From The Horse’s Mouth: Anthony Fusco (Divider) on All Barren

Divider

Divider

Nearly a decade after its formation, Divider delivers its first full-length album: All Barren. Glory Kid Ltd. will release All Barren on September 23 as a vinyl LP and digital download. 

All Barren is Divider’s debut full-length yet the Long Island, New York band has been making records since 2006 – a Kurt Ballou-recorded debut EP and a split with Bone Dance, among others. Through many changes in personnel, the band has persisted almost ten years, touring the nation alongside other standouts of the DIY circuit like Capsule and Khann.

All Barren is the sound of a band plowing forward after years of internal and external turmoil: lineup changes, lawsuits, and, most recently, the complete destruction of frontman Chris Tzompanakis’ home in Hurricane Sandy. Not unlike the relentless advance of that hurricane, All Barren is a campaign of mid-paced devastation that blankets the senses and dwarfs the will. From opener “Crow Eater” onward, this is music that barrels forth unstoppably with a life of its own, radiating power. All Barren was produced by Will Yip (Circa Survive, Blacklisted) and Vince Ratti (August Burns Red, Balance and Composure), and mastered by Bill Henderson (Enabler, Most Precious Blood).

You Indie recently caught up with Divider guitarist Anthony Fusco to discuss the record. This is what he told us about it.

When did you begin writing the material for the forthcoming album?

We started writing about two years ago. When we came home from Europe, we really focused on the material. We ended up with 11 songs for this LP, but we tossed about 15 songs after everything was said and done. We spent quite a while putting ideas together. However, as far as I am concerned, some of the best material on this record was written a week or so before we left to go record. The song “All Barren” was written the night before we left.

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

There is a song called “Ruin” on this LP that doesn’t really let up. From beginning to end, it is fairly intense. For some reason, we thought it would be a good idea to track this towards the end of one of the days designated for drums. We must have played it at least 30 times. After a few meltdowns and psychedelic freakouts, we were able bang it out. Otherwise, everything went very smoothly. All the music was recorded at Studio 4 in Philly. We got through everything in four days. All the vocals were recorded at my place in New York, so we were able to spend a lot of time on them and really get them where we wanted. Everything really just fell into place. Mixing and mastering only took a few passes each and that was about it.

Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changedthe face of the record?

Will Yip engineered and produced. He had a huge hand in shaping a lot of the drums parts. On top of being an extremely talented engineer and producer, Will is an equally talented drummer. He was really able put his spin on the drums and how they should sound. Which parts might be too much and which parts need a little extra. There are a lot of dynamics in these songs, so the way he was able to help mold the drums really pushed everything to the next level. The awesome thing about Studio 4 is you really don’t spend much time on getting sounds. Because of Will and that Neve console, you plug in and play. You hit the drums and go. So that gave us a lot of time to really make sure everything was where it needed to be.

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

The track “Viscera” was totally different until the day before we recorded it. We had the song demoed and pretty set as far as the structure went. This was the last song we tracked on drums.  The night before we planned on tracking it, I went through it and changed it all. The original version wasn’t bad at all, but after having a general feel of how this record was going to sound, it just didn’t really fit. It was kind of scary to do because we had everything scheduled pretty tightly as far as studio time. Will had a huge hand in shaping this song. The middle of the song was written between Will and me, and the ending just kind of came together naturally. The only thing that is the same between both versions is the five accents in the beginning. Otherwise, they sound like two different songs.

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

We had our friend Tim sing on the last song that closes the record out called “Silently Marching”. He sang in that band Daytrader and currently in Some Stranger. This is a song that is meant to stick out. We had a lot of back and forth about how it should sound and where things should be. Ultimately, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. It is probably something we will never play live, but it definitely came together well. It is just about seven minutes. Tim sings on the first half, and Chris sings on the second half and ends it.

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties therecord together?

Musically, everything is stripped down. If a riff sucked, we didn’t put a bunch of fluff over it to try and make it work. We threw it out and started over. So from the perspective of a guitar player, it is bare bones, and I think it carried out through the record and worked very well. Lyrically, a lot of terrible shit happened during the course of writing this record. There is an overt sense of hopelessness and emptiness. Our singer Chris lost everything in the Hurricane that hit Long Island. Actually lost everything. There was an empty lot where his house was for the majority of the last year and half. I was very happy to see him get through everything the way he did. You need to be strong to be able to handle that, but it will no doubt have an effect on you. All you have to do is read what he wrote, and you get direct insight into someone that was tested very hard by life.

