Tag: Alice In Chains

 

I’ve spilled my fair share of virtual ink, covering Mark Lanegan, the Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who known as the frontman, and founding member of  Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees, and an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with an eclectic array of artists and bands — including  Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind; as a member of the renowned grunge All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in Chains‘ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam’Mike McCready; as a member of  Queens of the Stone Age featured on five of the band’s albums — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork; with The Afghan Whigs‘ Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins; as well as former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, Lanegan has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-BirdCreature with the Atom BrainMobyBomb the BassSoulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight SingersUNKLE and others.

Lanegan’s solo career has seen him release ten, critically applauded albums that have seen a fair amount of commercial success. (Ironically,. his solo work has actually seen more commercial success than any of his work with Screaming Trees.) The Ellensburg-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s tenth solo album Gargoyle found him collaborating with British-born and-based musician Rob Marshall, who’s best known for stints with  Exit Calm and Humanist and his longtime collaborator, multi-instrumentalist and producer Alain Johannes. Interestingly, the album’s material was both an expansion and refinement of the Krautrock-tinged blues of his two previously released albums 2012’s Blues Funeral and 2014’s Phantom Radio.

Now, as you may recall, Lanegan’s 11th full-length album Somebody’s Knocking is slated for an October 18, 2019 release though Heavenly Recordings, and the album reportedly less the tale of a brooding rock veteran and more that of someone consumed by a lifelong love affair with music and words. Interestingly, much of the album’s material finds Lanegan turning to some of his most formative musical influences and loves — electronic music.

“I’ve always been into electronic music since I was a kid,” Lanegan says in press notes. “I think the reason those elements have become more obvious in my music is that my tastes have changed as I’ve grown older. The bulk of what I listen to now is electronic. Alain Johannes and I had actually written “Penthouse High” for Gargoyle but then it didn’t really fit on that record. I have been a huge fan of New Order and Depeche Mode forever and have wanted to do a song along those lines for a long time – a blatantly catchy, old-school dance-type song.”

Although Lanegan’s forthcoming 11th album came together during an eleven day session in Los Angeles, many of the album’s deepest musical influences are decidedly European, including some newer, murkier forms provided by Martin Jenkins. who records as Pye Corner Audio or Rob Marshall, a collaborator on Gargoyle and on his own, forthcoming debut album as Humanist. In each case, Lanegan approached working with each of the writers from the perspective of a fan.

Lyrically speaking, the album purportedly sets the listener down multiple rabbit holes, as Lanegan paints psychedelic pictures inspired by the music. “I feel like I write lyrics instinctively. I let the melody come first and then it tells me what the words are going to be and I write whatever feels appropriate,” Lanegan says in press notes. “That said, I’m also influenced by everything I’m into. I don’t usually like to talk about what a song means to me; I prefer that the people who connect with a song do so with their own interpretation. It never crossed my mind what Neil Young meant by After The Gold Rush, only the personal movie it created in my head. My entire life, all the music that I’ve connected to has drawn me in like that. Joy Division, Nick Drake, Son House, The 13th Floor Elevators, The Gun Club… all the music that meant the most to me, the music that saved my life was the music that told my own story back to me.”

Naturally, some aspects of the real world can’t help but seep their way into the album’s material. “It seems to me that the entire world is in a weird, precarious place right now,” the Ellensburg-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “I try to not be someone in a constant state of worry and alarm but watching the massive divide that is taking place and the political situations, especially in the US and UK makes me think, ‘what the fuck are these idiots thinking?’ The hatred, racism and all this other fear-driven shit, these “adults” that continually drive the machine that perpetuates this ignorance to their own ends should all be in the prison cells instead of the non-violent drug “offenders” in them now. I can’t specifically say how any of this effects my writing but I know that most of the things that occupy my thoughts have a way of coming back out in a song.”

Centered around a motorik groove, shimmering guitar lines and a tight hook, “Letter Never Sent,” the album’s latest single manages to bear an uncanny resemblance to Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen but imbued with a bluesy tinge.

 

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New Video: Up-and-Coming Danish Act Twin Dive Releases a Murky Lynchian Visual for “Animal”

Currently comprised of founding duo Robert Jancevich (vocals, guitar) and Ragnar “Raggi” Gudmunds (drums) and its newest member Charlotte Mortensen (bass) the up-and-coming Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock act Twin Dive formed back in 2017 when its founding duo met and bonded over a mutual passion for all things rock ‘n’ roll.

