Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pictures of Then in Jersey Beat

Pictures of Then - And the Wicked Sea (

Read Here

Pictures of Then didn’t throw away any of their vinyl records, epically
their Manfred Mann, The Small Faces, and 60’s British Invasion records.
Armed with those pop rock nuggets, they shake the tree and plant some of
their own musical roots on “And the Wicked Sea.” Well developed songs like
“The Big Sell,” “Lands Uncharted, and especially “Nowhere is Somewhere,” (I
dare you not to sing along with the catchy chorus), barely break a sweat, as
the poetic, unpretentious lyrics offer thoughtful perspectives without
losing their rock ‘n’ roll vibe.

The band never succumbs to blandness, nor do they spread any clichéd writing
around. You want to hear what the next song is about, and the next, and the

Featuring slippery bass chords, melodic vocals, strumming guitars, and
on-the-beat drumming, Pictures of Then make their mark by ingeniously adding
and subtracting whatever they think it will take to make a good song, and
they’re usually right. Sometimes it’s just the bass, simple drumming, and
frugal bits of guitar, over a quiet vocal that are propelled by the rest of
the band’s musical lustfulness.

Unlike some albums that end up labored and dull, “And the Wicked Sea” has an
emotional drive that never prods along. 12 sturdy songs that hold up, and
have plenty of personality!


Pictures of Then in THE ONION

The Onion

Pictures Of Then, And The Wicked Sea

Given the remarkably polished pop songcraft that Pictures Of Then exhibit on And The Wicked Sea—not to mention that the songs from their 2007 debut, Crushed By Lights, got airplay on MTV's The Real World and The Hills—it's hard to imagine that the next CD-release show the Minneapolis quartet plays will be at a venue as small as the Uptown Bar; here's a band that seems destined for bigger audiences and greater acclaim. Wicked Sea flirts with glam rock and psychedelia, but builds its engaging sound on a solid foundation of guitar-driven indie rock in the style of Modest Mouse; though, Pictures Of Then lean more toward pop beauty and strummy ballads than Isaac Brock's rough-edged rock. That isn't to say Pictures Of Then can't rock, which they do on tracks like "History Of Bones" and the catchy, Cars-esque "When It Stings." But while those songs pack some real punches, it's Wicked Sea's more mid-tempo tunes—like the breezily rolling "Questions Anyone?" and piano-driven "Nowhere Is Somewhere"—that are the album's secret weapons, giving lead vocalist Casey Call's clear, bright tenor a good showcase.

Grade: A-
Upcoming show: Uptown Bar on July 10

Localized: Two Harbors and Pictures Of Then

Pictures Of Then

THe BAcksliders on Nuova Musica

Read here

THe BAcksliders - Thank You (album in download gratuito)
martedì 7 luglio 2009
THe BAcksliders - Thank You (album in download gratuito)
THe BAcksliders (nessun errore, è proprio scritto così) è il nome di una rock band di Dallas, Texas, e "Thank You" è il titolo del loro nuovo disco, il terzo, offerto in download gratuito dal sito ufficiale del gruppo. Rock and roll energico, graffiante, "sporco", arricchito da un tocco di blues.
Ecco l'indirizzo per scaricare il disco:

La pagina MySpace, invece, per ascoltare qualcosa:

Pictures of Then live on Showcase Minnesota!

Watch here!

Pictures of Then on CHICAGO SNACKS

Chicago Snacks here

Mark Your Calendar (Brown Shoe, Pictures of Then, Blane Fonda, Welcome to Ashley)
Welcome back from your dabbles in independence. I saw some fireworks and like Gov S.P., cut and ran. Good times ahead. Here are a few shows I’ve been made privy to. Check them out.

Post-rockers, Welcome to Ashley @ Double Door, July 8. Free show with The Beat Seekers, The Moves & Injured Parties.

The next night, get a spoonful of Pictures of Then at Double Door (July 9) when they play with Chico Fellini and The Sleepers. They’re from Minneapolis.

Brown Shoe will bring their Coldplay-ish rock n’ roll to Cal’s Bar on August 1 with Seafarer.

Lastly, Chicago’s Blane Fonda will be rocking out at times goofbally and other times seriously on August 13 at Schuba’s for their record release party.

Here’s a video from Brown Shoe that is pretty good. I wish the singer looked a little more interested in singing, but that’s ok.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Read review here
Bruler Bruler
Jessie Torrisi is a recognizable face around New York City as she has played drums for several bands over the years, and although she may call New York home, she is well traveled and influenced by cities with rich culture and music like Brazil and New Orleans and she has poured all of her eclectic influences into her debut solo effort Bruler Bruler. The 8-track album fuses together a wide array of instruments that are not necessarily the common ones used like violin, cello, and trombone, which coincidently is the prominent instrument used early on in the album on “X in TeXas.” The blending of instruments runs the borderline between obscure and unique on “Runaway Train,” while on “Cannonball,” you are met with a 1920’s jazz feel. But all of the instrumentation aside this album is about Jessie Torrisi and her outstanding vocal ability. Throughout the album her vocals are full of the utmost sincerity as she shows on the more slower paced tracks like “Breeze in Carolina” and “Storm Clouds” on the second half of the album. However, “The Bright Side” which closes the album is the standout track. It relies on heavy use of the piano to more or less accompany her vocals and she delivers them in an outstanding way that pulls you into the song allowing you to live the lyric with her. When an artist combines odd instruments together it usually ends up sounding just that, odd, but somehow Torrisi was able to cohesively blend everything allowing the true shining light of the album to come to the front throughout each and every track; Her voice.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Giant squid covered on Metal Set Lists

Giant Squid - The Ichthyologist (2009)


The long-awaited follow-up to 2006’s critically-acclaimed “Metridium Fields” is finally here, and what a follow-up it has turned out to be.

The band had undergone a few changes since their previous album, the most ostensible being the divorce of guitarists / vocalists Aaron Gregory and Aurielle Zeitler. With Aurielle’s departure, a large chunk of Giant Squid’s signature sound had left the band.

Luckily, her pseudo-replacement, Jackie Perez Gratz (founding member of Grayceon, and also a member of Amber Asylum) provides a whole new twist to an already progressive doom metal sound. Jackie plays cello and sings, and although Aurielle did play both guitar and keyboards as well, those parts did not serve as a very basis for the music the way Jackie's often do in the new version of Giant Squid. The strong cello parts fold into the sound of the guitars and drums quite seamlessly (as they do in Grayceon), and the result is something that I doubt anyone has ever heard before.

The music is sometimes crushing, sometimes quite melancholy, but always intense and interesting. This album also includes several additional instruments and guest appearances, including flute, oboe (played by Jackie’s sister Cat Gratz), violin (played by Kris Force of Amber Asylum), beautiful backing vocals from Anneke van Giersbergen (formerly of The Gathering), and also some ear-piercing screams from the inimitable Karyn Crisis (a friend of the band, who was instrumental in their originally being signed by The End Records).

All of these myriad pieces are melded together with great care and skill by the band – Aaron Gregory in particular, who writes and arranges most of the music – to create one of the best albums of 2009 (so far!).

