Combichrist rule the world, motherfuckers. Or didn’t you know?

The most aggressive band in industrial music today is back with We Love You, an album that throws everything AND the kitchen sink into the mix. If you liked the guitar-heavy hyper-intensity of last year’s No Redemption soundtrack yet yearned for the more club friendly numbers then We Love You is the solution to all your problems.

It’s like the Daleks are narrating the Doctor Who meets Flash Gordon synth overtones of “We Were Made To Love You” which opens the apocalyptical album. “We Were Made To Love You” is the logical comedown after last year’s abrasive No Redemption album featuring a disjointed swirl of electronics and guitars after the narration ends and the sonic shitstorm begins.

From there it sounds like business as usual (The KMFDM electro romp “Every Day is War”, chaotic thumper “Can’t Control”) but if there’s one thing that listeners should take away from WLY, it is this: Nothing is as it seems. Like the press release states: “Everything is farther, faster, and darker. There are more guitars, pounding drums, heavier electronics, further experimentation, lots more anger…” This means for every “Satan’s Propaganda” there’s a song like “Fuck Unicorns” (Think Daft Punk with some seriously dark undertones and frontman Andy LaPlegua acting as a demented ringleader/televangelist) or the acoustic-driven, pensive “The Evil In Me” waiting in the wings to expand their sound even further.

We Love You also features some of the most straight up rawk tunes Combichrist has ever laid down as well as being the most sing-a-long  album to date. “Maggots At The Party” is up first (Followed by “Love Is A Razorblade” later on) and is a straight banger. You can almost picture the Beastie Boys “You Gotta Fight…” meets Lamb Of God’s “Redneck”-style video that should accompany the song with drummer Joe Letz just wailing away at the kit while LaPlegua forces his way through some cluttered crowd at a house party,

The tail end of WLY is where the magic really happens, though. “From My Cold Dead Hands” is a blessing. Easily one of the best industrial songs of the year, the effects-laden robot trading verses with LaPlegua’s monstrous growl is serene. That leads into the equally impressive “We Rule The World Motherfuckers” (Sure to be a hit on the goth dance floor and during their upcoming tour) which is another example of the genius of Combichrist at work. Speaking of genius, that word doesn’t even come close to describing the majestic two part closer “Retreat Hell” with “Part 1” being this monstrous tribal wall of sound and “Part 2” supplementing it with a long running rant by LaPlegua to make the perfect coda to a perfect album.

We Love You is available on March 25th through Metropolis Records. Physical and digital copies are available here and make sure you head on over to their Facebook page to see where you can catch them on their upcoming North American tour with William Control and New Year’s Day.

Where You Should Be This Weekend: The Irrepressibles at The Middle East 3/15/14

artworks-000070841797-t5jmhc-t500x500

Music doesn’t get much more jaw dropping than the kind that The Irrepressibles make. Take the lush tones that Bright Light Bright Light create and combine it with the raw sonic power that Antony & The Johnsons emit vocally (With a vibrato that’s to die for) and you’ll have a small idea of what multi-instrumentalist Jamie Irrepressible brings to the table.

Just one listen to “Not Me” should be enough to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing at attention but if that doesn’t enthrall you, try out the evocative piano-driven sounds of “Two Men In Love” coupled with the stunning video filled with undeniable visuals of, well, love. It gets even better from here, kiddies.

The last of their series of 3 EP’s drops on March 24th but you can catch a preview when the “Art-Pop orchestra” known as The Irrepressibles hit Cambridge’s Middle East on Saturday night. For more on The Irrepressibles, head on over to the official Facebook page.

 

Those Mockingbirds is your new favorite band in 2014!

artworks-000060472507-14n6r8-t200x200

Looking for something to do in and around Boston this weekend? Sick of the music scene and need a band to come along and totally change the face of rawk? Then you’re looking for Montclair, New Jersey’s own Those Mockingbirds! I’m not going to mention the many accolades the band has already received because, quite frankly, the tunes speak for themselves.

Just one listen through “How To Rob A Bank” (Stream it below) or “A Ballad From Hell” (Here it here) should assure you that you’ve made an excellent choice should you choose to venture to one of their three (3!) shows in the area this weekend.

