Friday, August 23, 2019

Lt Headtrip Reunites with Impervious Machine Producer Rich Courage FKA Defpotec for Summer Single "Water Wings" (we are the karma kids)



we are the karma kids (karma kids) founder, emcee, and producer Lt Headtrip has returned with his first proper offering of 2019, "Water Wings." Headtrip has reunited with his one-time Impervious Machine collaborator, producer Rich Courage FKA Defpotec. Impervious Machine released Impervious Machine v1​.​28571429 on karma kids back in 2014; Headtrip & Defpotec re-emerged in May 2016 for ImpMac_DLC, a remix collection featuring edits from the likes of Duncecap, Teddy Faley, Samurai Banana, E L U C I D, Carl Kavorkian, Uymitsu, and Headtrip himself. "Water Wings" is Lt Headtrip's first proper, non-remixed single since his 2018 single, "WET BRAIN" Remixed By Teddy Faley, as preceded by 2017's Comedy of The Filthbeast. Lt Headtrip stated "this is the first time in my career that I've written a nice, pleasant song, let alone, record and release one..." within an emailed press statement to The Witzard. "Water Wings" is accompanied by a fittingly glitchy Headtrip & Brita Enflo-shot music video wit after effects added on by Rich Courage & Headtrip. "Water Wings" is the first single from an upcoming Rich Courage-produced EP, which Lt Headtrip assures will be released before the end of 2019.


"I'm putting a track out this Friday. Produced by Rich Courage, formerly known as Defpotec, the other half of Impervious Machine. This is the first time in my career that I've written a nice, pleasant song, let alone, record and release one, so I figured I'd get it out in the summer when people are feeling all happy and sh*t. Rich & I are working on an EP that will be out eventually, but this is all the world gets for now. This is certainly the most pleasant song on the album. We shot the video on Block Island, where I'm living for the summer, using an off-brand Go-Pro. Once we captured the footage, I sent it to Rich to glitch out using his VJ rig and then, I edited the filtered video together."

- Lt Headtrip (@LtHeadtrip)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Sturgill Simpson Returns with "Sing Along" Single from Upcoming SOUND & FURY Album & Anime Film (Elektra Records/Netflix)


Since issuing his self-released/funded 2013 debut, High Top Mountain, Sturgill Simpson has become something of an underground/cult Alt. Country super-star and budding actor. Simpson, then, self-released his second album, 2014's Metamodern Sounds In Country Music on High Top Mountain/Loose and signed with Atlantic Records for its follow-up, A Sailor's Guide to Earth (2016.) All the while, Sturgill Simpson has appeared in a handful of films released between 2011-19 including, but not limited to, Orca Park, Black Hog Gut, One Dollar, The Dead Don't Die, Queen & Slim, and most recently, shelved controversial film The Hunt co-starring Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts, Hilary Swank, and Glenn Howerton. Now, for the first time in his career, Simpson has somehow figured out a way to merge his love of both music and film: his fourth full-length album, SOUND & FURY, will be accompanied by an Anime film of the same name, which was written by Sturgill Simpson himself. SOUND & FURY (the film) will be entirely set to selections from SOUND & FURY (the album) and is being publicly touted as a "futuristic, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Samurai film." Simpson has, thus far, described SOUND & FURY as "a sleazy, steamy Rock "N" Roll record," which, seemingly, abandons the Ryan Adams & The Cardinals meets Smokey Robinson & The Miracles-leaning sound heard across his previous three records.


Sturgill Simpson & Elektra Records have recruited Anime veterans Jumpei Mizusaki (Batman Ninja) and Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai) to come on as writer/director and character designer, respectively, for SOUND & FURY; while the accompanying album features members of Sturgill Simpson's current touring band, Bobby Emmett, Chuck Bartels & Miles Miller. Simpson, Emmett, Bartels & Miller all serve as co-producers on SOUND & FURY alongside Bleachers, Mayer Hawthorne & Wavves producer John Hill. Sturgill Simpson recently told Beats 1 radio host Zane Lowe: "I was listening to a lot of Hip-Hop, and Black Sabbath, and The Cars, and old Funk records and things. And I think... we were in Detroit while we were making the record and I was sort of writing it in real time and listening to a lot of Eminem." Although, I would more so compare SOUND & FURY, at least based on lead single "Sing Along," to the musical output of The Black Keys during their 2010-11 breakthrough success of Brothers & El Camino. SOUND & FURY: The Album & Film By Sturgill Simpson will become available Friday, September 27, 2019 on Elektra Records/Netflix.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

4 Compositions from Gordon Withers' JAWBREAKER ON CELLO Featured Within Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker


Not entirely unlike Michael Rapaport's 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, Tim Irwin & Keith Schieron's Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker unintentionally helped reunite yet another Punk/Hardcore band. Blake Schwarzenbach, Adam Pfahler & Chris Bauermeister were originally active as Jawbreaker from 1986-96, released four albums and countless EP's/singles, fostered a die-hard underground following, toured with everyone from Nirvana to Foo Fighters, signed to DGC/Geffen Records, and, essentially, self-imploded before ever really "making it big." Since September 2017, Blake, Adam & Chris have been effectively reunited as Jawbreaker, selling out shows across the world, and, supposedly, working on what would be their first proper album of new material since 1996's Dear You. Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker features the band and their associates/supporters re-telling "their "rags-to-riches-to-rags" story writhe with inner-band turmoil, health issues, and the aftermath of signing to a major label." It showcases interviews with Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day,) Steve Albini (Big Black, Nirvana,) journalist Jessica Hopper, Chef Graham Elliot, Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters,) Josh Caterer, and many more.


