Low: "Death of A Salesman" Video
Formed in 1993, Low is a trio from Duluth, Minnesota comprised of guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk, percussionist/vocalist Mimi Parker and bassist Zak Sally. Throughout Low's history, the band has accumulated acclaim from critics ("Low build big magic from so little" - Rolling Stone) and musicians (Radiohead hand-picked Low to open a string of dates in 2003). Initially garnering attention as leaders of the '90s slowcore movement, Low went on to develop a sonic repertoire that incorporated pop, R&B and dissonant rock n' roll. With this kind of storied history, most people thought they had Low pegged. But then they turned in their Sub Pop debut, The Great Destroyer. The band's seventh full-length album, The Great Destroyer is fascinating in that it blends the band's austere melodies ("On the Edge Of," "Silver Rider") with an aggressive guitar onslaught ("Monkey," "Everybody?s Song") and even melds Low's varied styles together into a single song ("When I Go Deaf"). Co-produced by Low and David Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev), The Great Destroyer is a welcome surprise and, in the end, a rock n' roll revelation.
The Rapture was formed in early 1998 by drummer Vito Roccoforte and guitarist/vocalist Luke Jenner. The whimsical indie group had extensive touring behind them by the time they recorded 1999's Mirror for Gravity. More touring ensued -- with the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate and Nuzzle -- and the band eventually relocated to New York City. They lost their original bassist and found a new one in Matt Safer, who had recently moved from Washington, D.C. After some more touring, the band recorded the six-song Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks EP and had it released by Sub Pop in 2001. Thanks to their sloppy brand of scratchy post-post-punk, the Rapture was hailed as a forerunner of the post-punk revival that was taking place in the early 2000s. Their profile increased significantly with 2002's "House of Jealous Lovers" 12"; that same year, they added multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Andruzzi to the fold. The full-length Echoes followed for Gary Gersh's Strummer label in late 2003. The follow-up, Pieces of the People We Love, was released three years later by Mercury.
Raging Speedhorn first came to be in August of 1998. The forming of the band was a result of the combination of the bands 'Soulcellar' and 'Box'. Guitarist Gareth Smith, drummer Frank Regan and bassist Darren Smith from 'Soulcellar' met up with guitarist Tony Loughlin, vocalist Jon Loughlin and drummer Gordon Morison from 'Box' to form Raging speedhorn. Frank Regan, formerly a drummer then changed to vocals along with Jon Loughlin to make an outstanding team. As the songs began to flow, Speedhorn recorded demos, and got a few good giggs, getting strong reviews in important magazines like Kerrang! and Metal Hammer.Their first big break came when they supported the legindary 'Ministry' at the London Astoria. From then on they never looked back, and have got stronger and stronger. Speedhorn have now recorded about 20 songs in just over a year together, and they play live regularly, with some great acts. Easily their biggest gig so far was at the Ozzfest UK, along with the likes of the mighty SlipKnoT and Amen.They have also been touring regularly, sponsored by Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Their first demo song [selling over 800 coppies], Thumper, has since been released on Metal Hammer's December 1999 cover mount CD. Ian Camfield has also given Speedhorn plenty of airplay on his Xfm show. All this has built up to the release of their debut album, entitled 'Raging Speedhorn', which was released in the spring of 2001. After the success of their debut album, Raging Speedhorn kept up the tough schedule and started working towards a new album. Touring the country regularly, as well as trying to maintain part-time jobs meant that time to write was limmited. However, two years on from when we were first greeted by the din of Speedhorn, 'We'll Be Dead by Tomorrow' is set for release in the summer this year. 'The Hate Song' is the first single from this album, and was released on June 24, 2002. Appearing on the main stage at the Reading Festival this summer, as well as having more than one headline tour is sure to give them the publicity they deserve. And so, my friends, the story comes to an end... for now, anyway.
With one foot in the library and the other on the dancefloor, Voxtrot combine classic 60s pop (think Love and Left Banke) with the heady, subversive sounds of 80s Britain and still come out ahead of their time. Originally conceived as am outlet for vocalist Ramesh Srivastava to record a handful of songs he had written, it soon became apparent that Voxtrot was meant to be more than a home recording project. The band has toured the US throughout most of 2005 in support of their Raised By Wolves EP, turning heads at SXSW, CMJ and SF Popfest. Originally conceived as am outlet for vocalist Ramesh Srivastava to record a handful of songs he had written, it soon became apparent that Voxtrot was meant to be more than a home recording project.