It’s hard to describe Those Mockingbirds to the uninitiated. There’s some Clutch in there (Check out some of the riffing in “…Bank”), some Von Bondies in other spots and enough “Whoa-oh” sing-a-long moments to bring a classic Misfits record to shame. But Those Mockingbirds is none of the above. Something else entirely, they pave their own way and that’s just fine by me.

Their first full length, Penny The Dreadful, should see the light of day this summer. Meanwhile, you can get all your TM needs over on their official Facebook page or better yet catch them live as they hit Pittsfield, Providence, and Cambridge’s Middle East this weekend with New City Ghost, Islands In Motion, Arms & Ears, Nemes, and Friendly People.

 

 

Eagulls: Believe the hype!

 

Whenever a band is labeled as “post-punk” and compared to one of my all-time favorites like Killing Joke I’m always skeptical. Take Eagulls, for example, who have even gone so far as to put out a cover of “Requiem” (For the record, I didn’t like the cover). When it come to these UK upstarts, however, you best believe the hype.

From the moment the hypnotic “Nerve Endings” kicks in it’s apparent this debut is something else. In fact, is it too early in 2014 to declare an album “must-have” or “brilliant” or champion it for album of the year? Mixing Killing Joke, U2’s early days in some spots and then Failure-like guitar screams in others, Eagulls capture an era and then go beyond on their debut.

“Hollow Visions” is and abrasive guitar exercise complete with Raven/Youth bass lines while “Yellow Eyes” captures some of that ’50’s dreamy guitar pop during the intro but quickly devolves into 21st Century post punk. Official first single “Tough Luck” mixes that “Eighties” riffage with a thunderous percussive presence and some truly monolithic choruses while later on, “Fester Blister” combines shimmering guitar lines, pummeling drums, and enough time changes to make Kyuss step back and say “Whaaaaa?!?!?!”. Through and through, Eagulls is a solid debut that demands to be listened to at obnoxious volumes

Eagulls self-titled debut is out on March 4th though Partisan Records. You’d be wise to get your copy here (And like us over here if you want).

 

Maximo Park give “Too Much Information” on fifth LP.

“Wanted to try something different this time” sings Maximo Park vocalist Paul Smith in a haunting falsetto during the chorus of Too Much Information lead single “Brain Cells” and no truer words have ever been sung. TMI is, hands down, one of the most diverse records MP has ever released. It doesn’t totally abandon the Maximo Park “sound” so much as it expands upon it greatly.

“Give, Get, Take” is like the pied piper leading listeners into a trap with its jangly guitars and broad choruses, typical for standard Maximo Park. Then it all goes South. The aforementioned “Brain Cells” is unlike anything the band have written to date and we had some words to say about it when it was released late last year. From there, TMI takes a turn for the somber and the synth.  “Leave This Island” follows next and continues along the “Brain Cells” path adding a little more organics to the mix with a tale that’s equal parts beautiful and bittersweet.

“Lydia, The Ink Will Dry” dials it back to Our Earthly Pleasures while “My Bloody Mind” is an almost Beatles-esque full on rock out which, when fully realized on stage, is sure to be a crowd pleaser for years to come. Smith’s heavenly falsetto comes back into play on the ’80’s inspired “Is It True” reminding listeners that TMI is definitely not your typical Maximo Park album.

Too Much Information might not be the Maximo Park album that fans deserved but it’s the one that we all need from time to time. TMI is out now. Get your copy here and be sure to check out the band when they tour the States this spring!

 

White Noise Owl’s debut EP is the first must own of 2014!

It’s true what they say: Good things come in small packages. In White Noise Owl’s case the “small package” is in the form of a debut EP instead of a full-length and the tracks included within are definitely some of the best hard rock anthems you’ll hear in all of 2014.

Until We Meet Again is a mature helping of hard, heavy rock from a bunch of guys who you probably saw in one form or another on Ozzfest ’98. Make no mistake, though, this is not another version of Snot or Ultraspank or even Evanescence or Staind. WNO is something different altogether. This is a group of guys who have been around the industry and are banding together to forge a new destiny and judging by the results of Until We Meet Again, it’s definitely a promising one.

