Archive for the ‘Heads’ Category

PREMIERE: HEADS. — ‘The Voynich Manuscript’

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Following the premiere of last year’s single ‘Chewing on Kittens’, LIFE IS NOISE is thrilled to bring you an Australian exclusive premiere of the video for the German/Australian band’s next single ‘The Voynich Manuscript’.

Lifted from HEADS.’ excellent self-titled 2015 release, ‘The Voynich Manuscript’ features live footage taken by the band themselves while on tour in Europe in 2015 and archival footage edited in a way which centres around themes of constant repetition, loss and tragedy — recurrent themes in the band’s music.

HEADS. hit the autobahn for a number of dates throughout Germany later this month.

Heads. is out now through Heart of the Rat.

Noiseweek: Sunn O))), My Disco, Iceage, Pere Ubu, Heads.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

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


South Of No North: Greg Anderson Of Sunn O))) & Goatsnake Interviewed | The Quietus

“Honestly, I’m both surprised and grateful about it every single day. When we first started no one, and I mean no one, really cared. And, if I’m to be really, really honest, we didn’t really care. Especially about what people thought. We just wanted to experiment and play music together, really the audience, the idea that people would actually listen to it was kind of an afterthought, we were really making music for ourselves – in some ways Sunn O))) is a very selfish project. I mean, we weren’t even sure if we were ever going to play live, we imagined that it would just remain a studio project. And then when we did start playing live eventually it really started connecting with people and honestly that kind of gave me a lot of hope for people because it’s obviously very difficult, very challenging music – I was like, ‘Wow! People can get into this? That’s awesome!’ Because you wouldn’t expect most people – or really anyone – to be that into it. So yeah, I totally see where you’re coming from and I kind of agree. I think Sunn O))) somehow connects with people on this super primal level – it’s very real, but at the same time the music helps create this alternate reality, and people seem to want to be in that dimension for a couple of hours or so.”

Does Anybody Even Have Time For An 80-Minute Album? | NPR

“It’s interesting to think about the different ways that album length has evolved over time. For most of history in the album era, it was defined by format — first the 45 minutes or so of an LP, then the 80 minutes of a CD. In the LP era, you really had to justify the additional expense of production and the fact that you’d have to charge more. With CDs, that was no longer an issue, and in the ‘90s in particular you had some people feeling “ripped off” if an album only had 45 minutes of music, so in some cases artists would put on CD-only bonus tracks to make it seem like they were making the most of the format. But then of course file sharing and digital files changed all that, and suddenly, you could have albums be as long or short as you wanted very easily. There was an initial trend toward shorter releases, experimenting with a four-song or eight-song release, like the mini-albums Robyn released in the run-up to Body Talk.

But the longer albums now, in a lot of cases, and especially in all of these cases you mentioned, is a way to say, “This is important. You are going to have to spend time with this.” It’s a little harder to make an “event” out of a release if it’s 35 minutes long. The initial feeing is, “This is all I could do.” Whereas these [long] releases convey the idea of sprawling masterpieces, and by extension, they are presented as demanding art. I do think that, even though artists want to say, “This should be taken whole,” in the vast majority of cases the albums are rarely ever experienced that way. It’s a little bit of a thing where artists present the work this way and the listeners kind of play along, and may even pay lip service to the idea, but probably the truth of it is that people are picking and choosing.”

Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas talks being an underground legend and why he won’t call himself special | Noisey

“I don’t like photos. I don’t want to waste my time generating the limitless supply the industry requires. I know what I look like. I know what my mother looks like. I recognize her every time. What do I need a photo for? The government wants photos. Whatever the government wants I try to avoid. Good basic policy. I’m not in the business of being a pop star. I am a musician. The eye is a deceiver. It relies on the physical world and can be too easily fooled. It takes only 24 frames a second to deceive the eye into seeing real motion. It takes a minimum of 44,100 frames a second to deceive the ear. Sound is the authentic expression of human consciousness. The world is silent. Sound only happens inside the head of conscious beings. It is the by-product of consciousness. Why waste time with anything less?”


Heads. — At the Stake

Chris Breuer’s bass sounds like oozing pus, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Heads. imbue this slithering Melvins track with intoxicating menace thanks to the snarling tone of Ed Fraser’s flat-out evil intonations, along with his swampy guitar tones and the plodding rhythms. If the future of Heads. sounds more like this — brooding, meditative and plain evil — sign me up.

