Tag: King Crimson

New Audio: Indie Rock All-Star Act Filthy Friends Return with a Searing Indictment of Unchecked Capitalism

Initially comprised Sleater-Kinney’s and Heavens to Betsy’s Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar),  Fastbacks’ Kurt Bloch (guitar), The Fresh Young Fellows’ Scott McCaughey (bass), R.E.M.’s Peter Buck (guitar) and King Crimson’s Bill Rieflin (drums), Filthy Friends featured some of the most accomplished, influential and beloved musicians of the past 40 years or so in an indie rock/alt rock All-Star act that in some way was meant to be a side project of sorts and a free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends and colleagues.

Since their formation, the act released their attention-grabbing, critically applauded, politically-charged debut Invitation and were included on an anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs in 30 Days. Unfortunately, as they were about to begin touring to support Invitation, Scott McCaughey suffered a stroke, which curtailed the band’s tour plans. While McCaughey was recovering, Tucker wrote and recorded an album with the reunited Sleater-Kinney, which they supported with a tour — and Peter Buck collaborated with acclaimed singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur in Arthur Buck. And the band has gone through a lineup change with Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3’s Linda Pitmon (drums) replacing Bill Rieflin.  

Slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Kill Rock Stars Records, the band’s long-awaited sophomore album Emerald Valley finds the band of accomplished musicians crafting material that rages about and mourns over the fate of our planet and the people who inhabit it. Reportedly, the album’s core idea came from a demo Buck shared with Tucker, a grinding blues that eventually turned into the album’s title track.  According to Tucker, as soon as she heard it, it sparked something within her: “I had this long poem growing in my brain,” she says. “It turned into a sort of manifesto about the kind of place we are at as a country but also as a region. Just taking stock of where we’re at and feeling like I can’t believe we let things get this bad.” Interestingly, Emerald Valley’s latest single, the blistering and anthemic, 90s alt rock-like “Last Chance County” is a searing indictment of unchecked capitalism, in which the desperate and powerless get crushed by the powerful, the greedy and super rich. And at its core, the song demands that we gotta change things now — and if we don’t, we’ll fuck up things so badly, that we won’t be able to save ourselves. 

Live Footage: Israeli Trio Tatran Performing “The Elephant” at TEDER.FM

Tatran is a Tel Aviv, Israel-based instrumental trio, comprised of  Offir Benjaminov (bass), Tamuz Dekel (guitar) and Dan Mayo (drums), that has developed a reputation in their homeland for a sound that draws from jazz fusion, classical music, avant-garde compositions, post-rock, electronic music, post-punk and a rather eclectic array of genres — and for a live show, rooted in improvisation. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the summer, you may recall that the Tel Aviv-based trio’s recently released effort No Sides revealed that the members of the band decided upon a complete and radical shift with their songwriting approach. For years, they had a long-held practice of deliberately composing and painstakingly revising their compositions; however, No Sides was a live recording of a show with the members of the band hitting the stage without anything prepared or mapped out with the hopes that they could grab an hold on to “the frequency of inspiration, allowing the music to present and unfold itself in real-time through our unmediated communication, with the energy and presence of the people in the room.” 

And as the members of the band explained in press notes, everything about the project from its concept, through the performance and its eventual release revolved around trust — trust in the power of immediate expression, in the moment, in each other and in the communication with the audience. 

“The Elephant,” the Israeli trio’s latest composition will further cement the band’s growing reputation for seamless genre-mashing as the song features a swaggering and strutting bass line paired with dexterous and lysergic-fueled, jazz fusion-inspired guitar and stomping boom-bap drums work within a loose, twisting and turning jam-based composition — and interestingly enough, while being incredibly funky, the composition clearly nods at prog rock and jazz fusion in a way that should remind some listeners of King Crimson — or of Return to Forever. 

The band released some recently recorded live footage shot during a performance at TEDER.FM, and it should give you an intimate sense of what their live set is like. 

New Video: Alt Rock All Star Act Filthy Friends Return with Ironic Visuals for Rousing Anti-Trump Anthem “Despierta”

Earlier this summer, I wrote about Filthy Friends, an act that’s both a side project and free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends, who also happen to be among some of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the past 30+ years — with the band featuring Corin Tucker, best known as being a founding member and frontwoman of Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy; Kurt Bloch (guitar), best known as the frontman of renowned Seattle-based punk band The Fastbacks, and producer, who has mentored some of the area’s up-and-coming bands; Bill Rieflin (drums), who’s known for being a member of legendary prog rock act King Crimson; Scott McCaughey (bass), a studio musician, who’s also known for being a member of Fresh Young Fellows; and last but certainly not least, Peter Buck (guitar), who was a founding member of R.E.M. 

