Deafheaven, Earth, and Marriages live at the El Rey (4/25/2014)

You’ll forgive the low-light cell phone pictures, I’m sure.

Last Friday, I found myself double-booked. I had bought a ticket for Deafheaven weeks before, and, thinking the show was on Thursday, reserved a camping spot at Carpinteria State Beach (the opposite direction from home) Friday night. Cut to two days before the show and I realize it’s actually on Friday. Cue decision-making time. Almost sold my ticket on StubHub. Counted miles and time, figured I could make it if I left at the right time.

Man, I’m glad I made that drive.

The show sold out just before the doors opened at 8pm. I made it before the first band, Marriages, took the stage. I hadn’t heard their stuff before, but apparently they’re composed of ex-members of Red Sparowes, an LA-based post-rock outfit. They certainly fit the show well – their deliberate, almost sludgy heaviness was layered beneath soft-spoken vocal melodies and punctuated by violent outbursts. It was off to a good start, and it amped me up for the next two bands.

Next came Earth, Seattle-based drone/doom act. I really didn’t know what to expect. Would they stick to their more melodic stuff from later releases? Or would I disintegrate from the wall-rattling vibrations let off from the debut Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version? Fortunately for my atoms (somewhat), they played a lot of new songs off their forthcoming release (which I can’t remember/can’t find the title for), and improvised over some tracks off 2008’s The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull, especially Omens and Portents II. I had no idea what to expect (can you pit to drone/doom?), but my apprehension was assuaged by the near trance-like state I entered after slowly nodding my head (and later my upper torso as well) along to the slow, methodical plodding of a band who’s been doing this for decades.

Finally, at 11:05pm, it was time for the headliner. This was another one that I didn’t know how to prepare for. Deafheaven, as I’m sure a lot of you know, is – through no fault of their own – one of those bands that causes an online shitstorm among trve metalheads and black metal kvltists. Are they black metal? Are they shoegaze? Post-metal? Do genres even exist? Regardless, their sound was one I had no experience with in a live setting. I assume the pitting happens a lot during blast beats and when it’s intense, but what about the quieter, prettier moments?

Really though, I guess the answer is “who cares?” – there was, like at every show, plentyof everything. I watched from just behind the pit for the first half of the set, soaking in the sound as the band put on a ridiculously high-energy show. Walls of tremolo-picked guitar leads and washed over the crowd. Blast beats pummeled the crowd, pit or not. Frontman George Clarke’s wails bled through like his life depended on everything he screamed. They played through all of Sunbather, 100%, then came back on to play Unrequited off of the 2011 debut Roads to Judah as an encore. I don’t think I could have asked for a better setlist, really (not that their prior stuff isn’t great as well). Sunbather stands just two seconds shy of a full hour, and every second of it was given to the crowd with gusto. On its own, the album is a modern masterpiece of “extreme metal,” or whatever other genre buzzwords you’d like to include. Live, though, it was even more massive, the sound tearing through the entirety of the sold-out theater.


Circa Survive – Suitcase (free new track!)

Edit: So it would appear that the track is on soundcloud, but is not available to be embedded. You’ll have to go to their website to hear it.

So I admit, I haven’t been blogging at all. It’s the truth. And maybe I’m only blogging right now because I’m putting off a few internship applications. Whatever, that’s not important.

What is important is that Circa Survive is putting out a new album soon (like August 28th soon) and they’re self-recording/producing/releasing this baby. Pre-orders are up on their website for vinyl, CD, and digital copies, as well as tickets for their upcoming tour. Also, you can download the above track, Suitcase, from their website as well (in 320 kpbs no less!). Get on it!

As for the track itself, it’s wonderfully Circa Survive. It’s got their trademark groove and texture, delicious drums, buttery-smooth vocals and harmonies from Anthony, and it feels like a natural progression from everywhere they’ve ever been. It’s got the polish of Blue Sky Noise and the lyrical and musical feel of Juturna, with a faint hint of the sonic bite that runs through their entire back catalog. It’s tantalizing, especially over a month out of the album’s release. I’m beyond stoked for this record.

Download it here.
Violent Waves hits record stores August 28th.

Native – Wrestling Moves

Native - Wrestling Moves
click the picture to go to their store!

Sargent House, 2009. Facebook, Last.FM

native – backseat crew

Okay guys! You wouldn’t believe what happened to me! I just now happened to exit a time-space anomaly that caught me about three months ago! It’s a wonder I’ve survived. For three long months I was without food, water, breathable air, or internet. But while in that strange, strange wormhole (experts refer to it as ‘college’ and ‘work,’ though this is merely speculative), I managed to find a few records with blogging about. ‘blggbl’  records, if you will. This might take a while.

