Tag: Suicide

New Audio: Hot Snakes Return with an Anthemic Mosh Pit Worthy Track from First Album in 14 Years

Led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg, Hot Snakes formed in 1999 as a side project, when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard — and being in between labels. While searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Interestingly, Hot Snakes can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72‘s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, slated for a March 16, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, ““Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, with some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

You might remember that last month I wrote about the Curses-era Rye Coalition-like album single “Six Wave Hold-Down,” a single that possessed a furious piss, vinegar, vitriol and whiskey-fueled punk air with rousingly anthemic, raise your beer in the air hooks and a frenzied urgency. Unsurprisingly, the album’s latest single “Death Camp Fantasy” possesses the same frenzied urgency, centered around a swaggering, muscular and insistent riff, howled vocals, propulsive drumming, and shout worthy, mosh pit-friendly hooks; but underneath the swaggering, whiskey and piss fueled storm is a sentiment reminiscent of Soundgarden’s “Blow Up The Outside World” — a sick of this bullshit, let’s blow it all the fuck up and start over vibe. 

Along with the release of their newest album, the band’s entire back catalog will be re-issued and to celebrate that, the band will be touring to support it. You can check out the first batch of tour dates, below. Interestingly, as the band’s Gar Wood notes, the band has finished writing and recording two more albums, and Jericho Sirens will give fans and listeners a chance to catch up to the new recordings.

The Portland, OR-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Jenny Logan may arguably be one of her hometown’s quietly kept and most talented secrets as Logan is a member of grunge of pop trio Loveboys, post-punk act Miss Rayon and guitar pop act Sunbathe, who I recently saw open for Typhoon at Music Hall of Williamsburg (more on that later). Along with that, Logan had a stint playing bass for Summer Cannibals and keyboards for a Seattle-based Rolling Stones cover band. Amazingly, the incredibly busy Logan managed to squeeze in the time to pursue her own singular musical vision with her solo recording project Deathlist, releasing her attention grabbing Deathlist debut last year, an effort which found Logan playing almost every instrument.

Slated for a March 9, 2018 release, Fun, the follow up to her Deathlist debut was written and recorded in the aftermath of the death of her best friend, and as a result, the material focuses on the grief and despair of a seemingly solitary mourner, with its narrator finding herself contending with a harrowing and impossible to answer question: how does one continue a conversation with someone, who will never be there again? And while the ironically titled Fun may feature some of the most achingly personal material that Logan may have arguably ever released, it points to one of the most universal experiences any of us will ever know: someone we love, respect and cherish will die, and we’ll brokenheartedly fumble through some portion of our lives, desperately trying to find some larger meaning to all the lingering ghosts of our pasts — or some convenient closure, when there never really is. Yet, we find a way to push on, to find some beauty and occasionally even acceptance within chaos.

Unsurprisingly with the material focusing on death and loss, Logan’s cites Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy and Suicide as inspiring aspects of the album’s sound, and while you’ll hear hints of that on album single “Charm School,” as Logan pairs buzzing and slashing guitars with throbbing, propulsive bass, forceful, industrial-like drum machines and razor sharp hooks; but I also hear hints of Sixousie and the Banshees, The Cure and Dirty Ghosts as the song manages to channel confusion, sorrow and anger — simultaneously and within a turn of a phrase.

New Audio: Hot Snakes Release an Anthemic Piss and Vinegar-Fueled Single off First Full-Length Album in 14 Years

Led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg, Hot Snakes formed in 1999 as a side project, when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after being in between labels and the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard. While searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Interestingly, Hot Snakes can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72’s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and as it turns out most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. While Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. In fact, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label. 

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, which is slated for a March 16, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was reacting his collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says. 

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, ““Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fingers of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Album single “Six Wave Hold-Down” while reminding me of Curses-era Rye Coalition, thanks to an furious piss, vinegar, vitriol and whiskey-fueled punk air, and anthemic raise your beer in the air hooks. But along with that the song possesses the sort of  urgency that’s absolutely necessary. 

Comprised of Stefano Bellerba (vocals, guitar), Leonardo Mori (synth), Matteo Luciani (bass), Saverio Paiella (guitar) and Daniele Cruccolini, the members of the Terni, Italy-based post-punk quintet Japan Suicide met and bonded over their mutual love of Joy Division, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode — but they also cite the likes of Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Japan, The Damned, Interpol, Suicide, CSI, CCCP and Massimo Volume as being major influences on their sound and songwriting approach. With the release of 2015’s We Die In Such a Place, 2016’s 1978 EP, and the appearance of “This Be The Verse” on Darkitalia’Sparkles in the Dark, Vol. 4 compilation, the Italian post punk quintet have received both national and international attention as one of their homeland’s best, contemporary indie rock/post punk bands.

Building on their growing profile, Japan Suicide’s third full-length effort Santa Sangre is slated for a February 14, 2018 release through Unknown Pleasures Records, and while the album’s first single “Circle” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting material heavily indebted to early 80s post punk, it reveals a band that has been gently expanding upon their sound with nods to shoegaze and industrial rock as the band pairs fuzzy and angular guitar chords, thundering drumming, merrily twinkling synths and a soaring hook to evoke a creeping yet uncertain dread.