My Disco — King Sound

This is the the darkest track My Disco have ever made. While everything on 2010’s Little Joy was vibrant, King Sound is a faded strobe light in an empty prison cell. There’s a distinct Swans feel here, from the ritualistic rhythms to Liam Andrews’ prayer-like repetition of the song’s title. King Sound is taken from Severe, out October 30 through Temporary Residence.


Iceage — Untitled (Live at Pitchfork Festival)

Pitchfork saved the best footage of last month’s Chicago festival ’til last, finally uploading clips of Iceage performing this new, as-yet-untitled track alongside The Lord’s Favorite. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt is as magnetic as ever, slinking and slithering around the stage, singing from the floor and equal parts confidence and nonchalance. No one else right now is making music or playing shows that feel so fucking vital.

Interview: Heads.

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Heads. are a German-Australian sludge and noise rock band receiving rave reviews for their self-titled debut LP and upcoming support slots in the German wing of the European tour for Toronto noise rock band METZ. Like METZ, Heads. play heavy, noise-infused guitar rock, but while METZ are more about the energy and speed, Heads. run at a comparatively languid pace, allowing you to pay close attention to their detailed, psychedelic compositions. I had a chat with Ed Fraser, lead singer and founding member of the band, about his origins, influences, and plans for the future, just weeks ahead of the band’s European tour with METZ:

Matthew Stoff: One thing I really loved about your new album, it felt like three guys just jamming together in a room, but with these really crisply recorded, carefully constructed songs. I was wondering how you put the two together. You’ve got these really organised, subtle compositions, but the energy and spontaneity of a live show. Did you record the album live or in the studio, or was it a mix of both?

Ed Fraser: We recorded in a makeshift studio so we could do the whole album live. The majority of the record, except for the vocals and the overdubs, is just us playing in a big room. That’s why we went to Switzerland to make it. There’s a huge space there in a venue called Bikini Test, which is a live venue that’s closed over the summer, and we knew we could hire out the whole thing. It was kind of like hiring out the Corner Hotel. We set everything up in a big horseshoe, and we had a large number of microphones all over the building. Then we tracked everything live. We tried to get the feeling right and a good vibe, and then we played the songs.

MS: How did the music come together? I know that you wrote most of the lyrics, but what about the instrumental elements? Were they a collaborative effort, or did one of you handle the majority of the song-writing?

EF: It was definitely collaborative. One of the things I really enjoyed about writing these songs was that we did everything all together. But it was definitely done in a way that was different for me. I’m used to playing in rock bands in Melbourne and playing with friends. Rehearsing together once, twice, three times a week, we all get together in a room, we jam, someone has an idea… it was completely different with Heads, and a lot of that was because of necessity. Peter, our drummer, lives in Hamburg. And Chris lives in Berlin, but we’re all travelling around a lot. Chris, with his commitments to The Ocean and Peter being a part of their road crew meant those guys weren’t at home all that much while we were writing the record either. So for us to get in a room and write songs together in that traditional band kind of way just wasn’t viable. So essentially what we did was we had a shared Dropbox folder, and we wrote large portions of the music while we were all in different countries. Which was something completely weird to me, but I think it worked.

MS: It’s an interesting sound you guys came up with too. I thought the long-form, almost metal compositions were a bit like The Ocean, but the energy and structure seemed closer to traditionally Australian noise rock, like Zeahorse or Narrow Lands. What sort of bands were you involved in before you moved to Berlin, and how did they affect the music?

EF: I basically just played in a couple of rock bands in Melbourne. I most recently played in a band called Cut, which was a three-piece noise rock kind of thing, and before that I played in a grunge rock band called The Mourning Suns for a few years. Similar kind of stuff, but different to Heads. in that I think the stuff I was playing in Melbourne was a lot more basic in terms of its compositions and song structures, and it was more straight-ahead pub rock; screaming and yelling sort of stuff. Whereas Heads. definitely has big elements of that, particularly live, a lot of it is screaming into the microphone, making a lot of noise. But a lot more thought went into the song structures and compositions and the meanings of the songs. And a lot of that was down to having more time to do it. And using that method of song writing, writing essentially from different countries, just using the shared Dropbox system – in some ways that gave me, and probably all of us, the ability to spend more time thinking about things, and more time putting things together. Rather than, oh we’ve only got three hours together in the room, so let’s write this song as quickly as we can, it was more like, let’s take our time, you know what I mean?

