music videos tour dates

Butcher The Bar Butcher Debuts New Gravity-Defying Video, Announces European Dates with Death Cab For Cutie

Butcher The Bar Debuts New Gravity-Defying Video Announces European Dates with Death Cab For Cutie

“…one talented musician. His no frills style of performance allow his stories to take the spotlight, backed by simple, well-crafted melodies on stripped down instrumentation…definitely a hidden gem.” – The Fader

Watch the Video for “Alpha Street West” at Vimeo

Director: Rob Jury
Producer: Liam Collinwood/ David Mahmoudieh
Director of Photography: Mikolaj Jaroszewicz
Grips: Rob Webster. Emilio Schlappi
Art Department – Amy Elle Cartwright
Carpenter/ Engineer: Ally Lord
Grade and VFX – Liam Collinwood
Starring: Joel Nicholson
Production Assistants: Terry Tsang/ Chris Dewey/ Chema Gomez

Artist: Butcher The Bar
Title:Alpha Street West
Album: For Each A Future Tethered
Label:Morr Music

Manchester UK artist Butcher The Bar (aka Joel Nicholson) has debuted a brand new, gravity-defying video for “Alpha Street West,” taken from his newest Morr Music release, For Each A Future Tethered. The video comes just in time for a European tour with select dates supporting Death Cab For Cutie. Ben Gibbard first discovered Nicholson’s songs earlier this year and started recommending them on the band’s Twitter. A few months later he asked Nicholson to join them on the road.

Butcher The Bar gave us insight into his deepest thoughts three years ago with his debut, Sleep At Your Own Speed, an album that dealt with the uncertainties of growing up – recorded in the intimate light of his bedroom. In For Each A Future Tethered he shares his personal story with wispy serene vocals and creative arrangements. There is a wider range of musical accompaniment, with the inclusion of trumpets, clarinets, harmoniums and pianos, resulting in a richer, more developed sound. The music is somewhat reminiscent of label mates Seabear, but his earnest songwriting is true to the tradition of great songwriters like Nick Drake, Paul Simon and Elliott Smith.

Butcher The Bar in Concert

10-22 – Andenne, Belgium – Centre Culture
10-24 – Magdeburg, Germany – Riff
10-24 – Magdeburg, Germany – Riff
10-25 – Dresden, Germany – Thalia
10-26 – Göttingen, Germany – Apex
10-27 – Krefeld, Germany – Kulturrampe
10-28 – Hamburg, Germany – Uebel & Gefaehrlich (w / Stankowski)
10-29 – Erfurt, Germany – Franz Mehlhose (w / Stankowski)
10-30 – Berlin, Germany – HBC (w / Stankowski)
10-31 – Leipzig, Germany – Werk 2 (w / Stankowski)
11-01 – Offenbach, Germany – Hafen 2
11-02 – Munich, Germany – Feierwerk (w / Stankowski)
11-03 – Stuttgart, Germany – Universum (w / Stankowski)
11-04 – Lucerne, Switzerland – Treibhaus (w / Stankowski)
11-05 – Schaffhausen, Switzerland – Tab Tab
11-06 – Osimo , Ancona, Italy – Loop Club
11-08 – Florence, Italy – Glue
11-12 – Luxembourg City, Luxembourg – Den Atelier (w/ Death Cab For Cutie)
11-13 – Cologne, Germany – E- Werk (w/ Death Cab For Cutie)
11-16 – London, England- Hammersmith Apollo (w/ Death Cab For Cutie)
11-17 – Leeds, England – Academy (w/ Death Cab For Cutie)
11-18 – Birmingham, England – Birmingham Ballroom (w / Death Cab For Cutie)
11-19 – Glasgow, Scotland- Academy (w/ Death Cab For Cutie)

For Each A Future Tethered Track Listing:

1. Sign Your Name
2. Bobby
3. Cradle Song
4. Giant
5. Alpha Street West
6. Blood For The Breeze
7. Silk Tilts
8. Sin So Sweet
9. X
10. Cornered To The Cusp
11. Lullaby

press releases reviews

Portishead to perform live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – October 5th

Portishead to perform live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – October 5th

Nobody sounds like Portishead. The progression of their albums has clearly established their uncompromising stance towards their future. Portishead play ATP followed by a U.S. tour which is the first time they’ve played live in the U.S. since 1998. While in New York City, playing 2 sold out nights at Hammerstein Ballroom, the band will perform live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. This is the band’s first U.S. television appearance since performing on Saturday Night Live in January of 1998.

