Friday, 18 May 2012

Waking Elliot Interview

They're a hot new act from Connecticut and we've tipped them for big things. Waking Elliot have a lot of big things happening over the next 12 months, starting with a set at the Bamboozle festival this Saturday (May 19). We are happy to bring you an exclusive interview with a band that are set to make waves in 2012.

Can you tell us a bit of background about the band?

"We are a female-fronted alternative rock back. We’re a little different to bands like Paramore, Evanescence or Flyleaf though because we’re fronted by two female vocalists. We formed around two years ago though we all had performed in other groups prior to getting together."

What's the story behind the band name?

"We don’t really have any sort of crazy story to go along with the name - we just came up with it and liked the way that it sounded. We do tell people sometimes that “Elliot” was a kid we saved from a burning building or a pet dog but we basically use those stories to spice-up our mundane non-story about the name."

How would you define your sound for those who haven't heard of you? 

We call it “emotionally charged alternative rock”. We used to get compared to Paramore pretty frequently but lately the comparisons have moved more toward Eisley. Our hope is to create powerful songs with relatable lyrics."

Who are your biggest musical influences?

"We’re all influenced by different bands/groups/vocalists. The fact that we all listen to different music actually helps us to keep our music fresh and interesting. We all write our own parts so it makes for an eclectic mix and helps us to avoid having each song sound the same. Our tastes have a wide range, actually: Bright Eyes, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Incubus, 30 Seconds to Mars, and The Hush Sound to name a few."

Your 'Simply Pathological' EP was released in 2010 - how would you say your musical style has changed and developed since then?

"When we started out we didn’t know who we were as a band- like what defined us. It took a while to settle-in and figure-out best methods for writing, what worked and what didn’t work… it’s a great deal of trial and error, actually. Writing music can be a very vulnerable process but we think we’ve grown into a place where we feel much more confident and unified. We take more risks now than we did when the EP was released and we’re able to critique ourselves in a productive way. We are continually learning new things. In fact, admitting that there is always room for growth has helped us to be better writers and performers."

What is your favourite song to perform from the EP and why?

We always enjoy performing 'One Two' and 'Truth or Dare' They are both high-energy songs which our fans enjoy singing along to. Whenever we receive a response from the crowd it helps us to put more of our heart into the performance."

Have you begun work on any follow-up to your EP?

"We have been in talks with our producer about getting back into the studio as soon as possible. We’re always writing and right now a full-length follow-up is our biggest priority. We have new music that we’re dying to release."

Are you excited for this year's Bamboozle festival?

"We are beyond excited for the Bamboozle festival! We feel honored to be representing Connecticut with our friends in Forget Paris."

Are there any bands that you are eager to see perform?

"We are eager to see Incubus, Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance and all of the bands at the Yuu Zoo Break Stage!"

How are you preparing for your slot?

We agonized over our setlist, we always do. We want to put-on the best show we possibly can so we have been practicing like crazy." 

You're playing on the Saturday, a day when some of the biggest rock acts such as Foo Fighters are also performing. Does this make you slightly nervous?

It makes us feel excited and honored! We idolize bands like the Foo Fighters so it feels really great to even be in the same state as them, let alone the same venue!"

How do you plan to make yourselves stand out from the other bands at the festival?

As it stands, there aren’t nearly enough female-fronted rock bands out in the mainstream, so the fact that we are fronted by two girls will make us unique compared to many of the other bands. Beyond that, we hope our music will speak for itself- we’re going to do what we do and love every minute of it. Hopefully people will respond to that."

What can the audience expect from the show? Anything special?

We will be performing a brand new, never-before-heard song at the festival titled 'Lost Me At Hello'. We’re really excited about this song and we can’t wait to finally perform it!"

Is there anything that you hope for your audience to take away from the show? 

We hope that our audience will have a good time and relate to our music. We put our hearts and souls into our music so our hope is that some of that passion and emotion impacts our listeners. We also hope that people who hear us for the first time on Saturday are inspired to check us out online later on Facebook, etc."

After Bamboozle, what's next for the band?

We are working on writing and recording our next album, playing a few other festivals over the summer, performing at Six Flags New England and doing a bit of touring. Mostly, we’re really thrilled to be receiving such a great response from people- it truly validates the work and love we put-in."

