Sierra mixes old school Tool with COC-style swamp boogie on debut album Pslip!

PromoImage (2)

The debut release from Kylesa mainman Philip Cope’s Retro Futurist label is here and it is a glorious amalgamation of everything that can go right in the world of heavy rawk. The band is Sierra, the album is Pslip, and they deliver a down home-style rock album straight from the swamps of Ontario (Wait, what???).

“Pslip In” starts off with an almost Adam Jones-like riff leading into the epic “Little Smoke” which clocks in at just under seven minutes and introduces Jason Taylor’s COC meets COC vox (A little John Custer, a little Pepper Keenan, a whole lotta awesome).

“Control Folly” really displays what this band can do and lets drummer Ky Anto shine a little while Taylor lays some thick and crunchy riffs. Bringing up the low end is never an easy task in any band but bassist Robbie Carvalho does an excellent job especially during instrumental track “Psquigalogz” which brings to mind the vastly underrated Karma To Burn.

And as they say, the hits just keep on coming especially as you “Pslip In” more to the album. “Pseptember” is an unbridled riff session while “Smoke Filled Room” is quiet and introspective before giving way to an all out assault on your senses. Kylesa like Sierra already. Pslip is the evidence of why you should, too.

For more on Sierra, head on over here and please don’t forget to “like” us on our very own Facebook page!

Pslip is out on January 28th through Retro Futurist. Snag your copy here.

 

 

 

14 for ’14: A Rock And Roll Fables guide to new music in the new year!

Eagulls-Eagulls

If I follow this thought process, 2025 is going to be a very long post. Anywho, there’s some new music coming out in 2014 that I really think you should pay attention to. Here goes nothing (No particular order, by the way):

1. He Is Legend (Untitled/TBC)

What kind of a band releases the most amazing album of their career and then disbands? He Is Legend, that’s who! But never fear, HIL is back and has been diligently working away on the follow up to 2009’s It Hates You between bouts of touring which should see the light of day this year. Will it live up to its predecessor? With a new song teased to be dropping imminently, we’ll soon have our answer.

 2. Tom Vek (Untitled/TBC)

Um, have you heard Leisure Seizure? If you have then you’ll know why I’m so excited for the third full-length from Tom Vek. The progenitor of Brit-hop makes music in fits and spurts but when it’s finally released it is so worth the wait.

3. Breton: (War Room Stories/February 3)

First single “Envy” has been on a steady rotation in RNRF offices since it was released late last year so the full-length that includes this masterpiece is easily high up there on our most wanted of 2014 list. I can safely tell you, though, that the whole of War Room Stories is brilliant as well. Watch this space for a review soon.

4. Prong (Untitled/TBC)

There is a lot of metal that we’re looking forward to in the new year and Prong is always a proven force of brutality. Their last, Carved Into Stone, managed to capture the entirety of Prong’s illustrious catalog on a single album. Will the follow up be more of the same or a step beyond? Here’s hoping it’s the latter.

5. Maximo Park (Too Much Information/February 3)

“Brain Cells” is the only song you need to hear in 2014 to prove that Maximo Park is not fucking around. Barely a year and a half after the phenomenal A National HealthToo Much Information sounds like an instant classic from the two or three songs released so far.

6. Reverend & The Makers (Thirty Two/February 24)

No song hit me like “Bassline” and the Youth-produced (He, of the mighty Killing Joke who might releasing a new rekkid in 2014) @reverend_makers album in 2012. Friends of Alex Turner who sound like an electrified Happy Mondays, Rev & co. is back with another one that’s sure to rule and first single “Your Girl” is the proof.

7. Nate Newton/Max Cavalera goodness (TBC/Throughout 2014)

Let’s see, there’s the just announced new Cavalera Conspiracy album which will have local boy Nate Newton on bass duties, the Max Cavalera, Greg Puciato, Troy Sanders Killer Be Killed supergroup, oh, and a little band called OLD MAN GLOOM featuring Newton, Aaron Turner, Caleb Scofield, and  Santos Montano all with albums out this year. Three for one. You’re welcome.

