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Updated: 2018-04-20T16:57:36+01:00

 



The Damned - Evil Spirits

2018-04-20T16:59:57+01:002018-04-20 16:57:36 +0100

We expect a punk band, who convey a punk message, and Evil Spirits doesn’t quite get there. Punk music, at its core, has always been reactionary. Push aside the great hair, veganism and DIY ethics; and at its core punk’s ideology has always been to stand up and kick against societal wrongs. With The Damned’s Evil Spirits then, there’s no need to salt the corners and reach for the sage. These demons have been conjured from the depths of our culture; and The Damned are very much here to cast and call on them, and maybe, just maybe, teach young punk-witches how to fight for what they believe in. One has to wonder then, as this is the band’s first release in a decade – why now? What forced these kings of goth-punk out of retirement and back into the recording studio? Was it boredom? Politics? Artistic survival? The answer, we inevitably find, endures in this album. In a world where the political pressure cooker rises daily; there’s never been a better time to shout about what’s wrong with the world. So this is the theme of Evil Spirits in abundance. We’re hit with this message in the first three tracks. The opener, ‘Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow’ lures us in with the lyrics “This time/could be the last time/maybe the only time to get it right” and passes on the band’s message of Change! Now! RIGHT NOW! Swipes at Trump sit in the next two tracks, which obtusely (if accurately) slam the man and his politics. Through the rest of the album, music races forward with catchy keyboard and guitar riffs that’ll have you caught in a folk-bounce shuffle-round-the-kitchen-in-your-work-clothes-bop. In places the bubble-gum riffs and vocal layers could be mistaken for a musical sunrise, a call to arms of kindred spirits, a synthesis of a theme-song for an internet generation – until this sugar is undercut by darkness through subversive lyrics “We trust our masters to watch on us night and day/Don’t we?? Don’t we???”. Aside from the politics then, sits track eight. ‘Procrastination’, a track to play in goth clubs (especially if you have something better to do) is a glimpse into the past of punk rockers, an anthem to the dispossessed and almost hits ‘Eloise’ heights. Almost. The context of the rest this new release however, abounds. Expectation with Evil Spirits lies firmly in the band’s heritage; we expect a punk band, who convey a punk message, with politicised punk lyrics to deliver a punk sound reminiscent of the band’s anthem ‘Smash It Up’; and Evil Spirits doesn’t quite get there. It’s a slick record, magic of course, falls in part from the fingers of none other than the infamous Tony Visconti; and it’s got some beautiful anthems that catch in your ears with mantras you’ll find unshakeable (“When everybody’s looking left, what the hell is happening right?” and “...and you build your walls, an empire falls”). But punk, it ain’t. As a consequence, an audience au fey with the “in yer face” shock of ‘New Rose’ and ‘Smash it Up’ might find themselves stuck in a struggle to engage with this newest release. Gone are the discordant, hairy harmonies. Gone are the deadly distorted guitars. Gone is the temptation to hit the drums as hard and fast as possible. Do these reductions make it a butchered record? No. Does it sound like a classic from The Damned? Absolutely not. If you’re looking for a new Damned, Damned, Damned – go elsewhere. It’s not even a logical progression from the Eighties vibes of So, Who’s Paranoid?. With Evil Spirits, you have to halt, to concentrate entirely to absorb the main message. Close your eyes; and it’s a politically charged electro-pop-rock love-spell to our tumultuous political times – but without the band’s names on the front, you wouldn’t even begin to place which dimension this demon came from. Which leaves us with a question. Is sanitation the fate of all new releases from the gods of Seventies(ish) political punk? Have the past generation of counter-culture punks, angry at the world [...]



