Wellington-based Beastwars are already a powerful force in the realm of sludge metal. The quartet’s second full-length Blood Becomes Fire continues the path taken by their audacious debut with the colossal sound that makes their contemporaries look insignificant by comparison. On top of that, the album is told through the eyes of a dying traveller from another time who finds the contemporary world destroyed, which places the band’s style in an intriguing futuristic context. I’ve recently approached Nathan Hickey who plays the drums for Beastwars. We’ve discussed such issues as the origin of the band, the process of putting out the new record, internet piracy and the new means of music distribution among others.
As most SputnikMusic users may not be familiar with Beastwars, could you tell us how your musical path started? What inspired you to play sludge metal in the first place?
Me and Clayton (Anderson, guitarist) met in a bar and formed a friendship over red wine and stoner rock. We wanted to form a band that sounded a bit like Kyuss, but with the big hooks of The Cult. When James (Woods, bass) and Matt (Hyde, vocals) joined that plan went totally out the window. James’ massively distorted tone shaped the sound of the band just as much as Matts vocals did. We pushed harder, played louder and it all came out heavier than we had imagined it would. We were just 4 guys that…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 7, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
98 Degrees – 2.0 (Entertainment One)
AM & Shawn Lee – La Musique Numerique (Park The Van)
Ann Pragg – Bitter Fruit (Wonderland Archives)
Banquets – Banquets (Black Numbers)
Bob Oxblood – Oxblood (Bob Oxblood)
Boxer/Eyes Wide – Split (Reveille Records)
Bracher Brown – Broken Glass And Railroad Tracks (Rock Ridge Music)
The Child Of Lov – The Child Of Lov (Domino)
Co La – Moody Coup (Software)
Courtney Jaye – Love And Forgiveness (1-2-3-4-GO!)
Dead Silence Hides My Cries – The Symphony Of Hope (Artery Recordings) Deerhunter – Monomania (4AD Records) – Hernan M. Campbell
Destroid – The Invasion (Rottun Records)
Devour The Day – Time & Pressure (CD Baby)
Eksi Ekso – Archfiend (Retroversal)
First & Thorne – Left Of Center (FATindie Records)
Fitz & The Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream (Elektra)
Fokuz Recordings – Fifty Five (Fokuz Recordings)
Grenades – Heaven Is Empty (Red Cobra Records)
Grime – Deteriorate (Forcefield Records)
The Hussy – Pagan Hiss (Southpaw)
Jim Guthrie – Takes Time (Static Clang)
Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum (Epic/RED)
Joshua Radin – Wax Wings (Glass Bead Music)
Karl Hyde – Edgeland (UMe)
Lady Antebellum – Golden (Capitol Nashville/Universal)
Little Boots – Nocturnes (Kobalt)
Michael Feuerstack – Tambourine Death Bed (Forward Music Group)
Mikal Cronin – MCII (Merge Records)
Mother Falcon –…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 30, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
!!! [Chik Chik Chik] – THR!!!ER (Warp Records)
Adelaine – Currents (Mosaic Artistry Group)
Adventure – Weird Work (Carpark Records)
The Airborne Toxic Event – Such Hot Blood (Island)
Akron/Family – Sub Verses (Dead Oceans)
Alessi’s Ark – The Still Life (Bella Union)
Alice Russell – To Dust (Tru Thoughts) Amorphis – Circle (Nuclear Blast America)
Ark Of The Covenant – Self Harvest (Facedown)
Beacon – The Ways We Separate (Ghostly International)
Big Black Delta – Big Black Delta (Masters Of Bates)
Big Country – The Journey (MRI Associated)
The Body – Master, We Perish (At A Loss)
Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal (Epitaph)
Buckeye Knoll – Lovecreek (Up On A Hill)
Cathedral – The Last Spire (Metal Blade)
Cayucas – Bigfoot (Secretly Canadian)
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Pardon My French (Fearless Records)
Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 3 (Constellation) Coliseum – Sister Faith (Temporary Residence) – Greg Fisher
Daughter – If You Leave (Glassnote)
Daylight – Jar (Run For Cover)
The Earth And Everything In It – We Wander At Night (Minerald Sound Recordings)
Famous Last Words – Two-Faced Charade (Invogue Records)
Guided By Voices – English Little League (Guided By Voices)
Hanni El Khatib – Head In The Dirt (Innovative Leisure)
Heaven Shall Burn – Veto (Century Media)
Colin Stetson is one of those rare musicians who successfully creates harmony from discord. In each of his New History Warfare albums, he constructs via saxophone, if only to deconstruct, to tear down the walls of sound from around him and to arrange them in a strangely beautiful manner. And New History Warfare III: To See More Light is no different– if anything, it further proves Stetson’s worth in the avant-garde community– but the most interesting choice regarding the album is Justin Vernon’s featured vocals. Laurie Anderson’s vocals were comforting on Judges, but they weren’t as blatant as Vernon’s are here. I rather like the change-up, though, because the album functions well with more of a vocal centerpiece to guide the chaos. Besides, Stetson makes sure the vocals are distorted just enough to fit the destructive panoramic picture he paints with the saxophone.
