From The Horse’s Mouth: Mark Herman and Keith Testerman (The Estranged) on The Estranged

The Estranged

The Estranged

The Estranged formed in Portland, Oregeon back in the summer of ’06 by Mark Herman (vocals, guitar), Derek Willman (bass) and Keith Testerman (drums). All three were in legendary Portland band Remains Of The Day, and various members are/were in notable Portland bands such as From Ashes Rise, Hellshock, Lebenden Toten, and more.

Continuing in The Estranged’s tradition of mutating and evolving with each subsequent release, the new album is an epic, sprawling masterpiece of tense, ominous angst-ridden post punk.  They’ve heavily toned down both the Wipers influence of the 1st album and the blatant death-rock vibe of the second. Instead,  this one finds the band establishing a streamlined, punchier sound that both rocks a little harder than the last album, while retaining some of the textured soundscape feel which fans of that record have come to expect.

The influences on their newest album range from the Cure to Echo & the Bunnymen to The Troggs. Lyrically, they have more of an ambiguous angst ridden approach, musically showing the bands continued maturity in their song writing and recording process.

You Indie recently caught up with Herman and Testerman to discuss their self-titled record, which arrived via Dirtnap in March.  This is what they told us.

When did you begin writing the material for the self-titled album?

Mark: We began writing the songs sometime around the summer of 2011. We demoed about half of the songs with Stan at Buzz Or Howl studios in the summer of 2011 but never got around to demoing the rest. “The Ride” ended up being used for an LP comp called Terminal Decay.

Keith: The Terminal Decay comp. was something done by Welly from Artcore zine out of the UK. I actually think we may have had one or two of the songs written before our first European tour in 2011, but seeing as there were a few gaps with touring and other things it took us a few years to get the songs to a point we were happy with.

What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?

Mark: “Hide”, “Languid Sky”, and “Mark Of Sin” were probably some of the most difficult only because I changed a lot of the vocal melodies in the studio that I had originally planned. There were revisions done to other songs but these were the most dramatic. It was really nice to have the time to do some trial and error with the juxtaposition of different vocal/instrumental melodies. Some of these songs seemed to go through a demoing process whether we knew it or not.

Keith: I’d say the most difficult songs from this last session were the ones that didn’t make it on the album. we’re still working on those…

From the songs on the album, for the most part the initial ideas of the songs come together pretty quickly. Usually we write songs in batches of two or three and then start weeding out the parts that don’t really feel right or start adding layers. each of us have slightly different ideas on direction and figuring out where they all meet is how we find each song. Sometimes it’s a long process sometimes it happens pretty quickly. We’re pretty good at not rushing the process though. it all happens fairly
organically. the recording process was probably the only thing that might be considered difficult for this last session with Mark taking a good amount of trial and error to find the best vocal melodies for each song. There was a good amount that changed from the beginning of tracking to the end. But, we took our time so it all worked out in the end.

Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?

Mark: This questions seems to go in tandem with the previous one so I apologize if this sounds redundant. “Anyway”, on “Hide” we changed the vocal melody completely on all of the verses. “Languid Sky” was one of those songs that was being stubborn for a while but on one of the last days of tracking, Evan and I had a fortuitous night of bouncing back ideas resulting in something I really like. These are the kind of things that set Evan apart from other engineers. He’s not afraid to go down a hole and experiment with the bands he records hence, being a good producer. Also, “The Ride” was another song that I added a lot of improv guitar feedback that I never intended to do originally but honestly, I like it when songs decide to take a path of their own and surprise you with different outcomes than you had previously rehearsed. I think that is the real magic of being in the studio. I guess for me the vantage point of a song isn’t always right in front of me. Sometimes I have to step farther back to see than I think.

Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?

Mark: Yes, we had our friend Damaris Peterson play all of the keys and sing the backing vocals. We’re really happy with everything she did on the LP and we plan to work with her again in the future.

Who engineered, mixed, mastered and/or produced the record? What input did those people have that changed the face of the record?

Keith: Daniel Husayn from the North London Bomb Factory did the mastering while Jason Powers and Evan Mersky were the engineers and Evan helped with more with the producing side of things while Jason kept to more of the engineer side of things and he was also the one who did most of the mixing. We spent a good deal of time tracking vocals, guitars and other instruments with Evan at Red Lantern this time around. The idea being that we wanted to spend a bit more time exploring different vocal and guitar melodies and doing this at Red Lantern was quite a bit less stressful for us.

Mark: Evan had some really great ideas that I never could have thought up and we also combined many ideas into a sort of hybrid experimentations.

Is there an overarching concept behind the record that ties it all together?

Mark: A concept? No. I actually think that concept records are pretty played out and run the risk of sounding removed and insincere. My concept is, if I have one just an equivocal testament to everything that happens to me or situations I make up in my head but ironically the ones I invent end up sounding more earnest to me for some strange reason…

Keith: I think the idea for us was just to write an album we were all happy with.

Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?

