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Bloodstone & Diamonds"I cannot even begin to tell you how proud we are
of this album. It's been a heck of a ride. It looked
like it might not ever happen again at one point,
but man, this album is a milestone for us. You're
going to love it Head Cases." - Robb Flynn
Bay Area Metal Titans MACHINE HEAD, will release their
eighth full-length album and Nuclear Blast Entertainment
debut, Bloodstone & Diamonds! The record was
once again produced by Robb Flynn himself and Juan Urteaga
(TESTAMENT, VILE), and like the last 7 out of 8 albums,
was masterfully mixed by Colin Richardson (FEAR FACTORY, SLIPKNOT, BEHEMOTH, DEVILDRIVER).
Additional tracking, editing, and mixing was done with heavy
metal legend Andy Sneap (EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ARCH
ENEMY, ACCEPT, MEGADETH) and Steve Lagudi.
" bloodstone and diamonds represent two of the hardest materials on earth, it is also a lyric from the opening track of the album 'Now We Die'. In many cultures the bloodstone has been used as an amulet to protect against evil, and is the symbol of justice. Diamonds and are the hardest natural material on earth (which is how we feel about our music), and it also represents the diamond logo I drew 22 years ago (in my wife's apartment on Dover St. in Oakland) that has become the symbol for the band." - Robb FlynnLP 1
1. Now We Die
2. Killers & Kings
3. Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones
4. Night Of Long Knives
5. Sail Into The Black
6. Eyes Of The Dead
1. Beneath The Silt
2. In Comes The Flood
3. Damage Inside
4. Game Over
5. Imaginal Cells
6. Take Me Through The Fire$34.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl
Nailbomb was a side project by Sepultura's Max Cavalera and producer/engineer Alex Newport in the mid-1990s. Point Blank is their only studio album, originally released in 1994 by Roadrunner Records. The album combines the thrash-metal fury of Sepultura with the robotic industrial clangor of Fudge Tunnel.
Nearly the entire Sepultura lineup is present on the guest list - both Andreas Kisser and Igor Cavalera are credited. Also Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and Ritchie Bujnowski from Wicked Death are featured on the album. The first track Wasting Away, appears in the 1995 film To Die For. Exploitation is a cover originally by the English crust punk band Doom.
Relentless grinding riffs, and an industrial-strength percussive roar, the lyrics are uniformly nihilistic and the album is riddled with left-field samples that add a disorienting, dehumanizing texture. This is an ass-kicking album, that is full-on malevolent from the get-go. Point Blank is abrasive, in your face, and loud as hell with the lid off.1. Wasting Away
2. Vai Toma No Cú
3. 24 Hour Bullshit
5. Blind And Lost
6. Sum Of Your Achievements
8. For Fuck's Sake
9. World Of Shit
11. Religious Cancer
12. Shit Piñata
13. Sick Life$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Fear Not For ManFear Not For Man was one of the first albums to be released by Fela following the sacking of his Kalakuta Republic compound by 1,000 soldiers on 18 February 1977. Fela, along with many other Kalakuta residents, was brutally beaten; his mother, then aged 77, was thrown out of a window, fracturing a leg.
The army set fire to the compound, destroying six Afrika 70 vehicles, all Fela's master tapes and band equipment, a four-track recording studio, and all the community members' personal belongings. It is doubtful, contrary to some sources, Fear Not For Man was recorded after the attack - doubt which is dispelled by neither the gruesome front sleeve design, showing blood flowing down Fela's face.
His response came later, on albums such as Unknown Soldier (1979) and Coffin For Head Of State (1980); Fela's practice of no longer performing a song live once he had released it on record is the reason for the two/three year gap between the attack and the release of these albums.1. Fear Not For Man
2. Palm Wine Sound (Instrumental)$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Land Of Rape And HoneyMinistry successfully combined industrial Heavy Metal and electronic beats with a punk attitude. The Land Of Rape And Honey was their breakthrough album released in 1988, which laid the foundation for a series of successful 'Tech Metal' albums that appealed to alternative audiences all over the globe. Drawing heavy on the sampler, synthesized sounds and thick layers of distorted guitars, this group preceded highly successful acts such as Fear Factory and Nine Inch Nails. Highlights on The Land Of Rape And Honey include the songs Stigmata, The Missing and Flashback - all examples of the band's distinctive signature sound.1. Stigmata
2. The Missing
4. Golden Dawn
6. The Land Of Rape And Honey
7. You Know What You Are
9. Abortive$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To TasteMinistry successfully combined industrial Heavy Metal and electronic beats with a Punk attitude. Drawing heavy on the sampler, synthesized sounds and thick layers of distorted guitars, this group preceded highly successful acts such as Fear Factory and Nine Inch Nails.