8. Dog Fashion Disco (Untitled/Spring)

Another band that soon disbanded after releasing what was probably the best of their career up to that point, Maryland’s Dog Fashion Disco is back and at it again with their first new record since 2006’s Adultery. Recording begins later this month. Adultery was, hands down, the band’s best which means the follow up can only be better.

9, Primitive Race (Untitled/TBC)

The only industrial album you need to seek out in 2014! The brainchild of Chris Kniker, this veritable supergroup features Raymond Watts (New PIG in 2014 please?), Burton Bell, Chris Vrenna (In some capacity although he’s since left the group/recording project), Graham Crabb of Pop Will Eat Itself, Luc Van Acker, Kourtney Klein…the list goes on. There’s an EP on the way along with, hopefully, a full-length. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for the latest additions and news.

10. Nachtmystium (The World We Left Behind/ Spring 2014)

The final Nachtmystium album! Blake Judd is sure to go out with a scream and not a whimper when he puts the final nail in the coffin of his black metal/prog band. “Voyager” was released towards the end of 2013 and gives a little taste of the upcoming long player which sounds more like the experimental Assassins: Black Meddle , Part 1 than 2012’s Silencing Machine.

11. Marriages (Untitled/TBC)

Emma Ruth Rundle and the boys are back with another slab of female-fronted Isis-like shoegaze post rock. It’ll be epic and you should buy it.

12. Crowbar (Untitled/TBC)

Kirk Windsrein left Down to focus on Crowbar so you know he means business especially when it comes to their 25th anniversary. 2011’s Sever The Wicked Hand was a refreshing return to form melding the New Orleans sludge of ’93’s Crowbar with the sonic brilliance of Odd Fellows Rest so frankly, the sky’s the limit for this one.

13. Combichrist: (We Love You/March 25)

Aggro-industrial at its best, Combichrist is destined to deliver a wallop on their latest if first single “From My Cold Dead Hands” is even an inkling of an indicator of where the rest of We Love You is headed.

14. Eagulls (Eagulls/March 4)

This is kind of cheating because I have this one but if you’ve heard “Nerve Endings” or “Tough Luck” already then you know that this post-punk outfit means business. The rest of Eagulls is no joke. You’ve been warned.

Also worth your time in 2014 are new albums from: Guster, White Noise Owl, Mastodon, Hank & Cupcakes, Slipknot, Fear Factory, Godflesh, and Bells Into Machines featuring Paul Barker and Chris Connelly

Best & Worst of 2013: bostonregina Edition

The-Canyons-1

Best Album: AM by Arctic Monkeys

Hot damn, these boys. I remember when they were pimply and floppy haired and playing Oasis covers in whatever basement would have them. Now they’re all slick-coiffed and wearing leather. Their time in the desert with Mr. Josh Homme continues to do them well. Highlights include  the “question trio”, started with last year’s early release rockandrolla anthem “R U Mine?” (A: “Um, sure?”), followed by “Do I Wanna Know?” (A: “Yes, fuckkkk, yes!”), and rounded out by “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” (A: “For reasons. Sexy reasons.) The rest of the tunes, including the absolutely perfect night-driving anthem “One For the Road”, make this the album I have been waiting for since Humbug. Combined with a smashing set at The Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Mass., it’s been the Year of the Monkeys, music-wise, so much so, I became one of those girls. (P.S. An older Monkeys track that has made a surprise comeback for me in 2013 is “Brianstorm” off 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare.)

 

Best Video:***Flawless” by Beyonce

Do I really need to say more about this? Sweet fancy Moses, no video has captured my id so well since !!!’s “Must Be the Moonlight”. This is, honestly, fucking flawless. From her amazing outfit, to the perfection of the hook (“I woke up like dis…”), to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie basically saying everything about being a successful woman in today’s society. “We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much.'” The first time I watched this video, I actually cried. And then I danced around the room and felt fucking amazing. The way Queen Bay released this album, with no fucks to give, makes this entire album basically about one one message for me: Ladies, we flawless.

