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Guided By Voices announce new album, Space Gun, share the title track: Stream

Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.

This year, Guided By Voices put out not just one, but two full-lengths in August By Cake (also their first-ever double album) and How Do You Spell Heaven. 2018 will see the alt-rock veterans extending their prolific streak, as they’re prepping a new record called Space Gun.

Described in a press release as “the fullest realization of [Robert] Pollard’s song talents, with the band firing on all cylinders,” it came together partially as a result of GBV’s August By Cake tour, which featured them equipped with an all-new lineup. “Pollard has acknowledged that this line-up’s adroit talents [provided by Doug Gillard and Kevin March and newcomers Mark Shue and Bobby Bare Jr.] pushes him to more daring and dizzying heights,” reads the PR.

In total, there are 15 tracks on Space Gun, many of which, as you’ll read below, were inspired by everything from kangaroos to instructional YouTube videos to English post-punk legends Wire. One of those, the opening title track, is being premiered by Consequence of Sound today. Following recorded sounds of an airport restroom paper towel dispenser (seriously), ringing guitars come charging in, bolstered by Pollard’s equally anthemic vocals. Things only grow more sweeping over the course of the next four minutes, so you may want to buckle your seat belts.

Take a listen below.

Space Gunhere is out March 23rd. Pre-order it , and find the artwork and tracklist below.

Space Gun Artwork:

spacegun small Guided By Voices announce new album, Space Gun, share the title track: Stream

Space Gun Tracklist:
01. Space Gun
02. Colonel Paper
03. King Flute
04. Ark Technican
05. See My Field
06. Liar’s Box
07. Blink Bank
08. Daily Get Ups
09. Hudson Rake
10. Sport Component National
11. I Love Kangaroos
12. Grey Spat Matters
13. That’s Good
14. Flight Advantage
15. Evolution Circus

As mentioned above, for this edition of Origins, Gillard walks us through some of the intriguing (and quite unexpected) influences that informed Space Gun.

YouTube Instructional Videos:

Bob’s notes for the intro riff of the song “See My Field” indicated he wanted a sitar-like sound.

No way was I getting or renting one of those jenky modern electric guitar/sitars when its so easy to simulate the sound by modifying a regular electric. I found several approaches on YouTube, but the one that worked for me was attaching a paper clip to the bridge of my Jaguar and laying it over the string so it vibrates. It was subtle but effective.

Tales of Late Night Garbage Can Scrounging:

The second song on the album is “Colonel Paper”, which Bob was inspired to write from a true story. Its about a close friend and ex-bandmate who bought a bucket of KFC when his wife went away for the weekend, ate one or two pieces, then threw away most of it in the master trash can in the cold garage and passed out. He woke up hungry in the middle of the night and remembered he threw away the bucket. So he went back out to the garage, rummaged around in the trash can, reaching past the other garbage, paper and cigarette butts, and proceeded to eat that remaining extra-crispy-coated cold bird muscle and tendon.


The fourth song on side two of Space Gun is “I Love Kangaroos”. Apparently it was inspired by a clip Bob saw of a person pushed into water by a kangaroo. The verse lyrics go somewhere else though, mentioning a journey across the sea, penguin books, joining the Navy. A sort of travelogue as Bob mentions in the song.

I also used a raccoon cat toy for the intro for no reason. It makes a chirpy animal sound when touched. My cat ignores it, but at least I put it to use for the album.

Older demos:

Bob dug out a beautiful song he wrote years ago and never recorded called “That’s Good”. He did issue the demo on Suitcase 3, but for Space Gun we turned it into a massive ballad. I did a big string arrangement for this one, and we think it’s sure to put a tear in your beer.

The Go-Betweens — “Cattle And Cane”:

This was an amazing early GB 45 written by Grant McLennan that Bob bought back in the early 80’s. There’s a song on the album where he wanted us to shoot for a sound and feel similar to “Cattle And Cane”, and by god, we achieved it.

Phoenix Airport Restroom Paper Towel Dispensers:

Bob had Kevin capture the sounds of a motion-sensor towel dispenser, which was perfect for one of the songs. What would any of us do now without Voice Memo to record cool things we hear?

Wire — 154:

This may not be worth an entry here, because Wire has been an influential component of every Guided By Voices record. Its akin to my listing The Who and Beatles for this record; its just a given and a reliable constant. But there is a song in particular, “Blink Blank”, where I remember going for a Clone Theory-type chorused sound, and Bob’s demo put me in the mind of the slower dramatic Lewis songs on 154.

Mark plays a great chorused bass on this as well. It has some elements that take it out of 154 territory like white-noise synths I added and some great pounding drums by Kevin. “I’m going blink blank/ In the think tank.” My take on that refrain is that its Bob’s own way of conveying insanity in one’s membrane.

GBV will tour behind Space Gun in April; those dates are below.

Guided by Voices 2018 Tour Dates:
04/13 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
04/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ HI-FI Indy
04/17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
04/18 – Jersey City, NJ @ White Eagle Hall
04/20 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
04/21 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop

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QWAM shout down pretension on new single “Doggie Door”: Stream

Photo by Karen Sophia Colon

10 Things… is a recurring new music feature in which an artist goes H.A.M. on a particular topic.

Certain parts of Brooklyn are seen by some as the birthplace of hipster pretension. (Here’s looking at you, Williamsburg.) But punk upstarts QWAM are here to shake down the too-cool facade that casts a pale over their native borough with their forthcoming EP, Feed Me. According to the band, Feed Me was “written during 3AM subway rides, perfected in sweaty Brooklyn basements, and recorded with their friends at a studio. The songs are about ordering takeout in the pursuit of love and the strength found in being yourself.”

The effort’s new single, “Doggie Door”, focuses on the latter objective by taking aim at those who wear a “badge of way too cool.” A jerky, classic party thrasher, the song pummels hard on taut drums from Rachel Zisette and Matt Keim’s charging guitars. Vocalist Felicia Lobo leads the assault as she calls out a poser’s false contempt: “You’ve got brutal in your name/ You didn’t earn the hate you claim/ You’re a puppy through and through/ Chewing on your owner’s shoe.”

Take a listen:

The five-track Feed Me is due out in late January, and you can pre-order it here. To help expand on the effort and single’s anti-pretense stance, QWAM have shared 10 Things they love that most people tend to avoid. “‘Doggie Door’ is a plea for everyone to drop their tough exteriors and be themselves,” the band tells Consequence of Sound. “It’s a reminder that every angry kid you meet has a heart. At the end of the day, most of us are just puppies trying to intimidate the big dogs. Here is a list of 10 things that aren’t as bad as they seem.”

Dirty Practice Spaces:

tsch06 original QWAM shout down pretension on new single Doggie Door: Stream

Photo by Tehnica Schweiz

When you run out of beer, you can just wring out the rug.

Drunk Instagram Posts:
A 2:00 AM video of Rachel, Eddie, and Matt dancing to “Me So Horny” is proof it actually happened.

Black Eyes:
When Felicia got hit in the eye with Eddie’s bass at a show, she earned a week long reminder of how great the first tour was.

Smash Mouth:

“All Star” came on the radio while Matt was driving, he got so excited he drove into a curb, ruining the hub cap and ripping the outside of the tire. We not only made it to the show, but we can make fun of Matt for the rest of time.

