Category: Music Genre

 

The year was 1979 and a tiny Irish punk band were about to send out a shockwave that would not only change the genre but forever impact on the wider music scene. Surprisingly the band responsible – Belfast’s very own Stiff Little Fingers – had no idea what they about to do.

How could they? Things were not exactly going the greatest for them. The band had started out in 1977 as a rock cover band called Highway Star but then after a few line-up changes they were introduced to the sound that was punk. That lead to a brief flirtation with the name The Fast before finally settling on Stiff Little Fingers.

The uprising and violence that Ireland was experiencing at the time ended up heavy influencing the early music of Stiff Little Fingers and after recording some of their tracks in a studio normally reserved for the creation of radio jingles the band signed with Island Records, a deal which fell through.

Not to be put off the band released some cassette singles, the ‘cassette bomb’ that was ‘Suspect Device’ did cause some problems at publications it arrived at, and eventually signed with Rough Trade Records, a deal which ultimately saw part of the rise of Chrysalis Records.

That led to the release of their debut album Inflammable Material and the rest as they say is musical history. Audiences took to the album that explored deep topics such as police oppression, sectarian violence and teenage boredom and the result was the first independent album to ever chart in the UK.

“We didn’t think anything about it,” said vocalist Jake Burns who I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and talking to about the anniversary of this stunning album. “I don’t think anybody ever does, but there seemed to be a lot of time to talk about this album. People have said to me ‘did you realise that it was going to be a classic?’ or ‘did you know you know you were recording something special?’ The answer to both of those questions is no!”

“As far as we were concerned we had already been turned by literally every record label in the country. It was only through the good graces of Rough Trade saying ‘you’ve never made an album, we’ve never made an album, so let’s see what happens.’ It was a shot in the dark for them, it was a huge leap of faith for them to take us. But as far as we were concerned we had been shot down by all of these labels so this was our last shot, I think from my point of view I thought that at least if we recorded them then in forty years time when I was sitting down with my grandchildren I could be like ‘here take a listen to what I did when I was young and stupid.’ Of course flash forward forty-two years and I haven’t got any kids, let alone grandkids and I’m talking to you about it instead.”

What Inflammable Material did when it comes to musical history though is not lost on Burns. “The thing did go on to become successful on so many levels. If I knew that was going to become the case though we would have tried to bottle it, it just happened to be the right time and the right place.”

One of the ironies that followed the success of the album was that nearly all of the record labels that originally knocked back the band then came knocking. “Everyone one of them except CBS came back,” says Burns with a laugh. “We heard that CBS didn’t come back because in their words they said ‘we have enough trouble with The Clash’ which I thought was a wonderful thing for them to say about us.”

But yeah everybody else came back and it was a wonderful experience for our point of view because we were as green as grass,” he continues. “We had no experience in the music business at all. Had we been signed straight off the bat we probably would have signed the world’s worst record deal and we would have gone down that path of ‘well we did all this work and we got nothing out of it.’ I was working as an Accounts Clerk before the band took off and I could have been back doing that again, it could been like that. But the deal we did with Rough Trade, who was just as green as us, was done on a handshake that covered the costs and then we split fifty-fifty and by the end of the year the thing had sold 100,000 copies. So when these labels came back to us they were like ‘well we will give you ridiculously large advances’ but the joy of working with Rough Trade was that we didn’t have to wait for the traditional eighteen months to get paid because they were selling them themselves so we were paid straight away… so the one thing we didn’t need from the labels was money but what we did want was control over the albums so we could control what they sounded like.”

“As it turned out Chrysalis were the only label that would give us that, the others were all like ‘we’ll give you seventy five thousand pounds’ and we were like ‘we don’t want seventy five thousand pounds you’re not listening.’ But Chrysalis were like ‘okay’ and we had a really good working relationship with them. We have been pretty lucky though people have normally ‘got’ the band straightaway or have gotten on board pretty quickly so we’ve been pretty lucky.”