After a period of exclusive screenings and a very limited release, Don't Break Down has now been released to the general public and is currently available on most digital streaming platforms (excluding Netflix.) I was fortunate enough to watch Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker from the comfort of my own home last week and aside from the story itself, one of my personal favorite elements was cellist Gordon Withers' arrangements tastefully strewn throughout Tim Irwin & Keith Schieron's film. "Six or seven years ago, Adam [Phahler] from Jawbreaker reached out about doing a few cello arrangements for the Jawbreaker documentary, Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker. Four tracks ended up in the film and two years ago, it, finally, was released for screenings in select theaters. As of August 6, it's finally available to stream/buy on major services, too," Withers explained within a press statement. Gordon Withers has performed within outfits such as Office of Future Plans (Dischord Records,) BELLS≥ (Zach Barocas of Jawbox,) Betwixt, Kill Dalton Ames, We All Inherit The Moon, Woodworkings, and currently plays as part of The J. Robbins Band (J. Robbins of Jawbox, Government Issue, Burning Airlines, etc.)


"Of course, I couldn't stop at just four tracks, though. Earlier this year, an album's-worth of tracks were finally complete. And now, it's coming out on New Granada Records—whose founders just completed a tour with Jawbreaker in their main band POHGOH!" Withers ecstatically continued. I've been fortunate enough to attain an early press stream of Gordon Withers' JAWBREAKER ON CELLO and trust me, it's a phenomenal piece of work! Alternative Press is currently hosting an exclusive stream of Gordon's "Bivouac" re-work, which originally appeared on Jawbreaker's 1992 sophomore album of the same name. New Granada Records' first pressing of 500 LP's of Gordon Withers' JAWBREAKER ON CELLO has already been completely sold out... however, a second press on colored vinyl is currently available for pre-order. JAWBREAKER ON CELLO will see a wide-release on Friday, November 1, 2019. Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker is currently available to stream on most digital streaming platforms. I would, honestly, strongly recommend both JAWBREAKER ON CELLO and Don't Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker for fans new, old, or even within their earliest discovery of Punk/Hardcore as a genre.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Japanese Jazz Trio Nautilus Return with DJ Shadow/Giorgio Moroder & The Stylistics-flipping "Tears" 7-inch (Palette Records)



Tokyo Jazz trio Nautilus have returned with an exclusive Europe-only limited edition release of their latest 7-inch single, "Tears" B/W "People Make The World Go Round." Yes, you read that right: Toshiyuki Sasaki, Daisuke Takeuchi & Shigeki Umezawa have effectively decided to record and release a mind-bending cover of DJ Shadow's "Organ Donor" from Entroducing..... (1996) as well as one of the songs in which it samples, "Tears" from Giorgio Moroder's 1972 album, Son of My Father. Then, on Side B, Nautilus have expertly flipped "People Make The World Go Round" from The Stylistics' self-titled Avco Records debut, also, released during 1972. I, actually, first heard about "Tears" through DJ Oonops, whose label, Agogo Records has previously released Nautilus' two most recent Beastie Boys & A Tribe Called Quest-flipping singles; "Massive thanks to Nautilus from Japan for their brand new 45, which includes a top-notch cover version of DJ Shadow's "Organ Donor" and The Stylistics' "People Make The World Go Round," @dj_oonops recently posted ahead of a then-upcoming vinyl-only DJ set at PLATZprojekt e.V. in Germany.


Always the inquiring mind, I quickly reached our to Oonops, who soon got me in touch with Nautlius drummer Toshiyuki "Toshi" Sasaki. Toshi was kind enough to send me a copy of the band's Palette Sounds/self-released "Tears" 45, which, honestly, would have cost a pretty penny to ship from Japan all the way here, to New Jersey. Speaking on "People Make The World Go Round," Nautilus stated, according to Google Translate: "The Stylistics' mellow tune has been completely re-made into a tense arrangement with an aggressive sound. The style of folding from the keyboard solo that moves freely on the thick drum and bass rhythm to the last, which should be called the true value of Nautilus, is, also, fully demonstrated." Nautilus' "Tears" B/W "People Make The World Go Round" 7-inch single is currently available to purchase online from disk union Japan, as well as streaming on Nautilus' Soundcloud page. Toshi Sasaki exclusively told The Witzard, via email, that "we're gonna release a new album [in] November! It'll be LP's, CD, and digital MP3," which is, also, mentioned within the disk union full site translation.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Secret Sidewalk Return with Genre-eschewing Single "Common Core" from Upcoming Album PRIMAL DAP (Primal Dap Sound)


Secret Sidewalk are a Bay Area, California-based Electro-Acoustic quartet consisting of Alex "Pu22l3" Abalos, Mike Boo, Michael Reed & Marcus Stephens. Founded in 2010, Alex, Mike, Michael & Marcus are "a close-knit group of musicians, all born and raised in The Bay Area, yet, at the same time, deriving from vastly different backgrounds and crafts." Michael "Mike" Reed is, actually, part of The Witzard regulars, The M-Tet, as well, and Mike Boo recently formed yet another Hip-Hop-leaning 4-man crew with D-Styles (THE BEAT JUNKIES,) Excess, & Pryvet Peepsho. Since 2010, Secret Sidewalk have released Truncate Mastadon The Dragon Wilson, Cholo Curls 45, and Does Anyone Knock Anymore? as digital singles, cassettes, and 7-inches. Secret Sidewalk have secretly been working on their proper debut full-length, now-titled PRIMAL DAP, since about 2017 at Bird & Egg Studio and The Swill in Richmond & Oakland, California, respectively. PRIMAL DAP was fully written and self-produced by Secret Sidewalk and engineered by Nino Moschella & Secret Sidewalk.


