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Warner Bros. Records Announce Record Store Day Releases

Record Store Day 2014In honor of the upcoming Record Store Day on April 19, Warner Bros. Records will be releasing a slew of special releases from The Flaming Lips, Tegan and Sara, Green Day, LCD Soundsystem, Jay Z/Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Foals, Mastodon, Neil Young, Regina Spektor, The Wild Feathers, and Eric Clapton. In addition to swanky vinyl releases, some of the packages will include t-shirt designs, download card, and DVDs. Check out all the details below.

Continue reading ‘Warner Bros. Records Announce Record Store Day Releases’

Four Noteworthy Split Releases

With a steady decline in CD sales caused by an even more exponentially consistent incline in downloading, it’s becoming more and more difficult for artists to justify selling their music within physical mediums. The upside, however, is that many indie and DIY bands are using this as inspiration to get more creative, putting the extra effort into their physical products and making something even more unique and valuable for their fans. A classic example is the split release concept. With the recent resurgence of vinyl and reinforced motivation to create a valuable physical product, many bands have teamed up on interesting limited edition projects. Here are some notable split releases from this year and the past few years that are sure to be valuable collectors items: Continue reading ‘Four Noteworthy Split Releases’

Album Review: Minus The Bear – “Infinity Overhead”

Infinity Overhead, the fifth LP from Seattle-based indie math-rock band Minus The Bear might be the group’s most mature and eclectic record yet.

Right away, the first sound you hear as track 1, “Steal And Blood,” starts is distorted guitar. Much to the dismay of those who may be yearning for some more Omni-ous synth power, that first sound proudly marks the return of the guitar as MTB’s primary instrumental focus and sets the tone for the rest of the album. However, that doesn’t mean the record is completely void of synths and electronic effects (Oh don’t you worry, there are plenty of those). In fact, the mixture of tones on Infinity Overhead is more eclectic yet balanced as a whole than ever before. It’s clear that over the past decade, the guys in Minus The Bear have truly mastered dynamics and flow within an album. This new product seems to be an accumulation of everything they have learned in that time. The sound is still unequivocally “them,” but in a way that is re-inspired and more “mature.” Continue reading ‘Album Review: Minus The Bear – “Infinity Overhead”’

Metal Monday: Ten Great Uses of Unusual Instruments In Metal

Your average music listener might assume that metal bands are all the same in the instrument department—guitar, drums, bass, maybe piano or keyboards—but what about the flute, didgeridoo, saxophone, trumpet, lute, bagpipes, fiddle, berimbau, Whamola, or hurdy gurdy? As unlikely as it seems, there are metal bands that incorporate less mainstream instruments into their sound. Apocalyptica, for example, is comprised of four cellists and a drummer. Among folk, progressive, avant garde, and experimental metal subgenres (and even some mainstream acts), listeners can find all sorts of neat uses of unusual instrumentation. We’re going to share ten of our favorite “nontraditional” metal songs with you—see if you can guess what the instruments are!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2011

Korn Flight of the Conchords
Elvis Costello REM

Metal Monday: Which Bassist Was On This American Heritage Song Again?

If you’re in a band and you part ways with your bassist, what do you do? Well, some bands might replace their bassist or hire a studio musician, but not American Heritage. They enlisted an all-star cast of bassists to put in guest spots on their latest album, Sedentary. Bill Kelliher (of Mastodon) laid down some bass and even a guitar solo on the album, Rafa Martinez (of Black Cobra) lent his bass talents on the album, as well as Eric Bocek (of Joan of Arc, Ghosts And Vodka), who would become the band’s full-time bassits after the recording of Sedentary, among others.

If you’ve heard much music from Mastodon, Black Cobra or any of the other bands that lent a member to the recording of Sedentary, then it’s rather easy to hear the distinct influence from the different bassists. It’s especially easy to tell on the Bill Kelliher track since the guitarists in American Heritage use guitar tones similar those used by their friends in Mastodon for Remission and Leviathan. Bill’s signature bass style shines through on “Fetal Attraction.” The slight variance in style from song to song is one of the best parts about Sedentary, as each song is noticeably fresh and different, but still very much cohesive.