Over the past year, the band has been in and out of the studio honing and polishing their sound and releasing material that has been compared to the likes of Foo Fighters, The Hives and others.They’ve also played a set at this year’s Spot Festival, which caught the attention of Drowned in Sound, who picked the band as one of the best acts of the festival — and they just recently finished a tour of Finland with Finnish act Ursus Factory. Building upon a growing profile, the act’s latest single “Animal” is a bluesy and sludgy power chord dirge that will immediately bring 120 Minutes-era alt rock — i.e., Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and the like — as it the song features a classic grunge rock song structure: quiet, loud, quiet. And while possessing a darkly seductive air, the song as the band notes is about knowing and taming one’s inner animal. Directed by filmmakers Mark Vesterlund and Peter Sorsensen at GoFat Productions, the recently released video is an unsettling and lysergic Lynchian nightmare — and it fits the eerie and murky air of the accompanying song. 

New Audio: Australia’s Hockey Dad Releases an Anthemic 90s Alt Rock Inspired Song

Comprised of Zach Stephenson (guitar, vocals) and Billy Fleming (drums), the Windang, New South Wales, Australia indie rock duo Hockey Dad are lifelong friends, who grew up two doors apart — and as a result, they’re best friends first, bandmates second. With the release of their full-length debut 2017’s Boronia, the duo of Stephenson and Fleming quickly achieved a national and international profile for crafting infectious power pop: the duo wound up embarking on a sold out tour of their native Australia that included a number of shows with Dune Rats and the critically applauded indie act Wavves, some extensive touring across North America with stops at SXSW and elsewhere, before touring across the UK and Europe. 

Hockey Dad’s latest effort, 2018’s sophomore effort, the John Goodmanson-produced Blend Inn was recorded at Seattle’s renowned Robert Lang Studios, where Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Death Cab For Cutie, Alice in Chains and NirvanaNirvana (who most notably recorded their last song ever there) all recorded seminal material. Interestingly, the Australian duo’s sophomore effort is a much more introspective effort. Blend Inn is the part of your head that you want to go to when you’re overseas and wishing you were back home, it’s within,” Hockey Dad’s Billy Fleming says. “We’re always just trying to be comfortable and semi blending in, so it’s the name we gave to that place you zone out to.”

Thematically, the album is centered around the trials, tribulations and uncertainties of young adulthood — but from the perspective of two young people, who have had an expanded mindset and much more experience in the world, while still retaining the playfulness and enormous hooks that won them international attention. Building upon a growing profile, the duo will continue a busy slate of national and international touring, including a West Coast Stateside tour through February. You can check out the tour dates below. 

In the meantime, anthemic album single “I Wanna Be Everybody” is centered around infectious, crowd pleasing hooks, thunderous drumming and even bigger power chords within an alternating soft, loud, soft song structure. Sonically, the song brings to mind 90s alt rock — in particular, I’m reminded of Local H and others.  

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Stonefield Returns with a Decidedly Psych Rock-Inspired New Single

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Darraweit Guim, Australia-based sibling psych rock quartet Stonefield, and as you’d recall the Australian band comprised of Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass) began playing together when they were extremely young — the youngest member was seven while the oldest was 15. And as the story goes, the eldest sister Amy recorded their first song “Foreign Lover” for a school project, and then reportedly entered the song into Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought. Much to her and her sisters’ surprise, the band wound up winning the contest, and within an incredibly short period of time after their Unearthed High win, the Findlay sisters had two singles receiving regular airplay on Australian radio and an invitation to play at Glastonbury Festival.

Since their attention-grabbing Unearthed High win, the Australian sibling quartet has been incredibly prolific as they’ve written, recorded and released two EPs, their self-titled full-length debut, their sophomore album As Above So Below and their third album Far From Earth through King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records earlier this year. Stonefield is currently on a North American tour to support both their recently released 7 inch and their third album that will include stops at Desert Daze, Toronto’s Night Owl Fest, Mexico City’s Hipnosis Festival and a special NYC area show at Baby’s All Right to celebrate the release of the “Through the Storm” 7 inch, a single that finds the Australian sibling and and JOVM mainstays cementing their reputation as one of the world’s hardest bands, while pushing their sound towards a new direction — doom metal with hints of 60s psych rock in a way that brings Black Sabbath, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains to mind.