PRIMAL DAP will, actually, be the first proper release issued on Secret Sidewalk's newly-minted label, Primal Dap Sound, which, will, eventually, "feature projects curated by the members of Secret Sidewalk," as well. "Common Core" is the first of 12 songs to be released from PRIMAL DAP and features our first sonic taste of what Secret Sidewalk have fittingly deemed "Post-Apocalyptic Mob Music." "Recorded live in-studio, "Common Core" is Secret Sidewalk in full swing: Marcus Stephens' dirty, driving woodwinds are met with Mike Boo's cohesively-layered turntable manipulation, while the rhythm section of Alex Abalos (synth/samples) and Michael Reed (drums/electronics) guide the band through complex, yet Funky terrain." "Common Core" is accompanied by a 41-second promo video featuring Secret Sidewalk recording PRIMAL DAP live in-studio at Bird & Egg Studios. Secret Sidewalk's PRIMAL DAP is currently available for pre-order on Bandcamp and will see a wide release on Friday, October 11, 2019 on Primal Dap Sound.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

3 Feet High & Rising: Grumpster Return with First Single "Crumbling" from Full-length Debut Underwhelmed (Asian Man Records)


Grumpster is an Oakland, California-based Punk trio consisting of vocalist/bassist Falyn Walsh, guitarist Lalo Deetz, and drummer Noel Agtane, who make "Rock & Roll for the young and old." After first forming Grumpster in early 2017, Falyn, Lalo & Noel cut their teeth playing gigs at 924 Gilman Street and soon became mainstays amidst Gilman's tight-knit D.I.Y. scene. Earlier this year, Grumpster submitted a cover of Green Day's "Having A Blast" to GILMAN STREET'S RIPOFF (A Tribute to DOOKIE) jointly issued by Asian Man/Lavasocks Records. Grumpster have previously self-released a handful of musical offerings, including "KAIROS" (2017,) a split with Slumped, Cutting Ties EP (2018,) and "Strangers" from earlier this year. Now, Grumpster have once again reunited with Asian Man Records to properly release their full-length debut, Underwhelmed and lead-off single, "Crumbling." Asian Man founder Mike "Bruce Lee" Park fittingly described Grumpster's overall sound as a stylistic mix of Alkaline Trio, The Donnas & Green Day. Grumpster's "Crumbling" is currently available to stream on your digital streaming platform of choice. Underwhelmed will be release on Friday, November 8, 2019 and is currently available to pre-order in a number of exclusive packages from Asian Man Records.


8/25: Destroy Boys at Harlow's w/ Grumpster & On Drugs (California)

8/26: On Drugs / Grumpster / Sarchasm / TBA at Oakland Secret (California)

9/23-31: GRUMPSTER ON TOUR WITH ON DRUGS!!! (Locations TBA)

11/1: The Paranoyds, Grumpster & Shutups at Cafe du Nord (California)




"I'm gonna use the word STOKED! 'cause I'm stoked to debut the first single ("Crumbling") from Oakland Punks, Grumpster. Their debut full-length, Underwhelmed, comes out Nov. 8th. Let me do my best to describe this band... Gilman St. kids, who love walking around Oakland and picking up litter. They like music, dogs, skateboards, and coffee. Musically, they sound like a mix between ALKALINE TRIO meets THE DONNAS meets GREEN DAY. But there's an easy way for everyone to decide! Just listen and tell me your thoughts. Good or bad... just let me know what you think. I'll put the info in the Comments and you can even do that pre-order thing that people like to do. Well, I like it, too. In fact, I love it!!! Let me know your thoughts and if you can give 'em a Follow, that would be swell, too."


Peace,

Mike "Bruce Lee" Park (@asianmanrecords)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mr. Bungle to Perform The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny (1986 Demo) at Trio of Feb. 2020 "Reunion" Shows with Scott Ian & Dave Lombardo


Mr. Bungle were an Experimental Rock/Funk Metal/Avant-Garde Metal/Ska/Jazz Fusion/Art Rock/Progressive Pop/Surf Rock/Thrash/Death Metal band hailing from Northern California, who were originally active from 1985-2000. Its final line-up consisted of Mike Patton (Faith No More, Fantômas, Peeping Tom, Dead Cross,) Trey Spruance (Secret Chiefs 3, Faith No More,) Trevor Dunn (Tomahawk, Secret Chiefs 3,) Danny Heifetz (Link Wray, Secret Chiefs 3,) and Clinton "Bär" McKinnon (UMLAUT, Secret Chiefs 3) with past members, also, including Theobald Brooks "Theo" Lengyel, Jed Watts, Luke Miller, Scott Fritz, and Hans Wagner. Mr. Bungle released three albums between 1991-99, Mr. Bungle, Disco Volante, and California on Warner Bros. with at least four demos released prior between 1986-89. Since their split in 2000, Mr. Bungle's sound and overall style has influenced everyone from Incubus to Slipknot with Korn, most notably, utilizing what they have dubbed the "Mr. Bungle Chord," commonly known as a Flat Fifth Chord or "Tritone." Mr. Bungle took their name from a 1950's educational film, which was later featured within a 1981 Pee-wee Herman HBO special and true to their name, were always one of the most zany, unique, and unconventional bands at the time and even, since.