 

Best Live Show: !!!, The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass.

I am stupid happy that The Sinclair is fucking open. I rolled to this show by myself, specifically because I am selfish and needed to completely focus on losing my fucking mind. Chk-Chk-Chk rarely comes to Boston, so when they do, you can bet I’m going to be there, on the barrier, dancing like a maniac. I can’t even talk about how awesome the show was, because it’s so personal, so private, intimate even. All I know is that I got whipped by Nic Offer’s mic cord (stupid hot, almost as hot as Nic’s blushing apology afterward), my gin ‘n’ tonic was spilled more than once and replaced more times than that, and I got butt-boosted onto the stage for the last jam by a delightful gentleman (Note: Seriously, Jesse, he was a gentleman, didn’t even try to feel me up on the way.)  who was stronger than he looked. In short, a fucking amazing night, and I would recommend it to anyone. Just don’t expect me to babysit your purse or jacket — come prepared to dance your ass off.

 

Best New TV Show: Sleepy Hollow

This show was a surprise to me — I watched it on OnDemand as a time-killer some weekend, and got promptly sucked in. A combination of the “man out of time” trope (with Ichabod Crane waking from a magic grave to track down the Horsemen of the Apocalypse) with a Fringe-type procedural, with amazing chemistry between the leads the like I haven’t seen since Mulder and Scully, it’s a great watch. Orlando Jones (who plays our intrepid duos beleaguered boss with a painful past) kills it as the biggest fanpoodle ever on Tumblr and Twitter, and raises the game for any actor-creator-professional interacting with fandom. The man should teach a master class on how to treat fans respectfully while still having a damn good time. For once, the interactions with the “talent” online don’t turn me off from a show/movie! It’s the fucking future!

 

Best Returning TV Show: Arrow

Stephen Amell could be Orlando Jones’ TA for the Fandom Interaction Master Class. He posts Q&As on his Facebook, says what he means and means what he says, posts pictures of his insane workouts when he’s still sweaty and miserable, and does great work for cancer charities. On top of that, he’s bringing his A-Game as Oliver Queen this season, killing the nuances of a wonderfully complicated character with an extraordinarily complicated life as both Oliver and his alter-ego the newly rechristianed “Arrow” (ne “The Hood”). The supporting actors are bringing it, as well, with David Ramsey’s Diggle making it happen for me in so many ways. The only beef I have with this season is the inconsistent treatment of Laurel Lance, played by a seemingly exhausted Katie Cassidy. Between the terrible writing and the really bizarre styling choices, there is no way this Laurel is going to end up being Black Canary. (That’s okay with me, though, because between Emily Bett Rickard’s take on Felicity Smoak, Oliver’s EA by day and his proto-Oracle by night, and the surprise of Sara Lance coming back from the dead and kicking misogynistic ass all over the place, I’m doing good for ladies on this show.) The introduction of “powers” into the universe this season is awesome (Uh, Barry and Roy, anyone?), and I can’t wait to see what they do with the Deathstroke plotline and, uh, well, everything! (And I didn’t even mention the hotness of Oliver tripping Russian off his tongue like it’s nbd. Ngggghhhh!)

 

Best Movie (Theaters): Pacific Rim

It’s the goddamn Iron Giant come to life. Well, without the sentience and Cold War stuff, but there is no way that Guillermo Del Toro didn’t hork Brad Bird’s concept drawings of IG for Gipsy Danger. I have so many ridiculous feelings about this movie, including wide-eyed dissertations about the globalization of war and the fact that if you watch really closely at the fight scene between Charlie Hunnam’s Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori, you can see them aping each other’s fighting style, foreshadowing their drift compatibility. (You can see Raleigh take down Chuck with Mako’s signature face-slap and twist-and-sweep in a scene shortly thereafter.) Actually, everything about Raleigh and Mako’s epic friendship is amazing. I love the fact that Mako is a true heroine, trying and failing at her dream of piloting a jaeger, being completely and absolutely fascinated by Raleigh, but keeping it platonic. Gosh, thank you, GDT. THANK YOU. If anything, the epic romance trope was picked up by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman’s scientist duo — you can’t tell me that their pigtail pulling wasn’t preamble to some total ridiculous and awkward make-out sessions.