Staten Island:
You can order a pizza with fried calamari on it and there is an amazing DIY venue right off the ferry.

How else are you supposed to make friends?

“I hate this.” 
“I also hate this.”

Friendship accomplished.

Jersey Shore Bros:

No one has danced more at our shows. They were right in front, spilling drinks and deliriously mouthing made-up words to our songs.

Losing Money in Dice:
Rocking out to Kesha afterwards eases the burn.

Playing a Bad Show:
Playing a bad show sucks, but at least you sucked together.

Gas station food:

f8698d22716553fa631f7bafb806fdf6 QWAM shout down pretension on new single Doggie Door: Stream

A late-night post-show Wawa sandwich is a thing of beauty. #SponsorUs

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Drum virtuoso Ryan Hassan teams with UK rapper Kofi Stone for debut single and video, “Bomb Squad”: Watch

Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.

Ryan Hassan is a drummer and DJ whose spent his career supporting rappers and electronic outfits like Tinie Tempah, Clean Bandit, Fat Man Scoop, and more. It’s never easy for a drummer to pummel his or her way into the spotlight, but the ravenous Glaswegian is ready to step out on his own. Hassan’s been studiously cultivating his own sound when not lending his talents to others, and with beats in his quiver he called upon rapper Kofi Stone to help him bring it to life.

“I really wanted to move forward from the original live show that I was doing and I knew the best way to do that was by introducing original tracks,” Hassan says in a statement. Hassan and Stone met while supporting Tinie Tempah in 2013. “We were at the hotel and we spoke about collaborating,” he continues, “and I played him some beats and then from there it was always in my mind to do the right track with him.”

Stone’s nimble, ravenous vocals pair perfectly with Hassan’s bombastic style, the pair’s mutual relentlessness giving way to “Bomb Squad”, which Consequence of Sound is premiering today. “I’m just trying to be peaceful,” Stone spits, but there’s nothing peaceful about Hassan’s crushing drums, the song’s staticky beat, or the chorus, which promises to “drop bombs on these rappers/ They got paranoia.” Both performers exude a palpable, combative energy in the song’s music video, which you can watch above.

For our latest Origins feature, Hassan details the punk and hip-hop influences that helped him create “Bomb Squad”. Check it out below.

Kanye West — “Black Skinhead”:

I’m always listening to the beats in tracks and for me “Black Skinhead” has so many influences from different styles. The punk rock feel with sampled drums is a feature of “Bomb Squad” that was taken from Kanye’s production methods. If you listen to the live drums on their own in “Bomb Squad”, you would think they’re from something way heavier with the massive toms going through the verse. Once we’d mixed in the 808s, it pulled together the rock/hip-hop vibe we were going for. Also, the bass line is majorly distorted and aggressive sounding, like a lot of the tracks on Yeezus. It was also important for Kofi to keep the energy high, we didn’t want to give the audience a chance to relax with this track!

Travis Barker and the Cool Kids — “Jump Down”:

I’ve been a huge fan of Travis Barker since I heard him play with Blink-182 when I was a kid. He always manages to play beats you don’t expect, even at the tempos Blink songs used to be! In recent years he’s done a lot of collaborating with hip-hop artists and remixing hip-hop tracks, so as an artist he is a big influence for me. When it came to mixing “Bomb Squad” we had a listen to the drums and samples in “Jump Down”. You can hear this in the drum fills before the choruses in both tracks. When making the “Bomb Squad” video, it was important to me to take influence from this video also. I think the relationship between The Cool Kids and Travis is captured perfectly. I’ve known Kofi for a while now and I wanted that to come across in the video.

Beastie Boys — “Sure Shot”:

To be honest I could pick any Beastie Boys track and find some sort of influence in what I do. “Sure Shot” is just a classic though. These guys are masters at sampling and looping drums. Some of their tracks have crazy amounts of loops weaving in and out through the song but “Sure Shot” has a simple live sounding loop. The flute sample is so laid back but mixed with the rhythm and the vocal the whole vibe is in-your-face, classic, energetic hip-hop. The way the Beastie Boys create such great choruses out of rhythm is amazing!

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The Fluids give a Track by Track breakdown of their debut album, No Kidding!: Stream

Photo by Jordan Kuyper

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist offers a comprehensive rundown of their new album.

Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Mike Tony, keyboardist Nick “Demo” DeMolina, lead guitarist Cooper Formant, and bassist John Paul “Puppy” Frank of The Fluids are here to blow out the speakers of Brooklyn rock. Unwilling to let their hometown’s indie scene dominate the discussion when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll, the upstart band deliver a howling mix of no-wave art punk that’s always set to 11. Today, they’re sharing the first salvo in their battle against mundanity with their debut full-length, No Kidding!.

After introducing themselves with the lead single “Creatures” last month, The Fluids are here with 10 tracks of wild, blistering sounds. “When I started writing songs again, I was going for a ‘What if Pavement covered Bowie?’ vibe,” Tony recently told Noisey. “I wanted to make short, contained pop songs with interesting structures that all kind of sounded distinct. My biggest fear is having someone go to a show and say ‘well it’s cool, but all the songs kinda sound the same.’”

That’s definitely not a concern on No Kidding!, as the album stretches from the riff-tastic “Lines” to the dreary afternoon drudge of “On Ice”. Pre-order the album here or here, and take a listen to the full thing below. You can also check out The Fluids live at their album release show tomorrow, October 26th, at New York City’s Mercury Lounge.

For more insight into how they’re reshaping Brooklyn rock, Formant and Tony broke down No Kidding! track by track. Check it out:

Mike had this song with a quick two power chord riff. It was simple but powerful, but kind of a blank canvas. This is full-speed Fluids with a Devo-like synth lick superimposed by Demo. I wanted to add something that created even more momentum and excitement so i added this Hendrix/Prince frantic blues lick with these major 3rd double stop slides that kind of create an off-kilter carousel vibe. The coolest thing about this song is the contrast in amplitude as well as tempo between the slow verses and the full speed instrumental jaunts that alternate. And then there is this bizarre bridge part where we go to Madagascar for a few bars before returning to the 1950s slow dance in outer space.

Mike: A challenge — both to play and to listen to in some ways. A low synth gong sound and a blast of feedback is the first thing you hear on the album. It swings and changes and punches and churns and it’s all very unexpected. You leave it not knowing what we are going to sound like over the next 9 songs. The song is a fucking boxing match. There is a tension and a struggle between the parts that comes through musically and vocally. It’s a conversation, reasoned on one side, unhinged on the other. It’s the band at its most versatile and its most disorientating.

“Sign N’ Drive”:
Cooper: When this song came about we were listening to this song called “Fantastic Man” by William Onyeabor as played with the Atomic Bomb band. When The Fluids were a new band, we would jam on things and play other’s songs and such. This was one of those times Mike heard that song and kinda used it as a springboard to do his Mike raps over. It has that same (I-ii) soul chord sequence in the verses. I felt like the song had a ton of empty space to fill so I wanted to come up with a guitar hook. I always loved jazz and I kinda wanted to make something that sounded like a saxophone would play it. The solo section I try to do a Sonny Rollins St. Thomas type rhythmic motif to try and keep the excitement up. I also think you can hear some Led Zepplin, classic rock vibes in there; I play a Les Paul. I was really happy this was a single in a time when guitar is not considered cool anymore.

