Whiskas (of ¡Forward Russia!) Interview

One of the brightest groups to survive this past pre-SXSW hype, all members in tact, are Leeds’ ¡Forward Russia! who have branded such distinct tones that they honestly bear no one on one comparison with any of their contemporaries; granted they sound like a lot of bands combined, but yet they stand alone as something completely unique. Having released a string of successful EPs the band felt it proper to combine some thoughts, old and new, into what would become its first genuine album, Give Me A Wall. As the band’s guitarist, Whiskas, would mention in this interview, the songs blend with each musician contributing their own distinct sections. Whiskas also touches base on the band’s notorious ¡! logo, plans and anticipation for the band’s current tour and who he thinks could shine at next year’s SXSW Festival.

My introduction to the band came around the time of this past year’s SXSW. With the warm reception and the full-length release that followed, how much difference has a year made for the band?

Whiskas: Quite a lot! We’re just on a massive European tour, and we’ve been harking back a lot to what we were doing a year ago. Especially as it was In The City – the UK’s version of SXSW. A year ago we weren’t sure of or how we’d make our first album. Now we know we’re going to make our second album, the question of when depends on how successful the promotion of Give Me A Wall continues.

Listen after listen proves to me that the band’s music is very dependent on Tom Woodhead’s often high pitched vocals. There are many hundreds of bands that don’t utilize the talents of their singer to their full extent, why then does it work for Forward Russia to base much of its songs around Woodhead? Does the band write music around Woodhead’s lyrics, or is it quite the opposite?

Whiskas: I think we use every edge that we can, and I do agree that too few bands really use vocals well. A lot of it is just being lazy, and I think musically we’re not a lazy band, we will try and anything out until we’re happy with the way things work. However I don’t think we’re dependent around the vocals – and in fact the lyrics themselves come last in the song writing process, although we are constantly aware of the vocal melody while working on the texture of the song.

How did the band’s ¡! logo come about and do you think that it helps the band’s marketability?

Whiskas: It was a kind of happy accident, we were playing round with having the name with extra punctuation, then we started using the font, which gave the exclamation marks the look they did. I think we like the idea that the band is identifiable by the symbol and so have played on that. That does help our ‘marketability’ but really it just gets people interested. The music is not exactly the most commercial thing, so little things like that help us reach to people who wouldn’t usually think to care.

There’s something within the band’s music that is oddly familiar, where does Forward Russia’s sound come from?

Whiskas: I don’t know! We always say that we are the product of everything we’ve ever listened to, so maybe that’s got something to do with it? I think/hope we take the good and interesting bits out of lots of bands. I think we do put some poppy hooks in, and that gives it a bit of recognizability

Who has had the greatest influence on how the band’s music develops as time progresses?

Whiskas: Not sure if you mean within the band here, or externally. So I’ll answer both quickly! Within the band, I think I used to come in with huge chunks of song, that we’d arrange as a whole band, but now more and emphasis is put on everyone coming up with there own bits and bobs. We’re better at challenging what we all want as well. Externally, I don’t know what has been the single greatest influence. We all left one track garage rock bands, and the big thing we’ve said about Forward Russia, is that we’d never be too involved to not try anything.

It’s not even close next spring’s SXSW, but people are already talking about it. Are there any bands that you see coming out of it as breakthrough artists?

Whiskas: Wow, that’s a forward question! Hopefully a band we’re working with on Dance To The Radio called ‘The Pigeon Detectives’ will do really well. I think they will, though it’s quite a British sound. I think there’s an interesting crop of new English bands who just missed this year that I’ll be intrigued to see how they do – Klaxons, Mumm-Ra, Fields…some of them could do really well.

As the band makes its way through Europe and North America are there any locations that you’re particularly looking forward to playing?

Whiskas: We’ve really enjoyed re-visiting Berlin, Barcelona and Brussels so far in Europe. I think they’re our favorites, and we’re looking forward to Paris this week though I think we’ll be very busy with promo! We haven’t seen much of America yet, it’s so big and spread out, within the cities I mean. New York seems cool, I think we’re looking forward to heading up to Canada. I’m really looking forward to Seattle and Detroit ‘cause of the musical heritage. It will be nice to see Austin again too, see what it’s like when it’s not SXSW.

If the band had one last performance who would you like to share the stage with?

Whiskas: Wow, I don’t know. I think you’d get a different answer from all of us. For whatever reason it would be our last gig, it would be nice to play with all our Leeds friends – This Et Al, Duels, iLiKETRAiNS and all the guys. It was great when we used to play together every week. We don’t see them enough nowadays.

Oxford Collapse “Remember the Night Parties” Review

Whenever a band is labeled as transitioning from independent to label there comes, for one reason or another, a discrepancy in reputability. In the situation of Sub Pop and Oxford Collapse, however, it seems a perfect match for both sides, on the surface, without anyone really scratching their head wondering where the street-cred has gone. Following up some of the most popular underground rock anthems comes a band ready to break out from independent monotony and reach for whatever spotlight which may be available. Unfortunately, whether it be timing of release or simply lack of variation in the band’s song process, Remember the Night Parties leaves its listeners confused as to whether the jump to a label has actually helped the band realize something bigger and brighter.

To be fair to the Collapse, the tracks do not sound awful or polished in comparison to the band’s previous efforts. The band still wreaks of toned down guitar sputters and doesn’t shy away from mimicking previous albums’ sounds, dripping of under-production. But for those who are familiar with the band, fans even, a question slowly comes to mind as the songs glide into the mid-stages of the album; where did the art-rocking go?

Not to say that there isn’t a solid level of high-strung rock ‘n roll overtones to every song on Remember The Night Parties, but previous releases such as “If It Dies In Peoria Then Who The Hell Cares?” stood as a diversion to the band’s consistent sound, pronouncing the Oxford Collapse to be a group who isn’t afraid to release music that is contrastingly inauspicious and crass.

Ultimately though, the music is still good. It’s what any listener should have expected from the band whether or not it jumped at an opportunity to sign with a label. In all fairness Sub Pop still holds one of the boldest rosters in modern music and serves as a perfect home for the band that, in all honesty, doesn’t support mainstream ears. But the album comes at a time when it doesn’t stand out, and could easily be overlooked by the majority of music fan, not already familiar with its songs. Either way, Remember The Night Parties boasts a solid eleven song set that starts slow and ends with one of its most amusingly paced songs “In Your Volcano,” showing that the band is not merely looking forward, but looking back, too, ensuring that they don’t abandon any listeners along the way.