Despite that early success it was the deal with Chrysalis that saw Stiff Little Fingers become members of a very different league. “Rough Trade were one of the most major independent labels but all the other bands they had would make a single or do two singles and then go off it never seemed like a long term thing,” Burns explains. “No disrespect to the other bands but there were no rock ‘n’ roll legends there you weren’t going to meet The Beatles when you walked in and then over night we signed with Chrysalis and then I found myself being introduced to Rory Gallagher my hero and we were on the same level as Blondie and the same level as Jethro Tull and I was suddenly like ‘wait a second these are the guys that were in the music magazines I read when I was growing up and they are talking to me like I am there equal.’ That was when I said to myself, damn I guess this is my job now.”

They were obviously the bands that Burns himself were in awe of but over recent years bands such as Bad Religion and Rancid have mentioned that Stiff Little Fingers were a major influence on their early work and that is something you can tell that Burns is incredibly proud of. “That is very flattering,” he says with humility present in his voice. “It is always very flattering when you hear a musician say that because I know how I felt when I first met Rory Gallagher, he was just charm and friendliness personified and if I mentioned what a fan I was he would look embarrassed and say ‘oh, don’t be like that’ so we’re kind of the same. I mean I met Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, for pete’s sake they don’t get much bigger, and we were doing a television show together… this silly little quiz thing. On the form you filled out before you went on it said ‘what was the first album you ever bought?’ and I wrote Led Zeppelin II which was true and I didn’t know then that Robert Plant was going to be on the show and then he walked into the green room and all eyes turned to him because everyone is saying ‘it’s fucking Robert Plant’ and he stood in the doorway and said ‘who is the idiot who bought my record?’ and I was like ‘me.’”

“I guess because those guys were so cool about it when it first started happening to us we were like ‘okay let’s go get a beer let’s not talk about that’, he says. “Internally though you are impressed, I mean those bands you mentioned we’ve toured with both Rancid and Bad Religion and they are both great bands, so yeah it is very flattening.”

Today Stiff Little Fingers are still together with founding members Jake Burns and Ali McMordie still at the helm. The band will be touring Australia this year and to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Inflammable Material will be playing the album in full. Yes everybody, this is a return to the good old days of punk.

 

 

Since its arrival on the stages of Boston’s heavy scene in 2006 Revocation have become a band who have used their unique blend of thrash and death metal to repeatedly change the sound of the genre. That time period has seen them deliver seven studio albums including the Lovecraft inspired The Outer Ones which gained the band worldwide attention.

Now as the band travels to Australia to tour with the mighty Cattle Decapitation we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to sit down and reflect on the band’s career to date with frontman David Davidson.

“It was awesome we played with so many different bands in the metal realm and in the punk scene,” says Davidson talking about Revocation’s early days in the Boston live scene. “We would be doing club shows and small bars, then we worked our way up to the bigger clubs, places like Great Scot and Middle East. That was a cool kind of stepping stone for us because we were like ‘oh wow we are playing at a 200 capped room rather than a 50 capped room.’ Playing at a 200 capped room was a really big deal, but then we were also playing basement shows at these random warehouse shows with punk rock bands and there were random house parties and stuff.”

“It was really cool to be part of that scene because all my friends were part of the music scene in all different ways,” he says continuing. “That made it cool because any given weekend we were all bouncing around at different shows right across the Boston scene.”

At that time Davidson and the band made the decision to change their name from Cryptic Warning to Revocation and even then the band thought that something special was going to happen. “I think it was always the goal,” says Davidson as we talk about whether or not the band ever thought they would reach the point where they were touring the world. “I’m not sure we ever thought it would come into fruition or not because it was hard to tell back them. But I always thought possibly if we remained focussed and I knew there was something special to the music, so I just figured that if I kept grinding it out, kept going, kept honing my craft then eventually people would notice, and yes it has become a career for me.”

The band have had many highlights over the years including touring with the likes of Cannibal Corpse. Their albums now regularly chart with their Deathless and Great Is Our Sin albums both hitting the Top Ten on the US Hard Rock charts. Then came the praise for their last album – The Outer Ones. Those moments certainly aren’t lost on Davidson and the rest of the band.

“When we first started out it was hard to see the trajectory that the band was going to take,” he explains. “We were just writing music for ourselves and to some extent that is what I still do, I have to let the music speak to me first and foremost before I think how it will affect anybody else. We’re not a band that thinks about writing for a particular fan base or anything like that it is really about satisfying this creative drive that we have and to me that is important because then I know that it comes from an honest place.”

