Posts Tagged ‘The Drums’

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The follow-up to 2017’s “Abysmal Thoughts,” which marked the band’s first release as a solo project from front man Jonny Pierce, “Brutalism” is quite possibly the best collection of songs in the band’s ten-year career.

Listen to the latest album single “Loner”. Pierce describes the track below:

Being a bit of a loner is sort of like being gay for me. When I was a kid, I would pray to be anything but gay – and now as an adult, I treasure the fact that I’m gay. I celebrate it daily. Being gay forced me to think differently, develop my creative side, and to carry a punk attitude. It also helped me define my values and find empathy for those who are marginalized. Being a loner is very similar to that. I don’t like hanging out in groups because I feel real connection is often sacrificed in those settings. Since most people seem to disagree and love a group hangout, that means I spend a lot of time along and listen to my heart. It helps me navigate my life, but it still offers sadness that is always there. You can’t be sensitive without carrying some sadness, and that’s okay.

Like Jonny Pierce, who co-produced the album, Brutalism is a bicoastal record – written and recorded between Upstate New York and a studio in Stinson Beach. Following a painful divorce and an incredibly difficult stint living solely in Los Angeles, Pierce decided it was time to face his demons, and the making of this record is a part of that process. “I was exhausted, depleted and sabotaging myself, partying so much but in reality running away from pain. It was a downward spiral.” Pierce knew it was time to go to therapy, and begin to reckon with his depression. “It was do or die,” he says. While he focused on his mental health, the making of Brutalism became an extension of self-care for Pierce, and makes for some of his most honest and relatable music to date.

On Brutalism, a lot is different. The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but it doesn’t provide all the answers. It’s rooted in an emotional rawness, but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and crippling self-doubt.  Pierce was more open than ever, keeping his control freakery at bay while working with others to produce and record the album. He brought in Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands, Amen Dunes) to mix it.  If there was a guitar part he wanted to write but couldn’t play, he brought in a guitarist. It’s also the first Drums record with a live drummer. Delegating freed up Pierce’s time to produce a more specific vision.

The past year has been transformative for Pierce, who may a permanent rain cloud above his head but is working towards a better, healthier headspace“I don’t think I’ll ever really find myself,” he says. “I don’t think people do. I don’t think there’s a day that you wake up and you go, Now I know who I am. The best way for me to be an artist is by taking a goddamn minute, being still and listening to what it is that I want and need.” It was a real year of growth for him, but growth towards what? “I don’t really know, and that’s OK.”

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Ride  – Weather Diaries

Ride release their first album in over twenty years, ‘Weather Diaries’ on June 16th via Wichita Recordings.

Produced by legendary DJ, producer and remixer Erol Alkan, ‘Weather Diaries’ is packed with all the classic elements that made Ride one of the defining bands of the early ‘90s. Trembling distortion, beautiful harmonies, pounding rhythms, shimmering soundscapes and great songwriting all combine to make an album that’s ambitious in scope, timeless and thoroughly addictive. The album will be released through Wichita Recordings and sees the band reunited with label co-founders Mark Bowen and Dick Green, who worked with Ride during the band’s early years on Creation Records. It also brings the band back together with mixer Alan Moulder (Arctic Monkeys, Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers) who mixed their seminal 1990 album ‘Nowhere’ and produced it’s follow up ‘Going Blank Again’.

The revitalised four piece – comprising of Andy Bell, Mark Gardener, Laurence Colbert, and Steve Queralt – reformed and returned to the live scene in 2014, selling out headline tours around the world to a plethora of critical acclaim, as well as show stopping turns at festivals including Coachella, Primavera and Field Day. More than that though, the British music sphere especially has been littered with bands heavily indebted to Ride and their peers. The likes of The Horrors, School Of Seven Bells and labels such as Sonic Cathedral have ensured that shoegaze is a sound that’s eternally relevant.

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Royal Blood  -How Did We Get So Dark?