 

Live Footage: The Telescopes Perform “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” and “Something In My Brain” at Tapetown Studios

Currently comprised of founding member Stephen Lawrie and featuring members of One Unique Signal as the live performing band, the Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, UK-based psych rock/noise rock band The Telescopes originally formed back in 1987 and while inspired by the likes of Suicide, The Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators — and over the course of a number of singles and nine full-length albums, including 1989’s Taste, 1992’s self-tiled album, 2002’s Third Wave, 2005’s #4, 2006’s Hungry Audio Tapes, 2008’s Infinite Suns, 2013’s HARM, 2015’s Hidden Fields and this year’s As Light Returns, the British band has developed a reputation for being arguably one of the more influential noise rock/psych rock bands of their era, seemingly influencing the work of the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers with whom they released a split 7 inch released through Fuzz Club Records, Chain of Flowers, Bambara and others. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you’d recall that the Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio  Tapetown Studios  along with Sound of Aarhus have developed a live video series in which they invite national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studio during their free time to record a live session. Over the past year, Tapetown Studios and Sound of Aarhus have invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, and the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys. Stephen Lawrie and the members of the touring band were invited to Tapetown to record a session that featured the slow-burning, murky, feedback driven dirge “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” a song that builds upon a tightly restrained tension until its scorching conclusion; and the forceful and stormy “Something In My Brain.” 

The Los Angeles, CA-based desert punk act, ExSage is essentially the solo, recording project of its creative mastermind, primary songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and frontwoman Kate Clover, who throughout the project’s run has chosen local musicians as part of her touring band, although with the project’s recently released sophomore EP, Total Devotion, Clover has specifically chosen an all female backing band. As it turns out, Clover had initially overlooked being the only woman member of the project, and she believes that it’s a highly symbolic (and necessary) change, that she hopes will inspire women to pursue what they believe in — especially grabbing instruments and kicking ass.

Interestingly, the project’s sophomore EP was inspired by a midnight drive through the Los Angeles area and she was driving, she heard Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” on a left-of-the-dial radio station. Returning home, Clover feverishly wrote new material — with a deeply personal mission: to be true to herself, no matter the cost. Additionally, the material on the EP is reportedly inspired by the work of PJ HarveyLet Love In-era Nick Cave and Black Sabbath while lyrically, the material draws from French Surrealistic poetry — namely the work of Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. And although  “Under Your Spell,” the EP’s first single is inspired by Suicide, sonically the song to my ears, reminds me much of Only in Dreams and Too True-era Dum Dum Girls, PJ Harvey and Josh Homme’s renowned Desert Sessions compilation, thanks to a blazing psych rock meets stoner rock-like power chord-based turn towards the song’s last one-third, but the song is under-pinned by a urgent and insatiable desire.

 

Live Footage: The Kills Performing “Impossible Tracks” on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”

Ash and Ice, the duo’s latest full-length effort and first full-length effort in over 5 years was released earlier this year, and if you’ve been frequenting this site you might recall that I wrote about album singles “Heart Of A Dog” and “Siberian Nights,” two singles that reflected a thorough refinement of their sound as the duo paired enormous boom-bap drum programming, skittering beats, buzzing electronics, scorching guitar chords and anthemic hooks with Mossheart’s bluesy, cigarettes and whiskey soaked vocals to crate a swaggering and arena rock-friendly song that possesses a raw, insistent and urgent carnality.

Recently, the band performed a swaggering, boozy live version of album single “Impossible Tracks” on The Late Late Show with James Corden — and the live version maintains a fervent urgency of the album’s material.

New Video: The Darkly Surreal Visuals for The Kills “Siberian Nights”

Ash and Ice, the duo’s latest full-length effort and first full-length effort in over 5 years was released last week — and if you’ve been frequenting this site you’d know that I wrote about the album’s first single “Heart Of A Dog” earlier this year. Sonically, Ash and Ice’s first single proved to be a thorough refinement of their sound as the duo paired enormous boom-bap drum programming, skittering beats, buzzing electronics, scorching guitar chords and anthemic hook with Mossheart’s bluesy, cigarettes and whiskey soaked vocals to crate a swaggering and arena rock-friendly song that clearly draws from Delta blues but possesses a raw, insistent and urgent carnality. The album’s latest single “Siberian Nights” continues along a similar vein of the preceding single — boom bap beats, propulsive drumming, bluesy guitar chords, a sinuous bass line and subtly ominous electronics in a sleek, sensual song that shimmies and struts about with a cool self-assuredness.
The recently released music video is a stark and gorgeously surreal video that possesses a nightmarish logic; certainly as a photographer, there are sequences I absolutely envy — a scene of a horse running in slow motion and you can see every sinew and fiber flexing in unified movement; a barking husky in surreal slow motion with teeth snarled angrily and so on. In some way, the video evokes a lingering and inescapable fucked up dystopian nightmare.