Hailing from Bayonne, France, Gojira have been busy laying waste to Japanese cities and casual listeners the world over for the past 16 years and will do the same to the E-Factory Sept 22nd.
— By Jon Galuchie
Hailing from Bayonne, France, Gojira have been busy laying waste to Japanese cities and casual listeners of the world over for the past 16 years (check out crowd-favorite “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe”). Their trademark blend of metal is captivating, fierce, and ultimately comes out head and shoulders above the other bands in the pit with a sound all their own. When it comes to the live show, the energy is felt through the crowd and each song has undeniable heft. I had the pleasure of catching them when they toured in support of the mighty Mastodon and (if I’m being honest) they stole the show. The audience and the band were on the same page and there was all the headbanging and moshpits that a metalhead could ask for.
They recently released their new album Magma on back in June on Roadrunner Records. Check out the newest single “Silvera” and get back to me. It showcases the band honing in on their unique songwriting and masterful song structure and development–all in less than four minutes.
Gojira will be stopping by to slay the Electric Factory with support from Tesseract on September 22. Highly recommended show.
One of Drexel’s own students has united the biggest names in vaporwave and electronic netlabels for a limited edition cassette compilation. Patrick Magee, of WKDU’s “The Stardust Revue”, created this compilation with the intention of giving well known artists in the community an outlet to make music without the pressure of scene politics. Following recent tensions between “hardvapour” and “traditional” vaporwave fans, “Absolve U” brings together artists known for funky sample based jams like Luxury Elite, as well as drum ‘n bass paced tunes from DJ Alina and Blank Body.
“I’m glad that people like what I’ve put out. After working for so long, though, I want people to know I can do more than just samples,” says James Webster, a Philadelphia based artist who contributed two tracks to the tape. After a monstrously successful 2015 that saw death’s dynamic shroud.wmv gain attention from press and fans alike for moving vaporwave in a new direction, James says he wants to keep making music he enjoys, independent of scene politics. “I’m glad that project was successful, and we did what we came to do, but I’m not sure any of us are going to be chopping up k-pop samples again in the near future.”
Patrick Magee also curated “Absolve U” with emerging talents in mind, and two of the most impressive tracks on the compilation come from newcomers PowerPCME and Location Services (a side project of Magic Fades). “It was impressive, because everyone had their own unique sound but the sum of their parts came together like puzzle pieces,” Patrick said of the curatorial process.
“Absolve U” is available now on Bandcamp as a limited edition, handmade cassette as well as a digital download.
Well, a lot of times things happen to you, and the only thing you can say about it is, “what can you do?”
So this blog entry is a big one for me. This blog entry covers the tape that started this whole project.
The John Minnis Big Bone Band was a 21-piece ensemble headquartered in North Philadelphia. They were headed up by its namesake, John Minnis, the trombone player and vocalist. Among their ranks were some of the finest studio and touring musicians of Philadelphia, many still active today. And guess what radio station interviewed them in 1977?
Back in the winter, I found this tape in a dusty box with many, many others. Some of my findings on the Black Experience programs in the ’70s have been covered in Part 1 and Part 2. But this one is definitely among the crown jewels of KDU. The music they play from the band’s then-newly-released album, Classic-I Live, is top-notch. The tape’s in perfect shape. The interview…is pretty funny, to be honest. The hostess and musicians cover lots of info, with plenty of the goofy awkwardness endemic to college radio. Based on the remark that John Minnis’ birthday, May 22nd, was a Sunday coming up, I can (pretty confidently?) date the interview to Spring 1977. We might be dealing with some unreliable narrators here: given that the record is supposed to have been released in 1979 (and how everyone on the tape seems to be feelin’ some kind of way), this date seems unlikely, but who knows.
I’ve probably listened to this interview fifty times. There was a period in the winter where I would listen to it on the way to class every morning. And while its 35 minutes are jam-packed with, well, jams, I knew I needed to track the full record down. According to the interview, if I was around in 1977, I could have picked it up at any of ten record stores – the long-defunct 3rd St. Jazz and King James Record Shop among them.
Trying to find the record: I put out feelers to all my record-collecting friends, with no luck. Apparently it was reissued in Japan in the mid-1990s, but a friend’s travels in Japan failed to yield anything other than directions to the “big band” sections of numerous record stores. Blast. I ended up finding a copy online, and paying a stupid amount of money. But I got it. Score.
The record itself has some great rough edges. The decidedly mid-fi production value of the live cuts leaves some flubbed notes out to dry. But – after all – this is a big band! The idea of 21 musicians (count ’em – 21!) churning out grooves like this live on stage is positively electrifying. I cite the extended percussion workout of “What Can You Do” (evident at the 11:30 mark in the interview) as a prime example. They just keep going. And the studio cuts are genuine rare classics. There are covers of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye tunes in there (WHAT?!?) – someone’s bound to sample this one of these days. If you ever see this record while digging, grab it….