Throwing a Donner Party at Sea
Dead Man Slough
Blue Linckia

read it here!~

Giant squid interview with crusher magazine

crusher magazine here

by Morgan Y. Evans


California's Giant Squid are easily one of the best, most-adventurous and avant-garde bands in the underground, yet the also manage to flat out rock. People already in the know sort of savor their fandom of the group like a favorite secret, but that is sure to become a secret more difficult to keep (which is a good thing for music). Awareness of the group's astounding latest opus The Ichthyologist is rapidly spreading, garnering accolades and acclaim for the unorthodox four-piece.
Evolving like the ocean which inspires much of the band's work, Giant Squid have expanded their already vast net of sounds to include an even more present strain of musing, moody indie-rock which manages to be emotionally brow-furrowing and contemplative even in lighter passages. The interplay of light on the surface of the water can be deceiving though, as the band still plums serious, sludgy depths. Redundant ocean puns aside, this band is killer and thought provoking. Their earlier release Metridium Fields was locked in my stereo for a very, very long time, and I would often find it hard to remove even when I needed to study other CDs for interviews!

The Ichthyologist is a fuller, more varied, and in the end, even more rewarding release. It snakes, floats, and crawls through various terrain and explores every nook and cranny of musical potency the group can muster, which is quite a lot. Pent up with creative energy after playing the same songs live for ages, Giant Squid poured it into this new record and the effort shows. Band founder Aaron Gregory has moved beyond a simple handle like “stoner” or “post-rock” and is simply letting the band be what it wills, a monster with a life of its' own. While Aaron's vocals have often been compared to System Of A Down, that's his natural voice, which he also really stretches and evolves here to the next level.

Heck, Giant Squid admiration runs so deep, the band was able to coerce some top notch talent from the underground music world to appear as guests and collaborate towards the full vision of The Ichthyologist. The band has always favored added sounds beyond the standard “rock” line up of guitar, bass, and drums, so Kris Force from Amber Asylum's skills blend in beautifully. Vocal guests include Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering, Agua de Annique) as well as Karyn Crisis (ex-Crisis). The pair offer very different vocal styles, which both find a place within the larger picture of the record's sound.

Karyn Crisis, who continues to be one of the most important and influential women in metal (and has a new group, The Karyn Crisis band, featuring Davide Tiso of Ephel Duath) took some time to talk about what it was like collaborating with Giant Squid for her appearance on one of The Ichthyologist's rowdier songs "Throwing A Donner Party At Sea."

"Billy Anderson introduced Crisis to Giant Squid's music around the time we began working on our Like Sheep Led To Slaughter record," said Karyn, continuing , “...and though fans of their potential then, it's been great to watch the band grow and come into their own even more. I think The Ichthyologist is the pinnacle of their expression so far. This album, in my opinion, shows them masters of their creative vision, and it was an honor to sing on the album. Aaron is one of the people who coaxed me back into singing in the first place, along with Billy, during a time where I never wanted to sing again."

Quite an endorsement and another thing we have to thank Giant Squid for, and there's more. The Ichthyologist even parallels a forth-coming graphic novel. Read on to find out more as I discuss the ins and outs of this vast album with Aaron Gregory, who is also a real life professional diver.

(Note: At the time of this interview the band had self-released 1000 copies of the new record themselves but have just announced a coveted signing to Translation Loss records. The second printing of the new album will even be repackaged with new art by legendary comic book artist Sam Kieth of The Maxx fame.)

MORGAN Y. EVANS: How does it feel to have the band grow so much musically? Metridium Fields was amazing but I think is just a fraction of your potential and The Ichthyologist seems to really open things up even wider.

AARON GREGORY: Most definitely because The Ichthyologist is a brand new album full of brand new material (Except “Throwing a Donner Party at Sea”) instead of being a re-recording which Metridium Fields was, being really the only album we were known for. We were chained more or less to those old, old songs already going in to the studio when we did that album in ‘05/’06, where as here, finally after years of playing the same damn five songs (not including our brief “Monster In The Creek” period) we were able to experiment and do whatever we wanted again. Having the addition of a classically-trained strings player in the band definitely opened a ton of doors too, sonically and songwriting wise.

MYE: "Dead Man Slough" is probably my favorite song on the new album musically. Vocally it reminds me of Tom Waits singing a pirate song or something. Can you tell me the role that song plays in the concept story that ties the album into your forthcoming graphic novel?

AG: A murder is committed and it's a real turning point for the character. His pain and anger has grown to this all-consuming level. There are not many things that can really break a man, but love and money are on the top of the list. So, this is his breaking point, but afterwards the consequences of his crime make him feel even less human than he already was, and so he gives up, condemning himself to the bottom of the bay, which is where "Sevengill" picks up. How he can survive at the bottom of the bay is due to his transformation and is eluded to in many of the details in the album's lyrics, but won't be fully explained till the graphic novel sees the light of day.

MYE: Let's talk about the guests on the LP. I am a huge Crisis fan and have a giant tattoo of their symbol on my right arm, but I don't regret it, despite that it's impossible to hide. Some of her lyrics really helped me. "Throwing A Donner Party At Sea" is almost like a gypsy song, like Gogol Bordello. It was a cool match up with Giant Squid and Karyn Crisis because not only does it sound good but I was thinking of the old Crisis song "Surviving The Siren", which was like a personal war but also referenced sirens and the sea. How did you meet and get her involved? Was it through engineer Billy Anderson as he has produced you both in the past?

AG: It actually was through Billy. When we went in to the studio in 2004 to do the first version of Metridium Fields, he had just finished recording Like Sheep Led To Slaughter, Crisis's release on The End Records. He handed off a copy of it to us. The guitar player and female vocalists at the time, grew up listening to Crisis. It was the first time I heard them though and thought the record ruled. Karyn blew me away. Turns out, Billy later gave a copy of Metridium Fields to Afzaal, Crisis's guitar player, who really enjoyed it himself. So the story goes, Crisis was visiting The End Records, and one of the young guys working there was rocking some ISIS. Afzaal floated him our album thinking he would like it. A year or so later, the album floats around the label and is handed off to the owner, who likes it a lot as well and then we get signed! So, Crisis peeps and Giant Squid peeps become connected in that way and kept in touch. Karyn came out to see us on tour when we came through SF (we lived in Austin at the time), and her and I started chatting up a storm about mixed martial arts. She's a big fan, and I have practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on and off, and Bryan is a retarded MMA nut. So, we hit it off like old friends and kept in touch. Funny, that same night, (celloist) Jackie approached us in the same way and we kept in touch as well til she officially joined the band. It was also the first night I met Kris Force, who I'm pretty sure I fan-boyed out on, but she was equally as sweet and down to earth as Karyn. It was an important, fateful show for sure! Any who, I talked to Karyn a lot in the next six months about playing in a band with Billy and I when I returned to California, which we did for a while, but it turned out to be a scheduling nightmare and so never got off the ground even after about eight months of doing it, which was really unfortunate. In the process, I became really good friends with Karyn, and thought it only natural that she come deliver the only real screaming part on our album, which was done by our previous female guitarist.

MYE: Kris Force is also very talented. I love her work with The Living Jarboe and she added great violin to "Mormon Island." Also Anneke Van Giersbergen, who sang on "Sevengill". She was of course, formerly of The Gathering and did a great collaboration with Moonspell recently for their single "Scorpion Flower" as well.

