In the Key of Protomartyr

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Protomartyr on Friday at Underground Arts in Philadelphia

Text and Photos by K. Cecchini

I just saw Protomartyr on Friday at Underground Arts, which is (I say) Philly version of Brooklyn’s Rough Trade  where we saw them in October. I wrote a piece after that show and never posted it, so I will do it now.

Protomartyr vocalist Joe Casey took to the stage October at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade in his standard business casual attire. Throughout the set, he alternated between nonchalantly standing with one hand in his pocket, suit jacket pushed back and the other holding the mike to his face and intensely stretching up to nearly wrap his mouth around the mike on the stand. And then, with his hand still on the microphone, he will often hang his head down until the next verse.

With Casey’s vocals, drummer Alex Leonard, Guitarist Greg Ahee and Bass Guitarist Scott Davidson brought their richly textured sound to life in Rough Trade’s intimate space. Not letting up on the music, Davidson played right through a bloody nose. It was also really fantastic to already hear their brand new album The Agent Intellect live. On its own, the track, “Why Does it Shake?,” was worth the midnight trip into Brooklyn.

Protomartyr appears to have gathered a slew of attention in the past year and I would love to interview them before they get too big.

I only had my phone at the Philly and Brooklyn shows, so check out my photos from the Protomartyr set at the 2014 year’s Seaport Music Festival here. 

Protomartyr guitarist Greg Ahee, vocalist Joe Casey, and drummer Alex Leonard
Protomartyr guitarist Greg Ahee, vocalist Joe Casey, and drummer Alex Leonard (October: Brooklyn)
Protomartyr bass guitarist Scott Davidson
Protomartyr bass guitarist Scott Davidson (October: Brooklyn) 

 

 

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Montclair Make Music Day: Thee Volatiles

Text by K. Cecchini/Photos Courtesy of Edward Delaney

For a moment, a jazz horn blended with punk riffs in the crosswalk between Church Street and South Fullerton. Yesterday was Montclair Make Music Day and the Thee Volatiles were making punk music inside the East Side Mags comic book shop.

 The Thee Volatiles was born among the East Village DIY scene of the late 1980’s which made for a particularly interesting interview for an article in the Montclair Times (with a wealth of stories left to be told, there is certainly fodder for more writing). 

Not only was it fun to see the article roar to life in a live show, the Thee Volatiles have rekindled my love for punk music. 

Read about the Thee Volatiles here on NorthJersey.com and visit their site or view their video here

See also the article on Montclair’s hip hop duo, Your Mystery Guest here.

   
       

Artist Spotlight: Bryan McPherson- Wedgewood

By @KralTunes

Given the choice between C-SPAN or WWE Raw and most people will choose to watch chair shots to the head instead of public policy talk.

Bryan McPherson is the rare exception. And he thinks these broadcasts are interchangeable. He told KralTunes, “These people are characters who talk all kinds of trash and all kinds of game but at the end of the day they are actors and the fix is in and they go have drinks with each other and laugh about it.”

Unknown-1Calling Out the Bullshit

This is the kind of analogy that folk-punk troubadour Bryan McPherson weaves throughout his lyrics and you expect to hear more in his third release, Wedgewood, due June 10th.  Fusing the styles of Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco and the Sex Pistols, Bryan tells compelling stories about society and everyday frustrations, all through a fusion of Americana, folk, alternative, and punk music. “I just express what Is going on inside me in some way or another. There is happy music and there is sad music. If someone wants to lighten the load there is plenty of shitty pop music out there to choose from.”

Wedgewood is filled with these type of stories, including his experience at the Occupy Oakland protests in 2011, where McPherson recalls instinctively picking up his guitar and heading down to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.  While he was there, he said that he witnessed what became known as ‘Teargas Tuesday’ on October 25 when protestors attempted to retake an encampment outside the city hall. According to McPherson, the police met the protestors with a great deal of teargas and he said, “That’s when I started to notice that the police looked an awful lot like the military, like storm troopers, tanks, black SWAT gear, and all of these sort of sci-fi weaponry.”

Album cut “Here We Go” encapsulates McPherson’s response to the protests;

The government wants the internet,

Iran wants the bomb,
Our senators are the Hitlers,
‘Cause they’ll lock us all away,,
Bill of Rights burnt up right
AmeriKa,
M.I.A.

