Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Spectrometers : Off

The always great SDZ Records/Crudite Tapes have been pretty busy lately with a slew of new releases.  First up is a tape by The Spectrometers called 'Off', a chilling post-punk piece utilizing drum machines and archaic analogue sounds.  I didn't come up with much after researching The Spectrometers except their bandcamp which cited, "French minimal electronics / old school industrial band".  The fact it's hard to discern whether this is a new tape influenced by said genres or unearthed recordings speak volumes about the authentic sound on 'Off'.  Title track and opener "Off" sets an isolating tone with raspy tape hissing.  "Fallacy" follows with looped beats, sharp synthesizers and a low repetitive bass line.  It's a sense of paranoia that threads through the tracks, made all the more tense by the tracks never quite resolve themselves - aptly displayed on one of my faves "Orgone".  Locked into one arcing arrangement "Orgone" intensifies and as it reaches a point of climax plaintively ends, then repeated.  'Off' is a great listen as there's no release from the fraught atmosphere propelling a state of anxiety throughout.  Available now as a download or tape here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Men : New Moon

The Men follow up their revered album 'Open Your Heart' with fourth full length 'New Moon' on Sacred Bones Records.  The Brooklyn five piece are; Nick Chiericozzi, Ben Greengerg, Kevin Faulkner, Mark Perro and Rich Samis who play out savage guitars, drums and elastic bass.  This new record brilliantly captures what some already know about The Men, that they lay bare their influences whilst creating something entirely fresh and thrilling.  These twelve songs give a nod to Punk, Country and Rock in an album that feels like their most intimate work to date.  To make 'New Moon' The Men migrated to Big Indian, NY in early 2012 and built their own backwoods studio.  This approach to creating a secluded environment and drawing from primitive elements is wonderfully reflected in the recordings, best shown in opener "Open The Door".  With a warm melody being keyed away on a piano alongside acoustic guitars a mandolin and lap steel it's quintessentially as country as it gets.  The album morphs into bursts rock with songs like "Without A Face", "The Brass" and one of my faves & first single taken from the record "Electric".  While 'New Moon' still has those eye-popping rock numbers The Men are known and loved for don't be surprised to hear a few new things thrown into the mix. With a relentless tour schedule and a new album every twelve months I'm happy it seems there's no stopping The Men.  Lee Ronaldo recently told Uncut, "They remind me of the energy NY bands had when Sonic Youth started out. Totally fierce...rocking out." ...accolades don't come much higher than that in my book.

The Men are playing Rough Trade East Monday 18th for an instore and then the following day on the 19th at the Garage - definitely try and catch them if you can!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Purling Hiss : Interview

Mike!  Nice to meet you thanks for chatting with GG!  What’s it like over in Philadelphia right now?

Hey! It's about 37 degrees and sunny! Other than that ok. Good vibes

There's you, Kiel Everett and Mike Sneeringer in the band - there's a strong history of amazing bands made out of three members, what do you think makes power trios so unique?

Power trio's are unique. It's an interesting, and not always easy way to have a dynamic in a band. With a 4 piece it seems more conventional to have a lead guitarist and rhythm guitar player. I've always have 3 piece bands. I think its really interesting to interweave guitar and basslines together, and also to take on both rhythm and lead guitar duties. Less is more!

Just listened to your recent Daytrotter session - it's got me super excited for your London show at Fuzz Box in May, what are you looking forward to during your trip to Europe?

Besides coming back, i'm looking forward to going to a lot of new places. We're really excited about going to Spain, Denmark, Norway to name a few. 

Your new album ‘Water On Mars’ comes out soon on Drag City – how did you come to work with them?

Yep it'll be out real soon. I'm proud to be putting it out on Drag City! I've been in contact with them over the last few years, they liked the older stuff i released, and when they asked Purling Hiss to do a record, it was really exciting.

I wanted to ask about a few songs, how they were recorded & what inspired them, they’re some of my favourites on the record - "Mercury Retrograde" & "The Harrowing Wind"

"Mercury Retrograde" was a more straight-forward recording, that really captures how we sound live. With "The Harrowing Wind", there was an extra guitar arrangement you can hear pretty clearly. Those songs were written around the same time. "Mercury Retrograde" is more of a play on everything sort of being out of whack, and on the fritz.  Light-hearted sardonic tune, while The The Harrowing Wind has a darker theme going on. There's definitely some range between light and heavy subject matter through out the album.

