Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: "Undoing A Luciferian Towers"

As a manifesto for change, there's something interestingly similar to Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra I hear with "Undoing A Luciferian Towers," the latest single from the seminal post-rock outfit, Godspeed You! Black Emperor.  According to the band, Luciferian Towers, GY!BE's upcoming new album, was inspired by the following "grand demands:"

+ an end to foreign invasions
+ an end to borders
+ the total dismantling of the prison-industrial complex
+ healthcare, housing, food and water acknowledged as an inalienable human right
+ the expert fuckers who broke this world never get to speak again

It's an ambitious list.  Without getting into the politics and societal implications of these demands, the instrumental of "Undoing A Luciferian Towers" communicates aspiration.  From the light and quivering ambience of its beginning seconds to its gradual swell as layers of tone build upon its understated march, there is a mission being carried out here.  It's a journey of depths, brass melodies interacting with an eventual maelstrom of sounds that form a gathering that's either in motion or in celebration. 

Luciferian Towers is being released on September 22nd via Constellation.  You can pre-order the album here.    

Links, tour dates, and information on the release were provided by Rarely Unable.  


The seventh record by Godspeed You! Black Emperor,
Luciferian Towers will be released 22 September 2017 on Constellation, and today we are pleased to present the opening track from it.

Luciferian Towers was recorded during the winter of 2016/2017 at Montreal’s Hotel2Tango, with Greg Norman once again engineering and co-producing (as he did on the band’s previous album Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress).

The music on
Luciferian Towers took shape over the past two years, amidst GYBE’s collaborative performances with the Holy Body Tattoo dance company’s monumental, and spurred by the commissioning of new compositions memorializing the 100th anniversary of the WWI Battle of Messines, which premiered at a live concert event on the site of the massacre at Heuvelland, Belgium this past June.

Luciferian Towers is Godspeed’s third album since the group’s ‘reunion’ in 2011 and their second consecutive single LP-length record (following three double-album releases in 2000, 2002 and 2012).

The band provides this statement and track description for the new album:

this, this long-playing record, a thing we made in the midst of communal mess, raising dogs and children. eyes up and filled with dreadful joy – we aimed for wrong notes that explode, a quiet muttering amplified heavenward. we recorded it all in a burning motorboat.

(context as follows:)

1. UNDOING A LUCIFERIAN TOWERS – look at that fucking skyline! big lazy money writ in dull marble obelisks! imagine all those buildings much later on, hollowed out and stripped bare of wires and glass, listen- the wind is whistling through all 3,000 of its burning window-holes!

2. BOSSES HANG – labor, alienated from the wealth it creates, so that holy cow, most of us live precariously! kicking at it, but barely hanging on! also – the proud illuminations of our shortened lives! also – more of us than them! also – what we need now is shovels, wells, and barricades!

3. FAM / FAMINE – how they kill us = absentee landlord, burning high-rise. the loud panics of child-policemen and their exploding trigger-hands. with the dull edge of an arbitrary meritocracy. neglect, cancer maps, drone strike, famine. the forest is burning and soon they’ll hunt us like wolves.

4. ANTHEM FOR NO STATE – kanada, emptied of its minerals and dirty oil. emptied of its trees and water. a crippled thing, drowning in a puddle, covered in ants. the ocean doesn’t give a shit because it knows it’s dying too.

finally and in conclusion;
the “luciferian towers” L.P. was informed by the following grand demands:
+ an end to foreign invasions
+ an end to borders
+ the total dismantling of the prison-industrial complex
+ healthcare, housing, food and water acknowledged as an inalienable human right
+ the expert fuckers who broke this world never get to speak again

much love to all the other lost and wondering ones,
xoxoxox god’s pee / montréal / 4 juillet, 2017