Slug - HiggledyPiggledy

2018-04-20T16:21:17+01:002018-04-20 16:20:04 +0100

HiggledyPiggledy is a lot of fun Ah, how funny was that back in the Nineties? ‘No heavy petting’! Our young(er) minds boggled at where the line might be drawn between heavy, moderate and totally acceptable pettage. And was it something that could only be carried out in a pool? To have that phrase swim back into our collective consciousness is no bad thing, although Slug’s early release single of teh same name does little to answer my teenage self’s questions. Present day me, however, was pretty happy with their new track. It’s a bolshy album opener, a crunchy, irreverent teaser for the main event. The unmistakable cheeky-dulcet tones of Ian Black draw up rippling memories of Ripe, an album from a younger, more carefree time. width="540" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WHciyve1y0w" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen> But it’s 2018, we’ve lost Peter and David Brewis back to their Field Music ways, and now is the time for Black to take centre stage. He composed and produced all of HiggledyPiggledy, a steep learning curve no doubt, but one that that allowed him to develop his style and plum the previously untapped creative waters of what is being commonly described as his ‘new brand of Dada-rock’. Not to be confused with rock band Dada, this is all about ridiculing the seeming meaninglessness of the modern world through the medium of music. Think early-twentieth century Dadaism, the art movement that rejected logic, reason, aestheticism and capitalist society as a reaction to the First World War. But Ian Black’s reaction was to something a little closer to home: a Sunderland Wetherspoons, the banter from whence allegedly inspired many of his songs. Black’s stated aim was to 'have fun writing truly horrible lyrics, playing characters venting in pubs, writing in the character of how some people think and behave', and all with inspiration from The Residents, John Carpenter, and the soundtracks of Don Cherry and Masahiko Sato. And the outcome? HiggledyPiggledy is a lot of fun. It rows through a patchwork of musical ideas and experiments with a sense of spontaneity and discovery. Take ‘Basic Aggression’, which is a joyous picnic of sounds on top of a hill (with the odd thunderstorm blowing through!). But it also has a feeling of being a little restrained. Like a puppy on an extendable lead, it’s always being pulled back in line just as something exciting is sniffed out. There’s the Slug staples of solid rocky riffs and tongue in cheek lyrics. Tracks like ‘Gibberish’ and ‘Tongue’ have a sunny, funky vibe with the chunky guitaring all up in your face and the bass slithering around all cool and snaky underneath. But there’s a lot more going on too. From ‘Humming and Hawings’ flute’s trillful melodies to the mesmeric percussion in ‘Arbitrary Lessons in Custom’, to the off-kilter synth interlude ‘A Soft Shoe Number’, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. And for the lyric-lovers out there, there’s also plenty going on thematically. Black explains ‘Arbitrary Lessons In Custom’ as being about “how we lose touch with people and friends we love and the slow burn of how it happens”. As Gertrude Stien said, “Before the Flowers of Friendship Faded Friendship Faded”. But Black says it nicely too. One of my faves is ‘Petulia’, where the whimsical vocal harmonies are juxtaposed with nice heavy, driving rhythms. A bit like ‘You Don’t Need To Wake Up’, it’s got some real bite to it. The latter is vaguely reminiscent of the music you’d get when you reach the final baddy in an 80s video game. And the abiding feeling is that you might not have won. This is certainly an exciting album as a solo endeavour for Ian Black, and perhaps it’s just the restrained vocal style, but it feels like there’s an energy inside it that never quite gets unleashed. It’s got all the ingredients to fly but doesn’t quite take off. Perhaps it’s a grower. Or perhaps th[...]



Christina Vantzou - No. 4

2018-04-19T10:16:12+01:002018-04-19 10:14:45 +0100

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Slowly, irresistible torpor

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Patience. No. 4 by Christina Vantzou builds a kind of terrifying intensity through minimal change. This album is incredibly patient but also very intense, as if it was composed by a nihilist fly waiting hours in the same corner for one dramatic chance of swooping down and collecting its quarry. The subtle droning of the vibraphone, the sustained notes of the voice, an occasional twinkling of bells. Making us wait, an effect that works like an anti-effect, as we are forced to surrender to the music. With ‘Doorway’, Vantzou mixes sustained notes with the occasional unpredictable melody, building intensity with subtly different frequencies, and generating a sense of the uncanny. That sense of surrender, of relaxing into something unpredictable, a decomposition of the usual expectations of convention, is what produces the intense sense of reverie which make this album a pleasure to listen to.

style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2255513558/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless>No. 4 by christina vantzou

No. 4 draws the listener inward, but is not melancholic, at least not in a classical sense. It’s like taking comfort in oblivion, in the slowness of things. Vantzou says she is influenced by sleep and dreamlike states, and in this album you can hear it. Almost every note is heavily weighted. The drone is very intense and obscure, like air that is very clear but very thin. In ‘Staircases’ there is a mickey mousing decrescendo effect that feels like gently tumbling down the stairs, letting go. In ‘String Quartet’ there is a sense that the feeling of slowness is not a gradual depression but a process of surrender, as notes linger on, time stretches out, and we give up on anticipating the next sound, just letting it surprise us.

