieking feedback marks the quarantine breach and we’re immediately dropped into the all out flash thrash of “Her Dark Past”. From here Present Day Plague plunges like a roller coaster that peaks before you even know it’s moving, conserving all of your alertness for an ever-deepening fall. Yet, it’s not quite a musical free fall as SNAFU exhibit the utmost control amidst hyper-dense shredding, riffs that manage agility, tightness, and an almost tangible thickness, and vocals that sound so raw you can almost smell the iron in the blood.
Australian psych-pop songwriter Tom Woodward has signed to LA based label, Magic Monster Records. Tom Woodward released his latest album, Here Come The Flies, through Magic Monster, July 2015. The album is tinged with influences from a diverse musical pond including David Bowie, Arthur Russell and Philip Glass.
Born and raised in the capital city of Australia, Woodward is an eclectic avant-guitar genre defying songwriter who honed his unique style performing in bars and on street corners of various Australian cities. In 2015 he has self released two full length LPs and has been touring the world ever since.
We reviewed Rock Masters Band’s double single “Hit the City/Diamonds” in April and now they’re back with the sweltering summer double single of “Shooting Star” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Saves Lives.” As the titles suggest, this is a more straightforward Rock Masters Band than the velvety version we met in April. This time they’ve got every lithe muscle poised to pounce with jaws ready for jugulars.
Winter Calling have created a record at once very straightforward and all in the same baffling with As Darkness Falls. As musicians, their virtuoso skill is impeccable. The sound remains solid and focused from track to track but I’m still left with the sense that Winter Calling were on the verge of making a few different records at once. It could be a masterful blend of influences or it could be that the influences weren’t blended enough. But just when I think I’ve got a handle on what I’m listening to, Winter Calling jars me and all that I’m left holding onto is their adept musicianship. The songs themselves meanwhile have completely escaped me.
On Michael Cullen’s sophomore effort True Believer, the Sydney-based lounge lizard artfully marries Southern Gothic dustiness to black-sequined seediness in a way that actually reveals a true sense of class, albeit through eccentricity. Of course, we have to mention the obligatory Crime and the City Solution-isms that pepper the record, the shining black Rowland S. Howard-isms and the Bad Seediness that is reverently delivered (as is the duty of so many great Australian records that can’t escape those looming legends – as if anyone would want to!) There’s even a few moments on True Believer that recount The Church as should be the case seeing as the record was co-produced by The Church’s Tim Powles. But to write Michael Cullen’s music off as Australian-by-numbers, dust-and-sand post-punk sells it quite short.
True Believer unfolds with the pregnant drama of a metaphysical western, beginning with the weary, warbling tension of a southern gothic guitar chord strummed on “Black Dog.” Beneath the abrasive grit and a voice that sounds like a 5 o’clock shadow looks and a shot of cheap whiskey tastes, you can feel the human spirit Cullen sweats. But that’s not to say the source isn’t buried deep beneath layers of taunting sing-song “la la la”s and a vocal style that conjures Leonard Cohen so strongly that Cullen doesn’t even bother to hide it, referencing the man himself in the lyrics. The scarred nihilism carries over into “Believer” with vocals uttered like a gambler laying the cards down on the table, nothing to lose and only the pain of hope to gain. Guitar echoes across brassy beats. Strums careen across swathes of organ. It almost seems inappropriate to dance to it but you’ll at least tap your boots.