MS: You’ve got this central source for all your ideas, so you take your time and figure out what to do with them.

EF: Exactly, yeah.

MS: How did you get involved with Metz for their German tour? Did you know the band before?

EF: I actually don’t know them personally, but I’m looking forward to meeting them.

MS: I thought your albums were quite similar in a lot of ways. In tone and energy, if not so much in the way they’re put together. Would you say you were drawing from a similar set of influences?

EF: I think so. That’s definitely something I would like to agree with. I really like that band. I love the way they sound and the amount of energy that they put across, in quite a nasty way.

MS: You guys are a bit more laid-back, I think.

EF: I think we’re a bit slower. And that’s kind of how we approach things generally: when we write a song, we kind of slow it down a bit. We write this kind of sludgy feel. Still very heavy, but just slowed it down a bit. It’s kind of fun to play it like that too.

MS: How did you meet the rest of your band?

EF: It was actually completely random. We didn’t have any mutual friends or contacts or anything like that. I’d kind of just arrived in Berlin. It was probably only a matter of weeks. I really hadn’t been here very long, and I was looking for some people to play music with. I wanted to do some touring, write some songs. I was looking for people to make a band. So I started doing it in that kind of way I’d always done it in Melbourne as well. I’d always played with friends or people I knew, or people who knew somebody I knew. But that wasn’t really happening here, and I had a couple of buddies who said: “you should go on Craigslist, there’s a lot of musicians on Craigslist,” and I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder to be honest. I was like: “Fuck that, I’m not going to go on Craigslist and find musicians,” because I’d never done it before. But then my buddies were like: “Just do it, it’s a good way to find people.” So I did, and the first day I was on there, there was a post from Chris, just saying something like: “Bass player looking for new band mates.” And I clicked on it and he had a couple of links to his bass playing, and it was just like: “This guy is the perfect bass player.” Then I sent him some of my stuff, and he liked it as well. And I don’t think I’ve been on Craigslist since. So it worked out in that way, but it was almost instantly we had a mutual love of the same type of bands and music. So I think I was what he was looking for and he was what I was looking for, so we just kind of clicked instantly. And at the time he wasn’t in Berlin. He was on tour with the Ocean in China or somewhere, and we started exchanging ideas through Dropbox and stuff like that. So almost straight away it was like this very new way of creating and writing songs. We’d never even met face to face before.

MS: How long were you exchanging ideas before you started on the album?

EF: It was quite a long tour that he was on, so I think it was like a month and a half, maybe two months, before we met face to face, and we were just exchanging ideas that whole time. And Peter, our drummer, was on the road with them and he started hearing some of the stuff I was sending through, and some of the stuff that Chris was doing and what we were starting to slowly put together, and he liked it, and basically said I want to be a part of this as well.

MS: So the whole thing’s just been an expression of pure serendipity?

EF: Yeah, it’s nice that these things can happen sometimes. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I’ve been looking for musicians like this for 10 years, and I found them purely by chance. That’s awesome. That’s the world-wide web.

MS: Was a similar process involved with your band being signed to This Charming Man and Heart of The Rat, or did they approach you specifically for your work with Chris from The Ocean?

EF: Well, Chris knew Chris Charming, the label boss of This Charming Man. Those two knew eachother from playing in hardcore bands in the late 90’s and early 2000’s around Germany. Chris used to be in a band called Lynch, so those guys already knew eachother from that, but we sent the record around to a couple of people. And we actually had a few different labels who wanted to put it out. So that was a really nice feeling. But then Chris Charming was in Berlin for a record release party, so Chris Breur went down to meet him. And I just started talking rubbish, like: “Well, noise rock, a lot of people are liking at it the moment,“ all this shit. And then he just sort of stood there and patiently listened to me and said: “Yeah, not really. But I liked your record so I’m going to put it out anyway.” So I was like: “Alright, I think I like this guy. I think they’re the right label for us.” And that was it. As for the Heart of The Rat guys, I wanted someone to release it in Australia. That was very important to me. I’d never actually met the guys but we had a mutual friend called Len Hyatt who plays in a band called the Dead Salesmen. And I was just talking to Lenny and he put me in touch with these guys and said they might be a good home for me. And I just got talking to them online and they were really down to earth, no bullshit. It just seemed like the right place for us.

MS: Speaking of Australia, do you have any plans for a local tour in the future?