The sweetness of ‘Staircases’ maintains in ‘Some limited and waning memory’, where melodies for piano are accompanied by airy chorals rather than strings. ‘Percussion in non space’ is a very short track with some brief phrases reminiscent of Polish composer Gorecki , sweet melodic sequences which sound disconnected, like bells ringing into outer space. The whole album is wraithlike, as if it is visited by disappearing and constantly transforming spirits. The only track to really feature rhythm, ‘Garden of forking paths’ builds the sense of the supernatural with a form of resonant drumming, like an echo from a distant temple.

Overall No. 4 is serene, still, and deep. It doesn’t allow you to become transfixed by predictable patterns by rather relaxes you into accepting the next step, whether you are being visited by a herd of headless horsemen, flying away on a magic carpet or sinking slowly, irresistibly, into torpor.

![105534](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/105534.jpeg)



The Fangasm: The Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit

2018-04-19T08:55:15+01:002018-04-19 08:55:15 +0100

Each song is composed with such crystalline clarity they invite us to participate in and personalise our own shared experiences There are some albums where, on first listen, you somehow know that it will become deeply significant to your life. A particular phrasing that perfectly encapsulates the essence of a thought, an instrumental breakthrough that swells through the body against its control, or simply a narrative that tells a starkly vivid story. The stories Frightened Rabbit chose to tell on In the course of these 48 minutes and 14 songs, Scott Hutchinson scorns, pleads, apologises, amuses, self-loathes, pities and tortures, almost self-annihilates, and comes out the other side with a collection of some of the most lovingly bitter odes ever set to music. Some of the songs are designed to be jigged along to in the early hours, a bottle of whisky upturned to the sky; others are for screaming into the winds of passion’s tempest; others for whimpering into abandoned bedsheets, haunted by the echoes of departed lust and love. The third person is almost completely neglected here; in this album, there is only room for the ‘you’ and ‘me’, as the listener becomes a voyeuristic outsider to the torturous episodes and conversations passing through the various stages of grief. Whereas Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, released a month after this (what a year for the troubadours) was cryptic in its allegory, each of these chapters is composed with such crystalline clarity that they invite us to participate in and personalise our own shared experiences. Alan Bennett wrote that: “The best moments in reading (Listening, in this case) are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.” In true History Boys style, there is a gobbet (“A what, sir?” “A Gobbet. A Quotation.”) provided by each song that can be applied to moments of spurned suffering and as a result, support the listener along the way. Each song, barring the two instrumentals, is full of such succinct aphorisms, to the extent that I can’t resist listing my favourites; in fact, I can’t resist giving each song the attention it deserves. I’m sorry, we’re going to have to go track-by-track. The Modern Leper “You’re not ill and I’m not dead / Doesn’t that make us the perfect pair?” What a song, and what a line, to introduce an album which embraces imperfections and wears ugliness on its sleeve. The physical manifestation of emotional destruction. Introduced by Scott Hutchinson’s isolated strumming, accompanied by brother Grant’s syncopated drums, before breaking into the first of many overwhelming swells by Billy Kennedy; all resolving in the stunning triviality of “You can tell me all about what you did today”. I Feel Better “I feel much better, and better, and worse, and then better” The album is full of paradox, hypocrisy, and contradictions, but none more so than here. Deceptively upbeat from the off, we never believe that ‘the greys’ can successfully be stowed away. There is twisted irony in the vow that “This is the last song I’ll write about you”, before going on to write at least 12 more. It reminds me of Beck’s 2002 classic Sea Change, where the transparent claims of ‘Guess I’m Doing Fine’ are undone by his very next song, ‘Lonesome Tears’. Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms “I might not want you back / But I want to kill him” Almost impossible to choose a favourite lyric here, given the gut-punch admissions of “I’m not ready to see you this happy” or “I’m still in love with you, can’t admit it yet”. The song marches steadfastly through its waltz, all the while elevated by the falsetto backing vocals. The build from 3:10 as he tries to keep it together until the [...]