AG: Like I mention before, I met Kris at the same show I met Karyn and Jackie. I first started listening to Amber Asylum over ten years ago. Huge fan. Of course since Jackie was also a major part of that band for ten years, I got to know Kris more and more as time went on. “Mormon Island” was just calling for Kris to do something on it, and yeah, "great" is an understatement about her violin playing on that song. It's fucking unearthly. I swear, only she can create sounds like that. One of a kind musician.

Anneke we have known since we toured with The Gathering way back in 2006. Not only did we became huge fans after that, but she did as well for Giant Squid. She used to tell me all the time how she'd listen to Metridium Fields at least once a week in the car. So, I thought it maybe a long shot, but I asked her to do some vocals on a really heavy song and she was thrilled. I was so stoked. Her contribution, like those of all the gals on the album and Nate's priceless trumpet, was just chill inducing, and totally magical. That shit was meant to be for sure.

MYE: “Metridium Fields”, the twenty plus minute song on your last full-length of the same name, had some amazing instrumentation that just built and built on the main theme. Theme is an understatement! That's the longest dirge ever, but I never get sick of it. There's one particular passage that is like this low, I think, keyboard sound that is so grabbing and epic. It sounds like rolling waves. The new record too, it just contains so many beautiful or booming passages, I don't know where to start. Was it daunting coming up with a follow up to Metridium or were you chomping at the bit as that album was pretty old and you'd done a demo and re-recorded version for The End records? What did you want to accomplish to expand the palette of Giant Squid musically?

AG: Well, you're totally right, like I mentioned in the first question, we were super anxious to record a new record and move on, which is what consequently cost us our deal with The End. They wanted us to keep working and touring behind Metridium Fields for a lot longer til they had sold enough albums. I would have faced certain mutiny if we had chosen that path. So many people had come and gone since Metridium Fields. It was super keyboard heavy, with lots of dual guitar, yet here we were now, a four piece with a cello!! We kept performing and toured twice more behind Fields with the reduced line up, but it felt fucking contrived and heartless at times, like going through the motions because we were supposed to. Only two of us on stage had anything to do with those songs, which we wrote in like 2001 and had been playing live since. So, the time had really come to record something new with all the current members contributing to the writing process instead of playing or singing the parts written by someone else. Don't get me wrong, we still play a jam or two of that record, but that's it. So yeah, we parted ways with The End, self-funded the entire production/recording/advertising process for our record, and made The Ichthyologist.

Musically, I wanted to get the fuck away from the Pelican Cult of NeurIsis thing, so the first thing in my mind to go was the token twelve-minute song. Next was screaming. I'm pretty worn out on hearing grown men scream. There are few that can convince me they are really that pissed. Maybe I'm just old. Probably why all I listen to these days is Dio, Gillian Welch, and the Greg Graffin solo album. And finally, anything goes musically, as long as at the end of the day we had ten full, real songs. No filler noise passages and such. I wanted it to feel like a road trip album. Like I mentioned before, when Anneke told me we were good driving music, that really stuck with me. I wanted it to feel like an adventure, so when you're driving down the coast, you can take it all in from the beginning to the end, like a journey.

MYE: What was it like working with Matt Bayles? How much pre-production did you do and how much layering of stuff was preconceived, like the strings, versus tried out in the studio?

AG: Matt is a real sweetheart, but can be a real stern dude when the clock is ticking, time is limited, as are funds. He knows how to get amazing records done with those limitations, as long as the band doesn't act like a bunch of jerk offs. At the same time, you don't get to leave the room till you've nailed every damn part perfectly, but with feeling. So, yeah it could stressful and intense. He can come off like a hard ass at times, but when you're working with a producer at that level, and paying that kind of money, recording in studios that Soundgarden, Mastodon, and Neil Young have recorded in, he's not there to hold your hand. He's there to make a record which you got to play. I loved that about him. I felt it a great personal accomplishment to make it through Bayles boot camp. I'll be that much more prepared next time.

As far as preproduction goes, I did a lot of multi-tracking with a four track at home when writing keyboard, banjo, and second guitar layers. All of Jackie's parts were written along with us beforehand just like any guitar riff or bass line, as she is no different than anyone else in the band. We write it all together in the same room at the same time at practice. There really weren't any big string arrangements or anything. Just her killing amazing cello riffs. All the guests except Jackie's sister had written all their stuff at home and so we had no idea what they were playing till they either came in to the studio and laid it down, as in the case of Lorraine, Karyn, and Nate, or sent it in like Kris or Anneke.

MYE: The End records didn't put this one out, which is odd as they had Crisis Like Sheep Led To Slaughter and people loved Metridium Fields. So you guys have been doing it yourself. Can you explain what happened and your plans to extend awareness of The Ichthyologist to the public? It is certainly a vital release for you guys and a major musical statement.

AG: It is fucking odd isn't it!? Well, other than the very basic reasons I gave earlier about them wanting us to "work harder" in their eyes behind Metridium Fields, I can guess and give my opinions, but I'd much rather spend any more time and energy talking about the label we're signing to, out of Philadelphia, though I can't really say more till we make our announcement. They're great guys who have families and day jobs still while running their label. A great roster of bands, almost every one of which we could tour with, and the same exact Sony backed distribution as we had before. The perfect label for us to be on right now.

Honestly, leaving The End Records was a blessing. We all felt relieved after the initial emotional disappointment quickly wore off. They've changed their perspective drastically and their goals, and we realized that Giant Squid wasn't going to meet those goals for them in the time they'd have liked us to do so. I don't need to say anymore other than we made the best decision in breaking off from them to make our record on our own terms and move forward as artists.

As far as getting the word out, we hired our own PR people, one of which was my dear friend Adrian Bromely who tragically died in his sleep a couple months after working The Ichthyologist. But in that short time, he secured huge features for us in magazines such as Revolver. That's a pretty big deal for an unsigned band! Revolver actually made us "make up" a false label name just to mention in the article. I guess it really was a big deal for an unsigned band to get such press, and generally frowned upon, it seemed. From there, the wonderful girls at XO Publicity, who were also close to Adrian, took over and helped finish what Adrian started, and soon we were getting write-ups in Decibel and Terrorizer (this month's issue!), along with the cover of local weeklies, and dozens upon dozens of website reviews. Adrian and Kaytea at XO were the exact same PR team we had working Metridium Fields, so it worked well, and we sold almost half of the 1000 copies of The Ichthyologist before the official release date in early February, all strictly through our MySpace. It slowed down a bit eventually, but we're down to our last shoe box full four months later. They'll be gone before we hit the road on our National tour with Grayceon this August.

MYE: How did you get into scuba diving to the point where you could do it professionally? Is it rewarding having it overlap between your passions, music and diving?

AG: Been diving since I was 16, and pretty fearlessly. The first thing they teach you when you get certified is to not ever dive alone. The first thing I did after getting certified was start diving completely alone in the dark green, American River that ran through Sacramento, crawling through bridge rubble and practically sticking my head in to beaver dams. From there, I started diving solo in Monterey out by the Metridium Fields near the Coast Guard jetty. For years I just never had any friends who were certified, and I couldn't wait to explore under the surface, so I pushed past the normal fears and dove solo. Probably not smart, but a calculated risk like anything can be. So, needless to say, I'm comfortable diving in really cramped quarters, in frigid, dark water, with spooky shit swimming around me. One day I saw a Craigslist ad for diver wanted at The Aquarium of the Bay, and I knew I was perfect for it. They have two massive aquariums, about 150 ft long each. The job entitled getting in and cleaning every nook, cranny, and crevice, then hand feeding and catching animals while I'm in there. Could be a Giant Pacific Octopus practically strong enough to hold me down in his cave, or just a little Surf Perch with a bum fin. A lot of the times it was one of the near hundred different sharks we had, about eight of which out weighed me and were 7 to 8 feet long. Most people's nightmare. My dream job! So, yeah it was rewarding to say the least. Every day I'd stop myself—either while sitting on my knees tossing mackerels in to the mouth of a 350lb Giant Black Sea Bass, surrounded by a swirling ball of 100,000 anchovies, or while hand feeding a ten foot shark, gargantuan mouth inches away from my face, while divers at each side of me fend it off with PVC poles—fuck, this is a dream come god damn true.