After becoming the biggest breaking British rock band with their self-titled 2014 debut album, Royal Blood’s release their eagerly anticipated second album How Did We Get So Dark? released on Warner Bros. Records. The ten tracks that feature on How Did We Get So Dark? were written in instrumental form during sessions in Brighton, Hollywood, Los Angeles and Nashville. Always trying to explore ways of stripping their enormous sound back to give it more space and impact, inspiration for the lyrics came from events in vocalist / bassist Mike Kerr’s life since the band first found huge success. In November 2016. Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, along with producer Jolyon Thomas, spent six weeks in a studio in Brussels that was decked out like a New York diner and featured a warehouse of antique gear. How Did We Get So Dark? was subsequently completed after a final session in London with their debut album’s co-producer Tom Dalgety. There are times where Royal Blood are more visceral than ever – notably the gargantuan introduction to Hook, Line and Sinker and also the intense denouement that brings Looks Like You Know to a close. While the album finds Royal Blood refining their melodic might, there are other moments that fulfil their aim to create songs that will add new dimensions to their live sets. Adorned with Kerr’s falsetto, Don’t Tell drops the intensity to mesmerising effect, while Where Are You Now? pulsates with a bounding energy that’s quite a step apart from anything else in their catalogue. The Royal Blood palette is also expanded with the complementary addition of piano or keyboards on four tracks, including the foreboding album closer Sleep.

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Fleet Foxes  –  Crack Up 

Crack-Up is Fleet Foxes’ long awaited and highly anticipated third album. It comes six years after the 2011 release of Helplessness Blues and nearly a decade since the band’s 2008 self-titled debut.

All eleven of the songs on Crack-Up were written by Robin Pecknold. The album was co-produced by Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset, his longtime bandmate, collaborator, and childhood friend. Crack-Up was recorded at various locations across the United States between July 2016 and January 2017: at Electric Lady Studios, Sear Sound, The Void, Rare Book Room, Avast, and The Unknown. Phil Ek mixed the album, at Sear Sound, and it was mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. Fleet Foxes is Robin Pecknold (vocals, multi-instrumentalist), Skyler Skjelset (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Casey Wescott (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Christian Wargo (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), and Morgan Henderson (multi-instrumentalist).

Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut made a profound impact on the international musical landscape, earning them Uncut’s first ever Music Award Prize, and topping numerous ‘Best of’ lists, including Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 2000’s and Pitchfork’s 50 Best Albums of 2008. Fleet Foxes is certified Gold in North America and Platinum in both the UK and Australia. The follow-up album Helplessness Blues was met with the same critical praise as its predecessor;s .

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Big Star  –  Best Of Big Star 

Best of Big Star is part of a wide-ranging, year-long initiative celebrating Stax Records’ 60th anniversary. Formed in 1971 by singer/songwriters Alex Chilton (1950-2010) and Chris Bell (1951-1978), drummer Jody Stephens (b. 1952) and bassist Andy Hummel (1951-2010), the Memphis-based group is now considered to be one of the most influential bands in modern music, having inspired some of the biggest alt-rock artists of the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. An underground core of fanatical enthusiasts kept the fire burning. The Replacements famously released “Alex Chilton,” a song that paid tribute to Big Star’s songwriting genius. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck said, “Big Star served as a Rosetta Stone for a whole generation of musicians.”

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Kevin Morby  –  City Music 

City Music is the new album by Kevin Morby. Full of listless wanderlust, it’s a collection inspired by and devoted to the metropolitan experience across America and beyond by a songwriter cast from his own mold. As he puts it: “It is a mix-tape, a fever dream, a love letter dedicated to those cities that I cannot get rid of, to those cities that are all inside of me.”

His fourth album, City Music works as a counterpart to Morby’s acclaimed 2016 release Singing Saw, an autobiographical set that reflected the solitude and landscape in which it was recorded. Saw was imagined as “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed.”

And now follows City Music, the yang to its yin, the heads to its tails. It is a collection crafted using the other side of its creator’s brain, the jumping off point perhaps best once again encapsulated by an image. “Here, Lou Reed and Patti Smith stare out at the listener,” explains Morby. “Stretched out on a living room floor they are somewhere in mid-70s Manhattan, also smoking cigarettes.” It finds Morby exploring similar themes of solitude, but this time framed by a window of an uptown apartment that looks down upon an international urban landscape “exposed like a giant bleeding wound.”

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Jason Isbell and The 400 UnitThe Nashville Sound 

The Nashville Sound was recorded at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A and produced by Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb, who produced ‘Something More Than Free’ and Isbell’s celebrated 2013 breakthrough album ‘Southeastern’.