Laura Veirs - The Lookout

2018-04-17T23:11:13+01:002018-04-17 23:07:15 +0100

A delicate yet effortless balance between feelings of confusion and fear and those of comfort Warm, Americana-tinged melodies float and harmonies soar on ‘Margaret Sands’, the opener of Laura Veirs’ tenth solo album The Lookout. It forms a tonal foundation for what’s to come, the beginning of a thread that runs through the record. At a time of political and social volatility, especially in the wake of the 2016 American Election, Veirs is addressing what’s happening around her in Trump’s US, as well as her own struggle to balance growing as an artist and a person while also being a mother to young children. Instead of only presenting feelings of anger and frustration though, she tackles these issues with empathy and kindliness. style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2404728188/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless>The Lookout by Laura Veirs Veirs strikes a delicate yet effortless balance between feelings of confusion and fear and those of comfort, all propelled by often airy folk-pop. Even a cursory listen exudes the glow of protection. Slide guitars and folk melodies wash across the album, with the likes of ‘Everybody Needs You’ shimmering thanks to the addition of slightly gated drums and an ethereal echo surrounding Veirs’ vocals. It’s on ‘The Canyon’ where the music she and her band conjures most reflects some of the album’s underlying tensions, juxtaposing wistful tones in the verses with heavier, moodier, more distorted guitar riffs. There’s something heart-stopping about the single piano note that rings out and hangs almost ominously in the air before its scuzzier, dramatic denouement kicks in. While occasionally her tunes veer a bit too close to simply being pleasant, these varied moments help create impact. Unsurprisingly though, it’s Veirs’ words that pack the greatest punch on The Lookout. She doesn’t shy away from alluding to contemporary, chaotic times on the record, but chooses to envelop her feelings and allusions to political upheaval in imagery that paints vivid pictures of incidents, landscapes and relationships. It’s a trusted bond that takes centre stage on the title track. Across a stomping beat, she laments “I can’t read these people/ I can’t read their eyes.” She lets her faithful companion, the titular lookout, help navigate through her feelings, grateful for encountering this partner: “Man alive, I’m glad.” With the gentle ‘Watch Fire’, which features some deft and intricate finger-picking, she presents the story of a lone camper stoking a blaze, wary of the dangers that lie within the woods. “There is no mistaking the wolf for the wind/ He’s been here before and he’ll be here again,” Veirs sings on the hook, almost an allusion to repeated patterns in history. Yet Sufjan Stevens appears, counterbalancing that trepidation with a simple couplet: “I’ll keep the watch/ I’ll keep the watch fire.” A more maternal, parent-child relationship is evoked as the sound of children cry out ecstatically as if responding to Veirs’ words with vigour on ‘Lightning Rod’. Indeed, on some lines it sounds like she’s sitting these children down to hear her tales. “Ben Franklin could have been killed/ With key and kite upon that hill/ Devotional experiments/ In spirit, you are much like him,” she sings. Through the brief retelling of Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment, she alludes to the fact that sometimes uncertainty and potential danger can lead to something greater. The scientific curiosity of the founding father can live on in those she addresses, potentially blossoming into a greater future down the line. For the here and now though, sometimes a retreat from away from reality becomes welcome. Over twinkling piano melodies and sweeping strings, ‘The Meadow’ presents that escape from the [...]



