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by Sally Fink

5 Oct 2011

Whatever you do, do not call them modern. Joshua Third (or Joshua von Grimm as he used to call himself) is clear that the Horrors are anything but. “I don’t like the word modern. We’re futuristic. That’s where our focus is; on the future.”

The British post-punk band recently released their third album, ambitiously entitled Skying, resonant of reaching new heights, and—in the case of the Horrors—new sounds as well.

Skying is that feeling of being elevated; like you’re constantly moving upwards”, says Third.

Skying is experimental by nature, with plenty of melodies and synthesised beats to cement its place as essential indie listening. It’s a far cry from the band’s black-as-tar goth-punk days.

by Erin Lyndal Martin

4 Oct 2011

Photo: Michael Wilson

They’ve gotten thousands of letters, like one from a fan who’d listened to their music during cancer surgery. Their songwriter-multi-instrumentalist was almost a missionary. They’ve released a plethora of albums while retaining contact with their fans. And now they’ve made another superb record—that was financed by said fans.

Over the Rhine’s (comprised of husband-and-wife team Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist) latest release, The Long Surrender, is a departure for the band in many ways, but it fortunately keeps their poetic spirit alive and thriving.  Funded by fans, produced by Joe Henry (who also helped out with the songwriting), and featuring Lucinda Williams on guest vocals, The Long Surrender was recorded in just five days and features many songs that are first takes.

by Jennifer Brown

3 Oct 2011

The American four-part “spoken-word” act Enablers toured through Dresden last night. Marking the group’s second stop on a 42-show European tour, the Dresden show followed a concert in Leipzig and a five-day rehearsal in Berlin (the band members are sprinkled throughout the US and don’t have too much time to practice together regularly). The band’s performance was titillating and thought-provoking, building off of strong instrumentation and beautiful cadence and flow within Pete Simonelli’s vocals. I hung out with the guys before the show and talked about all-things music.

You guys are known as a pretty under-the-radar “cool” band in Germany. Fans of yours seem to be pretty loyal, from what I gather. Do you sense this loyalty when you tour through Europe?

Yes, definitely. A lot of our fans become our friends. We do all of our own booking—Kevin does all of the booking—so we manage to meet people that way. The Internet also makes it so much easier.

by Stephen Humphries

28 Sep 2011

Steven Wilson is music’s answer to Chuck Yeager: He’s continually striving to break sound barriers.

On his second solo album, Grace for Drowning (released September 27 on K-Scope), the frontman of the rock band Porcupine Tree has forged an unusual sonic alchemy of progressive rock, textural electronica, piano-pop balladry, soundtrack-like soundscapes, doom rock . . . and jazz.

When a rock musician admits to a new jazz direction, you’d be forgiven for conjuring up images of a cheesy confection akin to Spinal Tap’s Jazz Odyssey. But Wilson had a specific template in mind: King Crimson’s pioneering 1970 album Lizard.

Lizard is basically Robert Fripp’s solo album”, explains Wilson, who recently remastered the King Crimson back catalog in 5.1 surround sound. “King Crimson had broken up. It was just him. What did he do? He didn’t get in a load of rock musicians, he got in a load of jazz musicians. That’s really the approach I took with this record.”

by Christian John Wikane

21 Sep 2011

“Indefatigable.” That’s how Rolling Stone described Martha Davis in a profile of the Motels from September 1982. It was then and is now an accurate characterization of the group’s founder, primary songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist. Then: the Motels were celebrating their first Top 10 pop hit in the US with the Davis-penned “Only the Lonely” after the group nearly imploded while recording their third album for Capitol Records, the unreleased Apocalypso (1981). Now: Martha Davis is celebrating the long overdue release of Apocalypso, whose embers have been rekindled by Omnivore Recordings after 30 years of lockdown in the vault.

To see Davis stand among towering flames on the cover of Apocalypso is to understand the kind of decimation she’s survived in the intervening decades. Not even flames could desiccate the well of creativity that’s nourished her through the Motels’ dissolution in the ‘80s, major label woes, and her re-emergence with a new Motels line-up in the ‘90s. The release of Apocalypso has given Davis a chance to reclaim the classic Motels sound and fashion a fresh concert set that explores what might have happened had Capitol issued the album instead of the lacquered sheen of the group’s breakthrough, All Four One (1982). Original member Marty Jourard, whose distinctive keyboard and saxophone playing contributed to the group’s core musical identity from the late ‘70s through the early ‘80s, has joined Davis and the Motels for a series of Apocalypso-centric dates. On the first night of the Apocalypso tour in Philadelphia, Martha Davis revisited that moment 30 years ago when, in her words, “the train got de-railed”.

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