New video interview with Paradise Lost vocalist Nick Holmes posted online

On 26th September, Rock My Monkey TV posted a new video interview with Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes on YouTube, which can be seen below.

The interview took place during the band’s US visit on the ‘Epic Kings & Idols’ tour, which also features Devin Townsend and Katatonia. Earlier on the tour, the Age of Metal webzine had a chat with Paradise Lost’s guitarist Aaron Aedy, which can be viewed here.

Paradise Lost’s last album ‘Tragic Idol’ was released in April 2012.

Amanda Palmer to play Australian shows in February

Promoting her ‘Theatre Is Evil’ album with her Grand Theft Orchestra, Amanda Palmer returns to her native Australia for a short run of live shows.

The former Dresden Dolls vocalist will play six dates in all, some of which will be all ages shows.

Confirmed dates:

Fri 1 Feb Forum Theatre Melbourne
Thu 7 Feb Enmore Theatre Sydney *
Sat 9 Feb The Northern Byron Bay
Sun 10 Feb The Tivoli Brisbane
Thu 14 Feb Astor Theatre Perth
Sun 17 Feb Thebarton Theatre Adelaide *

*All ages shows. All other performances are 18+.

In other related news, Palmer recently appeared in the Flaming Lips video for their cover of ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ – a NSFW clip – which can be viewed here.

Agnostic Front to play Canadian dates in October

Following the earlier news of Agnostic Front’s trip to Europe in early 2013 with Hatebreed, the hardcore punk legends have confirmed a handful of Canadian dates for next month.

With support from Death By Stereo and West of Hell at all shows, Canadian fans can catch Agnostic Front here:

October 19, 2012 Vancouver, BC Ricksaw Theatre
October 20, 2012 Kelowna, BC Level Nightclub
October 21, 2012 Calgary, AB Republik
October 22, 2012 Edmonton, AB The Studio Music Foundation
October 23, 2012 Edmonton, AB The Pawn Shop
October 24, 2012 Saskatoon, SK Amigos Cantina
October 25, 2012 Winnipeg, MB The Zoo

THE DEAD EXS – Relovolution

Dead ExsBlending the attitude of The Stooges and Billy Childish with some traditional Howlin’ Wolf-esque blues grooves, The Dead Exs debut record ‘Resurrection’ was one of the finest releases of 2011. Since the New York duo’s fuzzy sounds have their obvious limitations, a follow up record ran the risk of just settling for more of the same, but thankfully, although it has many similarities, 2012’s ‘Relovolution’ takes the band’s talents and in many places pushes them to deliver a more mature record.

The title cut begins the album in style with a rallying cry before David Pattillo (guitar/vox) and Wylie Wirth (drums) throw themselves headlong into a stomper driven by furious slide guitar work and an aggressive reinterpretation of Johnny Cash’s “boom-chick-a-boom” rhythms.  In just under three minutes, these guys work up a real sweat as Wirth absolutely dominates with an unshakeable drum line, while Patillo’s heavily distorted voice cries out with carefree abandon.  Similarly, on the reverb drenched ‘White Collar Crime’ the duo adopt the subtlety of a truck as they crash headlong through a number which takes everything that made them great previously, turning everything up to eleven in the process.  It’s like experiencing Jon Spencer tackling Leadbelly’s ‘Rock Island Line’ while having his demons exorcised.

A largely unaccompanied vocal punctuated by two chords makes ‘Get Over’ immediately striking, and while this tune could have fit snugly onto ‘Resurrection’, with extra experience under their belts this performance sounds a touch more self-assured than The Dead Exs did previously. Wirth attacks his kit with the kind of energy befitting of a garage blues band, but occasional bass pedal moments hint at a more focused edge to his playing than before.   Tackling something a little more unexpected, on parts of ‘Let The Natives Loose’, Pattillo’s guitar mixes staccato rhythms and bigger, longer blues-filled notes in a way not quite experienced on a Dead Exs recording before. The more sophisticated approach to light, shade and subtler grooves suggest that these guys have worked very hard to ensure ‘Relovolution’ has elements which catch even their most staunch fans a little unaware.

While ‘Relovolution’ is a very consistent album, three of its most essential tracks are also its most commercial, relatively speaking.  Putting Pattillo and Wirth in pure blues mode with a strong ‘Little Red Rooster’ influence, ‘Paper Doll’ is tough yet lean, while ‘If You’ve Got The Time, I Got The Love’ owes a great debt to Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brand of Texan boogie blues.  Its main riff blends distorted edginess and very accessible blues tones in a fashion that is certainly far smoother than anything from The Dead Exs’ debut.  Although slightly sleazier, similar grooves sit at the heart of ‘Don’t Mess With The Girl From Texas’, a track which captures both musicians in a restrained mood, pulling the best from the kind of blues sounds which would suit Walter Trout, SRV et al. There’s enough grit on each of these numbers to avoid the band being labelled sell-outs by those members of their audience who prefer things a little more raucous, while the more accessible elements may help pull in a few unfamiliar listeners.