Mike: Named for it’s inevitable use in a car commercial, this is an infectious sounding song with a killer guitar hook. Lyrically, it’s mostly about isolating yourself in crowded spaces.

“New Land Sale”:
Cooper: This might be my favorite song that we play. This is an opener usually. I really like how the recording came out for this one. There is a really striking and interesting figure/ground relationship between the count off and the start. And then at the end there is this return to normalcy that is almost musical in and of itself, the contrast. The drums count off and then I make noise on the guitar. Then there are these soccer chants that Mike sampled that are triggered. It’s really bananas. The lyrics are ridiculous too. It’s like a kraut rock/Dinosaur Dr. hybrid. For the “solo” in this song I detune my low string all the way and play it by yanking the string. Then when Mike comes back to the mic, I start tunning up the low E string so it hits E when the next part comes. It sounds like a motorcycle coming or something. Very low tech but this is rock and roll. Shit is raw.

Mike: A statement of intent. An anthem to kneel to. Shouted from lungs of soccer hooligans worldwide. New Land Sale! New Land Sale! Reach out and touch the face of God!

Cooper: This is a rousing power ballad, you might say if you are high. I have my own ideas what it’s about but you would have to ask Mike. My main contribution is an e-bow thing in the chorus that kinda hangs in the air and shadows Mike’s full throated lament from above like an extra-terrestrial orb or something lol. Ok, it’s not that intense but it’s cool, I think.

Mike: It’s a dramatic reading of The Economist set to a melancholic chord sequence. The slow funk bass groove does the heavy lifting. I wanted to make something that had a little more room to breathe and I wanted to relax for a second during our sets. I don’t have much interest in writing an overtly political song and this is by no means that. But I think it captures a certain unease and feeling of desperation we are all becoming familiar with. The solo at the end is a cathartic moment. It’s like punching a hole in a wall.

Cooper: This was the song that made me want to join the band. It sounded classic to me with a repeated bass line playing the same chords throughout the song similar to a song like “Once In A Lifetime.” Mike also had some great guitar riffs in the tune that create an arc and keep the flavor. The beat is pretty original in my opinion and gives the song its real character. In the early days of playing this song live I used to play a timbale solo after the second chorus but in the studio we just wanted to focus on making it grooving. Puppy really shines on bass on this number too.

Mike: “Creatures” was my return to songwriting. It was the track that opened up my eyes to the idea that the right groove could sustain a song endlessly. Three chords. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. It’s me trying to be sexy like Prince. It was about my surroundings. It’s about making plans you won’t keep, internal tug of wars, and people that are all pretty fuzzy to me at this point. It’s a party, but not one I am sure I want to be dancing at.

“Heavy Door”:
Cooper: This is The Fluids at our most (*holds nose*) “Bruce Core.” I like this, it’s like a futuristic, steampunk Rolling Stones-type number. It’s always a crowd pleaser.

Mike: Another song brimming with critical self-reflection. Trying to navigate the disparate poles of my personality; my desires to be ‘good’ and ‘better’ and the reality of what I present to the world. The song is very visual for me. I like to think of the ‘room filled with sand’ quite literally. My favorite part is hands down the outro where we all pretend to be members of the E-Street Band and jam to a saxophone, played by our good friend (and Caveman’s keyboardist) Sammy Hopkins. This song was born into existence with the idea of a sax solo and few things are satisfying as creating something that matches what you hear in your head.

“Favorite Gun”:
Cooper: This is probably the newest song on this record. We recorded it in one take basically as an afterthought. It was messy but it had a vibe so we decided to include it. This song BURNS live and Mike really makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up vocally. Mike is a super chill, quiet guy in life but a MONSTER on-stage. This is one of the songs where he basically has a gran mal seizure live when we play it.

Mike: This is probably what I would listen to if I exercised. This song is a breathless sprint, an anxiety-ridden deep dive into the psyche of a lonely mind. One thought to the next with limited connective tissue. I love how it starts, each of us slowly finding our way into the groove. It clicks and we’re off. The chorus is, for all intents and purposes, the Greek chorus in my head – ‘I should’ve taken it easy…”

Cooper: This is one of my favorite songs to play mainly because I get to play multiple guitar solos. There is a loopy, delirious, atonal lick that counts the song off and then it soars into this Strauss-like, highly dramatic D-minor hurricane. The sonics in this song are familiar but there is a twist. Something is “off.” I feel like it captures the feeling of the times in some way. I hear mass shootings and chaos in that song. It’s a song about fighting to live and you can hear the blades clashing sonically.

Mike: “Turnt” is an explosion, an eight man blitz on third-and-long. I like to think of Cooper as a middle linebacker, blasting through the line of scrimmage, knocking the quarterback sideways into the dirt. The lyrics are somewhat schizo in nature, a vitriolic lecture from a disgruntled and disenchanted professor. In this song, ‘home’ is the idea of stability and the familiar. That was long ago. We are now Magellan in uncharted waters. We left home and have succumbed to a new, uncomfortable normal, living without any semblance of direction. Stop the world and let me off. The confusion is palpable. Grab your jacket and say goodbye to no one.

“Just Like Me”:
Cooper: This and “Creatures” were the first 2 songs Mike and Nick ever shared with me when we worked at the bar. It’s Mike at his most poignant, lyrically and it’s the one song that kinda tells a story. I love this song. I added some guitar parts and a tremolo-picked solo but really tried to keep things minimal from my standpoint. The song is so strong it really didn’t need a lot of ancillary bells and whistles.

Mike: One of the few instances where I can actually remember the writing process. I was trying to combine a couple of different elements – namely “Silver Cloud” by La Dusseldorf and
The Beautiful Ones” by Prince — and things sort of fell into place naturally for me. I knew I wanted that high pitched, droning synth. I knew I wanted it to be big. The words spilled out. It was a very introspective process. Before I knew it, I was calling myself, ‘dusty and spineless.’ I’m glad I didn’t run away from the self reflection (and criticism) because I think it’s what people connect to. The chorus is a come to Jesus moment – this is who I am and it’s not going to change even if I wanted it to.

“On Ice”:
Cooper: This has been our closer for most of our shows. It started out as a very drum heavy (even with drum solo) hard rock number. Our founding drummer Alex had a lot to do with how the song it structured, I believe. I think it started as a jam between Mike and him. It’s really a live song. Besides the Muppet-like, background echoes, I think this was all recorded live in one take. I didn’t want to really play a long solo in the middle of this so when the breakdown comes I do noise things. I love avant-garde shit and noise-based music so I wanted to makes some metallic, messy squeaks and squawks to break the expectation of a straight-ahead guitar solo. Guitars can make so many noises even without a lot of effects pedals. My favorite part of this song is how the end gets so heavy we sound like we are falling down a flight of stairs.

Mike: “On Ice” is the cherry jubilee at the end of the album. Sonically, I wanted something rough and almost uncontainable. Structurally, I wanted it to be all over the place but in a way that makes sense. The outro jam, like most good things, happened spontaneously. After the second chorus, the sound narrows in on the drums and bass line. Four bars later, the dam is broken and the flood has begun. I love the idea of introducing the ‘signature’ riff of the song over 3 minutes into it. The end sounds like we’re playing our instruments in the middle of an avalanche, being tossed and thrown around.

