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Guided by Voices break down their new album, Space Gun, Track by Track: Stream

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature that finds an artist breaking down the entirety of their latest album.

Robert Pollard is well-known for redefining what it means to be prolific. The 60-year-old rocker’s career has consisted of over 100 albums, a number he hit just last year with Guided By Voices’ first double LP, August By Cake. The indie alternative outfit also dropped How Do You Spell Heaven in 2017, but 2018 will see Pollard and the group deliver only one full-length. It’s called Space Gun and is out March 23rd. Well ahead of the street date, you can stream it in full below.

Pollard recored Space Gun with GBV’s most recent lineup, a mix of veterans (Doug Gillard and Kevin March) and newcomers (Mark Shue and Bobby Bare Jr.). The band mastermind has said he feels invigorated by the current mix of musicians, and that their “adroit talents pushes him to more daring and dizzying heights.”

Take a listen to Space Gun below to see just where those new heights take Guided By Voices.

For more insight into GBV’s latest offering, guitarist Doug Gillard has broken down the album track by track. See what he has to say below.

“Space Gun”:
A powerful opener, layered guitars & analog synth white noise. I think this is what’s meant by “tour de force,” musically speaking.

“Colonel Paper”:
Adventures in late-night trash can grazing. Tried to have a super thin guitar sound & still make the song muscly. Bob’s vocals, Mark’s bass, Kevin’s drums and Travis Harrison at the board all helped to achieve that.

“King Flute”:
Song about King Flute, an “ill-fate squire.” Some great drum fills by Mr. March, and I added a mellotron flute part by way of my smartphone.

“Ark Technician”:
Third consecutive number featuring a character named in the title. But unlike fantastical protagonists Col. Paper and King Flute, this Ark Technician may be more autobiographical, though veiled in its conveyance. And if you couldn’t give a rip about all that, you can just enjoy the beautiful damn song.

“See My Field”:
A great Pollard melody inside of a yearning, pretty rock song. Bob wanted strings on this so it features a combination of mellotron with strings.

“Liar’s Box”:
A song kerning towards prog but still flowing and catchy, culminating in the refrain, “Summons of a glass/ To a sad, sad heaven.”

“Blink Blank”:
A hyperbolic post-punk observation on the current state of the world to end side A.

“Daily Get Ups”:
A song you could get up to daily, meaning wake up to. It’s peppy and cool.

guided by voices space gun Guided by Voices break down their new album, Space Gun, Track by Track: Stream

“Hudson Rake”:
“Its funky on the Avalon.” You are implored to “Do the Hudson Rake,” which may be an imaginary dance, but whether it is or not, it denotes a giant yard tool that would dredge up all the bodies dumped in the Hudson by the rat smashers.

“Sport Component National”:
A multi-part song about SCN, a TV sports channel, tied together by the intro/re-intro brought to you by sinister Beach Boys. “There’s a night game breaking out”.

“I Love Kangaroos”:
Kids of all ages will love “I Love Kangaroos”, a song about traveling and sailing. A power-pop song you can slow dance to. I would say its super-catchy, but so are most of the songs on Space Gun.

“Grey Spat Matters”:
Short heavy scorcher with incredible vocals. Infectious. One of several we tracked to two-inch tape.

“That’s Good”:
A ballad that Bob had written some years ago. A melancholy song with an amazing melody that builds. This is another one that called for strings, and I was honored to arrange them for this song, which includes more mixing feats by Travis Harrison.

“Flight Advantage”:
We had fun recording this one together as a band. “Birds will fly, the spiders will dance,” but it’s a heavy rock song, like something from Tommy-era Who, sped up.

“Evolution Circus”:
Heavy album closer dealing with history, explorers and Biblical ghettos, featuring some Bare Jr. harmonies near the end.

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Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday announce US co-headlining tour

Paging the early 2000s: Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday have just announced a US summer co-headlining tour.

The joint trek launches in July and runs through mid-August. Over the course of 28 dates, the two acts will stop in cities such as Miami, Nashville, Boston, Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Austin, and Las Vegas. Pop punk outfit The Story So Far will serve as opener throughout the itinerary.

(Read: The 100 Best Pop Punk Bands)

Coheed and Cambria’s last album came in 2015 with The Color Before the Sun. Taking Back Sunday put out Tidal Wave in 2016.

Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday 2018 Tour Dates:
07/06 – Miami, FL @ Bayfront Park Amphitheater
07/07 – Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
07/08 – Jacksonville, FL @ Daily’s Place
07/10 – Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park Amphitheater
07/11 – Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
07/13 – Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheater
07/15 – Baltimore, MD @ Pier Six Pavilion
07/17 – Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
07/18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
07/19 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
07/21 – Brooklyn, NY @ Coney Island Boardwalk
07/22 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
07/23 – Columbus, OH @ Express Live! Outdoor Amphitheatre
07/25 – Minneapolis, MN @ Armory
07/26 – Chicago, IL @ Huntington Bank Pavilion
07/27 – Sterling Heights, MI @ Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre
07/29 – Cleveland, OH @ Jacobs Pavilion
07/31 – Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP
08/02 – Sugar Land, TX @ Smart Financial Centre
08/03 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater
08/04 – Irving, TX @ The Pavilion
08/06 – Denver, CO @ Sculpture Park
08/07 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Union Event Center
08/09 – Berkeley, CA @ The Greek Theatre
08/10 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
08/11 – Irvine, CA @ FivePoint Amphitheatre
08/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre

coheed cambria taking back sunday tour 2018 dates Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday announce US co headlining tour

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The Very Best of The Smashing Pumpkins

This feature was originally published in 2014.

Two decades ago, The Smashing Pumpkins sat on the iron throne of the alternative nation. While their roost was short lived, the music they released during that time left an indelible mark on the mainstream consciousness. Frontman Billy Corgan became an enigma while his Chicago troupe would receive praise for their broad dynamic vision.

Corgan’s six-string wizardry coupled with the percussive talents of Jimmy Chamberlin produced complex masterpieces: from complicated punk rock to delicate alternative, progressive goth metal to everything in-between. And that voice. Such a nasal rasp would go on to guide a legion of outcasts.

It wasn’t all appels and oranjes, though. The ’90s music scene was plagued by incessant self-righteousness, and the Pumpkins suffered from the get-go — especially towards the media. Bitter fights, drug abuse, and creative control would ultimately lead to their initial downfall, though their music was never compromised. This week’s reissue of 1998’s troubled gem, Adore, proves as much.

In light of the release, we’ve compiled a career-spanning ‘Best of’ list to help re-acquaint you to Corgan & co. Don’t worry: It’s not too comprehensive and far less time consuming than watching a free-form synth re-interpretation of Siddhartha. If anything, it’ll get you amped for the band’s followup to 2012’s rather-excellent Oceania.

–Kevin McMahon
Senior Writer


Best Album

siamesedream The Very Best of The Smashing Pumpkins

If 1991’s Gish is the promising child and 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is the ambitious wunderkind, then Siamese Dream remains the idiot savant in the middle with all the answers. But really, it does. At a little over an hour, the album’s 13 tracks perfectly frame exactly who and what The Smashing Pumpkins were and what they would come to be: a glamorous rock ‘n’ roll band with a horrific case of claustrophobia. It’s the band’s purest form of identification, and probably their sharpest snapshot to date (if ever).

In under a minute, “Cherub Rock” solidified Corgan and Chamberlin as the strongest guitarist and drummer, respectively, amongst their peers, while also wrapping duct tape around the mouths of any rockists looking to snub alternative. From there, it’s 12 exercises in rock ‘n’ roll, from pop rock (“Today”, “Mayonaise”), to ballads (“Disarm”, “Spaceboy”), to shoegaze (“Quiet”, “Hummer”), to speed metal (“Silverfuck”, “Geek U.S.A.”), and even psychedelia (“Soma”, “Rocket”). Never once does a track feel out of place, an attribute perhaps best aligned to Alan Moulder’s 36 days of mixing.

But what also makes Siamese Dream their best work is how tortured it sounds. Based on the stories, it’s unreal that producer Butch Vig didn’t burn down Triclops Studios in Marietta, GA. “D’arcy [Wretzky] would lock herself in the bathroom, James [Iha] wouldn’t say anything, or Billy would lock himself in the control room,” he later explained to Rolling Stone. Though, such reclusive and tumultuous affairs, the likes of which had a physically crushing effect on Chamberlin, produced an album that breathes and screams and punches over two decades later. –Michael Roffman


Best Song

Surprised? Probably not. Charts aside, there’s a reason “1979” remains the Pumpkins’ most popular track and it’s all in the weight of the song. The Grammy-nominated single off 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness stocks so much musically and thematically that it hits your mind, soul, and heart.

Produced by Flood, Alan Moulder, and Corgan, the four-and-a-half-minute song is lyrically the most evocative in the Pumpkins catalogue, chock full of lines that slice right into the pensive nerve (“forgotten and absolved/ to the earth below”) and radiate in the memory banks forever (“faster than we thought we’d go/ beneath the sound of hope”).

It’s also quite timeless, penned for the lapse between one’s adolescence and adulthood, as the lyrics glaze over restlessness and hopeful uncertainty. Those themes come alive with the use of light electronic textures and subtle harmonies, qualities that separated the uptempo ballad from anything else of its time.