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard shows are sacred experiences. And if you’ve yet to attend one, now’s your chance. The seven of them will play Underground Arts on Sunday night (5/15/16) in support of their new album Nonagon Infinity– an album intended to be played in a continuous loop. Probably one of the most unpredictable bands out there right now, King Gizzard treats each album as its own conceptual piece. On Nonagon Infinity, each song flows into the next, including the last track back into the first, creating a never-ending circle of psych.
Accompanying them will be Philly’s own Mercury Girls and Melbourne’s The Murlocs.
While consisting of members of King Gizz, The Murlocs have a bit more of a melodic, folk-rock grounding. Stu Mackenzie (lead guitar/vocals of King Gizz) produced their latest album and second full length LP, released this March on Flightless Records and titled Young Blindness.
Mercury Girls (members of Literature and Little Big League) perfect a jangly pop-meets-shoe gaze sound, and are touring in support of their new 7″ and a split EP with Spook School, Tigercats and Wildhoney.
WKDU will present the show on Sunday (after the Punk Rock Flea Market), so come say hello, check out our merch and pick up one of our free zines!**
Watch videos for King Gizzard’s “Gamma Knife” and The Murlocs’ “Unknown Disease,” and stream Mercury Girls’ new single, “Ariana,” below.
On the heels of a major viral success, capped off with a performance on Stephen Colbert, Babymetal released “Metal Resistance” to fanfare and surprisingly positive critical acclaim. For a moment, it seemed like the viewing public was united on something they weren’t before: these three girls from Japan legitimately kick ass. That’s not just a reference to their new single, “Karate”, either. With an album that switches between symphonic metal and drum ‘n’ bass with ease (and without too much camp!), Babymetal has made the transition from side-note to main event for many.
The group, now on their second international tour, will be making their first appearance in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 7th. After rocking Wembley, the Electric Factory should be no challenge for the three girls and their powerful backing band. Although Babymetal started as a spinoff from a more traditionally Japanese pop “idol group”, you won’t be seeing school uniforms and cute poses. With an explosive energy that makes their choreography look like an army drill, Babymetal is sure to stir up a circle pit on Saturday night.
Babymetal consists of members Su-metal (Suzuka Nakamoto), Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno), and Moametal (Moa Kikuchi). Their median age is 17. After finding success outside of their original group, Sakura Gakuin, Babymetal gained attention largely as a novelty act through the viral success of their early music videos. Following the release of their first album, it became clear that while the girls didn’t write their own music, but rather make an excellent and convincing vehicle for a new spin on pop. Even after working with acts like Dragonforce rather than strictly their original composers – something relatively rare in the confusingly xenophobic J-Pop scene – Babymetal has a unified sound on their albums. They’ve done songs with rap sections and even touched lightly upon black metal with their latest effort. Though it can be easy to see a pop act like this as superficial, they’re wildly entertaining and refreshingly straightforward.
Fat White Family is touring in support of their Fat Possum/Without Consent-released album Songs for Our Mothers (out this past January) and bringing the party to Underground Arts tomorrow, April 29. Known for putting on a great live show, FWF are as entertaining as they are bizarre – and a band that Vice once called “British rock’n’roll’s final hurrah.” Watch the video for the album’s first track, “Whitest Boy on the Beach,” below.
Joining them is Canadian band Dilly Dally (Partisan Records)– if Courtney Love and Joey Santiago had formed a side project in the 90s, this is who you’d get. Katie Monks’ gritty voice paired with lush pop guitar distortion make for some delectable rock tunes. Watch “Purple Rage” below and don’t miss them.
Get there early for Philly (seltzer-loving) band Littler, who just independently released Of Wandering in March will open the show. Watch their video for “Slippery,” below (from AV Club).
When Dylan Baldi Came to Town: An Interview with the mastermind behind the Cleveland lo-fi pop-punk band Cloud Nothings
By Carolyn Haynes
About an hour before Dylan Baldi and fellow bandmates played at Johnny Brenda’s back in April 2011, I had a chance to sit downstairs and talk with him about what this band was all about. While he didn’t blow up “Wavves fast”, he has gotten a considerable amount of attention in the past three years. The current lineup (which features TJ Duke, Jayson Gerycz and Joe Boyer, along with Baldi, of course) has only been together for a year and a half and already they’ve toured Europe three times supporting acts like Yuck and Toro Y Moi. Not to mention playing SXSW two years in a row, touring with Wavves, and signing to Carpark Records.