Best Movie (OnDemand): The Canyons

Listen, do not even start with me. This was a goddamn surprise highlight of the year for me. James Deen was mesmerizing. I can’t even talk about this movie without making incoherent noises. He was amazing as Christian, an absolutely lizard of a human being, the personification of Hollywood’s underbelly. And Lindsay Lohan, barely keeping it together underneath a veneer of LA cool as Tara…honestly, I really don’t know why people hate on this film. The off-screen drama just heightened the experience for me. There were so many bits where you could see the tension just snap and pass into something transcendent. I really think that Paul Schrader’s work on this trainwreck in a dress was highly underrated and completely overshadowed by the media machine surrounding the production. Highly recommended, and a welcome addition to our DVD collection.

Worst Movie: Spring Breakers/Star Trek Into Darkness (tie)

Look, I thought Spring Breakers was going to be a comedy. A dark comedy, sure, but a comedy. Don’t ask me why. Honestly, it was like watching a Greek tragedy. I wanted nothing more than to talk to my high school mythology teacher about the ~symbolism~ of the direction and cinematography. If I could sit through another showing of this cringe-fest, I’m sure my mind would be blown. Nothing tops the threesome scene with James Franco’s Alien deep-throating two silenced guns, though. You can see the moment where he just gives in and basically goes for it. Holy crap, Franco, you self-referential douche-b, how can I hate you after that?

 

And onto the fucking sham of a movie that was Star Trek Into Darkness. I had super low expectations for Star Trek 2009, and was blown away. It was a perfect Alternate Universe take on the insanity that is ST canon, and I really enjoyed the fact that it took the character of James Kirk, who I have always hated, and made him actually sympathetic and interesting. Chris Pine shows up for STID, as does the rest of the cast from the 2009 flick, but that’s about all they do. JJ Abrams takes a classic story that was perfectly told already with the TOS episode “Space Seed” and the movie Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and completely and utterly fucks it up. I have a love-hate-fuck relationship with Benedict Cumberbatch, so I was hoping that the rumors were false that he was rolling as a white-washed Khan — but I was sadly let down. The thing about ST canon is that while it’s mental, it’s so rich. There were many ways for JJ and his Band of Merry Assholes to take that story and turn it on its head, but he screwed the pooch. This movie made it obvious to me how much he hates the source material, and truly hates the fandom. For those nerdpoodles like me, I say that he could have easily made Cumbersnatch’s Khan into one of the other augments (How awesome would it have been if one of the pod’s destroyed was Khan’s and Bendysloot ended up being his second in command Joachim or some other crazypants fucker?) without fucking with a POC character and pissing off a bunch of people. Also, I straight-up laughed at Zachary Quinto’s Spock screaming “Khan!!!” after finding his bro Kirk dead. Only redeeming feature of the movie? The fight scene between Quinto and Bendy Dick Cum On My Baps where they both just lose their fucking minds and beat the snot out of each other.

Worst TV Show: Teen Wolf, Season “3a”

I get it, Teen Wolf is not meant to be quality television. But it wasn’t a total guilty pleasure, either. I enjoyed the first two seasons’ supernatural aspects combined with attractive twenty-year-olds pretending to be teenagers. Season 3a just shit all over the characters, and highlighted the fact that showrunner Jeff Davis is a complete cunt and has no idea what he’s doing. Too many new characters, killing off all the lady villains while letting the dude villains stick around, and shitting all over poor Tyler Hoechlin’s increasingly despondent Derek Hale. I had the ~pleasure~ of attending the first Teen Wolf fan convention in London this Fall and making googly eyes at how much the actors realize how ridiculous their jobs are, and that was the only shining moment in an otherwise shitty year for this show. (More from the convention is here; it’s a fucking delight.)