The trek kicks off at this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties presentation, I’ll Be Your Mirror Saturday October 1 & Sunday October 2 taking place in Asbury Park, N.J. Portishead co-curated these two days of the 3 day festival. According to Adrian Utley, “We’ve always thought that we must come back to tour in the states, something we wanted to do with the release of Third, but our schedule just wouldn’t allow it. Being that we were asked to curate I’ll be your Mirror, this just seemed like a good start to touring the states – it set’s it off in absolutely the right way. We are absolutely delighted to come back.”

After an 11- year hiatus, Portishead’s album Third, the long-awaited follow up to their 1997 self-titled release, debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, received rave reviews and has been hailed as an “unexpected yet totally impressive return” by Rolling Stone Magazine, and “Worth the wait” by Newsweek. “‘Third’ is more polymorphous, more extreme, more propulsive and often harsher than previous Portishead albums” claimed New York Times. “…anyone can make abrasive music, but few can do something new and compelling with apocalyptic heaviness” wrote Spin Magazine.

Joining Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley on stage are Jim Barr (bass), Clive Deamer(drums), and John Baggott (keyboards).

Serj Tankian Premieres Total Paranoia from Batman Arkham City


TRACK TO BE FEATURED ON FORTHCOMING BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY – THE ALBUM DUE OUT OCTOBER 4TH Check out the brand new track “Total Paranoia” from Serj Tankian

Batman: Arkham City – The Album will be released in conjunction with the highly anticipated forthcoming videogame Batman: Arkham City. Featuring 11 new original tracks, Batman: Arkham City – The Album will be released on October 4th, two weeks prior to the game’s North American release on October 18th. The Batman: Arkham City Collector’s Edition of the game will include a download code for the album along with additional bonus content.

The artists featured on Batman: Arkham City – The Album approached their contributions to the album with their own unique interpretations of the stories surrounding Batman. The result is an eclectic mix of dynamic, atmospheric songs for an album that will appeal to fans of both the artists and Batman: Arkham City. Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez said, “I write in a very conceptual format with the stories that surround Coheed and Cambria, but Batman has a much larger, defined history and rules that go along with it. My goal was to find universal themes from Batman’s existing history to help give the lyrics legs and dimension so that the song could live within that world.”

Check out the track listing below:

1. Panic! At The Disco – Mercenary
2. Coheed and Cambria – Deranged
3. The Duke Spirit – Creature
4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Shadow On The Run
5. Blaqk Audio – Afterdark
6. The Raveonettes – Oh, Stranger
7. (Crosses) – The Years
8. The Damned Things – Trophy Widow
9. Daughtry – Drown In You
10. The Boxer Rebellion – Losing You
11. Serj Tankian – Total Paranoia


Oh, Sleeper – Children of Fire review

It’s a metalcore album.

In all seriousness though, when I got assigned to do the newest record by Texas-based metalcore band Oh, Sleeper, I was a little bit worried.  Quite frankly, my ears just aren’t accustomed to the genre and thus every metalcore band sounds really similar to me, which is a probably when you need to give an opinion about it.  And so I took to the internet, and asked around on some message boards to help me out so that I could differentiate between the bands that are more renowned and the ones that are closer to the bottom of the barrel.  See, metalcore gets a bit of a bad rap – a lot of people consider it to be “entry-level” metal, a transitional genre that people get into only until they discover “real” metal.

Speaking from experience, at least a small part of this is true, even though it only applies to the more commercial bands of the genre; it was the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and Lamb of God that got me into thrash and death metal, and after I got to that point, I rarely, if ever looked back.  But in truth metalcore can, at its best, be a unique genre with its own quirks.  At the same time, the overall feel of the genre is pretty much the same across the board – relentlessly aggressive, extremely fast, and supremely technical.  It’s also rather stone-faced; there’s nary a sense of humour to be found just about anywhere in the genre.