03.09.17 - Montreal, QC, Mile Ex End Musique Montréal Festival
22.09.17 - Guadalajara, MX, C3 Stage
23.09.17 - Mexico, MX, Sala Corona, Festival Aural
13.10.17 - Rome, IT, Romaeuropa Festival
14.10.17 - Rome, IT, Romaeuropa Festival
15.10.17 - Fribourg, CH, Frison
16.10.17 - Toulouse, FR, Le Bikini
17.10.17 - Bordeaux, FR, Krakatoa
18.10.17 - Rennes, FR, Théâtre National de Bretagne
19.10.17 - Rouen, FR, Le 106
20.10.17 - Lyon, FR, Le Tobogan
21.10.17 - Strassbourg, FR, La Laiterie
22.10.17 - Lille, FR, La Condition publique
23.10.17 - Brighton, UK, Brighton Dome
25.10.17 - Newcastle, UK, Boiler Shop
27.10.17 - Glasgow, UK, O2 ABC
28.10.17 - Manchester, UK, Victoria Warehouse
30.10.17 - Bristol, UK, Motion
31.10.17 - London, UK, Troxy
01.11.17 - Brussels, BE, Vorst Nationaal
02.11.17 - Amsterdam, NL, Paradiso
03.11.17 - Berlin, DE, Festsaal Kreuzberg
05.11.17 - Hanover, DE, Indiego
07.11.17 - Paris, FR, Elysée Montmartre

Pre-order the digital album on Bandcamp, along with the band's other titles:

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, August 28, 2017

TRAX! — Facial, Humans Etcetera, The Mad Doctors, L'Rain, Der Elektrische Traum, Hope

Facial: "Black Noise" (via Chain Letter Collective/Us-Them Group/Soundcloud)

"Black Noise" is the second single from Facial's upcoming new release, Facade, which will be released September 29th via Chain Letter Collective.  You can pre-order the LP here.


Humans Etcetera: "Silkworm" (via Nefarious Industries/Earsplit PR/YouTube)

From Earsplit PR:
Nefarious Industries confirms the October release of Intelligent Skeleton by China-based solo outfit HUMANS ETCETERA, offering an early glimpse into the album with a video for the opening track, "Silkworm."

HUMANS ETCETERA is an experimental rock outfit founded by West Virginia native, Christopher Henry, also a member of Fuck Your Birthday, and formerly of Clean Dirty Clean. The outfit's output unifies '90s alternative rock and post-hardcore and modern experimental rock elements into a mellow but engaging mix of styles and influences within the album's forty-minute lifespan.

Intelligent Skeleton was written, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered in Wenzhou, China by the outfit's American-born creator, Christopher Henry, who performs all vocals, drums, guitars, bass, synth, sampling, and sequencing. The album also features tambourine by Cai Qing 蔡清 on "Vice" as well as piano by Huang Yalun 黄亚伦 and guzheng from Zhang Guogao 章国杲 on the song "Gravebody," and is completed with an original cover drawing by Zhu Weikai 朱为凯.
Intelligent Skeleton is available for pre-order at Nefarious Industries.  


The Mad Doctors: "Yuengling Malmsteen" (via King Pizza Records/Bandcamp)

"Yuengling Malmsteen" is the B-side from a limited edition split 7" Brooklyn's The Mad Doctors are sharing with Heavy Traffic.  If you like the track, the 7" will be available on September 22nd on clear, gold, or black vinyl.

More info, plus purchase links, can be found here: (for digital release)


L'Rain: "Stay, Go (Go, Stay)" (via Astro Nautico/NYLON/Julian T. Schoen/Soundcloud)

L'Rain's self-titled LP is available for pre-order at Astro Nautico.


Der Elektrische Traum: "Continuum Flow" (via Lighten Up Sounds/Soundcloud)

"Continuum Flow" is the eerie title track from Der Elektrische Traum's cassette release.  If you like what you hear, you can purchase the cassette via Lighten Up Sounds.  


