Lustmord

Begun January 1980 follwing encouragement and support to do so by members of Throbbing Gristle and SPK. Various now legendary live performances conducted in 1980-81 as unofficial/unannounced “support” for various name headline acts. Usually with chaotic and/or violent conclusions (happy days). Use of diverse recording sources such as caves, crypts, catacombs, car crashes and cosmological activity.

In the 1980’s was a member of SPK, one of the most influential groups of the original industrial genre. From 1985 until 1999 owned and managed the label Side Effects with releases worldwise including SPK and Laibach. In the late 1980’s consultant for Mute Records, assisting in the establishment of their subsidiary label The Grey Area. Compiled a four volume CD collection of Throbbing Gristle live, and oversaw releases by Throbbing Gristle, SPK and Monte Cazazza.

Freelance Sound Designer from 1993 to present, including numerous credits of film, games and commercials. Motion picture credits include over forty movies including ‘The Crow’ and ‘Underworld’, with many number one box office hits.

Music Sound Design for games, including FarCry Instincts, Unreal Tournament III and Assassin’s Creed. Sound design for commercials include Nike, Bud Light, Universal Studios and Gatorade. Wrote the music for the Greg Hale (Blair Witch Project) series ‘In Search Of’. Created the music & sound design for the first tech demo showing the Playstation 3 capabilities (demo vreated by Nvidia).

The Lustmord album ‘Heresy’ gave birth to the genre known as “dark ambient”. Collaborated and toured with Clock DVA.

Commissioned to perform a live accompaniment to the first public ritual by The Church of Satan as part of their 40th anniversary on 6/6/06 – also the first live Lustmord performance in 25 years.

Mi Ami

“Rhythms so heavy that just listening to them makes you sweat. Truly deep, truly strange, truly great” – Dazed & Confused

“They harness the questing nature of free jazz to circle the outer limits of no wave and post-punk , while the anxious, androgynous yelps of Daniel Martin-McCormick communicate inner turmoil via what could almost be primal scream therapy.” 4Ks – Kerrang!

“Taking cues from 60s free jazz, dub and disco and combining it with the punk rock sensibilities of their former outfit, ‘Watersports’ is a delirious fever dream of an album.” – NME

Through both passionate live performances and incredibly powerful recordings, Mi Ami has made authenticity their mission. Comprised of two key members of Dischord’s hyper-percussive Black Eyes (Daniel Martin-McCormick on vocals and guitar, and Jacob Long on bass) as well as Damon Palermo on drums, this trio from San Francisco has harnessed the energy of their previous work and focused it, laser-style, into a pure stream of heavy, concentrated playing. Pulling from 60s free jazz, dub, minimalism, disco, and African music, the band manipulates rhythm, negative space, and the physicality of song.

More than anything else, Mi Ami believes the music is the message, and that message is meant to be shared. The perfect live show is a transformative experience, and the band dreams of creating “literal sound spaces that blur the line between the mechanical, electrical, and living.” They want to take sound to another place – where what you’re hearing at a show is only a small part of what that song actually is – to where the noise becomes multidimensional, physical, overwhelming, and freeing.

Mono

After touring almost non-stop for five years, Japanese post-rock maestros Mono hibernated for over a year to focus solely on writing fifth album ‘Hymn To The Immortal Wind.’ The result is their most thoughtful and eclectic album to date. Written and arranged with a hopeful, romantic narrative in mind, the songs string together like chapters in an epic love story. The music is naturally majestic, with Mono’s trademark wall of noise crashing beautifully against the largest chamber orchestra the band has ever enlisted. The instrumentation is vast, incorporating strings, flutes, organ, piano, glockenspiel and tympani into their standard face melting set-up.

Recorded to analog tape with long-time friend and producer Steve Albini, there is an intimacy captured here that is at once beautiful and a little terrifying. The creaking of old wooden chairs as the orchestra rocks in their seats (both literally and figuratively), puckered lips rolling along flutes, and even the conductor’s opening cue can be heard during the hauntingly quiet opening moments.

While Hymn… continues to mine the cinematic drama inherent in all of Mono’s music, the dynamic shifts now come more from dark-to-light instead of quiet-to-loud. The maturity to balance these elements so masterfully has become Mono’s strongest virtue.

No And The Maybes

“Their sunny vocals lean towards The Magic Numbers, but instrumentally they evoke the early Cure, 1979 XTC and Aztec Camera. They’re a winner.” – MOJO

No and the Maybes are an eclectic three-piece from Copenhagen, Denmark, on a mission to save and reclaim the catchy melody from wedding singers and Eurovision Song Contest.

This Danish chamber pop ensemble have set their sights on creating vivid, engaging yet easygoing music with an after kick, taking inspiration from 60s sounds through to more thoughtful 80s New Wave music. No and the Maybes make it their obligation to bring something fresh and exciting to the table, celebrating that little extra something to catch your attention and make you fall in love: surprising hand claps, finger snaps, a choir arrangement or an unexpected instrumentation.