The biggest sharks I swam face to face with were the gorgeous but formidable Sevengill sharks, thus inspiring the song of the same name on The Ichthyologist, which lyrically hints at their natural tendency to eat human bodies of suicide victims that have jumped off the Golden Gate.

MYE: That's perhaps the most metal thing ever.

AG: We gave away real Sevengill shark teeth to the first fifty people that bought an album, all of which I collected from the bottom of the tanks! I even have Sevengill shark teeth shaped inlays in my seven-string guitar fret boards (total dork, yes I know). Sharks are as ancient as an animal can be, but by shark standards, Sevengills are fucking prehistoric, so there is a real, archaic, dinosaur like vibe about them. Also, Sea Stars surrounded me constantly at work, getting in my way as I tried to vacuum and scrub these basketball-court size aquariums, and so they became ingrained into my psyche as much as they were in the rock work and walls that surrounded me, and eventually forming the basis of the entire album's story. Remarkable little creatures they are.

MYE: Do you like Jack London stories, like The Sea Wolf?

AG: I'm sad to say, for as much reading as I do, I haven't read a single Jack London book. Funny thing is, the owner of the Aquarium Of The Bay also owns the world's greatest collection of Jack London memorabilia and artifacts, a true museum of first editions and personal belongings. Because of that, I've been meaning to get around to diving in to those books. The Sea Wolf sounds like a great place to begin.

MYE: Nature plays a large role in your band and even a band like Mastodon's stories or Cattle Decapitation decrying animal abuse. Why do you think the underground is more reflective and attuned to this when it is all around everyone?

AG: I actually don't think it has anything to do with the underground. The world itself is more attuned than ever. Look how popular shows like Shark Week, or specialty shows on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel have become. The fact that Megalodon has become a household name like Tyrannosaurus Rex just goes to show the tremendous popularity the information age has brought to the natural world. I couldn't be happier about it.

I knew Mastodon was about to become my new favorite band when I read the track-listing for Remission. Any band with a song called “Trilobite” is fucking rad. Metalheads have always been obsessed with beasts and monsters and whatever captures the imagination. So, things like real life sea monsters are a no brainer. In as far as Cattle's case, and the cry for vegetarianism, any somewhat extreme view is always going to have a better launching point in the underground where such ways of thought are always accepted more and encouraged. It was the same as with peace punk bands in the ‘80s and early ‘90's like Subhumans and Citizen Fish, who constantly sang about vegetarianism.

MYE: Parts of the album feel submersed, deep, lonely yet also comforting but chasm-ic, like some black hole womb at the ocean floor. At times I don't know how to describe the sound, which is a compliment, 'cuz that's my job! People are often torn between calling you indie rock or stoner rock, but neither wholly fits.

AG: Well, thank you. I don't know what we are either actually, other than just a loud, hard rock band who understands dynamics and song writing. We're not metal. Down tuning a guitar does not make you metal any more than adding a cello makes you classical. Smoking weed will make our music make more sense though, so yeah, progressive stoner rock works too. We're just really emotional rock, but tend to tell our tales of woe through metaphors involving the natural world. When I say a song is about sharks, it is, but it might also be about my parents. The shark references can be a metaphor as much as they are literal, such as in old songs like “Ampullae of Lorenzini” or “Neonate”. There is a more literal, folk type element to the writing on this album, but even those are open for interpretation.

giant squid repost on REVOLVER

Giant Squid - The Ichthyologist (flag) — Giant Squid “The Icthyologist” 20009 (Self-released) Sometimes things can go very wrong. San Francisco band Giant Squid’s publicist and well-known metal writer, Adrian Bromley died an untimely death from Pneumonia at the tender age of 37. The band was left with the daunting task of promoting ...
Giant Squid
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revolver here

Giant Squid review in SMALL TAKEOVER

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Giant Squid - The Ichthyologist

Giant Squid “The Icthyologist” 20009 (Self-released)

Sometimes things can go very wrong. San Francisco band Giant Squid’s publicist and well-known metal writer, Adrian Bromley died an untimely death from Pneumonia at the tender age of 37. The band was left with the daunting task of promoting themselves to magazines and websites upon release of their second album. The Ichthyologist takes in many kinds of music besides metal. There are parts where singer Aaron Gregory’s voice at the beginning of “Dead Man Slough” makes you wonder if he has been gurgling the same whiskey mixed with gravel that Tom Waits has been digesting for many years. The sultry female vocals combined with chamber music of “Sutterville” echo Portishead. Like all so-called post-metal bands there is some Neurosis making its way into the light and lurking in the shadows. The ocean concept is strong throughout the album. Humpback whales’ matings calls alert the listener to the start of “Sevengill”. The classical instrumentation may make a listener wonder if they’ve accidentally flicked on an album from their parents’ collection however the ballsy metallic riffing will reassure this is not the case. “Mormon Island” is a soothing piece with flute, ever present cello brought to the fore and female vocals capable with a lulling effect. Sailors could easily become shipwrecked due to a trance induced by this track.

The “Ichthyologist” threw me as I had read high praise of the band in many respected quarters and the album didn’t draw me in immediately. Clocking in at an hour it seemed way too long however after subsequent listenings I found that like a bottle of fine wine it had to age a little first. Giant Squid have made an album that is ideal listening for flicking off the lights and watching an underwater documentary or to be enjoyed through headphones whilst staring at a tropical fishtank at your local aquarium. The CD is limited to 1,000 copies and a vinyl version of the album is due out in the near future.

Giant Squid on myspace.
Giant Squid's souvenier shop
Posted by Chris at 3:34 AM
Labels: Giant Squid, Metal, Reviews

THe BAcksliders review in DALLAS OBSERVER

The Backsliders
Thank You (Self-Released)

By Pete Freedman
Published on July 01, 2009 at 10:40am
The Backsliders, Thank You
The biggest gripe—if there's one worth having—with THe BAcksliders' 2008 release, You're Welcome, was that it didn't showcase the band's best side; for whatever reason, the disc found the long-running, hard-partying area rock act's classic, gritty blues-rock sound pushed aside in favor of a more New Wave-y, poppy sound. It wasn't a complete sidetrack, though: Live, the band still brought its in-your-face goods, tossing grittier vocals and more muscular licks into the mix to roughen the edges up to snuff. The band's latest, Thank You, takes any post-rearrangement out of the equation, though, immediately dirtying and revving up the band's sound—look no further than the thumping opening bass line of album-starter "Have You Ever Been Down," a track that could instantly find a home in the straight-ahead, working man's blues-rock of '70s-era Detroit.