How was recording with Jeff Ziegler on 'Water On Mars'?

Recording with Jeff was great! He really did a great job of capturing our live sound. Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs also helped produce the album. 

Were you still involved in the engineering/recording of ‘Water On Mars’ at all?  For some reason I imagine it must have been strange to have someone else filling that role after you’d done that for so long…

Definitely. Jeff did the recording/engineering and i helped produce. It was collaborative.

How did you find working in Uniform Recording studios as opposed to at home?

It was a great experience that i was ready for. At home, it's just me jotting down ideas, and limited resources and knowledge (which does have cool results sometimes). But now that im working with a band, going into a studio was the way to go. And Jeff did such a great job of making it sound huge and not over-producing it.

This new record sounds more high-fidelity than previous releases, I was wondering if using a 4 track initially was sort of…. making the most of the resources that you had at the time, that is to say, was working in a studio something you’d envisioned for Purling Hiss?

I didn't know what to expect for Purling Hiss when i first started recording. It was just a way for me to document my ideas at the time.

Am I right in saying your songs sound like they're kind of structured out of extremes?  I hear lots of opposites, loud/quiet, abrasive/smooth, acoustic/electric, dissonant noise/pop melodies -  I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that?

Yea, this time around i wanted a well rounded album that catches different aspects of how i write, which isn't just heavy loud guitar all the time. I do like that the most, but i also wanted to mix it up a bit.

Do you prefer playing or recording?

I think its definitely a tie.

What's the most memorable show you've played to date?

That's a touch question! Well, most recently- playing with Dinosaur Jr. earlier this year was really amazing.

How would you spend your ideal day off?

Playing my guitar ALL DAY!

Anything else coming up in 2013 from Purling Hiss we should watch out for?

Not sure when this will be published but we'll have a new music video in the next couple of days for "Mercury Retrograde". Other than that we'll be touring in support of the new album for most of the year.

“I’m full of dust and guitars” – Syd Barrett, if you were sliced in half what would be inside?

Gilded Guitar Guts!

Fuzz Box May 16th
@ The Dome (White Fence, Mikal Cronin, Purling Hiss & The Pheromoans)
£10 - Tickets are here

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Purling Hiss : Water On Mars


Purling Hiss began, as bedroom recordings of Mike Polizze until a tour with Kurt Vile a few years ago propelled the project into a full band in its own right.   The Philadelphia power trio are; Mike Polizze (Birds of Maya), Kiel Everett and Mike Sneeringer.   Together they play out a turbo-guitar, gulping bass and fiery rhythms.  To date Purling Hiss has four albums, an EP and split 12” with Puffy Areolas, all of which has seen Polizze at the core of the songwriting.   This new album for Drag City ‘Water On Mars’ to my ears at least, sounds like all three members constructed the album together as these ten songs build on the big psych-rock sound Purling Hiss is known for with some new ideas thrown into the mix.  ‘Water On Mars’ channels the kind of fuzzed out approach and saccharine melodies you’d expect from Dinosaur Jr and brilliant tangents of 60s psych.  Opener "Lolita" steamrolls in with chewy, sanguine tinged guitars, rumbling bass, forthright rhythms apace with Polizze's gravelly voice layered with screeching distortion.  "Mercury Retrograde" follows immediately taking things down a gear, filtering out abrasive noise and smoothing over vocals allowing a melody heavy bass to come through alongside roaming guitars.   It's the play on hard/soft, loud/quiet, pop melodies/dissonant noise that best describes the album as Purling Hiss finds the perfect balance between these opposites - just listen to eventide-esque "She Calms Me Down" next to freaked out "Face Down" to see what I mean!  'Water On Mars' feels like a game changer for Purling Hiss where they don't just think outside the indie-rock box, they smash it and build a new box. On tour soon in the UK for Fuzz Box at The Dome in May - not to be missed!