Their fourth album The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste (1989) followed up on their successful effort The Land Of Rape And Honey. When released, the album cracked the Billboard Top 200. It's proof that the fanbase of these guitar heavy synth slingers is quite sizeable, to say the least.1. Thieves
2. Burning Inside
3. Never Believe
4. Cannibal Song
6. So What
8. Faith Collapsing
9. Dream Song$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Living On Borrowed TimeSworn Enemy, fronted by Sal Lococo, established in
2000 with the release of negative outlook, the
record was a mix of old school hardcore punk and
new school breakdowns, and quickly gained attention in the underground scene. The band earned
yheir place on tours with Sepultura, Anthrax, Soulfly,
Biohazard, Fear Factory, and Hatebreed ,including
Ozzfest. Sworn Enemy continues its legacy with the
addition of guitarist Matt Garzilli, and bassist Mike
Puccciarelli. With the release of "Living On Borrowed
Time, the band has once again punched the status quo
in the mouth.1. Do Or Die
2. Hard Way
3. Broken Hope
4. Slipping Away
5. No Apologies
6. One Eye Open
7. No Mercy
8. Never Forget
9. Stand And Deliver
10. Nothing Changes
11. Rise Above$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
And Hell Will Follow Me (Awaiting Repress)Includes CD
A Pale Horse Named Death is the brainchild of Brooklyn, NY native Sal Abruscato, and sounds like Alice in Chains mysteriously sneaking up behind Type O Negative with a butcher knife while being filmed for a future episode of Law & Order. Sals partner in crime on And Hell Will Follow Me is Matt Brown, sound engineer extraordinaire and guitarist of fellow NY band Seventh Void.
The chemistry between me and Matt is unique and flawless, very rare in todays music. We are the murdering evil version of Lennon and McCartney. says Abruscato. Brown adds, Sal asked me if I would help to take these songs to the next level. I took on this project for my friend, to find some closure in rough times. The music is just an extension of our friendship and our passion for creativity.
The album artwork was done by Sam Shearon aka Mr. Sam, who has previously done work for Rob Zombie, Fear Factory and Cradle of Filth to name a few, and features a 20 page booklet with artwork for each individual song. Additionally, the Double LP version will feature a never before heard bonus track called Pick Up Truck.
To top that all off, Life of Agonys Keith Caputo lent background vocals to four tracks and Lou Reeds saxophonist Ulrich Krieger guests on Die Alone. Bobby Hambel from Biohazard, who also plays with the band live, played the guitar leads on three tunes.1. And Hell Will Follow Me
2. As Black As My Heart
3. To Die In Your Arms
4. Heroin Train
5. Devil in The Closet
6. Cracks in the Walls
7. Bad Dream
8. Bath In My Blood (Schizophrenia In Me)
9. Pill Head
10. Meet The Wolf
11. Serial Killer
12. Pickup Truck (Bonus Track)
13. When Crows Descend Upon You
14. Die Alone$22.99Vinyl LP - 2LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Carving Out The Eyes Of GodAfter the release of A Haunting Curse, Goatwhore stayed busy playing multiple tours across all over the world including a coveted spot on 2007's Sounds of the Underground and 2008's Ozzfest in Texas where metal juggernauts Metallica closed out the day of metal. Other tours and dates included Sunn O))), Hatebreed, All Shall Perish, Celtic Frost, Venom, Fear Factory, Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, God Forbid, and Amon Amarth just to name a few. Obviously Goatwhore kept themselves busy throughout the course of the album cycle playing with a wide variety of bands proving just how multi faceted the group's reach is.
Enter 2009: New Orleans, LA's sons of American no-frills black metal, GOATWHORE, have just announced that the title of their fourth full-length album, and second for Metal Blade, will be Carving Out the Eyes of God. For the follow up to 2006's A Haunting Curse, GOATWHORE headed back to St. Petersburg, FL to record with producer Erik Rutan at Manna Studios with mastering being handled by Alan Douches of West West Side.