Just yesterday afternoon, Mr. Bungle announced their "classic" line-up of Mike Patton, Trey Spruance & Trevor Dunn would be re-forming for the first time in 20 years for a trio of shows to be held in February 2020. Mr. Bungle will be playing a full album throughout the entirety of said mini-tour, although, unlike most of their peers, they'll be playing... their self-produced/released 1986 demo, The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny. Patton, Spruance & Dunn will be joined by none other than Scott Ian (Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death, The Damned Things) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, The Original Misfits) for the string of dates through Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. As a press release notes, this is "the first time Mr. Bungle has performed in close to 20 years and the first time these songs have been played live in over 30 years." Support bands are still yet to be announced and tickets for all three shows sill go on sale this upcoming Friday, August 16, 2019. While the Feb. 2020 tour flyer further specifies "Only in 3 cities!" fingers crossed, this will still turn into a full-fledged Mr. Bungle reunion with Scott Ian & Dave Lombardo!


"Ever since Trevor hatched The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny V.2 idea a few years back, Patton, Lombardo, he, and I had each been incubating some idea of that egg. [Dave] Lombardo called me one day and asked me to make some guitar demos, so he could learn the songs. He had this generous idea to surprise the other guys with being totally ready to go with the tunes. It just so happened that I was in Eureka at the time. So, I found myself re-visiting all of those riffs in the same Goddamned town and in the same Goddamned house where I recorded all the original guitars on that demo 33 years earlier. There was something about, actually, physically working out the mania of those riffs again at DAVE LOMBARDO's request, in that environment—it just split my head open. It wasn't long before the train of destiny had picked up too much speed for any of us to jump off... At our very first show, at The Bayside Grange Hall, Nov. 30, 1985, we played Slayer's "Chemical Warfare" and a S.O.D. cover. I mean, are you kidding?? We WORSHIPPED those guys! And now, they're gonna PLAY in our band?"

- Trey Spruance


"When we recorded that demo, we were 16 & 17-years-old and we were absolutely serious about the music. At the time, we were living the deluge of 80's Metal and absorbing every riff and every drum fill from every known band from Denmark to San Francisco. The recording and playing were amateurish (save for Trey's video game solos) but the schooled composition and spirit were solid. I always felt like this music held its own and deserved to be presented in a clearer and more defined package, even if it meant being 33 years later... They are a significant percentage of "The Big Four," all of which had a major impact on us. Aside from their obvious skills and—for crying out loud, INVENTION of this genre—there's nothing like being in a band with those whom which you have rapport. If we are going back to the source with this stuff we might as well go ALL THE WAY back."

- Trevor Dunn (@dunnatov)


"I remember writing riffs for this cassette in my parents' garage, with no heat, so I recorded in a sleeping bag for analog warmth, playing a one-stringed acoustic guitar that was piped into a ghetto blaster. Thank God I had Trevor & Trey to help decipher my rotten riffs into something intelligible!... To have Scott & Dave with us on this suicide mission is more than an honor. THEY are a big part of the reason we wrote this stuff in the first place and to realize it 30+ years later with these maestros is an absolute miracle... we can finally play this teenage nonsense correctly! A total catharsis for us."

- Mike Patton


"When Mike hit me up about this, my brain thought he was asking me if I wanted to come to a show, him knowing I am a HUGE Bungle fan. When I realized he, actually, meant for me to play guitar with them, it broke my brain, I was a giggly drooling mess. Somehow, I pecked out "Y-E-S" on my keyboard and, holy crap, I'm playing in Mr. Bungle. Seriously, it's an honor and a privilege to get to play with my favorite "Mr." band of all time."

- Scott Ian (@Scott_Ian)


"I don't know what was in the water in Eureka California, but it certainly wasn't clean. This is going to be a ridiculously, insane band to play with and I am honored to have been asked to join the wrath."

- Dave Lombardo (@TheDaveLombardo)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Joywave Teams Up with Marvel's J.L. Giles & James Asmus for "Obsession" Comic & Digital Single (Cultco Music/Hollywood Records)


New York Indie Rock quartet Joywave have returned with the third single, "Obsession," from their long-awaited third studio album. "Obsession" was produced at the band's own Rochester studio by founder Daniel Armbruster, arranged with his fellow bandmates Joseph Morinelli, Paul Brenner & Benjamin Bailey, and later, mixed by Dan Grech-Marguerat (The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Lana del Rey.) '"Obsession," virtually, encapsulates the genre-busting history of Joywave into one glorious track, melding irresistible Electronic Pop with typically sharp social commentary to fashion what Armbruster calls "a Cliff's Notes version of where the band has been and where they intend to venture next," boasts a press release. Now, Joywave have joined forces with Marvel Comics/Music for the multi-platform release campaign for their latest otherworldly single. Marvel recruited writer James Asmus (X-Men) and artist J.L. Giles (Black Panther: Soul of A Machine) to create an exclusive single-page comic strip starring Avengers' Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Thor, self-proclaimed Joywave fan, Captain America, and a handful of other caped crusaders.


James Asmus & J.L. Giles' Joywave "Obsession" comic will be featured across 90 different Marvel tiles to be rolled out through the month of August. Also, featured within said Marvel "Obsession" comic strip, is an original Joywave OBSESSION poster created exclusively for the band by Runaways' artist Michael Ryan. Plus, for those who might not be able to get their hands on a physical comic book within the next few weeks, Marvel Music has released a Jared Asher Harris-directed "Obsession" visualizer/music video featuring Joywave's original composition, as well as a sort of "moving" presentation of James Asmus & J.L. Giles' aforementioned single-page comic. Joywave will soon be joining BΔSTILLE on their upcoming Doom Days Tour, Part 1, which kicks off at The Met Philadelphia on Monday, September 16, 2019 and will run through late October. "Obsession" will appear within Joywave's eagerly-awaited, as-yet-untitled third album expected to land sometime in 2020, along with 2018-19 singles, "Blastoffff" and "Like A Kennedy." If you're not entirely sure where your closest comic book store is... have no fear, The Comic Shop Locator Service is here!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Movielife Frontman Vinnie Caruana Joins Forces with Youth of Today's Sammy Siegler for Constant Elevation EP (Revelation Records)