First up, we have Indiana-based melodic noise (?) ensemble Native. That label probably belies their true musical prowess – in fact, it most certainly does. The track up there is the album’s opener, and this one is the closer.

native – wrestling moves

I grabbed this record last week when they played a free show on campus – I was impressed, because the past few bands (save the week prior, more on that later) have been pretty mediocre pop fluff. To my surprise, I stumble out of the dark lecture hall and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature stage, and eight four tiny musicians. Their sound, however, was not. I was really impressed (unfortunately one of very few who were), they came out and put on a huge sound for a crowd that was dishearteningly disinterested (hope you saw he bobbing my head and tapping my foot, fellas). Long story short, they blew me away, so much so that after a quick detour to the ATM to get some cash, the next thing I know I’m walking home with a new record and a soft new AA tee. It was great.

In any case, let’s talk about the record. Native come out hard and fast, throwing out melody and dissonance as fast as you can take it in. That’s not to say there aren’t change-ups in style or tempo – the album is rife with them – but there is a definite feeling of urgency throughout most of the record. It’s reminiscent of old (post-)hardcore (think a slightly more instrumental Portaits of Past meets Jesu, who dated Cease Upon the Capitol and La Dispute but it never really worked out, but they’re still friends, but it’s still awkward to see each other at parties), music that’s raw and brimming with life. It’s new, it’s fresh, and it’ll remind you why we still buy records. You won’t regret this one.

RIYL: La Dispute, Tera Melos, Portraits of Past

Dance Gavin Dance – Whatever I Say Is Royal Ocean

broRise Records, 2006

myspace, buy

Let’s go back to 2006. TREOS just lost Casey (and added Brian), Coheed hadn’t soiled their reputation yet, the US was amidst the ballooning of real estate prices, and Justin Beiber was still getting picked on in elementary school. It was a simpler time. Then came Dance Gavin Dance. Bursting onto the post-hardcore scene with all the grace and finesse of a mack truck carrying 70,000 Al Green albums, DGD brought forth freshness and energy that had been lacking at that point in time. They deftly melded the attack and ferocity of post-hardcore acts with the groove of so many soul artists before them, topped off with the crooning vocals of frontman Jonny Craig. It was an attack on all fronts, with Craig and screamer Jon Mess trading vocal lines like an episode of Seinfeld on Powerthirst. It’s fast, hard-hitting, and often nonsensical, but it’s a sonic tour-de-force that broke the mold of the the scene when it came out. It’s still a unique and just as awesome record, four years later. It’s also miles and miles away from their current works (though no less awesome). Jon Mess is at his grittiest, Jonny Craig is in his own world, and all the instrumentalists (looking at you, Matt Mingus) are at their finest. If you dig this….I don’t know what to tell you about their newer stuff, but you should check it out regardless.

Guilty Ghosts – Enigma Variations

self-released/words+dreams (cassette) 2010

website, buy

And today marks our (my) second artist submission! Here’s Brooklyn, NY’s Tristan O’Donnell, who performs under the name Guilty Ghosts.

Enigma Variations, Guilty Ghosts’ first cassette release (through WORDS+DREAMS), is ambient goodness. It deftly melds simple, elegant guitar patterns over sparse drums and distorted soundbites to create a dreamy, ethereal soundscape that works best when complimented with a mug of cocoa and soft fire in the fireplace. It’s nice to just lay in bed and feel it, rather than listen to it, as well. Or maybe that’s just me. (try it)

Stream it from bandcamp, buy it there, or buy the tape from the link above!

Cloud Nothings – Turning On

Self-released/Bridgetown Records, 2010

myspace, buy

Okay, I was saving my posting powers up to today (ps. have a tumblr now), as this record has been making my nights so much sweeter. I never fully realized the maximum chillness of my new pad until I threw this record on while cooking a chill dinner for myself and my chill roommate (chillmate) while reading the chill york times. It was wondrous.

Cloud Nothings, like his contemporaries in the lo-fi pop scene today, makes tunes that are strewn amidst hazy vocal lines and crispy static. But what sets this record apart is the duality of simplicity and an underlying complexity that make Dylan Baldi’s bedroom tunes more than fuzz and loud guitars. Overdriven guitars belie layers upon layers of indie goodness, and drum fills upon drum fills boost the good times. Oh, and it’s fun. Lots and lots of fun. It’s a record that’s so down home and brazenly earnest that it makes even happy-go-lucky rockers Japandroids look like your older brother after he developed that heroin problem. Or something like that.