“With The Outer Ones it was really just us embracing the death metal aesthetic that has been part of our band since day one but really just turning up the dial on it and really going head on into that death metal realm,” he tells me as we continue to talk about just how well received the tracks have been off the album.

That leads me to ask him how the tracks have been going live and what they have planned for their Australian shows. “The response to the music whether it is on the record or live has been really phenomenal,” he says. “We can’t wait to get to play them Australia so the Australian crowds can witness them, the material is obviously very aggressive because it is super heavy, but we’ll have some twists and turns in there and a few surprises thrown in as well. I think it is going to be a blast playing these tracks for the Australian crowds.”

“It is impossible to play everything,” Davidson continues as we discuss the amazing back catalogue that the band has to chose from these days. “What we do with each new release is primarily focus on the new material. I like that playbook rather than when bands just rehash song from a long time ago. I love it when they explore the new material and we are very passionate about the new material. Whenever we do a new record I think because it is so fresh to us we want to play it so we’ve been leaning pretty heavy on the new material to keep it fresh for us and to keep it fresh for the fans. We’ll also throw in a couple of crowd pleasers here and there so they can expect some new stuff with some crowd pleasers thrown in for good measure.”

The more you listen to Revocation the more you realise that this is band that certainly deserves more respect than they seem to get. With some amazing albums already in their back pocket and this tour with Cattle Decapitation about to hit our shores it seems like now is the right time to discover Revocation if you aren’t already a fan.

 

 

 

The legendary Geoff Tate rose to fame with Queensryche but since he parted ways with them he has forged out a successful solo career as well as recording music with his band Sweet Oblivion. Now Tate is returning to his roots as he heads to Australia to perform the stunning Operation: Mindcrime album in its entirety.

When Subculture gets a chance to talk to Tate he is in a jovial mood, his infectious laughter right there from the very moment he says hello. We joke for a bit and then his level of seriousness rises as he begins to talk about all the ins and outs of the tour.

“This tour came about because I wanted to do a thirtieth anniversary tour for Operation: Mindcrime,” he explains. “I wanted to play it in its entirety and when  I started the tour I didn’t expect for it to last as long as it has. I’m surprised that it has but I also have to admit that I am very pleased that it has. I thought it would be like twelve weeks and then I would be moving onto something else, but it has been like thirty-six months and we’ve been across twenty-eight countries… it really has been something special.”

If you are thinking about going to see Tate perform Operation: Mindcrime then this will be your last opportunity. “Australia is going to be last,” he says. “The last few shows will be in Australia. I’m very happy about that because it is always great to come to Australia because we don’t get to come there very often. I was in Australia in June or July playing with a band called Avantasia on their world tour and I think this is going to be my third or fourth trip there so I am excited and looking forward to it.”

As we talk more Operation: Mindcrime as an album I find myself asking Tate what it was like when he first started rehearsing this album and had to go back and re-explore music he had written thirty years ago. “It was an enjoyable task actually,” he says with a hint of surprise in his voice. “You know I had to to go back to it and delve into it and really listen to it again to see what was there. And that was really interesting from my point of view because as time goes by you don’t re-visit the album as much as you just remember it when you play a song.”

“Because it was the thirtieth anniversary I wanted to really present it in a way that was more in line with how it was recorded,” he says continuing. “I really listened to it closely and figured out a lot of things that I had sort of forgotten that I did on previous tours and the different times I had visited the album. But this time I wanted to do more of an album like version of the songs. So that was quite different and quite enjoyable to go back and listen to it with fresh ears as well.”

Of course going back and exploring music written thirty years ago means that you can wake up old ghosts and Tate chuckles when I ask if it woke up any for him. “Yeah it was definitely a journey,” he says. “I was surprised that I could recognise the subject matter of the album is so similar to today. Even though thirty years has gone by and so much has changed and some things have changed like night and day, but I think the basic human qualities are the same, and I think that we still struggle with the same human issues… they are still there. We haven’t surpassed where we have been yet. There are still things like social justice, in terms of human beings dominating each other, the rich getting richer… that has all stayed the same. There isn’t much growth in that area and perhaps there never will be, that is just the way it is.”