Album I Bought and Didn’t Listen To: Franz Ferdinand’s new one

I don’t even know the name of it. I might have opened it? I don’t know. I basically just buy their albums out of guilt for listening to a bootleg of them from their first album from German radio that remains one of the best live shows I have ever listened to and not attended. Honestly, talk about one-and-done. I’ll just pretend they broke up after the first album and keep playing this jam over and over again. Thanks.

Worst Live Performance: Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre, London

OMG, did I hate this show. I hated everything about it, from the music to the stage direction, to the costuming, to the arrogant little fucks sitting next to me whispering throughout the entire thing. Why do people like this shit? No, really? WHY?! It’s put out that it’s a feminist anthem, but it’s really just about a terrible love triangle where everyone is a complete asshole and no one wins in the end. Fucking terrible.

If you’re interested in more ridiculousness from me, you can find me on Twitter having virtual arguments with Jesse while we sit next to each other, seriously discussing things like traffic patterns in the Greater Boston Area, and random moments where I get introspective about misogyny.

Second Grave release Antithesis, prepare to destroy Cambridge on Saturday then the World!

sg_antithesis_vinyl_cover

 

It’s not often that heavy metal has the perfect combination of ear-crunching music and pristine vocals. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Second Grave play to a sparse crowd at Ralph’s earlier in the year when they managed to hit that mark. Their new EP Antithesis promises not to disappoint.

Krista Van Guilder has a croon that calls to mind the timbre of some of metal’s greatest vocalists in a way that’s distinctly feminine and entirely satisfying, while her deep-throated scream is no joke. Her guitar combined with Chris Drzal’s, counterpointed by Dave Gein on bass and Chuck Ferreira on drums results in delightful headbang anthems. Breakdowns are executed expertly and perfectly timed for horn-raising catcalls from live audiences.

Do yourself a favor and add them to your library; there’s no way you’ll be disappointed. If you’re local to the Boston area, get your ass to the Middle East November 30th to see them with Summoner, Rozamov, and Jack Burton Vs David Lo Pan. I’ll be the one up front screaming my face off with glee — bring me a gin ‘n’ tonic and we’ll be pals for life.

 

 

Maximo Park is looking to kill a few “Brain Cells” with new single, album.

 

The love that Rock And Roll Fables has for Maximo Park knows no bounds. Imagine our surprise yesterday when we turned on the internets yesterday to find that their fifth album had been announced and is barely two months away from release. Due on February 3rd, Too Much Information, comes less than two years after 2012’s brilliant The National Health.

All that is known so far is that the album was self-produced by the band and first single “Brain Cells” is a far cry from the guitar-driven songs of yore.  Lush and synth-heavy, “Brain Cells” might just be one aspect of the album but I know that being a child of the ’80’s a song like this gives me chills.

Watch the clip for “Brain Cells” below and then head over to maximopark.com where pre-order’s are already available for Too Much Information.

 

 

 

Mutoid Man’s Helium Head is the Verge-In album the world needs AND deserves!

Verge-In is here! Sort of! It’s Helium Head, the debut EP from Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky and Converge’s Ben Koller (Or Cave In’s Ben Koller depending on what year it is) new group Mutoid Man! Exclamation! (Hey, you take a listen to this EP on repeat and tell me you’re not bouncing off the walls!)

It’s a two pronged sonic onslaught of delightful frenetic frenzy packed neatly into a seven track EP. If you’re a fan of either of the members’ respective “day jobs” then Helium Head has something for you. It’s also an album where if you blink, you might miss all the fun. Yeah, it’s that fast.