Haste The Day – Attack of the Wolf King

Solid State Records, 2010

Myspace, Buy

Melodic hardcore goodness in true Solid State style. In the spirit of keeping things varied (and brief, because I can’t think straight right now), here’s Haste The Day’s latest, Attack of the Wolf King. It’s sinister, yet tender in its caress. It’s got riffs and riffs for days, and breakdowns like you’ve grown to love. It’s not as brutal or as converge-esque as their debut Burning Bridges (check that one out too), but it’s still as brutal as you’d like. Harmonized clean vocals ride on the shoulders of the hulking screams, and they all surf on both the foamy waves of lead riffs and shred up chugging rhythms. Try not to laugh at that, as you imagine them all with wolf heads and green Incredible Hulk bodies. Oh, and tiny purple pants.

(Never used the backspace key as much as I have in this post, mostly because I was writing “Lich King” instead of “Wolf King”.)

Maps & Atlases – Perch Patchwork

Barsuk Records, 2010

Website / BUY

Well what do we have here? Today we’ve got Maps & Atlases’ debut full-length, Perch Patchwork. If you’re familiar with their previous stuff at all, you know what to expect here, only way more cohesive and solid. If you aren’t familiar with their first two [phenomenal] EPs, then you’re in for a treat. Maps and Atlases are an experimental~indie~pop~math-rock band, one that’s constantly evolving. They’ve got a light, fun, poppy vibe, but that doesn’t mean they’re simplistic – actually, far from it. Just one listen to the spazzy, tap-happy guitar riffs and you know you’re dealing with far more than a mere indie-pop band. In fact, Perch Patchwork manages to hit on the vibe so few math-rock bands can hit – they can tastefully and effortlessly pull off technical music that retains its character and emotion (not unlike fellow indie math-rockers This Town Needs Guns), something that is to be lauded as a feat of not only musical talent, but also for its ability to connect the heart and the synapse. Or the brain (anyone?). Vocal melodies soar, guitars and basses noodle into fancy nooks and crannies, and drums beat in ways that’ll make your head spin. It’s tech-pop at it’s finest!

Oh, and a bit of unclassified stuff and miscellaneous hoo-ha.

First, if you’re visiting from Jeff’s blog, The Noise Is…, welcome! Thanks for checking out my blog, if you like what I’m posting, please, ‘Like’ my page on facebook! Just click the ‘facebook’ image over to the right. Don’t forget to tell your friends! Leave some feedback too! Thanks!

Second, I’m going to be gone for about two weeks starting tomorrow, so this hiatus is semi-brief (but planned!), and in the meantime I’ll whip up some ideas for posts so I won’t leave this blog hanging. In the meantime, enjoy the back-catalogue of posts and have some good summertime memories!

Great Divide – Reservoir

Self-Released, 2010

Alright yall, in continuing yesterday’s promise to not neglect my blogging duties, here’s an artist submission from back in May, which is totally my bad. In any case, let’s discuss the music!

Great Divide is a seven-piece outfit from Chicago/Ann Arbor who make glorious, soulful roots-rock blues. And rock they do. Now don’t let the fact that they aren’t chillwave/bro-core/panda-bear-wave/indie-post-thom-yorke-buzzgaze dissuade you; this is great music no matter who you are or what you like. Now, imagine if you and six of your closest buddies decided you just wanted to lay down fat grooves in true bluesy fashion, what would you do? Well, if you were any good, you’d probably try and sound like Great Divide. From the get-go, they let you know that they know what they’re doing. It’s fun, it’s groovy, and it’s clearly evident that this music is a labor of love. I have a few tracks for yall, if you dig them then go find out more about the band:

Spare Any Change

Whoa Mama

And thanks to Great Divide for being out first (and most awesome) artist submission! I feel so much more official now, haha.

Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

XL Recordings, 2010


By the will of the gods, I do solemnly swear to not shirk my duties to the blogging public for any reasons, world-of-warcraft-esque or otherwise, for as long as we both shall live.

(The aforementioned parties are independent entities and are not legally bound, litigation is pending, and is in no way official. But seriously, I need to blog more.)

I apologize to everyone I’ve ever maimed, this post goes to you. Titus Andronicus is a five-piece from New Jersey (something of value from Jersey, at last) who specialize in infectiously singable punk-twinged indie rock. The Monitor is wonderfully upbeat and gloriously energetic, successfully wrangling the vocal stylings of bands like Against Me! and pitting them against modern indie/garage/noise outfits in a way that makes it seem like it was meant to be (oh, and the lyrics are far removed from the majority of other punk acts, these guys are waaaaay more intelligent than they’d appear to be). The songs are fast, sometimes slow, but always, and I mean always, infused with gobs and gobs of passion. And more often than not, they’re capped or interspersed with quotes from famous speeches (the album opens with a bit from Abe Lincoln), which add to the ambiance of this fine album. Add that to the already massively enjoyable music and we’ve got a winner on our hands. I’d venture to say it’s the catchiest and most enjoyable singalong record of the year. It’s fun, a lot like summer. It’s actually really, really, really fun. Like a more punk Japandroids or something, but with more paranoia and speeches. Kick ass!