“1979” captured the wavelike nature of youthful optimism being swallowed by the passage of time. From start to finish, Corgan frames the brevity of those years, while also noting youth’s indifference. It’s a universal feeling through and through, and something they’ve few artists have ever captured since.


Best Music Video

Smashing Pumpkins videos (heck, even the Pumpkins themselves) often felt like a tightrope act between spectacle and sentimentality (as evidenced, respectively, by the Nosferatu scene-shifting of “Ava Adore” and the deliriously nostalgic “1979”). No video rode the middle ground between those two more successfully, though, than that for “Tonight, Tonight”. Full of wonderful practical effects, intricately designed sets, and expressive performances, the video captures the timeless nature of the lyrics, as well as Corgan’s insistence that “the impossible is possible tonight.”

An homage to the silent film A Trip to the Moon (Georges Méliès’ 1902 masterpiece, often considered the first science fiction film), the video stars comedy power couple Tom Kenny and Jill Talley (of Mr. Show and Spongebob Squarepants fame) journeying to the moon on a zeppelin, encountering aliens, and taking in a performance by an octopus and some mermaids. The reverence for the source material is palpable, and Corgan’s theatrical arm waves in that pale suit and top hat provide a warm counterpoint to his leather-clad intensity elsewhere. In the end, the visual of Billy, Jimmy, James, and D’Arcy floating amongst the stars in the fluttering moonlight is the way I’d like to remember the Smashing Pumpkins — costumed and melodramatic, sure, but also romantic, grand, and thrilling. –Adam Kivel


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Jack White: “Rock & roll needs an injection of some new, young blood”

The Who’s Roger Daltrey declared “rock music dead” some two years ago, and just last October, U2’s own Bono described today’s releases as “very girly.” Now, Jack White has weighed in on the great rock & roll debate.

In an interview on KROQ’s The Kevin & Bean Show on Monday, White responded to a question about the lack of rock-oriented artists on the bills of some upcoming festivals. According to the Detroit-born musician, the genre is currently missing that special X factor, or what he calls “a wildness.”

(Read: Losing My Religion: The Demise of Rock & Roll)

“Rock & roll needs an injection of some new, young blood to really just knock everybody dead right now,” White comments. “I think it’s brewing. It’s brewing and brewing and it’s about to happen. I think that it’s good.”

“Since rock & roll’s inception, every 10 or 12 years there’s a breath of fresh air and a new injection of some sort of what you could I guess call punk attitude or something like that,” he continues. “A wildness. Things get crazy and then they get crazy for a couple years, then they kind of get subtle, and then you gotta wait for the next wave to come through and get people really excited and screaming about it again.”

White never mentions himself as a possible candidate for “injecting” that “wildness,” but he’ll get his chance at it come March 23rd, when he releases his Boarding House Ranch, one of Consequence of Sound’s (and our readers’) most anticipated albums of 2018.

Hear the full interview — in which White also shares some time advice he received from Q-Tip — below.

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Superchunk premiere new album What a Time to Be Alive: Stream

Superchunk are slated to release their first album in four years, What a Time to Be Alive, this Friday, February 16th. In anticipation, NPR is streaming the LP in its entirety here.

Due out via Merge Records (the label founded by Superchunk’s own Mac McCaughan), it serves as the band’s 11th studio effort and follow-up to I Hate Music from 2013. Special guest collaborators such as Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog), and David Bazan appear throughout the course of the album’s 11 tracks.

(Read: The 10 Most Anticipated Punk Albums of 2018)

What a Time to Be Alive — not to be confused with Drake’s mixtape of the same name — was written almost entirely between November 2016 and February 2017, right around the same time of the now-infamous US election that put Donald Trump in power. The record is said to reflect on those politically turbulent months.

“It would be strange to be in a band, at least our band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we live in and that our kids are going to grow up in,” McCaughan notes in a press statement. He goes on to describe the album as “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.”

To coincide with the release of the LP, Superchunk will launch a North American tour later this week.

What a Time to Be Alive Album Artwork:

superchunk stream what a time be alive album Superchunk premiere new album What a Time to Be Alive: Stream

What a Time to Be Alive Tracklist:
01. What a Time to Be Alive
02. Lost My Brain
03. Break the Glass
04. Bad Choices
05. Dead Photographers
06. Erasure
07. I Got Cut
08. Reagan Youth
09. Cloud of Hate
10. All for You
11. Black Thread

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Paramore share retro video for “Rose-Colored Boy”: Watch

In November, Paramore unveiled the music video for “Fake Happy”, which showed New York City residents feigning their sense of joy. In the band’s follow-up clip, this time for “Rose-Colored Boy”, a similar theme permeates: Sometimes things aren’t always as they seem.