Colin Stetson has released a few tracks off the upcoming album thus far, but the one that’s probably most representative of the overall album’s sound is “High Above a Grey Green Sea.” Listen to the track, and see where it takes you. If nothing else, you’ll at least be damned shocked at how much sound one man’s capable of making.
Keep an eye out for New History Warfare III: To See More Light, out on April 30th, 2013 on Constellation Records.
Australia’s black/death/industrial metallers The Amenta released their third studio album, titled Flesh Is Heir, on March 22. In celebration of them releasing their third record in 13 years, I had a little chat with the driving force behind the group, Timothy Pope (lyrics, samples, programming). Even though he describes himself as an arrogant bastard, Tim’s actually a very down to earth guy who gladly shared with me his views on the band, the hard-hitting new album, touring, and life in general.
Hello, I’m Magnus Altküla from Sputnikmusic and I will be conducting the interview. How are you doing and what have you been up to lately?
I’m very well, thank you. I’ve basically been doing this sort of thing (interviews). The album’s been out in Australia and near it almost a month, so we’ve been doing a lot of interviews. A couple of them have been live interviews, but there have been a lot of e-mail ones as well. I handle most of them, so that has basically been my life for the last few weeks.
Which kind of interviews do you prefer: the e-mail ones or the live ones?
I think they both have their benefits. The live ones are probably better because they’re quicker. Sometimes you can be a lot more clear in text, though, so I guess both of them have their own benefits. But I prefer personal contact because you can work a bit better with questions that way –…
The French trio Blaak Heat Shujaa certainly know how to capture the laid-back vibe of California on their new full-length The Edge Of An Era (Tee Pee). The band delivers psychedelic desert rock that’s equally indebted to the Eastern mysticism of Om and the groove-laden jamming of Kyuss. After all, the record was produced by Scott Reader himself, and it makes for a trippy, if at times overly familiar ride.
The song that clearly stands out amid the haze is penultimate “Pelham Blue.” The tune sees the trio collaborating with legendary Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson’s fame. Needless to say, it’s sheer bliss. The style of the band superbly complements Lalli’s dreamy vocals and trippy imagery, which momentarily bring to mind the best Fatso Jetson songs. Lalli’s knack for crafting spellbinding melodies is in a class by itself, and Blaak Heat Shujaa accompany his performance with their most evocative intrumental work to date. The effect isone of the most ravishing songs of the year. Don’t forget to breathe, don’t forget to open your eyes…
Moombahton. First off, it’s an actual genre. Second off, when it’s done, damn is it done well. It’s hard to put into words exactly what moombahton is, but here goes: around 108 BPM, an off-shoot of electro, and as Dillon Francis puts it, “music to fuck to.” Take that how you will.
But “Que Que” is by far the most solid moombahton track I’ve heard yet. It’s a solid mix of keen vocal sampling, varietal instrumentation and irresistible percussive work. Ultimately, though, it was most likely made for sexual purposes, so act on that. Don’t even be careful– just go for what you’re thinking.
I’m curious if the musician behind the Trash McSweeney alias dissociates from reality whenever he morphs into his idiosyncratic performer’s role.
Or, from a different point of view, whether or not the McSweeney persona is actually a commune of fragmented, detached personalities it has encountered over its lifespan and subsequently absorbed into some scattered, diffused on-stage character.
An argument could be made that the man behind the Trash figure has a roaring case of dissociative identity disorder to complement his synesthesia. When looking back at all the characters, elaborate stage settings, artistic canvases (human and non-human), and theatrical thematic material The Red Paintings have cultivated and performed with over the years, Trash might just very well be The Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (or some other vile character from the deepest, darkest recesses of Dr. Seuss’s mind). Oscillating to-and-fro from the aquatic to the extraterrestrial to a Japanese flair with the geisha costumes, and then incorporating elements of all three paradigms on the band’s current tour with Mindless Self Indulgence (later slated to be The Pineapple Thief when they arrive in the UK), there is a palpable bit of madness exhibited here. Look no further than the hundreds (okay, maybe “tens”) of separate Facebook pages the man’s currently operating devoted solely to this record (examples here, here, here, and here — in order, the band’s Facebook page, his personal artist page, the The Revolution is Never…
Welcome to Sputnik’s first Infinite Playlist of 2013! For those of you who don’t know, this is one of the site’s best resources for discovering the best recent music from a selection of genres, as chosen by both users and staff alike. Every quarter, a new issue is published bringing you some of the best individual songs from the past three months. Thank you to everyone who contributed!