Shout Out Out Out Out

I don’t really get off on the whole electronic-wave of indie that has inch by inch, step by step, made its way into modern rock. Frankly I’m a separatist, rock is rock and electronica is electronica and I love them both the way they are. With that, Shout Out Out Out Out comes off exactly as MSTRKRFT did when I first heard them, they’re simply average electrorock. I can’t dance to them in the club (if I were to club) and I can’t crank the group when I want to drive fast. “Chicken Soup…” is about as good of a song as I’ve heard from them, but even at that the group sounds like a Rapture afterthought.

Sure it could be that I was born in the group’s rival city, or it could be that the band really offers nothing new to the productivity of a dwindling genre. Either way, if you’re “into that MSTRKRFT stuff,” you’ll probably fall deeply in love with Shout Out Out Out Out.

Ari Up & Tessa Pollitt (of the Slits) Interview

Finding a balance between the crass sounds of punk and dub long before bands such as The Clash formulated the blend as commercial, The Slits now seek to reclaim their sound and place in history with a return to both the studio and to touring after a twenty five year hiatus. In doing so an opportunity presents itself as a meeting place for family and friends to combine their collective thoughts under the guise of one of rock music’s true innovators. In this brief interview original Slits Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt discuss this new union of friends and family, including members of The Sex Pistols, Adam and the Ants and Siousie & The Banshees, as well as future plans for recording and what it was like to record together after such a long time apart.

What was the recording process like for you after the long absence?

Ari Up: Very hard – very quick + very sexual.

Tessa Pollitt: Being in the studio was like going back home after a long trip away for me. It put direction and purpose back in my life, but Ari has been recording a lot over the years. I can’t wait to get an album recorded with the new musicians, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.

Did working with Paul Cook and Marco Pittoni feel like an old memory revisited or have you kept up with them both for all this time?

Ari Up: It felt very Sex Pistols verses The Slits. They are family!

Tessa Pollitt: Working with Paul and Marco and also Chris (bass player from Adam and the Ants) was a laugh and a half. We recorded in Edwin Collins Studio, an old school studio used by Dennis Bovell a lot. It was good to work with people from that era, also Holly Cook Paul’s daughter is now a member of The Slits! Pass it on to the new generation is what we say.

When considering your roll as a female punk icon, who today inspires you musically?

Ari Up: PUNK? I think we’re icon for women and men, period! Not just punk… or what is punk anyway?

Tessa Pollitt: I like Missy Elliot, Pink, White Stripes’ drummer – she could be a Slit! There seems to be more women picking up instruments. Gypsy music is my favorite at the moment, Hungarian, Bulgarian, North African and Eastern Music.

What plans are there to continue The Slits name in the future?

Ari Up: The continuation of The Slits Revolution.

Tessa Pollitt: The Slits are here to stay.

Will the group be touring at all this fall, and recording any other new material?

AU: Yes – USA.

Tessa Pollitt: Yes we are touring all over USA. Check our website www.theslits.co.uk.

If The Slits had one final show to play, who would you most like to share the stage with?

AU: Are you joking? Nothing is final! We don’t even go there!

Tessa Pollitt : Kurt Cobain or The Simpsons.

Chris Chu (of the Morning Benders) Interview

Berkeley, California’s The Morning Benders play a simplified rock sound that plays to the hearts of modern indie and pop fan alike. Having been a band for roughly a year lead singer Chris Chu harmlessly harmonizes over playfully Voxtrot-like anti-ballads with both innocence and a maturity of where exactly the band fits within the realm of modern rock music. In this discussion Chu compares various notes of exposure the band has had, the difficulties with having been together for such a short time and his song writing process.

Browsing around the band’s website (again) proved interesting as I caught a quote surrounding the band’s mention on Pitchfork, “Pitchfork Media gave us a track review today for ‘Grain of Salt.’ Pretty crazy that they covered us at all, considering we are a relatively small band.” What does it mean for the band to have internet vs. print exposure such as this?

Chris Chu: In the end, it’s really all the same. Whether it’s just someone telling his/her friend, or a magazine writing about us, the more people we can get to hear our music, the better. However, I think the internet exposure seems especially meaningful to me because that’s where I get a lot of my music information. I don’t read any music magazines on a regular basis, so seeing ourselves where I look for updates is pretty exciting.

How has being such a young band helped and hurt your progress towards greater exposure?

Chris Chu: I’m not sure. It’s tough getting yourself out there. We just try to circulate it, and hope people will like what they hear. Sometimes people are excited to hear new bands, and give them a chance. Some people completely dismiss new bands. It works both ways.

For those that aren’t familiar with your sound, please entertain a madlib for me, explaining the band’s sound: The Morning Benders ______ with a rusty _____ and most definitely don’t sound like ______!

Chris Chu: The Morning Benders turn heads with a rusty shovel and most definitely don’t sound like humans!

What is the biggest source of inspiration when writing songs like “I Was Wrong?”

Chris Chu: People I suppose. I end up writing a lot of songs about people, about how certain people make me feel. I don’t know how to answer this question.

When I first heard the band, I called The Morning Benders something between alt-country and folk-core. What do you think the band sounds like?

Chris Chu: We are more on the rock and roll side of things these days. We’ve evolved a lot since the six demo recordings done for the EP, and our live show is definitely a lot more rocking. You’ll have to come to a show and decide for yourself.

Many groups have a shining moment on stage that defines their career, please look into the future and predict what The Morning Benders’ shining moment will be.

Chris Chu: I don’t wanna jinx it.

If The Morning Benders had one last show to play together, who would you most like to share the stage with?

Chris Chu: The Beatles.

Teddybears “Soft Machine” Review

There is a sharp contrast in terms of contribution and exploration between the worlds of rock music and electronic music. Without heavily elaborating, if a punk rock icon was to release an electronic track, and in doing so expanding their previously stagnant sound base by leaps and bounds, it would be viewed as shocking and bold. But, if a group of elecro-grooving masked men took the stage and blazed a blanket of music covering everything from dance hall to electronica (circa 1996) to their version of modern punk, it becomes essentially complacent with the genre’s expectations. Such is Sweden’s Teddybears.

