Archive for the ‘Deafheaven’ Category

[ATTENDED: March 6, 2022] Deafheaven

I’m not a huge fan of Deafheaven, but the more I kept seeing this show advertised (and postponed and rescheduled) the more I thought I might really like to see them live.

I like their blend of shoegaze and screaming metal.  I couldn’t listen to a lot of it, but I figured a show would be just right.

The band’s newest album, however, is very different from past efforts.  There is almost no screaming at all.  Lead singer George Clarke who pretty much only screamed a largely incoherent rasp on previous records actually sang on this one.  The music wasn’t vastly different although it tended to be a bit less intense.

When I looked to see what their setlist was like, the show in late 2021 had them play the entire new album and then a couple old ones.  I wasn’t that excited by that prospect, but figured I’d still enjoy it.  And after Holy Fawn, I was ready.

They opened with “Shellstar” which is quite a pretty song.  I think I would have really liked it if it weren’t Deafheaven.  Plus, I had never seen any footage of them before.  Clarke was a wildly intense figure, but he was dancing and moving and shuffling.  Dressed all in black in a button long sleeve shirt, he moved about the stage and fully engaged with the audience. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 6, 2022] Holy Fawn

Holy Fawn was supposed to open a show I was going to go to a while ago.  I didn’t go for whatever reason, but here they are again.

“Candy” started out kind of slow and atmospheric.  There were quiet guitars and whisper/sung vocals by Ryan Osterman.  It had a powerful shoegaze vibe.  After a minute or so drummer Austin Reinholz started hitting a martial beat that felt like it was heading to a burst of noise.  But that never came.  It wasn’t until almost four minutes into the song that it burst forth.  And at nearly five minutes started screaming in an intense growl–but just for the end of the song.

“Dark Stone” worked the other way.  After some slow swirling intro sounds, the band played a heavy chord and then silence.  And it worked that way as the full band kicked in–loud crashing chords followed my ambient noise.  vocals were quiet and clean as the band played a picked guitar melody and interesting sounds from the second guitarist Evan Phelps.  The song just built and built on a wall of noise with crashing guitars, lots of cymbals and screams from bassist Alexander Rieth (who was into the music bodily–bouncing and headbanging like crazy). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 6, 2022] Midwife

I was intrigued by the setup on the stage.  On the microphone stand there was a old-school telephone receiver.

Then Madeline Johnston came onstage with her guitar.  She spoke into the telephone and her voice sounded distant and far away.  It was pretty neat.

She then triggered a drum beat and started playing guitar over it.  She sang into it and her voice was spooky and sounded like it was coming from outer space.

Midwife plays was she calls Heaven Metal and falls into the “Slowcore” and “Sadcore” genre. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: April 4, 2020] Deafheaven / Inter Arma / Greet Death

indexI liked Deafheaven’s Sunbather album for its fascianting mix of death metal and shoegaze. I haven’t heard anything from their two new albums, although I have heard very good things about them.

I wasn’t sure if I’d want to go to this show as it might be too intense.  But I had it on my radar.

However, I already had tickets to see Parquet Courts this evening, so it was unlikely I was going to this show.

I had read some really positive reviews about Inter Arma which had me interested in seeing them live.  I mean, if you write “proggy organic doom fields while expanding further the on the psych-folk strain” that sounds pretty awesome, but when I listened to whatever their latest record was, I didn’t really like it.  It just seemed extreme with no subtlety.

Greet Death I assume is named after the Mogwai song, which is promising.  This glowing review of their new album New Hell certainly makes me want to check them out

Greet Death’s shoegazey slowcore resembles a number of pleasing touchstones — Red House Painters, Nothing, Hum, Pedro The Lion, Dinosaur Jr., Thunder Dreamer; a few of Sam Boyhtari’s vocal runs even remind me of Dan Bejar — yet in practice they are entirely their own thing, and that thing is extremely good. These nine songs are mostly mammoth waves of sonic sludge, thick with musical texture and brimming with an energy that belies the measured pace. At its best, as one the nine-minute epic “You’re Gonna Hate What You’ve Done,” their music feels like being crushed by an avalanche while simultaneously soaring across the skyline.

Maybe this would have been the better show that night?


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[ATTENDED: June 11, 2019] Baroness

Baroness is, for the most part, the work of John Baizley.  There are others in the band, but there hasn’t really been any consecutive albums with the same lineup.  I first heard of John Baizley on March 10, 2017 when he was brought out as as special guest at a Strand of Oaks concert.

I thought Baizley was great at that show and I really liked his voice.  So I investigated and I discovered the wonder that is the prog metal of Baroness.  Baizley writes beautiful passages and tacks them onto brutally heavy metal.  His voice is a rich baritone and it all works perfectly.  I later found out that all of the art is done by him and that he has crafted some amazing heavy metal covers as well (here’s his art site).

In 2017, Baroness was between albums (their previous one came out in 2015, their new one is coming out in a couple of days).  But I listened to his older records and really liked them a lot.

They have recently toured for this new album, but the two shows they played near me were not ones I wanted to see.  In April they played the Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest which sounded like a terrible thing to go to, quite frankly (even if they were the headliners) –7 bands and all that beer, no thanks.  A few days earlier they were playing Starland Ballroom with Deafheaven.  A double bill I would have liked to see, but I was already seeing Voivod that night.

They announced a tour of the rest of the lands and I was a little bummed.  But then they announced this little acoustic tour to coincide with their new album.  I was planning on getting the album anyway, so to travel to Fords to get that record and to have Baroness play an acoustic show was a no brainer. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 20, 2019] Emma Ruth Rundle

The night after Animals as Leaders, I was excited to check out Mono, primarily because I assumed it wouldn’t be all that crowded.  In fact, I didn’t even have a ticket ahead of time (risky if you’re driving over an hour, but it worked out fine).