Despite the fact that I still don’t really like metalcore, I at least discovered what is more commonly considered “good” and “bad”.  The stuff that’s more objectively good is the stuff that’s more unique, and from what I’ve heard, seems both A) noisier and B) more influenced by traditional metal genres.  The bad stuff is a lot simpler both in composition and general tone, and often comes off as a laundry list of metalcore staples – breakdown after breakdown after breakdown, essentially.  The good bands, like the absolutely excellent group Converge, use much more experimental guitar tones, take a lot of influence from thrash and black metal (among other things), and have much stronger compositions.  They never get into a mindset of “here is the breakdown section; here is the two-step section” and so on – the songs tend to flow from one section to the next in a spastic rage of intensity.

Oh, Sleeper’s newest album Children of Fire  definitely falls into the good category.  All those good things that I just talked about are here – the fluid compositions, the over-the-top technicality, the emotional intensity.  Certainly, one can hear how some of these songs are pretty commercial – take the anthemic chorus of “Claws of a God” for example – but for the most part, the album is full of relatively unique sounds and flows really well over its mercifully brief half-hour runtime.  Oh, it’s also a concept album; apparently their last album concerned itself with some mumbo-jumbo about God fighting the Devil, and this is supposed to be a continuation of that.  The Wikipedia entry states that the album “ends with the destruction of the world that is somehow due to everything that happened”.  I’ll leave it at that.

I’ll admit that I don’t really intend to listen to Children of Fire ever again – I just don’t really like the sound of most metalcore.  So yeah: if you’re not into metalcore, this isn’t going to change your mind in the slightest. But speaking objectively, I can see that this is a well-made album; metalcore aficianados will definitely be into it, so if you’re one of those, check it out.


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical review

After a five year hiatus Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is back with Hysterical, an album that sounds like the group’s previous two efforts honed to a dull edge. Guitars strum repetitively over a pulsating rhythm section and Alec Ounsworth stretches his voice elastically over it all, but the songs lack the manic tones that characterized their debut. The sound is tight and crisp, but forgettable.

The album starts off promisingly with “Same Mistake”, with its infectious rhythm and Ounsworth sounding better than he ever has, but by the song’s end it all feels redundant and boring, frankly. This song—and much of the album—would probably be a blast to hear live or would make for a great soundtrack to a montage, but in this format they fall flat and lifeless.

Hysterical fares better on tracks where Clap Your Hands Say Yeah mixes things up. On “Misspent Youth” the music slows down, the sound develops some space and Ounsworth’s vocals and lyrics are pushed to the forefront. When he sings, “I’m driving drunk in daddy’s car / honey, I won’t spoil the ending”, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah achieves a melancholic beauty that isn’t just derived from chaos. “Misspent Youth” is reflective, sad, and sticks in your head in the best way possible, but then things immediately jump back into bouncing noise with “Maniac”.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have made a solid album that they can hang their hat on, but it’s not going to set the world on fire and even their biggest fans will nod along to most of it ineffectually. Things sound the same, but they’re not.


Dessa – Castor, The Twin review

I’ve always been a fan of political hip-hop; A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, and De La Soul all taken in preference over Dr. Dre, Tupac, and Jay-Z. Likewise, it is no secret that I enjoy the singer-songwriter genre as well, largely due to the power of their written words.

What a nice surprise my next assignment was.

Part poet, part hip-hop artist, all awesome. Dessa, part of the Minneapolis based Doomtree Hip-hop Collective, has created something special with her latest “Castor, The Twin.” It’s without the raw and sometimes filthy delivery style favoured by today’s rappers, but with a voice like hers it would only serve to cheapen the tracks.

I ended up listening to this album 3 times before sitting down to write about it (usually I shoot for some hastily scribbled notes on first play to get me started). Every time, “Dixon’s Girl” just floored me. The bluesy intro sets up her story, and the story is captivating. At one point you feel Dessa just has to run out of breath, and yet she doesn’t. If you took Fiona Apple and asked her to cover a Buck 65 track, this would be a close approximation to the result. It works.

As for the rest of the album, “Mineshaft” really demonstrates her abilities about a minute and a half in, in both content and delivery, and is another highlight. “Alibi” is about as gritty as it gets on “Castor, The Twin”, and at the other end of the scale the very next track, “Palace”, is a piano laden balladesque, with sultry vocals.

I really was blown away by Dessa Darling’s style, her range, and the sheer quality of her art. If you’re looking for something different, definitely give this a spin. You won’t regret it.


Yob – Atma review

Brace yourself for this one.