Koller, as always, is on fire here but it’s Brodsky who really shines in the end. Fans who thought he’s gone soft with age and let Caleb Scofield take on all the aggressive parts in Cave In need only listen to opener “Gnarcissist” or follow up “Scavengers” to know that not only is Brodsky still capable of bringing the heavy but he’s also still capable of bringing some noise not heard since the Until Your Heart Stops days. Just listen to “Friday the 13/8” or “Lost In The Hive” as Brodsky gets his rage on completely for more proof.

All around, Helium Head is a solid debut of unexpected chaos from two of Massachusetts finest and hopefully a great indicator of what’s to come.

Helium Head is out digitally on November 22nd and physically on November 26th. Check out the pre-order options over on Shirts & Destroy now.

 

Breton like you even if you’re a Tourist on new single “Envy”!

Steel drums come alive tonight on Breton’s latest single off the forthcoming War Room Stories. There’s not much to say about “Envy” after you hear it once. It’s incredible and expands greatly on the sound the UK based filmmakers-turned-music wizards created on a series of EP’s and on their debut full-length, 2012’s Other People’s Problems.

“Envy” takes it all to the next level. It’s bouncier and is wholly more organic than some of Breton’s earlier works adding a Caribbean flair but still retaining their core sound.

The sure to be brilliant new album is due on February 3rd. Pre-order yours today right here and, of course, check out “Envy” over on Breton’s Soundcloud page!

 

Lady Gaga is the shit! A Rock And Roll Fables review of ARTPOP

I like Lady Gaga. I do. I was a fan when she first popped up on the scene during NKOTB’s comeback The Block  way, way back in 2008 and loved her debut and was even more taken back by the follow-up EP/mini-album The Fame Monster. Am I a fan of the theatrics, the fanfare, the persona? Nope. I grew up in a Marilyn Manson/Slipknot era of shock rock/metal so maybe I’m just desensitized to it all but the extra flair does nothing for me. However, it’s incredible that just listening to a Gaga track instantly evokes images of what the dance routine will be like on stage.

That said, I do believe that Stefani is a phenomenal performer. She captures that perfect mix of Britney and Christina but just does it better and on ARTPOP she immediately brings to mind a musical icon when she at times channels Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Born This Way was not the album that needed to follow the breakout success of “Bad Romance”. For all you monsters out there that felt slighted by her second studio album (I don’t consider myself a “monster” by the way), her third full-length will instantly quell your fears.

“Aura” is this gorgeous opener that draws listeners in with a subtle flamenco line and Gaga’s effects-laden vocals before giving way to a larger than life dance pop party as the pop star belts out  “Aura-a-a-ah!” circling back to the “Ra ra…” chorus of “Bad Romance”.

From there on out, ARTPOP gets bigger and bolder. “Venus” is a raucous space jam, “G.U.Y.” is a divine electro romp, and “Sexxx Dreams” is a funky yet filthy little ditty about, um, you can use your imagination. It also features a nifty little bass line that one could picture John Taylor popping up for (Speaking of, why has there been no Simon LeBon/Lady Gaga duet yet?).

T.I. turns up along with Too Short and Twista for “Jewels n’ Drugs” which could be compared to Miley Cyrus’ recent foray into hip hop but unlike Hannah Montana, Gaga just executes everything better.

Midway through is when ARTPOP gets really interesting as the album traverses the stratosphere on the atmospheric “Do What U Want” featuring R. Kelly and the title track which takes listeners to a whole different realm of awesome.

The lack of ballads is a plus in my book as well and luckily (For me, at least) when they do pop up they’re back to back and towards the end and followed by the massive “Applause” to close out a triumphant third album.

ARTPOP is out on November 11th. Order it here and here.
Grade: A

Nachtmystium head into oblivion on new single “Voyager”

Blake Judd is heading towards the abyss. Drug problems. Band turmoil. You name it, he’s got it. One thing’s for sure, though, his musical integrity is still firmly intact. Despite his recent arrest, Judd is determined to power through and give fans one last hurrah and final albums from both his black metal supergroup Twilight and his main band Nachtmystium. Both are due out next year on Century Media and the first taste of the former is “Voyager”: a tumultuous 7 minute slab of sonic excess that once again reinvents Judd’s primary outfit.