Vocalist Ben Falgoust comments on the direction of the new album; I don't really know how to explain this. I don't want to come off with the typical speech about how this record is our best yet and all of that. I will say that I am quite pleased how it has turned out and all parts relating to it. I feel every member put a great deal of effort into their part of the project. I even feel Erik Rutan busted his ass even more this time to make us feel that we didn't take any steps backwards in the recording and production of this release. I don't even really care what the critics say. I think the end result is basically coming up with something you have put a lot of work into and the satisfaction achieved in completing it. I will say that the new material is ripping metal and we still have that 'Goatwhore' sound, whatever that may mean for each individual that enjoys or hates what we do. Just look at it as another step in the evolution of this band. Each person that hears it will have his or her own perception of it. Like it or not, we don't have a say in it. The only thing we can do is just keep writing the way we do and accept the criticism. Doesn't mean we are gonna listen to the criticism and change. Just give it an honest listen and if you dig it, awesome! If you don't, then pass it on to a friend or use it as a new drink coaster.
Guitarist Sammy Duet had this to add; Dark, heavy, evil. Erik Rutan did one hell of a job on it. If you don't like it... kiss my ass.1. Apocalyptic Havoc
2. The All-Destroying
3. Carving Out The Eyes Of God
4. Shadow Of A Rising Knife
5. Provoking The Ritual Of Death
6. In Legions, I Am Wars Of Wrath
7. Reckoning Of The Soul Made Godless
8. This Passing Into The Power Of Demons
9. Razor Flesh Devoured
10. To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The HeartIt was the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil that launched the ascent of their native sons in SEPULTURA (Portuguese for "grave") in 1983 with a trajectory unsuspectingly aimed at the worldwide metal music scene. A band with humble economic beginnings whose musical identity was forged in the context of living through Brazil's authoritarian military dictatorship, SEPULTURA would go on to become Brazilian ambassadors to the metal world, revered master architects of the death/thrash genre, and the most successful heavy metal band from the Federal Republic of Brazil.
When SEPULTURA experienced a line-up change in the mid-1990s that was widely covered by the metal press around the world, remaining members recruited American Derrick Green in 1997 to front the band, a position the Cleveland, Ohio native has held for the past fifteen years and counting. This past June, long-time guitarist Andreas Kisser (who joined in1987), original bassist Paulo Jr., and drum prodigy Eloy Casagrande, SEPULTURA entered the studio in Venice, California with renowned producer Ross Robinson (KORN, MACHINE HEAD, FEAR FACTORY) - who also worked on the band's landmark 1996 release, »Roots« - and co-producer Steve Evetts (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, SYMPHONY X, INCANTATION) - who previously worked on SEPULTURA's »Roorback« (2003), the »Revolusongs« EP (2002), and »Nation« (2001) - to record the band's seventh studio album with Green (and their second album for Nuclear Blast): »The Mediator Between The Head And Hands Must Be The Heart«, scheduled for release this October.
Inspired by Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang's classic 1927 movie "Metropolis," SEPULTURA leans heavily on the strength of their thrash metal influences to make a statement against the dehumanizing effects of technology. Guitarist Andreas Kisser delves a little deeper:
"In the movie, a crazy millionaire wants to transform a robot into a real person. That's kind of the opposite of what we live today. More than ever, we are robotized through the worldwide web, Google glasses, chips under our skins and globalized slavery our society suffers nowadays. Being that the novel was written in the early 1920s, it's almost prophetical. The phrase that inspired me - the main message of the story - points to the heart as being the human factor that keeps a man a man - not a robot. The heart beats with freedom of choice. We have to think for ourselves to create a real world, not a matrix."
Exploring the miseries and privileges associated with technological power, »The Mediator Between The Head And Hands Must Be The Heart« - SEPULTURA's angry dystopian documentary in sonic form - also addresses the chaotic aftermath of natural disasters, the unfulfilled promises of religion, and the still-widening divide & unbridgeable gap between pampered citizens who live in decadent luxury and the working poor who withstand unbearable living & working conditions to simply survive.