The band are performing at Bamboozle on Saturday (May 19) on the Yuu Break stage between 2:45pm-3:15

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tenacious D: 'Rize Of The Fenix' Album Review

Summary: The D's finest album to date.
Listen To: 'Roadie'; 'Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage'; 'Throw Down'; '39'
'Low Hangin Fruit'
Get It: Here

Tenacious D definitely haven't got it easy this time around. Following a six-year hiatus and the astounding success of second album 'The Pick Of Destiny', the band's third studio attempt has to blow doors down if it is to stand up alongside its predecessors. And 'Rize Of The Fenix' manages to do just that.

The D haven't lost their way during their hiatus as this album clearly shows. It is the same blend of acoustic rock, mock-rock and metal as their previous endeavours. In fact, the band seem to be more focused on delivering their signature brand of mock-rock in any form possible.
This leads to 'Rise Of The Fenix' being one of the bands most eclectic albums. 'SeƱorita' is flamenco-styled; 'Deth Starr' is the D's signature brand of mock-rock; 'Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage' gives a medieval England vibe through the use of a flute; 'Throw Down' bares a striking and undeniable similarity to Iggy Pop's 'The Passenger' and '39' is an obvious attempt at a song in the style of Bruce Springsteen, evident in the way Black sings.

The only downfall of the album is that, despite some phenomenal instrumentation and the kind of lyrics we've come to expect from the D, it doesn't seem certain on where to go. Some songs hit the mark perfectly, whereas others either fail to go anywhere or go to too many places.
For example, album-opener and title track 'Rize Of The Fenix' bring a tear to the eye as the song transforms from an acoustic song with similarities to Dio's 'Holy Diver' to an explosive electric masterpiece. However they don't seem quite know where to stop as the track culminates in a mellow reprise-esque section that adds little to the track.

The album is everything a Tenacious D fan could ask for and the band should be praised for, after six years, producing an album of such high quality. It is possibly the bands finest album to date and shows that there is a lot of life left in the band yet. This is the Tenacious D we all know and have grown to love. The D are back in style.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Silversun Pickups: 'Neck Of The Woods' Album Review

Summary: The blueprint for their finest album.
Listen To: 'Out Of Breath'
Avoid: 'Here We Are (Chancer)'
Get It: Here

It's always nice when a band experiments with its typical sound. While 'Neck Of The Woods' is nothing drastically different to previous albums, it does follow the band's trademark sound into new and exciting territory.

Whereas 'Carnavas' and 'Swoon' could both be characterised by the use of distortion to emphasise linear songs with a dark edge, 'Neck Of The Woods' is charactised by the use of distortion to add depth and emphasis to more complex songs. There is never any doubt that this is a Silversun Pickups album. The sound is there; it is just expanded and more adventurous.

However this does cause tracks to run the risk of being too drawn out. 'Simmer' is one of these songs. It is a slow-burning song that is characterised by a scorching vocal melody and searing guitars. Sadly, it takes too long to reach boiling point and is hasty to begin cooling down again. But the depth and relentless flow do show the potential that the band's new sound has.

The sequencing of this album is also exceptional. Opening track 'Skin Graph' lays the foundation for the rest of the album with its gentle melodies that eventually build to a catchy and distorted refrain, sounding something like a shoegaze-style rendition of The Smashing Pumpkins' 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings'.
This sets the wheels in motion for second track 'Make Believe', which floats along breezily until it reaches its climax - a jam-like instrumental of danceable distortion with a sing-a-long vibe.
The album continues to flow beautifully as if it were designed to be a performance set list. Penultimate track 'Gun-Shy Sunshine' is a simply stunning shoegaze song that will immediately appeal to fans of The Horrors' 'Changing The Rain' with its mesmerising guitars and simple beat. This is the slowest song on the album which paves the way perfectly for final track 'Out Of Breath', which begins with frantic guitar notes that propel the song forward. From there it builds into one of the band's finest songs to date.

Although on the surface it may seem uncertain and even messy in places, digging a little deeper will reveal that 'Neck Of The Woods' is an album of daring depth and substance. While it may not be as instantly accessible as it's predecessors it does still contain some tracks that could easily have been included on previous releases and it builds the basis of a promising future for the band.