"Strip away all the fluff. Does the song still speak the same way when performed with just a voice and a single piano or single guitar?? This is Copeland?s test of a well written song. Lead vocalist and principal songwriter, Aaron Marsh was bred in the diverse Florida music scene where he started the band with his close friend, bassist James Likeness. During their search to finish off the line-up, Aaron found a kindred spirit in Maryland native guitarist Bryan Laurenson, with a mutual appreciation of quality pop melodies to push his writing to new levels. With a concerted effort to weave memorable melodies with insightful lyrics, the band began crafting their intelligent brand of anthemic pop songs in 2000. Atlanta producer, Matt Goldman engineered Copeland?s first release in late 2000. This split EP with glam pop band Pacifico, not only earned Copeland some music industry attention, but also their first national audience in the form of a half dozen small East Coast US tours. For that first year, the band excitedly played in any venue that would have them, for whoever wanted to listen. This deep appreciation for their supporters has stuck with them as they?ve begun to see bigger tours. In the summer of 2002, Copeland signed a record deal with So-Cal independent label The Militia Group and started making plans to focus on the band full time. The band felt it was in need of a fresh start in a new scene. They relocated to Atlanta in the fall. This location seemed more conducive to full time touring and closer to producer Matt Goldman?s studio where they would start a 2 month recording session for their debut full length album. The fruit of those two months was their acclaimed opus entitled ?Beneath Medicine Tree.? Tragically beautiful, and emotionally charged with themes of love, loss, and hope, the album delighted Copeland?s small existing following and earned the band a quickly growing audience. Copeland hit the road with a rigorous tour schedule, hopping from one tour to another with the likes of Switchfoot, The Juliana Theory, The Early November, Hopesfall, Mae, and countless others. They stayed on tour for an exhausting 15 months, playing over 400 shows in that time, but not just playing music every night. Every different city became a chance to meet a new group of kids at the show. Whether playing 4-square in front of the venue, eating dinner after the show, or hanging out at the merchandise table talking about music, Copeland was always excited to turn their fans into their friends. In December of 2003, during a short break from the road, Copeland took a week to record a covers EP to be released before they begin work on their follow-up to ?Beneath Medicine Tree.? Aaron said about the EP, ?We wanted to give our supporters something to listen to while we worked on another record. We knew it might take us a while and we didn?t want everyone to forget about us. These were all songs that we grew up listening to that we thought we could bring something new to.? The EP, entitled ?Know Nothing Stays the Same,? features Copeland?s renditions of songs by Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon, Phil Collins, Berlin, and Billy Joel. Copeland released their second full-length album, "In Motion", in March of 2005. It was produced by Matt Goldman and Aaron Marsh. Ken Andrews mixed the album. The band has been touring around the world in support of the record. This fall, they will be touring in England and all over the United States. Look for them in other continents in the coming months.
In a world of bands where truth often gets bogged down in the mire of genres, trends and politics, Over it would like to think they have stayed afloat. Out of Orange County, California, by way of Alexandria, Virginia, they have taken in the road and a host of adventures, discovering the things they value most. For this band, what matters is the sincerity of every last one of their hundreds of performances, a personal connection with their fans, and the quest for the inspiring song. Over it lives for furious sounds and a hopeful future. Nearly five years ago in the Fall of 1998, chance drew the members of Over It together. Peter, Nick, Seth and James were four bright-eyed teenagers then, staring down the dawn of what was to become a dazzling, liberating vision. "Looking back, it seems ironic that music left such an indelible mark on the four of us," relates Munters, the group?s lead vocalist and guitar player. ?The suburbs offered us no big brother bands to emulate, and beyond the dark outskirts of DC no form of music-centered scene or shows really existed. Still, somehow the boys in Over It found and sought out the sounds that opened their minds to the possibility of music as a serious creative outlet. Recording and touring in support of their indie-released demo ep, "Over It" and a full length album, "The Ready Series" (both on Oakland?s Negative Progression Records) became more and more a priority for the band as they waited for Ulrich (drums, 20) to finish high school. So much that in the spring of 2001 Munters (22), Watts(21), and Bailey (21), already attending universities, decided to push their education to the back-burner, and persuade their youngest band-mate to wait for college, instead joining them in the full-time pursuit of their love for music. To this day, the band reflects on this decision as the most pivotal turning point in Over It?s story. "We were all good students, but distracted from our studies by the rewards we found in the studio and on the road," remembers Watts. "We just told one another that if we could survive as a productive force, hear our songs featured on dozens of compilations worldwide and find content at each day?s end, we owed it to the world to work fully toward a musical destiny." Following the release of their "Hindsight 20/20" ep in 2001, the band garnered the attention of Santa Barbara?s own Lobster Records, who recognized the bands unflagging work ethic and positive energy. Encouraging Over It to continue and amplify their rigorous touring and eventually relocate to the Southern California markets, Lobster helped spawn "Timing Is Everything", the band?s second full length, and most critically acclaimed work to date. Received by good press, and the approval of a growing fan base, the record propelled Over It through several national tours and two-week stints on the grueling and infamous Vans Warped Tour in both 2002 and 2003 (as well as ?04). ?Being on warped tour was all at one our greatest blessing and the most burdensome weight the band has carried," notes Munters. "We drove our van alongside the coaches of so many-of our idols, and touched base with more fans than we ever thought we would meet, working all day and driving all night to find as much as we could. It was truly a testament to how far a little dedication and sincerity can take four friends." Nearly three years later, the band is still full of wonder and grateful for the path they?ve traveled. None of us ever thought to just step up and live a dream, that?s just the way it keeps happening.