The album's opening track, 'Trauma Of War', begins as a cacophony of noise that gives rise to an urgent panic that spins into a paranoiac distress about others making decisions that will lead to our demise in war. In 'The Vatican', we listen as yearning souls pray to their god to alleviate their suffering as the furious vocals, guitars, and drums document the moment when the faithful come face-to-face with the reality of their absent god too self-absorbed with being adored to notice humanity's cries for help. 'The Bliss Of Ignorants' is an indictment by those who intimately know the depths of human suffering against those who don't wish to know. 'Grief' weeps with its gnosis of such a feared emotion. With so many recent natural disasters throughout the world, who could deny the truth behind human greed & corruption sung about in 'Manipulation Of Tragedy'?
With both the 2014 FIFA World Cup championship and the 2016 Olympic Games headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a worldwide audience will surely be mesmerized by the glamour surrounding these world-broadcasted events. But there are those who bear witness to what won't be televised; there are those who have seen the decades of daily strife of Brazilian citizens with wide-open eyes.
»The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart« never lacks confidence in what SEPULTURA knows: "I live in São Paulo, one of the big metropolises in the world with more than 20 million people living and working in it," asserts Kisser. "I know how it is to live in daily chaos. Our music reflects a lot of that feeling."
Featuring a guest appearance by former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo, »The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart« does what many great albums do: it captures a moment in time and carves out a place to have a dialogue with listeners with an honesty that rings so true, it becomes a part of our arsenal with which to defend ourselves against the wrongdoings of the world.1. Trauma Of War
2. The Vatican
3. Impending Doom
4. Manipulation of Tragedy
6. The Bliss Of Ignorants
8. The Age Of The Atheist
10. Da Lama Ao Caos (Chico Science & Nação Zumbi cover)$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
SavagesMax Cavalera is the walking embodiment of creative energy, of all of the diverse layers of urgency that are possible from that select few whose artistic output defines genres. Mystic shaman, protest singer, revolutionary hero, everyday metalhead, furious consumer of heavy music of all shades, husband, father, leader, songwriter Cavalera reigns as the adoptive tribal chief of a generation of fans, stretching from the roughest slums of South America to the coldest confines of Russia. Anywhere that people are disenfranchised, the songs of SOULFLY serve as their anthems.
Armed with Cavalera's four-stringed guitars, unmistakable growl and instantly recognizable riffage, the muddy tones and constant rhythmic bounce of SOULFLY has retained its gritty edge while pushing the boundaries of what's possible in metal. »Savages« represents a career-defining moment, solidifying the lineup with longtime lead guitarist Marc Rizzo (who has been in SOULFLY almost as long as Max was in SEPULTURA), bassist Tony Campos (Static X, Ministry, Prong) and Max's 21 year-old Zyon, who splits his time between drumming in LODY KONG and now SOULFLY.
"All of the things that make SOULFLY killer are combined in Savages," Max declares.
»Savages« melds the most brutal, the heaviest and overall the most vibrant components that made up each record in SOULFLY's diverse catalog. By Max's own account, »Savages« is possessed of the tribal groove of the first two SOULFLY albums, particularly in songs like 'Bloodshed', 'Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rolla' and 'Master of Savagery'. But there's also the thrash metal that was found on DARK AGES and OMEN; whereas the CAVALERA CONSPIRACY records contain short, punky bursts, the new SOULFLY record gets into the epic length territory of early METALLICA. The death metal vibe of SOULFLY's »Enslaved« emerges in songs like 'Fallen' and 'Cannibal Holocaust'.
"I really like the name »Savages«. I like single words that sound powerful, like 'Primitive', 'Roots', 'Arise'," Max explains. "It's about the human condition right now. We have the Internet and we're working on missions to Mars, but we are still decapitating each other and blowing up marathons. We're still savages. Even with technology and how far we've come in the world, our spirit is still that of a savage."
A trailblazing pioneer and musician with millions of albums sold who nevertheless retains boundless street cred due to his grimy, raw and undeniable authenticity; Max Cavalera is one of the most prolific artists the realm of heavy music has ever known. There's CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, which reunited Max with his brother and former bandmate, Igor Cavalera. There was the brutal attack of NAILBOMB, Max's collaboration with Alex Newport from FUDGE TUNNEL, which included members of DEAD KENNEDYS, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, BIOHAZARD and NEUROSIS on-stage. There's his forthcoming band with members of THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, MASTODON and THE MARS VOLTA. Of course, there's Max's unassailable work as SEPULTURA's founder, leading the Brazilian band from their badass lo-fi beginnings, through their era of sophisticated thrash classics, up through the cultural landmark that is 'Roots'.
