Raum Kingdom deliver on debut EP!

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If Maynard James Kingdom fronted Neurosis the end result might be Raum Kingdom.  On their self-titled debut EP, Raum Kingdom set the bar very high as to what’s to come with five songs that are unrelentingly melodic yet intensely brutal.

Forget Isis. Forget Pelican. Raum Kingdom is the evolution you’re looking for. Equal parts Neurosis and Tool (Especially on “This Sullen Hope”), Raum Kingdom incite the kind of slow burn riot fans of that genre (and beyond) have been hoping for.

“Wounds” is a visceral monstrosity of a song opening the floodgates of what’s to come with vocalist Dave Lee’s screeches cutting through Andrew Colohan’s epic riffing and Mark Gilchrist’s thunderous, oceanic drum bashing. “Barren Objects” settles into a softer groove before a wall of noise opens up underneath Lee’s surprisingly soft whimpers while bassist Ronan Connor rumbles below.

This is just three of the five, people! To really experience Raum Kingdom, you need to sit down and really listen from beginning to end. Essential listening in 2014? Definitely.

Raum Kingdom is out now. Get yours here.

 

Information Society say _hello world again this fall with new album!

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I was never a fan of Information Society during their beginnings and perhaps that’s a good thing. The best thing I could recommend when venturing into  _hello world is to come in with a fresh perspective and an open mind. If you do, you’re bound to be blown away. Chances are, if you do go in familiar with InSoc and with high expectations the results will be the same.

First off, how can anyone not love an album that has a track centered around a Schwarzenegger line from Total Recall? That’s “The Prize” for you, a slamming dance track with a chorus that’s sure to set clubs ablaze this summer. As a whole, _hello world is this glorious slab of new world disorder that’s equal parts Electro, New Wave, New Synth, Synth-Pop…look, it’s just awesome, okay? There’s bits for fans in all wakes of life here bringing to mind modern electroluminaries like The Faint, Bright Light Bright Light, and Pet Shop Boys. Speaking of Nebraska’s favorite sons: If you like The Faint’s swagger but feel they’re a little too out there then check out “Where Were You” while “Get Back” is a neat little amalgamation of VNV Nation and some of the more contemporary pop hits out today (Think Lady Gaga).

If you’re looking for nostalgia, then how about a Devo cover? “Beautiful World” even features Gerald V Casale and is a hyper-stylized refurbishing of a new wave classic. Further on, songs like the floor throbbing “Let It Burn” or guitar driven opener “Land Of The Blind” are constant reminders of how vital and relevant Information Society is thirty plus years into their career.

_hello world is out on September 23rd through HAKATAK International/MVD.

 

Chris Connelly: A Rock and Roll Fables Conversation

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“I think everyone will be delighted. It’s like me going to all my fans and, individually, giving each of them a bottle of assorted pills and a sack full of porn and hotel bar booze.  I do it for the kidz!”

And honestly, who doesn’t want that? In case you missed the headline, we’re talking to Chris Connelly: musician extraordinaire, author (Please check out the sublime Concrete, Bulletproof,  Invisible and Fried: My Life As a Revolting Cock if you’re a fan of the industrial scene), and record store guru (On his gig at Chicago based Reckless Records :”It is my day job, not my company. I would rather stay at home and sip single malt“). He’s a man of many hats and in his current project, Cocksure, Connelly will once again be be sporting that familiar cowboy hat which is sure to excite fans of his work with Al Jourgensen in the ’90’s.

“I wanted to do something that picked up where the Cocks left off…unfinished business from two decades ago. But I dislike nostalgia… and the old songs are the old songs, so I approached my friend Jason Novak, a very talented individual and asked if he could accommodate my idea” says Connelly about Cocksure, whose full-length debut TVMALSV is a rip roaring torrent of Revolting Cocks inspired industrial noise.

That’s where the comparisons should end, though, as Connelly is quick to point out: “We definitely wanted to reflect the good bits of the Cocks, but the sound needed updating. The aesthetic needed a bit of a kick in the nuts, to be honest.  It needed hardening and we needed to embrace the times we live in and not the dreadful 90’s”

To coincide with the album’s release on August 12th, Cocksure will be hitting the road for a slew of performances with Front 242 (Richard 23 actually guests on TVMALSV track “TKO Mindfuck”) like only they can: “Cocksure live? We are going to look like a very cute and sexy Sleigh Bells.  We are two desperately handsome young men who know all about showbiz, baby!  We will be doing select dates, not a full tour.  I still got an ankle bracelet and a bitch of a parole officer.”