Even if The Next Day’s first single “Where Are We Now?” is a beautiful, mellow and reflective tune, it was somewhat harmless and predictable coming after a 50-year, chameleonic career. However, the moment David Bowie debuted “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, expectations rose up, as well as several question marks regarding the new record, released after a decade long break from the music industry. “The Stars” is an uptempo, straightforward rocker with a groovy bass line and simple, effective guitar leads. What makes it special is that Bowie adds his ageless and dramatic yet powerful vocals much like he used to all the way back in the ’70s. Also, the lyrics meld David’s passion towards aliens with ironic stabs at superstars, who are beautiful and flawless
I’m beginning to think that I have some sort of affinity with bands from Louisiana. Just two years ago, I awarded my album of the year to little known indie-pop outfit Givers and their debut LP ‘In Light’. While that feat won’t be achieved in 2013 by the quintet I’m about to introduce you to, The Pelican State has once more delivered a band that has been on high rotation on my playlist of late.
Having initially caught my attention with one of those gimmicky self-proclaimed genres, Super Water Sympathy walk the talk on their second LP ‘Hydrogen Child’. The aforementioned self-labeling is that of “water pop”, but one gets the feeling that the term has only been created because it sounds better than “alternative indie pop-rock”.
Below is ‘Uh Oh!’; the lead single and album opener from ‘Hydrogen Child’. A bouncy and deceptively catchy tune where each instrument gets a chance to shine without dominating proceedings, it provides the framework for the eleven tracks which follow.
Double Disco Animal Style has completely taken me by surprise. Practically unknown Paris-based Loading Data teamed up with renowned producer Alain Johannes only to churn out one of the most distinctive desert rock releases of the last couple of years. It’s supremely produced, groove-laden heavy rock that just reeks of unadulterated fun. That’s why, I’ve seized the opportunity to interview the mastermind of the band, Patrón.
For SputnikMusic users who’ve never heard of Loading Data, how would you describe your style?
It’s definitely rock. It’s groovy. It’s sexy. It’s dark at times, much lighter at others. Heavy riffs, catchy riffs, melodies. I insist on melodies. We’ve always been too heavy for a pop audience, and too pop for metalheads. Our sound is heavy but we have melodies. Nothing symphonic, just good old melodies like The Beach Boys or The Beatles who knew how to write them. I regret that in this musical genre a lot of people forget how important melody is. Headbanging to heavy riffs is fine, and you can do it to some of our songs, but being able to whistle tunes is what I go for.
I’d love to hoist up this type of music out of the stereotypes of the genre. I’d love to have a sexy crowd, well groomed, not just metalheads and hardrockers. We should give out tuxedos and three piece suits at the entrance of our shows, and have free hairdressers as well. …
“I feel like I’m going to go home and throw up a sandbox for my small child,” Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis cracked near the beginning of his band’s closing set Sunday night. At this point the sand was less of a nuisance and more an actual hazard, whipping up into your eyes, your mouth, your nose, your ears – my friend remarked that he entered Coachella as one race and came out another. The standard festival uniform transformed from baring as much skin as possible with an emphasis on neon colors to shutting everything off with anything at hand, turning a legion of fans into balaclava-wearing music terrorists. The gum I had been gnawing on for hours grew suspiciously in size as tiny particles added a bit of extra crunch to my mouth feel. The storm buffeted the main stage, whipsawing the sound across the festival grounds and turning Peppers mainstays like “Dani California” and “Can’t Stop” into warped contortions of themselves, as if the sound guy had had a bad case of epilepsy among the fade and balance dials. It wasn’t a great loss – as far as headliners go, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were the same-old-same-old, playing a strangely subdued set of hits and new songs that never really latched onto anyone. Sure, they were good – the rhythm…
For the first time in my years attending Coachella – whether it’s because Sputnik is finally ascending to the big leagues or the organizers were annoyed at my yearly badgering – I was granted a media pass. This is not as cool as it initially sounds – i.e., I can’t go backstage or to the VIP and do coke with Pusha T, nor can I flash my bracelet at security and bypass the huddled masses at the general admission lines. I can, however, acquire free water and fruit bars (shout out to Fruttare! your strawberry rules) at the media area, as well as use bathrooms that aren’t piled high with MDMA shits and don’t stink (quite as bad). I also got to go backstage at the Do LaB and see just how that party of water guns, painted dancers and endless, twitchy bass functions from noon to midnight, as well as check out the VJ booth at the Sahara tent, an island of sanity and artwork amidst a sea of shirtless, sweaty ravers. It’s where the VJ (video jockey) and his team work out the 3D video mapping visuals for the DJs who perform, where light shows are as integral a part of someone’s set as the music is. It’s also where women in high heels lay out on the couch and guys sip Heineken self-importantly – at Coachella, your power and coolness directly correlates with how many…