SOULFLY began almost instantaneously after his departure from the band he founded. The eponymously titled debut »Soulfly« sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone, further expanding upon the tribal foundation of 'Roots' with percussive instrumentation, forays into esoteric sounds and multiple guest performers. Across the seven albums and never-ending tours that followed, Max worked with a who's-who of the heavy music scene as band mates, guest musicians and touring members, including guys from SLIPKNOT, SLAYER, MEGADETH, DEFTONES, RADIOHEAD, STONE SOUR, CYPRESS HILL, MACHINE HEAD, DEVILDRIVER, FEAR FACTORY, MORBID ANGEL, THROWDOWN, S.O.D., SKINDRED, BORKNAGAR, WILL HAVEN and CATTLE DECAPITATION, among others.
In addition to Max's own self-production, a number of important producers have lent their skills to SOULFLY, including »Roots« producer Ross Robinson (KORN, AT THE DRIVE-IN), Toby Wright (Ozzy Osbourne, SLAYER), Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE), ex-SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader (FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, GORJIA) and Zeuss (HATEBREED, SUICIDE SILENCE) and Terry Date (PANTERA, DEFTONES).
Cavalera asked Date, who had mixed for SOULFLY in the past, to produce the new album. Once studio time with the legendary producer was on the calendar, Max kicked into high gear with the material. Max and Zyon worked on the songs that would comprise »Savages« at home. "Zyon came up to me and said, 'Give me a shot. I'll play on the record for you. I won't let you down," explains the elder Cavalera. "I went into a room with him to jam and it felt great. So I said, 'Fuck yeah, let's do it!"
Generally on a SOULFLY album, the drummers would learn the songs in the studio, based on demo recordings from Max. This time, Max had the luxury of working out the songs at home with Zyon. "We jammed every single day for a month. He knew 90% of the material already when we got into the studio. It reminded me of recording the old Sepultura stuff, like Arise and Chaos A.D., Igor knew exactly what he was going to do before we went into the studio. This was very similar."
Cavalera says he must've written at least 1,000 riffs specifically for »Savages«. "The killer riff is what hooks the whole song together," he says. "For me the writing process is about finding the most killer riffs possible. It's a battle; sometimes I struggle with the guitar for hours. You have to throw it down on the floor and take a break. Come back a few hours later. 'Let's try this again, motherfucker!' Grab it again and go to battle, go to war with the guitar until you get the right riffs."
Max points to BLACK SABBATH's 'Symptom of the Universe' as one of the penultimate riffs of all time, citing SABBATH's Tony Iommi and METALLICA frontman James Hetfield as among the riff-masters he most admires. "I think of riff making as an art-form. I take it really seriously. I think it deserves more attention. It has such value."
Speaking of riffs, Rizzo came into the band a decade ago and his love of thrash metal, death metal and collaborative spirit has energized Max ever since. "When Marc entered Soulfly, it was a drastic change. He's the guitar player I've been looking for my whole life. Andreas [Kisser] and I really clicked when we worked together. I never had that again after that. We had other guys that were cool, but it was never 100% there. When Marc came in, I found it! We've developed a great bond since." Rizzo particularly shines on the opening track on Savages, 'Bloodshed.' "There's stuff all over the song - clean guitars, feedback - he just makes the song better."
Campos has a lengthy resume in the world of metal and Max says they bonded over their shared Latino heritage, among other things. "I had this idea about this guy Vargas, a Venezuelan cannibal, they call him 'El Comegente.' He's the Hannibal Lecter of the Andes. We both read about it. Tony sings some of it in Spanish and I sing in Portuguese. He's a great bass player too, fucking amazing. Killer bass tones, distortion, all balls-out metal. He keeps this shit real heavy, great tone. It's great recording with guys who know what they're doing. I don't have to ask if they know."
Max acknowledges the inherent risk in putting a 21 year-old behind the kit for such an important record, but it was a risk he absolutely wanted to take. "To have my son drumming on the album, that's killer. I like risks. I like to start shit up and see what happens. Even if I fail, at least I knew I tried. Rather than knowing I didn't try at all. To me, that's the bigger failure. It took a little bit of courage to put my son on it. I came to the studio and told Terry there was a young drummer who doesn't play to a click. Terry knew what to do and Zyon did great. The drums sound amazing."