“The Arrival,” the second single off the band’s forthcoming debut effort Invitation may arguably be one of the more straightforward, glam rock and alt rock-channeling single, as it featured a roomy arrangement consisting of bristling and chugging power chords and a rousingly anthemic hook paired with Tucker’s imitable vocals — and in my mind, the single should remind fans of each of those acts that these old timers can still kick ass, and as a result, the song possesses the cool, self-assured swagger of old pros, who can make it seem far easier than what it really is. Now, you may recall that the band released  “Despierta,” a song that they contributed to the anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs For 30 Days and a Record Store Day release featuring “Any Kind of Crowd” and a cover of Roxy Music‘s “Editions of You.” As far as “Despierta,” it shouldn’t be surprising why the members of Filthy Friends felt it was a perfect addition to the anti-Trump compilation, as  the song has a relevant sociopolitical message — the song pretty much tells the listener that it’s time for new ideas and a new way of doing things, that it’s young people’s time to get to work on getting a bunch of fucked up shit right. And much like “The Arrival,” the members of the All-Star act pair that message around power chords and an anthemic hook.

Directed by Megan Hattie Stahl, the recently released music video employs a relatively simple yet funny concept: a bunch of young people, who are desperately trying to catch their new favorite band but with a It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World-like zaniness but it ends with a bitter irony — the one person, who actually makes it, misses the band, making his effort seem pointless. 

New Audio: Alt Rock All Star Side Project Filthy Friends Release Their Most Straightforward and Anthemic Song to Date

Comprised of Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar), who’s best known for being a member of Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy; Kurt Bloch (guitar), who’s best known as the frontman of The Fastbacks and a producer and mentor for several up-and-coming Seattle-based rock bands; Bill Rieflin (drums), who’s best known for being a member of the legendary King Crimson; Scott McCaughey (bass), a studio musician, who’s also known for being a member of Fresh Young Fellows; and last but certainly not least, Peter Buck (guitar), who was a founding member of R.E.M., Filthy Friends is both a side project and free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends, who happen to be among some of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the past 30+ years. 

The band has released two attention-grabbing singles this year, “Desiperta,” their contribution to the anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs For 30 Days and a Record Store Day release featuring “Any Kind of Crowd” and a cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” Building upon the attention they’ve already received, the band will be releasing their full-length debut Invitation through Kill Rock Stars Records on August 25, 2017 — and while featuring their previously released tracks, the album overall finds the band working through a series of different moods and styles, genre exercises and experiments; however, “The Arrival,” Invitation’s first single may arguably be the most straightforward, glam rock and alt rock nodding single as the band pairs bristling and chugging power chords and a rousingly anthemic hook around Tucker’s imitable vocals in a song that swaggers with the cool, self-assured confidence of old pros, who make it seem far easier than it actually is — and who can essentially play anything at will.  

Perhaps best known as the drummer of West Grove, PA-based rock Dr. Dog, a member of the Adrian Belew (of King Crimson fame)’s backing band and a co-leader of the Philadelphia, PA-based band Lithuania, Eric Slick’s soon-to-be released solo debut Palisades finds Slick stepping out from behind the drum kit and being a full-time frontman of a backing band featuring Andy Molholt of Speedy Ortiz and Laser Background, Ricardo Lagomasino of Lithuania and Capillary Action and Alexandra Spalding of Avers.

As the story goes, in 2014 Slick decided to leave his native Philadelphia for the first time and relocated to Asheville, NC where he practiced meditation and Jungian dream therapy as a form of reinvention and to write his own original material, which would later be inspired by these periods of intense mediation. Interestingly, Slick found some inspiration in the works of renowned writer/actor Spalding Gray — especially his 1992 book Impossible Vacation, which details the impossibility of searching for and finding Zen. “I know it’s the funny trope: indie rock dude goes to the woods and makes an outsider record,” Slick says in press notes. “But it was a time of deep introspection and a fruitful period of my life. I wrote someone around 50 songs in 2014.” And as a result, the material on the album isn’t a typical indie rock, rock or pop album that focus on heartbreak or love; rather, it thematically focuses on mediation, death, self-help, dream therapy, tarot and mysticism. But at points, the material focuses on both personal events of his life and the random, unexpected thoughts that come up while mediating — in particular, the album title track “Palisades” is about New York’s Palisades Parkway; however, Slick doesn’t really know why or how it came about.

At the end of 2014, Slick returned to Philadelphia to record Palisades at Mt. Eerie’s Phil Elverun’s The Unknown Studio in Anacortes, WA — but the songs were stored away for a period time before Slick finished them with the assistance of Neighbors‘ Jose Diaz Rohena, who produced it, along with Ape School and Kurt Vile‘s Michael Johnson, Lithuania’s Dom Angelella and Ricardo Lagomarsino and Ryan Neitznick and Molly Burch‘s Dailey Toliver.

