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dimanche 29 mars 2015

Album de la Semaine : Enablers - The Rightful Pivot

The Rightful Pivot

Enablers, par Matthieu Choquet de Mowno

Voilà dix ans que ça dure. Dix ans que, à nous français qui n’y captons rien, Pete Simonelli raconte des histoires à dormir debout, pendant que trois compères – et non des moindres – tissent une toile à ses déclamations, tout en prenant bien soin de ne jamais se résumer au rôle d’accompagnateurs de second plan. Si la formule spoken word de ces américains peut paraître aussi élitiste et indigeste que celle de certains artistes ayant tenté de la vulgariser, la leur fonctionne encore parfaitement à l’heure d’un cinquième album tout aussi passionnant que les précédents. Loin de tourner en rond, ‘The Rightful Pivot’ enfonce le clou d’une personnalité à part dans le décor musical, forgée à travers les années et les disques par des mecs à l’expérience assez lourde pour se permettre de toujours tirer chez l’auditeur les bonnes ficelles de l’émotion et de la perception: deux éléments essentiels pour saisir le parfait équilibre que Enablers décroche encore ici entre sa musique et ses textes.
Captivant et toujours aussi charismatique, Pete Simonelli nourrit de nouveaux écrits son phrasé grave et froid, habité et convaincu, à l’interprétation parfois menaçante, posé tel un narrateur sur des compositions post rock raffinées, tout aussi essentielles tant elles sont totalement taillées pour lui. Ainsi, définitivement inséparables les uns des autres, ces quatre talents fusionnent, se reniflent, s’accompagnent en chaque instant, dans leurs silences quasi cinématographiques comme dans leurs envolées électriques: une succession d’ambiances impulsée en partie par la complémentarité insolemment naturelle des guitares de Joe Goldring et Kevin Thomson, héritée de nombreuses années d’expériences communes, accompagnée des coups comme parfois des caresses free jazz (‘Enopolis’) de Sam Ospovat, énième batteur et digne remplaçant de Doug Sharin (June Of 44, Codeine…).
Le temps de huit nouvelles compositions, aussi manipulateur qu’à son habitude, Enablers nous envoie valser dans la mélancolie colérique d’un post rock dont lui seul détient le secret (‘Went Right’, ‘The Percentages’). A l’occasion, il sort aussi les griffes (‘West Virginia’), transforme à coups d’arpèges magiques une profonde tristesse en éclairs de lumière intense (‘She Calls After You’, ‘Good Shit’), parfois jusqu’à toucher de ses cinq doigts une beauté poignante dont on pensait seul Slint capable depuis ‘Washer’. Celle de ‘Solo’ par exemple, de ‘Look’ surtout, titre central enrichi d’un refrain chanté pour souligner le propos de Simonelli, et preuve ultime qu’Enablers ne se refuse rien, surtout pas la différence, même quand il use de recours conventionnels. Un disque intelligent en somme.
Line Up :
Pete Simonelli
Joe Goldring
Kevin Thomson
Sam Ospovat

Label :
Lancashire and Somerset

Tracklist :
01 – Went Right
02 – She Calls After You
03 – The Percentages
04 – Look
05 – Solo
06 – Good Shit
07 – West Virginia
08 – Enopolis