 

 

Aside from societal woes, McPherson is not afraid to put personal trials into his work. In “Hearts In Boxcars“, McPherson expresses the difficulty of a couple moving their separate ways, while “Burn It Down” illustrates how the  personal struggle with anger can either be used to fuel ones determination or devour its host in flames.

Off the Grid

McPherson stepped off the grid to record Wedgewood. Cut off from cell and internet service, he and a few crew members worked in a hut on the old Arrowhead mine in California. The rugged, isolated setting helped shape the sound of this new collection; Bryan went even as far as to name the album after the brand of the stove in the hut: Wedgewood.

Contrasting the album’s creation, Bryan turned to a more modern method to fund the album’s production; Kickstarter. Fortunately, the entire budget was fully funded in less than a week. This humbling achievement is not lost on the artist. “My mind was blown when it was hit in just a few days. I don’t want to give the impression that you can just throw a campaign up and get a bunch of money, but if you are giving it your all out there on the road and doing your best to make records and stuff then people will get behind you. I still find it incredible.”

Of course, such a feat does not go without some enticement, as several ‘backer rewards’ were offered to fans. People quickly snatched up the incentives such as living room concerts and early access to all future recordings.  With everything on the auction block, McPherson said, “It is a little nerve-racking to think of what people might expect, like I hope they LIKE the record. This campaign went up with only 2 small samples of songs on the record so still amazing. I put the high dollar contributions on there because hey, someone might be down to do that. But again at the same time its like Holy shit this is intense!  I’m also glad I don’t have to carve 150 sticks of wood as well!”

Off the Stage

An emotive performer, Bryan McPherson is not afraid to proudly display his heart on his sleeve. Such intensity can leave this artist completely exhausted at the conclusion of a tour. Although daunting, he is fully aware of the expectations, “Some nights I have to dig deep, but I always dig. Always. If you came to hear me sing and spent your hard-earned money, then you are going to get everything I have.”

Of course, being an open and honest musician can have more public drawbacks, especially when you are scheduled to play in a venue owned by the “happiest place on Earth.”

Slotted to open for the Dropkick Murphy’s this past fall, McPherson received the unfortunate news that the Anaheim House of Blues (Disney operated) would not allow him to perform on their stage.  The reason, according to Bryan, was his “anti-political police views and drug insinuations.”  McPherson said, “At first I was a bit outraged and then I was flattered that they went and listened to all of my music. Then I was even more flattered that I was the punkest, most dangerous person on the bill that night. 🙂 Really though, I have never been a fan of what Disney does…even as a child.”  While Such notoriety only elevated him to Stone Cold Steve Austin-badass mode in the punk folk music scene.

On the bright side, he was paid for his ‘performance’, and was offered free tickets to the theme park.  McPherson’s reaction…

“I did not oblige.”

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Album Cover

 

WEDGEWOOD, via O.F.D. Records, comes out June 10.

See BRYAN McPHERSON Here:

JUN 11     Matthews Pub                                               Portland, ME

JUN 12     The Midway Cafe                                           Boston, MA

JUN 13     Map Room at Bowery Electric                       New York, NY

JUN 14     Russo Music                                                 Asbury Park, NJ
JUN 16     Kung Fu Necktie                                           Philadelphia, PA
JUN 17     The Court Tavern                                          New Brunswick, NJ
JUN 18     The Mill Hill Basement                                  Trenton, NJ
JUN 19     Gorham Brother Music                                 Syracuse, NY
JUN 20     The Barn                                                      Oswego, NY
JUN 24     Newport Thompson House                          Newport, KY
JUN 25     Sabbatical                                                    Indianapolis, IN
JUN 26     The Waiting Room                                        St Ann, MO
JUN 27     Reggies Rock Club                                       Chicago, IL
JUN 28     Money Wolf HQ                                            Kansas City, MO
JUN 29     Gust Gullie                                                    Laramie, WY
JUN 30     Forge Pub                                                    Fort Collins, CO
JUL 1       The Garage On Beck                                    Salt Lake City, UT
JUL 2       The Colfax Theater                                       Colfax, CA
JUL 3       The Crepe Place                                           Santa Cruz, CA
JUL 5       The Night Light                                             Oakland, CA