Hope: "Kingdom" (via Halpern Pop Recordings/Declare Independence/YouTube)

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Daughter of a Tapehead: P(EE)d Jeans

Pissed Jeans
"Why Love Now"
Sub Pop Records
Released: 2.24.17

*Yes, Pissed Jeans has a song called "Activia."

** Here's that video:

Just a note: Pissed Jeans' "Why Love Now" is a thoroughly satisfying, violently snarling, and intelligently amusing listen.  I couldn't recommend it more.

Also, for the record, she did not hear the over-the-top office harassment poem, "I'm A Man."  I still have to censor her a little bit.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Over The Hill (Three-Quarters): A Personal History of Def Leppard's Hysteria

Def Leppard
Released: 8.3.87

We all start somewhere, right?

It was four or five years after Hysteria’s 80s-appropriate blend of hook-savvy and sugar-metal anthems had become permanently linked to my budding musical awakening that I found punk rock, which meant that all that had come before needed to be abandoned.  I was all in.  So, all that had been me was now forgotten with a cause, my newfound purpose to revel in my Alterna-angst and familiarize myself with all that was raucous and angry the main objective.  Def Leppard’s Hysteria, despite all that it had meant to me, was no longer necessary. 

We all go through this, right?  As eras change and tastes shift, especially when one is afflicted with prepubescent self-doubt and the need to fit in somewhere, you find yourself trying to outrun the things you once enjoyed and become this other thing that you may or may not relate to.  I was a child of the 80s, growing up watching Headbanger’s Ball on Saturday nights and appreciating the catchiness of the hair metal scene, sort of ignorant to the idea that even metalheads didn’t really like this shit all that much.  Metallica and Slayer still seemed threatening and scary at the time.  Def Leppard was at odds with speed and thrash metal and certainly my ears were attuned enough to know the difference between Hysteria and Master of Puppets, but I wasn’t thinking in cliques or genres yet.  So, it was all metal to me.   

That being said, though, Hysteria was the first album that likely gave me some idea of what it was like to identify with my “era,” a ten-year old not yet worried all that much about popularity or girls, but somewhat aware of my visual and cultural surroundings.  I was still into toys, baseball cards, and comic books, but slowly becoming aware of the bigger kids and what they were into.  Hysteria itself dealt pretty extensively with sex, obviously, songs as objectifying (“Women”) and laughably shrouded in childish metaphor (“Pour Some Sugar on Me”) as was permitted without upsetting the language police who were on a mission to label obscenity at the time.  “Skin on Skin! Let the love begin!” was evidently not provocative enough for the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) to consider “obscene,” though Def Leppard did score a spot in the group’s so-called Filthy Fifteen with “High N’ Dry,” an entry recommended for banning from airplay and commercial distribution because it dealt with drug and alcohol abuse. 

But, songs as odes to sexuality were lost on me.  I was more into the riffs and the hooks, sort of caught up in the spectacle of it all, which I experienced as a concert-goer.  I’ve written about this before, but, man, they could put on a show: their arena central to the surrounding stadium seating, an oversized tarp with the album art printed all over it coming down as the performance began, a rotating stage that enabled the band to position themselves face-to-face with every angle of the Spectrum.  Cigarettes were lit and lighters were aflame at points so veritable fields of orange/yellow dots stood loud against the otherwise deep blue of the audience, a beautiful carcinogen-riddled aurora borealis with a second-hand haze hanging overhead.  For me, it was all magic: scary, exciting, loud, and memorable.  And I’ll swear till I’m dead that guitarist Phil Collen waved to me at the end of that show as the band took its leave, somehow making out the little boy swimming in a tour shirt waving frantically from rows up.

And, then music got serious.  And, so did I.  But, I’d like to say that wasn’t entirely my fault.  I found the right bands at the right time and gave them what was expected.  Because, they gave me a direction.  A purpose.  Def Leppard didn’t do that, but they did provide me some foundation that I can now, with thirty years of hindsight, appreciate. 