EF: We are talking about some stuff at the moment. Nothing’s been set in concrete, but we’re looking at a lot of different options. We’re looking at about March next year, so a little while off yet. But we’re looking at doing at least the east coast around to Adelaide, if not a little bit more. We’ll see how it goes. But that’s something that I’d really love as well. And Chris was in Australia with The Ocean in March, April, and had a pretty good time, I think, so he’s pretty keen to come back. And Pete’s keen as well, so yeah.

MS: Does his work with The Ocean affect you guys at all?

EF: We do our best to work around it as much as we can. It’s been painful a few times. We’ve had some offers to go with a band that I’ve really liked personally that I’ve had to say no to, but that’s just the way it is. We do our best to work around it, but as long as we plan ahead, we’ll be alright I think.

MS: Are you working on any new material?

EF: Absolutely. We’ve already started writing the next record. We’ve written a bunch of songs already, and I think it’s going fairly well. It’s always hard to tell. It’s almost like the last record but everything’s a bit more extreme. That’s kind of the mantra for this one. If we have a section that’s repetitive and hypnotic, we’re going to make it extra repetitive, and go for even longer. And if it’s heavy it’s going to be even heavier, if it’s quiet it’s going to be even quieter.

MS: So how many songs have you written for the new album so far?

EF: There’s probably three that I’d say are finished and another seven or eight in the works. When we recorded the last record, we recorded thirteen songs as well but only released six. So we’ve got a bunch just sitting there as well, which we’ll revisit and work out what we’re going to release as well.

MS: How long did the recording process take with the last album?

EF: I can’t remember exactly. We were in Switzerland for about a week, I think it took us maybe five days to record everything.

MS: But a lot of the ideas were being transferred before then. It was like a culmination of your early period?

EF: Yeah, it was basically written before we went in. We got a guy called Louis Jucker, who’s the singer for Coilguns. He came and did some guest spots with us on the last day which was really exciting. He’s got this kind of creative genius, coming up with a thousand ideas at once. So that was really cool to watch him come in and explain his ideas and stuff.

MS: When do you think the next album will be ready? In time for your Australian tour?

EF: I’d like to think that by early next year we’ll have another record out, but it’s always hard to know how long these things are going to take. We’ve got another few small releases coming out over the next few months as well, like a Blacktop cover for a Helmet tribute compilation, which should be really exciting.

Heads. is out now through Heart of the Rat.

Noiseweek: Record Store Day, David Bowie, El Ten Eleven, Weedeater and more

Friday, April 17th, 2015

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


Tangled Thoughts of Leaving’s Yield to Despair comes out today. You can stream and buy it on Bandcamp and see them play The Bakery one last time before its closure to launch the record. Expect this album to be rank highly on all of our best-of lists this year, and expect this show to be gargantuan.


The BBC is reporting that David Bowie is working on new material for a musical stage adaptation of The Man Who Fell To Earth, the 1976 sci-fi film about an alcoholic alien in which Bowie had a starring role. Though Bowie is not slated to appear on stage, he’s said to be closely involved in the production, which is set to debut in New York in December.


High on Fire have announced the title and release date for their 7th LP: it will be called Luminiferous and it will be released on June 23. The announcement was accompanied by the following mini-treatise from riffer-in-chief Matt Pike:

“We’re doing our part to expose The Elite and the fingers they have in religion, media, governments and financial world downfall and their relationship to all of our extraterrestrial connections in the race to control this world. Wake up, it’s happening. All while we stare at a socially engineered lie we think of as normalcy. Unless we wake from the dream, there will come true doom.”


A Pressing Business: tQ Goes Inside A Czech Vinyl Plant | The Quietus

“Since much of digital music technology is helmed by a crop of multi-billion dollar companies, with millennial branding and self-styled demi-gods for CEOs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the marketing strategies and modes of consumption for a medium like vinyl are concerns for a comparatively sluggish underground; a physical product that’s barely changed for generations, yet discussed on panels, in clubs, in record shops, on loop. The companies who supply them, too, must be similarly small-time affairs. But the year-on-year growth of the market recently has been remarkable. The Official Chart Co. noted that 2014 was the first year since 1996 in which sales in the UK reached the one million mark and, according to Nielsen Music, sales in the US alone increased 52% on the year previous to hit an impressive 9.2 million in 2014. And just this past week, the Official Chart Co. also launched the weekly Official Vinyl Albums Chart and Official Vinyl Singles Chart, for the first time in the company’s history.”