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Quiet Slang, a.k.a. Beach Slang’s James Alex, unveils We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags EP: Stream

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist offers a comprehensive rundown of their new album.

“Play it loud, play it fast” go the opening lyrics of “Future Mixtape For the Art Kids”, the song that kicks off not just Beach Slang’s 2016 album, Loud Bash of Teenage Feelingsbut also this quartet of stripped down songs, a collection comprised of just cello, piano, and the vulnerable vocals of frontman James Alex. It’s striking to hear those words without a thundering chorus of guitars accompanying them, and, as such, they take on a different resonance. Rather than a call to action, it’s a plea to one’s own memory: “Please let me remember the rush.” He calls the project Quiet Slang.

“I suppose I’ve been thinking of things like this: Beach Slang is drunk, sweaty sins on a Saturday night. Quiet Slang is salvation on Sunday morning. Or maybe it’s about holding on. Something like that,” Alex told Riot Fest earlier this summer. Upon announcing the EP, he described the project as his way of finding “something that calms our bones.”

“Maybe this is some small slice of that,” he continued. “Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s chaos in soft clothes. Maybe it’s frightened. Maybe it’s fearless. Maybe it’s both. Or maybe it’s nothing. I don’t know, but I think about this: one day I’m going to be dust. And when my soul splits, maybe this will be the thing that sneaks me through the gates. If not, well, those are the breaks.”

We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags might seem a curious choice for such a loud band, or even a gimmick in the vein of those “Pop Goes Punk” releases from the early aughts, but Alex’s sweet, wistful lyrics have always been as tender as any folk songwriter. Because what he understands is that a tipsy makeout can sear itself into the soul as much as a marriage vow. Our loudest nights are often the ones we remember in the quiet of a lonely dusk. It’s why we romanticize bands like The Replacements and Big Star, both of whom Alex honors with covers on the EP.

This isn’t just a one-off project, either. Alex says an LP featuring “ten quiet versions of ten loud Slang songs” is on the way early next year. In the meantime, stream the We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags EP and see Alex’s Track By Track breakdown of the album below. Get wistful by clicking play on the above video, and be sure to catch Beach Slang on their current headlining US tour.

“Future Mixtape For the Art Kids”
It’s strange and necessary how tender things hold so much more power. They swing differently. They find what matters. I don’t know. I mean, I just wanted to make something that shoved my dumb, little narrative forward, that shifted the weight of some things I’ve written. Most of the time, I’m caught in a tug-of-war between the gutter and the light, fighting to figure out where I fall. Look, all the best stuff is part-cracked and part-patched. The best humans are made the same. And that’s all this is—a love letter to all my friends who thought they were meant to die young. See?—we made it.

“Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas”
The whole idea of Quiet Slang came from the lyric, “Why do we keep shrieking when we mean soft things?” (Stephin Merritt, I hopelessly adore you.) The first time I heard that it seared me. And just never left. “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas” was the first song I tried twisting into Quiet Slang. And it felt right, right away. I mean, for me, it was really about cracking the idea of minimalism, peeling away everything that didn’t contribute something significant. Every sound standing needed to matter. I mean, “discipline” is a real dirty word. But, if you rattle it properly, it shakes into grace.

Drunk pianos and really necessary words. No one’s ever going to come close to The Replacements. Ever.

I never thought I’d touch a Big Star song, because, I mean, why try, you know? But, bravado can be an antagonizer, a pusher—it’s good to get shoved sometimes. Land softly. “Thirteen” was the first song I ever remember hearing that made me miss some place I’ve never been. You know that feeling? Does that make sense? Either way, I hope I didn’t blow it.

We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags EP Artwork:

unnamed 34 Quiet Slang, a.k.a. Beach Slangs James Alex, unveils We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags EP: Stream

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Sincere Engineer details the Origins of her new punk song “Shattering”: Stream

Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.

Having grown up deeply embedded in Chicago’s punk scene, it wasn’t long before Deanna Belos made her transition from diehard music fan and active community supporter to full-fledged musician. Inspired and encouraged by fellow fans and colleagues around her, Belos founded her own band in Sincere Engineer.

The group is now prepping to put out its debut album, Rhombithian, this week via Red Scare. Very much a product of Belos’ environment and experiences, the LP pools together elements of past and present Midwest-flavored punk and emo: It’s both literal and sentimental, reflective yet relatable. It’s also packaged neatly into two or three-minute bursts of driving guitars and yelp-worthy lyrics.

As a solid example of this, Sincere Engineer have shared the latest album track, “Shattering”. Here, Belos likens herself to “worn out bed sheets” and “an empty bottle shattering” at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Anthemic hooks, self-loathing lines, and Belos’ cathartic yell toward the song’s end make for a quick, hard-hitter you won’t soon forget.

Check it out below via its official video. Helmed with the help of Alex Zarek Art & Design, it sees Sincere Engineer rocking out inside a Chicago practice space.

Rhombithian, which features production from Matt Jordan (You Blew It!, Dowsing), officially arrives October 20th. Pre-order it here.

For this Origins installment, Belos takes Consequence of Sound through some of the songs that helped her write “Shattering”, including originals by The Hold Steady and Protomartyr.

The Hold Steady — “Stuck Between Stations”

I’ve always liked how The Hold Steady mentions the Mississippi River in some of their songs. It made me want to write a song that mentions Lake Michigan, because Chicago.

Protomartyr — “Clandestine Time”

The first lines in “Shattering” were inspired by a friend telling me a story about how he used to swim out to the middle of a lake when he was a kid. He’d swim out so far and get so tired that he’d scare himself. He got me into Protomartyr and this song reminds me of him. 🙂

Rapids — “Coroner Bar”

The idea for the end bit in “Shattering”, when I sing the word “shattering” a bunch, came to me when I was listening to one of my friend Mike’s solo records. I can’t remember which it was, so I’m picking my favorite song by my favorite project of his. This EP in its entirety was a staple during the year I started playing shows and writing more. Every once in a while I remind Mike that listening to it evokes every feeling (good and bad) I felt that entire year, and now it makes me nostalgic. This got a little weird. Sorry. Chicago Punk Legend Rob Kellenberger is also in this band. Rad!

Brendan Kelly and the Wandering Birds — “East St. Louis”

Had to pick something Brendan related on account that he’s my hero and all. One time I played a show at the L&L Tavern and he pulled me aside after my set and gave me some advice. There was a lot to it, and he was more eloquent than I’m making it seem, but it was something about using a lot of G and C chords. I drunkenly typed everything he said into a note in my phone. Not even sure if I got it all down correctly. Either way, this is one of several of my songs that resulted from that advice. Thanks, Bren. I chose this song because I like the harms at the end a lot.

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Tracy Bonham breaks down her new album, Modern Burdens, Track by Track: Stream

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist offers a comprehensive rundown of their new album.

On March 19th, 1996, the world was introduced to one of alternative rock’s most steadfast and powerful singer-songwriters, Tracy Bonham. That’s the day she released her debut album, The Burdens of Being Upright, a record that would go Gold and produce “Mother Mother”, the only single by a female solo artist to top the Billboard Alternative Songs chart until Lorde’s “Royals” 17 years later. An inspiration for many and a historically important release, Burdens holds a special place in many music fans’ hearts even today.