Iggy Pop’s contributing chorus in “Punkrocker” sounds so childish and undeveloped while at the same time serving as an inside look to what might be the band’s hidden mission statement. The punk model no longer becomes influenced by music, but rather persona and style through his words, “You can hear me laughing to myself, you can hear the music in my head, ‘cause I’m a punkrocker, yes I am.” Though Iggy has often been given much more recognition for his physical, rather than lyrical, punch his words help develop the current Teddybears, especially when given the group’s long standing history.

Founded as Skull in the early 1990s, the band broke out on the traditional grindcore scene, mildly shifting towards electronica over the course of a decade as the bands name, too, changed. Teddybears (formerly Teddybears STHLM) branded the band’s name as a reaction to an edgier trend among Scandinavian black metal, and its band’s unnecessarily graphic names, further leveraging a means towards what might honestly be considered anti-system. The group is honestly far from a just a Jonny-come-lately bunch of bandwagoneers hoping to grasp onto the remains of dance-punk, but rather a broadly unknown set of innovators that has lead the pack throughout.

And now they’re everywhere. The Mad Cobra collaboration “Cobrastyle” has been licensed on Moby-sized proportions, finding a perfect sound somewhere between Snatch and a hand-clappers convention. As such, it wouldn’t be excessive to compare the band to Moby, as Soft Machine could honestly be Teddybears’ Play. Both had a darker history in rock before moving towards an, at times, sickeningly sweet pop sound where they found their mainstream success.

“I’m a punkrocker, yes I am.” In Teddybears’ “Are You Feelin’ It” the group comprises traditional dance hall toasting over a balance of guitar flusters and basic keyboards. The track ultimately finds itself being the ultimate breaking point as to where the group is headed; but furthermore, what the group’s members Patrik Arve, Joakim Åhlund, Klas Åhlund and Olsson feel punk rock to be. It’s not even remotely kosher to think of punk as what the term has come to represent in the past decade, so rather than creating a traditional set of Stooges-styled songs, the group fully embraced one of the last genres that has yet to find long-lasting mainstream success, electronic music. With certain moments and select artists, true, it has topped charts worldwide. But to the vast majority of hip hop, metal, pop or even indie rock fan, electronica has long since gone the way of the dogs. Teddybears are punk rock, yes they are.

Nathan Willett (of Cold War Kids) Interview

There has been an increasingly bitter debate between members of mainstream media outlets and those who describe themselves as apart of the blogosphere concerning the relevance and necessity of both sides. Some claim that mainstream media, including much of print media, is going the way of the dinosaur in the sense that it gives a dated sense of current events and is run by those who have their fingers far from the pulse of modern trends and events. Then there are others who dispute that blogs are essentially a worthless journalistic source as they are jaded and unnecessary from a standpoint of real scholarly merit. This war of words has come to a head recently with both Rolling Stone and Pitchfork Media taking shots at the blogosphere for unjustly deeming Cold War Kids as the next big thing in indie rock. In this discussion the band’s lead singer, Nathan Willett, touches on the blogosphere’s hype machine, the band’s quick rise to popularity and what could possibly be the greatest opening spot in the history of the world.

Who are the Cold War Kids and where did the band’s name come from?

Nathan Willett: Cold War Kids are Nathan Willett, Jonathan Russell, Matt Aveiro, Matthew Maust. Bands name came from Maust being in Eastern Europe on vacation of some kind and being at some historical site of statues of world leaders and writing a poem about it on the spot that somehow breathed the phrase that many years later became our band name.

The band was recently featured in Rolling Stone along side of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Arctic Monkeys and Tapes ‘N Tapes in a feature entitled “Fire Hype, Then Kill: How the geeks who control the music blogosphere destroy the bands they love.” Are you familiar with music blogging and do you feel that there has been any backlash towards the band because of its internet hype?

Nathan Willett: I’d say we get a B- in blog familiarity. When we made our last EP we chose some blogs that we knew about and had bands that we liked and we sent our CDs to them. I think it helped us to get the attention of some of those blogs and maybe made them come out to see our show. I’ve seen some folks write that they don’t like our band, but I think
that comes with the territory of greater exposure, inside and outside of the computer.

Do you feel that the band has risen to some form of underground popularity in a short period of time or rather has it developed a fan base over its lifetime?

Nathan Willett: I’d say we’re very fortunate to have people behind us. 99% of bands play for 10 years and get no love and turn into bitter people. We’ve only been a band for 2 years but we have lived this band nonstop; touring our buns off and recording, etc. So yes, I believe we have been fortunate to develop a fan base over our short lifetime.

Many bands find that they are apart of some sort of “scene.” I don’t believe that Cold War Kids can really be considered any part of a scene, but if the band was…who else would be apart of the Fullerton, California scene?

Nathan Willett: Richard Swift used to be from Fullerton but he moved to Oregon. There is no scene there, really. Delta Spirit is a sweet band of guys we know from San Diego area. Sam Owens lives in Shelton WA. Overall, music in southern CA seems destined to the confines of punk and hardcore, or at least for now.

Some bands perform music about cars, some about love; what is the inspiration behind Cold War Kids’ music?

Nathan Willett: Inspiration behind music…. Thinking about peoples everyday battles in life; trying to scoop up some of that and shape it in a way that can flip their ideas and or your own.

What’s the best part about playing live for the band?

Nathan Willett: Best part about live shows is just moving around, getting to vibe together as musicians and do a goofy dance in the middle of it all.

If the Cold War Kids had one last show to play together who would you most like to share the stage with?

Nathan Willett: We’d probably say yes to open for Nick Cave and Fiona Apple performing duets all night.

Janie Porche (of the Bound Stems) Interview

The Bound Stems are a Chicago-based band that bum-rushed internet outlets through a variety of contemporary grassroots promotional methods, which ultimately served to support the band through non-traditional means. Without completely excluding mainstream outlets members of the band each contributed to contacting a large number or internet outlets which resulted in a variety of high publicity profiles on sites such as Stereogum and Daytrotter. In this discussion singer Janie Porche discusses the band’s decision to use new media marketing as opposed to traditional print media, internet hype, and what to expect from a Bound Stems live show.

Internet hype typically contributes to developing a different illustration of a band than what truly exists. With the recent contributions to this hype surrounding the Bound Stems from the likes of Daytrotter, Stereogum and Pitchfork what thoughts would you like to reinforce in peoples minds before they start calling you the next Tapes n’ Tapes?