I don’t know if my little hippie brain can take this on. So I guess that’s a compliment for doom-metal band hailing from Eugene, Oregon, called Yob.

This is far from their first EP. Yob have been around for over a decade actually, making five albums before Atma and touring like fiends all over the States.

Let’s see here…Atma. This EP five song EP, well, it’s nothing I would personally seek out. I’m not much of a metal-head myself, but this isn’t about my own personal tastes, this is about some tight music, and I would say that Yob brings that pretty decently.

The first track on Atma goes into this hellishly long drawn out red and black guitar noise before Mike Scheidt brings in these vocals that start out with surprising subtlety before busting out the signature metal growls, long streams of gruff held notes. You gotta give the man credit. I sure as hell can’t sing like that. There are also some really cool percussion breakdowns in here that add a bit of interest and changes in the time signatures that at least make it alright.

But I have to say here, that while I am not well versed in every doom-metal, death-metal, thrash-core, hardcore, death-core, whatever the fuck, post-partum trash metal, I have heard enough that I know when shit’s just wallpaper.

On Atma, you can really pick out some respectable talent. These guys aren’t amateur players. The title track is pretty epic, but in all honesty, it does kind of sound like background music. It’s not holding my interest with anything so amazingly new and never-been-done-before wildness that suddenly I’m going, “Holy shit, I should have been listening to doom-music this whole time!”

The title track is pretty cool though, and Scheidt shows off some impressive vocal range and these songs musically fit together well.

It’s just that the whole thing reminds me of getting my first tattoo; I went into this seedy little shop and the guy, Mark, had the typical metal-head pube beard and he was blaring Motorhead and then started feeding mice to his snake.

There’s nothing here that’s really fascinating enough to convert me .


The Perms – Sophia Nights extended album review

Perhaps it’s because they enjoy a unique access to the use of human linguistics or perhaps it’s simply because our society has placed immense power on words in general, but vocals – more specifically lyrics – seem to carry an unrivaled weight in a song.  Certainly more central than drum rhythms or bass lines and often drawing more attention than even the catchiest of guitar riffs, the message of a song rarely goes without at least some ounce of recognition.  It’s for this reason that Sophia Nights, the 5th full-length release from Canadian power-pop rockers, The Perms is just a touch short of spectacular.

Long-time fans will site infectious hooks and unmatched energy both on-stage and on their records among the best qualities of this band and on those counts I raise no objection, however I will say that this release contains an abundance of unrealized lyrical potential. Jam-packed with the same intoxicating melodies and pop guitar riffs they’ve been rocking since inception, this album is – on the surface – just as catchy and exciting as ever (well, maybe not quite as catchy as 2009 release, Keeps You Up When You’re Down.)  However, upon deeper and more critical listening we find lyrical composition that tends to disappoint.  It isn’t terrible, it’s not even bad; I just know they can do better.

A perfect example of their potential lies in album closer   “Over and Over.”  Lyrically it’s superior for several reasons. The writing seems well-thought-out, vocal phrases fit the music in an alarmingly attractive way and, most importantly, there isn’t anything that seems compromised for the sake of finishing the song.  Additionally, the delivery of this track seems to artfully combine the heavier feel of this release with the pop-ier vibe of previous works.  Several other tracks seem to take a huge, premature step towards Nirvana (the band, not the state of enlightenment) and while I’m not opposed to any band’s inter-album evolution, I believe a group should be either tasteful in this transition or fully committed.  Save the skillful finesse of “Over and Over” and the balls-to-the-wall approach of “Slipping Away,” this release is neither.

Now, having just read this you’re probably experiencing a bitter taste in your mouth towards this record and for that I apologize.  The reason I focus on the lyrical shortcomings is for lack of constructive criticism concerning the rest of the record.  Sonically a massive improvement from previous releases, Sophia Nights is a high-energy project that is both well constructed and appropriately representative of the band’s veteran musicality.  Album opener and first single, “High School High” is a cohesive if not slightly satirical nod to post-college-aged bands singing about adolescent trial and tribulation that sounds so reminiscent of late 90’s rock (think Good Charlotte and Dookie-era Green Day) that I almost considered spiking my hair again.  Also deserving of mention, production tricks in “Mannheim” draw likeness to Hendrix-esque phase modulations resulting in a swimmy and, for lack of a better word, trippy experience.

