Archive for the ‘Explosions in the Sky’ Category

Noiseweek: The Leap Year, Chelsea Wolfe, Fugazi’s Repeater at 25 and more

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


If you’re over 33 and can’t stand all the racket the kids call music these days, turns out you might be statistically average. Writing at Skynet & Ebert, Ajay Kalia — who works at Spotify to create users’ Taste Profiles — analyzed the demographic data and listening habits and concluded that users’ tastes, on average, “mature” by their mid-30s — which is to say new music is no longer a part of their listening diet. Of course, Kalia’s conclusion concerns popular music (whatever that means), and what many of the discussions around his findings have ignored is that older Spotify users (whatever that means) discover less familiar genres that they weren’t exposed to as teens, and users also re-visit music that’s fallen out of popular favour since their teenage years.


Explosions in the Sky’s discography is now available on Bandcamp.



Morning Glory: Fugazi’s Repeater Revisited | The Quietus

“Rock music tends to reward the inspired accident: fans have become trained to respond to sounds that may be calibrated to micron-thin tolerances but which give the aural appearance of the intuitive and the inspired. That isn’t what seems to be happening here. Nor is this the product of a jazz sensibility, where technical excellence and deep understanding of chords, tone and rhythm combine to permit improvisation, in tune and on time, to provide the hypnotic focus. On these sessions Fugazi sound like they found a new path, somewhere between the two — where you can hear the deliberation behind every note yet never for a second feel that this makes the music anything less than tremendously exciting.”

Creative Darwinism: Pretty Flowers Grow in Shit | Spook Magazine

“Being isolated spatially and culturally – us from the city, Perth from Australia and Australia from the world – arms one with an Atlas-strong sense of identity. Both actively and passively, originality seems to flourish in Perth’s artistic community. Without the wider community’s acceptance, creative pursuits lack the potential for commodification. There’s no point in preening yourself for success because it’s just not real. It’s a fairytale, so you may as well just do it in whatever way you like, good or bad, in your room or on the top of the Telstra building, which – as anyone with any common sense will attest – was built for that one potential badass to drop in on a skateboard and parachute off.”

The Fight For All Ages Shows | Pitchfork

“Live music is, by nature, impermanent and ephemeral, but the places that show are staged can be either transitory or stable. All that’s needed is a power supply, a space for artists to play, and a place for the audience—meaning live music can happen most anywhere. I’ve seen bands play in a cemetery, in a botanical garden, a library, an industrial hallway, on a bridge, and in a skate bowl. I’ve been to huge festivals, clubs, and seen sets in churches, community centers, and many basements, kitchens, and living rooms. Despite all these options or spaces for opportunity, it’s harder than ever to get a show space off the ground, and keep it running. It’s no wonder so many spaces throughout the U.S. are illegal and temporary at best.”


The Leap Year — Knesting / Dental Work

In an alternate universe, The Leap Year are one of the biggest bands to ever come out of Perth. I fucking love this band, and I wish everyone else did too, and I can’t pinpoint what makes them so compelling yet so under-appreciated. Their new 7-inch — the follow-up to their tremendous 2013 album, The Narrowing — is bombastic and subtle and brittle and powerful and morose and uplifting all at once. Without being obtuse or even that groundbreaking, The Leap Year defy genres — call it slowcore, indie rock, shoegaze or gloom — all I’m settled on is that they just write really fucking good songs.

Chelsea Wolfe — Iron Moon

There’s a menace lurking beneath every note in this first taste from Chelsea Wolfe’s forthcoming Abyss, which is out August 7. But the song’s not without its moments of beauty; she matches the storm-brewing moments of intense discomfort with purgative, uplifting vocal melodies. This is Wolfe at her heaviest and most invigorating.


Under the Influence: New York Hardcore

Rancid’s Tim Armstrong narrates this VICE documentary on the punk scene that flourished amongst New York’s 1970s and 80s squalor in the Village, documenting the abuse, addiction and poverty surrounding the rise of Agnostic Front, Title Fight and more.

Death From Above 1979 — Virgins

The amish go wild in this second video from the Toronto duo’s The Physical World.

Noiseweek: Melvins documentary, Michael Gira on electronic music, Peter Bibby, Fait and more

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The sights, sounds and words of the week in noise.


By now you’ve probably seen the trailer for the forthcoming HBO-produced Kurt Cobain documentary, but there’s another piece of film in the works on another tremendously influential Washington act and one of Nirvana’s greatest influences: The Melvins. The Colossus of Destiny is about halfway towards its $75,000 crowdfunding target on Kickstarter, and surely I’m not the only one who finds it absurd that the three-decade story of this band has yet to be given the feature treatment. Throw a penny or two its way over the next month and help tell a tell that absolutely deserves to be told.


We were bummed to learn earlier this month that blackened-doom Chicagoans Indian had called it quits, but it’s not all gloom as the currently-on-hiatus fellow Chicagoans Lord Mantis are resurrecting with two members of Indian, rounding out a previously liquid lineup and giving the now-quintet some forward momentum.