Their DIY principles mean that everything they produce is lovingly stamped with their own unique signature, be it their music, videos and graphical designs. Similarly their live set breaks down the conventional lead singer set-up and gives way to a more democratic use of the stage, the band forming a line with a standing drummer and all members sharing vocal duties.

Sholi

California’s Sholi released their incredible eponymous debut album on March 2nd 2009 through the legendary Quarterstick / Touch and Go Records. Having roped in Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier to work his magic producing the record, Sholi are an exciting prospect.

Memory is a fickle thing: memories shift and turn on their own as our pasts become something different in mind than they were in reality. Some may seem lost forever, only to appear in fleeting moments of subconscious clarity. The story of Sholi began when Payam Bavafa and Jonathon Bafus started playing and writing music with friend Danny Milks while attending UC Davis. “Sholi was a nickname my dad gave my brother and me when we wrestled as kids. I wanted a Persian word that sounded nice in English, and Jon liked that one,” Bavafa says.

The trio played locally, releasing a three-song demo shortly before Bavafa relocated to San Francisco to work as an electrical engineer for an experimental neuroscience lab with a brilliant “mad” scientist. Bavafa spent a year and a half processing brain-waves and analyzing data from studies on sleep and memory. Over time, elements of his work trickled through to his songwriting. Theories of memory explored in the lab found their way thematically into early versions of songs such as ‘Spy in the House of Memories’, ‘All That We Can See’, and ‘Out of Orbit’.

Around this time, Bafus and Bavafa began playing with several different bass players, finally coming together with their old friend Eric Ruud. The band began playing new material live, often with the help of one of Ruud’s previous bandmates, Greg Hagel on keyboards and percussion. In 2006, the band sent self-recorded demos of the songs to Greg Saunier to enlist his help in the creation of a proper album. He responded with great interest, and pre-production began shortly thereafter via email. Saunier sent the band production notes on arrangements and sounds as he listened to the songs while on tour in Spain with his band Deerhoof.

Subsequently, the band booked time at New and Improved Studios in Oakland, where Saunier and engineer Eli Crews helped shape the initial sounds of the album. After 4 days of tracking, Sholi took the album home, deconstructing the recordings and spending the next year breathing new life into the songs in apartments, attics, and living rooms that doubled as makeshift studios throughout Northern California. Saunier also helped in the final mixing stages upon his return from tour in the Summer of 2008. The result is an album that is as self-assured as it is introspective, as warmly familiar as it is unique, and as complex as it is digestible. Concepts of memory permeate the record, both lyrically and musically, as songs grapple with perspective and perception, conscience and consequence, understanding and upheaval. Interconnected ideas appear; songs often become self-referential, folding in upon themselves. Yet underneath the elaborate musical layers and vivid lyrical imagery, there is something straightforwardly timeless in this debut.

The Damned

A legendary UK punk band, The Damned first performed in July 1976 and soon became famous for their stage act: Sensible in his tutu and feather boa, Vanian with his Dracula-inspired look, and each member rucking with members of the audience in traditional punk style. They were soon signed to Stiff Records and followed their first LP and single with a tour of the US (they were the first UK punk band to do all this). The second record they produced wasn’t received so well and The Damned called it quits in early 1978, with each of the members forming a new band.

In 1979 they reformed, but without Brian James, as The Doomed (Brian James retained the rights to the name “The Damned” and didn’t let it go until early in 1980) with Henry Badowski on bass for a while, and then “Algy” (Alistair Ward). The band’s biggest hits were produced during this time, including “Love Song” and “Smash It Up”.

In 1982 Captain Sensible began forging a solo career with minor hits like “Wot” and ” Happy Talk”, but remained with The Damned for the most part, before quitting “for good” in 1984. They continued touring and recording until 1989 when they embarked on a “farewell tour” that summer.

Well, The Damned returned. Several incarnations since their formation, the band currently comprises Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Monty Oxy Moron, Stu West and Pinch.

Over 30 years on from their inception, the heart of The Damned that is David Vanian and Captain Sensible beats stronger than ever, as proven recently with 2008 album “So, Who’s Paranoid?” Their trademark dark, melodic beauty, tinged with jagged satire is truly timeless and very much intact. They might be a band with an incredible past but The Damned are very much here and now.

These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes.  A natural force, that thunders with constant contradiction and challenge.  Self-described as, “Four men with a chronic black cloud overhead; bitter, bummed out, and bored,” they couple dark pessimism with an elemental energy that does not end.

Seattle’s These Arms Are Snakes was born from the ashes of former members of Botch, Nineironspitfire, and Minneapolis-based Kill Sadie. They have toured the world over with the likes of Minus the Bear, Mastodon, Cursive, The Blood Brothers, Hot Water Music, Isis, Pelican and Against Me!. This band’s live set is a sight (and sound) to behold.

On album “Tail Swallower & Dove,” These Arms Are Snakes move through 10-songs with the cracked grace of bolted lightning, rolling and leveling, seeking a space to storm into.  The band, comprised of Chris Common (drums, percussion), Brian Cook (bass, guitar, keyboards), Ryan Frederiksen (guitar, keyboards), Steve Snere (vocals, effects), have brought their non-stop work ethic of touring and beyond-intense performance to the studio with career-defining result.