And Hysteria is worth appreciating.  First off, save its title track, every song on the A-Side of the album was marketed as a single.  I consider this type of success coming from a metal band at the time significant in the years following Michael Jackson’s Thriller, another very prominent and important relic from the era, itself an indisputable pop juggernaut.  Def Leppard reached a wider audience.  And it can certainly be argued that the band toned themselves down from some of the louder, more aggressive sounds they offered with High N’ Dry and Pyromania, (one exception being “Photograph,” the success of which could very well have inspired the band to pursue a more FM-friendly vibe).  I won’t say that there wasn’t some compromise, but it seemed somehow a more natural progression for this band than it would later on for Metallica. 

Second, the story of triumph baked into Hysteria’s mere existence drew much of the public’s interest.  This was a band that carried on with their drummer, Rick Allen, who had lost his arm following a car accident in 1984.  Crafting an electronic drum kit that enabled Allen to use his pedals to manage the snare beat, the band was able to keep its bandmate.  As far as press for the album, it’s hard to beat a story like that.

And, in a way, I consider Hysteria one last, significant breath before the wind was kicked out of the 80s by two other albums of 1987: Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses and U2’s The Joshua Tree, both of which signaled an early sea change that ultimately, if not directly, culminated in Nirvana’s very sudden impact in the early 90s.  Social consciousness and the denizens of a morally bereft underbelly spoke.  People noticed.  And while Hysteria remained a top seller for quite some time, Def Leppard, along with those of their ilk, weren’t going to experience much by way of success in the coming years.  My generation would come to lose interest. 

I no longer own my vinyl copy of this album.  To be fair, my portable turntable wasn’t kind to vinyl and eventually rendered the LP unlistenable.  But, in all honesty, I probably would’ve gotten rid of it anyway.  It was an impediment to the enviably informed and thoroughly studied music library I meant to build in my teenage years.  I no longer own the t-shirt from the concert, the mere sight of Def Leppard emblazoned across my chest garnering ridicule from my peers as I transitioned to public school.  So, I probably threw it out or repurposed it as a dust rag.  Who knows where that ticket stub went, ephemera of a moment in my personal history vanquished to memory alone, no trace of physical evidence to speak of.  So, I did a really good job of outrunning the things I once enjoyed.  Unfortunately.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

METZ: "Drained Lake"

METZ is all payoff.  The immediately satisfying "Drained Lake" is the latest track from the band's upcoming new album, Strange Peace, another incentivizing preview that only provides further reason to regard the album's release with heavy excitement.  The album will be out on September 22nd from Sub Pop.

Let this track fill your ears and subsequently meet your expectations.  And then read some stuff: the good people at Sub Pop have provided pre-order links, record info, and a heavy list of upcoming tour dates to review with an impressive roster of supporting acts.  I've seen METZ perform and I couldn't recommend them more.  If anyone reading this only plans on heading out to see one band play live for the remaining months of 2017, you wouldn't go wrong spending that opportunity on METZ.  Theirs is an energy unmatched by many.  

“Drained Lake” is the latest METZ song from their new album, Strange Peace

Strange Peace will be out September 22, 2017 from Sub Pop Records (Worldwide, ex-Canada) and Royal Mountain Records (in Canada).

The new METZ track, “Drained Lake,” is a propulsive, jagged thing; heavy 21st century post-post-punk, with an infectious sea-sick synth line added for good measure. Strange Peace is their highly-anticipated third full-length album.

“Drained Lake” reflects “The constant struggle to know yourself and make sense of your life and surroundings. What is my purpose? Holding on to who you are while fending off pressure to bend to what other people want and expect from you,” says METZ frontman Alex Edkins.