Beyond that, Connelly mentions that the work of his that he’s most proud of “is always the latest one” making Cocksure required listening for fans of his and industrial music fans. However, if you’re looking for recommendations about bands in the current industrial “scene”, Connelly proves that he can still shock and surprise audiences: “I think modern hip hop has more in common. I love things like M.I.A. and Die Antwoord.”

And if that wasn’t enough Connelly for you this year, there’s also Bells Into Machines with Paul Barker in the pipeline (“We will talk about that when we’ve got a full length to show off”).

But for now, it’s all about Cocksure. TVMALSV will be uncaged through Metropolis Records on August 12th. You can pre-order yours here and find out more about Cocksure here.

Video View: Sego, “20 Years Tall”

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Utah by way of L.A. (where the band now call home), Sego is an interesting mix for the modern music age. Think Beck fronting Blankwave Arcade-era The Faint and you’ll have a small idea of what Sego is all about. At least on “20 Years Tall”. On the aforementioned single/video, Sego give listeners a rockin’ four minute ditty that’ll get your booty shakin’ and your head boppin’. Add some nice visuals layered on top of a party scene that could be paired with Every Time I Die’s recent clip for “Decayin With The Boys” and you have a recipe for success!

Check out the video for “20 Years Tall” below and stay in touch with Sego to get the latest on new music right here.

 

Those Mockingbirds give you THE summer rock album!

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If you frequent RNRF at all here or follow us on Facebook, then you already know of our love for Those Mockingbirds. We were introduced to them when they hit Cambridge’s Middle East back in March with singles like “How To Rob A Bank” and “A Ballad From Hell” and fell for them immediately. Singles are one thing but an album’s worth of original material is what separates The Good, The Bieber and The Ugly. So which category does Penny The Dreadful fall into?

The best thing I can say about Those Mockingbirds is that there is absolutely no way you can pigeonhole (Only bird reference, I swear!) their sound into a nice, tidy category, sub-category, what-have-you. At one point during Penny The Dreadful they’re the raucous saviors of good old fashion Von Bondies-style rawk and/or roll, the next they’re the fuzzing out their sound even more like CKY on “Teenage Fantasies” while “Loose Leather” transitions to some solid sing-a-long Pop.

Take opener “A Ballad From Hell” as another example. It acts as the calm before the storm until “How To Rob A Bank” rips through your speakers with Tory Daines’ violin gorgeously accenting the down home overall Southern feel of the song yet Those Mockingbirds hail from New Jersey.

They’re an “enigma, wrapped in a riddle, surrounded by mystery” and if one tries too hard to figure Those Mockingbirds out then they’re just taking away from the fun of listening to the band and not giving a damn who they sound like. Just let the band churn out some solid tunes with reckless aplomb, sit back, relax, and be thankful that there is still some originality left in the music world today.

Penny The Dreadful is out, um, NOW! What are you doing still reading this? Go get yours right away. Here!

 

Jokes! Episode 6: Sinbad, Make Me Wanna Holla

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Sinbad is back. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 

 

If only you could just take my word for it, right? But seriously, Sinbad  is back with Make Me Wanna Holla: an all new stand up special recorded in Detroit, MI. If all you know of Sinbad is from television shows like A Different World and films like Jingle All The Way and Necessary Roughness (How awesome is this movie still?) then you don’t know anything about how funny this man truly is. Make Me Wanna Holla is the perfect introduction to this comedic genius as he points out the pratfalls (and pitfalls) of everyday life.

Like a gruffer Bill Cosby with a quick wit and no-nonsense attitude, Sinbad dishes out parenting tips one minute (On “Tough Love”), talks about the mindset of the “Commander In Chief” the next (“He’s ready to go home!”), while contemplating getting older during “Foot Problems” (“Gout! I can’t have gout!…what’s gout?”).

He waxes poetic on “Kids These Days” (“You do know TV used to go off, right?”), ponders how it’s possible that the new generation is “Flunking Kindergarten” and worries about the current trend that sees teachers sleeping with students on “Kids & Women”(“Teachers, why you datin’ your children????” “Where was you when I was in school?”).

Through it all, Sinbad delivers well over an hour of comedy gold. Make Me Wanna Holla is out now through Comedy Central Records. You can get yours here and here and view clips and more over at Comedy Central.

 

Mike Dean: A Rock and Roll Fables conversation

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Corrosion of Conformity bassist/vocalist Mike Dean has the perfect answer for those out there looking for a description of his band: “Well, it’s kind of an eclectic long standing heavy band that was originally born out of the American hardcore and crossover metal/punk hybrid era of the mid to late ’80’s. We went through many line up changes and configurations and have sort of landed in this spot where we just dabble in various Black Sabbath-inspired swarms of musical expression. That’s kind of it. It’s just heavy stuff with a little melody and attempt at being timeless.”