Before Sedentary was the band’s 2006 album Millenarian, which took a very similar style approach. It was dirty, fast, raucous, gritty, sludgy and all those other clichéd adjectives for American Heritage’s brand of music. In a March 1 interview with The Bone Reader Scott talked about the inspiration for Sedentary: “musically it came from evaluating what we were doing in general. Trying to figure out what had worked and what had failed in the past and trying to address those issues. I’m still pretty happy with most of Millenarian, but I also saw its weaknesses and tried to write towards a record that would fix some of what I thought was missing.”

And that’s exactly what they did. They took the formula from the critically-acclaimed Millenarian and made a better record. Even the artwork is incredible this time around—it was so good that it won first place for March 1 on ReignInArt.com, a site devoted to showcasing great album art in hard rock and metal.

Sedentary was released March 1 on Translation Loss Records, and you can pick up a copy from Translation Loss’ online store (along with a bunch of other great merch) or you can get it on iTunes.

Metal Monday: Q&A with Kylesa

Dual-drumming metal band Kylesa are gearing up to release their first record on Season of Mist. A follow-up to 2008′s Static Tensions, Spiral Shadow is pushing the boundaries of progressive, stoner, psychedelic metal even further. With two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist, and three people contributing to the vocals it’s easy to see how parts of the band could get lost in the shuffle—but that’s not the case with Kylesa. Phillip Cope (guitarist, vocalist and one of the founding members) took the time to answer some of our questions about the recording and release of the new album, as well as some other questions about the Georgia sound and playing to the band’s extremely varied musical tastes.

OS: So, Spiral Shadow is going to be your first release on Season of Mist. How was the transition from Prosthetic Records?

PC: It was about a year in transition, and we just needed to figure out what we wanted to do next. We waited about a year and we figured we should tour hard to support the record that Prosthetic put out before we left.

OS: In line with Static Tensions, Spiral Shadow is your most progressive and psychedelic album to date. Do you think it’s getting close to an ideal sound that encompasses all the influences that you have in the band?

PC: You know, no one’s ever really put it that way, but I definitely think it is.  I know we’re the happiest with this we’ve ever been for sure.

OS: Did the writing process change from previous albums?

PC: Actually, it stayed pretty much the same.

OS: You’ve said you share writing duties amongst band members. Did anyone in the band have more of an influence for Spiral Shadow than your other albums?

PC: That’s really hard to say, I don’t remember it getting to the point where anyone was getting too domineering.  I think we all kind of run our ideas across each other before we go full on with anything too weird.

OS: Do you think that coming from Savannah [GA] has had a profound effect on your influences, and in turn, the music you make?

PC: In terms of bands from Savannah, definitely not.

OS: How about growing up in the south, and the music you were exposed to as kids?

PC: I’d say the big thing was being exposed to punk rock, heavy metal and other weird stuff like that at an early age due to there being an art school in our city.  It’s a small southern town, but it did have an art school, and that brought in a lot of people from many different places and I was able to get into a lot of different stuff because of that.  But also, because it was small there weren’t a lot of scenes, all of the people who were into stuff that was a little different all sort of had to stick together. So there wasn’t really a lot of room for different cliques, if you know what I mean.  When I was in high school I was more into punk rock, and there were only like two other kids into thatthen there were like 5 or 6 other people who were into metal, you knowand everybody else were jocks and rednecks.  We kind of had to stick together, we didn’t really have a choice.  You’d argue at lunch about whether Slayer or Misfits were a better band, but… (laughs)

OS: Do you think that, with other bands from Savannah like Black Tusk and Baroness, you’re sort of giving Georgia a sound identity?

PC: You know, it’s hard to say, but it looks that way.  It sounds like you know some of our historylately people have been saying “Oh, you sound like Baroness or Mastodon” but our roots go farther back than that. I think all the bands ought to keep going their own directions.

OS: Yeah, obviously you guys are going in a bit different direction than Black Tusk, Baroness, Mastodon, etc. but there are definitely some similarities among the area.  Would you compare it to the Desert Rock scene with bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu?