dimanche 22 mars 2015

Album de la Semaine : A Place To Bury Strangers - Transfixiation

A Place To Bury Strangers

Interview d'a Place To Bury Strangers, par Stephanie Almazan de Culture Collide

It’s business as usual for A Place to Bury Strangers. The Brooklyn noise rockers just released their fourth album, Transfixiation, last week and are going full force into life on the road.
While the band is likely too busy to look back, we can’t help but do just that. 
For those familiar with frontman Oliver Ackermann’s other endeavor Death by Audio, the Brooklyn venue and pedal effects studio of the same name, you'll recall that last fall was somewhat uncertain. A press release went out in September that the DIY music venue would close its doors in November, followed by 75 days of goodbye shows — the final one played by APTBS. Ackermann, along with the local music scene lost a treasured venue. Band member/bassist Dion Lunadon summed it up: “The only venue I know whose shows were curated with such love. Never about the money and always about the quality music.”
In December, we met up with Oliver, Dion, and drummer Robi Gonzalez at their brand new studio to discuss what they love about Brooklyn, but we also came away with a deeper understanding of all the moving parts that make up the sum of APTBS.
A punctual Oliver met us outside a large warehouse building where he moved the pedal effects studio a few weeks ago. He was welcoming, down to earth, allowing us to poke around the small space — though new, it already felt lived in. He flipped through a stack of papers, which turned out to be shipping orders, and showed us a shelf of product [pedal effects] that he needed to get out before Christmas. “Pedals can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.” They build it in parts. "The studio usually does 200 per month, and now they’re up to 400 for December." It makes sense given the press surrounding DBA's closing.
Right away, we get the sense of Oliver’s ingenuity. “I like to work,” he says. As for his pedal business, he figured it out on his own and “had no formal training.” Now he has two business partners — one helped to streamline the business — and is no longer doing custom work officially, but has taken up a project or two for friends. Last year [2013] they got health insurance.
On what he liked about the original location: “It was great because everything [music venue, practice space, and pedal studio] was in one place.” So if he was working on something himself, he could easily walk in and see what everyone else was working on and address any problems.
Our inner fanboy and -girl comes out and we tell Oliver we think APTBS is one of the loudest bands next to Dinosaur Jr. and Swans. Oliver shares a Dino Jr. anecdote — It was one of the first shows he watched early on, and he recalls trying to talk to a friend during the opener, but it was so loud they couldn’t hear each other...And then Dino Jr. came out and they were “ten times louder!”
By this time, Dion and Robi arrive. We decide to get coffee because they say “we don’t really get to hang out.” When they're together, the focus is on the music. We head to nearby Brooklyn Roasting Co. for a coffee fix (cappuccino for Dion). The office/pedal studio and practice space are two blocks apart in Clinton Hill, and they’re still learning the area. “That’s the thing about living in New York, you don’t get to know all the neighborhoods,” laments Dion. Still, there's no place like it: "I've lived in London and Los Angeles, too. New York has been my home for the last eight years and I love this city so much. It's perfect for me. Creative and people get shit done!"
Our next stop is the practice space, a designated room in a warehouse already packed with APTBS’s instruments and equipment. Dion’s band Flowers of Evil also practice in the building, and Dion runs into a fellow band member. We tell them we caught their third show (at the Kanine Records/Culture Collide holiday party). Oliver admits he has yet to see the band perform. On future Flowers of Evil shows, Dion says, “There’s a three-day window for us to perform. We’re all in other bands.”
The coming APTBS tour (which started the day Transfixiation was released) will last about four months. Oliver says he's normally away from home "maybe seven to eight months out of the year." Their tour strategy? Map the tour out months in advance so they can get to do things that they want to do. The band suggests locations that the bookers wouldn’t otherwise think of because most times they “don’t know the distance between cities,” and the veteran band can “avoid traveling 14 hours between shows.” This way, they get to see friends.
As for how they decide on each show’s set list, they “figure out the set list ten minutes before; [it] creates a better vibe.” They tried to do same set list for three days in a row, and that didn’t work out because “you’re up there thinking about other things.” 
This is a band that keeps moving. Back in December, they (and we) were waiting to see how it would all pan out. Needless to say, they're rocking through life at full volume.

Line-Up :
Oliver Ackermann
Dion Lunadon
Robi Gonzalez
Label :
Dead Oceans
Tracklist :
01 – Supermaster
02 – Straight
03 – Love High
04 – What We Don’t See
05 – Deeper
06 – Lower Zone
07 – We’ve Come So Far
08 – Now It’s Over
09 – I’m So Clean
10 – Fill The Void
11 – I Will Die

dimanche 15 mars 2015

Album de la Semaine - Nite Fields - Depersonalisation

Nite Fields


Track By Track: Nite Fields 'Depersonalisation'
The harshly self-depreciating title suggests that Depersonalisation, the new LP from Brisbane-via-everywhere band 
Nite Fields, is merely a robotic presentation, void of emotional embraces and any notable explorations of the human 
condition. While, synonymous with negative connotations, at least in this case, the label is a constructive summation.
"Take the hole in my heart", lyricist Danny Venzin bluntly states on "Fill The Void", while the distant clattering
 of instruments, the last remaining signs of unbound expression in this cold, desolate destination, is snuffed out 
by the monotonous drone of the dominant harrowing strum. It's a seemingly lifeless place, with vocals tracing over 
persistent paths and musical mechanics churning over with little variance.
Yet, it's remarkably engaging.
The compositions' hauntingly hypnotic qualities should take most of the credit for this, although the slow unraveling 
of the introspective qualities of the unconcerned prose is equally captivating. With its bleak, sterile exterior, 
Depersonalisation sounds like a provisional and restless recording, attributable to its patchwork methodology with 
the record created at twenty different recording locations across three states in a four year stretch. It's a record entrenched
 in a lonely, dystopian existence, the ideal environment for the slickers of pop brightness, scatterings of positivity to 
shine their brightness.
In an attempt to unravel these conflicting, inexplicable qualities, Danny Venzin pieced together some slithers of 
insight into each of the album's songs for us.
1. "Depersonalised"
This is the eye of the storm. Gangajang might "watch lightening crack over cane fields" but we stand and record them 