Constant Elevation is a New York/California-based Melodic Hardcore "super-group" featuring Vinnie Caruana & Sammy Siegler, as well as members of WORLD BE FREE. Vinnie Caruana is best known for his time spent with The Movielife, I Am The Avalanche, and Peace'd Out featuring members of Rx Bandits, No Motiv, and The Velvet Teen. Sammy Siegler is, likely, best known for his time spent with Youth of Today, Judge, CIV, and Side By Side, as well as infamous stints with Gorilla Biscuits, Glassjaw, Head Automatica, Rival Schools, Limp Bizkit, Project X, and Tech N9ne. Sammy Siegler, actually, spent about three years drumming as part of Nightmare of You, which featured Vinnie Caruana's long-time The Movielife bandmate, Brandon Reilly, as frontman and guitarist. It appears as though The Movielife's current drummer, Brett Romnes, even recorded the vocals for Constant Elevation's self-produced/self-titled debut EP. English/LA producer and engineer Davey Warsop of SHARP/SHOCK, Beat Union, and Suedehead fame, additionally, helped record the music for said EP. It sounds like "when Sammy met Vinnie..." for the first time, it was sometime around 2002 when Sammy Siegler suddenly got the call to fill in for then-drummer Evan Baken for a European tour.


As legend has it, Siegler got the call, had one quick makeshift "rehearsal," and just as fast as he got the call, was soon headed Across The Pond with Vinnie C. & The Movielife. Now, nearly 17 years later, Vinnie Caruana & Sammy Siegler have joined forces once more for Constant Elevation's 3-track self-titled debut EP to be released on Revelation Records Friday, September 6, 2019. It's currently available to pre-order in a number of extremely Hardcore packages from "The Best Sources for Independent Music," REVHQ with orders expected to ship by September 2nd. Two of the three tracks from Constant Elevation's EP, opener "F*ck Runnin'" and closer "Fletch," have been released and are currently streaming within this very feature. Sammy Siegler recently told The Witzard, via email, that the entire Constant Elevation EP should become available on streaming platforms starting Monday, August 26th. Coinciding with the EP's wide release, Constant Elevation have booked their first two shows: 9/5/19 at Brooklyn's Throne Watches with "SPECIAL GUESTS HARDBODIES... MAYBE, A COMIC OR MAGICIAN, MAYBE, EMPANADAS OR SOMETHING" and two days later, 9/7/19 at Trans-Pecos in Queens, New York with Luxe, Worn & Steel Cage. Flyers for Constant Elevation's 9/5-7 shows are attached below.


"When Sammy met Vinnie... Sammy Siegler was filling in for Vinnie Caruana's The Movielife on a European tour, perhaps, sometime around 2002. It was a super last-minute thing; The Movielife's drummer couldn't make it, Sammy got the call and, after one rehearsal, they were off Across The Pond. There, a friendship was formed, a musical bond was made, all was lovely. Musically, however, that was really it for the two of them—until 2018. As a drummer in bands such as CIV, Rival Schools, Glassjaw, Youth of Today, and others, Sammy Siegler contributed with beats, vibe and spirit, some arrangements, and the occasional riff, song title or lyric.

It wasn't until early 2018 that he really sat down and wrote complete songs. That's right—he grabbed his miniature Taylor acoustic signed by Shawn Mendez, turned it upside down, as a lefty will do on a righty guitar, and busted out some bangers. In his mind, it was epic and he needed to make them come to life. He called on studio wiz, Davey Warsop (BAD COP / BAD COP, THROWDOWN, VANISHING LIFE) and his WORLD BE FREE bandmates, Andrew Kline, Joe Garlipp, and Alex Baretto, to record the songs, seven in total. Sammy was pleased, stoked, chuffed, but since this was a new project, it needed vocals.

Preferably, someone who got Hardcore references, can carry a melody, and write some crucial lyrics... "what about the skinny fellow who loves soccer?" he thought, Vinnie Caruana. Vinnie Caruana had been very productive himself, releasing music and touring with The Movielife, I Am The Avalanche, Peace'd Out, and solo projects, as well as writing music and lyrics for other artists. Having never really fit lyrics into pre-recorded songs, this was new territory for Vinnie. He was up for the challenge. That summer of 2018, Sammy & Vinnie drove out to Barbershop Studios, a converted 100-year-old stone church on the edge of scenic Lake Hopatcong. Together, with producer Brett Romnes, the final result is "F*ck Runnin,'" "Mouth In Motion," and "Fletch"—three rippers on the Constant Elevation debut release."

- Revelation Records (@RevelationRecs)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Witzard's Not Too Old to... Breakdown with Bracket's Marty Gregori, Angelo Celli, Zack Charlos & Ray Castro (All-around Breakdown)


"Too Old to Die Young finds Bracket still indulging their love of Brian Wilson [The Beach Boys] harmonies, but taking a more straight-forward song-writing approach—or, as "straight-forward" as Bracket gets. "Cloud Ate" opens the album with a riff straight out of the late 80's DC Post-Hardcore scene. The classic Power-Pop of "Going Out of Style In Style" boasts [The Beatles] "Yellow Submarine"-esque back-up vocals.

But Too Old to Die Young distills the Bracket sound that stretches back to when "2RAK005" hooked listeners on FAT MUSIC FOR FAT PEOPLE in 1994: propulsive, hooky songs that build on Punk's framework. Self-recorded over the period of a couple of years, Too Old to Die Young, also, finds Bracket at their most collaborative. Angelo Celli, Zack Charlos & Marty Gregori wrote everything together, including lyrics, with drummer Ray Castro working out parts at his home in Denver. For the first time, Charlos sings lead on "Going Out of Style In Style" and Celli sings "Exit Interview" and "Anti-social Inactivism...'"