PC: I don’t know, I think it’s too early to tell.  I know this though, when Kylesa started, Baroness and Black Tusk weren’t even bands yet, and Mastodon had just started up too, and I had already been going for seven years with DamadI don’t think there was an intention of there being a scene.  It just kind of what happened.  Mastodon was going in one direction and we were going in a different direction, it wasn’t until years down the road until people even made a connection between our two bands.  But what happened in Savannah was that people were starting to get an interest in there was a scene starting to build up.  Damad kind of started it, but when Damad broke up there were like sixteen people at our last show (laughs).

OS: You alluded to it earlier, and Laura has mentioned it in an interview in which she appeared to get a bit offended–you don’t like to pigeon-hole yourselves stylistically, but do you have problems with other people applying labels to your band?

PC: You know, I don’t think Laura was actually as pissed off as that article made her sound, but she might have been, I don’t knowshe said she wasn’t (laughs).  But when you play music like we play that’s like ours, what the hell do you call it? You don’t have to accept people who call it what you don’t want them to call it, but I don’t really have a problem with people calling us somethingI realize that writers need something, you’ve got to describe us somehow.  We’ve made it kind of difficult on people because we won’t call it anything ourselves.  Some people get it, some people don’t. I don’t really get too upset by people calling us the wrong term, if that makes sense.

OS: Yeah, that makes sense. So what do you think the future for Kylesa is as a band?  Do you think you’ll get more progressive and psychedelic?

PC: I’m not sure, that’s really hard to say at this point.  We try to find a good balance between being true to ourselves and being true to our fans.  We don’t want to do anything that would alienate our fans.  You know, for all the talk they’re having about this album being different, there might be some songs that are different, but there’s plenty of stuff that continues along the lines of what we’ve done in the past.  We’ve done that with every album.  We’ve brought something from the past and brought in something new.

OS: Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed that with the new album you’ve polarized it a bit more.  You’ve got some old school heavy Kylesa sections and some more pure psychedelic sections as compared to Static Tensionswas that on purpose?

PC: Yeah, completely.  We wrote how we wrote, but you know, at the same time we don’t want to alienate the people that support us and got us here.  We have a great loyal fan base of people that have been sticking around for years, and some people that continue from Damad, and we don’t want to do anything that those people would see as a middle finger.  But we’ve said this from day one, and people who have been following us understand this, that that is part of what we dowe change, we do new things and we’ve said that from the beginning.  People aren’t going to get the same record over and over.

Spiral Shadow drops October 26th on Season of Mist. It’s a really solid albumboth for old Kylesa fans and new. You can order a copy of the new album with a DVD and/or a t-shirt from the Season of Mist webstore, or get a limited edition deluxe digipack from the Relapse Records webstore.

If you’re still on the fence about the band, check out the Spiral Shadow album trailer:

Metal Monday: OurStage Metal Awards ’09

OSBlog02_MetalMondays_MASTERAt the end of the year, when all is said and done, 10 top albums is simply not enough to give credit where it’s due. As a supplement to last week’s  Top 10 of Metal, I’m giving props to all the other bands who did something right this year. Think of the following lists as the “superlatives” section of your yearbook—but for metal albums.

See who the winners (and losers) are in metal for 2009 after the jump

FROM THE CMJ RELAY ARCHIVES: OURSTAGE PICKS VOL. 15

cmjdotcom_webWelcome to our fifteenth installment featuring CMJ’s OurStage Staff Picks from the CMJ Relay Blog. CMJ is well known for their industry leading New Music Report magazine, which contains music reviews, artist news and interviews with the best artists being played on college radio.

Sicarus

“Changing Faces”
Hard Rock
The strength of Sicarus’s “Changing Faces” lies not in its blistering guitar solos or insane bass pedal pumping, but in contrasting them with a powerful opening (and recurring) vocal riff.
RIYL: Mastodon, Rise Against, Saosin

Yung Papi

“Crown Me”
Hip-hop
Sampling the opening riff of Beethoven’s Edgemont Overture is an educated and compelling move that will go over most heads, but works brilliantly in this boisterous young rapper’s favor.
RIYL: Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Jay Electronica

Nicolay

“Grand Theft Auto (GTA)”
Hip-hop
The title says it all. This track is pulsing with a beat that generates enough adrenaline to take on the street racing, police helicopter evasion, gang wars, and girls described in the lyrics. Let’s see the 5.0 try and keep up with this!
RIYL: The Game, Young Jeezy, Lloyd Banks

 


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