Like all things Max Cavalera, does SOULFLY's »Savages is a family affair. Not only does it mark Zyon's recorded debut with the band, but one of Max's other kids throws down some vocals in the opening track, 'Bloodshed'. "My son Igor has a killer punk rock voice that reminds me of the old CORROSION OF CONFORMITY days," Max says. "The chorus has this old punk style riff, almost like a MISFITS type riff. His voice is killer."
Like every SOULFLY album, »Savages« contains an impressive guest list comprised of veterans and up-and-comers. CLUTCH's Neil Fallon turns up on 'Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rolla', the title of which was inspired by Mel Gibson's classic Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior movie. Jamie Hanks from I DECLARE WAR brought his high and low deathcore vocals to 'Fallen', a death metal oriented song Max says is in the vein of CANNIBAL CORPSE.
Mitch Harris from NAPALM DEATH contributed vocals to 'K.C.S.' Harris has been around the Cavaleras long enough that there are videos of him changing Zyon's diapers when SOULFLY's new drummer was just one month old. "Mitch came to the studio just to hang out during a day off from tour," Max explains. "I'm like, 'You ready to sing some shit on this record?' I put him on the spot. He's like, 'Right now?' I said, 'Fuck yeah, let's do it!' There was one point where we were recording together where he did a scream and I saw his eyeball popping out of his face like a cartoon. I was like, 'Dude that was the most metal thing I've seen in a long time.'"
Even as Max continues to consume new music from band like NINE INCH NAILS, MAN MUST DIE, TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED and I DECLARE WAR, even as he revisits seminal material from METALLICA, SLAYER, C.O.C. and the like, and indulges his penchant for world music, and gets his hands in his other projects and collaborations, it all adds up to a singular, distinct, straightforward and riff-heavy machine known as SOULFLY.LP 1
2. Cannibal Holocaust
4. Ayatollah Of Rock 'N' Rolla
5. Master Of Savagery
1. This Is Violence
3. El Comegente
5. Fuck Reality (Bonus Track)
6. Soulfly IX (Bonus Track)$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
$14.99 $10.49 Save $4.50 (30%)
Torben (On Sale)Brock Enright, artist and subject of the documentary film Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be the Same, has put the same passion into his first album: Torbin.As an artist-Brock Enright first came to the attention of the mainstream media after creating a 'designer kidnapping' service called Videogames Adventure Services. Brock directed the games, which were tailored to each client's worst fears, and also played Connie, the leader of the VAS team. RIYL: Atlas Sound, Real Estate, Yeasayer and Beach House1. Maybe
8. Luluby$14.99 $10.49 Save $4.50 (30%)Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ConversationsWoman's Hour are not your average band. The first clue comes in the name of the London-based swoon-pop four-piece, taken from a beloved female-focussed news and culture show on BBC Radio 4. The second is in their graphic, striking monochrome visuals, meticulously curated in collaboration with TATE and MOMA certified fine artists Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg. These play with shape and texture, much like their powerful, iridescent music. On their excellent debut album 'Conversations', this has the intricate construction and intimacy of The xx and the iridescent shimmer of summer-defining indie pop. Pay attention now, or regret it later.
In a sense, we feel like the odd ones out, explains frontwoman Fiona Burgess of their nose-to-tail approach to their visuals, performance and songcraft. It's quite empowering that we're doing it as four people but we're not part of a bigger collective. Indeed, their 360º approach is closer to the art/music crossover of acts such as Throbbing Gristle, Yoko Ono or Factory Floor than most of this year's indie hopes. Their music - as poignantly personal as pop gets - has a rare singularity and purpose.
Take single Her Ghost, which layers a breezy guitar hook with Fiona's beautiful, sighing lyric of inner turmoil. I'm interested in the idea of memory and how powerful memories can be, and how powerful some things can be to let go of, she says. A lot of my writing is me trying to understand an emotion or situation. The track's melody and a message lingers in the recesses of the mind like a box of treasured letters.
Woman's Hour started to come together one summer, when Fiona started collaborating with her brother, guitarist William Burgess. I had been to a couple of rehearsals with other bands and it wasn't very much fun, says William. I mentioned to Fiona that I'd like her to sing and we decided to have a go. I went round to her place one day and it turned our that she had a pretty nice voice! The two recruited bassist Nicolas Graves, who was William's friend from back home (the pair had played in a couple of local guitar bands back in Kendal) and the three began creating their music. Nicolas explains: We just messed around in each other's houses for a bit and tried to get a few songs together.
