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Montebello Rock Fest reveals 2018 lineup

Montebello Rockfest has revealed its 2018. The long-running punk and hard rock festival returns to Montebello, Quebec, Canada from June 14th-16th.

Among the notable acts playing this year: Weezer, Tenacious D, Prophets of Rage, Jimmy Eat World, Rancid, Henry Rollins, Sum 41, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, The Mighty Mighty Bostones, The Used, Dimmu Borgir, Venom, Lagwagon, and Millencolin.

Also confirmed are Lamb of God, Godsmack, A Day to Remember, Five Finger Death Punch, All Time Low, Streelight Manifesto, Cannibal Corpse, Propagandi, Atreyu, Suicide Silence, Story of the Year, Unearth, Comeback Kid, GBH, Every Time I Die, Guttermouth, and Les Marmottes Aplaties, among others.

Tickets are now available via the festival’s website.

montebello rock fest Montebello Rock Fest reveals 2018 lineup

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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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White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share “Paint Yo’Nails”: Stream

10 5 Things… is a recurring new music feature that lets an artist go H.A.M. on a particular topic.

This year marks 10 years since White Mystery first started rocking out in the Chicago DIY scene. To celebrate, the sibling duo are doing what they’ve done every anniversary since 2010: releasing a brand new album on April 20th.

Hellion Blender is the band’s ninth full-length overall, and caps off the mission they set for themselves when they first started: to release one album every 365 days. The 10-track effort once again demonstrates the seamless collaborative energy between Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White as they tear through a garage worth genres, from the country-tinged punk of “Goody Two Shoes” to the psychedelic jamming of “Paint Yo’Nails”.

The latter track, a thumping trip of wahing guitar and drums that shift from sashaying to pummeling, is being debuted today to preview the record. Take a listen below.

Pre-orders for Hellion Blender are going on here. To further commemorate their 10th anniversary, White Mystery have decided to pull back the veil on five secrets they’ve kept hidden over their years as a band.

Sky High:

White Mystery, photo by Diane Alexander White

White Mystery, photo by Diane Alexander White

White Mystery filmed a super secret music video on the rooftop of Chicago’s tallest building that may never see the light of day. The city-born sibling duo performed an ode to their hometown, “Take A Walk”, on an industrial level so high it was “where the window washers push off.” And yes, it was very windy! An employee of the facility confirmed that White Mystery is indeed the first band to ever play at that elevation in the city. (Photo attached, by Diane Alexander White )

Terrence Malick:

gallery movies terrence malick copy 1024x691 White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

Years ago, White Mystery was invited to perform in a Terrence Malick film based in Austin, Texas. Low and behold, Alex and Francis jammed with Robert Plant from Led Zepplin on the movie set. The White Mystery/Robert Plant trio jammed blues standards whilst on camera for a dazzling cast of stars, which included Ryan Gosling. It was truly a spiritual experience, and Francis even had a speaking part. Unfortunately, the footage was left on the cutting room floor.

Four Syllable Titles:

picture 41 White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

White Mystery has released a new album every year on April 20 for the past decade, and until now, adhered to a strict album naming pattern of only four syllable titles. The song White Mystery, “Rapid Overdrive” also contains a hidden secret, with each word in the song spelling out “ROYGBIV” and “CMYK,” the colors of the rainbow, and printable spectrum of hues.

4/20 Possession Ticket:

screen shot 2018 03 01 at 11 07 31 pm White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

Francis shot off a bottle rocket outside of the Cake Shop in Manhattan, New York and got busted by the police on April 20, 2012. They took his weed and wrote him a ticket, but don’t worry, the ticket was written incorrectly and got thrown out.

Bar Room Brawl:

17 mag bar fight seminar krav maga zenica 1 White Mystery celebrate 10th anniversary with new album, Hellion Blender, share Paint YoNails: Stream

Folks close to the band know that White Mystery was involved in a vicious bar room brawl in Austria while on it’s first European tour. There was punching, kicking, screaming, biting, and then, lawyers. Fortunately, they beat the case with help from the club’s sound guy, and are able to return to the European country where it took place. Francis walked away with a nasty shiner, but you should have seen the other guy.

