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Riffs, Rants and Rumors: Searching For Sugar Man With Rodriguez Documentary Director

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, you could scarcely swing a Gibson acoustic without hitting a great singer/songwriter whose work went unappreciated by all but a tiny cult following. Some of them got a second shot at fame in the ‘90s and ‘00s through reissues and revivals of interest—Terry Callier, Vashti Bunyan, and Gary Higgins are among those that come to mind—but no underground balladeer has been aided in their comeback by a high-profile documentary film. Until now, that is.

In 1970 and ’71, the Detroit-based songwriter who went only by his surname, Rodriguez, released the albums Cold Fact and Coming From Reality, respectively, on the Sussex label, which was probably most famous for the classic catalog of another streetwise ‘70s troubadour, Bill Withers. Like Withers, Rodriguez served up a sonic cocktail of folk and soul, but with a pinch of post-psychedelic rock flavoring. Rodriguez’s songs also mirrored Withers’ early work in their mixture of sociopolitical and personal themes. But the Mexican-American artist born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez didn’t achieve the renown of his labelmate, or any renown at all, at least not as far as he knew at the time. Like so many talented contemporaries, Rodriguez wasn’t able to work the game in his favor despite being a gifted artist, and his records basically gathered dust. 1971’s Coming From Reality would be his last recording.

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Coheed And Cambria Announce Staggered Release Dates Of New Double Album

Epic sci-fi prog-rock concept masters, Coheed & Cambria are at it again with their new installment of The Amory Wars. Claudio Sanchez and company have announced on their website that their forthcoming release will be a 2-part album with staggered release dates. According to, “The first volume, The Afterman: Ascension, will be available on both physical and digital platforms October 9, 2012 via Hundred Handed/Everything Evil, and distributed through Fontana/Ingrooves. The second volume, The Afterman: Descension is slated for release in February 2013.” You can watch an HD teaser trailer for the albums below.


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Thurston Moore Gets Brutal With Black Metal Super Group

Though Sonic Youth’s status as a band is unknown (and let’s be fair, the outlook is pretty grim), Thurston Moore has been keeping himself very busy in the meantime with a number of different projects. First, there’s Moore’s new William S. Borroughs-inspired band Chelsea Light Moving. Moore also did a record with ex-wife Kim Gordon and Yoko Ono, YOKOKIMTHURSTON, that is waiting for a release date. But those musical moves are right in Moore’s wheelhouse. Who would’ve thought that the indie rock icon would go black metal?

That’s right, Thurston Moore is the newest member of Twilight, a seven member super group whose current roster includes members of Leviathan, Kreig, and IsisBlake Judd, a member of Twilight and the frontman of Nachtmystium, noted his excitement in collaborating with Moore during an interview with The 1st Five. “I had Sonic Youth records when I was twelve. And to now know that, not only am I having a dialogue with this person about anything, but dude’s gonna join a band I started, and it’s like…whoah,” said Judd.

It’s hard for any news surrounding Moore to come completely out of left field; the indie rock icon has expressed an appreciation for black metal in the past. ”I didn’t really start listening to black metal until maybe the last 10 years or something,” Moore said in an interview with Decibel Magazine in 2009. “I was into certain things, like the first Burzum record. I remember buying that in Scandinavia after I’d read about it somewhere.”

It is unknown at press time if Moore will be donning corpse paint for live performances.

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Go Periscope Takes Pop To The Future With ‘Wasted Youth’

Though many current synth pop artists attempt to recapture the vintage electronic sounds of the ’80s, OurStage act Go Periscope aims straight for the future and never looks back. With their new album Wasted Youth, Go Periscope’s Florin Merano and Joshua Frazier have released a dark and pulsating collection of songs that sound like the 21st century. While Go Periscope’s music does contain clear references to the ’80s synth sounds that inspired its members, the songs are more than just conduits for indulgent electro-nostalgia. In fact, Wasted Youth is unabashedly contemporary, with its obvious debts to EDM and dubstep on tracks like “Black Light Masquerade” and “Break Free.” The synth tones are expansive and thick, layering on top of each other to create rippling waves of sound that undergird Merano and Frazier’s heavily filtered vocals.

