The JOVM pays tribute to the great Chris Cornell.
Mark Lanegan is a Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, 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. The Ellensburg-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter was also a member of renowned grunge rock All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in Chains‘ Layne Staley and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready. After Screaming Trees broke up in 2000, Lanegan joined Queens of the Stone Age and is featured on the band’s last five 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. He’s 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. And although he’s managed to be rather busy throughout the years, Lanegan has also developed a low-key solo career in which he’s released nine studio albums that have been critically applauded and have seen a fair amount of commercial success.
Lanegan’s 10th full-length effort Gargoyle is slated for release next week through Heavenly Recordings and interestingly enough, Lanegan can trace the origins of the album’s material and sound back to early 2016. At the time, the renowned grunge rocker and singer/songwriter was working on some ideas for material, which could possibly be a new, solo album, when he received an email from a friend and collaborator, the British based musician Rob Marshall, who he had first met several years before when Marshall’s former band Exit Calm had supported Soulsavers, a band that Lanegan had been fronting. The email thanked Lanegan for his participation on an album that Marshall had recorded with his newest project, Humanist while offering to write music for Lanegan to return a favor to the grunge pioneer. As Lanegan recalls 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… !”
Early on in the writing process, Lanegan had written “Blue Blue Sea,” a rippling mood peice that he thought and felt would be more fruitful direction for the songs on the album. “It’s almost always how my records start,” the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes. “I let the first couple of songs tell me what the next couple should sound like, and it’s really the same process when I’m writing words. Whatever my first couple of lines are, tell me what the next couple should be. I’ve always built things like that, sort of like making a sculpture I guess.” Within about an hour, Lanegan and written words and recorded vocals for two of the instrumental tracks Marshall had written and recorded at Mount Sion Studios in Kent UK. 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.
As the story goes, everything was polished and finished within a month, which has been unusually fast by Lanegan’s recent standards. “I definitely feel like I’m a better songwriter than I was 15 years ago,” Lanegan stays in press notes. “I don’t know if I’m just kidding myself or what, but it’s definitely easier now to make something that is satisfying to me. Maybe I’m just easier on myself these days, but it’s definitely not as painful a process, and therefore I feel I’m better at it now. But part of the way that I stay interested in making music is by collaborating with other people. When I see things through somebody else’s perspective it’s more exciting than if I’m left to my own devices.”
Gargoyle‘s second and latest 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.
Directed by Zhang + Kang and produced by Agile Flims, the recently released video for “Beehive” follows two young lovers — two vampires, actually, who are desperately trying to kick their craving for blood. Before presumably deciding to kill themselves, they spend a sad yet beautiful romantic night together — and at the core of the video is a heavy, world-weary and fatalistic ache.
Comprised of New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based founding members Tarra Thiessen (guitar, vocals) and Natalie Kirch (bass, vocals), the Brooklyn-based duo Sharkmuffin have claimed a rather eclectic set of influences including Nirvana and The Ronnettes on their sound, which they’ve dubbed “opti-mystic glam-grunge.” And with release of a handful of EPs and 2015’s full-length debut Chartreuse, Thieseen and Kirch have seen a rapidly growing national profile, which has resulted in praise from the likes of Billboard who listed the band as one of their 20 All-Female Bands You Should Know and several national tours (which have naturally included a couple of stops in Austin for SXSW).
It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Brooklyn-based indie rock duo, but as it turns out, after they finished up some extensive touring to support Chartreuse, Theissen and Kirch spent the better part of last year writing and recording the material, which would comprise their sophomore effort Tsuki, which is slated for a May 5, 2017 release through Little Dickman Records. And the album’s latest single “Scully is a Sharkmuffin” is a 90s grunge rock-inspired ode to The X-Files and to Dana Scully, the sci-fi show’s resident skeptic and all around, feminist symbol. Featuring a down-tuned, propulsive bass line, thundering drumming from Kim Deuss, some explosive and blistering guitar work paired with Theiseesn’s urgently howled mantra-liked lyrics based on both the beloved sci-fi show’s intro and overall themes “The truth is out there. I want to believe. The government lies,” the forceful song manages to sound as though it could have been released in the mid 90s while capturing a growing and embittering awareness of how often and how insidious the government’s lies are. Interestingly, as the band notes, “Scully is a Sharkmuffin” was the only song on the album that was mostly improvised and recorded completely live to tape, and as a result the song packs an enormous wallop — while accurately capturing their live energy.
The band has been touring the States with their original lineup of Thiessen, Kirch, Drew Adler (drums) and Nunez (guitar) since March and will be completing the Stateside run of their tour with an album release show at Sunnyvale on May 3, 2017. Throughout the bulk of May, the band will be touring the UK. Check out tour dates below.
5/3 — Sunnyvale – Brooklyn, NY %
5/10 – Bassment – Chelmsford UK
5/12 – The Harp Restrung – Folkestone UK
5/13 – John Peel Centre – Suffolk UK
5/16 – Gwdihw – Cardiff, Wales
5/18 – The Great Escape (Sticky Mike’s) – Brighton UK
5/19 – The Lock Tavern – London UK
5/20 – The Eagle – Manchester UK
5/21 – Twenty Ten – Matlock UK
5/23 – The Nest – Bath UK
5/24 – Whiskers – Newquay UK
5/27 – Mello Festival – Evesham UK
5/28 – Blank Generation Festival (afternoon) – London UK
5/28 – The Victoria Dalston (evening) – London UK
5/31 – Green Door Store – Brighton UK
% = Album Release Show
Captain Casanova, is an Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock trio, who have developed a reputation across Scandinavia, Northern Europe and Central Europe for a busy touring schedule with some of each region’s up-and-coming bands — and for a sound that clearly draws influence from 90s grunge rock and Brit Pop as you’ll hear on the band’s anthemic, mosh pit friendly, barn burning single “Futures.” Interestingly, along with bands like Love Talk, Pacific Swell and John Alcabean, Captain Casanova have helped to establish a burgeoning Danish indie rock scene that’s seeing international attention across Europe and the UK.