Now, to celebrate her debut’s 20th anniversary, Bonham has re-recorded the entire thing as Modern Burdens. This is more than a self-tribute album, however, as the lyrics of Burdens have as much resonance today as they did two decades ago. “This album was written about an abusive ex-boyfriend more than twenty years ago,” Bonham said in her announcement of the project, “and the lyrics are finding their way into present day conversations I am/we are having about misogyny, making themselves relevant again.”

She chose to highlight that fight by releasing Modern Burdens today, October 11th, aka International Day of the Girl. It’s also why she brought aboard a number of other women to help her reimagine the tracks in their new, stripped down setting. Tanya Donelly (Belly, The Breeders), Rachel Yamagata, New Pornagraphers’ Kathryn Calder, Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, Australian pop singer Angie Hart, Nicole Atkins, and Speedy Ortiz/Sad13’s Sadie Dupuis all appear throughout the record. “I am forever grateful to have these seven amazing and talented women in my life and on my new Modern Burdens album,” Bonham tells Consequence of Sound. “I wanted to re-record my debut album with a new twist, but I never imagined that I would have such a cast of generous, beautiful, spiritual women by my side.”

You can order the record for yourself here, and stream the whole thing below.

For more insight on what it was like re-recording such a beloved debut with so many talented female artists, Bonham has broken down Modern Burdens for our latest Track by Track. Read on to learn how prominent a role Twitter had in the collaborations, how the songs’ meanings changed with time, and what it was like reflecting on these tracks 20 years later.

“Mother Mother”:
After becoming a mother myself, I wanted to rewrite the lyrics to say, “Mom, WTF, you didn’t tell me motherhood would be this hard…. Everything’s FINE!” But we are also celebrating twenty years of change for everyone. So, I felt it necessary to make it less personal and more relevant to today’s news. When I call home these days, I try to remain calm but I end up screaming, “Everything’s FINE” and this time it’s not about being hungry or dirty, it’s about being scared shitless for everyone’s safety and well-being.

“Navy Bean”:
In the early 90’s I was a classical violinist turned rocker girl, touring around in a van, wearing Converse shoes, being ironic with my electric guitar whenever possible. “Navy Bean” was one of those songs where I thumbed my nose at my classical education. The simple chord structure, with the rapid fire drumming and the complicated song form made the song interesting, but it was tight and hemmed-in and the song wasn’t allowed to breathe or exude sexuality. The cryptic lyrics and the quick tempo was my way of hiding from the truth at that time — that I had been sexually and emotionally abused by an ex-boyfriend. Today, I sing the song differently, as a mother and as a woman who has healed from the injuries of the past, and as a woman who can sing and play the guitar with sexuality not just irony.

“Tell It To The Sky” (featuring Nicole Atkins):
Nicole was one of the first women my producer, John Wlaysewski (Late Cambrian), and I had reached out to sing on my album. I love Nicole’s voice and I love her artistry. I am lucky enough to I know her as a friend too. She immediately responded with an enthusiastic “yes,” and told me about how The Burdens Of Being Upright had inspired her. We sent her two song choices that we thought might be appropriate for her and she immediately said “I love ‘Tell It To The Sky’.” Nicole was gracious enough to fly to Brooklyn from Nashville to record her vocals in John’s home studio in between tour dates promoting her new (and amazing) album, Goodnight Rhonda Lee.

“Kisses” (featuring Rachel Yamagata):
Rachael is a dear friend of mine. John and I felt her deep, sultry voice would sound amazing on Kisses. While taking a break from touring her wonderful Tightrope Walker album, she came over to my studio in Woodstock, NY and we recorded her vocals to my scratch guitar track. The track morphed into something completely different as John and I arranged it for ambient guitar and violin section instead of the lonely desert guitar sound it was created with. Rachael’s voice was the glue that held it together as we tried other versions around the single vocal track.

“Brain Crack” (featuring Kathryn Calder):
Kathryn’s voice is a beautiful thing to behold. I have always been a fan of the New Pornographers and became a bigger fan when she joined the band. She adds her cautious beauty to everything she touches. Her solo work is excellent too, and her videos have an irony I totally enjoy. I met her through Twitter (yes, I Tweeted at her) and she wrote back an excited message saying The Burdens Of Being Upright was an influential album for her. We spoke on the phone and I knew she and I would be friends. She chose “Brain Crack” from a short list. John transformed the 30-second odd little ditty that I had previously recorded on the violin for the Burdens album, and he made it into a vibey, sexy song that I cannot stop listening to. Kathryn recorded all the vocals and harmonies in her recording studio at home in British Columbia and emailed the tracks to us, along with additional piano and keyboard tracks. She and my producer, John, turned this quirky snippet into a full blown Zero-7 like track.

“The One”:
Originally, this song was supposed to be the “big hit” back in the ’90s. The ill-fated plan was that “Mother Mother” would be the set up and this one would be the slam dunk. It had swirling electric guitars, massive drums, a screaming pop chorus and a rushed tempo of youth in the ’90s. Today it is a contemplative piano ballad reminiscent of a 1970s singer-songwriter. “You’re the one, the one that froze the sun…” having been written about an intimidating and misogynist ex-boyfriend at the time, is now about allowing someone to take the reins of your life and ride it into darkness.

“One Hit Wonder”:
This song was my preemptive strike against anyone who might call me a “one hit wonder.” I must have had some intuition and probably felt pretty insecure about it back in the day. Re-recording this one with a pop sensibility and a bland pop vocal was intentional.

“Sharks Can’t Sleep” (Featuring Tanya Donelly):
I have always been a fan of Tanya’s work in Throwing Muses and Belly. I felt somewhat nervous reaching out to her (yes, via Twitter, again) because I assumed she was just too cool to even know the Burdens album. Something I should say about her and all of the women I came up with in the ’90s — we were pitted against each other. We were compared to each other. There wasn’t enough room for all of us so we felt competitive toward each other. So, I was happily surprised to receive her warm reaction: “I love the song ‘Sharks Can’t Sleep’.” She then wrote a direct message to me (via Twitter) telling me her heartwarming story how she had heard “Mother Mother” on a transistor radio while stranded in a foreign country and how it made her feel at home. We immediately became friends. She recorded her vocals in Massachusetts with the help of Scott Janowitz. I love how this album is a collaboration of so many incredibly talented people.

This song used to be my least favorite song on the album with its simple structure, its pop/wannabe-punk sensibility and it’s edgy lyrics about a misogynist boyfriend who only thought with his dick. Now it might be one of my favorite tracks. I can’t help but smile when I hear this song. This has to do with the production and I CANNOT thank John Wlaysewski enough for breathing new life into this song, as well as all the others.

“Every Breath” (Featuring Kay Hanley):
Kay and I basically cut our teeth in Boston together. She is one of the reasons why I wanted to start a band. I would go to Letters To Cleo shows in the early ’90s and study how it was done. I didn’t know how to be in a band. Kay certainly did. She could hold the entire room in the palm of her hand. Asking her to be on this album was a no brainer, and this song, in particular, screamed for her vocals. When I hear this version of “Every Breath” it takes me back to those Letters To Cleo shows at the Paradise, or TT The Bears, or The Middle East where the world was right in front of us.