Vocalist Pete Murray croons on opener “Feed” with the line “I don’t care for what you’re feeding me/And I won’t stand for negativity, no!” and that is exactly the case with White Noise Owl. There’s no bullshit and a focus on the heart of the matter: The music!

“Bomber” is a sonic masterpiece and has some of those grandiose Filter-like radio rock choruses that the band have become known for (Title Of Record producer Ben Grosse coincidentally is the producer and mixer here) while guitarist Chris Shy diversifies the proceedings during the opening of “End Over End” with some down home strumming. The EP culminates with “Are You Breathing” which is probably the best example of the “White Noise Owl sound” as it were featuring stellar drumming from Will Hunt and some fantastic bass work from John Fahnestock along with the aforementioned Shy and Murray.

Look, I’m a fan of most of these guys already. I’ve been Team Murray since I first heard of Ultraspank and their ridiculously underrated vocalist in the late ’90’s, I bought the Snot debut after seeing Lynn Strait leap on stage during a Manhole opening slot in Boston (Fahnestock actually sold me the long sleeve I still own after a Snot show opening for Sevendust in Worcester), and I loved both Skrape records that Hunt bashed away on.

These guys know the biz and they definitely deserve your attention. Hopefully White Noise Owl is the spark that lights a fire under the ass of the hard rock music world.

For more on White Noise Owl including pre-order options for Until We Meet Again (Due on March 11th), head on over to their official Facebook and Twitter pages and please don’t forget to “like” us over on ours.

 

Skinny Puppy “Shapes for Arms” live at Boston’s Royale 2/15/14

Skinny-Puppy-tour

First of all, I’d like us all to bow our collective heads and observe a moment of silence for Pennsylvania and the Trocadero who not only postponed their scheduled Skinny Puppy show due to some nasty weather but eventually cancelled the thing all together (There will not be a rescheduled date). Boston and the Royale, however, persevered  through a second snow storm last week and bore witness to the spectacle of the “Shapes for Arms” tour (Sorry Philly!). It was a sight to behold indeed and nothing seemed to keep both old school and new school goth and industrial fans away (Although I wish the weather would’ve kept the two overly obnoxious, drunk, and aggressive large gentlemen who terrorized stage right home for the evening)

But enough about the weather. Onto the theatrics!

Cevin Key and Ogre never fail to amaze and the latest stage show Skinny Puppy put on was no exception. With a set mixing a fair amount of oldies with new favorites, SP also delivered sonically as well as visually. With the backdrop of a radiological disaster at its core and Ogre donning almost as many outfits as Lady Gaga (Albeit way more gruesome), Skinny Puppy put on a show that was not only one of their best but one that will not easily be forgotten (Thoughts of this being the top show of 2014 is already swirling around my head…).

After instrumental opener “Choralone”, SP ripped into “illisiT” off of last year’s brilliant Weapon and didn’t relent on any of the 14 songs that followed. New tracks like “wornin” and “paragUn” meshed easily with classics like “The Choke” and “Worlock”.  The highlight of the evening, however, was probably the encore of “Assimilate” which saw Ogre donning a costume of…himself. Probably the most “loose” song of the evening, it was also the best seeing Ogre uninhibited along with Cevin Key, cigarette between lips,  just wailing away behind his boards.

Metropolis Records labelmates Army Of The Universe opened up the show with some visuals of their own (Laser guitars!) and an electro thump rock sound that guarantees showing up early to this show is a good thing.

If “Shapes for Arms” hasn’t hit your neighborhood yet make sure you check it out when it does. You won’t be disappointed. For tour dates and more head on over to Skinny Puppy on Facebook and please be sure to “like” us on our page.

 

 

 

From the ashes of Flickerstick: Jetta in the Ghost Tree!

I think it’s safe to say that Flickerstick is one of my all time favorites. I have the original version of Welcoming Home The Astronauts along with the Sony version (It’s “lie here naked with my girl” not “taken” you corporate suit people!) and the EP’s, live albums , and studio album that followed. I loved VH1’s Bands on the Run and relentlessly tracked down copies of the series on a shitty VHS transfer just so I could relive the awesomeness that was the ‘Stick doing what they do best: Rockin’!