At times hearkening back to 2008’s  Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1, “Vpyager” is a promising introduction to the already titled The World We Left Behind as Judd cries “No one can ever take away this lust!” repeatedly.

The World We Left Behind  is due in 2014 through Century Media. You can check out a stream of “Voyager” over on Stereogum.

 

 

 

Trevor de Brauw of Pelican: A Rock And Roll Fables Interview!

The monolithic Pelican is back with a brand spanking new full-length entitled Forever Becoming (Released in October through Southern Lord recordings) and a new tour to accompany it. Recently, guitarist Trevor de Brauw spoke with Rock And Roll Fables about the challenges that awaited the band on album number five, how new guitarist Dallas Thomas is working out, and why it took so damn long to put out the album. Read on for more below:

 

It’s been over four years since your last full-length with only one EP in the interim. What caused such a gap between full-lengths?

When our last album was released in 2009 we were doing the band full time, touring constantly, and just generally following a constant cycle of writing and recording between tours. But at the end of that album’s tour cycle we were getting the feeling that that lifestyle and career path was not sustainable- we were on the road five months a year and scrounging for part time work when we’d get home to just barely scrape by. It was obvious that things had to shift; so we stopped touring and put the band on hold for a bit while we figured out how to make it work writing, recording, and touring-wise in a less time consumptive manner. The process of recording the EP was instrumental in that, actually, it kind of acted as an impetus to get moving again as well as laying a blueprint for how to make it work.

This is the first album without Laurent Schroeder-Lebec in the fold. What does Dallas Thomas bring to Pelican?

We’re all self-taught and have almost no music vocabulary at our disposal. Dallas is an actual musician who knows music theory. He has a distinct sense of when things work and when they don’t and knows how to communicate it effectively. I can tend to be a bit imprecise and non-committal about how I play specific parts, but Dallas is very into regimentation, so he reigns in some of those bad habits of mine.

Besides the new line-up, what sets Forever Becoming apart from other Pelican releases?

It’s the first album where Bryan and I acted as song writing collaborators. We’ve always tended to start the songwriting process as duos within the band, but over all these years Bryan and I never worked together at that stage of the process. It gave us occasion to really challenge each other and develop a different kind of musical rapport. I think it lent the material a reinvigorated sense of urgency.

You released “Deny The Absolute” early as a single/7″ on The Mylene Sheath with a different version ultimately appearing on Forever Becoming. This is the third album in a row using that approach (“Ephemeral” and “March To The Sea” come to mind as other examples). Do you tend to pick songs beforehand that will have two versions?

This is something we’ve always done. In part I think it stems from an impatience with the songwriting process- writing an album takes a long time and we get anxious and want to hear some of the stuff recorded earlier than later. Every time the song or songs we do early are more a matter if which song was fleshed out earlier than others. I think it also taps into our relationship to music as fans and collectors. Some of my favorite records of all time are EPs- the best ones are succinct and leave you wanting more, which is a really nice feeling in a way.

Pelican has been on a variety of labels over the years (The Mylene Sheath, Hydra Head, Southern Lord). What’s the appeal of mixing up labels and do you think there will ever be a permanent home for Pelican?

We’ve had the fortune of working with friends, for the most part. What’s been so tremendous and great about Hydra Head and Southern Lord is that both are musician-run labels, so they have full sympathy and trust in the vision we’re trying to achieve. Generally it’s nice to work with a few different people here and there just to get a sense about how people do things differently and maybe catch the attention of different people that might be following one label more closely than another, but the priority is always to work with people who want to help us fulfill our vision.

What is your proudest moment since starting with Pelican?

I think the first time our local daily paper Chicago Tribune wrote a feature about us was a big standout because our parents all took real notice. And they compared our music to yoga, which was sort of odd, but it made my dad really stoked since he’s very into yoga.