Ettiquette-oriented album title be damned, THe BAcksliders' new album is the definition of rock 'n' roll—dirty, riffy, growly. Hell, a dictionary couldn't describe the term as well. But it's not just the aesthetics; the stories told by the brothers Bonner (Jason and Chris) and frontwoman Kim Pendleton-Bonner are tried and true as well, paeans to the touring band woes, the crowds that show their support and the hazy nights the two share together. Actually, that's just the fourth track, "Last Call." But you get the idea.

No, there's nothing especially new about Thank You. But that's probably why it works.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Album review THe BAcksliders on The Gobblers Knob

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Album review: THe BAcksliders’ Thank You
By Staff of The Gobblers Knob

read it here

I have been on a Dallas kick as of late. It’s pretty easy to be on such a kick when bands such as The Von Ehrics and Ronnie Fauss have put out recent albums that are in heavy rotation at my desk at work and at home. Add to that list Thank You, from Dallas’ own THe BAcksliders (that’s not an error in capitalization, it’s just how it is with these folks). In past releases there have been traces of blues, twang and punk mixed into a big ‘ol rock cocktail. With this latest release, it’s the punk flourishes that give the album its energy throughout.

Kim Pendleton’s grizzled vocals fit the title of the opening track, “Bitter Days.” In fact, comparisons to the Joan Jett’s more rocking material seem lazy, but almost unavoidable in the instance of the tracks like “Dreams” and “Twisted.” Pendleton’s vocals get nice and boozy with the bouncing bass supporting her in “Damaged Goods,” and “Keep a Knockin’” is a retro-rocker that features the dueling vocals of Pendleton and her male counterpart in the band, Chris Bonner. Maybe the one downfall of the album is when Bonner takes the lead turn on the mic for a complete song. In “Reach of Fame,” the spunk and grit that Pendleton’s voice provides much of the album is lacking and is truly missed.

Overall, what more can I say than when you have a hankerin’ for a straight up adult rock record, you should reach out and grab Thank You.

In fact, go ahead and go to their website and download the entire album for FREE.

Jessie's Torrisi Guest Editorial on REVOLT

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Indie Rock Reviews xos THE BACKSLIDERS TOO

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THe BAcksliders on FOR THE SOUND

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wildy's World covers Pictures of Then

Wildy's World

Review: Pictures Of Then - And The Wicked Sea

Pictures Of Then - And The Wicked Sea
2009, Pictures Of Then, LLC

August 4, 2009 will be a big day in Minneapolis and for many fans of Pictures Of Then around the US. On that day, Pictures Of Then will release their highly anticipated sophomore album And The Wicked Sea. Pictures Of Then’s previous album, 2007’s Crushed By Lights saw the band finding placement on MTV’s The Real World and The Hills, and gaining such coveted festival spots as the Red Gorilla Music Fest, Midpoint Music Festival, NACA and the Crossroads Entertainment Conference. Pictures Of Then garnered airplay on 220 stations across the US and even toured as part of the MTV Choose or Lose Tour. With all of this behind them, Pictures Of Then look to take the next step with And The Wicked Sea.

And The Wicked Sea is mostly successful musical experience with some amazing moments. The Big Sell is a great bit of Brit Pop with a strong melodic sense, outstanding harmonies and some very interesting guitar work. This song is highly commercial without trying to sound commercial. Nowhere Is Somewhere is a piano-driven Pop tune that gets to the idea of what love is all about. 7th Street is one of those songs that if released 25 years ago would have bought each member of The Wicked Sea a mansion they couldn't dream up. The melody here is highly memorable and has great movement and rhythm all throughout the arrangement presented here. History Of Bones is my favorite track here; a philosophical look at how day-to-day details are often more significant than they might seem at the time. The song is wrapped up in big hooks and a Pop sensibility that indicate significant commercial potential. Wicked Sea is a funky mix Rock N Roll with lyric passages and Ooh-La-La harmonies and is a real pleasure to listen to. The album closes out with some Ambient Rock on Lands Uncharted, and epic story in song wrapped around an impressive piano part.

Pictures Of Then have managed to create a highly memorable CD in And The Wicked Sea; distinguishing themselves from the pop pack with original songwriting and real knack for big hooks and turns of phrase. This is the sort of album where a band really consolidates their sound and their fan base. With the right breaks, Pictures Of Then could be a household name. Check them out!

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
read me here

Posted By keenangaynor on Sunday, June 21, 2009


Pictures of Then is an indie rock group based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota who seem to be on a fast track to success. With two solid, well produced albums under their belt, they make it a habit to consistently be on tour. Whether it be a festival, venue, or college campus, they manage to make themselves heard on a continual basis. Having only recently been introduced to them, I can't quite put my finger on what their style reminds me of. In a video they have posted up on their myspace page, their singer (Casey) mentions how they often get referred to as "The Beatles with a modern twist." I'll let you be the judge of that though.

"When It Stings" off of And the Wicked Sea

THE SKINNY: Pictures of Then is an indie rock & roll group from Minneapolis with a British twist.
FOR FANS OF: Panic at the Disco

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Anonymous said... Sunday, June 21, 2009
This song rocks, thanks for the post!



On Pictures of Then’s 2007 debut, Crushed by Lights, the Minneapolis quintet seemed to be shining Billy Corgan’s flashlight through a 1966 Pink Floyd prism, projecting a gorgeous psychedelic pop rainbow across a Ziggy Stardust tour poster. The combination of PoT’s respect for the vintage past and desire for a modern future came together seamlessly in a soundtrack that was both vaguely familiar and engagingly fresh.

As telegraphed by the gorgeous New World-tinged woodcut illustrations adorning their sophomore album, Pictures of Then and The Wicked Sea, PoT spend a little more time perusing their sonic scrapbook of the past this time around while still remaining committed to indie rock’s vibrant here and now. The Wicked Sea’s opener, “A Glimpse of Dawn,” nods to Superdrag’s modern retro vibe in a perfect balance between pop delicacy and guitar bombast, which segues into “When It Stings,” a swinging soul/pop mind meld of early Kinks and later Spoon and continues into “The Big Sell,” a similar treatment that shivers and pounds like a Smashing Pumpkins tribute to the Pretty Things. Fans of the Shins and the 88s will find much to love on The Wicked Sea, from the gentle lilt of “Ahead” to the simple pop appeal of “7th Street,” and I defy anyone (Chris Martin, are you listening?) to write a more beautifully wrought love song than PoT’s “Nowhere is Somewhere,” which skillfully blends propulsive and balladic pop under a lovely, lyrical sentiment (“I’d rather go nowhere together than somewhere alone...”).

Pictures of Then is an amazing blend of reverent classicism and modern vision, and The Wicked Sea is loaded with glittering pop diamonds that are never showy, always tasteful and completely infectious.

--Brian Baker [July 6, 2009]
read here


Pictures of Then

The Wicked Sea

Pictures of Then has a familiar sound, like a band you've heard of before, but you can't place your finger on it. It sounds like something you've listened to before, even if it's your first time. Don't take this the wrong way; it's just that the music is so easy to get into, you're singing along before the the first song is even over.