Janie Porche: I think “internet hype” is a new name for an old, wonderful thing. In the 80s and 90s people were making fanzines, and mix tapes, and mailing them all over the country in support of bands that they enjoyed and wanted to see succeed. Fans wrote to record labels and actually bought singles. The internet is a faster way of communicating these same ideas; people trying to support something that they care about.

Additionally, bands on small record labels often can’t get records in every store in the country - so when we show up in, say, Lincoln, Nebraska and someone in the audience is humming along to a song they found online, there’s nothing more we can ask for. Also, I think Daytrotter is doing something really amazing. They’re no hype, those guys love their stuff. Also, we love grapes n’ grapes. N’ crepes.

As you have taken to promoting via the internet, how do you feel that doing so supports the band compared to doing so through print media outlets? I suppose the question could be asked, as well, how beneficial to truly breaking a band is the internet compared to print media?

Janie Porche: Bloggers ultimately have the choice whether or not to post about the band, and that’s what seems so important about the whole thing. We could find money and make a print advertisement where we’re all standing in a weird pose next to baby animals, but that doesn’t mean that anyone likes the music: it means that we paid enough for that ad. Some of the more popular blogs get hundreds of CDs per week to review and potentially post about, and there’s no editor or marketing manager saying who should get reviewed. It’s organic: if you like the record, post about it. We’ll appreciate it. If you don’t like the record, that’s fine too, there are plenty more in the next stack.

Magazines ARE beautiful and glossy. But the latest thing that really bugs is when they show a musician, say Thom Yorke, and then there’s a whole article dissecting his “denim preferences” and suggesting where to shop for “Thom’s Look”. Sick. Let’s show Thom’s gear. Let’s dissect his amplifier preferences instead.

How does having the band’s base in Chicago compare to calling some place such as NY home? Is it easier or harder to garner attention?

Janie Porche: Chicago has been good to us, and we hope that we’re making her proud. But as your previous questions indicate, we’re often most accessible in a digital space. People in Austin or Seattle can find our songs, email us, check our tour dates, and send us drawings.

If you had to describe your music to those who had never heard the band before, what would you tell them?

Janie Porche: I would tell them to listen to it more than twice. Our music is full of layers, both in the live performance and on our recordings; no one is ever standing still. We’re making lots of sounds, and it takes a few investigations to separate them, select favorites, listen for them again, hum them later. You might not have ever heard music like this - we hadn’t either.

The band’s MySpace page lists Zeppelin as an influence. Are there any modern bands that have directly contributed to the band’s sound?

Janie Porche: All of the Teen Wolf movies, as well as Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, Dances with Wolves, WolfHawk, WULFMART, and Werewolves in London.

What can be expected when seeing the Bound Stems live?

Janie Porche: When things are going well we smile a lot. When equipment breaks, we play very, very fast.

If the band had one final show to play, who would you most like to share the stage with?

Janie Porche: The Plastic Constellations, Spoon, and Maritime.

Dark Days: Blind Melon & The Darkness Take a Nose-Dive

I quit. Undoubtedly those two words have lead to both shame and freedom for hundreds of millions of people around the world. A little over a week ago Justin Hawkins, lead singer for English glam revivalists The Darkness, announced that he would be leaving the band that helped him reach the highest moments of his career. It was a move towards stable and long lasting health for Hawkins, who was recently released from rehab, “It would be damaging to my recovery to stay on. I’m not blaming the band for my problem. I am an addict.” It wasn’t the decision by Hawkins that was shocking, surprisingly though, it was the decision by his now former band mates that they would go on without him that startled most.

The band’s debut release, Permission to Land, was a flop when it was first released in the UK, as it failed to find chart recognition until the re-release of its single “I Believe in Thing Called Love.” It was then that the band quickly found fame and climbed to the point at which it would eventually top out, number 2 on the UK singles chart. The album would eventually sell over a million and a half copies in the UK, nearly 700,000 copies in the US and garner The Darkness and its quirky front man worldwide attention.

But as the band’s fame progressed bassist Frankie Poulan suddenly quit, citing musical differences in the spring of 2005. Claiming that he was forced out of the band, Poulan set a dark preface to the band’s release One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back which would be released in November of the same year. It was immediately received to a gamut of mixed emotion among critics and fans alike. As sales and interest in the band continued to spiral, the album ultimately selling a lowly 90,000 copies in the US, Hawkins’ found his addiction peaking, ultimately ending with a check-in to rehab in August of 2006.

One Way Ticket… was a strong follow-up but was met with strong criticism against its initial label hype, and was forgotten about quickly as Atlantic discontinued promotion of the album and its singles (there were three, by the way). With that, one day after the departure of the band’s only real point of attraction, its label, Atlantic, dropped the band for good. To some extent The Darkness follows a number of bands who had been given the world with the release of their debut album and were subject to underwhelming support from their label when trying to make something work the second time around. As was the case with Blind Melon with its sophomore release Soup, which I personally still hold as a far more solid and relevant release the band’s self-titled debut.

On October 20th month long rumors were confirmed that one time alt. rock icons Blind Melon would reform with new singer Travis Warren. Though Blind Melon and The Darkness are about as far apart on the rock spectrum as possible, on the surface their remaining musicians seem to hold similar ulterior motives to their current musical conquests. By continuing to perform music under the cloak of a previously successful brand its members are discrediting their current art and taking away from whatever legacy their music once had.

With Shannon Hoon’s death from a cocaine overdose in 1995 and Hawkins’ deteriorating health these bands have both been affected by the darker side of fame, the accessibility to whatever it may be that one wants and the vulnerability of the human spirit. But by continuing these bands under their once famous monikers they are depressing any chance they had at reaching out to their past fan bases. A fan’s plead: for not only the sake of your future endeavors but for respect for your respective pasts, change your band’s name, learn from the past and experience the freedom that can come as a result of quitting.

Ane Brun “Rubber & Soul ” Video

This is an absolutely stunning video that somehow translates the already beautiful song into a completely different light. It also features Teitur, one of Brun’s many collaborators as seen in both her Duets and A Temporary Divealbums.

R.E.M. “And I Feel Fine: Best of the IRS Years 1982-1987″ Review

Had you told me that R.E.M. was an established band when I first heard them I wouldn’t have really known what to make of them. They had just released the reverb-strong, grungy knock-off Monster and were fueled by airplay from their tracks “What’s the Frequency Kenneth” and “Strange Currencies.” Once my young ears began putting the connection together between the “It’s the End of the World…” band and this new, stylish R.E.M.I began finding a grown appreciation for the band and its music. I feel like somewhat of a shy recovered junkie, saying that I started with crack instead of something more fashionable as cocaine, but in 1994 Monster was my crack. Unfortunately I was too young to have been hip during the band’s Murmur days but slowly over time I’ve come to accept the band for being something more than classic rock radio hipsters.