Like ‘Resurrection’, ‘Relovolution’ is a release that quickly grabs the listener and then refuses to let go.  Although a couple of bouts with the Texan blues and a few moodier numbers helps to ensure it isn’t a carbon copy of its predecessor, most people will be thankful of this album’s largely familiar nature.  There’s more than enough variety here to keep you listening… Join the “Relovolution” now!

September 2012

JUSTIN KLINE – Cabin Fever Songs

After releasing two solo EPs dedicated to multi-layered, sun-filled power pop, followed by a third outing of alternative rock (with his band Origami Hologram),  singer-songwriter Justin Kline takes a different tack yet again for his first full length release.

‘Cabin Fever Songs’ is a stripped down affair.  Recorded entirely by Kline alone at home, these thirteen songs feature voice and acoustic guitar, sometimes bolstered by bass and occasional keyboards.  The songs sometimes come from a much darker place.  Where previously Kline was happy to indulge his listeners in a world of candyfloss brilliance, these songs rely on sheer honesty and heartfelt lyrical content far more frequently than before. These are songs the artist felt he just had to write: deeply personal songs, which given the relatively lo-fi recording techniques, can sometimes feel a little bleak.  Stripped of all the bells and whistles which made his previous recordings so vibrant, it’s much easier with ‘Cabin Fever Songs’ to get a handle on what makes Kline’s songs work…or in some cases, not.

‘Nighttime Girl’ has all the hallmarks of Kline’s earlier brilliance, though in this sparser setting, it exposes how simple his songs can be.  Clean acoustic chords back a voice that occasionally sounds a little sugary for such an earnest recording, while a bassline marks time, never really breaking beyond its two note march.  A world of “oohs and ah’s” flesh things out adequately – and in all honesty, are very much needed.  ‘Resurrect With Me’, if anything, is even more simple, relying on a one line hook and not the most interesting of tunes.  The bass’s marching approach returns for ‘Sunday Night Blues’ a three-chord pop song which showcases Kline’s previous gift for a hook, even though this bedroom recording doesn’t do such a potentially great song justice.

‘Your Mystery’ is one of a few numbers where Kline tackles something truly worthy of standing alongside his previous work. Here, a quirky keyboard tune (sounding slightly distorted and off-key) tops a much busier acoustic riff.  Even without full band backing, Kline’s multi-tracked vocal is a ray of sunshine, while a more staccato approach on a hooky chorus allows his previous brilliance to come bursting through.  The woozy ‘His Knives’ works an unfussy melody and riff around a shiny sounding vocal to create something enjoyably intimate – one of a few tracks where the lack of drums isn’t quite as obvious – while on ‘I Already Do’, Kline turns an enjoyable intimacy on its head and unnerves with a truly bleak lyric.  The one-time purveyor of sunshine pop allows a look into his darker side via lyrics such as “there is no way you can act, to expose the life I lack” and “I was marked when I was born and cursed to always mourn / you can’t make me want to die, more than I already do”.  While he admits that these songs were created during a particularly troubled period, it is unlikely anyone familiar with Justin’s earlier releases expected anything quite so cutting.

The relationship once explored in ‘Triangle’s ‘Alison, We Cannot Be Friends’ is revisited and explored from a different viewpoint on a particular high point, ‘Alison, I’m Here’.  Where as previously Kline was adamant that he and the Alison in question had no more to give each other, on the slightly wistful acoustic sequel, he reaches out to the imagined heroine.  A gorgeous finger-picked guitar has a slight McCartney-esque approach and is impeccably delivered, but it’s this songs bittersweet melody and dual vocal which gives it a most enjoyable quality.  It’s easy to imagine both songs bookending a compilation of Kline’s best work, should such a release ever appear.   Just as enjoyable, the jangly ‘Carol Lynn’ is classic Kline: with an upbeat vocal and buoyant melody, this number is a great acoustic pop workout, underpinned by a ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ inspired mellotron accompaniment.  Looking beyond the sugary, happy melodies, Kline takes on the role of untrustworthy narrator, delivering the song’s brilliant kick in the teeth via a lyric that forewarns of Carol Ann’s bad streak.

Although the songs are deeply personal and rather candid, ‘Cabin Fever Songs’ is an underwhelming beast at times.  If you’re a listener who values tunes over lyrical content, the relative lack of variety within this album may become quickly apparent…and it probably wasn’t meant for you anyway.  Long standing fans may find some of the songs are in danger of sounding a little unfinished, but if this is the case, don’t worry too much; as Kline says himself of ‘Cabin Fever Songs’: “It might not be for everyone…it may even be a letdown to some”.

If after a few plays you’re still listening, feeling there’s something here, but still finding yourself looking for that moment where everything clicks, try thinking of this as a collection of songs instead of a fully formed “album”.  At first, avoid listening from end to end:  dip in and out and it works far better.  If, after that, you’re still not convinced, just remember one thing:  Justin doesn’t necessarily care if we like these songs or not, they just needed to shared.  Sharing one’s art can be a wobbly experience, but the stark honesty and cathartic edge at the heart of these ‘Cabin Fever Songs’ may appeal to some.

Listen via the widget below and send Justin a few bucks if you can.

August 2012