Ben Marble, M.D.'s comments to Dick Cheney were proclaimed the 'BEST TELEVISED SOUND BITE OF THE YEAR' by Rolling Stone Magazine. What many don't know is that prior to this, Ben's band, dR. O, had already been proclaimed the 'Supergroup of Cyberspace' (by Yahoo Internet Life magazine) due to their having more genre #1 songs on MP3.COM than any other band in the world with liseteners in over 100 COUNTRIES.
Pela is an American rock & roll band. At a time when the word 'America' has never been more fraught with meaning, songs that speak to our basic feelings and emotions about life could never be more resonant. Lost amongst all the geo-political tumult are the stories of every day America; the aches and pains and the beautiful possibilities. Yet amidst all the turmoil and uncertainty, new stories are being written and told by a new generation of American bands. Pela is clearly one of those voices.
Balancing chaos and consciousness is no easy feat, and few bands will ever do it as well as Death By Stereo has on the astonishing new disc Death For Life. Brutal and brutally honest, the set's eleven songs come swinging at you like a bag of bricks as they embrace the extremities of hardcore and the fluid riffs of metal. "We fought it out and found out what we want to be," says vocalist Efrem Schulz. "We're still here, still fighting, still pissed and not pulling any punches. And while we may be into some pissed off music -- at the same time we want to party. We also love Van Halen. So why not let out all of this aggression and have a blast doing it? So many people are so uptight about mixing the two ideas." With that in mind, there is still no way to prepare for "Binge/Purge," a musical riot of a tune peppered with touches of melody and the tenacious, expressive guitar lines of Death By Stereo's Dan Palmer and Tito. "It's a song that deals with the world and all the bullshit that is constantly shoved down our throats," says Schulz. "Everyone feeds off of this violence, apathy and ignorance. We want to purge it all out." Crafted with the help of Avenged Sevenfold vets The Factory (the production duo of Fred Archambault and Bruce MacFarlane), Death For Life marks a new sound and dynamic for Death By Stereo. "Working with Fred and Bruce was the best thing that could have happened to us," Efrem explains. "They really cracked the whip and made us play better than we ever have."
Sometimes, the most important revelations come to us when intent is thrown to the wayside. The practice of deliberately rejecting pure deliberation is The Helio Sequence's newest modus operandi, but it hasn't always been. 1999's Accelerated Slow Motion Cinema EP and 2000's Com Plex (the former self-released and the latter on Portland's illustrious Cavity Search label) found Helio Sequence in hot pursuit of a very specific kind of sonic perfection, one steeped in amorphous, often ambient sensibilities and punctuated with ethereal, mechanical bursts of energy. The resulting linear compositions, intricately rendered from sonic threads affected by psychedelic and early 80s wall-of-sound groups, pointed towards what Helio Sequence would accomplish in 2001's stellar Young Effectuals (also on Cavity Search). Primal in energy and futuristic in tone, the record was, at that point, the band's neo-psych-dream swan song. "It was the pinnacle of what we were trying to achieve at that point," explains calm-voiced vocalist/guitarist Brandon Summers matter-of-factly. After three years, several tours (keyboardist/drummer Benjamin Weikel also lends his percussive skills to Modest Mouse, doubling the tour time), extensive hours of experimentation and afternoons spent listening to a lot of pop, Dylan and Can, the duo has reached a totally different plane of consciousness. "Love and Distance" is bright, free, and organic, a collection of refreshingly melodious songs that stand in stark contrast to the "univibe" that Summers asserts their past compositions often possessed. Summers and Weikel had been used to setting up a makeshift studio at the music store they started working at in tenth grade - one room was for tracking, one for mixing. When both parties quit their jobs to tour extensively in 2002, the recording, mixing and production operation moved to Weikel's parents' bonus room and basement, various rooms in Summers' apartment, and Issac Brock's garage. "So many of the takes weren't meant to stick," Brandon chuckles. In the familiar, comfortable setting of family and friends' homes, however, something happened - Helio Sequence gained an elevated level of ease that allowed them to throw caution to the wind, expanding on the complex, deep sounds they'd so masterfully crafted years earlier. Their latest album's strength lies not only in the soft tension created by its disparate elements, the traditional folksy twang of harmonica on "Harmonica Song", the fresh, tropical infusions of electronica on "Looks Good (But You Looked Away)", the passionate, precise collision of electric and organic percussion throughout, but in its natural flow. Each progression, each track, is part of a gorgeous, hooky whole. Armed with a surprising new instrumentation palette and buoyed by swift pop undercurrents, Helio Sequence finally felt able to construct their voluminous grooves using laissez-faire techniques that weren't previously a part of their creative process. The result is a band more confident, inspired and inventive than ever before.