Palisades‘ latest single “You Became The Light” is a jangling and discordant track featuring enormous, buzzing power chords, thundering and propulsive drumming, a dreamy melody and an anthemic hook — and interestingly enough, the song sounds as though it draws from 90s grunge and alt rock while possessing a free-flowing improvised feel.
Slick plans to take his solo act on the road in 2017, and it includes a May 20, 2017 stop at Sunnyvale. Check out the tour dates below.


Tour Dates
Apr 19 – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry*
Apr 20 – Raleigh, NC – Kings*
Apr 23 – Orlando, FL – The Social*
Apr 25 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl*
Apr 26 – Birmingham, AL – Syndicate Lounge*
Apr 27 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa*
Apr 28 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall*
Apr 30 – Austin, TX – Empire Control Room*
May 01 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues*
May 02 – Little Rock, AZ – Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack*
May 03 – Nashville, TN – The High Watt*
May 20 – Brooklyn, NY – Sunnyvale

* – w/ Sinkane


New Video: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Return with an Expansive, Epic, and Blistering New Single

So if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve written about the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock sextet King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard. Comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums), the Australian psych rock sextet have developed a reputation for incredibly energetic live shows and for being incredibly prolific, as they’ve released 10 full-length, studio albums since 2012 — and interestingly each album revealed a band that has relentlessly experimented with its overall sound and songwriting approach with their earliest releases blending elements of 60s surf rock, garage rock and psych rock and their later work featuring elements of film scores, prog rock, folk, soul, Krautrock, heavy metal and proto-metal.

Released earlier this year, the band’s tenth studio album Flying Microtonal Banana found the band delving deeper into trance-inducing done, non-Western musical scales and metronomic rhythms — and in fact, the sound on that album is so profoundly unique and evolved, that it required the members of the band to reinvent their own instruments after they began experimenting with a custom microtonal guitar, made for the band’s frontman Stu Mackenzie. As the band mentioned in press notes on Flying Microtonal Banana they found particular inspiration from the movable frets of a Turkish instrument, the bağlama, a classical lute — and three guitars and a bass were customized for the band to explore wildly different scales and a new set of musical notes not normally heard in Western music. They then customized a keyboard and a mouth organ. Additionally, the material on the album finds the and incorporating the use of a Turkish horn called a zurna, which looks a bit like a clarinet but because it’s a double-reeded instrument, the possess a wobbly sound that Mackenzie says “blends perfectly with the secret notes on the guitar.”

Album single “Rattlesnake” paired a chugging, motorik-like groove and anthemic, chant-worthy hook; but while clearly drawing from prog rock, Krautrock, psych rock, heavy psych, stoner rock and even space rock, the song finds the band putting a familiar Western sound into a decidedly Eastern context — and as a result, it’s not only a wild, mind-altering spin on something familiar and seemingly done to death and then some, while possessing a familiar acid-tinged yet alien, otherworldly sound.

Unsurprisingly, the Melbourne-based psych rockers will follow up on one of the trippiest and more unique sounding albums I’ve heard this year with Murder Of The Universe, a concept album meant to end all concept albums, as the material thematically concerns itself with the downfall of man and the death of the planet — and it evokes the greater sense of fear that we’re foolishly inching closer to our own destruction. As the band’s Stu Mackenzie explains “We’re living in dystopian times that are pretty scary and it’s hard not to reflect that in our music. It’s almost unavoidable. Some scientists predict that the downfall of humanity is just as likely to come at the hands of Artificial Intelligence, as it is war or viruses or climate change. But these are fascinating times too. Human beings are visual creatures – vision is our primary instinct, and this is very much a visual, descriptive, bleak record. While the tone is definitely apocalyptic, it is not necessarily purely a mirror of the current state of humanity. It’s about new non-linear narratives.”

Structurally, the album’s tracks are separated into three separate chapters and the album’s first single “Chapter 3: Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe” is an epic 13 minute, shape-shifting, felt-melting bit of prog rock that evokes Biblical visions of the apocalypse — including enormous mushroom clouds, pools of fire and blood, death and unceasing war, poverty and misery, featuring a cyborg, who desperately longs to be alive, to simply be. Interestingly enough, this particular song along with the rest of the material on Murder of the Universe reportedly nods at previously released albums I’m In Your Mind Fuzz and Nonagon Infinity as they all share song recurrent themes and motifs and if you’re paying attention you may catch a snippet at a melody or a riff from them. And while nodding at the concept of wormholes in which you can easily move from past, present and future in a seamless yet mind-altering fashion. These ideas aren’t necessarily contrived,” the band’s Mackenzie explains in press notes. “Sometimes they just happen.” Sonically speaking “Han-Tyuni and the Murder of the Universe” manages to nod at King Crimson, Rush and Black Sabbath simultaneously as it features some impressively textured guitar work and sounds — but while being defiantly, joyously difficult to pigeonhole.