“30 Seconds” (featuring Angie Hart):
Being in Boston in the ’90s was like going to alternative rock school. WFNX alternative radio station introduced me to many amazing bands and artists and Frente! was one of them. John Wlaysewski, producer for Modern Burdens, personally knew Angie, the singer for Frente!. He suggested that she sing one of the songs and of course, being a fan I said, “Yes!” The obvious fit for her voice was the song “30 Seconds”. This song is a sad but beautiful song about fame and the transient nature of it all. Angie’s beautiful voice glides and shimmers and brings me back to a time when female alternative rock singers had style. She recorded her vocal tracks in Melbourne, Australia where she lives and sent them to John via email.

“The Real” (Featuring Sadie Dupuis):
Sadie was actually the first person I reached out to (ok, yes, via Twitter again) to sing on this album. Her guitar playing, her writing, and her arrangements, totally reminded me of a young me. There is a naiveté, or rather, there is an I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that I responded to immediately. There is abandon. There is authenticity. There is much irony. I love that. When I tweeted (is that an actual verb now?) she wrote back within seconds saying something like, “How often is it that you get a tweet from your hero and you happen to be listening to their album in the van!?” She told us she wanted to record “The Real” and it seemed obvious to us that this would become her song from now on.

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Seattle supergroup Who Is She? give a Track by Track breakdown of their new album, Seattle Gossip: Stream

Photo by Sarah Cass

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist offers a comprehensive rundown of their new album.

This Friday, three of Seattle’s finest tunesmiths will release their debut collaborative album, Seattle Gossip, under the moniker Who Is She?. The supergroup — consisting of Julia Shapiro (Chastity Belt), Robin Edwards (Lisa Prank), and Bree McKenna (Tacocat) — previously shared the buoyant, winking “Top 8”, and now Consequence of Sound is jazzed to offer a stream of Seattle Gossip in its entirety before it arrives courtesy of Father/Daughter Records.

Born out of affection, proximity (Edwards and McKenna live next door to each other), and a shared interest in The Stranger’s missed connection ads, Who Is She? evolved into a kaleidoscopic tapestry of dot-com nostalgia and pop culture deep dives. According to a press release, songs center around everything from the Scream franchise to My So-Called Life’s hunky Jordan Catalano to John Titor, the notorious Internet message boarder who claimed to be an American military time traveler around the turn of the century.

“Who Is She? started as a friendship band. We were all hanging out a ton while writing these songs and making music was another way to just hang out and have fun,” the band tells Consequence of Sound. “We were talking about how different the world might be if our favorite Canadian twee band Cub was as big as Nirvana, and wanted to write some songs in the style of their genius. The original concept was to only write songs about missed connection ads from the newspaper, but then we started branching out into other topics we care about like Courteney Cox and David Arquette’s lost love, rom coms, and Myspace.”

Nostalgia awaits below, so grab your tamagotchi and hit play. .

For further insight into the band’s process and peculiarities, the members of Who Is She? have broken down Seattle Gossip Track by Track. Get all the juiciest gossip below, and purchase the album here.

“Nervous Dufflebag Boy”:
The band started as a project based on the I Saw You missed connections ads from Seattle newspaper The Stranger. One of our friends told us it was a good way to prompt a pop song, so we (Robin and Bree) were hanging out at the house we lived in, and we’d never played music together, so we started reading the ads and trying to write songs. We noticed that a large majority of the ads were people noticing each other on the bus, and this song was based on one of those ads, by someone who called himself “nervous dufflebag boy.”

“Top 8”:
We were talking about the bizarre and often hurtful hierarchy of friendship that Myspace created back in the day, and wanted to write a song about the personal friendship drama that social media can create. Like, what a weird thing to rank your friends, right? On the flip side we (Bree and Robin) were old Myspace friends in different cities who were in each others’ top eights, and we learned a lot about what other DIY bands were cool at the time by looking at each others’ top 8s or 12s or whatever number they eventually became. We miss Myspace.

“Seattle Freeze”:
All three of us are from different cities, and we all felt welcomed and like we finally found our community of people when we moved to Seattle. For those who don’t live here, the Seattle Freeze is a MYTH that people in Seattle are unfriendly and passive aggressive, but we think it’s a nice place. We all found enriching, deep friendships here. In our personal experience, a lot of people that complain about the Freeze are rude customers we wait on at our service industry jobs who live in new condos.

“Worst Girl At The 5 Point”:
This is another missed connection ad about a girl who was really hitting it off with someone, but then got kicked out of the bar before she could exchange phone numbers with them. Some of us (we won’t say who but you can ask us about it IRL) can really relate to having a blossoming romance go great early in the night and then turn sour after too many drinks. We hope the worst girl at the 5 point got a second chance!

“I’m Getting Courtney Cox And David Arquette Back Together If It’s The Last Thing I Do”:
This song is about the undeniable on-screen chemistry that Courteney Cox and David Arquette have in the Scream movie franchise. Did you know they fell in love on set? When you’re watching the movie, you’re watching those two actors fall deeply in love. This song is a plea for them to work it out, we think they really had something special and true love is magical and rare. This description is longer than the actual song, but all the feelings are packed into those 60 seconds.

“John Titor”:
Where do we even start with this song? We were fans of the supernatural radio call-in show Coast to Coast growing up, and particularly fascinated with the story of John Titor, an Internet message board time traveler in the year 2000 who said he had come from the future to do something with IBM computers. We were talking about what it would be like to have a time traveler boyfriend, and this song is about if your time traveling lover keeps bringing you gifts from the past, which in turn alters the current version of reality. It’s a stretch. It was also during writing this song that we learned that the only thing better than two last-chorus key jumps is THREE last chorus key jumps.

We love romcoms:

While You Were Sleeping
Legally Blonde
10 Things I Hate About You
Groundhog Day
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (only Julia)
IQ (only Robin)
Sleepless in Seattle (only Bree) (re-watching it, it’s not as good as you remember) (Bree disagrees)
My Best Friend’s Wedding
13 Going on 30
Runaway Bride
Never Been Kissed

And so many more we’re forgetting! We only spent five minutes on this list!

“Blushin’ On The 44”:
Another romantic bus song! This is the first song we wrote for this band, which we initially called Gutless because of the timid nature of these ads. But there was another band called Gutless, so we became Who is She?. The first goal of this band was to write songs in the style of the great Canadian cuddlecore band Cub, and we really went for it on this one.

No one can ever seem to cover an Elliott Smith song perfectly, so we really changed things up with the power chords and the pop punk solo. He’s one of the artists that we all connected about loving when we were first becoming friends, and we hope he would appreciate this very very simplified version of his beautiful song.

“Jordan Catalano”:
We lifted lines straight from genius 90s TV show My So-Called Life to write this song about lovable loser Jordan Catalano, played by Jared Leto, and that beautiful moment when Angela (Claire Danes) wakes up and decides that she’s over him. Who hasn’t accidentally fallen in love with a beautiful dud? Remember that time Angela thought he wrote a song for her and it was actually about his car?

“Angry Bitches”:
This one is based on another another I Saw You ad from The Stranger about losing someone during Pride at the Eagle. We set it to the music we (Julia and Robin) were jamming out to one time when we were trying to write a metal song late at night in the practice space.

Seattle Gossip Artwork:

a6b7ac55 e82a 453e 8a01 6df8a8db53c7 Seattle supergroup Who Is She? give a Track by Track breakdown of their new album, Seattle Gossip: Stream

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Paradise (members of Longview, PJ Harvey, Primal Scream) reveal Origins of debut single, “Goodbye 21st Century”: Stream

Photo by Maria Mochnacz

Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.