Of course, they make it easy on you. The rhyming is straightforward, the pitch doesn't jump around between 12 octaves, and the chorus will come back for quite a few spins. The singer enunciates well, so you won't have to look up the lyrics on the internet. If you want to learn how to play a song on the guitar, this is your album. If you want to teach yourself how to harmonize, this is your album. You'll have all the words memorized your third time around. Along with the easy, persistent beat, this is an excellent album to keep within easy reach of the stereo in your car. The sound is just right for windows down, tapping the steering wheel, singing along, and taking it easy in traffic. Put it on repeat, because the tracks loop well, and stop shuffling through your music collection while trying to drive with your knees!

Better yet, it might give you something to think about. The album tells a story from beginning to end, starting out with a lot of rebellious energy, taking it down for some introspection in the middle, and a reassertion of self and experimentation toward the end. The lyrics are simple but honest, and they're about things that everyone can relate to: feeling suffocated and wanting to get out on your own, recognizing that your first love isn't perfect but being afraid to lose it anyway, wanting to make your own mistakes, and wanting people to take responsibility for their actions. It's a growing up point of view, starting to letting go of the innocence of youth, recognizing the shades of gray between black and white, but not sure if you're ready for all the compexity. It's being bored with the suburbs, but scared that the alternative is even worse.

My favorite songs were "Stuck," "7th Street," and "Questions, Anyone?" which came at the middle and toward the end, where the style tends toward folksy, they add more instruments, and the pacing mixes up within a song. The front of the album is a bit more traditonal and generally accessible, and it's stronger on the drums.

Overall, we got the feeling over and over again while listening to Pictures of Then's The Wicked Sea that this music would be the best live. Imagine the fans, all singing along; imagine the energy on the stage; imagine the beat, and being free to move your whole body to the music. Awesome!

Exclusive Interview with Pictures of Then!

SmartGirl was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with the band. They answerd 10 of our burning questions, and without further ado, here they are:

SmartGirl: Many of our readers aspire to be musicians, but don't really know how to get started. How did Pictures of Then get off the ground?

Pictures of Then:

Joe Gamble -

Pictures of Then started between close friends. Casey (singer and guitar player) and Joe Call (Drummer) are brothers, and I lived in the same small town as them growing up. We would always get together and jam, most of the time in a small garage or in a basement. Because we grew up together, we understood each other and were able talk openly about music. As time passed, we realized that we had something really special, so we decided to move to Minneapolis, MN and start the band. Once we moved to the city, we found our keyboard player (Tim) who brought a whole new dimension to our sound.

The key to starting a band (as well as staying together) is to be honest with each other, and to be comfortable being yourself around the other band members. No one in our band is more important than any other member, and that keeps us all close. It's ok to have arguments, but remember to respect each other...when you tour, these are the people you will be spending weeks at a time with.

SmartGirl: The lyrics are easy to relate to -- a lot about realizing that life is a little harder than it used to seem, and figuring out how to deal with that: ignoring the bad stuff (nowhere together is better than somewhere alone), running away until there's no more gas left, just plain sinking or swimming. How did these lyrics come about? Can you tell us how the inspiration made it into a song?

Pictures of Then:

Casey Call - It's really pretty simple, we mainly just write about what we know, or things that have happened in our lives, both good and bad. For me music has always been a way of celebrating the good and coping with the bad. I think that is why listeners can more easily relate to our lyrics because a lot of them stem from real human emotions, hopes, fears and experiences that many of us have had at one time or another. Many times music becomes vehicle for us to put a finger on certain things in life that just piss us off, there is so much beauty in life but sometimes you just have to wade through the ugly to be able to see it.

Tim Greenwood - the funniest part of music is reading into lyrics or getting moved by a melody and making it your own. Our music is really powerful to us personally, but we want it to mean something to other people, and it doesn't have to all be the same.

SmartGirl: Personally, we really like the 2nd half of the album best. We like the changes of pace, the different instrumental sounds, and the added grit to the vocals. What were your favorite parts of the album or even individual songs, and why? Was there anything left out that you were sorry to see go?

Pictures of Then:

Joe Call -

Personally I don't have a favorite song, I enjoy the album as a whole. While in the studio there are always songs or parts that are left out and don't make it onto the final version of the album. With any artwork what you see or hear can be just as important as what you DON"T see or hear.

SmartGirl: After listening to your album, we're pretty sure that seeing Pictures of Then live would be an experience not to be missed. Can you tell us what a live show is like? Does the crowd get involved? Do you have any good stories from a live performance?

Pictures of Then:

Joe Gamble -

Live shows are the best! There's nothing better than connecting with a room full of fans, where everyone is having fun and expressing themselves. When we play a live show, we bring an energy that not all bands are able to bring. I think it's because we genuinely want to play music, and we all enjoy playing together. If you really enjoy what you're doing, people will notice and want to be involved.

Things don't always run smoothly though. I remember one time we were playing for a huge crowd in Tulsa, OK. We were standing on stage behind a giant curtain, and the announcer was on stage introducing us. He was just finishing up the introduction and I noticed my guitar wasn't making any noise! I scrambled around, checking the connections to all my guitar pedals, making sure the amplifier was on and turned up, and making sure my guitar was turned up. I didn't know what to do! Right as the curtain swung open, our bass played spotted that my guitar cable wasn't plugged into my guitar...I felt like such an idiot! I quickly plugged in and right as the curtain opened was able to start the show. That was a nail-biter!

Joe Call -

Describing a live Pictures Of Then show with only words, is like comparing pudding to an ice cream sundae, the ice cream is just way better! You will have to hear it for yourself, but take my word for it when I say it's alive, exciting, full of energy, and a deeply artistic expression of us portrayed through the music.

SmartGirl: Aside from the lyrics, we think that the instrumentals do a great job setting the mood for each song. There is a definite rise and fall to the entire album, like a story, and then the intro forms the perfect connecting loop to jump back in again. Did you premeditate the full-circle story of the album, or was that just a happy accident?

Pictures of Then:

Joe Gamble - What makes this album so much different from our first album is how much room we gave ourselves to explore. A lot of the songs on the album sounded drastically different before we recorded them. I think it's important to keep an open mind when writing, and to be open to change. What's great about the intro and the outro is that we had no intention of putting it on the album. As a matter of fact, we didn't even write the intro/outro until the album was finished. We had the idea and started working out the concept, and when we were done, we knew we had to add it to the album. Sure it took extra time and held up the process, but it was important to us to make an album that was true to us.

Joe Call -

The album was most certainly a premeditated thought process in terms of the overall concept of the story. A lot of the details within each song happened organically while in the studio, which always adds to the overall studio magic. We like to consider ourselves deep thinkers and feel that the album, songs, story, and artwork are a great testament to that thought.

SmartGirl: Did you always know that you were going to be musicians? When did you realize that this was really something you were going to do and be as professionals?

Pictures of Then:

Casey Call -

Not sure I can speak for the rest of the band but as a fetus I really only dreamed of being a little baby boy. Once I achieved boyhood I don't think I ever really had the conscious thought of "and now I decide to become a musician." I come from a very musical family so I've just always been surrounded by music and I simply joined in and did what came naturally.
Tim Greenwood -

Age 11, I had taken piano lessons when i was 7 and quit 2 years later... I hated it, and then I heard ben folds five, the melding of melody, rage, soul, pain, and hope... i was changed.
Joe Call - teen years (13ish) when I learned my first guitar chords, dad and grandpa were both drummers too

SmartGirl: A lot of people think that being a musician is glamorous and lots of fun. We're sure it is, but do you have any advice for aspiring musicians, or words of wisdom? If you could do it again, is there anything that you would do differently?