On their latest, IX, Dean along with guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin are once again in the trio “configuration” and that suits him just fine: “There’s less participants in the creativity but maybe the opinions are stronger. I think there’s a clearer sort of focus. You can play more notes. You can try crazier things harmonically when you don’t have a second guitar (In terms of the bass and the guitar). Things will come across a lot better but if they’re not working it’s really obvious because there’s nowhere to hide basically. Politically, it’s expedient. Financially, 33% is pretty good compared to 25%.  It’s another format. I like the 4-piece band. It’d be awesome to play with Pepper (Keenan, guitars/vocals). I like Thin Lizzy guitar harmonies and things like that so that’d be cool. We’re open to his contribution and kinda logistically just trying to make that happen and it’s something that everybody wants to do but for now, I like this format a lot as well. We’re just gonna roll with the changes or lack thereof and see what happens.”

Speaking of Keenan, Dean says the door is always open for his return but please don’t expect the current band to attempt any Pepper-fronted songs: “At some point we just figured that Down was too busy for us to do something with Pepper. Most of that stuff is just not gonna happen without Pepper. I don’t know, man. It just doesn’t quite feel right to take any of that on. We were supposed to do some shows with him in 2010 and it turned out he couldn’t make ’em and when he heard we were gonna go ahead and tour I think that’s one thing he was really concerned about is we would just take a lot of work that was his and try to ride the gravy train and that’s not something we’re interested in doing, y’know?”

Elaborating more on the song writing process and the songs for the latest record Dean continues: “I think the approach to writing is pretty much the same. It’s not like we’re great troubadours that sit down and we’re moved by seeing this bird with a broken wing singing to her mate and we wanna write a sad song and compose lyrics and music on the spot. We’re basically heshers. We come up with some cool riffs and some ideas, we show ’em to each other and make a basic structure and at that point it’s time to see what sort of vocal and lyrical ideas it compels you to produce. The basic style of writing is the same and some times we do it by committee collaboratively and sometimes we bring compositions that are nearly complete to the group.”

“As far as writing lyrics…since we come from traditional hardcore and at that point we were all 18 years old and we knew everything the songs would be pretty topical, pretty on the nose, taking on weighty issues and things like that. Over time we’ve kind of moved on towards more evocative type of lyric writing. We like to put things that will work to different people at different times in different situations and still resonate. We’re looking for imagery and sometimes there’s an agenda there that’s a little sneaky and a lot of times we’re just starting off with the usual gibberish the universe gives us.  Put that together with some nice turns of phrase and you start to see a coherent pattern merging. There’s a little bit of a stream of conscience element to it.”

“An early favorite was “On Your Way”. We kinda fast tracked that one to do a little music video that’s probably gonna be nice and strange. We were working last night at a very hot warehouse location deep into the morning hours just this morning. Y’know we’ve been playing that one live and it works pretty well. Beyond that, “Trucker” is one of my personal favorites and the riffs that Woody brought for “Brand New Sleep” in the studio just fell together. I really like writing lyrics and coming up with vocal melodies for songs with musical structures I didn’t have anything to do with much and I’m hoping we end up playing that piece for sure.”

Outside of C.O.C., Dean has reactivated Righteous Fool with Mullin which came about initially during the gap between 2005’s In The Arms Of God and 2012’s S/T album and handled live bass for Vista a Chino: “I would looove to work with them down the road. I went and did a couple tours with them and I felt musically Bruno (Feverey, guitars) and Brant (Bjork, drums) and John (Garcia, vocals) and I were communicating really well. It sounded really good. It felt really good. It felt like they were coming out the other side of a dark period imposed on them by an overly litigious legal action concerning the Kyuss Lives! name. It actually felt like there was some blacklisting type of activity going on that I was witnessing and privy to.”

“All in all it was pretty positive. I just enjoyed playing with them and enjoyed their new material. For awhile, John has been hatching the idea of doing a solo project so he went ahead and did that so Brant kinda did the same thing  so they’ve got these simultaneous solo endeavors which is cool cuz it gives me time to work on C.O.C. and dedicate some time to that. I would anticipate with one record remaining on their contract that certainly within the next year and a half they’ll probably reconvene on some recording. I hope they ask me to take part in that because that’s sort of what we were planning  and to play with Bruno Fevery is an awesome thing. Brant and Bruno and I would jam quite a bit and I thought we could be really comfortable just winging it and come up with a pretty good musical result just about every time so I’m looking forward to continuing that. But, y’know, those guys  have a great musical contribution whether separately or combined or whatever. Whether it’s with me or not, there’s amazing chemistry between Mr. Feverey, Mr. Garcia, and Mr. Bjork.”