Previously announced 2017 international tour dates for METZ begin with a two-night stand September 5th and 6th in Atlanta at 529 and ends December 16th in Houston at Warehouse Live. The band have added two new dates as direct support for Modest Mouse on October 10th in Providence, RI at Lupo’s and October 11th in Sayreville, NJ’s Starland Ballroom. Additionally, METZ will play shows with Suuns (September 29th-30th), Uniform (October 2nd-6th), Protomartyr (September 22nd; November 2nd-8th), Brian Case (November 9th), Drahla (November 12th-24th), and Cherubs (December 15th). All of their current tour dates follow:

Sep. 05 - Atlanta, GA - 529
Sep. 06 - Atlanta, GA - 529
Sep. 07- Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Festival
Sep. 22 - Detroit, MI - The Princess Boat ! ^^
Sep. 25 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall
Sep. 29 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace *
Sep. 30 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace *
Oct. 02 - Boston, MA - Sinclair #
Oct. 03 - Philadelphia, PA - The First Unitarian Church #
Oct. 04 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg #
Oct. 05 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom #
Oct. 06 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel #
Oct. 07 - Hamden, CT - The Ballroom
Oct. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
Oct. 10 - Providence, RI - Lupo’s **
Oct. 11 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom **
Nov. 02 - Prague, Czech Republic - Futurum !
Nov. 03 - Wroclaw, Poland - Klub Firlej !
Nov. 04 - Warsaw, Poland - Klub Hydrozagadka !
Nov. 06 - Berlin, Germany - Bi Nuu !
Nov. 07 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen !
Nov. 08 - Hamburg, Germany - Knust !
Nov. 09 - Zwolle, Netherlands - Poppodium Hedon ^
Nov. 10 - Kortrijk, Belgium - De Kruen (Sonic City Festival)
Nov. 12 - Le Havre, France - Le Tetris %
Nov. 14 - Nimes, France - La Paloma %
Nov. 15 - Bordeaux, France - Theatre Barbey %
Nov. 16 - Toulouse, France - Club Metronum %
Nov. 17 - Barcelona, Spain - La (2) De Apolo %
Nov. 18 - Madrid, Spain - Moby Dick %
Nov. 20 - Nantes, France - Pole Etudiant %
Nov. 21 - Paris, France - Le Trabendo %
Nov. 22 - London, UK - The Garage %
Nov. 23 - Bristol, UK - The Fleece %
Nov. 24 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club %
Nov. 25 - Brighton, UK - The Haunt
Dec. 07 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
Dec. 08 - Vancouver, BC - Cobalt
Dec. 09 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
Dec. 11 - San Francisco, CA - Independent
Dec. 12 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram
Dec. 13 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
Dec. 15 - Austin, TX - Mohawk &
Dec. 16 - Houston, TX - Studio @ Warehouse Live

* w/ SUUNS
# w/ Uniform
! w/ Protomartyr
^ w/ Brian Case
% w/ Drahla
& w/ Cherubs
** w/ Modest Mouse
^^ w/ Preoccupations, Tyvek, Adult

Strange Peace is available for pre-order now from both Sub Pop and Royal Mountain Records. Canadian fans can pre-order the new record here. LP pre-orders of the Sub Pop album from and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Edition on clear vinyl with red and green swirls (while supplies last).

METZ recently shared a visual for Strange Peace’s lead track “Cellophane” [link here]. Stereogum says, “‘Cellophane’ is big and juicy and punishing, just like every METZ track, but it’s also a bit more melodic and structured than most of the band’s work. If this is what we can expect from a new album, we should be excited about it.”

Meanwhile, Consequence of Sound calls the track, "A hard-hitting number that combines their affections for noise-addled with sweaty rock 'n' roll."

And Pitchfork offers this, “The lyrics paint a picture of utter defeat, yet somehow none of that dejection carries through Metz’s performance, which is as defiant as anything the band’s put to tape. Their fates may be sealed, but they won’t let that stop them from shouting their objections.”