Yet, for all of its shine and polish, Wasted Youth speaks to the dark and increasingly unstable world around it. For a work that so heavily revolves around artificially engineered sounds, the album contains a significant number of lyrical references to nature. Fire, water, gold, and horses all appear as damaged or endangered elements in the wake of technology, which electronically manipulates the natural world described in the lyrics. Vocal lines are often sliced, rearranged, and panned until they sound like the inhuman sputterings of a dying computer. Clean vocals intertwine with computerized, bit-crunched harmonies that suggest the integration of human and machine to the point of indistinguishability. In the face of the mechanized depletion of the natural world around them, humans can only choose to “live in fantasy,” as the track “Make Believers” sadly emphasizes through the repeated line: “It was only a dream / But it was just like Heaven.” Ultimately, technology doesn’t just enable these escapist fantasies; it makes them necessary in the first place. At a time when people can’t let go of their smartphones and the world is becoming unyieldingly digitized, Go Periscope is making pop music for an uncertain future. Until then, the dance anthems on Wasted Youth implore listeners to party like it’s the end of the world.

You can buy Wasted Youth now at Go Periscope’s Bandcamp page!

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Exclusive Q and A: Taking Back Sunday Talk Warped Tour Ten Years After ‘Tell All Your Friends’

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsAny fan of early 2000′s pop punk knows that Taking Back Sunday‘s Tell All Your Friends is the go-to warm weather record. Ten years after the album’s release, TBS is still one of the biggest bands in the modern rock scene, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been drawing the biggest crowds at Warped Tour all summer. We met up with drummer Mark O’Connell and guitarist John Nolan at the Mansfield date to chat about having icon status on Warped, writing new material and the rumored 10th anniversary tour for their classic debut record.

OS: You haven’t been on the Warped Tour for many, many years. What’s it like to be headlining the whole thing this year?

JN: I think the weirdest thing is that this band has a status, I think, at this point, amongst the other bands. The younger bands kind of look at us like something. You know, like we’re these elder statesmen or something like that, which was not the case, obviously, in 2004. But yeah, it’s definitely interesting to be on this tour and to be in this kind of position like that, where bands look at you a certain way, and even the audience, too. But it definitely feels like we’re reintroducing ourselves to a lot of people at the same time, which is cool. I mean it’s been a good thing all around, I think.

OS: You’ve never done Warped Tour with the lineup you have now. What’s it like to have two new people out this time?

MO: Well he is one of the new people. [points at Nolan]

JN: He gets to talk shit about one of the new guys [laughs].

MO: And he’s a new-old guy, the old-new…whatever. But, I can say that it’s definitely more fun with John and Shaun [Cooper]. The original lineup.

JN: I personally think the band is much better with Shaun Cooper and John Nolan in it. I mean just, a completely unbiased position, I mean, it’s just better. Just better. [laughs] Everything is better.

OS: There are a lot of veterans out with you guys this year, like New Found Glory, Bayside, and Senses Fail. Is it nice to have bands that broke out around the same time you did on Warped Tour?

MO: Yeah. You know, we’re always right next to Bayside and New Found Glory, so they’re good dudes, we’ve known them for a long time, so it makes it nice to, you know, be able to wake up and see people that you know. Friendly faces, smiles, good friends. Good times.

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Strangely Enough, “Centipede Radio” Is Run By A Collective Of Animals

There have been scant details about Animal Collective’s ninth studio album, Centipede Hz, since it was announced back in May. There was the “Honeycomb”/”Gotham” single that came out just prior to the album announcement. (Neither one of those songs have appeared in the tracklisting for the new album, by the way.) That psychedelic and grotesque album trailer didn’t really say much, either. Well, the Collective, made up of Geologist, Deakin, Avey Tare, and Panda Bear, took a big old info dump all over the Internet this weekend in the form of their new weekly online radio show.

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Love and War


“There’s nothing wrong with being different,” Orly Lari sings on “Wasteland” over a torrent of guitars and drums. And being different, to EarlyRise, means raging against the powers that seek to tear us down. Lari, along with co-conspirator/guitarist Raz Klinghoffer has created a leitmotif of unrest that carries over from one punishing track to the next. On “Wasteland” the bass gurgles, guitars shriek, drums thrash, and Lari’s climbing vocals offer the only succor from the storm. Every song is a battlefield. From the sinister slouch of “Become Mad” to the stuttering, crashing “Face Me,” EarlyRise delivers hard rock that’s as angsty as it is melodic. On the latter, Lari sings, “I’m not afraid anymore as I declare war.” You may as well surrender.

Merciless Nickleback Claims Yet Another Casualty – End To Auditory Rampage Nowhere In Sight

“Music” fan Kevin Beaudette, of Tupper Lake, NY, sustained minor injuries when he fell into a gorge while trying to sneak into a Nickelback concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Not “out of” the concert, multiple sources have verified, but “into.” It’s true.