We played our first gig in 2011, Nicolas continues. It was at Fiona's house in Camden. It was a hat-themed party. I remember wearing a beret. Fiona was wearing a trilby, and Will had a sombrero on. It was incredibly nerve-racking for the trio despite the jolly occasion (I almost froze with fear at one point laughs Nicolas), but the gig was a runaway success, and it was there that they all met keyboardist Josh Hunnisett, who was already a friend of Fiona's and happened to be doing the sound at the event. Even in the shambolic situation, the band were meticulous perfectionists.
The quartet had their first rehearsal in an old vicarage in Dalston. It just felt really honest, says Josh. There was no 'you can't do this, you can't do that, don't try that - the style of music felt pure and everyone was expressing themselves in the way they wanted. We've tried to think about this as a collaboration between four different creative people. Each band member brings a wholly distinct set of influences to the band - from German cold wave to pop rarities and uncompromising singer/songwriters. Their website even has a section dedicated to recommended reading.
But it was their favourite radio show that was to be have most prominent effect on the band. When we were first doing demos we named them all after BBC Radio 4 programmes, explains Nick. The World at One, Afternoon Play, that kind of thing. I think Woman's Hour might have been one of them, and when it came to play our first gig (at The Queen's Head in London) one of our friends suggested using it and it stuck. Indeed, their jangle-pop first single Jenni, which is quite different to their current material, was named after Radio 4 stalwart Jenni Murray. The band's first 7, Jenni/ Human, was released through London label Dirty Bingo after the label head tracked them down on online and interviewed them for beloved London zine Loud And Quiet.
Although the single made a splash, things were moving too fast for the band. Suddenly we thought, 'should we have had something to back this up?, says William. 'We didn't have any more songs, so we took a year and a half off to write and develop the sound. That's also when we met Tom Morris, our producer. The band hibernated, starting from the bottom up. Let's get everything fucking slick, how we want it, let's do everything exactly how we want it ourselves - don't compromise.
It was worth the wait. When the band put their gorgeously lilting comeback single Our Love Has No Rhythm online in 2013, the blogs exploded, in part due to the glossy monochrome video depicting Fiona's face in close-up, and also the stunning single artwork - an uneasy found image of a suited gentleman falling over. We've been using images that are taken from manuals, explains Fiona. Lots of different 'How To' manuals from How to Train a Chihuahua to How to Fall Over Without Hurting Yourself. We like the idea of how to look after yourself physically paired with the music, which is a lot less direct.
Perhaps Woman's Hour's music does not hammer its message home, but there's a nuance and craft that's scarcely found in today's industry. They followed Our Love Has No Rhythm, with the cooing, Beach House-esque Darkest Place in which Fiona implores I don't understand why you're not around over swooning keyboards, with a cooing ooooh-ooooh hook. For the track's striking video, she'd is depicted in close crop with her eyes closed as an unknown figure attempts to prise them open. I was finishing a degree in performance studies at the time, and I came across this particular piece by Vito Acconci, she says of the inspiration for the video. The original piece is about 20 minutes long, and it's absolutely gruelling, there's no soundtrack to it and it's a piece where you can hear the sound in the room of two people in a physical struggle. You can hear the heavy breathing, the feet, the occasional sounds of resistance. She endured a restaging of the piece, which she found very intense and intimate.
Woman's Hour have an uncompromising commitment to the unconventional. For them, music does not exist as merely a hummable soundtrack but as a wider and more artistic proposition. As Fiona continues: A lot of music videos are not very challenging, and I like the idea of them being quite confronting. Our album artwork is inspired by a picture of a woman surrounded by pyramids that was part of a magazine article called The Start of an Era. It was a 1970s performance piece that was performed at the Whitney Museum in New York, and we've also designed nine of these pyramids with Oliver Chanarin that we'll incorporate into our live show when possible. The Start of an Era? We couldn't have said it better ourselves.1. Unbroken Sequence
3. To The End
4. Darkest Place
5. In Stillness We Remain
6. Our Love Has No Rhythm
7. Her Ghost
8. Two Sides of You
11. The Day That Needs Defending$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now