with an iPhone.
2. "Fil The Void"
Probably not the best song on the album but very much a showcase of what we are about. I'm not interesting in the 

swinging trends of analog to digital and vice versa, and Liza will attest to the fact that I'll happily add both tofu and meat 
to spaghetti Bolognese sauce.
3. "You I Never Knew"
Probably the best song on the album but very much not a showcase of what we are about. The music might be pretty but 

lyrically this is the heaviest track on the album.
4. "Come Down"
The first Nite Fields song that appeared as a gift from below almost fully formed. No mum, this song is not about drugs.
5. "Pay For Strangers"
Somewhat about my disregard for money but more about Chris' disappointment at never having been to 

The Cabaret Club.
6. "Hell/Happy"
This song originally contained a) bongos b) djembe c) cowbell or d) all of the above.
7. "Prescription"
Another fucking love song.
8. "Like a Drone"
Influenced by my relationship with a far too sweet girl, who, as you can hear, also has a much better voice than I do. 

We recorded the vocals in the shower of the Bardon sharehouse I was living in at the time. Just a few days later I was 
evicted and it was demolished to put up some multi-million dollar apartments. Campbell Can Do.
9. "Winter's Gone"
This song. Fucking hell. We recorded it five times with four different people to get it right and it's only thanks to 
Whitney's insistence that we're here at track #9. Don't leave without hearing the sax solo.

Line Up :
Chris Campion
Liza Harvey
Danny Venzin
Michael Whitney

Label :
Felte Records

Tracklist :
01 – Depersonalised
02 – Fill the Void
03 – You I Never Knew
04 – Come Down
05 – Pay for Strangers
06 – HellHappy
07 – Prescription
08 – Like a Drone
09 – Winter’s Gone

dimanche 8 mars 2015

Album de la Semaine : The Soft Moon - Deeper

The Soft Moon

Interview de The Soft Moon, par Frank Deserto de Post-Punk

Since their debut, the band has released an EP, a high profile collaboration with John Foxx, and a follow up, 2012’s Zeros, and recently a self released FEEL” as a 7” / CASSETTE and show no signs of giving up the ghost. We were able to have a few words with Luis Vasquez- the principle songwriter and singer of The Soft Moon, and the results are as follows…