Beaudette, 22, was lifted by rescue basket from the gorge, which turns out not to be a metaphor for the empty and endless emotional abyss left in one’s soul as a result of listening to Nickelback, but rather a 40-foot crevasse in the earth, from which a person can actually be retrieved. Beaudette was treated for cuts and bruises at Albany Medical Center, and released Wednesday. Authorities believe alcohol was a factor in the accident and in the life choices that led to this level of Nickelback fandom.

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Metal Monday: Amia Venera Landscape

Classifying music into subgenres can be a tedious – if often neccessary – excercise. And sometimes those classifications are simply made to be broken, continuously redefining the nuances of genre. Bands such as Italy’s Amia Venera Landscape are doing just that. Back in 2010, the band released an album called The Long Procession that features a wide array of musical styles, including post-metal, atmospheric sludge, post-hardcore, progressive metal, hardcore, drone, and more. The mix of each of these styles, in a signature and delicate blend, is a very hefty and worthwhile listen for anyone seeking uniqueness (even if there are moments of familiarity throughout).

Fast forward two years to the present. The band is currently working toward putting out some new music, still taking the DIY route as they did with the self-release of The Long Procession. So far, AVL have flown mostly under the radar of a lot of metal outlets, but count on that to change if the new material is on par with their debut album. Make sure you’re not late to that party; check out The Long Procession and stay up to date on all of AVL’s happenings–I promise you won’t regret it. Listen to a couple of tunes from these Italian gentlemen below, then go buy some of their stuff, including all of The Long Procession on Bandcamp.

Lita Ford Cuts the Crap

OurStage, Guitar Player magazine, and Ernie Ball are teaming up this summer to offer aspiring guitarists a chance to win the ultimate Grand Prize. Enter the Guitar Player “Take The Lead” Competition by August 17 for your shot to win your very own feature in Guitar Player magazine, a year’s supply of strings and accessories from Ernie Ball, and more! Throughout the competition, we’ll be bringing you exclusive editorial content fresh from — enjoy!

“THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ME,” exclaims Lita Ford when I mention her previous album, 2009’s Wicked Wonderland. “It was out of my control. There are so many devices and plug-ins and all kinds of crap on everything. That’s not who I am. When I first started playing, I figured if I couldn’t cut it as a guitar player just plugging straight into an amplifier, then I should stop playing guitar. Effects, layering, stacking—f**k that! Just plug in the damn guitar and play it.”

And that’s just what Ford and producer Gary Hoey did on her new release, Living Like a Runaway [SPV/Steamhammer].

“Gary got me immediately,” says Ford. “So this album was all about what I love about pure and basic rock music. We did vocals and guitars first, to ensure we captured the bare emotion of the songs, and then we cut bass and drums. If playing to a click track took away from the feel I wanted, then we didn’t use one. The other musicians had to play to my time.

“I’m a real feel person, and it was so great to get back to that. In fact, seeing a Pink Floyd documentary on VH1 Classics really inspired me while we were recording. Their stuff was so real—they just went with what was in their hearts and laid it down. That was it. And they’d come up with this beautiful journey of music. After watching that show, I was even more determined that nothing fake or calculated get on this album.”

Ford used mostly comfy “old friends” while tracking Living Like a Runaway.

“My BC Rich ‘Black Widow’ Warlocks are so damn powerful,” she says. “Nothing beats those. They’ve got the beef for big crunch power chords and long, sustaining solos. I’ve got preamp switches built into some of them, and when you click on the preamp, it will blow your ass through the freaking wall. I also used my BC Rich Stoli vodkabottle guitar—which sounds like death—a new DBZ Bolero, and a Taylor Grand Symphony acoustic. My favorite strings are GHS Boomers, gauged .009-.042, and I use this bizarre-looking pick that Ritchie Blackmore once gave me. I loved that pick so much I used it exclusively for three months during a Runaways tour with the Ramones. Happily, Pickboy makes them now—they used to be so hard to come by. For amps, we used Marshall JCM 800s, Peavey 5150s, and old Soldanos. My cables are Monster Cable and custom models from with kill switches on the jacks.”

After a recent and ugly divorce (“I left with the shirt on my back”) — as well as suffering through career decisions made mostly by her former husband — Ford views Living Like a Runaway as a heartfelt manifesto of freedom and empowerment.

“I’m free to pursue my dreams now, and answer to no one,” she says. “What’s so great about rock music is that there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. So, right now, I’m just being Lita.”

Published by Michael Molenda, Guitar Player Magazine



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