One thing is for sure though when you go back and explore Operation: Mindcrime it is still an album that holds its own and is going to sound spectacular live. “All I can say is get ready,” warns Tate as we start to wrap up the interview. “This is going to be phenomenal; this is going to be everything that you hoped it would be. I can guarantee that this is going to be a great show, the band is excited and very well rehearsed and I feel like I’m on fire and ready to go.”

 

Nashville based soul rock band KB & THE IDYLLWILDE has released the official music video for their new single, “Drown.” Directed by front-woman Katie Burke and shot by Dustin Brandt Hyer, “Drown” is the second single off of the band’s upcoming album, I Just Wanna Love You, I Just Wanna Let You, due to release February 14, 2020.

“I think the line, ‘ I’ll be the wounded bird and you can be the lion…depends on who wants to be the boss.’ is my favorite line in the song, it really sums up a big theme of the album, too– that anyone can get what they want in big-bad-hard love, some of us want power, and some of us want to give it away. ‘”
— Katie Burke

“Basically, this album encompasses all the ways we distort and experience love, or how I have at least…

Its a lot of addiction, egoic superiority/inferiority tendencies, and just plain codependent shit. Its a ‘love’ album about not knowing how to get it right, but celebrating all the ugly/beautiful ways we get it wrong.” – Katie Burke

 

The Word Alive — Telle Smith (vocals), Tony Pizzuti (guitar, vocals) Zack Hansen (guitar, vocals), and Matt Horn (drums) — have shared the video for the new song “NO WAY OUT“.

“‘NO WAY OUT’ doesn’t hold back, as it instantly pulls you into the darkest day of my life,” says Smith. “It’s a story I needed to tell for myself just as much as someone else may need to hear it. The worst thing a person can do is lose themselves completely, and that’s exactly what happened to me.”

The song lives on the new album MONOMANIA, which was produced by Erik Ron (GodsmackI PrevailIssues) and arrives February 21 on Fearless Records/Caroline Australia. The record can be pre-ordered here.

The Arizona-based band previously teamed up with The Noise to premiere the anthemic track “BURNING YOUR WORLD DOWN.” Listen here and here.

“When you listen to our new music, I hope you have a better understanding of our entire career,” Smith says, encompassing the album as a whole. “Maybe you can see the whole story and realize that we’re not different from you. We’ve been through it all, but we’re always trying to learn, grow, and leave something behind we feel will help people. This is our purest work. This is everything we’ve been through in the last couple of years. It’s the best conclusion of the last 10 years and the best opening to the next 10.”


The Word Alive’s first decade was comprised of five full-length records and a debut EP that pushed their discography to 250,000+ sales worldwide and over 100 million streams, highlighted by tracks “Why Am I Like This?” [11.5 million Spotify streams], “Trapped” [14 million Spotify streams], and “Misery” [14.5 million Spotify streams]. With a new decade under way, thousands of shows played around the world, and their sights set on a future cast in fire thanks to the new, Erik Ron-produced singles “BURNING YOUR WORLD DOWN, “MONOMANIA, and “NO WAY OUT,” The Word Alive appear ready to face their bright future head on. MONOMANIA arrives on February 21.

 

Southern California rockers Assuming We Survive have dropped a music video for their track “Lost”

“Lost” appears on the band’s “The Enemy Within” EP.

The boys will soon be heading out on a west coast tour supporting The Classic Crime (January 31-February 14). Tickets for all shows on sale at: https://www.aftontickets.com/search?searchkey=Assuming+We+Survive.

The band will be playing their 2018 ‘Chapters’ EP and 2019 ‘The Enemy Within’ EP in full.

Frontman Adrian Estrella says, “We’re very excited to go on tour with our new friends The Classic Crime to start out the year. Looking forward to coming back to these cities on a new EP.”

AWS recently signed with OH-based InVogue Records and released a new single and video “Too Close” which is streaming here: https://orcd.co/tooclose.

 

The Californian extreme metal stalwarts of ABYSMAL DAWN are now premiering the very first brutal track of their long anticipated new full length “Phylogenesis”. The new death metal offering will be released on April 17, 2020 via Season of Mist.