1.    How long have you been playing music?   What other bands have you played in?
My grandfather bought me a guitar when i was twelve years old and i wrote my first song a few months after. I called the song “Claustrophobic Man.” I often look back and wonder why i wrote a song about claustrophobia at twelve years of age? I’m sure I didn’t know the actual definition of the word at the time. At fifteen I started my first band. I convinced my best friend to buy a bass guitar and we started a band the same day he got one. I remember we had to get permission slips signed by our parents to play our first shows at local bars and venues because we were so young. I had to forge my mom’s signature because i was afraid she wouldn’t allow me to play. Through my teen years I played in numerous punk bands and when I was twenty I started writing music on my own.
2.    While the usual songwriting process centers around you, how do the other members contribute to the songs?
Because The Soft Moon is a personal journey for me it is important that I write on my own. Everything about the project is about self discovery, growth, emotional healing, battles with my inner demons, my biology, and digging up the past. I started The Soft Moon as a means of therapy for myself. It’s the live shows where the other members come in. I feel the live show is a separate entity of The Soft Moon. With the live aspect the other members can contribute their own unique interpretation giving it new life.
3.    Live and on record, the Soft Moon is an incredibly visceral experience.  I know playing music, for me, has always been mostly about exorcising my own personal demons.  Is this the case with you as well?
The visceral experience stems from the honesty of the songs. I can’t help but wear my heart on my sleeve when writing music, therefore the outcome is extremely sincere. I feel an intense catharsis when performing live. The audience sees that which adds to the performance. Within the songwriting i am always exorcising my own demons as if I’m trying to defeat an enemy and the enemy being myself.
4.    The Soft Moon’s lyrics are usually difficult to hear on the recording (though often clear during live performances).  What do you convey in the lyrics?
I’ve always struggled with expressing myself through words. It’s as if the words simply don’t exist. My vocal style in my music represents that. It’s as if I’m hitting a wall every time i try to say how i feel through a verbal language. I try to mimic my frustration with the vocal production in my music. This is why my voice is often buried and unclear. I feel as if I’m underwater struggling to swim to the surface. However, when i do sing, i tend to repeat a phrase over and over like a mantra which becomes meditative and psychological. This ties back to the healing process i mentioned earlier.
5.    It’s easy to trace influences in terms of the obvious touchstones, including the motorik beats of Neu! and the harsh catastrophic dread of Chrome, but outside of that, who are your idols?
I don’t particularly have any specific idols. I just love music in general. I can find inspiration within any type of music. But if i were to call out a few artists i would say Prince, Michael Jackson, Arvo Part, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Tito Puente, Patrick Miller, Enno Velthuys, Beethoven, Omar Khorshid, Erkin Koray, Madonna, etc. This list goes on…..
6.    Other than music, what or who else inspires you?
I’m mainly influenced by existence. Music is the tool in which feels most natural for me to express myself.
7.    Touring is often difficult for bands, given the manic highs and obviously strained lifestyle of being on the road.  Do you enjoy touring?  What’s your favorite place to play so far?  What’s the most ridiculous thing that’s happened on the road?
In the beginnings touring was very difficult for me. It was a big lifestyle transition and took a while to get used to. Not to say touring is a breeze now, but it’s definitely gotten a little easier. In fact, I feel quite comfortable on the road these days as it gives me a sense of structure and purpose. My life tends to be chaotic when I’m on breaks living in some random city. Many ridiculous things have happened on tour and of course i can’t remember one specific thing at this moment but i do remember having to drive straight from Barcelona to Amsterdam after our last show of a tour because our tour manager stayed up all night doing enough drugs to kill an adult horse which incapacitated him of driving. We finally arrive at the Amsterdam airport 14 hours later to catch our flight home and i realized i left my passport in Barcelona. It was my birthday. We had to wait a few days before we could finally catch another flight home after a month of touring.   
8.    Working with John Foxx must have been a dream.  How did the collaboration come about?  Did you actually meet and work together, or did “Evidence” stem from an online collaboration?
John Foxx contacted me a couple years ago about possibly working on a collaboration together. Until this day I’m not sure how he discovered The Soft Moon but I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to work with him. The Soft Moon had a show planned in London around the time he contacted me so I put him on the list and got to talk with him backstage. A few months after meeting him he sent me something to work with. It was an interesting sequence he created using one of my favorite synthesizers (Arp Odyssey). Because i loved his first album so much I decided I would take it in that direction hoping to create some nostalgia for the both of us and at the same time creating something fresh. After bouncing ideas back and forth we finally came up with an incredible finished piece of work. What I gained from this project was that i wasn’t such the lone wolf I thought I was and that I can actually work well with others.
9.    Any immediate plans for a follow up to Zeros?
The Soft Moon will be playing live through the summer and then I plan to take a break to write the third album. I’ve never been so anxious to write and it’s killing me actually. I’ve had such a strong urge to write these days but am committed to continue touring in support of Zeros. I only worry that I’m not missing out on expressing and learning important things about myself that will continue to help me grow as a human being. I guess I’ll just have to wait.
10.    In what ways would you develop The Soft Moon’s sound?  Do you see the project growing or changing in the next few years?
When I first started the project I only used what equipment I had. I didn’t have a particular sound in mind. It just was what it was. In terms of evolution, I plan on letting it happen naturally. I never predetermine what i am going to write. It all happens in the moment based on how I’m feeling or on new experiences I’ve had, whatever. One thing I know for sure is that i am going to continue to go deeper…

Line Up :
Luis Vasquez

Label : 
Captured Tracks

Tracklist :
01 – Inward
02 – Black
03 – Far
04 – Wasting
05 – Wrong
06 – Try
07 – Desertion
08 – Without
09 – Feel
10 – Deeper
11 – Being