To be honest, there are quite a few gems on this record, especially if you can overlook the lyrics.  It’s exciting, catchy and generally fun and I encourage you to direct your attention to not only this album but also this band as a whole.


The Drums – Portamento review

If you wished the Drums would have detoured from the eighties synth-rock they’ve been pumping for almost eight years now, you’re gonna be really disappointed. Portamento is full of the same Joy Division-esque bass-thumping and keyboard-bellowing that original members Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham’s spilled on their debut, as well as their project Elkland that disbanded right before the dawn of this duo. However, if you happen to be a gigantic fan of the Drums, or at least mildly enjoyed last summer’s critically-acclaimed self-titled album, you’ll probably view this record as more of an exercise in growth for the Brooklyn act. This time, the quintet come more into their own own by focusing even further on those little touches that make a song (such as the simple finger-picking in the middle of “Days”) and by cranking more dance beats (such as “What You Were”) than they ever offered on The Drums.

Whereas their debut opened with the minimalist synth track “Best Friend” that resembled the cheesiness of an arcade game soundtrack, Portamento dives into the Drums’ new, fuller sound with “Book of Revelation,” showing off their ability to harmonize over quick, punchy guitar stabs, which is the M.O. of the entire 12-track span. Minus the middle track, “Searching for Heaven,” which rides a wave akin to Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” (yet unfortunately doesn’t nearly go into anything as awesome as “Time”), Portamento is packed with the sonic neutrality Pierce and Graham have always loved but come closer this time to perfecting it. The movement from  from the quiet ramblings of a strings section at the end of “If He Likes It Let Him Do It” into the bass-centered “I Need a Doctor” is by far the highlight of the album, proving the control all five of them have over their sound a mere two years into their forming.

There’s a point on “Searching for Heaven” where Pierce sings, “I found the difference between what I wanted it to be and what it will always be,” and it makes you wonder if he’s unhappy with the results here. If he is, he shouldn’t veer too far from this Cure-esque sound. Portamento is a bigger and better step in the same direction.


Tripper – Hella review

Blissed out hippies beware. Tripper isn’t for you if you’re into lying in the tie-dyed grass, closing your eyes and listening to quiet, breath-like atmospheric shit. But, you know, you could very well like lying in the silent grass and still dig this if you’re a musically diverse person who appreciates many different ways of approaching style and sound and so in that case, MDMA dancers, ditzy junkies, shallow flamers and hard addicts of Peter Paul and Mary, all are welcome here in this noise.

Headless is the first track from this Sacramento band made up primarily of Spencer Seim on strings and Zach Hill on drums. The song sounds like an orchestra trying to tune up in the middle of an airplane crash while burning cats on surfboards ride into telephone poles. Or something. To give a less retarded description, it’s just a hugely mathy blend of mad guitar throw-downs and insane, bashing percussive explosions; the whole thing rises and falls like manic, electric waves.

Yubacore is one track that has these satisfying pockets and sweet spots of great little guitar licks and bass hooks.

Interestingly enough (and after listening to Tripper, not surprising either) Seim and Hill are right in the thick of things with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, being members of El Groupo Omar Rogriguez-Lopez. You can hear why Lopez would wanna jam with these guys; through the intensity of Hella’s multi-layered noise bristling with lunacy, there are layers of fine-tuned beauty and a wild, virtuosic feel to their plunging. Netgear showcases this brilliantly.

Kid Life Crisis is a fucking blast to listen to; it’s absolutely fun as hell and the guitar takes you all over the place, brightly, in this grinding, child-like thrashing way. Listening to this as I type this. This is fucking great, god there are some sweet parts in here.

And now I at least have to write about Further, because it’s definitely my favorite on here. Somehow these fools manage to mangle this 60’s style acoustic weirdness into something so aflame and crazy, that it’s a total experience to listen to, which is personally my favorite kind of music, the stuff of experiences.

Okay, so anyway, this is their fifth studio album and while unquiet stuff like this could come across as an unruly headache, you can tell that Hella has put the work in here; it’s structured with an intricate attentiveness to detail that is kind of daunting to the 3-chord-Gord’s of this world.

If you’re looking for an album that holds the same essence of sound that musical mad scientists Mars Volta has shown, then Hella brings it hard, and in their own real way.