Relentless, and restless – nothing in nature says no.  And from this direction comes These Arms Are Snakes, a dark cloud of sound thundering, waiting to burst and drown everything in their noise.

The Walkmen

Hailing from New York City, The Walkmen consists of Hamilton Leithauser (vocals/guitar), Paul Maroon (guitar/piano), Walter Martin (organ/bass), Matt Barrick (drums) and Peter Bauer (bass/organ).

The Walkmen are of course men of stealth and craft, dressed in black and, one wagers, distressed at the lack of loving care and attention applied to modern music. Eight years since the mighty ‘We’ve Been Had’ signaled the demise of Jonathan Fire*Eater and heralded the start of something even weirder, ‘You & Me’ found the enigmatic quintet in predictably moody form with fourteen tracks of fearsome ingenuity featuring their trademark clanging guitar, their spooked keyboards making like a gothic ice cream van on Mars, their drums rolling like a schooner in a force ten gale.

Alternative wild cards The Walkmen may be but you can’t fault their consistency: 2002 saw the release of ‘Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone’, 2004 was the year of ‘The Rat’ and its parent album ‘Bows & Arrows’, 2006 witnessed ‘A Hundred Miles Off’ and precisely two more years later came ‘You & Me’. So underestimate The Walkmen at your peril. Likewise, if the music has a chaotic, drunken ebb and flow which hints at some spontaneous outpouring of musical grief then the reality is anything but, as ‘You & Me’ was painstakingly pieced together over two years in two cites – NYC and Philadelphia – and part of that meticulous construction was to make the album sound like a rock’n’roll record with depth and warmth and – uniquely for this notoriously challenging outfit – an uplifting mood to accompany the downtrodden chords. Not for nothing does ‘You & Me’ clock in at nearly an hour long; and not for nothing does the track ‘Red Moon’ sound like a Christmas number one on any planet which has any soul whatsoever. This is a bit complicated. This is profoundly complex. This then is a pukka grown-up album by a proper band’s band.

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead were formed in late 1994 by singers/guitarists/drummers Jason Reece and Conrad Keely. These two were longtime friends who originally met in Hawaii before settling in Olympia, WA and then relocating together to Austin, TX. It was there that the duo played their first shows as “You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead,” eventually adding the extra grammatical elements to their name. Guitarist Kevin Allen and bassist/sampler Neil Busch made the band a quartet. The band went through a number of releases on a number of labels, eventually signing to Interscope, on which they issued the formidable ‘Source Tags & Codes’ in 2002, followed by ‘The Secret of Elena’s Tomb EP’ in 2003 and ‘Worlds Apart’, a prog rock-inspired epic, in 2005. Despite widespread acclaim for the album, its sales were disappointing. Their subsequent departure from Interscope Records convinced the musicians to launch their own label, Richter Scale Records, in partnership with the Texas-based Justice Records. Free of the constraints of conventional label deals, the band then brewed up a batch of contemporary prog anthems and released an EP, 2008’s ‘Festival Thyme’, to ramp up support for a full-length album. ‘The Century of Self’ followed in early 2009 and was released through Superball Music in the UK.

The Coathangers

“One minute you’re joking around, and then you’re starting the band you’ve always wanted to…” – BeBe Coathanger.

In less than three years, The Coathangers – Julia Kugel (guitar/vocals), Stephanie Luke (drums/vocals), Candice Jones (keyboard/vocals), and Meredith Franco (bass/vocals) – have grown from a band of girlfriends buying the cheapest instruments an Atlanta pawn shop could offer, to a group of formidable, adaptable performers.

You could look at them and think they’re this way or that, but they will not conform.  These are four really different people who have bonded beyond the point of just being friends. You might think you can pin them down, but they don’t care. Their fashion isn’t contrived. Their music feels like music for music’s sake because that’s exactly what it is; natural, voluntary, spontaneous, impulsive, intuitive and entirely better for it.

“We write all the songs together, trying everything out within a day; we switch instruments, waste time, thrive on building pressure,” says Julia Kugel, “every song is an art project, a starting over, a Scramble.”

Songs like ‘Bury Me’ and ‘Time Passing’ use chanted vocals to approach a kind of personal sloganeering – like Huggy Bear, shot with syncopated voices, but minus the political fury.  In ‘Pussywillow’ the melodic chop of the guitar brings the chorus, “This means nothing to you… It means nothing to me, too. To me, me…” lifting the call-and-response action from bratty disgust to melancholy realization, then back again. There’s a definitive strength in the scrambled vernacular of the band’s songwriting.

Do they bring the party, as rumor has it? Absolutely! It’s an exhausting time but what these ladies have to give, both performing live, and on record, leads to a beautiful exhaustion – a feeling both empty and full, like at the end of intense physical activity when your body is burned, yet charged.

Strip away the music-biz pretense like that and it leaves you with only the things that are simple, stunning, and true. The Coathangers are one of those things.

Start the party!

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