 

Find BRYAN McPHERSON Here:

Official Page         Facebook           Bandcamp            Twitter            Instagram

Artist Spotlight: Wyldlife

Interview conducted by    @KralTunes The boys of New York’s WYLDLIFE are in the midst of a personal revival.  After being sidelined for close to a year, the band has just released some new material, (It’s Called) Rock ‘n’ Roll, and are gearing up for a major run in the next year.  Before heading south to record their new album, vocalist Dave Feldman was awesome enough to talk to me about the highs and lows of the rock and roll life, some of his best (and worst) memories on the road, and some time traveling hijinks. a2015757904_10 KralTunes:  (Typical question I am sure you’ve heard ad nauseam)  Do the boys in the band WYLDLIFE actually live up to what the name implies, or are you all simple happy little homemakers when the lights are turned off?

Dave Feldman: Well, I don’t know about a homemaker. We all keep are heads on our shoulders, I’ll say that. We have vices, but we keep them in check. We have paychecks coming in for the most part so we’re not starving. When we’re on the road, we definitely turn into a whole different animal. A party animal, if you will.

KT:  Lets get some basics out-of-the-way.  How did you guys come together as a group?  Have you been playing together for a long time?

DF: Spencer (bass) and Sam (lead guitar, also only guitar) went to college together, as did our old drummer, Russ. I had been playing with Sam in high school so we just wanted to keep it going. Back then, I would go up to Purchase nearly every weekend, practice, play shows, look for some strange, mooch off everybody’s meal cards, and go home. Now we got Stevie in the band on drums, he’s a couple years older but looks maybe 8 years younger. He’s a killer drummer, but he’s also just a really sweet, soft-spoken guy.

KT: You recently returned after a “nearly a year-long hiatus between drummers” with an exciting new 7” vinyl, (It’s Called) Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Was it difficult for the band to be on such an extended break for this long?  For some bands, such breaks can go either way: (A)  Its torture, (B)  It was a chance to step back and reflect on our body of work and perhaps make necessary adjustments to future success (sorry for the philosophy) Where do you guys lean, or is there an option C I am not taking into consideration?

DF: Yeah, the last year since Russ left was really hard on everyone. It was so tormenting to want to be playing, wanting to be recording, wanting to tour and to not be able to do it just because I was at the mercy of a terrible situation. And for me, this is all I want to do in life. And for so long I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen again, or if the whole thing was going to disintegrate. I got around to thinking about killing myself, especially around the winter time. That’s not really something I’ve talked about with too many people, but whatever. For about a year, I basically had my terrible day job that I would come home to every day and that was it. That song “Saturday Night” became totally true for me and it was really bad. We had two songs that we recorded in June (that just came out) but we weren’t doing anything with it. I didn’t even like going to shows or seeing my friends bands anymore because it just made me a really bitter and sad person. Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t kill myself because it’s looking good now. The one thing that we were able to do was write a ton of new material, even if it meant we weren’t playing it out, but now we have Stevie on board, we’re recording this album next month and it’s gonna be a ripper. Then I just want to be on tour forever if I can.

KT:  The bands image portrayed through your videos and various photos I’ve seen is one of beer swilling ruffians, and does not seem to fit into the current ‘pop-punk’ landscape.  (most people think of this 5SOS band when talking about punk rock, for Gods sake)!   Do you see yourselves as outliers of the current scene? Are you products of a bygone era?

DF: I think WYLDLIFE may actually be the most outlier-type band right now, only because we are too rough around the edges for a major label (which is fine for me) but we are too slick and good-looking for a Burger Records or Slovenly or Hozac. That kinda sucks because those are my favorite bands right now, Barreracudas, Dinos Boys, Shocked Minds, Dirty Fences, Bad Sports, etc. But I think that huge amount of admiration and appreciation for those bands is most likely not reciprocated from their audiences to us. We’re caught in this fucked place, sonically and visually, but whatever. At the end of the day I just want to drink Bud Lite Lime and make music we like. Our fans will get it, and if some other people get it, that’s cool too.

KT:  Songs like “ Cowboys and Slutz” and “The First Time’s The Worst” off of The Time Has Come To Rock & Roll appear to be written from a first person account.  Do you pull from real life experiences for the lyrical content of your music?