Interestingly, Far From Earth’s latest single “In The Eve” is  slow-burning, hypnotizing song that may arguably be the most decidedly 60s psych rock-inspired song centered around a propulsive and sinuous bass line, shimmering guitar lines, Amy Findlay’s ethereal vocals and a gently unfurling yet song structure — and sonically speaking, the song brings to mind JOVM mainstays Sleepy Sun, Secret Colours, and Elephant Stone but with a clean yet sensual sheen. The recently released video is equally hypnotic while visually drawing from 60s psych rock as it features the Findlay Sisters dressed entirely in white, wandering in a prototypically British field — and in some way it hints at some menacing ritual about to go down.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Stonefield Return with a Grunge Inspired Face Melter

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Darraweit Guim, Australia-based sibling psych rock quartet Stonefield, comprised of Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass). Now, as you may recall, the siblings began playing together when they were quite young — with the youngest being seven and the oldest being 15. And as the story goes, the band’s elder member Amy recorded their first song “Foreign Lover” for a school project, and then reportedly entered the song into Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought. Much to her and her sisters’ surprise, the band wound up winning the contest, and within an incredibly short period of time after their Unearthed High win, the Findlay sisters had two singles receiving regular airplay on Australian radio and an invitation to play at Glastonbury Festival.

During that same period, the sibling quartet has been incredibly prolific as they’ve released two EPs, their self-titled full-length debut, their sophomore effort As Above So Below, a handful of singles, and their third album Far From Earth through King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s  Flightless Records earlier this year. The band will be making a North American tour that will include stops at Desert Daze, Toronto’s Night Owl Fest, Mexico City’s Hipnosis Festival and a special NYC area show at Baby’s All Right to celebrate the release of the “Through the Storm” 7 inch, which coincidentally is the album’s latest single, as well. Interestingly, the single finds the Australian sibling band and JOVM mainstays cementing their reputation as one of the world’s hardest bands — while gently pushing their sound towards doom metal and psych rock, thanks to pummeling drumming, scuzzy down-tuned power chords, and a soaring and ethereal bridge. To my ears, the band sounds as though they’re actively channeling both Black Sabbath and 90s grunge — in particular, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. 

Directed and shot by Jenna Putnam, the recently released video is centered around footage from Stonefield’s Los Angeles area residency at The Bootleg Theater, during their last North American tour. 

Over the past month, I’ve managed to write a bit about the Austin, TX-based trio Exhalants, and as you may recall the band which features Steve (guitar, vocals), Bill (bass) and Tommy (drums), a member of Body Pressure, can trace its origins to the breakup of Steve and Bill’s previous band  Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes. With the inevitable downtime that happens when a band breaks up, Steve spent his free time further honing his guitar playing before recruiting his former CSSS bandmate and Tommy to complete the project’s lineup.

Exhalants’ selff-titled debut is slated for release next week, and the soon-to-be released album is largely inspired by ShellacUnwound and Cherubs, while nodding at the work of contemporaries like MelkbellyKal Marks and A Dear A Horse — or in other words, the album’s material finds the band balancing pummeling heaviness with an infectious melodicism; however, the album’s third and latest single “If Only” is a slow-burning grunge-era inspired dirge, centered around pummeling drumming, distortion-fed power chords, howled vocals and an alternating quiet-loud-quiet song structure. Sonically, the new single seems to recall Melvins, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in Chains while maintaining their uncanny sense of melody.  And from the album’s first three singles, Exhalants may be releasing one of the hardest hitting albums of the year.

New Video: Grunge Pioneer Mark Lanegan Teams Up with Duke Garwood on an Atmospheric and Eerie Single

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about Mark Lanegan, the Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who is best known as the frontman, and founding member of  Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees, and for collaborating with an incredibly diverse array of artists and bands throughout his lengthy career, including Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind; as a member of the renowned grunge All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in Chains‘ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready; as a member of  Queens of the Stone Age featured on five of the band’s albums — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork; with The Afghan Whigs‘ Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins; as well as former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, Lanegan has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers, UNKLE and others.

While developing a reputation for being a highly sought-after collaborator, Lanegan has also managed to maintain a solo career that has seen him release ten, critically applauded and somewhat commercially successful albums; in fact, ironically, his solo work has seen more commercial success than his work with Screaming Trees. Lanegan’s tenth solo album, 2017’s Gargoyle found the Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist collaborating with British-based musician Rob Marshall, who’s best known for stints with  Exit Calm and Humanist and his longtime collaborator, multi-instrumentalist and producer Alain Johannes. Sonically speaking, the material was both a refinement and an expansion of the Krautrock-tinged blues of his previous two albums Blues Funeral and Phantom Radio.