ABYSMAL DAWN comment: “So here we are, album number five, 6 years after the release of our last album! It took a long time to get here but I can say without a doubt, this one is worth the wait. We pushed the limits of all the musicians in this band and everyone is extremely proud. We finally get to release the first single today and can’t wait for you all to hear the whole thing.”The album title Phylogenesis (fīlōˈjenəsəs) basically refers to an evolution of a species in biology. It could be applied to how we’ve evolved for the better as a band, but also how humanity has evolved for the worse. Lyrically the album became sort of concept album some what unintentionally. It deals a lot with things we encounter in our modern society and the maddening effect it has on the individual. “Hedonistic” in particular is somewhat inspired by Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs and that true happiness lies in purpose, not material pursuits. “Thank you to all our fans that have supported us in our absence and waited patiently. This album is for you just as much as it is for us. Truly, thank you from the bottom of our black hearts. We’ll see you on the road with Vader, Hideous Divinity and Vitriol soon and expect even more of us in 2020!” “

The album can be pre-ordered HERE.

 

Australia is a country in pain. The country has literally been ablaze for the past few months and the stress and pain of the situation is certainly showing on the people who have found themselves wrapped up in it. Even as I write this reports are coming through of more fire-fighters losing their lives while others are severely injured. The news of the catastrophe seems to grow every day with very little remorse.

What has been a big surprise for me is how much the music industry has become involved with helping out. Not only are there an amazing amount of charity concerts popping and not only have artists such as Metallica and Pink reached into their pockets to help out, but I have been surprised by the small touching moments that I have experienced from several musicians over the past couple of weeks.

It all started with a Skype interview with Russian symphonic metal band Imperial Age. Normally when you are recording an interview it begins with a friendly hello, some general chit chat and then you jump into the questions at hand. This was an interview with a difference though, as soon as we got the hellos out of the way Aor and Jane caught me off guard by asking me if I was okay with the fires in Australia. I answered and went to go on but soon realised that their concern was genuine. They then spent twenty minutes asking me if it were true how many animals had been killed, if the fires were close to me, was I safe, was my family safe and whether there seemed to be an end in sight.

It was one of the most amazing interviews that I ever had the experience of conducting and something that I never thought would happen again, then just a day later I was scheduled to interview Paavo Lotjonen about Apocalytpica’s brand new album Cello. Again though it seemed like the last thing he wanted to talk about was the album, instead he again he checked if I was okay before asking if what the he had seen on television about the fires was really doing it justice.

The whole experience reminded me just how lucky I am to be involved with such a wonderful industry where strangers on the other side of the world show that truly care what is happening to Australia and her people.

It was however the third interview that got me thinking just how important music can be to people at this time. That interview was with Deb DeMure the lead singer of new wave rockers Drab Majesty who are about to embark on an Australian tour. What he told me has played through my mind a million times since. When I asked DeMure if he was looking forward to the Australian tour he said this. ““We’re just hoping that the emotional shock of these fires hasn’t totally ravished the hearts and the souls of the people so much that there is a sombre cloud over it. I wouldn’t blame people if there was but it has really touched me how people are taking these fires, music seems so trivial when you think hundreds of thousands of koalas have perished… it feels really surreal.”

The answer floored up and I then asked whether or not that was something that had been playing on his responded and he responded with. “Yeah it does definitely. It kind of trivialises what we are doing but on the other side it gives us the opportunity to bring a gift that allows people to escape so I guess in a way it shows why it is essential for the Arts to carry on by creating something that people can experience and enjoy.”

That statement made me realise one thing – Australia needs music more now than ever before. Even in my own life I know how healing music can be. Today I use music to distress and unwind. Jump in the shower, turn up some tunes and sing at the top of your voice – it is amazing how that allows me to escape whatever is stressing me out. Likewise as a teenager it was albums like Nirvana’s Bleach that helped me get through the emotions that the warzone that was my High School left me with.

Yes it is amazing that so many musicians have dug deep to help the victims of the fires but every Australian should also remember the healing effects that music has on your mental health as well. Maybe go and check out a live show as a way to escape or simply chuck on your favourite album and sing at the top of your voice… it all helps.