DF: Yeah of course. The title for Cowboys and Slutz actually came from this Cowboys and Nava-hoes party we went to one time. It sounds fratty as fuck, but I swear to god it was insane. Loose woman dressed as Native Americans, Jesus Christ… The funny thing about both of those songs are that their both about teenage girls. They sound totally different but for “Cowboys” I guess we were going for like an AC/DC or Motley Crue thing, and then “The First Time’s the Worst” was just lyrically going for a song The Raspberries might have written. Those two weren’t about anybody specific, but a lot of our songs are. Mostly ex-girlfriends and knuckleheads I see around the city.

KT:  I’m sure you’ve been asked about your favorite spots to play…whats the worst venue you have ever played in?  Was the experience so vile that no amount of $$$ would convince you to return?

DF: I won’t name names but people can ask me in person. Hamtramck, MI was fucking terrible. We did a show with The No Tomorrow Boys and at the end of the night they offered us $10 between both of our groups because “they had to pay the light guy.” You can’t even get high for $10 dollars. There was a show in Kansas City that was so fucked, there was just negative energy that night following us. We almost got into two separate fist fights, one with a group of local dickheads, another with a drunk guy in the parking lot who told us “You don’t know how much money I make, you’ll never make 300 dollars a week in your life.” There was also a massive thunder and lightning storm that night. It was awesome. Also there was a spot in Winchester, VA where we didn’t get paid, we ran our own sound, and without any sympathy we’re just like, “also your bar tab is 50 bucks between the four of you” so we Blues Brothers’d the fuck outta there.

KT:  Follow up: Are there areas of the country/world that you are super excited to get back to on future tours, and why?

DF: Yeah absolutely. Too many to name. Definitely looking forward to going back to FYWROK. Atlanta, Milwaukee, Chicago, definitely looking forward to playing Denver some time in the future, hit the West Coast. All that good stuff! If anybody wants us to come to your town, get at us!

KT:  So body ink seems to be a favorite pastime amongst the boys in the band.   Any of you have tattoos that you regret getting years (or the next morning) later?

DF: I mean, I got a Misfits tattoo lasered off. I coulda lived with it, but really I was just bored and could afford something else. Oh well.

KT:  If you had to rank your wyldest (see what I did there) touring moments (on stage or off), what would the top 3 be?

DF: There are too many and all quite blurry. In no order: Milwaukee, WI: Picked up, immediately escorted to a strip club called The Cheetah Club in a party bus with all these street punks, then played to a packed house where the cops showed up. That was madness. We Woke up the next day and went on a brewery tour and drunk bowling. Indianapolis, the one time Young Matt stole my sneakers and we wound up at a slip and slide party and drove around in, I swear to Christ, a fucking lawnmower hovercraft, then went back to Brett’s house and watched the Best of Stone Cold WWF VHS tape and ate a pizza that was bigger than my mattress.  (You would have been my heroes circa 1999). The first time we played Chicago some guy in his mid to late 20s walked towards me with a knife and said, “Hey! You were at my friends party last weekend weren’t you?” and I said “Uhh… no.” And then his friend in the background shouts, “IT’S NOT HIM!.” That all took about 4 seconds but it was pretty fucked! (You guys have lived a charmed life..that much I am sure of).

KT: What the hell is a  “GLUNK ROCKER”?! (apparently, you are)  Do you approve of such a term?

DF: I think it’s a conjunction of glam and punk. Yeah I back it. I have been called worse. I think that the New York Dolls and The Soda Pop Kids and The Star Spangles and The Richmond Sluts were kinda glunk rockers in their own right, so I back it.

KT: I try to get some opinions on current events with each interview, so bear with me as we troll through miserable reality for a moment: Baltimore.  Freddie Gray.  Whats your take on all this crap?  Seems like every week theres a new story about abuses in law enforcement that unfortunately results in a dead African-American man.  Has there been an actual spike in these events occurring, or is the media simply hyper focusing on such stories?  Are they (the media) making it worse? (my answer, YES!)   As I write this, they are now stating that his death was self-inflicted while in custody..seems far fetched, but anything is possible I suppose.