Eels - The Deconstruction

2018-04-17T23:01:55+01:002018-04-17 23:00:45 +0100

A confusing jumble of highs and lows If you were to look at some of the most unlikely underground artists to have achieved a good portion of unexpected mainstream success, then Mark Oliver Everett is a name that sticks out as someone who, against all the odds, has managed to carve out a successful niche for himself as a kind of auteur provocative as the driving force behind EELS. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qx3sKPoeOis" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen> As evidenced in the brutally honest lines of Things The Grandchildren Should Know - his thoroughly recommended 2008 autobiography - he’s certainly not a man who had the easiest start to life, and has often battled with both himself and the rough seas of an uncaring universe, resulting in an increasingly impressive canon of work that reflects the duality of both the darkness and the light that’s threaded through his life experiences. New album The Deconstruction comes after one of the longest periods of inactivity in Everett’s long and distinguished musical career, and in many ways introduces itself as a backward-glancing record that at first seems to rear in the face of an uncertain and encroaching future, but eventually settles on an attitude of mindfulness and optimism that seems to be drawn from a back-to-basics period of soul-searching. Whilst it’s not the most accessible or immediate of their many studio albums, it boasts an intriguingly open humanity that’s hard to ignore. As with much of their output, it’s a confusing jumble of highs and lows that perhaps reflects the chaotic nature of the mind behind the record’s creation – chaos itself clearly something that’s playing on the songwriter’s thoughts, as Everett states in the press release: ‘The world is going nuts. But if you look for it, there is still great beauty to be found. Sometimes you don’t even have to look for it. Other times you have to try to make it yourself. And then there are times you have to tear something apart to find something beautiful inside.’ Recorded at The Compound, Los Feliz, and The Pie, Pasadena, California, the new album was performed by E, Koool G Murder and P-Boo, with The Deconstruction Orchestra & Choir, and produced by Everett alongside Mickey Petralia, who returns to the production chair for the first time since the band’s 1998 second album Electro-Shock Blues. Sonically, Petralia’s fingerprints are all over the record and in many ways it’s the next logically progressive step for the band from ESB to their present-day incarnation, a refreshingly near-full-circle approach that fits snugly with their more realised sound. Everett’s disarming naivety should be familiar to anyone who’s known an artist – that special mix of crystal clear expressive vision, utter dismay, and bewildered confusion at navigating through the pitfalls of life. It’s an outlook that’s often necessary for stripping back the cynical layers of the ego and cutting to the heart of an artistic sentiment, but one that leaves plenty of room for heartache, mental health problems and crises of confidence to creep in around the edges, as evidenced on ‘Premonition’ in the telling lyrical titbit “the world can be a real mean place when no one’s got your back”, and becomes a recurring theme on late-album ballad ‘There I Said It’ as the songwriter opines “a pure heart needs protection”. In places and at times it’s all in danger of becoming a little self-aggrandising and exclusive - “what becomes of men like me, all adrift and lost at sea,” he laments on the Nick Cave-esque ‘Bone Dry’ – but it’s a sentiment which is often reined in just before the point of triteness. Indeed, the former is a particularly impressively crafted arrangement which weaves some deep bluesy guitar licks with Bond-soundtrack brass sections and an exquisit[...]



A Place To Bury Strangers - Pinned

2018-04-17T22:35:38+01:002018-04-17 22:34:55 +0100

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An APTBS-shaped void in our collective hearts where the unapologetically, unforgivingly brutal band once was

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We need to talk about A Place To Bury Strangers.

Few groups have commanded such fierce loyalty from their fans - and rightfully so - as APTBS. While they were never really able to lose the 'loudest band in New York' label thwacked on them that one time, they did their best to live up to it.

style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=169542091/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" seamless>Pinned by A Place To Bury Strangers

We love APTBS. We love them for their brutality, their deadpan emotion and the raw, beautiful noise that every track, every live set collapses into; totally discordant, destructive, yet never painful because of how it speaks to our lizard brains and primal hearts. Between the listener and the band is an unspoken, effortless connection that transcends mere sound. We don't listen to APTBS, we feel them. That is why the label 'loudest band' was so unjust, reducing APTBS to a volume knob and ignoring the power and emotion they brought. To anyone outside of our bubble, APTBS are nothing more than chaotic noise: screaming guitars and feedback, pounding drums and radio static. But to us they are moksha.

So what do we do when our gods fall to the earth? How are we meant to react when we see the undeniably human toil and turmoil that goes into each 'effortlessly' intuitive track? Where are our gods now?