Cut to 13 years later: Flickerstick has broken up but after a few false starts it looks like singer/songwriter Brandin Lea is finally back with his new outfit Jetta in the Ghost Tree.

“It’s so nice to see you/I’ve been gone for awhile/The time in the spotlight paralyzed…” sings Lea on first single “Down and Out” and no truer words were ever spoken. I had no idea the troubles that Lea went through after the dissolution of Flickerstick but if anything Jetta In The Ghost Tree has reminded us why he is such a relevant songwriter and voice in the 21st Century.

At just over seven minutes, the debut single from JitGT is a haunting tale of woe that gives so much hope as to what the future holds for Lea and the rest of his new band with echoes of Noel Gallagher’s most recent solo endeavors shining through in spots while in others showcasing how far Lea has come as a songwriter since his Flickerstick days.

For more on Jetta in the Ghost Tree head on over to their official Facebook page and don’t forget to “like” us on ours!

 

Breton prepare for “War” on sophomore release.

Breton_War_Room_Stories_Artwork

Listening to War Room Stories, the second full length from the UK’s Breton, has made me appreciate Other People’s Money so much more. They’re both equally brilliant but for different reasons. While OPM was this mechanical blip-hop masterpiece, War Room… sees the band opening up so much more.

Opener “Envy” is an easy contender for single of the year. It’s catchy and moves the band’s sound ahead tenfold presenting a more organic overall approach and a warmth not felt on some of their earlier works. Maybe it’s the Caribbean vibe the song emits or maybe it’s the typical “They’re growing as musicians” spiel. Whatever the case, the song is hypnotic and is the perfect introduction to War Room Stories.

From there, Breton continue to excel and exceed expectations. “S4” could be a film score with the plucked strings that open it up and while “Legs & Arms” (Along with “302 Watchtowers”) might be the closest Breton come to sounding like OPM, the track still drives their sound infinitely forward. Speaking of forward, “Get Well Soon” is the undeniable future of Breton. A veritable sonic tour-de-force, the song is unlike anything Breton have birthed thus far yet it’s the next one, “Closed Circuit”, that really shakes things up. It’s the striking guitar lines, the string section, the horns…just everything about this song that screams perfection.

While later still, echoes of “Envy” rear their pretty little head on closer “Fifteen Minutes” proving that Breton makes music that’ll make you think as well as move. Far be it from me to tell you what you should and shouldn’t like but I’ll be damned if I don’t take this opportunity to stress how essential War Room Stories is to any your collection this year.

War Room Stories is out on February 3rd. You can still pre-order the album here then check out Breton online here and don’t forget to head on over to our Facebook page and give us a like, too!

 

Have A Nice Life invite you to The Unnatural World!

hanl

 

I have to admit: I tried to get into Have A Nice Life before and couldn’t. For all the praise Deathconsciousness received I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Still, when The Unnatural World was announced I was determined to try again. I’m lucky I did because this is easily an album that is not to be missed in 2014.

If ever there was an album that was meant to be heard through headphones and at high volumes it was The Unnatural World. Especially during these recent cold New England nights, a stereo just won’t do this album justice. One needs to be fully enveloped in the warmth of Have A Nice Life’s sound to fully appreciate it. Take opener “Guggenheim Wax Museum”, for example, which is this massive wall of sound that could easily be dropped into The Thing as it heralds something truly bleak and solitary.

Cut to the Joy Division meets The Sisters Of Mercy “Defenstration Song” which is glorious, goth-soaked, and destined to stand out on the dance floor at the Paradise during one of their inevitable Man Ray Redux nights to give you the knowledge that Have A Nice Life is anything but predictable. “Burial Society” follows and is this beautiful and hypnotic piano-laden piece with vocals that are at times Dave Gahan-esque while the rest of The Unnatural World just amplifies what the first three songs inevitably laid the groundwork for. Like Sigur Ros without the made up language (Especially “Music Will Untune The Sky”), Have A Nice Life is presenting something completely fresh and an easy contender for must-own album of the new year.

The Unnatural World is out on February 4th through The Flenser (Stream AND buy it here). For more on HANL, head on over to their Facebook page and don’t forget to like us, too, over on ours!