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

We have been playing a set of “Crow Eater,” “The Devouring,” “All Barren,” “Poisoned Arrows,” “Empty Beds,” “Salt and Bone,” and then one or two older songs. Those are the songs we all really enjoy playing. They are the most stripped down you could say. That is probably why they are so much fun to play. People seem to like them. I guess that’s supposed to be the point. We really like them though.

(Visit Divider here: http://facebook.com/dividerandconquer.)

Death From Above 1979 offer denim jacket, tour (2014)

jacket

Dance-punk duo Death From Above 1979 have created their own very special and extremely limited-edition DFA 1979 denim jacket. The Levi’s slim-cut black jacket features hand-stitched chenille patches of a “79″ on the front and DFA 1979′s distinctive logo on the back, both designed by Klaxon Howl and Wolff.

Only 60 of these jackets will be made and sold to the public. They will be available beginning today, Sept. 18th on the official DFA 1979 Twitter:  https://twitter.com/dfa1979

In other DFA 1979 news, the track “Crystal Ball,” from the new album, The Physical World, will be one of the songs featured in the soundtrack for FIFA 15 , the upcoming video game from EA Sports on Sep. 23. For more information, click here.

DFA 1979 will hit the road this fall in support of The Physical World. They are not to be missed. Need proof?  Check out their recent performance of “Trainwreck1979,” from Letterman and view the official video for “Trainwreck 1979″ here.

Confirmed Tour dates are as follows:

11/01                New Orleans, LA           Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

11/03                Atlanta, GA                    Buckhead Theatre

11/04                Nashville, TN                 Marathon Music Works

11/06                Houston, TX                  Warehouse Live

11/07                Austin, TX                     Fun Fun Fun

11/08                Dallas, TX                     Granada Theater

11/10                Tempe, AZ                    Marquee Theatre

11/12                San Diego, CA              House of Blues

11/13                Santa Ana, CA              Observatory

11/15                Las Vegas, NV              Brooklyn Bowl

11/17                San Francisco, CA        The Independent

11/18                Portland, OR                 Crystal Ballroom

11/19                Seattle, WA                   Neumos

11/21                Salt Lake City, UT         In The Venue

11/22                Boulder, CO                  Fox Theatre

11/24                Minneapolis, MN           First Avenue

11/25                Chicago, IL                    Riviera Theatre

11/26                Detroit, MI                     Crofoot

11/28                New York, NY               Terminal 5

1129                 Philadelphia, PA            Union Transfer

12/01                Washington, DC            9:30 Club

12/02                Boston, MA                    House of Blues

United Nations to tour with Silver Snakes (2014)

United Nations and Silver Snakes will tour the West Coast together in November. Dates are as follows:

11/4 Los Angeles CA @ Jewels Catch One
11/5 Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
11/6 Berkely, CA @ 924 Gilman
11/7 Portland, OR @ Il Motore
11/8 Vancouver, BC @ Korean Hall
11/9 Seattle, WA @ Barboza
11/12 Las Vegas, NV @ Eagle Aerie Hall
11/13 Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
11/14 Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock
11/15 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah

You Indie Feature: An interview with Myrkur

Myrkur

Myrkur

Emerging from the darkness of Scandinavia comes one-woman black metal project Myrkur.  Combining the rawness of second wave black metal bands like Ulver and Darkthrone with a natural sonic, ethereal beauty, Myrkur has created a wholly unique perspective on the genre.

Hailing from Denmark, Myrkur signed to renowned independent label, Relapse Records, in 2014 and will release her eponymous debut EP this fall.  With a distinct sense of Nordic isolation, Myrkur’s debut is a feminine yet definitively brutal record that has burst onto the scene like a Valkyrie into battle. Shrouded in darkness and mystic elegance…this is black metal unlike anything that has been heard before.

You Indie recently caught up with her to discuss her output, contemporaries, choral music and more.  This is what she told us.

Being Scadinavian seems to have an influence the music that you make and the catalysts that inspire you. 

Yes, this is the truth.

Can you tell us a little bit about your introduction to metal and how you came to the realization that it would be a good platform for your ideas and musical output?