DF: None of us are ones to rock the boat politically or socially, so I’ll just say that the footage of the dude nonchalantly throwing a huge rock through a cop car windshield got me so pumped, I had to run laps listening to The Kids just to work off the excitement.

KT: You just released this new 7”.  What does the future hold for WYLDLIFE?

DF: We are driving down to Atlanta next week to record the next album. I am so excited for that, I can’t even tell you. Then we got a couple shows around NYC for June, probably fly down to Tulsa for this FYWROK festival. The album will be out hopefully by early fall. Maybe do some touring around then. I would love to put out a Christmas 7” this year too. We’ll have to see.  (Excellent!! I look forward to it)! 

Most important question of the night…

KT: I like a good time travel hypothetical situation, and this one comes from the podcast TELL EM STEVE DAVE. The one scenario that immediately comes up in conversation is always “If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be”?, and the answer almost always is, KILL HITLER.  That became the standard answer, and as a result, to make things more interesting, the question evolved into “If you could travel back in time and kill baby Hitler before all of his atrocities, would you do so”?  Now, in an attempt to ratchet it up even more, the question has become “You have the opportunity to seduce Mother Hitler prior to his original conception from his actual father, thus sparing the world from his DNA and cruel final solution. (assuming that the child would grow up to be more like one of you, and a lot less like Hitler).   Would you be willing to impregnate the future Hitler’s mother to save he future of millions of lives?? Here is a picture of Mother Hitler to help (or hurt) your response… 996b19e0-190f-3fc6-ba27-2691380a4ab1 DF: (Off the record, I really appreciate that Mall Rats reference). Is that a brooch made of grapes? (I do believe it is)  I think it would be pretty awesome to be like, “Hey Hitler. I fucked your mom.” And  God knows I am a motherfucker at heart but nah, she’s beat. I wouldn’t fuck her with yours.  (HA!  While I do abhor your negligence in avoiding a worldwide suicide, I do believe that my dick should not be deemed  ‘in play’ for such shenanigans… Well played).  

Find WYLDLIFE Here: BANDCAMP

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Other Artist Spotlights: Monocle Stache     Howling Giant        Whores.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: WHORES.

In an attempt to reach new audiences with TONIGHT AT DAWN, we are beginning what will hopefully be an ongoing music interview segment.  Several artists have expressed interest in participating, and hopefully that enthusiasm will continue.  Our hope is to offer the reader and fans a different style of music interview.  Some discussions will be straightforward, while others will have a more humorous take (whatever KralTunes finds humorous, that is).

Any comments, questions, and critiques, please direct them to @KralTunes on Twitter.  This was my first attempt, so please be gentle with the criticisms.

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WHORES is an American rock band hailing from Atlanta, GA.  I recently talked via email to lead vocalist Christian Lembach about their music:

KralTunes:  The term WHORES stirs up a slew of connotations for people. Was the potential divisiveness that comes with such a title something the band thought about in the beginning? How did the group come to decide to name itself Whores.?

Christian Lembach: We certainly considered the implications of using such a loaded word; it’s a serious thing. We also thought hard about the fact that some people would misinterpret the name. I feel obligated to state this plainly every time we are asked this question, which is often: There is not an ounce of misogyny in the people in this band, and our name is in no way meant to denigrate women or sex workers.

We intend the name to be more of a statement regarding the nature of capitalism and a commentary on how people are forced to sell out any realness and decency in order to succeed. Look at the words for any one of our songs as evidence. Pick one. We, as a people, have been beaten into submission, and we’re supposed to be happy about it as long as there is still a standing McDonalds within striking distance of our homes. We’re told we can be anything we want when we are children. It’s the biggest hustle of all time. In order to have a life that’s not completely devoid of comfort, you have to “sell out” to some extent.

It’s a bummer of a situation that it’s mostly people from the underground who give us grief or otherwise misinterpret our name. I consider these people allies, so it’s especially disappointing when it gets weird. I expect people outside of mainstream culture to not respond in such a knee-jerk fashion, but it seems there is a rise in what I’ve heard called the conservative left. It’s pretty gross.