Hellion Blender Artwork:

White Mystery -- Hellion Blend

Hellion Blender Tracklist:
01. Boy Next Door
02. Two Flast
03. Penny Saved
04. Paint Yo’Nails
05. Unlucky XIII
06. Goody Two Shoes
07. Ghost Signs
08. White Mystery TV
09. Disco Ball
10. Part Deux

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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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Fugazi’s Joe Lally and Brendan Canty form The Messthetics, share “Serpent Tongue” from self-titled debut: Listen

Photo by ​Antonia Tricarico

Underneath Fugazi’s chugging and churning guitar riffs sat one of punk rock’s tightest rhythm sections. Now, for the first time since the underground legends went on “hiatus” in 2003, bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty are back together in a brand new band.

The musicians have formed a project called The Messthetics with DC guitar player Anthony Pirog. For years, Pirog has been seen as something of a virtuoso in the DC scene, performing mainly in jazz circles but also playing in doomy noise outfits and joining Smashing Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlin in Skysaw.

As The Messthetics, the power trio make experimental sounds that re-envisions punk as an outlet for the sort of heady riffage found in ’70s rock. Such is the case with their debut single, “Serpent Tongue”. With Canty producing as well as delivering tight precision behind the kit, Pirog demonstrates the sort of fiery dexterity that’s made him such a local favorite. Take a listen below (via NPR).

“Serpent Tongue” comes from The Messthetics’ self-titled debut, due out March 23rd via Dischord Records. The effort was recorded live at Canty’s practice space and features minimal overdubs. Digital pre-orders are here, while physical ones can be purchased here. The album art and tracklist are ahead.

The Messthetics Artwork:

a1109089451 10 Fugazis Joe Lally and Brendan Canty form The Messthetics, share Serpent Tongue from self titled debut: Listen

The Messthetics Tracklist:
01. Mythomania
02. Serpent Tongue
03. Once Upon a Time
04. Quantum Path
05. Your Own World
06. The Inner Ocean
07. Radiation Fog
08. Crowds and Power
09. The Weaver

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Jack White’s new album features an unused White Stripes song

Last night, Jack White released the latest single from his forthcoming album, Boarding House Reach, with “Corporation”. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, he divulged more details about the recording process for his third solo album. He also revealed that one of the album tracks, “Over and Over and Over”, actually dates back 13 years and was originally written for The White Stripes.

For Boarding House Reach, White specifically sought collaborators from the world of hip-hop, reaching out to session players he had seen with JAY-Z, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar. Among those musicians were drummer Louis Cato, bassist NeonPhoenix, keyboardist Neal Evans, and drummer Daru Jones.

“I had no idea if we’d be able to communicate musically,” White told Rolling Stone. “It could’ve been a recipe for disaster. I think it would scare the hell out of most people, so it was very enticing to me.”

But within minutes of entering the studio, “there was so much amazing music being played,” he recounted. “Some of those songs could take up an entire side of an album, like a Miles Davis record or a Funkadelic record. Then someone would do something and another mood would change the room.” He added that “It almost hurt my feelings to condense some of those songs, but I wanted to make it relatable in 2018.”

The end product, according to White, is a record that is “incredibly modern. I wanted to take punk, hip-hop and rock & roll, and funnel it all into a 2018 time capsule.” You can certainly hear such diversity on the album’s three teaser tracks: “Corporation”, “Connected By Love”, and “Respect Commander”.

As for “Over and Over and Over”, White said that after he failed to make the song work for The White Stripes, he record it with The Raconuters. When that failed, he set aside for the now infamous JAY-Z collaborative project that never came to be. “I was just gonna hand it off to my grandchildren,” White joked to Rolling Stone. “It was sort of my white whale. I chased it and chased it, and finally, all of a sudden, it worked.”