I come from a musical background of classical music. I grew up playing the violin and playing in a symphony orchestra. And also of choral singing. There really is not that big difference of classical music and black metal. It is music based on heart aching beauty combined with violent darkness. I have always carried much anger and hate within me and black metal more than any other music is a good place to express this. Instead of denying this side to myself and to life, I am willing to explore it and go deeper into it. And create from it and share it with like-minded people.

Do you acknowledge that bands like Alcest, Agalloch and Deafheaven might be your contemporaries?

I am not sure what this means. I have not listened to these bands but I have heard of them, through fans of theirs. But I cannot say if my music is similar to them, because I have not listened to it. Perhaps they were inspired by some of the same Scandinavian music that I grew up with.

Do you have an opinions on “un-black metal,” the term that seems to be attached to Christian black metal?

The term un-black metal, or Christian black metal, is in itself not a term for the musical expression that black metal springs from, but an adaption to define a statement in another perspective of the content. I’m neither interested or into that content nor the genre in itself. I’m communicating a totally different message, both musically and lyrically, that have it’s core elsewhere.

When did you begin writing the self-titled record?

I have written this music for many years and it has developed into different directions. I did not plan to ever play it for anyone or release it.

Did anyone help you to bring it to life and what influence did they have on it?

Before mixing the EP I asked my friend Rex Myrnur to help me with the drums.

What were the primary concepts or ideas were you hoping to communicate?  Or was this a purely personal and cathartic endeavor?

Some people today live an unnatural life and they restrict themselves, they almost shrink themselves down to useless creature. They are not in touch with their natural state of being or with their own ancient powers. With the reflection of the asaguderne / gods in us. I try to live proactive and not reactive. Many times you see people living accordingly to what other people’s reactions of them. Almost as if they need other humans to tell them who they are and what they like, other humans to define themselves. I wish to do as I wish. I wish to not be limited by genre definition or labels that certain people need to put upon music/people, in order to feel secure about them. But I love and respect and wish to protect the black  metal community. I connect the most to black metal supporters, they tend to be the most dedicated people with authentic love for the music they listen to. The same way for people who listen to / play classical music.

You have mixed what might be some traditional choral sounds into the record?  Did you grow up performing that kind of music?  How did you originally discover your voice?

I suppose I discovered my voice as a young child when I first listened to the Danmarks radio’s girls choir and felt a connection to these  girl choirs voices. They sang old Scandinavian songs arranged in different ways and that inspired me. Playing the violin and alongside other string instruments, has perhaps also shaped my approach to vocals. I tend to arrange these choral parts in my head and hear all the voices before I start to layer/ record them. String arrangements such as the music of Edvard Grieg or Tchaikovsky I have always listened to and sung along to. Wordless of course. I can sort of see a cello part as sung by a voice instead. And I incorporate this into other things as well, I think my guitar playing is a little different because I almost translate a melody from choral voice to guitar, which results in different textures and chord universe than the usual.

The guitar part for “Frosne Vind” sounds an awful lot like, “What Child Is This?”  Was that intentional?   

No. I just had to look up this song on the internet to see what you mean haha.

What benefits has working with Relapse afforded you as an artist?

They have given me the freedom to release music without talk of my ‘identity’ or the way I look because they understand my philosophy and approach to black metal and music in general. They help me spread the message of black metal.

Do you plan to tour in support of the effort or is Myrkur primarily a studio-based endeavor?

I wish to play concerts. I am working on how to play this music live with a band and a choir. I wish to set up a concert at Grieg Hallen with a Norwegian girls’ choir mixed with brutal metal instrumentation.

(Listen to her here: http://myrkur.bandcamp.com/.)

 

From The Horse’s Mouth: Andrew Low (The Jazz June) on After The Earthquake

The Jazz June (photo by Brett Barto)

The Jazz June (photo by Brett Barto)

Revered indie rock outfit The Jazz June is set to drop their first new studio LP in over 12 years, After The Earthquake, on November 11 via Topshelf Records. The LP was recorded with producer Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.) at Gradwell House this past spring, with Steve Poponi (Young Statues) engineering/mixing and Dave Downham (Dowsing, Into It. Over It.) mastering.

You Indie recently caught up with vocalist guitarist Andrew Low to discuss the record. This is what he shared.

When did you begin writing the material for your forthcoming album?  

I actually started working on songs about three years ago, this was even before we talked about working on new Jazz June material. I had been playing in punk and garage bands for a couple of years and I just got the urge to work on songs that were more in the style of The Jazz June. At the time I just thought I would write and maybe record them with guys from London, but when Bryan gave us a kick up the arse to start playing again the songs all started to come together quite nicely.