- Fat Wreck Chords (@fat_wreck)


01. "CLOUD ATE"

Marty Gregori (Lead Vocals/Guitars): A good album-starter. It has a lot of the Bracket traits that people expect from us, for better or worse. The melody sounds kind of Beatles-ish to me. The lyrics started with Zack [with] Angelo & I kinda helping to fill in the cracks. The song turned out to sorta be about craving attention from fake friends (I think.) It sets the mood for the rest of the album.

Angelo "Ang" Celli (Guitars/Backing Vocals): I really like how the album starts. The last few albums have started pretty mellow or with lush harmonies, so, I think, it was kinda fun to start off "Rocking," for a change. "Eight" spelled as "Ate" for no reason.

Zack Charlos (Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals): The original working title for this song was "Batman Mart" because when it was first brought in by Marty, it reminded me of a 60's crime-fighting TV song. The bassline on the verses is inspired by the old-timey Naval fight song, "Anchors Aweigh"—I have no idea how I know that song!

Ray Castro (Drums/Percussion): This was a song that didn't really flow for me, until the vocals were added. Tight early section to emphasize the guitar riff that leads into a looser verse with the drums and bass locked in.


02. "FORGET"

Marty Gregori: A song about not leaving much of a legacy; sums up our music career. We always try to use at least one unexpected chord in a song. This song has one in the verse. We've tried to make that and the layered harmonies the thing that sets us apart from other bands in our genre.

Angelo Celli: This is one of those weird Marty chord progressions that we love and, I think, are part of the "Bracket Sound." I still don't know how to play the chords right. Marty tried to show me at practice last week. The song itself is loosely based on everyone that didn't get attention/recognition, until it was too late.

Zack Charlos: My sour vocal note at the end is followed by Marty asking if he "sung it right" and Angelo is the one who sounds not quite sure about the vocal take.

Ray Castro: I really like how the chorus of this song came out. Especially, the second [part] with the harmonized background vocals as a contrast to riding the crash cymbal through this part.


03. "CANNED FROM THE FOOD DRIVE"

Marty Gregori: A funny title that came from a list of funny titles that Zack has been compiling for a while now. When we get together, we crack a lot of jokes (most, not funny to outsiders.) The title fit the theme of the song. It's kind of about people who give to charity and make a spectacle of it. Though, giving to charity is always great, someone boasting about it is off-putting.

Angelo Celli: This was Erin's (at Fat Wreck Chords) favorite song on the album and everyone agreed it should be the "lead single." The chorus kinda reminds me of a really under-rated band from the 90's called Thin Lizard Dawn.

Zack Charlos: After wildfires had ravaged much of our local area, we made a Bracket-level attempt (via social media) to assist our community with some kind of financial relief based on album and shirt sales. We received heaps of praise, but not one single sale towards the donation. This helped to inspire the the title and some of the lyrics.

Ray Castro: This song is a great fit for Marty's vocal tone, especially, in the verse. We built tension with the long roll in the "promises..." section that finally releases halfway through, when it opens up by transitioning to the crash.


04. "EXIT INTERVIEW"

Marty Gregori: One of my favorite things about doing Bracket albums ever since Requiem is hearing Angelo's new songs and ideas. This is, probably, my favorite song on the album. Unexpected chord changes and heartfelt lyrics. It took a little arm-twisting to get him to sing lead, but I'm glad we got him to do it. Plus, it's less work for me, which is always good. Ray learned this song on-the-spot and recorded his drums after a just couple runs through it.

Angelo Celli: Ang sings lead. I think, we recorded drums before the song was even fully written. I had a basic idea, but the melody wasn't there yet. It may still not be.

Zack Charlos: Another "Angelo One" that was pretty much, delivered complete. The second verse gets harmonies to keep things somewhat interesting-ish.

Ray Castro: This was a song Angelo brought to the tracking, I hadn't heard it before that, but it came together really quickly. Keeping the drums tight and choppy was a natural fit with the chunky guitars. The background vocals on the second chorus smooths things out and creates a perfect backdrop to Ang's lead vocal.


05. "A PERFECT MISFIT"

Marty Gregori: A nice mid-tempo song to break things up. The song really only has three parts: verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. The key changes kind of help to make it a little more interesting. During the recording, we referred to this song as "The Muffs' Song." It's, obviously, influenced by them because Kim Shattuck [The Muffs] is, probably, our favorite song-writer in the world.

Angelo Celli: Alternate song title: "Phony It In." I love Marty's guitar solo and the key changes!

Zack Charlos: For some reason, the vocal melody on the verses reminded me of something Kim Shattuck would sing, so [one of] the working titles for this one for a while was "Muffy."

Ray Castro: This is a great example of one of Marty's very musical guitar leads. His playing is a great complement to the track and for me, MAKES the song.


06. "UNDER THE MOON"

Marty Gregori: A fun, Punky song. I like the chords in the chorus. I like Ray's drum fill in the beginning of the song. Pretty straight-forward song [all] together.

Angelo Celli: While we were mixing the album, my 9-year-old son heard the beginning of the song with the distorted/lo-fi drums and he was worried that it would turn people off. He was, probably, right, but we liked it.

Zack Charlos: We were in the middle of recording drums for this song, when we got a knock on the door from the local police department based on a Noise Complaint. The cop was expecting a bunch of teenagers [and] he said we were, actually, good. After he left, we ignored the warning, while I took a walk around the block to listen, while Ray continued to track drums. I realized our makeshift "sound-proofing" did next to nothing to shield the neighbors from Ray's "percussive stylings."