Newly formed rock group Paradise found its origins at a bar in Oslo where guitarist Rob McVey (Marianne Faithfull, Longview) first bonded with Sivert Høyem, former vocalist of the Norwegian alternative outfit Madrugada. The pair discovered a shared interest in “the immediacy of explosive performance” and went on to form the project to deliver “straight up rock” inspired by underground guitar groups from the mid-90s.

To round out the collective, the duo brought in PJ Harvey’s drummer and arranger Rob Ellis alongside bassist Simone Butler (Primal Scream) prior to starting work on their debut self-titled EP. After writing the songs within a mere week, Paradise recorded the tracks live to tape at Monnow Valley Studios with producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, and Kurt Vile).

Ahead of the EP’s release later this week (September 29th),  Paradise has shared the defiant lead single, “Goodbye 21st Century”. The track’s purpose is to shake listeners from their “digital dreams” by providing hammering guitars and charging percussion, call coming together for a defiant drive of a song. Accordingly, the lyrics contain cynical lines such as, “It’s all over the news/ It’s all over your face too/ It’s true the pigs are claiming it back/ It’s true orange is the new black.” Hear it below.

For our latest Origins feature, Rob McVey and Sivert Høyem help explain the creation of “Goodbye 21st Century” by naming R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan, and more as influences.

R.E.M. — “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”:

Sivert Høyem: We thought our song needed one more part, sort of a tag on at the end, a real melodic climax. After one of our first rehearsal days in London, the week Simone joined the band, me and Rob McVey stayed behind with a six pack of Stella. I find good ideas often come after rehearsals, when you’re warmed up, so it might be worth it to soldier on for a little longer. Rob came up with the melody and the first lines for the end bit, while I was pretending to play the drums. It all came together very quickly after that, it was a case of filling in the blanks. I remember the R.E.M. song being mentioned, we were going for that jubilant yet apocalyptic vibe. This was between Brexit and Trump, there was a real sense of “what the fuck is happening.” There was no way that wasn’t going to be reflected in our music.

Rob McVey: I could hear where Sivert was coming from, somewhat reflective, disillusioned, angry, but honest. The song had this beautiful optimism and I wanted to put my finger on it; that’s when I came up with the “Goodbye 21st Century” line… Still don’t really know why it came into my head.

Sonic Youth — “Teenage Riot”:

Sivert Høyem: This is an obvious one. Sonic Youth seem to utilize a lot of weird tunings with open droning strings; “Goodby 21st Century” has a similar approach on the guitar. Some time ago I came up with a special tuning for one of my solo songs, and I was curious if there might not be one more song in it. The song evolved from a simple demo I had made. As soon as Rob McVey got his hands on it the guitar part became a lot more structured, owing more perhaps to Peter Buck or the Byrds than Thurston Moore. There are harmonics in there that I could never have conceived of. Incidentally John Agnello, who also worked on many Sonic Youth albums, produced our EP. I love Sonic Youth when they’re tuneful and anthemic — Paradise are way more anthemic though.

Rob McVey: I was never the same after Sonic Youth and MTV. I mean it’s the guitar feedback, I love that wall-to-wall soundscape — I tried to mix that up with Smiths/Byrds/Tom Petty to get the sound on “21st Century”.

The art of Daniel Richter:

Sivert: Rob Ellis was producing a band in Copenhagen and went to see a big Daniel Richter retrospective while he was there. Directly after that the band got together in Oslo to write and rehearse. Ellis was all fired up about Richter — his art could be a visual companion to the music we would make as Paradise. His paintings seem to tell the truth about modern life in a way that is very rich and colourful, very real and enigmatic at the same time. There’s a directness to it that’s undeniably punk, yet his paintings reference 19th Century romantics as well. It is all very Paradise.

Rob McVey: Ellis was into the notion of reflecting what Richter was doing on canvas with the sound a of simple 4 piece rock band. We were e-mailing between rehearsals and Rob summed it up like this: “Paradise could be taken both ironically to reflect the times or wholesale as an escape from the times, i.e. both engagement and escape in tandem. The medium is the luxuriant sound of rock music and all its visceral joys and the message is resistance, anger, but also empathy with those who need it. The idea of decay is always under the surface of Paradise. The luxuriant canopy of a jungle is born of rot and decay.”

Bob Dylan — “The Times They Are A-Changin’”:

Rob McVey: I’ve often marvelled at the lyrics of this Dylan song, managing to sweep up the atmosphere of a particular time whilst remaining on the periphery. I loved the way Dylan dismantles the established and critical so effortlessly, and it made me feel cool at the same time. I guess in our song I liked the way Sivert was just saying what he was seeing. “21st Century” was the first time I had felt comfortable addressing what was going on out there, just felt right and of the moment.

Paradise’s self-titled debut EP is out September 29th via Clouds Hill. American painter Malcolm Liepke granted the group permission to use his painting, delicious morsel, for the cover art. Check it out below.

Paradise EP Artwork:

paradise debut ep album artwork Paradise (members of Longview, PJ Harvey, Primal Scream) reveal Origins of debut single, Goodbye 21st Century: Stream

Paradise will embark on a European tour in support of their self-titled debut. Find the complete itinerary below.

Paradise 2017 Tour Dates:
10/31 – Lausanne, CH @ Les Docks
11/01 – Zürich, CH @ Mascotte
11/04 – Wangels, DE @ Rolling Stone Weekender
11/05 – Münster, DE @ Gleis 22
11/17 – Oslo, NO @ Rockefeller
11/19 – Antwerp, BE @ Trix
11/20 – Utrecht, NL @ Tivoli
11/24 – Patra, GR @ Aigli
11/25 – Athens, GR @ Gagarin 205
11/26 – Thessaloniki, GR @ Principal Club

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Supergroup Gizmodrome (Stewart Copeland, Adrian Belew, more) share their self-titled debut album: Stream

Track by Track is a recurring new music feature in which an artist offers a comprehensive rundown of their new album.

Gizmodrome completely own the designation “supergroup”: The band comprises Stewart Copeland (The Police), Mark King (Level 42), Adrian Belew (ex-King Crimson, David Bowie, Frank Zappa), and Italian singer/multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Cosma. Their self-titled debut is out this Friday, September 15th via earMUSIC and it proves that these are the type of artist who really know what it means to be super.

Unlike most projects featuring this much talent, the musicians were actually able to get together and record in the same room. They met up in a recording studio in Milan, Italy with producer Claudio Dentes and spent 15 days creating music that Copeland himself calls “vibrant, electric, and unpredictable.”

It’s a progressive pop sound that hinges on new wave quirks and wild musicianship from King’s speedy bass to Cosma’s creative keys and Belew’s dexterous, ripping guitar lines. Copeland himself provides more than just his legendary drum skills, stepping up to provide lead vocals for most of the tracks with his speech-sing delivery like some sort of prog-punk Craig Finn-meets-Michael Stipe wonder. It all comes together for an album that rattles and grooves with the palpable joy of geniuses at work.

Ahead of the official release of Gizmodrome, the entire 12-track effort is streaming below.