The process was really fun because I would write a basic version of the rhythm and vocals, send it around to the guys and it would be returned to me in as a complete song that was 1,000 times better than I could have done on my own.

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

Actually, we have been working on the song “Short Changed” for almost eight years. Bryan wrote it for a solo album that we helped him with back in 2005. For some reason it took me a million different tries to get the vocal harmonies to fit his guitar parts, and we changed the arrangement several times. But I am really happy with the version on ATE. It is one of my favorites on the album.

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

“Ain’t It Strange” is quite different from the idea that I had in my head. I originally wanted it to be a very mushy, noisey, My Bloody Valentine-style song with swirling organs and male/female vocals bleeding together, but the more stripped down version on the album sounds great. Also, the piano parts and additions that Evan made to it have made it sound really great.

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

Alana from Joanna Gruesome sings on “Ain’t it Strange.” I love her band so that was a real highlight of the process. Naomi Hammerton, a good friend and amazing musician, added vocals to a few songs. She is in a band called the Sea and I with one of the guys from The Hoosiers and she is an absolute pro. She nailed the takes first try and then added like four harmony parts, it was actually incredible. Evan from Into It/Over it also added guitar, keys, backup vocals, percussion etc. to several of the songs.

Who produced the record?  What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

Evan from Into It Over It produced the album and I think he helped us to be a bit more economical with respect to song arrangements. He would say things like “Why is this song six minutes long? You play the same chord progression in the verse 12 times before the vocals come in?” He also added instrument parts and vocal harmonies that elevated certain key parts of the songs really well. It was great to have a second pairs of ears.

When we recorded our other albums we may have doing a bit of over playing, in my opinion. That was probably a reaction to playing punk and hardcore for years, which is a style of music that doesn’t lend itself too much experimentation. The experimentation is still there with the new album but it’s in a more refined way. We been playing together for 20 years so we are more selective, rather than just chucking it all in.

Steve Poponi engineered and mixed the album and he really helped to blend in all the layers in a way that made sense. I think in the past we just cranked all the faders to the max and let them wrestle with each other sonically, but he gave a more experienced approach to the overall dynamics of the songs.

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

I guess the over arching theme is feeling a bit lost and unsure of how you are going to get on with life after a major change, which is referenced in the album title, After the Earthquake. It could be a death of a loved one or a break up or a big move, anything that is a new phase. These situations make you feel a bit uneasy, like you have resurfaced on a new planet. And that new place can be unsettling but it also comes with a host of new opportunities.

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

“Over Underground” went over really well when we played it at the Boot and Saddle show in Philly. It is a really fun song to play live because of the changes and Bryan’s guitar lead is really catchy. The vocals on the album version is a bit more aggressive from the split version with Dikembe, which is the result of playing it live a few times and finding the right way to place the vocals in the mix.

(Stream “Edge of Space” here.  After The Earthquake is now available for pre-order here.)

The Dismemberment Plan reissue Change on vinyl, play shows (2014)

The Dismemberment Plan will reissue Change on vinyl via Partisan Records on November 4.  The 180-gram LP will include a 12-page booklet with art, photography and lyrics.

LISTEN: “Time Bomb,” Track 9 on Change, via Soundcloud

The band play a few dates in November:

11/7 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church

11/8 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom

11/28 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

Hostage Calm share video for “A Thousand Miles Away From Here,” tour (2014)

Hostage Calm debuted the Max Moore-directed video for their track “A Thousand Miles Away From Here” today on Redbull Music.  The track comes from the band’s new full-length Die On Stage, out this week via Run For Cover Records and currently available for purchase via the label’s webstore.  Hostage Calm also just kicked off a fall North American tour supporting Run For Cover label mates Citizen alongside You Blew It!, True Love and Praise (all tour dates below).