Ray Castro: This was the jangly or the 50's-sounding one for me. When we first practiced this, I heard the half-time part a little faster than we recorded it, but looking back, it would have pushed too much and felt out of place. The tempo of the finished song works for both the uptempo and half-time sections


07. "ARTING STARVIST"

Marty Gregori: Another straight-forward Pop-Punk song. The lyrics (to me) are about our minor accomplishments in the Punk scene and how little they matter in the scheme of things. I like how it starts. Not trying to be clever with a cute guitar riff or long, drawn out intro. It just punches you in the face.

Angelo Celli: Maybe, my favorite song on the album. It's catchy, punchy, has weird harmonies, and kinda sums up the whole album, lyrically, too.

Zack Charlos: The lyrics on this song pretty much, encompass the feel of the whole album and pretty much, the feeling of the band most of the time.

Ray Castro: I like how this song starts immediately with the vocals and ring out guitars. It, also, reminds me a little bit of Green Apples.


08. "GOING OUT OF STYLE IN STYLE"

Marty Gregori: This is the first song we worked on for the album. Zack brought in a chord progression for the verse that was kinda weird, but interesting. He has a knack for coming up with unexpected chords. The rest, came together after a few more writing sessions. Ray's drumming in the verses are a nice contrast to the Rocking parts of the song. At first, Zack didn't want to sing the song. All three of us are a little insecure about our voices, so I understand why he was hesitant about it. We're glad we talked him into it. We get a lot a good feedback about the song and I'm sure that Zack feels relieved and proud now.

Angelo Celli: Glad Zack sang his song! It was, actually, one of the first songs written for this album, I think, and Rodney "On The Rock" [Bingenheimer] played it!

Zack Charlos: I came up with the guitar intro in my head, when I was in the hospital recovering from back surgery. I came up with the rest of the parts with an actual guitar, while I was at home recuperating. Marty helped me stitch them all together and helped me dial in the vocal melody and form an actual song from the ideas I had. We call it "The Zack One," but I, actually, had a lot of help.

Ray Castro: Zack has always had a way with clever wording and I'm happy he chose to sing lead on something he wrote. The changing dynamics between the verse and pre-chorus punches it up.


09. "WARREN'S SONG (PART 29)"

Marty Gregori: The first part of the song was just an excuse for us to record something screamy and loud. We were thinking, maybe, we would add some lush three or four-part harmonies over the two chords after the "slow down and live" screams, but we decided it was a bit "been there, done that" for us. The point of this album was to scale back the big harmonies [and] be a little more simple. The second part of the song brings the harmonies back. The bouncy feel of the song is familiar to us, too, and I think, we've had at least one song of this type on every album since Novelty Forever. The solo sounds very "Eagles" to me. I did go through a bit of an Eagles phase during the making-of this album, so that may be why. Sorry.

Angelo Celli: The majority of this album was written with me, Marty, and Zack sitting in Marty's living room... but we came up with the Hardcore-to-bouncy transition in this song with Ray (drummer) when we got together to gather ideas for the album, very early on.

Zack Charlos: The intro to this song is a jab at vocal styles like some Hardcore, Screamo, or others types, who make the artistic choice to put vocal volume in place of emotion. The screaming is followed by our usual harmonies. The walking bassline is a musical nod to "Talk Show." Also, I insisted that Marty & Angelo leave the giggling at the very end, which was their own reaction to each other's screaming.

Ray Castro: We like playing around with things that are a little more 'core than we normally do. In this case, we bait-and-switch to the Bracket sound. Also, another melodic guitar solo from Marty.


10. "ANTI-SOCIAL INACTIVISM"

Marty Gregori: Another Angelo gem. The chorus is awesome to listen to, but a pain in the a$$ to sing. Angelo had to sing the high harmony because there was no way I could hit those notes. I ended up singing the lead part in the chorus with Zack singing a lower part and Angelo with that damn high part. The nice thing about this album is, it truly is a Bracket album. It's truly a group effort. We haven't done that since 924 Forestville St. Whether it be ego or necessity, it just happened that I took on the bulk of the song-writing. That's not to say that the other guys didn't write or contribute, but I've always felt that the writing was my job and responsibility. This album lifted the weight of my shoulders and, I think, it was a fun way to write.

Angelo Celli: Another song written early on. Ang on lead vox. The chorus harmony has notes that are too high!

Zack Charlos: This is my favorite song on the album. It was right around this point, during drum tracking, when I was petting my elderly cat—who was hanging onto life with all fours—when he mistook my arm for prey. After prying his jaw open, I had what looked like a miniature vampire bite. Within hours, I was feeling nauseous and exhausted. My [arm] felt like it was on fire. I was rushed the the hospital the following morning and had to spend two nights there hooked up to IV, antibiotics, and held for observation.

Ray Castro: I believe, the drums for the intro were captured sometime in the studio, but not origins written for this track, though, it creates texture and sets up a contrast when the verse starts.


11. "A HOT COMEDY"

Marty Gregori: Another straight-forward song about the semi-success and semi-failure of Bracket. We didn't set out to have a theme for this album, but it sort of just naturally happened that way. We all have different interests outside of the band, but, musically, we agree on just about everything. We've always wanted people to like our band, but we wanted it on our terms. We wanted people to like us for pushing the envelope. That is why we recorded an album with 16 "Warren's Songs;" that is why we recorded an album which included more ukulele and mandolin than most Punks would be comfortable with; this is why we strung together over a hundred song bits to create a 70-minute song. This album is a bit of a throwback album, but includes a few tricks we learned along the way.