I am so far left that I basically see things in a Marxist way, and democratic socialism seems to be the best system to me. I also grew up listen to music, watching movies, reading books and checking out art that was termed “outsider” at the time. It wasn’t socially acceptable to be into punk rock and skateboarding or whatever like it is now. Things have really changed with the erstwhile cheerleaders rocking the satanic, witchy pose, and I think a lot of people who are secretly into Radio Disney-type bullshit music think they have a voice in the underground. They don’t. They’re tourists, and they can fuck right off. It’s utterly bizarre to me that you see these people covered in tattoos and faking a counter culture pose who are really conservative people. It’s baffling.

I was recently talking to Thomas Hazelmyer from Amphetamine Reptile records when we were in Minneapolis on our last tour with Retox. We were talking about the gentrification that happens in every major city, and the parallels to the underground being co-opted.

The majority of the songs I write have an “us-vs-them” element. It seemed like an appropriate name, considering the subject matter of our songs and how I feel on a day-to-day basis. But the dialog surrounding our name never ends, and we’ve taken it on the chin several times in terms of lost opportunities because of the name. 

KralTunes: A question I have always wondered… As a singer that does an awful lot of screaming on many tracks, does the strain on your vocals ever concern you about the future of your career?

Christian Lembach: Dude. I think about that all of the time. It usually takes me a few shows to blow it out, then I’m in the pocket for the duration of whatever tour we’re on. It’s painful at times, but I don’t really know how else to sing. I’d love to take some lessons or see a coach or something, but I can’t afford something like that right now. We had like 30 shows on the tour we just wrapped. I have to take care of it – lots of water, lots of sleep and no dairy. I’d love to write some more somber, laid-back songs, but my focus is on Whores right now.

KralTunes: I recently read on your facebook that your studio location is about to be no more (What, the owners don’t realize they are housing the seeds of musical genius within their walls)!! Is this demolition a done deal, or can it somehow be prevented? If not, what are your plans for future practice areas?

Christian Lembach: Yeah, it’s a done deal. We have to be out before May 10th. Tons (like, literally hundreds) of ATL bands are being put out. It’s insane. There are no other spots to practice in ATL that aren’t already full and with a long waiting list. The place where we were practicing was the central spot in ATL where all of the bands practiced. It’s a huge blow to the scene. I’m sure something else will pop up eventually, but we’re furiously writing a new record, and this is a pretty big hiccup. In the immediate future, we’ll be packing all of our stuff up and moving it to a storage space outside of ATL.

KralTunes: Having just watched a youtube clip of one of you sets (Saint Vitus Bar, 2014), you guys put a ton of energy into your performance…I can only imagine that a standard show is pretty brutal on the three of you. Is this the case? What is the recovery time like after or between shows? Do you have any pre/post show rituals that you stick to?

Christian Lembach: Yeah we push super hard every time. We’re in that sweet spot where we’re firing on all cylinders, but we’re also playing to a bunch of new people every night. So I honestly feel obligated to just blast the shit out of every song. I want people who are seeing us for the first time to stop in their tracks. I want us to be your favorite new band. Anybody can make a cool sounding record. Playing a show that takes peoples’ heads off is the important part. As far as recovery time and pre/post show rituals, I try to warm up my voice before we play, and I try not to talk for a good 30 minutes after. We’re not doing a whole lot of local shows, so it’s mostly show after show on tour. You kind of just have to make it happen.

KralTunes: You three seem to be having an amazing time up on stage. Is playing the part of musicians what you always envisioned yourself doing with your lives? Wikipedia has the band starting in 2010. Have you three known each other prior to that date? How did you get together?

Christian Lembach: I’ve tried to do other things, but it seems that music is really the only life for me. It’s taken a pretty hefty toll on my personal life and financial stability at times, but I really can’t legitimately pursue anything else that I would be this passionate about.

We’ve all sort of known each other from other bands that we’ve played in the past. I was a huge fan of our drummer’s old band, and actually learned a few songs on their record with the intention of trying out as their second guitar player back in the day.

Things sort of fell into place one by one for this band. Jake, our bass player, was initially interested in acting in sort of a managerial capacity with the band. An opportunity came up for him to fill in for a show, and after we got off stage he said he wanted to join the band. He was in a pretty active and successful band at the time, so I was a little skeptical as to how it would work, schedule-wise. We’re not well known enough yet to be taking breaks and turning down opportunities. Jake ended up leaving his other band, joining us full time, and that was that.