‘The Nashville Sound’ features 10 new songs that address a range of subjects that include, politics and cultural privilege (“White Man’s World”) longing nostalgia (“The Last Of My Kind”), love and mortality (“If We Were Vampires”), the toxic effect of today’s pressures (“Anxiety”), the remnants of a break up (“Chaos and Clothes”) and finding hope (“Something To Love”). Songs such as “Cumberland Gap” and “Hope The Highroad” find Jason and his bandmates going back to their rock roots full force.

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It’s difficult for any band or artist to sound enthused after decades of making music. Automatic pilot and rock ‘n’ roll root rot can easily set in. There are some exceptions: Paul McCartney has had some late-career gems; same goes for David Bowie . You can add Cheap Trick to that list. They sound positively vibrant and genuinely excited on We’re All Alright! . 

Unlike many of their contemporaries, Cheap Trick have never broken up, stopped touring or quit making new music. They have also never stopped putting everything they have into what they do either. Coming hot on the heels of last year’s excellent Bang Zoom Crazy Hello , We’re All Alright!  follows in the footsteps of its predecessor while adding a couple of new twists to the mix.

Guitarist Rick Nielsen welds together riffs borrowed from the Kinks and the Who for the album’s first single, “Long Time Coming,” while “Nowhere” takes on a Ramones -like charge in its speed attack. Other songs follow a similar path, with no track clocking in at more than four minutes. This pace gives the album a whiplash flow that recalls some of their earliest records.

A few of the songs actually date back several years. “Radio Lover” was put on the shelf in the ’90s, and it’s rescued from oblivion here as an amphetamine-fueled hard rocker. “Lolita” slaps keyboard sequencers on top of glam-rock boogie. And “She’s Alright” features some Dylan styled phrasing from singer Robin Zander.

Cheap Trick also dip into the past by covering Roy Wood again. As they’ve done in the past with “California Man,” “Brontosaurus” and “Rock and Roll Tonight,” they take the Move’s 1968 song “Blackberry Way” and spin it in their direction..

The band pushes itself on We’re All Alright!, turning in enthusiastic and engaging performances throughout. They still sound like a bunch of guys half their age. “Who knows what forever is about?” Zander asks on “The Rest of My Life.” He doesn’t pretend to know the answer.

Cheap Trick sound like they still have something to prove, and perhaps they do. After a couple of trying and triumphant years — there was a legal hassle involving former drummer Bun E. Carlos, and they were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2016 — they sound ready for their next chapter.

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Sun Kil Moon – Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood

“‘Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood’, for the most part, captures events from January to August of this year and how I processed it all while traveling. “[…] I’m blessed to have met the very talented Justin Broadrick and to have made these beautiful albums with him. “These two new albums capture more than my reactions to mass murders or the passing of beloved heroes like David Bowie or Muhammad Ali. The Sun Kil Moon and Jesu / Sun Kil Moon albums are also full of love, humour, and my gratitude for the gift of life.” – Mark Kozelek, Sun Kil Moon.

4LP – Limited Four LP Set. Limited to 2000 Copies.

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Trevor Sensor  –  Andy Warhol’s Dream

It’s Trevor Sensor’s voice you notice first. A deep bubbling black tar pit of a sound, it’s a voice whose unique timbre resonates far beyond the constraints of the songwriting format. It demands the listener reaches for a new vocabulary. The 23 year old’s debut album Andy Warhol’s Dream is part of a literate folk lineage that runs from Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan through Tom Waits and onto the likes of Bon Iver, Bright Eyes and Sufjan Stevens today. It’s an unflinching honest album, transcendent in its exploration of self and sonically a collision between the classic and the forward-thinking. Sensor’s debut EP for the label, Texas Girls and Jesus Christ, was written on a borrowed acoustic guitar and took him out into the world. 2016 saw him tour Europe before hitting the road in the US for tours with Foy Vance and The Staves. Andy Warhol’s Dream was recorded to tape at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio and produced by both Jonathan Rado of Foxygen (The Lemon Twigs, Whitney) and songwriter/producer Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Foxygen). His backing band featured members of Whitney. On these 11 songs Sensor doesn’t so much wear his heart on his sleeve as flings it out in the darkness of the front rows that sit beyond the glare of the single blinding spotlight. This is the sound of one man’s soul laid bare, facing life head on.