It started for me not too long after the Monster days and I can attribute my deeper enjoyment of R.E.M. to two sources. One is the renowned Trouser Press who introduced me to the band’s longtime standing as (shockingly underground) rock idols. For a young boy, starving to find music outside of the realm of his local rock station’s playlist, the book Noise from the Underground: A Secret History of Alternative Rock served as a musical wet dream. Its pictures were amazing and its pages were full of bands that were crass, daring and unbeknownst to me, had already begun to change the face of music. It was in the Selected Discography, between Lou Reed and The Replacements that R.E.M.’s Murmer first peaked my attention, and where I was further introduced to the lasting impact of the band. But after finding the tape at a local used record store, I lost interest as it really didn’t have the same effect on me as the band’s modern music did at the time.

Then as New Adventures in Hi-Fi was released and each album after it subsequently found itself being accepted by an increasingly smaller audience. Best of the IRS Years proves to be the link creating a full circle for all of R.E.M.’s fanbase. It is a refreshing reprise for those who lived through it and an interesting historical reference to those who may have crossed paths with the band at later stages in its career. Much of what is on the double CD set is absolutely timeless material. There are classic tracks such as “Radio Free Europe” and longtime cult favorites such as “Superman.” As the songs progress the album becomes increasingly contagious and nostalgic with there being far too many “Oh, I remember that song” moments to mention, but what comes as the exclamation point to the collection is that after listening to the songs the listener realized how truly vital R.E.M. is to modern music; even without a solid release this Millennia.

The Vice Guide to Travel

There are multiple levels in which I am attracted to the Vice: Guide to Travel DVD, and each clip I’ve seen piles on the frustration of not personally being apart of something so dramatically inspiring. For when your job is tedious and offers you no formal outlet for thought, nor does it offer inspiration, you become really tired really fast of living each day to work. The laundry list of journalists working with Vice for this DVD is long and truly unique, and I have to imagine that each one of them thanks their lucky stars for being blessed with the opportunity they were given to discover something more about our world.

With that being said, the clips are ugly. They prove that much of your thoughts and suspicions were true about much of the world, giving you a first hand encounter with much of what is rarely even hinted at in mainstream news: radioactive leftovers, Aryan-nation members in Paraguay, the world’s largest underground arms market and more. So, on one hand it’s insightful and inspiring on the basis of discovering the reality of things, and on the other, it’s completely messed up. Maybe having the opportunity to watch the entire thing will further enlighten me, who knows.

Mattie Safer (of the Rapture) Interview

The Rapture have taken the reigns as model leaders for whatever term you might apply to their scene; but whatever you do, be sure that you don’t call it dance punk. The band has taken post-punk and squeezed it through a funky electronic frosting bag, delivering it as a smooth clash that lands somewhere between night club and rock hall. Ryan Schreiber of Pitchfork Media referred to their last album, Echoes, as “something completely fresh, something we hadn’t heard done in quite this way, or at least not quite so flawlessly” before naming it the site’s pick for Top Album of 2003. With cautious approach, many have looked to the band’s recent release Pieces of the People We Love as a breaking point for the group, which would prove whether or not Echoes was simply a fluke or if the band is in fact for real. In this interview vocalist/bassist Mattie Safer discusses the band’s sound, his dislike for dance punk and how The Rapture approached this album compared to its last.

“The Rapture. Formed in San Diego, moved to New York, slept under bridge. More details to follow.” If one thing was missing from the band’s self-described biography, what is it?

Mattie Safer: Handsome devils.

For the few people out there who aren’t familiar with The Rapture’s sound, what sounds formulated the band’s past and what can be expected from “Pieces of the People We Love?”

Mattie Safer: The underlying element of it is the funk. The sound of one band as a maraca. Really people should just expect some ass shaking sounds.

Do brands such as dance-punk even register with the band or are they completely useless hype terms?

Mattie Safer: Dance punk sucks. It’s one of the worst terms for it I’ve heard. Dance punk bands… there’s no future in their funk.

Along those lines, during the time-period surrounding the release of “Echoes,” various bands including LCD Soundsystem and many DFA artists were all thought of as harvesting in a musical scene in New York. From your viewpoint how has the sound of these bands changed since 2003 and which bands are emerging as the newest innovators?

Mattie Safer: Holy Hail is pretty great. I’d say that rather than harvesting the scene though bands like us, LCD… we were making it.

When recording the new album did any thoughts linger trying to differentiate the structure from “Echoes?”

Mattie Safer: I think the biggest difference this time is in the approach. We really tried to emphasize an approach of one band one sound. I think the biggest influence on the sound of this record is really just listening to each other, enjoying playing together and challenging everyone else to be better by doing it better individually.

How has the popularity of that album affected the band; has it given the band more confidence when playing live?

Mattie Safer: It’s always nice to be loved. We used to have to confront the audience. Now we can all raise up together.

If you could play one last show, who would you want to share the stage with?

Mattie Safer: Martin Lawrence.

Subhumans (Canada) Interview

Punk. It has changed from a term labeling a condensed segment of society’s outcasts to that which labels pop culture accessories and commercial music. Heralded Vancouver first wave punk icons, the Subhumans, reignite its reputation with the recent release on Alternative Tentacles, New Dark Age Parade. The album serves as the reuniting element to a band that has been at the forefront of history, a band that had lost a member to imprisonment, and a band that eventually collapsed due to internal pressures and disbanded. New Dark Age Parade sees original members Brian Goble, Mike Graham, and Gerry Hannah team with drummer Jon Card (ex-Personality Crisis/SNFU/DOA/Stretch Marks) in what marks itself as one of the most crucially outspoken anti-apathetic exertions that recalls sincere punk ethics and aesthetics. In this interview the band’s original members all take time to discuss modern day celebrity, modern punk bastardization, and Gerry Hannah sets the record straight on America’s War on Terror.

With the modern expansion of globalization many countries are finding a similar fate to that of America, fighting wars abroad as well as at home. Between class wars and wars of violence the world is an increasingly scary place to live in. If the band were to have released “World At War” in the late '70s would the lyrics have reflected a different story?