Our gods have had to move out of their apartment. Living out of Clinton Hill since the closure of Death By Audio, Oliver Ackermann says in the album blurb that he couldn't make too much noise in his new digs lest he disturb the neighbours. And with that, the vast emptiness of Pinned makes sense.

The imposed restrictions are evident on this album and the effort to overcome them more so. The result is that tracks like 'Execution' and 'Frustrated Operator' sound amateurish, even awkward, in their extreme simplicity with nothing to mask the mundanity of their composition. Granted, the vocal stylings on 'There's Only One Of Us' and 'Never Coming Back' add a welcome depth to these tracks, but the album itself remains predominantly anticlimactic. The songs are skeletal ('I Know I've Done Bad'), starkly unremarkable ('Attitude') or dilutions of past work ('Keep Moving On'). Songs like 'Was It Electric' try to have an impact but are too obviously discordant to truly grab the listener.

The restraints APTBS are shackled with are audible and, to their credit, the band seems to be doing all it can to vanquish them. However, that this is unfamiliar territory is all too clear. If you're looking for something to punch you in the gut the way 'To Fix the Gash in Your Head' did or to blow your mind the way 'In Your Heart' did, you won't find it here. Perhaps this minimalism is a style they'll evolve to master but until then there'll be an APTBS-shaped void in our collective hearts where the unapologetically, unforgivingly brutal band once was.

![105530](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/105530.jpeg)



"I am fascinated by art that asks a lot of questions": DiS Meets Jenny Wilson

2018-04-17T22:15:43+01:002018-04-17 22:15:42 +0100

The Swedish electronic artist talks us through her new album, an incredibly personal, uncompromising piece of work With a sound that is consonant with her previous collaborators The Knife and Robyn, Jenny Wilson has finally released her fifth album of electronic music, Exorcism. Having recorded her previous album, Demand The Impossible! while undergoing treatment and recovery for breast cancer, she has continued to use music to confront difficult life experiences. Exorcism is a relentless interrogation of her own experience of sexual assault; many of the tracks feature charged language which detail in plain terms the experience of her attack, and the processes of healing that follow. Notwithstanding the intense subject matter, it is a surprisingly energetic album. Wilson’s electro sound is not compromised by the subject matter. She uses the upbeat tempo to carry the ideas, to allow audiences to keep listening and not get caught up in pity or sorrow. We caught up with Jenny Wilson over skype from Stockholm. width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KyuKvELxycs" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen> --- DiS: Dance music is often associated with escapism and euphoria. Do you think it is subversive to have this kind of electronic music album confront such gritty themes? Jenny Wilson: This album is absolutely the most physical album I ever have made. The lyrics did not come from an intellectual process, but it was something completely different, which really sprung out from my guts, out of my stomach and heart, and it was necessary to make music that is also physical that you can dance or move or drive your car fast to. Something that really grips your body. I would never sit and play the piano and cry about all this. So the theme of exorcism extends to the idea of something moving out or being cast out of your body? Yeah, for me it's fun to listen to the album. I think it’s fun. It's fun to rehearse the songs, it's going to be fantastic to play it live. That's the kind of egoistic part of me that I really want to make music that I love myself that can energize me. Sexual assault is even today associated with notions of shame, hiding, privacy, with sort of covering - not so much with exposure and making other people listen to the story. Are you concerned about the audience reaction? Yes, I was very, very nervous when I was in the process of making this album because I did not know how much I would reveal, how much I would tell, how naked and brutal I would be. I didn't want to be a spokesperson for victims of sexual assault. I just wanted to tell my very private and personal story. It took a long time for me to sort out how to do it. When I was pretty much in the beginning I thought maybe I should intellectualise it and make a story out of it, tell the story of all the women of the world. But it just doesn't make sense. And I think what happened was that the lyrics also became very simple, with not that many metaphors, not difficult poetry. It’s like this and this happened, I wonder about this, and I'm very fragile right now. It's much more difficult to actually show the world that you’re very little and afraid and all shook up from something she didn't expect would ever possibly happened to you. I’m 40, 40 plus, and I have two pretty big kids, I have a career, beautiful friends all that. And suddenly this kind of ugliness happens and that kind of pushes you to ask yourself a lot of questions. What are you imagining the audience will feel in response, do you want them to enjoy listening to the album, in some way? I love the music, I think it's great. width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/faud83Ic78A" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen> It’s very upbeat. Yeah, it is. And you can actuall[...]