Boston-born pop punk outfit BOYS LIKE GIRLS will be returning to Australia in April 2020 for the first time in nearly a decade to perform in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

At these incredibly special shows, BOYS LIKE GIRLS will be performing their cult classic self-titled debut album in full, along with fan favourites from their stellar discography.

Joining Boys Like Girls as guests are US post hard core legends, 
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus!

The RJA story goes back to 2003, when brothers Ronnie and Randy Winter formed the band who would end up singing to Virgin Records for the release of their debut LP, Don’t You Fake It in 2006. The album is certified Gold in the US, and features the singles Guardian Angel and their best known song, the anti domestic violence focused, Face Down.

Their second album Lonely Road was released in 2008 and following Virgin’s collapse, RJA became fully independent in early 2010, regaining full creative control of their sound and vision.
Since then it’s being done the Red Jumpsuit way, Am I The Enemy was released in 2011 and album number four, 4 in 2014. All charting and all pushing the bands message further around the world.

Known for their devout Christian beliefs, the bands spirituality flows through their lyrics which cover a lifetime worth of emotions. The darkness and the light, the struggles and the wins. The bands message is ultimately one of hope and a reminder that ‘Even on the worst day that you’re alive you’re still surrounded by so many awesome things that you should be grateful for, if you choose to look at them.’ Ronnie Winter

If you’ve ever seen BOYS LIKE GIRLS or THE RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS live then you’ll know why this tour is so special, and if you haven’t, here’s your chance to see why!
Both bands will be giving their long-time fans a one-off special experience.

 

“YYZ” is the new video by Brescia, Italy singer-songwriter Gab De La Vega, who ended 2019 with the release of “Perfect Texture”, the first single to announce the new record “Beyond Space And Time”, his third full-length album, which is coming out on January 24th.

The song comes with a music video directed by Jaden D and edited by Bradley James Allen.

The song lyrics are deep, personal and reveal the ability of De La Vega to read his own as well as other people’s life, the world and the time we live in, evoking images that could appear familiar to many.

De La Vega comments:

“YYZ is about feeling lost and disoriented in life. It’s about the need to find your place in the world. The moments in which you have to make decisions that might change everything, without having a clue of what the outcome might be. It’s about the daily struggle to steer your own life and at the same time accept that you don’t have full control of everything that happens to you.

The song lyrics refer to a summer afternoon two years ago. I was walking in downtown Toronto, chasing my thoughts in the alleys of my mind. At one point I looked around and I realized my feet took me astray. I had to figure out where I was. I was kind of lost, literally… and metaphorically.”

The video was shot in Toronto in the summer of 2019. This is what De La Vega had to say about it:

“I decided to pay tribute to the city in the video. I love Toronto, it feels like a second home. Jaden, who directed the video, is my cousin and he’s from Toronto. We had this idea so we went around the city and I started busking, playing the song at some of the most and some of the least busy corners of the city. There are no actors in the video, only the people of Toronto. They were running late to hop on their train, they were shopping, they were groups of friends or couples chatting, they were regular people caught up in their regular lives on an ordinary summer day. We provided the soundtrack, but they were the protagonists. Some of them stopped to hear me play, even for a few seconds, others liked it and dropped a coin in the case. I tried to go along with the flow and become part of the play for that day, impersonating someone whose life is not different from anybody’s. I guess it’s just what we do, we live our lives, we play our scripts.”

The new album “Beyond Space And Time” was recorded and mixed by Simone Piccinelli at La Buca Recording Club in Montichiari and mastered by Grammy-nominated sound engineer Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Oathbreaker, Jeff Rosenstock, Sun Valley Gun Club, Gouge Away…) at The Atomic Garden Recording Studios in Oakland, California.

Released by Epidemic Records and the German label Backbite Records.
Preorders for Vinyl and CDs are being taken from now at: https://www.smarturl.com/GabDeLaVegaBSAT

To celebrate the album release, De La Vega is announcing a first round of full band shows across Italy, while other full band and solo shows across Europe are being booked, beginning in March.

Upcoming shows:

7th February – Cremona, Circolo Arcipelago
8th February – Brescia, Lio Bar
9th February – Parma, Splinter Club
21st February – TBA
22nd February – TBA
23rd February – Chiuppano, Osteria Al Castello

European shows are being booked by Flix Agency and they will be shortly announced.