Pictures of Then:

Joe Gamble -

I'm sure we've made plenty of mistakes, I know I have. But that's what helps you grow as a musician. It would be easy to want to go back and fix all the mishaps and blunders, but if we did that, we wouldn't have learned anything from those experiences. One mistake that sticks out in my mind is when we were touring through Texas (which is a long way from Minneapolis) and I had left the band checkbook on top of the van when filling up gas. We didn't notice until we were hundreds of miles down the road, and by that time the checkbook was long gone! It was bad...I mean it had EVERYTHING in cards, debit cards, and cash. The good news is that when we returned home to Minneapolis, a Texas farmer had contacted our manager and returned the checkbook. Wow did we get lucky, nothing was missing!

Joe Call -

Being a musician is fun and can be very glamorous at times, but there is equally as much hard work involved. Today the music scene is more diverse and competitive than it's ever been, so it's essential to be extremely driven and never give up. There are also many unseen elements to being a successful musician, we are always trying to remember that you're only as good as the team you have around you. Having people around you that are just as excited and focused as you are is a great recipe for success!

SmartGirl: Where do you want to go next? What's on the horizon? It doesn't have to be music-related, unless it is.

Pictures of Then:

Casey Call -

I was sort of thinking of going to Urban Outfitters next, (jeans are way on sale). On a more serious note though, I also need new socks.

Joe Gamble -

Things are really going great for us right now, and the future looks exciting. We're just getting ready to release our new record, and we're looking forward to touring behind it. You never really know what is on the horizon, but that's what makes being a musician so exciting. Things move fast, 2 years ago I would never believe that we would be touring the United States and have songs on MTV. We're just going to go out there and keep having fun. Don't get me wrong, we have some specific goals we're working towards, but most importantly, we need to stay true to the music. If we keep having fun and enjoy what we're doing, we can keep writing more songs, we can play more shows, and meet more people. Playing in a band is the greatest job in the world, and it we're looking forward to doing it a long, long time.

SmartGirl: Tell us a little bit about yourselves as individuals and as a band. Is it hard to work together? Why should we love you? And which band member should be our favorite?

Pictures of Then:

Joe Call -

My passion for music began at an early age and never let go of me. My brother (Casey - vocal/guitar) and I have been crafting songs since we were in middle school. When we collaborate to create new music, many times it's effortless and the ideas come very easily. At other times song writing can be more of a struggle and conflict (brotherly or not) can always arise. We've learned that through any circumstance keeping the focus on the song and the music will always get you through the conflicts.

Casey Call -

We all love long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and quiet evenings by the fire, did I say fire? I totally meant x-box. Sometimes working together can be difficult since Joe (the drummer) and I are brothers and we're both way too competitive, at the end of the day though we are usually able to put aside our differences and do what is best for the music, that seems to be the one thing that we never lose sight of no matter how much drama is going on.

Who should be your favorite? Hmmm... Well, I could sit here and tell you how I'm the dashingly handsome lead singer with the golden voice and smashing guitar skills, but unfortunately I'm much too humble for that. I do believe that to say those types of things about myself in an effort to boost my ego would exhibit a shameful level of self serving immaturity that you would normally only expect to find in a drummer, with that said I should totally be your favorite.

SmartGirl: Thanks for the interview! If you want to listen to Pictures of Then for yourself, visit their official website.


Pictures of Then review on JERSEY BEAT

Read jersey beat review here

Pictures of Then - And the Wicked Sea (
Pictures of Then didn’t throw away any of their vinyl records, epically their Manfred Mann, The Small Faces, and 60’s British Invasion records. Armed with those pop rock nuggets, they shake the tree and plant some of their own musical roots on “And the Wicked Sea.” Well developed songs like “The Big Sell,” “Lands Uncharted, and especially “Nowhere is Somewhere,” (I dare you not to sing along with the catchy chorus), barely break a sweat, as the poetic, unpretentious lyrics offer thoughtful perspectives without losing their rock ‘n’ roll vibe.

The band never succumbs to blandness, nor do they spread any clichéd writing around. You want to hear what the next song is about, and the next, and the next…

Featuring slippery bass chords, melodic vocals, strumming guitars, and on-the-beat drumming, Pictures of Then make their mark by ingeniously adding and subtracting whatever they think it will take to make a good song, and they’re usually right. Sometimes it’s just the bass, simple drumming, and frugal bits of guitar, over a quiet vocal that are propelled by the rest of the band’s musical lustfulness.

Unlike some albums that end up labored and dull, “And the Wicked Sea” has an emotional drive that never prods along. 12 sturdy songs that hold up, and have plenty of personality!


Benjamin Bear

Seattle, WA
Recorded and mixed by Mychal Cohen | Produced
by Benjamin Bear | Unmastered

The relationship between Benjamin Bear’s drummer Stern and
pianist/vocalist Cohen creates the atmosphere for the oddly
titled Lungs in which song titles seem to inhabit
the air like smog floating above a background of
uncomplicated music. The voice of the narrator
does not always stay on pitch, but that drives the
curiosity and desire to interpret the lyrics.
To say this release grabs attention would be
untrue. The record sort of pushes the listener away
like a whiny girlfriend who demands too much, but
if enough attention is paid the vocals mellow out
and the lyrics remain to grind against the brain.
At first listen, songs like “Russ” may turn people
away, but by the time the mellow “Station Rest
Release” starts, a peak hits and listeners will
either continue the journey or get off the ride.
Whining vocals turn into a kind of yearning
feeling expressed through lines like, “All I wanted
was love from you”; a simple, almost trite,
supplication that has no choice but to hit home
with a wide audience. The prose in the lyrics calls
for the most attention if the listener delves
deeper into the psyche of the songwriter.
Experience Lungs as an attempt to connect to those
communicating with their inner most demons and
fears, which may just be universal. The unleashing
of air from lungs may connect the passion of a duo
dreaming in real time. (self-released)

-Ellen Eldridge

Friday, July 10, 2009

Imagine Echoes review of No Go Know

Thursday, July 02, 2009

No Go Know: Time Has Nothing to Do With It Review

read here

"Pretentious" is a term that cynical rock critics love to use, and it was a term that plagued Progressive Rock. Bands that were tagged as being "pretentious" were more often than not just releasing music that was bigger and more complex than what the typical rock audience was accustomed to hearing, and quite often, simply better. However, releasing double albums is also an excuse for critics to call a band pretentious, and while I won’t go as far as to say that double albums themselves are pretentious, it is a little too much material for a listener to digest. It has always been a mystery to me as to why a band would release a double album - take the best songs from each disc and make one masterful album instead of creating some bloated album that has listeners falling asleep by the second disc. If it’s a rock opera, release it as two separate entities - System of a Down’s approach to releasing what was technically a double album, although not a rock opera, and turning it into two separate releases was fantastic because it allowed listeners to absorb all of the material. No Go Know decided to take the bombastic route, and released a double album that is mixed with subherb highs, and the occasional lows.
No Go Know puts together an album that predominantly purveys indie sensibilities but are never afraid to go outside the boundaries and mix in a myriad of hard rock jam sessions doused in fuzzed out psychedelia. It’s during these rocking climaxes where No Go Know truly shines. On "End of a Stay"- a rather violent and sadistic tale, No Go Know closes the song down with primal wailing vocals, drama educing guitars, and pounding drums, all of which arrives after a rather mellow, yet emotionally powerful introduction. As the album moves along into the second disc, it feels a little bogged down and all of the music starts to feel more and more like a blur, and much of this is due to the excessive amount of material on the album.