Mark: Yes, we played about half of our record while we were on tour in Europe but I’m not the best person to ask since it seems that everyone has different songs they like but I’d say that “Fatalist Flaw” and “Languid Sky” are some songs people seem to tolerate.

Keith: Seems like the best feedback I’ve gotten is from “Hide” and “forever been erased”. For the most part they all seem to be pretty well received.

(Check out a song by The Estranged here: Listen “Another Stab”.)

Jar’d Loose share “Adult Prom”, tour (2014)

The A.V. Club has debuted “Adult Prom,” the first new song off Chicago noise-rockers Jar’d Loose’s second album,Turns 13.

The album was produced by Pete Grossman (Harm’s Way, Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Today Is The Day’s Steve Austin (Converge, Unsane, Deadguy), and will be released May 27th, a split release between The Path Less Traveled Records (CD and digital) and Threshold of Pain Records (vinyl).

Jar’d Loose hits the road this spring for short runs with Fuck The Facts and The Swan King.

w/ Fuck The Facts:
Apr 18 – Oshkosh, WI @ The Underground
Apr 19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club

w/ The Swan King:
May 30 – Columbus, OH @ Carabar
Jun 2 – Boston, MA @ O’Brien’s
Jun 3 – Brooklyn, NY @ St Vitus
Jun 4 – Philadelphia, PA @ JR’s
Jun 5 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Jun 6 – Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar
Jun 7 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Howlers

Total Control share “Flesh War”

Finally, a new deep cut from Melbourne’s visceral post-punk band Total Control. Typical System, their second LP, was written, recorded, created over the past two years and is set for U.S./Worldwide release via Iron Lung Records on June 24 and self-release in Australia/New Zealand on June 20. 

LISTEN TO “FLESH WAR” ON SOUNDCLOUD HERE

Expire finishes sophomore effort, tours (2014)

Midwestern heavy hitters Expire recently wrapped recording on their second full-length at Howl Street Recordings in Milwaukee.  Following its completion, the album went into the hands of Jay Maas at Getaway Studios for mastering and is now ready to be heard.  Titled Pretty Low, this new album features eleven tracks of honest and uncompromising hardcore and is the follow-up to Expire’s B9 debut Pendulum Swings which was called “one of the best hardcore albums to be released this decade” by Rise HXC.

Song premieres, videos and pre-order information will be coming soon from Expire and Bridge Nine Records.

In the meantime, see the band on tour here:

April 10  Albuquerque, NM @ Blackwater Music

April 11  Mesa, AZ @ Nile

April 12  Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction

April 13  Las Vegas, NV @ East Side Joe’s

April 14  Grand Junction, CO @ Eagle’s Lodge 595

April 15  Colorado Springs, CO @ Triple Nickle Tavern

April 16  Waterloo, IA @ 220 East

May 23  Seattle, WA @ Rain Fest

July 24-27  Philadelphia, PA @ This Is Hardcore Festival

Polyvinyl, American Football reissue LP

Polyvinyl Records and American Football have announced the reissue of the Chicago/Urbana, IL trio’s seminal self-titled 1999 release. Available May 20 on 2xLP, 2xCD, cassette tape, and digital formats, the American Football (Deluxe Edition) reissue features an album’s worth of rare live recordings, demos, and practice sessions (in which the group rehearsed material they never recorded elsewhere) to complement the original record. Beautifully expanded packaging incorporates new photographs from Chris Strong along with lyrics, detailed liner notes written by the band, and never-before-seen band pictures.

In anticipation of the reissue release, the previously unreleased song “The 7′s”, recorded Live At the Blind Pig in Champaign, IL in 1997, is now available to stream on SoundCloud. According to guitarist Steve Holmes, the song was among the very first the band wrote, and was a standard set closer for them until they wrote “Stay Home”.  While that song eventually made it onto the band’s self-titled album, “The 7′s” was never recorded in studio as they felt it would fail to fit with the rest of the songs on American Football.

Stream “The 7′s [Live At The Blind Pig, Champaign, IL, 1997]” on SoundCloud

BoySetsFire, Funeral For A Friend cover each other for split 7″

Influential post-hardcore bands BoySetsFire and Funeral For A Friend have teamed up to release a split 7” vinyl record on May 13 via No Sleep Records in the U.S. Beginning today, fans can pre-order the record from No Sleep Records at http://nslp.co/bsfffaf.

BoySetsFire/Funeral For A Friend Split 7” Track List:

1. 10:45 Amsterdam Conversations – BoySetsFire

2. Rookie – Funeral For A Friend

Darsombra announce dates with Floor (2014)

Baltimore-based duo, Darsombra, has been confirmed to join Floor on their upcoming May tour. From May 3 through the 11, Floor will headline nine major cities on the East Coast and Midwest, with Darsombra and Hot Victory providing opening support on all dates.