Looking back, Dean agrees it’s a completely different world for musicians these days: “I would say the major difference is the landscape for music. Rock music, in particular, is not as big a piece of the cultural landscape and certainly a lot less of the cultural economy simply because there’s so much competition for our attention in terms of entertainment and all types of online time-sucking activities (Or inactivities really). Plus, the collapse of actually being able to sell a musical document to people when they can just figure out the bit torrent situation. That has kind of eaten away at the economy of it and while it’s been a great equalizer in a way it’s sort of taken out some of the meritocracy of the situation because anybody with with a certain amount of money can go and produce their music and, to some extent, distribute it so there’s actually kind of an overload of sort of mediocre to incompetent musical output with very little audience. It’s kind of an unfortunate situation in that regard but I like the egalitarian aspect of it in theory but the actual result of that development is less than ideal as far as there being a lot of music I want to listen to. I mean, there is a lot of music I wanna listen to but you have to dig around to find it.”

Thankfully, you don’t have to dig hard to find Corrosion of Conformity’s latest, IX, which streets on June 24th through Candlelight Records. Our review (With pre-order links) can be read over here.

 

Emma Ruth Rundle: A Rock and Roll Fables conversation

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Emma Ruth Rundle wants you to dance to Some Heavy Ocean. No, seriously. “If somebody figures a way to go and make a choreographed dance to it I think it’d be pretty funny. I’d be pretty impressed!” says the songstress via phone soon after the release of her debut solo album, Some Heavy Ocean, which is definitely not Pop music.

Jokes aside (Except when comparing her painting to her music: “I kind of describe them as having a mistress: you can kind of go between the two and it keeps things interesting. If I feel sort of stunted in music I can switch over to drawing or painting but the art thing happens in compulsive spurts. I never studied formally so it’s a huge leap to call myself an artist. I think ‘professional doodler’ would be more fitting”), Rundle describes her debut outing as a “very heavy thing and emotional for me” but hopes fans take away from it what she feels when listening to Sun Kil Moon or Mark Kozelek: “Obviously some of that stuff he’s talking about is heavier or painful for him but it really relieves something in me and I hope [Some Heavy Ocean] does something like that for someone else “.

Speaking of the genesis of SHO, Rundle continues: “The Some Heavy Ocean experience was really unique in the sense that I was living at Sargent House. Cathy (Pellow, owner/manager) had taken me in after where I was living before was completely burglarized and I had to leave. And I really had to leave with nothing.  We moved in and then Marriages went on tour with Deafheaven. The opportunity came when I came back to the house because Chris (Common), who had engineered the record and also filled in on drums for that Marriages tour had a studio in the house. He was like “Yeah, let’s just start recording when we get back”  because there was nothing that either of us had to do immediately. It was just something I had talked about doing for a long time and we kinda locked ourselves away to the studio in the house.”

“The song “Oh Sarah” was meant for my sister. I had wanted to make a record for her and ended up making Some Heavy Ocean which ended up being more for me than for her. “Shadows Of My Name” was a song I had written from start to finish as an acoustic song and we were going to be doing a Glass Room Sessions for Sargent House which is sort of equivalent to Marriages unplugged. That song, Greg (Burns, bassist in Marriages) had gotten really attached to because he heard me sing a demo of it and really loved it and wanted to do it as a Marriages song. It worked really well for that Glass Room setting but once we tried to take it back from the acoustic setting into the world of Marriages, which is a lot louder, it just didn’t work at all. It ended up sounding more like The Nocturnes and I did not want Marriages to ever go in that direction.”

The conversation shifts towards her various bands (Red Sparowes, The Nocturnes) and what role she most feels comfortable in: “It’s hard to say. Everyone’s different. For me, it was never “I’m gonna be a frontperson for a band!” You start doing music and it very much becomes a part of who you are and what you do. I worked at this music/guitar/folk store [which was] sort of the epicenter of folk culture in L.A. and worked there for a very long time. I started hanging out there when I was 8 so it sort of becomes who you are and it somehow shifts over to what your career is and your professional life more and more as you start doing it more.”

“Out of everything I’ve been in I’d have to say I loved being in Red Sparowes. I loved getting the opportunity to just play guitar and speak through the instrument without having the attention put on me, the attention of being a front person or a solo artist. It’s not something that I’m trying to run away from anymore but I loved Red Sparowes and that there was an anonymity to it in a sense that there were four other people on stage. The guitars would speak to one another and I felt very immersed in something that was happening between several people. There’s a lot less pressure in a situation like that. A lot more freedom and certainly the ability to hide a little bit more.”