Gerry Hannah: Not much of a different story, but things have certainly intensified since then. Obviously globalization, deregulation, and neoliberal economics, which were just starting to take hold back then, have played a huge role in creating poverty and hopelessness on a scale unimagined in the '70s. Of course, the neocons will tell you that you that these processes have created more wealth, but what they won’t tell you is that while they’ve created scandalous amounts of wealth for a very tiny percentage of society, they have actually worked to decrease the ranks of the middle class and vastly increase the ranks of the very poor. Consequently, there are far more people living in desperate circumstances now than there were in the '70s. But having said that, there were plenty of poor people with “no future” back then as well and then, as now, it was completely unnecessary; they could have been housed, clothed, fed, and employed with minimal consequences to our general standard of living. Although, perhaps in that scenario, the stinking rich would’ve had to be a little less “stinking.”

As for military campaigns, yes for sure the world seems to be more at war now and for sure it is scary. In the late '70s, the Vietnam War had just ended and U.S. administrations had learned an important lesson from that war: better to have proxy armies fight your battles for you in secret than to send actual American troops in to do the dirty work. That way no one at home gets upset about American loss of life, the mainstream media isn’t all that interested, and the people doing the fighting for you can be as brutal and merciless as need be without any American ever being held accountable (at least in theory). As a result, for most people in North America and Europe, it seemed to be a relatively peaceful time. For many people in places like El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Chile, Angola, and Zaire (to name just a few) though, the time was anything but peaceful. The violence and cruelty inflicted on them was easily as horrific as what is now being inflicted on the people of the Middle East and the numbers of people mutilated, raped, tortured and murdered was staggering. In El Salvador alone it’s been estimated that approximately 75,000 civilians were killed during this time.

And sure, with the Armageddon generals, the Project for the New American Century and the Zionists currently clamoring for an even larger “theater” of war than the massive, miserable mess that we already have on the go, yeah, the future doesn’t look too damn friendly. But it’s important to remember that in the '70s we had the specter of nuclear annihilation hanging just inches over out heads, ever threatening to turn our dreams into nightmares. That was scary too. (I guess it still is though, with the U.S. possessing the greatest stockpile of WMDs in the world and crazy talk in Washington of tactical nukes possibly being used against targets in Iran.)

“Class of the Intransigents” touches on America’s War on Terror and one of the most emotional moments in the song comes through the lyric “You’re not ‘freedom fighters’ you’re compassion betrayed.” America has now seen more human life lost through this war than through the attacks of September 11 — could you elaborate on the specifics of this song and what you feel can possibly be done to counter these modern atrocities?

Gerry Hannah: First of all, I object to the phrase “War on Terror” being used to describe the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. It isn’t a war on terror, it is terror. What was obvious to thousands of us a long time ago has finally been admitted to by U.S. spy agencies themselves in an internal document titled, the “National Intelligence Estimate,” namely that the war in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism and is helping to fuel Islamic radicalism worldwide. Add to that the fact that the war has led to the deaths of between 30,000 – 100,000 civilians (not to mention 10 times that number of permanent, dismembering/disfiguring injuries) and it becomes obvious that we are in fact, talking about terrorism on a massive scale. So no more talk about “America’s War on Terror,” please.

In answer to your question, “Intransigents” refers to both the arch-conservative, so-called “Christians” and Zionists here in the West that believe you can shoot and bomb people into accepting your master plan and the arch-conservative, so-called “Muslims” in the East that believe pretty much the same thing. Both sides seem pretty firmly entrenched in their beliefs and both sides are causing untold suffering and grief through their actions. Both sides claim to have God on their side and that their’s is a merciful god and yet both sides have shown precious little mercy towards the populations they claim to be liberating. Both sides claim to be freedom fighters, but by their actions we can see that they don’t even know what freedom is. You can’t truly believe in freedom and at the same time believe that it’s okay to bully, torture, and murder a people into seeing and doing things your way.

We in the West can help to avoid these atrocities by only going to war as an absolute last resort and by keeping known war-mongers and corporate henchmen out of office. The war in Iraq was never about keeping people in the US safe and secure; it was about maintaining U.S. hegemony in the world, providing U.S. oil companies with access to oil and greater ability to set oil prices, providing billions in profits to U.S. defense contractors and last but not least, giving Saddam Hussein one on the chin for pappy Bush. There were no WMDs and there was no link to Al-Quaeda. The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has said so in its report issued September 8, 2006 and come on, it was pretty obvious even before the invasion. As well, it’s clear that Bush and his cronies were itching for a fight with Iraq long before 9/11. Yet people voted for him anyways. They either didn’t know about it or didn’t care about it.

As for people in the East, I don’t really feel too comfortable lecturing them as to what they might do to counter these modern atrocities as they are clearly having far more atrocities inflicted on them than we are here in the West. I guess if I were to say something to them it would be, look, please remember that there are tens of thousands of people in the West that do not support the actions our leaders are taking against people in the Middle East. In fact, there are tens of thousands of us who deplore these actions and are actively working to try to stop them. Please try to remember that when deciding what actions to take and against whom in response to the senseless horror that is being inflicted upon you. Governments in the West, as in the East, often do not act according to the people’s wishes.

How have years of outspoken protest helped fuel the thoughts portrayed in “Nowhere to Run?”

Gerry Hannah: To be honest, not so much. The song describes more of a personal struggle with depression, anger, and a fear of failure. It’s a song about how easy it is to keep making the same mistakes over and over again when one is afraid to make the necessary changes in one’s life to become a whole person. It often seems easier to run away from the fear and pain one feels inside, but eventually (hopefully), one realizes that you can’t run away from something you’re carrying around inside of you. You have to deal with it. You have to understand it and to meet it face to face in order to eventually be free of it. I guess I use my personal experiences with this problem to speak to others who may also be struggling with these issues, other “wounded people” (as John Lydon calls them in The Filth and the Fury), in an attempt to present a possible solution.

“In Good Company” and “Celebrity” are blatant cries for the demonization of modern celebrity. Though examples of gross misuse of privilege are far too abundant to begin discussing, do you have any heated examples that directly spurred these songs?

Gerry Hannah: Actually, “In Good Company” is more a message to disenfranchised, alienated people everywhere telling them that they’re not alone, it’s a message to people who are sick to death of the greed, hatred and violence in abundance all around them. It’s a message saying, hey, we’re sick to death of it too and there are lots more like us all over the world (even though mainstream society would have us believe otherwise).