Currently comprised of Casper Iskov (vocals), Mathias Risager (drums), Jens Hyldahl (bassist) and Andreas Frandsen (guitar), the Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock quartet Love Talk can trace their origins to when its co-founders Casper Iskov and […]
Featuring co-founders and primary songwriters Shelley X and Chris Wild, GHXST is a New York-based noise rock/grunge rock/doom metal trio whose has publicly cited The Jesus and Mary Chain, White Zombie and Sonic Youth as their influences. And with their latest EP, Perish, the New York-based noise rock trio will further cement their reputation for crafting a noisy, shoegazer-like sound full of enormous power chords fed through layers upon layers of distortion and effects pedals, Shelley X’s bluesy croon — while being a subtle change in sound as the act employs the use of both obscured and distorted drum machine and some effects pedals on Shelley X’s vocals, as you’ll hear on the EP’s latest power chord, feedback laden, doom-filled dirge “Waiting for the Night.”
Directed by the members of the band, the video follows its primary duo wandering down a train line to a desolate, sleazy and decidedly American small town-based motel, where they broodingly sit around bored, waiting for something and nothing in their hotel room and in front of a projection screen featuring dusty, old images of the American West, before concluding with the duo driving along dirt-filled blacktop as the sun sets. And within both the song and its accompanying video, there’s a sense of restless energy and insomnia-filled, endless nights in seedy, fucked up and lonesome places.
Currently comprised of founding members Chris Cornell (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Kim Thayil (lead guitar), along with Matt Cameron (drums), who joined in 1986 and Ben Shepherd (bass), who joined in 1990, the Seattle, WA-based grunge/alt-rock quartet Soundgarden can trace its origins back to the formation and eventual breakup of an early 80s Seattle-based band The Shemps, which featured Cornell on drums and vocals, along with original bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Strangely enough, over the years what seems to have been forgotten is that the members of Soundgarden had started their recording career with Sub Pop Records; in fact, the renowned alt rock/indie label released the band’s first two EPs 1987’s Screaming Life and 1988’s Fopp, two efforts, which the label re-issued a couple of years ago through both vinyl and digital formats, marking the first time in about 25 years that the EPs were pressed onto vinyl — and the first time they were released digitally. Interestingly enough, Sub Pop Records helped distributed Soundgarden’s 1988 full-length debut, Ultramega OK.
And although they had some creative differences with the album’s producer Drew Canulette and the band’s overall dissatisfaction with the final mixes, their full-length effort was a commercial success as it garnered both a 1990 Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance and attention from larger labels — including A&M Records, who quickly signed the band. At the time, the band had intended to spend some time remixing the album for subsequent pressings of the album; but those plans wound up falling by the wayside, as the band went on to write and record their sophomore effort, and major-label debut, Louder Than Love.
Last year, the members of the band acquired the original multi-track tapes from the Ultramega OK sessions and they enlisted the assistance of renowned producer, engineer, long-time friend and frequent, old-time collaborator Jack Endino, who has famously worked with Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard, The Black Clouds and others to create a new mix of the album that would tie up what the band felt were persistent loose ends — while fixing the album’s overall sound. Interestingly, the band found six early version of album singles that eventually wound up on Ultramega OK and reportedly those early versions, which would eventually become staples of their live sets at the time, capture the band’s sound and songwriting in a much rawer, less polished form — and much closer to the sound on the Screaming Life EP.
Almost 30 years after Ultramega OK’s original release, Sub Pop Records will be releasing the remixed and expanded re-issue of the album, as a long-awaited “correction.” Naturally, for die-hard fans and completists, the re-mixed material will capture the band’s sound as they fully intended it, while the re-discovered early material will serve as a window into the development of the band’s songwriting approach and overall sound. Now, as you may remember, I wrote about the re-issue’s first single “Beyond The Wheel” and the re-mixed version possessed a crisper, cleaner sound, which helped to display Kim Thayill’s incredible guitar work and the interplay between Matt Cameron’s Bonham-like thundering drumming and Cornell’s Robert Plant-like wailing. The re-mixed and expanded Ultramega OK’s second single “Flower” much like its preceding single displays a cleaner, crisper sound, which gives the song the muscular insistence that the band became known for while interestingly enough, the song has moments that nod at Badmotorfinger and Superunknown.
Cooler is a Buffalo, NY-based indie rock quintet, comprised of Alley Yates (guitar, vocals), Nathan McDorman (guitar, vocals), Nick Sessanna (drums, vocals) and Adam Cwynar (bass) whose sound and aesthetic draws from 90s grunge and early 00s emo and as a result their sound has been compared favorably to the likes of Weezer, Saves the Day and Pity Sex — although as you’ll hear on “Metal Moths,” the latest single off their recently released Phantom Phuzz EP, their sound reminds me quite a bit of Bleeding Rainbow and Silversun Pickups as the members of the Buffalo-based quintet specialize in pairing layers of fuzzy power chords with anthemic hooks, a special attention on harmonized vocals singing incredibly earnest lyrics. Listening to the track brought back memories of making mixtapes
Sub Pop Records re-releases the early and lost catalog of a grunge rock pioneer, TAD with the release of the video for mosh pit worthy “Stumblin’ Man.”