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The Drums –  Abysmal Thoughts

With The Drums’ new Abysmal Thoughts, band founder Jonny Pierce is making the exact album he’s always held in his heart. Of course, this is The Drums, so that heart is broken—but there’s beauty and even bliss in this kind of heartbreak, as well as that special kind of glorious delirium that comes from taking everything life can throw at you and still walking away triumphant. Here Pierce is back in full control of The Drums, not just writing all the songs himself but playing every instrument and bringing his exact personal vision to life. Not coincidentally, it’s some of the most revelatory work he’s ever done. If Abysmal Thoughts doesn’t sound at all abysmal—really, Pierce has rarely been this irresistibly pop—that’s because this is a story about how to figure out what happiness means once the worst has already happened: “If there’s one thing I can rely on it’s the healing power of being an artist,” he says. “I’m falling back in love with music.”

“There’s no question that The Drums have mastered the synthpop game” – Consequence of Sound.
For fans of The Smiths, Morrissey, New Order and The Cramps.

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Echo and The Bunnymen – It’s All Live Now

Each LP is individually numbered and strictly limited. 180 Gram, black vinyl pressed at Record Industry comes in a single sleeve aqueous-gloss, old school tip-on Stoughton sleeve with brand new artwork and hard stock insert. Never before seen photos of the band. Liner notes by guitarist Will Sergeant. One of the most acclaimed British rockers from the 1980’s, this legendary band formed in Liverpool in 1978 and were forefathers of the neo-psychedelic movement. This brand new collection of their legendary live material recorded in Sweden in 1985 includes classic Rock- N-Roll covers of legendary tunes by the Doors, Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Television and more available on vinyl for the first time. Many of the tracks from Sweden were recorded live for Swedish National Radio at the Karen Club. Also included here is a legendary extended version of Do It Clean recorded live in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983.

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Game Theory -2 Steps From The Middle Ages

Their final studio album ” remastered and expanded. Following up 1987s Lolita Nation (whose reissue appeared on numerous year-end best of lists for 2016) would be no easy task for Game Theory. But, Scott Miller and company were certainly up for the task. Re-teaming with producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Marshall Crenshaw, Velvet Crush), 2 Steps From The Middle Ages was released in 1988, and showed the band had no shortage of energy, experimentation, and excellent material. This reissue contains the original 13 songs supplemented with a whopping 11 bonus tracks ” demos, live performances and covers ” all previously unissued. The translucent orange, first pressing of the LP (on vinyl for the first time since its initial release), contains a download card for the entire CD/Digital program. Packaging includes rare and previously unseen photos from the bands photographer, Robert Toren, as well as essays from Easter, Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star), and Franklin Bruno (The Village Voice, Salon.com). The bands drummer, Gil Ray, who was involved in all aspects with the Game Theory reissue series including this title, sadly passed away earlier this year. This reissue is lovingly dedicated to him.

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Nikki Sudden and his Jacobites – Chelsea

Limited edition 350 copies only on Transparent Green vinyl 7” single. Both tracks feature vocals by Max ‘Lizard’ Edie ( Waterboys ) and also Mike Scott ( Waterboys) features on Chelsea Embankment. Chelsea springtime single edit has remained unreleased since 1992.

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With The Drums’ new Abysmal Thoughts, band founder Jonny Pierce is making the exact album he’s always held in his heart. Of course, this is The Drums, so that heart is broken—but there’s beauty and even bliss in this kind of heartbreak, as well as that special kind of glorious delirium that comes from taking everything life can throw at you and still walking away triumphant. If Abysmal Thoughts doesn’t sound at all abysmal—really, Pierce has rarely been this irresistibly pop—that’s because this is a story about how to figure out what happiness means once the worst has already happened. “Happiness can be confusing to me,” says Pierce. “It shows up out of nowhere, and before you can even get used to it, it’s vanished. But Abysmal Thoughts? I can rely on them—and with the political chaos that is raining down, who knows when these dark feelings will subside?”
As the last album cycle for the Drums finished and his long-term relationship with his former partner dissolved, Pierce took some time away from music altogether in hopes to reconnect with himself and find future inspiration. Determined to make a change, he ended up leaving his longtime home in New York and found himself isolated in a large empty apartment in Los Angeles, all his plans for life and love suddenly in shambles: “I said I wanted to let life happen?” he says. “Well, the universe listened and life began to fuck me real good! But honestly, I make the worst art when I’m comfortable. The stuff that resonates with me the longest—and that resonates with others—is always the stuff that comes out of my hardships and confusion.”