Swans’ Michael Gira Sounds Off | Electronic Beats

“We’re one of the best rock bands ever. I know that. I just know it. Swans have congealed and are one of the most volcanic, eruptive, virile rock outfits ever. I think one of the things that makes what we do so powerful is that it’s generous.”

33 Musicians Discuss Their Favourite Radiohead Songs | Stereogum

Mark Smith of Explosions of the Sky/Inventions:
“I always revisit Kid A and try to recapture the feelings I had when I first listened to it. It’s not possible — now I just hear the combination of experimentation and songwriting and depth that is somehow beautiful and scary and human and alien and illusory and random and planned all at once. But back then, my first listen was just confusing, my second was confounding, my third was love, and my fourth was infatuation. “Idioteque” in particular — the lyrics about scaremongering and “This is really happening” — seems like it’s pleading with us. I couldn’t get enough of it, and it hasn’t lost any of that effect for me. I love watching their old live performances of it, this insane urgent trance with Thom dancing and Jonny seemingly plugging and unplugging cables into a telephone exchange (or so I thought back then). It’s still my favorite thing Radiohead have ever done, but insanely, I still think they’re growing and evolving so I won’t be surprised if that changes.”

Brian Cook of Russian Circles Interviewed | Ponto Alternativo

“I find the more polished realms of rock music to be really fucking boring. The more you autotune, beat map, and edit music, the more it winds up like electronic music. It winds up being music made on a grid. No offense to electronic music meant there, it just seems to defeat the purpose of being a living, breathing rock band. I’ve brought this up in the past a bunch, but I’ll repeat it here: when These Arms Are Snakes recorded with Jack Endino, the guy who recorded all the early grunge classics, he had a very casual attitude towards our takes. The record we did with him (our split with Harkonen) was the loosest recording we did in our career. Jack’s theory was that the tiny inconsistencies in tempo and pitch were what made all the classic rock records so enduring. The brain recognizes the flaws on a subconscious level, and those imperfections keep the brain interested in the song way longer than if it had been polished and quantized to perfection. We want things to be tight. We don’t like obvious fuck-ups to slide by in our music, but if you listen closely to our records there are weird little mistakes and flubs all over the place. We had a particularly hard time finding the balance between making things sound raw and live in a good way versus a bad way when we were making “Empros”, but hopefully we’ve found a good middle ground now.”

“What are we to the Stars?”: Neurosis’ Steve Von Till Gets Deep on the Majestic Splendor of Idaho | Noisey

“I think some of those are the most powerful metaphors as poets and writers and songwriters, I think. Depending on your perspective on any given day, that which seems so important to us in any given moment is so minimal in the grand scheme of things. What are we to the ocean? What are we to the stars? What are we to the wilderness? Pretty pathetic little creatures, really. [Yet] part of that is the glory that allows us to create art and music, it’s this… I don’t know? Bizarre evolutionary trait to consider our own existence instead of just going with our instincts. I think art is a strange combination of both. I think it’s part instinctual and part self-reflective. I think the natural world provides not only these great metaphors—that’s probably how I use it most is emotional metaphors. It’s in nature where I, personally, find—with the one exception being making music, is where I find the most solitude and the most peace of mind. Walking through nature and just being, and soaking it in, and trying to be a part of it.”


Steve Von Til — A Life Unto Itself

Speaking of Steve Von Til, he’s just released the first cut from his latest solo album due out in May, the beautiful and folk-tinged A Life Unto Itself. Von Til’s voice is just as compelling singing what is essentially a ballad as it is exorcizing demons over the cathartic noise of his Neurosis bandmates, and on this seven-minute number he channels the soundscaping of Earth with just two guitar tracks and intoxicating story-telling.

Lightning Bolt — Fantasy Empire

NPR are currently streaming the new Lightning Bolt record in full, and at first listen it’s a rip-roaring collection of the duo’s most frenetic work to date. The mid-section on “Over the River and Through the Woods” might be the best three minutes of music I’ve heard this year.


Peter Bibby — Goodbye Johnny

Who would’ve thought that the foul-mouthed, gravel-voiced troubadour who once spent his weekends annihilating his lungs on Perth stages as one half of Frozen Ocean would be touring the world so soon? Bibby’s on his way to SXSW this week and with that journey comes the video for Goodbye Johnny, a lo-fi home video about being unable to farewell the song’s namesake thanks to potent influenza. Again, just think about this: Entertainment Weekly is writing about Peter Bibby. What a wonderful world.

Fait — Slow Glow

Fait seemingly appeared from out of nowhere last year with the moody Surrender To and they’ve now returned with their first fully-formed conceptual clip in Slow Glow, a brooding and striking piece of short cinema filmed across the sprawling West Australian landscape. From lush meadows to endless deserts to crashing waves on a violent coast, this feels like the visual track to the kind of dream you don’t want to wake up from. (P.S.: Fait play our five-year anniversary show at The Bakery on Easter Thursday.)