Meredith Graves: Pussy Power | Dazed Digital

“That people who have been hurt and people who have been marginalized deserve to be heard. That’s really the first and most striking similarity that comes to mind. In my perfect world, the prevailing ideology would be ‘do what you can to make the world better, to make your life better.’ I have now been in many countries where young kids have come up and said they were inspired by me because I came forward as someone who survived abuse and has suffered from mental illness. You can survive the cultural conditions that have fought to suppress you. I have lived through a horribly abusive relationship. I have struggled my entire life with extreme depression and mood disorders. And now, after a year of traveling the world and talking to people about it, I’m here in a place where I can facilitate the survival of others. Survival is an option, and once you can get to the point where you are above water, if and when you’re feeling up for it, you can reach your hand back and pull someone else up.”

Are You Even Real? Identity and Music in the Digital Age | Pitchfork

“This February, Father John Misty released I Love You, Honeybear, a pretty folk album that doubles as an exposé of our generation’s subconscious. Critics have zoned in on “Bored in the USA”, a mournful white-guy ballad accompanied by laugh track—an apt and self-justifying touch. But the lyrical crux within the album is “Holy Shit”. The song grandly reels off a chain of personal and political ruptures—revolutions, holocausts, incest dreams, original sin—which all emphasize the album’s driving concept: the unbearable heaviness of Josh Tillman’s love for his wife. After he’s tried on many rock-star guises—the chauvinist, the lothario, the “changed man”—it’s in “Holy Shit” that Tillman’s shape-shifting character crystallizes. Honeybear doesn’t just fuck with authenticity; it shows how, when our everyday frames of reference disorient us, our identity fractures, and we grasp for a toehold in the familiar.”



Last week we previewed the second track from Berlin noise rock trio HEADS.’ blistering debut and now Heart of the Rat Records are streaming the EP is streaming in full. It’s a lethal dose of concentrated, unapologetic and frankly ugly pigfuck with hints of Shellac, The Jesus Lizard, Young Widows et al. And it’s bottom-heavy, too; the record hits its stride in the bubbling tension of Black River and Foam before climaxing with the understated and disturbing The Voynich Manuscript. Difficult listening, as it should be.

Weedeater — Claw of the Sloth

North Carolina’s weed metal innovators return with this expectedly filthy cut from their forthcoming, where “Dixie” Dave Collins sounds like he’s singing through a throat tube or gargling cough syrup as he growls over some of the trio’s muddiest riffage to date. The album is called Goliathan and it’s out on May 19 through Seasons of Mist.


Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld — The Rest of Us

Director Dan Huiting looms like a voyeur as his camera tilts, tracks and intrudes in this new clip from the forthcoming Stetson/Neufeld collaboration out through Constellation Records at the end of the month. Rarely do music videos match the mood of their companion sounds so well, let alone when the subject matter is so abstract. Repeat viewings recommended.

A Place to Bury Strangers — Now It’s Over (Live on KEXP)

The Loudest Band in New York are also The Most Well-Lit Band on Tour, bringing a collection of strobes and disco-balls to their in-studio appearance for a Seattle radio station. Oliver Ackermann is pretty much a robot when his voice is filtered through that many vocal processors, and the trio chose the most claustrophobic cut from their Transfixiation for a their decidedly claustrophobic performance.

El Ten Eleven — Nova Scotia

The latest video from post-rock’s most pragmatic duo is playful and serene like much of their back catalogue, juxtaposing live footage with sun-washed scene of a pair of kids frolicking and raising hell. The cut comes from the For Emily EP from early last year. Now can someone please bring these guys to Australia?

PREMIERE: Noise rock trio HEADS. spit bile on “Chewing on Kittens”

Monday, April 6th, 2015

The usual suspects ring through on this positively ugly cut from HEADS. forthcoming EP — The Jesus Lizard, Shellac et al. — there’s not much better than a band with a sound that combines the best parts of their predecessors.

The German/Australian trio — which features The Ocean bassist Chris Breuer — employ snaking, dissonant guitars, the thunderous chug of the rhythm section and deadpan sermonizing to familiar but excellent effect.Genre tropes be damned; no one’s obliged to reinvent the wheel, and when your music sounds this good, you can get away with a lot. Who thought noise rock could be this catchy?

Heads. is out on May 5 through This Charming Man and Heart of the Rat Records.