Looking forward, it’s just been announced that Rundle will be opening for Buzz Osborne on most dates of his summer tour while the second Marriages LP should finally see the light of the day as well: “We’re wrapping the record up right now and hopefully it will come out sooner than later. It’s different and we’ve got Andrew Clinco as a writer. He’s a full member, he’s the drummer. It seems like we get thrown on tours sort of out of the blue so we might be doing some tours, too.”

Some Heavy Ocean is out now through Sargent House. You can read all about it here and be sure to catch Rundle this summer on tour with Buzz Osborne and with Marriages. For a complete list of dates, go here.

 

 

 

Take a trip Once More ‘Round The Sun with Mastodon!

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Sometimes I think it’s great that Mastodon is free from the shackles of the concept album, having completed their “Elemental” 4-album stint with 2009’s Crack The Skye. Other times I am not so sure because albums like The Hunter come about. While The Hunter is a great album, it’s still hard to wrap my head around in the grand echelon of Mastodon supremeness. Great songs but a little directionless.

The same can not be said about their upcoming album, though. Once More ‘Round The Sun sees Mastodon at another pinnacle in their illustrious career thus far. Is there a concept in here? There’s always a concept in there somewhere but regardless, OMRTS is the greatest collection of songs Mastodon has ever put together and quite possibly their strongest album since Leviathan (Gasp!).

The riffs are greater, the singing is stronger, and the production is dirtier (Thanks to the indomitable Nick Raskulinecz). From the get go, OMRTS is seemingly so full of life and new found energy as the acoustic opening of “Tread Lightly” transmorgifies into one of the most powerful guitar assaults Mastodon has ever conceived filled with riff after humongous riff and vocal harmonies that are out of this world (Thanks to drummer Brann Dailor who’s taken on a more active role vocally). This is just the beginning, people! It gets so much better from here.

Dailor takes center stage on “The Motherload” and bares all with a masterful lead vocal performance coupled with the insane fills he ravages throughout. If anything, OMRTS sees a band that was already seemingly the best get even better. At everything. Dailor has really developed as a singer with a style that’s somewhere between Ozzy and Dio. It doesn’t make sense when you read it, but hearing it is fantastical. Meanwhile, guitarists Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds are unstoppable machines here apparently saving the most colossal riffage and sweetest solos for this album. Let’s not forget Troy Sanders, fresh from his stint with Max Cavalera and Greg Puciato in Killer Be Killed, who is absolutely on point during “Feast Your Eyes” with a thunderous yowl that guides the most balls out rocker Mastodon has ever written and performed.

If you were enticed to buy Once More ‘Round The Sun solely on singles “Chimes At Midnight” and “High Road” then this is the gift that keeps on giving. I know that Faith No More weren’t the first to use a cheerleader-style chant in a song but hearing the dazzling conclusion of “Aunt Lisa” (“Hey, Ho, Let’s Fucking Go! Hey! Ho! Let’s get up and rock and roll!”) inevitably brings back fond memories of “Be Aggressive”. And what new Mastodon record would be complete without the token appearance from Neurosis’ Scott Kelly who rears his head on the lengthy and sinister closer “Diamond In The Witch House”.

While 2014 has yet to conclude, I don’t see any reason why Once More ‘Round The Sun shouldn’t take the crown for “Metal Album of the Year” home now. Remaining metal acts with releases slated for July 1st and beyond: Consider yourselves warned!

Once More ‘Round The Sun is out on June 24th. Pre-orders are available here.

 

Jokes! Episode 5: DL Hughley, Clear

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I had forgotten how much I loved DL Hughley’s stand up. The stand out of The Original Kings Of Comedy is back with his first new special since 2012’s Reset. Recorded at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, Hughley delivers yet again.

Did you ever wonder about his appearance on Dancing With The Stars? The sacrifices he has to make to rationalize eating at Chick Fil A despite their stance on gay marriage (“So as a compromise, I decided to eat the chicken but I’ma leave the bun alone…”)? Why legalizing marijuana is great for preventing suicide (“Now where’d I put that rope….what’d I come into the garage for?”)?

All this and more is answered honestly and hilariously on Clear. He even goes on to discuss the Paula Deen controversy and how Catholics might have been worshiping the wrong Jesus all along (“Scholars believe based in the region of the world he lived in and the diet those people ate that he was short AND hunchback. So all these years we’ve been worshiping Danny Devito!”). If you want the full experience, however, you need to get Clear now!

Clear is available through New Wave Dynamics on Amazon and Itunes.