Watch “A Thousand Miles Away From Here”

09/18 – Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro*
09/19 – Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction*
09/20 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues*
09/21 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour*
09/22 – Las Vegas, NV @ Eagle Hall*
09/23 – Mesa, AZ @ Nile Theater*
09/25 – Dallas, TX @ Sons of Herman Hall*
09/26 – St. Louis, MO @ The Demo%
09/27 – Birmingham, AL @ The Forge^
09/28 – Orlando, FL @ Backbooth^
09/29 – Tampa, FL @ Epic Problems^
09/30 – Lake Worth, FL @ Propaganda^
10/01 – Jacksonville, FL @ Underbelly^
10/02 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade^
10/03 – Greensboro, NC @ Greene Street Club^
10/04 – Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry^
10/05 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar^
10/07 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Loft^
10/08 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes^
10/09 – Long Island, NY @ Revolution Music Hall^
10/10 – New York, NY @ Studio at Webster Hall^
10/11 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church^
10/12 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair^
10/14 – Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room^
10/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop^
10/18 – North Haven, CT @ Up All Night Collective (Record Release Show w/ Superheaven, Angel Du$t, Tri-State Era)

* = w/ Citizen, You Blew It!, Praise
^ = w/ Citizen, You Blew It!, True Love
% = w/ Citizen, You Blew It!, Praise, True Love

The Jazz June share “Edge of Space”

Revered indie rock outfit The Jazz June is premiering a new song off the band’s long-awaited LP After The Earthquake on Entertainment Weekly.

Stream “Edge of Space” here.

After The Earthquake will be released on November 11 via Topshelf Records.

The LP was recorded with producer Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.) at Gradwell House this past spring, with Steve Poponi (Young Statues) engineering/mixing and Dave Downham (Dowsing, Into It. Over It.) mastering.

The release marks their first new studio LP in over 12 years.

After The Earthquake is now available for pre-order here.

Empires stream forthcoming album, tour (2014)

Empires release their major label debut Orphan next Tuesday September 23 on Chop Shop / Island Records. Billboard Magazine is now streaming the anticipated new record from the Chicago, IL band here: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6251511/empires-exclusive-premiere-new-album-orphan-sean-van-vleet-interview

Empires recently made their late night television on the Late Show with David Letterman. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7789U7roU0

Catch them live here:

9/17 – Los Angeles, CA at the Troubadour #

9/18 – San Francisco, CA at the Independent #

9/20 – Bend, OR at Old St. Francis School #

9/21 – Seattle, WA at the Showbox #

9/22 – Portland, OR at the Wonder Ballroom #

9/26 – Chicago, IL at the W Hotel

9/27 – Cincinnati, OH at Midpoint Music Festival $

9/28 – Springfield, IL at Radon Lounge

10/1 – Columbia, MO at Mojo’s

10/2 – Kansas City, MO at the Record Bar

10/4 – Austin, TX at Austin City Limits

10/10 – Austin, TX at Stubbs Jr. %

10/11 – Austin, TX at Austin City Limits

10/17 – Akron, OH at Musica

10/18 – Columbus, OH at the Rumba Cafe

10/19 – Grand Rapids, MI at Founders Brewing Company

10/21 – Minneapolis, MN at 7th St. Entry

10/23 – DeKalb, IL at the House Cafe

10/24 – Champaign, IL at Error Records

11/7 – Pontiac, MI at the Pike Room

11/8 – Pittsburgh, PA at the Smiling Moose

11/9 – Philadelphia, PA at the Barbary

11/11 – Boston, MA at Church of Boston

11/13 – Hoboken, NJ at the W Hotel

11/14 – Brooklyn, NY at Baby’s All Right

11/15 – Washington, DC at DC9

11/16 – Carrboro, NC at Cat’s Cradle Back Room

# w/ Augustines

$ w/ OK Go

% w/ the Chain Gang of 1974

Cheap Girls tour with Signals Midwest, more (2014)

Cheap Girls are going on an October tour. They’ll be joined by Beach Slang, Signals Midwest and Lee Corey Oswald.

Date City Venue
10/10 Chicago, IL Township
11/11 Ft. wayne, IN Brass Rail
10/12 Toronto, ON The Cave at Lee’s Place
10/14 Brooklyn, NY St. Vitus w/ Signals Midwest and Lee Corey Oswald
10/15 Boston, MA Middle East Upstairs w/ Signals Midwest and Lee Corey Oswald
10/16 Asbury Park, NJ Asbury Lanes w/ Signals Midwest and Lee Corey Oswald
10/17 Philadelphia, PA The Fire w/ Signals Midwest and Lee Corey Oswald
10/18 Pittsburgh, PA The Club Cafe w/ Signals Midwest and Lee Corey Oswald
10/19 Cleveland,OH The Grog shop w/ Signals Midwest and Lee Corey Oswald