Planet Gear: Erland Cooper

2018-04-17T09:40:30+01:002018-04-17 09:40:30 +0100

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The multi-­instrumentalist talks us through the gear he used for his debut solo recording

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In our semi-regular nose around the equipment that some of our favourite bands use, Planet Gear, Erland Cooper talks us through the gear he used for new album Solan Goose.



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Felt Piano



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Just for the original and best shimmer setting. I use the Valhalla shimmer plugin all the time, but when mixing the final record, it was great to use the original outboard that inspired it.


Solan Goose is out now via Phases. For more information about Erland Cooper, please visit his official website.

Photo Credit: Alex Kozobolis

![105528](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/105528.jpeg)



Evolution and Equilibrium: DiS Meets Wye Oak

2018-04-16T11:39:14+01:002018-04-16 11:39:14 +0100

The U.S. duo’s fifth LP is a searing blend of musical ambition and social commentary. Singer Jenn Wasner talks through its sound and substance “The feeling of connection that comes with making something that moves people and speaks to them and their lives - it’s an incredible privilege. I don’t want to throw that away.” Jenn Wasner feels it all. Over the course of eleven years together, it’s been Wye Oak’s stylistic restlessness and intense focus on progression that’s marked them out as one of America’s most consistently exciting musical prospects; their first four albums saw them go from scuzzy noise-rock (If Children) to simmering guitar-synth drama (The Knot, Civilian) to glossy electro (Shriek) with total conviction and a sense of urgency that suggested they unequivocally equated repetition with creative death. Civilian and Shriek, in particular, were diametrically different, but both rank among the finest albums of the past decade. The duo’s fifth album, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, might be their masterpiece, but that isn’t just down to the towering collage of musical ideas that singer-guitarist Wasner has built with drummer Andy Stack; it also represents her most potent lyrical statement yet as she grapples with the yawning chasm between our online personae and our real-life selves, the impossibility of finding order in chaos in the information age, the isolating and all-encompassing extremes that social media offers, the personal acceptance of mental health struggles and, on the particularly close-to-home ‘Lifer’, the way in which the guilt of privilege can go from nagging to all-consuming. It’s an album informed by the present political climate, but not defined by it; one that reckons with the uncertain state of the world without losing sight of what we still have to be optimistic about. The week before Louder I Call’s release, Wasner talked us through the record’s themes, its long-distance gestation, and Wye Oak’s future, both immediate and long-term. src="https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify:album:3lSHd2sapKzXk7XkDac2zg" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"> --- DiS: This record feels really impressionistic. What was it about the way you approached the writing of it that meant it came out sounding like this? Jenn Wasner: The creative process is tricky. You can never really use the same path to get to the places you’ve been before, no matter how many songs you write or how many times you find yourself inspired. The same tricks don’t work every time, and so I think a big part of our tendency to experiment and challenge ourselves is just us trying to get back to a creative space. That’s something that doesn’t necessarily get easier; you just have to learn to expand the palette that you’re working with, right up until the point that you find yourself inspired again. Do you think that’s something that’s harder when there’s only two of you? Yeah – I mean, that’s a perfect example of the sort of limitation we impose upon ourselves. They’re jumping-off points for inspiration, I guess. We’ve been a band for ten years now, and I think we’re both the best we’ve ever been at what we do, and a big reason for that is that we’ve always asked ourselves the right creative questions. This is the first record where we didn’t set those limitations; we just followed our noses, and that’s resulted in something more maximal than what we’ve done in the past, but it also feels very true to the present moment. I think there are lots of little pieces of philosophy scattered throughout the record. You made the album remotely, as with Shriek - you in Raleigh, North Carolina this time, and Andy in Marfa, Texas. That wouldn’t w[...]