4/08/2014 Lion’s Lair – Denver, CO w/ Nightmare Boyzzz (Slovenly), Vegetable Children

4/09/2014 Knickerbockers – Lincoln, NE w/ Webb

4/10/2014 TBA – Kansas

4/11/2014 Record Bar – Kansas City, MO w/ Expo ’70, Ancient River

4/12/2014 The Mill – Iowa City, IA w/ United Teachers of Music, Sweet Chariot

4/13/2014 Hexagon – Minneapolis, MN w/ Thunderbolt Pagoda, Comets Ov Cupid

4/15/2014 Wisco – Madison, WI w/ UuskiuU, Los Bastardos Guapos

4/16/2014 Quarters – Milwaukee, WI w/ Northless, Lost Spirit

4/17/2014 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL w/ Bleeding Rainbow, Blizzard Babies, The Mraz Volta

4/18/2014 Melody Inn – Indianapolis, IN w/ Bible of the Devil, Leeches of Lore, Cocaine Wolves

4/19/2014 Ghost House – Bloomington, IN w/ Agakus, Charnel House, Two Bands From Canada

4/20/2014 Trumbullplex – Detroit, MI w/ Octopus, Collapse

4/21/2014 The Drinkery – Cincinnati, OH w/ New Strange

4/22/2014 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH w/ Myra Gale, Dead Peasant Insurance, MDFL

4/23/2014 Brillobox – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Mrs. Paintbrush

4/24/2014 The Lair – Buffalo, NY w/ Ancients of Earth, Highest Leviathan, Amish Noise

4/25/2014 Monkey House – Winooski, VT w/ Astrocat, Blue Button

4/26/2014 Psychic Readings – Providence, RI w/ Queen Elephantine, Vomit Arsonist, Parasomniak Lustt, LVMMVX

5/02/2014 Windup Space – Baltimore, MD w/ Drone Theory, Drunk Victory
Darsombra w/ Floor, Hot Victory:

5/03/2014 Tremont Music Hall  – Charlotte, NC

5/04/2014 Rock & Roll Hotel - Washington, DC

5/05/2014 Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY

5/06/2014 The Barbary - Philadelphia, PA

5/07/2014 Great Scott - Boston, MA

5/08/2014 The Tralf - Buffalo, NY

5/09/2014 Smiling Moose - Pittsburgh, PA

5/10/2014 Pyramid Scheme - Grand Rapids, MI

5/11/2014 Double Door – Chicago, IL

Owen to release album of cover songs

A few weeks ago, Chicago musician Mike Kinsella (aka Owen) tweeted that he was heading into the studio to record an album of
cover songs. Fans can expect versions of songs from an eclectic roster of artists, including Depeche Mode, Mojave 3, ALL, Blake Babies, Against Me!, Lungfish and former bandmate Davey von Bohlen’s post-Cap’n Jazz group, Promise Ring.

Daylight changes name to Superheaven, tours (2014)

The band formerly known as Daylight announced today that they will no longer record or play music under that name.  Instead, the band is changing their name to Superheaven.  Fresh off a U.S. tour opening for Bayside, Four Year Strong and Mixtapes, the Doylestown, PA quartet also announced two summer tours today, one with Nothing and one with Basement and Pity Sex (all tour dates below).

Bassist Joe Kane said of the name change to Superheaven,”Long story short, we legally cannot operate under the band name “Daylight” anymore. So we’re changing it. The music we write, the members we have, and the message we put forth remain unchanged. We will still perform any and all of the music we have written together up to this point.  From this point on, this band is called Superheaven.”

.5/31 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada (All Ages)%
6/02 – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s Downstairs (All Ages)%
6/03 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia (18+)%
6/04 – Nashville, TN – The End (18+)%
6/05 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade (All Ages)%
6/06 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 (All Ages)%
6/07 – Washington, DC – DC9 (All Ages)%
6/08 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle (21+)%
6/12 – Boston, MA – Great Scott (18+)%
6/13 – Providence, RI – Simon’s 67 (All Ages)%
6/14 – New York, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall (19+)%
8/14 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean *
8/15 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean *
8/16 – Pontiac, MI – Pike Room at Crofoot +
8/17 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar +
8/18 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer +
8/19 – New York, NY – Webster Hall +
8/20 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair +

% = w/ Nothing
* = w/ Basement, Pity Sex, Cloakroom
+ = w/ Basement, Pity Sex, Ovlov

Bane to tour with Turnstile and Take Offense (2014)

With their farewell album Don’t Wait Up scheduled for a May 13 release, Bane have announced plans for a late spring tour with Turnstile and Take Offense. Pre-orders for the album can be found here while dates for the tour include:

05/23 Toronto, ON – Hard Luck (no Turnstile)
05/24 Howell, MI – Bled Fest
05/25 Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
05/26 Cleveland, OH – The Foundary
05/27 Chicago, IL – Subterranean
05/28 Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose
05/30 Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
05/31 Salt Lake City, UT – Loading Dock
06/02 Seattle, WA – El Corazon
06/03 Portland, OR – Alhambra Theater
06/04 San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
06/05 Los Angeles, CA – Echo
06/06 Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
06/21 Montebello, QC – Amnesia Rock Fest