Duke Garwood is a British-based blues/indie rock multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who has written and released six albums as a solo artist — 2005’s Holy Week, 2006’s Emerald Palace, 2009’s The Sand That Falls, 2011’s Dreamboatsafari, 2015’s Heavy Love and 2017’s Garden of Ashes. He’s also collaborated with renowned The Orb,  Archie Bronson Outfit, Savages, Shezad Dawood and the aforementioned Mark Lanegan among others; in fact, Garwood has released an album with Lanegan — 2013’s Black Pudding and as has recorded and toured as a member of Lanegan’s backing band for the renowned grunge pioneer’s last three albums. Interestingly, Garwood and Lanegan continue their ongoing collaboration with their forthcoming, second album together With Animals, which is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Heavenly Records, and the album, which was split between old-fashioned studio collaboration and Trans-Atlantic file sharing is a decided sonic departure for both artists, as it finds them crafting spectral and sinewy music, focusing on the spaces between notes while employing much different instrumentation — dusty, analog synthesizers and drum machines. The album’s first single, the sparse, mournful and aching “Save Me” is centered around Lanegan’s imitable vocals, fluttering, synths and metronomic drum machines, and in some way the track sounds like a discarded remnant of life just before the apocalypse; but underneath, the song feels made of some older stuff, as though it channels an ancient pagan ritual.

 
As Harwood says of his lengthy collaboration with the renowned grunge pioneer, “Over the years, we’ve recorded together and apart. This time, I started this record alone with many animals as company. It flowed, I set to work and out it came. Our music is instinct, there is not much talking about it, just creating. I think that if you are at peace with your work, and feeling it right, it flows, and can feel ‘easy’. Music isn’t meant to be hard. Though sometimes it can burn you to ashes. Making music for a singer, so they can inhabit it with a song means hitting the right soul buttons. There is no hit without a miss. It is a healing record, for us the makers, and for the listeners. It grows natural. We are gardeners of sonic feelings.  The recently released video features footage of 80s wrestlers but in heavily filtered negatives, which further emphasizes the song’s trippy vibes.

New Video: Mark Lanegan Band Releases Surreal Yet Cinematic Visuals for “Emperor”

Mark Lanegan is a Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as one of the founding members and frontman of renowned Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees, and as a solo artist who has collaborated with an incredibly diverse array of artists and bands throughout his lengthy career including Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind. Along with that Lanegan is also known for being a member of the grunge rock, All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in Chains‘ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready and for joining Queens of the Stone Age after the breakup of Screaming Trees, contributing on five of the band’s albums  — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork. Lanegan has also collaborated with The Afghan Whigs‘ Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins and has collaborated with former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, he has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers, UNKLE and others. As a solo artist, Lanegan has released 10 studio albums that have been critically applauded and have seen a fair amount of commercial success. 

Lanegan’s 10th and most recent album Gargoyle was released this past summer through Heavenly Recordings. And interestingly enough, the Ellensburg, WA, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter can take the origins of the album’s overall sound and aesthetic back to early last year. As the story goes, the grunge rock legend was working on ideas for what could be a new, solo album, when he received an email from his friend and collaborator, British-based musician Rob Marshall, who he met several years before when Marshall’s former band Exit Calm had supported Soulsavers, a band that Lanegan had been fronting. Marshall’s email thanked Lanegan for his participation on a Humanist album — and in the email, Marshall offered to write music for Lanegan, if he needed it to return the favor. As Lanegan recalled in press notes, his response was along the lines of “Hey man, I’m getting ready to make a record, if you’ve got anything? Three days later he sent me 10 things… !” 

Interestingly, the music Marshall had written had managed to fit perfectly with the direction Lanegan had been thinking of for some time — an expansion of the Krautrock-inspired electronic sounds and textures of his previous two albums Blues Funeral and Phantom Radio. Eventually Marshall wound up co-writing six of the album’s 10 songs with the remainder of the album being written and produced by Lanegan’s longtime collaborator Alain Johannes at 11AD Studios in West Hollywood. Gargoyle‘s second single “Beehive” pairs Lanegan’s imitable boozy, growling baritone vocals with a bluesy and swaggering production featuring shimmering guitar chords and enormous tweeter and woofer rattling beats, essentially pushing Lanegan’s recent forays into the blues into the 21st Century; but in a way that feels both warmly familiar and yet new.

Gargoyle’s latest single “Emperor” finds Lanegan and his backing band pairing Lanegan’s imitable, boozy and growling baritone with the sort of old-timey, bar room blues that brings to mind Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger,” complete with jangling and shimmering guitars and a propulsive backbeat; but much like its predecessor, the song possesses a weary and existential weariness just underneath the surface. 

The recently released video continues a string of cinematic yet surreal visuals — in this case, the viewer is thrown into a vaguely Russian styled dictatorship, full of state sanction violence upon innocent people while also nodding at Julius Caesar. While being fictional, the video manages to evoke our dangerously strange and uncertain times.