Periphrasis is a tell tale sign of poor writing (for more signs of poor writing just read my blog) which seeks to achieve greater volume at the expense of quality. If you can release a single disc with the strongest material rather than two discs which cover both highs and lows, then the obvious choice is to go for the single disc. There's nothing wrong with brevity. No Go Know’s best moments shine brightly; condense this album and you would have one of the better albums of 2009.

Grade: B

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Read GASPETC here


Time Has Nothing To Do With It
The Union

One can not live on metal music alone. Right? Well, I guess that is what I listen to mostly now, but every once in a while I need a break from it. I frequently listen to Rush during these times (as they are still my favorite band), but every once in a while I'll get something from a band I'd never heard of before that I just flat out like the first time I hear it. No Go Know's soon to be released Time Has Nothing to do With It is one such release. This is the Portland, Oregon trio's third release, and the two-disc set combined poppy progressive rock with a bit of an aggressive edge, and even throws in some psychedelic spaciness at times.

Highlights on this disc are many, but "My Black Dog" grabs you right from the start with a throbbing bass groove and jangly guitar parts that hit a crescendo at the end with some crazy over the top guitar work. "Yours is a Small, Still Voice" has a bit of a Talking Heads vibe to it at times, and the middle half trips out into a spaced out bit for a while that I like a lot. "End of a Stay" is a mellow psychedelic trip from start to finish, and might be my favorite song on here - I can just put it on, crank it up and space out for 7-minutes if I need to. "Is It Getting Better?" throws even more out there at you, this time using a lap steel guitar (or at least something that sounds like it) that gives a bit of a country feel to the song - a really good and unexpected change there. "No, We Won't" probably goes as close to the metal side as this album gets, and that is just for a little segment in the middle when the song briefly builds up to a strongly distorted guitar part.

This album won't likely appeal to the majority of our readers, but if you have an open mind and want something that is simply good to listen to, and need a break from the brutal metal for a bit, this will fit the bill nicely.

B+ -Goz

Caravan of Thieves review on SKYSCRAPER Magazine

Read the review here on SKYSCRAPER


Bouquet CD - Caravan of Thieves

On debut album Bouquet, acoustic swing quartet Caravan of Thieves perform a brew of up-tempo, gypsy-styled folk-pop that has a pendulant charm akin to Squirrel Nut Zippers mixing it up with DeVotchKa. Underneath the amiable double harmonies, gypsy violin, acoustic guitar strums, and plucky double bass, however, is a somber world filled with femmes fatales, carnival freaks, spouses with secret homosexual trysts, insanity masquerading as vampirism, murder at sea, and other dark anecdotes. Hubby and wife James and Carrie Sangiovanni have obviously dove deep into Django Reinhardt's swing jazz, European string bands, and bright pop music, and instrumentally the result is compelling and colorful. One of many sunlight-and-shadow highlights includes the noir-ish predator narrative "The Butcher's Wife," with the apt warning, "If you care not to tango with a knife / Then don't get friendly with the butcher's wife." Another memorable tale is the cheater's double-take "Bar Isole," where the narrator discovers what (and who) her husband does during his nightly walk: the surprise answer involves the male bartender the wife is attracted to. There's even a timely allegory, "Angels In Cages," where the entertaining pigs and diversionary clowns that are in charge allude to contemporary Madoff-esque current events. (Doug Simpson)

The South End (wayne state univ) previews Caravan of Thieves

Read article here

Caravan of Thieves kicks off Midsummer Nights in Midtown
Nicole Hayden

For The South End

Updated: Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thursday, June 4, was the start of Midsummer Nights in Midtown—an arts and cultural event which is taking the place of the Detroit Festival of the Arts this year.
Various free programs will be taking place throughout midtown every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all through the month of June.
The gypsy flavored group called Caravan of Thieves was one of the first acts to start off the night at the Detroit Artists Market.
They opened with a song titled “Ghost Writer,” which was written and dedicated to a spirit they call during their séances to gather inspiration for their music.
The song had a lively, upbeat acoustic sound that captivated the audience. The themes of their songs were not run-of-the-mill topics.
The theme of one song was the letter “S.” This song included many words and sounds related to that particular letter. A second song, with a childish topic, was about a boy who turned into a bug.
Another song, titled, “The Butcher’s Wife” included great words of wisdom advising men not to fool around with other men’s wives, and especially men who are skilled at using sharp objects.
They also did a few covers, like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Girl,” by the Beatles, the greatest band ever in their opinion.
For each cover, they managed to make the song their own, and they did it “caravan” style, making the sound deeper with a gypsy flair.
They also sang an interesting version of “You are my sunshine,” that transitioned into “Singing in the rain.”
Through every song they performed, their love for the art beamed through, which made what they were doing so much more sincere. Their vocals had a pure, natural sound, and Carrie, the female vocalist of the group, had a mesmerizing, enchanting voice that hypnotized the audience.
The band consisted of husband and wife— Mr. Fuzz and Carrie on acoustic guitar and vocals, Ben Dean on violin, and Brian Anderson on the contrabass.
Their sources of sound did not stop there though. They clapped their hands, stomped their feet and utilized metal kitchen accessories like soup cans and measuring cups to create a unique sound.
They ended their performance with a bang by singing a song they wrote titled and dedicated to all “Freaks.” It was fast paced with harmonized vocals, as most of their songs were.
It included a couple contrabass solos and a great heart pounding, low pitched beat that made you feel alive.
For all who missed this amazing performance or for any who just didn’t get enough they will be back in August of this year and have also released a new album titled “Bouquet.”

Sequenza 21 review of MOTORIK "KLANG!"

Sequenza 21 read here



A trio of Seattle self-starters, Motorik creates boisterous songs that combine art rock with dance-punk. Theirs is an incendiary rhythmic approach, featuring cannonading percussion, syncing downbeat ‘thwacks’ with bass guitar punctuations, and retro New Wave-style guitar riffs. Meanwhile, bassist Sio also supplies hearty vocals, indulging the occasional wail amid staccato outbursts.

“Utopia Parkway” is a standout; Motorik creates a mathy groove with danceability at its core – despite multiple layers of simultaneous activity. As a title,“Box of Knives” has an attitudinal snarl to it. But musically, it’s much more than just ‘tude; a combination of sharpened guitar ostinati, tight-knit rhythmic underpinning, and a bellicose post-punk refrain makes for a substantial lead-off single.

True, the band gets a bit giddy on “Robert Palmer;” but one can forgive a few over-the-top synth flourishes and yelps in service of such exuberant rocking! Indeed, just when you think that the songs have hit a predictable stride, “It’s Just Sugar” throws a few off-kilter bass-lines, unexpected keyboard harmonies, and a noise-based guitar break into the mix – all reminders that Motorik is a band capable of providing pleasant surprises.

THe BAcksliders covered in California Chronicle

Read whole story here on California Chronicle "If you're interested in checking out Dallas alt-country act the Backsliders, they've made it easy: The foursome has its latest record, Thank You, available as a free download on its Web site, "