Mike Graham: Well, Ms. Hilton and Mr. Jackson were both in the news a lot when I wrote “Celebrity,” but when are they not? That kind of person and the mis-focused attention they receive were the starting point for that song, but the onrushing stream of celebrity celebration is so pervasive that it’s almost impossible to pick out single examples. It all just mushes together into a stew of unpleasant detail.

The broader point of the song was that the notion of celebrity is metastasizing, spreading from the Hollywood entertainment world until it’s a general model for the culture. Journalism, politics, and business: everywhere you look there are cults of personality, deliberately created to dazzle us and keep our thoughts away from actual issues. We’re encouraged to view those who wield power as personalities of various levels of attractiveness, which effectively ends any discourse about the wielding of power itself.

In relation to the band’s songwriting, past and present, have you found that there are topics or opinions that you’ve distanced yourself from that you had previously stood for or held?

Mike Graham: I don’t think my opinions on anything I’ve written about have changed that much over the years. There are a lot of things I’ve found out about that I didn’t know in 1979, but the general shape of the world hasn’t changed that much, and the political or social issues that found their way into some of my songs still provoke pretty much the same reaction from me. There are a few things I wrote that I wish were expressed better – but there are things I wrote yesterday that I wish I’d expressed better. Fortunately, the two-hour punk rock opera that I wrote in praise of Ronald Reagan during the late 1980s during my brief flirtation with authoritarian capitalism was never actually released (ha, ha). (Not all of our songs are topical, by the way…)

“Modern Business” questions something that I hold very close to heart, that being the internal struggle once deals with when facing such a push towards mass consumerism. In your opinion how has consumerism and Corporate America affected punk since its inception?

Brian Goble: I suppose that the idea put forth in the song modern business could be applied specifically applied to punk, but I think that that would be limiting the scope of the far reaching effects of the phenomenon I was trying to convey in this song. What I see that has happened to punk music specifically, is the loss of credibility, the corporate control of direction and the categorization of punk into a neat little genre that can be safely marketed and processed for maximum profit. Of course that only applies to the mainstream bands that have the sound and the image, as there are millions of relatively unknown bands that will never qualify to make the megabucks and will have their short lived output and fade away. I guess the line in the song that says “reaping the crop from the culture called pop” best sums up my feeling of the way punk has been affected by the Modern Business approach; it has been neatly absorbed into pop culture.

As you’ve played with this band, what is your reaction to the words concerning the Bad Brains reunion, including HR, at CBGBs this fall?

Mike Graham: I haven’t really been following their later career. They were a powerful band back in the day, and one can only hope they still are.

Do the Subhumans have any plans for a tour coinciding with the release of New Dark Age Parade?

Mike Graham: We’re touring Canada for three weeks starting October 13, and perhaps people in the U.S. can drive up to the border and cock their ears northward over the top of the barbed wire, guard towers, and patrolling Minutemen.

If the band had one final show to play, who would you most like to share the stage with?

Mike Graham: A tasteful modern dance troupe who would interpret “Death to the Sickoids” and other songs with a fluid and yet challenging vocabulary of motion and the liberal use of colored silk banners. Either that or a small thermonuclear warhead.

Mew & Onethousand Pictures at Fine Line Music Cafe (Minneapolis, MN)

When approaching a show to see, not the headliner, but the undercard, so to speak, it gives you a lot of freedom to get into the music really fast. Fortunately San Diego’s Onethousand Pictures offered a short set that was well cut and stylish set that was completely on mark, helping the crowd wake up. The band, now two years in the making, was put together by it’s tattoo covered singer Evan Robinson and guitarist Reid Curby as a reactionary sound to a negative connotation that has surrounded much of modern rock music. “I think of it as the alternative to so much negativity that’s out there,” notes Robinson, “I want our music to have a positive impact on people. I like to make people feel special, that they have worth, and to encourage them to follow their dreams.” With that, the band proved important for the night and was honestly impressive with their presence and sound.

The night’s main event, as far as we were concerned, was one of the most brilliant bands to come from Denmark, Mew. The band played a set far too short, but suitable for their position on the bill, all including a video backdrop that handsomely meshed the band’s inspiration for their warping harmonies and fragile lyrics.

What was most impressive with Mew wasn’t just the band’s ability to surround a smaller atmosphere with its stadium-crushing sound. Lead singer Jonas Bjerre was able to maintain a sense of intimacy with the crowd while peering out from the dark setting of the stage just long enough to startle with his uniquely pitched vocals. There might not have been as much of a salute to the Danish rock gods as expected, but the set was nonetheless stunning.

Mastodon “Blood Mountain” Review

Mere weeks after its release Mastodon’s Blood Mountain is being hailed as an epic return to metal’s roots by one of the genre’s modern day pioneers. Not only accepted by the entire gamut of rock fan, but rock critic as well, Blood Mountain’s takes a break from modern prog and clashes with speed, grind and Fantômas as it peaks and sputters through the course of the album’s twelve tracks. The truly curious characteristic regarding the album’s reception is why…why do indie-rock centric hipsters salivate over the album with the same brunt as traditional metal fans?

There is a traditional divide that conquers musical taste, creed and fandom amongst rock fans; typically, being that you either like The Smiths or you like Slayer. Not to say that there aren’t thousands of people who like both of those bands, but the divide is there. It’s what made metal fans what they were for so long, the sense that it was them, and their bands, against the world; and it’s why some still feel betrayed over The Black Album. There was mention in a recent discussion at The Village Voice of how Mastodon’s Blood Mountain could be to metal what Nirvana’s Nevermind was to grunge. But I disagree completely.Blood Mountain will simply be Blood Mountain. Despite the alarming fact that it crosses lines throughout, causing hysteric blurriness between the freakish speedgasm “Bladecatcher” and the traditional blues-metal “Pendulous Skin,” it will be not start a revolution.

Metal is and will always be somewhat inaccessible to the vast majority of listeners, and there within lies the difference between it and any number of albums that have given foundation for bandwagon-jumpers through the ages.

Why then does it make the most jaded metal fan sweat with passion? Part of it is the general hardness and raw grit that the album exhausts, but the partially it can be attributed to its collaborators. The album’s guest performers are thoughtful and demonstrative of the band’s modern musical weariness, including Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Neurosis’ Scott Kelly and the oddly beamish Cedric Bixler-Zavala of the Mars Volta. Each contributes in a way that is both generic enough to make sense for their own musical paths, yet they are all performing as Mastodon, which warps their deliveries in an unusually unidentifiable way.