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

TRAX! — PLAX, Hand Habits, Annie Hart (Au Revoir Simone), Facial, The Steoples, Circuit des Yeux, Poison Blood, Golden Retriever

PLAX: "What A Waste" (via Super Secret Records/Us-Them Group/The Austin Chronicle/Soundcloud)

"What A Waste" is a new single from PLAX's upcoming release, Clean Feeling, which will be released August 11th via Super Secret Records.  You can purchase the LP here.


Hand Habits: "yr heart" (via Saddle Creek/Force Field PR/Soundcloud)

From Force Field PR:
Document is a new series from Saddle Creek which aims to highlight artists and music scenes from around the world that the SC crew has fallen in love with, but aren’t necessarily already part of the Saddle Creek family. The third release in the series is the yr heart 7-inch from Los Angeles’ Hand Habits.

Meg Duffy, aka Hand Habits, is a singer, songwriter and guitarist originally from upstate New York. She has been putting her time in on the road and in the studio over the past two years with pacific northwest band Mega Bog, and the Kevin Morby Band, making an impression on everyone she comes across with her natural charisma and uncharted talent as a multi-instrumentalist. Meg spoke with
She Shreds Mag about the new single, read the interview and listen to the song here and pre-order it here.


Annie Hart (of Au Revoir Simone): "Hard to be Still" (via Annie Hart (Bandcamp)/Force Field PR/YouTube)

"Hard to be Still" is featured on Annie Hart's upcoming solo album, Impossible Accomplice, which will be out September 15th.  The album can be pre-ordered through Hart's Bandcamp page.


Facial: "Animals" (via Chain Letter Collective/Us-Them Group/Consequence of Sound/Bandcamp)

"Animals" is featured on Facial's upcoming new album, Facade, which is being released September 29th via Chain Letter Collective.  You can pre-order the album here.


The Steoples: "Roles" (via Stones Throw/YouTube)

"Roles" is a single from The Steoples' upcoming new release, Six Rocks, which is available for pre-order at Stones Throw.  The album is scheduled to release on August 11th.


Circuit des Yeux: "Paper Bag" (via Drag City/Rarely Unable/YouTube)

From Rarely Unable:
Drag City is pleased to welcome Circuit des Yeux to our roster with the October 20th release of Reaching For Indigo. Vocalist, composer, and producer Haley Fohr has been Circuit des Yeux since she was eighteen years old. Born in the Year of the Dragon in Indiana's own "Star City" - that's Lafayette, IN! - she released records regularly over the past two decades, including four full-length albums, along with several mini-albums and singles. And all the while she has played shows everywhere, bringing her sounds to the far -(and near-) flung cities of Earth. She has been based in Chicago since 2012.

The album is available for pre-order here.


Poison Blood: "Circles of Salt" (Relapse Records/Earsplit PR/Cvlt Nation/Soundcloud)

From Earsplit PR:
A collaboration between Horseback's Jenks Miller and Krieg's Neill Jameson born out of Miller's desire to write music that was an outlet for a more straightforward kind of aggression, POISON BLOOD's eponymous debut is a short but furious chronicle of cold, reptilian, sonic terror.

Poison Blood's self-titled EP will be out August 11th.  It's available for pre-order from Relapse Records.  


Golden Retriever: "Pelagic Tremor" (via Thrill Jockey Records/YouTube)

From Thrill Jockey Records:
On Rotations, Golden Retriever explore an ocean’s worth of sound, combining an intense emotional immediacy and meditative focus with strong melodicism and an organic, naturalistic approach to experimental electronic sound. In expanding their sonic palette to incorporate a full chamber ensemble the duo have crafted an album that is meditative, lush, and emotionally arresting.

Golden Retriever's Rotations can be ordered from Thrill Jockey Records.  The album was also reviewed at No Ripcord.

Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Tropical Fuck Storm

Tropical Fuck Storm A Laughing Death in Meatspace Joyful Noise Recordings Released:  10.26.18 No Ripcord review. Sincere...