“Head Of The Horse” by The Drums from the album ‘Abysmal Thoughts,’ available June 16th

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With The Drums’ new Abysmal Thoughts album, band founder Jonny Pierce is making the exact album he’s always held in his heart. Of course, this is The Drums, so that heart is broken—but there’s beauty and even bliss in this kind of heartbreak, as well as that special kind of glorious delirium that comes from taking everything life can throw at you and still walking away triumphant. If Abysmal Thoughts doesn’t sound at all abysmal—really, Pierce has rarely been this irresistibly pop—that’s because this is a story about how to figure out what happiness means once the worst has already happened. “Happiness can be confusing to me,” says Pierce. “It shows up out of nowhere, and before you can even get used to it, it’s vanished. But Abysmal Thoughts? I can rely on them—and with the political chaos that is raining down, who knows when these dark feelings will subside?”

As the last album cycle for the Drums finished and his long-term relationship with his former partner dissolved, Pierce took some time away from music altogether in hopes to reconnect with himself and find future inspiration. Determined to make a change, he ended up leaving his longtime home in New York and found himself isolated in a large empty apartment in Los Angeles, all his plans for life and love suddenly in shambles: “I said I wanted to let life happen?” he says. “Well, the universe listened and life began to fuck me real good! But honestly, I make the worst art when I’m comfortable. The stuff that resonates with me the longest—and that resonates with others—is always the stuff that comes out of my hardships and confusion.”

That hardship and confusion—and the clarity of personality and purpose it inspired—became Abysmal Thoughts, an unflinching autobiography with Pierce back in full control of the band. He’s back to not just writing all the songs by himself but playing every instrument, too, this time realizing exactly his own personal vision for the band. Not coincidentally, it’s some of the most revelatory work he’s ever done. The key was opener “Mirror,” and from there, Thoughts simply flowed: “It very much felt like I was releasing,” Pierce says. “I had this visual of turning a handle and watching steam just pour out of the valve, relieving a lot of my artistic and personal anxiety. I was dealing with so much loss and feeling unsure and scared—and if there’s one thing I can rely on it’s the healing power of being an artist. I’m falling back in love with music. Creating this album on my own was a full-on long-running therapy session.”

“Heart Basel” by The Drums from the album ‘Abysmal Thoughts,’ available June 16th on Antire Records

Across a year and three months of home recording—with the same guitar, synthesizer, drum machine and reverb unit he’s played since the beginning of The Drums—Pierce put together Thoughts, first in that apartment in Los Angeles and then later in his cabin in upstate New York. With help from engineer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Mannequin Pussy and more) he gave Thoughts a pop sensibility that added color and contrast to an already vivid self-portrait alive with the hyperdramatic emotional potency of the Smiths, the arch literary pop moves of New Zealanders like the Verlaines and the Clean, and the riotous clatter-punk power of the UK DIY bands of 1979. And this time around he’s introduced an slight influence from early drum and bass as well, drawn from his adoration of Roni Size and other electronic artists from the UK in the 1990s.

Now the highs are higher than ever, and the lows absolutely bottomless, and it’s the last song—the title track—that makes everything clear. The Drums are back, and while there’s a heavy sadness here, Jonny Pierce is stronger for fighting through it. On possibly the loveliest and catchiest song he’s got, Pierce takes his listeners to the edge of the cliff, and then drops everything but his voice, singing “Abysmal, abysmal, abysmal …” Some albums might offer a happy ending—even some albums by The Drums—but here Pierce just offers an ending. Because that’s more honest, isn’t it?
“There’s something in me that mostly prefers a sad ending,” he says. “The other potential title I had was A Blip Of Joy, the opposite of Abysmal Thoughts—if those two things don’t sum up the emotional chaos that I feel every day, then nothing will! But Abysmal Thoughts wins because … doesn’t it always?”