KralTunes: After reading the lyrics to several songs, many images spring to mind (very little sunshine and unicorn imagery to be found). What are the inspirations for the lyrical content of your songs?

Christian Lembach: Well I don’t want to get too specific and melodramatic, but I have had a few pretty terrible things happen in my life. I just try to tap into a real emotion, and that’s often a fairly ugly one. That’s all I’m really comfortable saying.

KralTunes: I’m always looking for something new to listen to. What music’s got your ears right now?

Christian Lembach: New Metz record, new Fight Amp record, new Retox record, two Athens bands, The Powder Room and Motherfucker, are just wrecking shit right now. Of course I love all of the 90s noise rock stuff, but I’m also heavy into 80s goth/eurotrash type bands as well. I listen to The Birthday Party a ton. I also love a lot of early 90s hip hop. I’m not kidding. I torture my band mates with it. The repetitive nature really appeals to me.

KralTunes: On the current events front, does the officer in the Walter Scott shooting have a prayer in being acquitted of these charges against him??

Christian Lembach: I certainly hope not, but things are so fucked-up right now that it wouldn’t surprise me. There seems to be a certain type of person that is attracted to a job like that in the first place. So as sad and terrible as this is, it’s nothing new. The only good I can see is that technology is making it harder for creeps like this to hide.

KralTunes: What does the next year hold for the band?

Christian Lembach: We’re writing our next record right now. We hope to have it released late this year, or early next year at the latest. After that we’ll be doing support tours worldwide, as well as a few headlining U.S. tours. We’re constantly (and currently) submitting for support tours, so we really never know when the next one is until it’s imminent. The soonest we’ll be back on the road is late summer, unless something really amazing comes up. We’re talking to a few different labels right now to see who the best fit will be. We plan on hitting super hard with this next one, so we’re trying to take our time. We don’t want to let people down.

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Other Spotlight Artists:

Monocle Stache

Howling Giant

 

Return To Form: Death From Above 1979

My reaction to the announced return of Death From Above 1979 (DFA79) was tempered;  while I loved the fact that the band was ‘alive’ once again, the prospects of writing a great new album seemed to be slight.

Ten years between albums is a long time and their success the first time around was like catching lightning in a bottle.

Hope persists, however, and so I count myself as one of the many who have held their breath for the arrival of THE PHYSICAL WORLD.

I was even more nervous – confused might be a better word – at the first single, “Trainwreck 1979“. The dance-like rhythms, the voice and the pounding bass may be prototypical DFA79, yet it sounded too poppy (plenty of “ooohh-oooh-ooh’s” will do that).  However I really liked it despite the unexpected twist to their sound.

Tensions were eased with the second single, “Government Trash“, as the band’s aggressive punch returned front and center. Still, the pop tinge rears its ugly head on this song.

So what does the remainder of the album hold in store for us blue-faced fans??  Good news, in fact!

Despite the feared pop melodies being laced throughout the tracks, I cannot deny how they compliment each song!  They managed to take the pillars of the standard pop song and gloss them over with an edgy punk finish. The tracks may not be as fast or aggressive as the debut, but it gives this album an advantage over its predecessor; YOU’RE A WOMAN, I’M A MACHINE. Its beats may have been intense and attention grabbing, they did get a bit tiresome and repetitive. On the other hand, PHYSICAL WORLD is interesting from beginning to end because the tempos are more varied.

DFA79 stepped out of character again on the album to write a ‘ballad’ (or as close to a ballad as anything they’ve ever put out) called “White Is Red”.  While the song’s topic is something you’d expect to find on a Shinedown album, they manage to pack the track with as much of an emotional punch as anything they have recorded.

Closing it all out, the title track is the perfect epic, jam filled monster.

Musically, the band is as tight as they have ever been. However, there are some missteps with the lyrics. For example, even though I love “White Is Red”, the lyrics are a bit second hand at times. Fortunately, the duo’s cohesiveness definitely makes up for some ‘so-so’ moments.  In fact, I’d be hard pressed to pick a song here that I do not enjoy.

While not perfect, this album is an exceptional return for Death From Above 1979 after a decade long hiatus. THE PHYSICAL WORLD makes you mad that they held back their talents for 10 years.