For more insight into the songs of Gizmodrome, Copeland and Belew have provided Consequence of Sound with an exclusive Track by Track breakdown of the entire record. Read on to learn what other instruments Copeland played on the album, which song has a Star Wars connection, and which one was built off a drum loop written for Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins.

“Zombies in the Mall”:
Adrian Belew: I love the way this kicks off the record! Just the kind of music I want to start my day. First, that horn section (I didn’t even know we HAD a horn section) puts me in high gear. Then I am immediately engaged with this larger-than-life singer and what a fabulous groove. No wonder it was so much fun to go wild on guitar!


This was an early Gizmodrome track with a different lyric, and then it changed in the studio to a lyric about zombies. So we went with that!

“Stay Ready”:
AB: This is the first track I remember overdubbing guitar to. In the control room someone said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could start before the track?” So I did and it fit perfectly. That’s Gizmodrome! To me this song fully epitomizes what I love about the band. A fun quirky song performed perfectly by a band of joyful professionals who obviously love what they’re doing.

SC: : When Adrian says overdubbed, he means he is overdubbing to what he and us had already recorded together! Like all the Gizmodrome tracks, we played this stuff in a room looking at each other. This song was originally commissioned for a Star Wars spin off called Droids.

“Man in the Mountain”:
AB: Stewart’s voice: Not for everyone? That’s a shame! I find it to be a huge part of the charm this record exudes. Back home in my own studio I tried to do a vocal to replace Stewart’s and quickly learned how important his personality and delivery is. I love it. For me there is so much to like about this song it feels like each player has immediately found his way to shine. And mark’s “giddy up vocals” say it all.

SC: It could be that we are the men on the mountain, coming down to get chewed up by the world ONE MORE TIME!!

“Summer’s Coming”:
AB: Unexpected in the midst of the pool of testosterone, this song proves to me that Gizmodrome can go wherever we please. It bodes well for our future, from the opening notes I feel transported. To summertime: cool breezes. The beach. Once again Stewart’s storytelling is working its charm and just then Mark and I join in with our Beach Boy chorus: Now THAT is heavenly! Listening to the record at about this point I’m thinking of something Mark King often says: “Man, I LOVE this band.”

SC: I love this band too. And when we have a week off on tour, we are probably going to get into way too much trouble.

“Sweet Angels”:
AB: What a cool and unusual groove and it keeps shifting from one section to another. Around the time of recording this song we had realized a vocal blueprint which worked for us: Stewart sings the story (verses) and Mark and I sing the choruses. I love singing with Mark. Our voices were made for each other. What a lovely bass solo too! Mark King rules the world. and Vittorio’s magic touch at the end — so nice.

SC: This is a rare Gizmodrome track that was actually was overdubbed onto a drum loop that I had already created for Taylor Hawkins. He was collecting drum solos for his album and I didn’t hear that part about how he only wanted 16 bars. So I built this three-minute grove on timpani, gong drum, traps drums and every darn thing I can hit in my studio. Taylor used 16 bars, Gizmodrome used the rest. The lyrics were co-written with Pat McDonald.

“Amaka Pipa”:
AB: An immediate favorite of mine. I have never heard another song like it. The wild blend of Stewart’s drums and bullhorn ranting vocals made me reach for the radical “foxxtone” guitar sound and happily cut loose! Stunning keyboard work glues this together and helps propel this one-of-a-kind sound — the sound of Gizmodrome.

SC: Something you never hear in Gizmodrome is, “We’ve got to think out of the box.” Our problem usually is, “Where is the fucking box?” And just when we think we found it, Mr. Belew blows up the box. So he did on this track where he came in out of know where with that guitar riff that changed everything. The lyric actually is in English… of a kind. Kind of a polyglot of all the dialects in America. “Amaka Pipa” is obvious “American People.”

It’s hard to spell this but “I’m more American than you” THEN “I’m more America than ‘chyou’” THEN “I’m more Amaka than choo” THEN “Amor Amaka Tan! Chow!”

“Strange Things Happen”:
AB: This makes me smile my biggest smile. So much fun to play and sing. One of the earliest tracks we tackled, probably around day three of our session, this one convinced me to join the band, that’s how much I like it. I love the combination of sounds that change between myself and Vittorio throughout and I had a blast adding little touches. A great song to sing along with.

SC: It’s also one of the oldest songs in my Cookie jar. I’m not sure what was going on when I wrote it, but strange things have been happening for years now — decades!

“Ride Your Life”:
AB: This song came after our first session was over and we realized to make our best effort we weren’t quite done. So the boys went at it again without me (I was touring) and thankfully left me room to rip out some guitar stuff. The song was based (pun intended) on a heavy-handed riff from Mark and grew from there. I love the weight of this especially when it is offset by the beautiful acoustic piano parts. I can’t wait to play this live.

SC: My favorite lyric on the album is: “We are sinners all/ And can’t help but judge/ So when the gavel falls/ (ROLLS A BIG RRRRR) Rrrrrremember LOVE!”

“Zubatta Chieve”:
AB: This is another welcome departure. Such a richness of sounds and the vocals are especially unique. Sonically speaking, Gizmodrome seems to live in some kind of musical jungle where anything goes. I’m not sure which continent this comes from, but I want to go there. I love this production from master Claudio Dentes. How we are going to sing this live, I have no idea, but I’m sure we will.

SB: It is a celebration of a language that I don’t speak very well, Italian. It’s such a beautiful musical language and when you work in Italy surround by Italians, you’re surrounded by the music of their language. And you don’t need to understand the words to get the feeling, the passion, the romance of Italy. So I wrote this song in Italian without the faintest idea what it means. Since then my Italian has improved.

“Spin This”:
AB: Ah, at last the “gazillion dollar thumb” makes an appearance! This is a political novel put to music. Once again, as the guitarist of the unit, this was so much fun to rave over. More great vocals from Mark and Stewart. This will be a blast to play around the world. I think we can spin this!

SC: This lyric goes way back to the ’80s when I was the subject of tabloid interest. The bizarre stories that would be concocted on the slimmest evidence amazed me and in hindsight, a sense of humor kicks in and if I’d only known it at the time I could’ve spun a lot more of this.

“I Know Too Much”:
AB: Another awesome piano interpretation leads us into one of the earliest pieces we recorded. To my ears I could hear this on a radio anytime. A very friendly song, I loved singing harmony with both Stewart in the verses and Mark in the choruses. A new wrinkle. And what other band would let their guitarist go wild for so long and then turn him up?!

SC: Gizmodrome is all about delving into the deepest weirdness of Mr. Belew. And when we find it of course we’ll turn him up. It’s also where Adrian and I discovered our twisted Everly Brothers duet. We will be doing more of this on the next album.

“Stark Naked”:
AB: Our one instrumental (unless you count our EP Riff Tricks Vol. 1, which I certainly do). Does this remind anyone else of the cop shows of the ’70s? If so, that was intentional. A glorious way to go out by throwing in the whole kitchen sink. And there you have it, the beginnings of something fresh and hopeful.

SC: We sure did throw a lot of good stuff at this track every time somebody did something it would inspire 10 more ideas. The big issue was how to trim it all back so that it was one thing.

Pre-orders for Gizmodrome are available on iTunes and Amazon.

Gizmodrome Artwork:

cover 3000 1 1 Supergroup Gizmodrome (Stewart Copeland, Adrian Belew, more) share their self titled debut album: Stream

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