Directed by Warren Fu (The Weeknd, HAIM), Paramore portray a ’70s TV news team that seems to be perpetually cheery. Of course, as is usually the case, there’s quite a bit of darkness and rage simmering just beneath the surface. Watch Hayley Williams and the rest of the crew of Wake Up! Roseville in the fun clip up above.

(Read: The 100 Best Pop Punk Bands)

Both aforementioned tracks are off Paramore’s latest album — and one of 2017’s bestAfter Laughter. In support, this year they’re expected to perform at US festivals like Boston Calling and Bonnaroo; they’re also returning with the third installment of their PARAHOY! cruise.

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Thurston Moore announces new 7-inch single, shares raging and politically-charged “Mx Liberty”: Stream

Photo by Lior Phillips

Thurston Moore released not one, but two albums last year. There was his solo effort titled Rock n Roll Consciousness, as well as Improvisation, a joint effort with experimental rock legend Charles Hayward of This Heat. We’re barely into the second month of 2018 and Moore is back at it again, rolling into February with a new two-song 7-inch.

Side A of the release features “Mx Liberty”, a “punk rock broadside to the current man-boys of the USA government in response to their mockery of democracy,” according to a statement. On the flip side is a cover of “Panik”, a 1977 track originally done by French punk outfit Metal Urbain. The former Sonic Youth rocker recorded all the material with a group of London-based friends and musicians, which includes Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine, James Sedwards of Nøught, and Dead Days Beyond Help’s Jem Doulton.

The project aptly drops February 19th, “Not My President’s Day”, but is being teased today with “Mx Liberty”. A collaboration with poet Radieux Radio, the raging bit of noise-punk sees Moore howling: “Mx Liberty is not at home/ She’s stepping out into a new zone/ She climbs the fence to meet enemies/ Who send their affectionate regards, please.”

Hear it below. Pre-order the 7-inch here.

Thurston Moore 7-inch Tracklist:
Side A: “Mx Liberty”
Side B: “Panik”

screenshot2017 12 21at11 00 31 Thurston Moore announces new 7 inch single, shares raging and politically charged Mx Liberty: Stream

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Death From Above deliver a kick-ass cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”: Watch

Death From Above recently played an intimate show in Toronto as part of the live concert series “House of Strombo”. In front of just 100 fans and acclaimed interviewer and host George Stroumboulopoulos, the Canadian punk outfit whipped out tracks from across their catalog — including Outrage! Is Now’s “Nomad” and “Going Steady” off You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine — as well as a special cover of The Beatles classic “Helter Skelter”.

According to DFA, they’d never performed the song live in front of so many people, which is a darn shame considering how kick-ass their rendition is. Check it out below (the “Helter Skelter” cover kicks in at the 31:45 mark) and here’s hoping they add the cover to their setlists going forward.

DFA’s most recent album, Outrage! Is Now, was released last September.

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The Men go psychedelic on new song “Rose on Top of the World”: Stream

Photo by Josh Goleman

The Men are inching closer to release of their seventh album, Drift. Due out March 2nd through Sacred Bones, it’s being teased today with a track called “Rose on Top of the World”.

(Read: The 10 Most Anticipated Punk Albums of 2018)

While lead single “Maybe I’m Crazy” was a growling stomper of a tune, this new cut sees the Brooklyn punks trying their hand at jangly and jammy psychedelic rock. Per a statement from vocalist and guitarist Nick Chiericozzi, the song “came out of a Spanish guitar lick, a radar weather map, a poem and maybe a few other things. It has a good title; one that creates a definite mental image but could really be about anything.”

Hear it for yourself down below.

Drift Tracklist:
01. Maybe I’m Crazy
02. When I Held You In My Arms
03. Secret Light
04. Rose on Top of the World
05. So High
06. Killed Someone
07. Sleep
08. Final Prayer
09. Come to Me

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The Distillers reveal reunion tour dates

The Distillers announced their comeback through a social media teaser earlier this month, and now they’ve made the reunion official by revealing a string of upcoming tour dates.

(Read: The 10 Most Anticipated Punk Albums of 2018)

The trek kicks off April 25th in San Diego and concludes May 2nd in Dallas, after which the punk rockers will play Shaky Music Knees Festival. You can grab tickets here.

The Distillers 2018 Tour Dates:
04/25 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
04/27 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
04/28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
04/28 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
05/01 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
05/02 – Dallas, TX @ The Curtain Club
05/04-6 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Music Knees Festival

The Brody Dalle-led band broke up in 2006 after releasing three studio albums: The Distillers, Sing Sing Death House, and Coral Fang. Details about a new record have yet to surface, but The Distillers have been hinting at new material through social media over the past several months.

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