My friends Liz and Eleanor had given me a Union Transfer gift card for my birthday and you can only use it at the box office, so I figured it was a nice time try it out.

The stage was pushed far forward to lessen the floor space (which is a cool thing they can do at UT).  I rather like when the stage is pushed forward as it makes the show intimate without being crowded.

I hadn’t heard of Emma Ruth Rundle and didn’t know anything about her.   I had no idea that she had a following (she has released three albums and plays in some other bands). (more…)

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may20014SOUNDTRACK: CRYPTOPSY-“Slit Your Guts” (1996).

cryptI had never heard of this band until I saw the song mentioned in the article.  The song is impossibly fast with speeding guitars, super fast (inhuman) drums and an indecipherable growl as vocal.  In other words, a typical cookie monster metal song.  And yet, there is a lot more to it and, indeed it took me several listens before I could even figure out what was happening here, by which time I had really fallen for the song.

There’s a middle section which is just as punishing and fast but which is basically an instrumental break–not for showing off exactly but for showcasing more than the bands pummel.  It has a short guitar solo followed by a faster more traditional solo (each for one measure, each in a different ear). Then the tempo picks up for an extended instrumental section.  The melody is slightly more sinister, but it sounds great.  There’s even a (very short) bass solo that sticks out as a totally unexpected (and fun) surprise.

Then the growls come back in, staying with the new melody.  The vocals are so low and growly that they are almost another distorted instrument rather than a voice.

After that there’s a lengthy proper guitar solo.  As the song comes to a close,  it repeats some previous sections before suddenly halting.  It’s quite a trip. And it definitely makes me want to hear more from them (whatever their name means).

[READ: April 14, 2014] “Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives”

Robbins, who is a poet, but about whom I know little else, takes us on a sort of literary tour of heavy metal.  His tone is interesting–he is clearly into metal, like in a big way (at the end of the article he talks about taking his writing students to see Converge (although he doesn’t exactly say why)), but he’s also not afraid to make fun of the preposterousness of, well, most of the bands–even the ones he likes.  It’s a kind of warts and all appreciation for what metal is and isn’t.  many people have written about metal from many different angles, so there’s not a lot “new” here, but it is interesting to hear the different bands discussed in such a thoughtful (and not just in a fanboy) way.

His first footnote is interesting both for metal followers and metal disdainers: “Genre classification doesn’t interest me.  Listen to Poison Idea’s Feel the Darkness followed by Repulsion’s Horrified and tell me the main difference between hardcore punk and metal isn’t that one has a bullshit positive message and one has a bullshit negative message.”

But since Robbins is a poet, he is interested in metal’s connection to poetry.  And in the article he cites William Blake (of course), but also Rilke and John Ashbery and (naturally) Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as Shelley, Lord Byron and Charles Baudelaire.  He talks about them not because they are cool poets, but because they have also talked about because of metal’s “most familiar trope…duh, Satanism, which might be silly–okay, its’ definitely silly, but has a distinguished literary pedigree”.  Besides, he notes that Satan has the best lines in Paradise Lost (and I note that just as Judas has the best songs in Jesus Christ Superstar).

But sometimes this Satanism turns into a  form of paganism which then turns into nature worship.  From Voivod’s “Killing Technology” to black metal’s romanticism of nature (sometimes to crazy extremes–but that’s what a band needs to do to stand out sometimes).  Metal is all about the dark and primordial, a”rebuke to our soft lives.”

And yet, as a poet, Robbins has some quibbles with metal: (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_03_13Hall.inddSOUNDTRACK: DEAFHEAVEN-“Dream House” (2013).

deafheavenNPR’s Lars Gotrich always picks songs that I like–even if I would never have found them any other way.

His favorite album of the year so far is by this band Deafheaven whom I have never heard of.  The song is 9 minutes long and it combines big loud guitars, super fast crashing drums, and cookie monster vocals (mixed so low in the mix that they almost sound just like noise–a neat trick).  The waves and layers of sound give it a kind of My Bloody Valentine feel.

For the first half of the song, the drums are absolutely speed metal fast–pounding and pounding with wild cymbals.  But they too are mixed low in the mix–setting a beat but not dominating the song.  For really this song seems to be all about the guitar–which is not exactly playing along with them.  Sure, there are fast  moments, and the guitar is largely distorted and noisy.  But the tone of the guitar is very bright–especially when he starts playing some simple but pretty riffs (amid the noise).

And then about half way through, the noise drops away and the music become quiet and pretty.  Two guitars interweave slow melodies.  Until the music crashes back in, but with a different tempo and a feeling like Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai.

I know many will be turned off by the vocals (I think I might even like it more if it were purely instrumental), but the way they are mixed, shows that the music is the dominant sound, and I can get behind that.

[READ: June 12, 2013] “Company Man”

I always enjoying reading a David Sedaris Personal History (interestingly I haven’t read all of his books—I seem to stick to the articles instead).  This one is about having a  guest room.  He considers it a true sign of aging gracefully that his new house has a guest room (with its own bathroom).

Their previous house in Normandy had nothing of the sort and he gives typically humorous anecdotes about being embarrassed for the guests who don’t have any privacy in the bathroom (“we’ll be going out for about twenty minutes if you need anything.”)  But now they have this new space.

Which means of course that they have guests.  I enjoyed the part when Hugh’s friends come to visit–based on his father’s behaviors, David is allowed to leave in the middle of a conversation because he is not the one entertaining the guests).  But the bulk of the second half concerns David’s family.  (more…)

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