Boarding House Reach is out March 23rd. Take another listen to “Corporation” below.

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Friend of Kurt Cobain uploads rare Nirvana demo tapes to YouTube: Stream

The Observer is a YouTube account run by John Purkey, an old friend of Kurt Cobain and someone who’s spoken at length about Nirvana’s rise and fall. Purkey regularly posts new videos, many of which include insider info on the band.

As Alternative Nation points out, Purkey recently uploaded four videos containing cassette audio of Nirvana demos circa the late ’80s. Apparently given to him by Cobain himself, the tapes include early recordings of songs that would eventually make up Bleach, as well as material recorded with Dale Crover. Perhaps even more intriguing is audio of early, pre-Dave Grohl Nevermind recordings featuring Chad Channing on drums.

Altogether, there’s well over two hours of material to work through. While some of the audio has been heard before by fans, perhaps not quite in such a raw, unpolished state. You also (sadly? thankfully?) won’t find any pop punk a la Weezer.

Check out each tape below, including comments from Purkey himself and tracklists (courtesy of diligent YouTuber Cancer God).

First tape: 

“This is the first tape Kurt gave to me. Sound quality is not perfect but it’s not too bad. It is listenable. Paper cuts sounds a little warbaly at first and that is exactly how it was when Kurt gave it to me. I got used to it. It slowly becomes clear sounding.”

0:38 – “Paper Cuts”
05:03 – “Downer”
06:53 – “Beeswax”
09:52 – “Aero Zeppelin”
14:36 – “Floyd the Barber”
17:03 – “If You Must”
21:12 – Spank Thru
24:57 – “Mexican Seafood”
27:06 – “Pen Cap Chew”
30:06 – “Montage of Heck”

Second tape: 

00:47 – “Blandest”
04:37 – “Mr. Moustache”
08:23 – “Sifting Instrumental”
13:51 – “Blew”
16:52 – “Spank Thru”
20:08 – “Love Buzz” (Early Single Version?)
23:55 – “Big Cheese”

Third tape:

“This was the tape he gave me after they recorded songs for what would become Bleach.”

00:00 – Intro
01:39 – “Scoff”
06:02 – “Swap Meet”
09:17 – “Blew”
12:23 – “Love Buzz”
16:11 – “About a Girl”
19:27 – “Negative Creep”
22:02 – “School”
24:50 – “Big Long Now”

Fourth tape:

“Recorded with Chad produced by Butch Vig. I think it is known as the smart studio demo. Kurt started high speed dubbing at the beginning of pay to play. [You] can hear a slight glitch when he pressed the high speed button.”

00:00 – Intro
00:44 – “Immodium”
04:04 – “Pay to Play”
07:39 – “Sappy”
11:17 – “Polly”
14:19 – “In Bloom”
19:00 – “Lithium” (Mix 6)
23:31 – “Dive”

To further expound on the tapes, Purkey posted a video discussing their origins over the weekend:

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FIDLAR cover Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle”: Stream

Photo by ​Philip Cosores

FIDLAR popped up at plenty of festivals while on the road last year, but the punk rockers had a relatively quiet 2017 on the new music front. They’re ripping right into 2018, however, as they’ve shared a cover of the Nirvana track “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle”.

(Read: The 100 Best Pop Punk Bands)

Their version of the In Utero cut does a faithful job of recapturing the original’s rage in the confines of their own screeching style. Guitars are crunchier in the mix and the bridge adds spaced-out bends, but the Los Angeles outfit does Seattle proud with their rendition. Check it out via the YouTube player below — just beware of the NSFW images spliced in at blink-and-you’ll-miss-it intervals.

In a new interview with GQ, FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper revealed the band is in studio working on a follow-up to 2015’s Too. Meanwhile, the surviving members of Nirvana — Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear — reunited last month at a Foo Fighters concert in Eugene, Oregon.

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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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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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