There is no real reason for non-traditional metal fans to enjoy this album no more than there is reason for them to enjoy the latest offerings from either Iron Maiden or Slayer. That being said, there is a mystique about both Blood Mountain and the band itself. They represent somewhat of an as-yet untapped mainstream brand that could possibly influence metal for the remainder of the decade; and as we are all aware of, it’s those damn indie kids that are always trying to find the next big thing in music.

Point is that Blood Mountain proves to be a brilliant album, molding itself through not only its members’ influences, but modern music in general. It reminds metal fans of a time before Godsmack hit mainstream success, but delivers with the knowledge that the band has released six underwhelming albums, staying clear of the vast number of pitfalls that were uncovered in the process. While you can’t forget that the last decade or so of hard rock has been tarnished by some unlikely sources, Mastodon try to while justly attempting to produce something far ahead of its time.

Nicolay Interview

Netherlands-born producer/performer Nicolay recently stepped into strange territory with the release of his recent album Here. It serves as his first solo endeavor and glides through ambient instrumentals feathered with collaboration heavy bangers. His music stands as somewhat of a high ground street opera, serving as a window into the diary of a man who has seen it all; all this, of course, without even personally saying a word. In this interview Nicolay discusses his global travels, the collaborative process and the contrast between opening for Boyz II Men and his current tour.

How has the journey that took you from The Netherlands to North Carolina affected the way that you look at music?

Nicolay: I don’t think it has, so far, other than making me even more aware of how music truly is a language like no other, that enables me to speak to people of different languages, cultures, time zones…you name it. Music has taken me across the world and I am thankful for that.

What immediately lures the listener on your album is the graceful instrumental introduction “Here,” which is later revisited in an outro and the interlude “Let It Shine For Me.” How did you go about producing and composing these tracks compared to those that other artists were featured on?

Nicolay: To me, those tracks represent the cement that holds all of the bricks together that form a wall. I look at that intro as a segue way from my earlier albums to Here. I began chopping and rearranging a sample, and started to record all those instrument parts, like piano, bass, other keys and organs, etc. to a point where I no longer had the sample running. The very first part came top me last, like some sort of an orchestral overture. “Let It Shine” has that Here/There duality of something pretty and optimistic leading to what I think is the darkest track on the album (”The End Is Near”).

Speaking of the artists that joined you on the album, how did you define the selection process for those that would be included? Were there any collaborations that you were trying for but just didn’t happen?

Nicolay: What really defined it was time, place and circumstance. Some artists were suggested to me by the label, others I was in the process with of working together. I wanted to make sure that everything fit the vibe of the album, but at the same time I wanted to show a lot of diversity.

As you have years of work behind you, as both a performer and producer, is there a track on the album that you view as the culmination of all your hard work?

Nicolay: Really, the whole album is the culmination. I think I have grown a lot and I am pleased that a lot of reviewers are picking up on that. The album showcases my instrumental skills on tracks like “Here” and “My Story,” it has that cocky braggadocio side of “I Am The Man,” the roughness of “End Is Near,” and the beauty of “Adore.” It’s where I am right here, right now, and it’s still only the beginning.

With quite limited mainstream acceptance of many hip hop or content-based artists compared to that of modern rap, was there any thought of how to appeal to a wider audience when selecting the tracks for the album’s final product?

Nicolay: Not at all. If it appeals to a wider audience then that’s great, but that was not on my mind while putting it together.

How does the freedom of releasing a solo album compare to that of releasing an album as a part of a group?

Nicolay: It has its ups and downs. On the one hand, you only have yourself to answer to, and you can basically take it wherever you want to go. On the other hand, you have to mindful to not self-indulge too much. In the end of the day, you always need people around you to vibe off of, whether it’s in a group setting or as a ’solo’ artist.

Before I had heard your album I was reading from a variety of sources and many mentioned your experiences opening for the likes of K-Ci & JoJo as well as Boyz II Men. Within the realm of performing live, what has changed for you since then?

Nicolay: We did some pretty big shows back then (this was between 1995 and 2000) with some real good crowds, and that definitely shaped me and got me experience and confidence. Right now, as a producer slash artist, I am kind of starting up all over and have seen crowds of like…50 people, sometimes hundreds. It keeps you grounded, having seen both extremes.

Do you plan on touring at all in support of the album?

Nicolay: Yeah, but as bringing a band and vocalists is very budget unfriendly, I’m touring doing DJ sets with special guest performers. I have been touring the US and Canada the last couple of months, and Europe is next.

If you had one final show to play, who would you most like to share the stage with?

Nicolay: Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson

The Slits “Revenge of the Killer Slits” EP Review

What I know of The Slits is more myth than anything, with my knowledge finding its beginning back in the time when The Trouser Press Record Guide was a key influence in my daily music purchases. Recorded in the summer of 2005, Revenge of the Killer Slits, is a seemingly full-fledged return for the girl troupe who once set a standard and would become a trendsetter for the likes of the militant grrrl power icon Wendy O. Williams. What is depressing about the three-song EP is that it, like many others, is being released far past the point in time when it makes sense to call it by the name of The Slits. With respect, the group has had some twenty five years between recordings.

That being said, two of the three original members, Ari Up and Tessa Pollit, were joined in the studio by the likes of Paul Cook (Sex Pistols) and Marco Pittoni (Adam & The Ants/Siousie & The Banshees) further obscuring The Slits brand, warping it into some sort of bizarre punk campfire sing-along amongst old friends. It’s still fair to consider the line-up a version of the original considering the original drummer, Palmolive, left the band, later to join The Raincoats.

Thankfully the songs aren’t a complete departure from the historic sounds of the group. There is actual evolution as the once dub-influence has changed to a bass & drum influenced dub punk that enlightens with its purely original sound. But don’t start worrying, with the given line-up, the band could not and did not forget the punk that they inspired and were apart of at its apex.

It’s nice to know that a band, or the majority of its members, can live a lifetime in between recordings and develop a new sense of life while maintaining a passion for what once was. Looking forward, Ari and Tessa are collecting a group to continue with The Slits’ name, with good intention. Here’s hoping that whatever comes of that helps the world to never forget the history of the wildly important band.