We could have done this album after When All Else Fails and it may have been more accessible than the albums we did record. We went a bit wild and tried new things and we're proud of the results of Requiem, Hold Your Applause, and The Last Page. This album was meant to be simple. It seemed like a new and fresh idea to keep it simple. I guess, Too Old To Die Young is autobiographical, as a band and a group of friends. It reflects on our experiences. It reflects on our good times and disappointments of being in a band for the last (almost) 30 years. It pokes fun at ourselves and the Punk scene that we've been proud to be part of, but never felt completely accepted. Most importantly, it is a "thank you" to fans, who have stuck with us through all the years and supported all the wacky ideas we've had.

Angelo Celli: The line, "I'm cringing with self-doubt" has become a sort-of slogan for us, mostly, joking. I like ending the album with this song, theme-wise and tempo-wise.

Zack Charlos: I came up with a rough draft of contributing lyrics for this one, while I was stuck in a traffic jam, while in my work van. At the time, it felt like a living metaphor for a has-been musician being in a van on tour, wondering if his contemporaries feel he has value or if he's a just a joke.

Ray Castro:
This is one of my favorite songs on the album. I think, the dynamic changes and riffs really came together well with the clever lyrics and melodies... We worked on rough versions of most of these songs together only once early on in the process. I practiced drum parts with scratch guitar tracks the guys put together until we got back together to track the drums. We made some final changes, while recording to bring things together.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Refused Let Loose Pummeling New Single "Blood Red" from Fifth Album WAR MUSIC (Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records)


Since effectively re-forming and returning from the "f**king dead" seven years ago, Swedish Punk/Post-Hardcore band Refused were awarded The Special Prize for Music Exports by the Swedish Ministry of Trade in 2013, have released a new album, Freedom (2015,) an EP entitled Servants of Death, and most recently, "Chippin' In" as SAMURAI from upcoming video game, Cyberpunk 2077. Last month, frontman Dennis Lyxzén (@dennislyxzen) hinted at new Refused material within an Instagram post: "Oh. In between recording @refused and @invsn records there's also this..." making reference to SAMURAI's "Chippin' In." Now, Refused have returned with "Blood Red," the first proper single from their upcoming fifth studio album, WAR MUSIC. It was accompanied by a "Blood Red"-tinted music video directed by Daniel Gray with live footage filmed by Eric Richter, which features present-day Refused artfully juxtaposed against their 90's Shape of Punk to Come-era counterparts. Refused have, once more, single-handedly managed to re-shape the sound of Punk to come with "Blood Red;" amidst its dueling display of pummeling electric/acoustic guitar riffs accompanied by a politically-charged message, which is now, unfortunately, more poignant than ever! Below, you can read a full press statement from Refused's own Dennis Lyxzén, David Sandström, Kristofer Steen, Magnus Flagge & Mattias Bärjed on "Blood Red" & WAR MUSIC. Refused plan to unleash WAR MUSIC upon the terribly unsuspecting masses on Friday, October 18, 2019 through Spinefarm/Search & Destroy Records.


"We didn't play a single show during the making-of the last album. It was a long time to be away after the addictive chaos of our reunion shows in 2012. Playing to houses packed with maniacs losing their minds right in front of you is a narcotic to rival actual narcotics we'd venture; not our field of expertise, but Keith Richards definitely seems to feel that way, and he's an expert on both. So, as we went out on tour in the summer of 2015, we were getting pretty high on our own supply (of songs, that is.) It was amazing, simply put.

But it was, also, obvious that Freedom was, for the most part, a "studio" record. A great record, to us, but there was something missing, as we started playing it live—something visceral, direct, relentless. At a soundcheck somewhere on the road (Austin?) Kristofer [Steen] started playing this riff and we all got into it (jamming, as it were.) After a while, we noticed that our crew had stopped working and that the people working at the venue were standing around watching us play. Now, people at venues usually hardly notice you, they've seen a thousand bands more famous than you fool around with their precious ditties, as they're re-stocking the bar or setting up barricades.

So, as we were settling into the riff proper and it started rolling and bouncing the way you're hearing it today, whatever we felt had been missing, it was clear that we had begun to fill that gap. The riff turned into "Blood Red," the first song we finished for the new record and the first song we played live off of it. It's fitting that it's now the first song you're gonna hear from the new record because it was truly inspired by you, our live audience, the old and the new, who come out and help us turn every venue into a boiling hot mess. This one's for you. If I fall, you'll help me up, OK? Welcome to WAR MUSIC. We'll see you in the pit."

// Refused (@Refused)


Thursday, August 1, 2019

New Found Glory Unravel "A Thousand Years" Music Video from Movie Covers EP From The Screen to Your Stereo 3 (Hopeless Records)


New Found Glory (NFG) were easily one of the pillars of late 90's-early 2000's Pop-Punk, alongside contemporaries blink-182 & Green Day. I've always, personally, enjoyed NFG's "Ex-Miss" from Immortal Records' 2003 Punk/Hardcore holiday comp. A Santa Cause: It's A Punk Rock Christmas. Over the years, I've, also, very much enjoyed New Found Glory's various singles from their beloved/critically-acclaimed albums, such as "Hit or Miss," "My Friends Over You," "Head On Collision," and "All Down Hill from Here." Just the other day, I saw a post on of one Alt Press' social media accounts talking about a NFG cover of Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years" from Twilight. I soon learned, with some additional digital sleuthing, that New Found Glory had released the third installment in their movie covers EP series, From The Screen to Your Stereo, just this past May. From The Screen to Your Stereo 3, of course, follows 2000's From The Screen to Your Stereo and 2007's From The Screen to Your Stereo Part II, both released on Drive-Thru Records. 🧛


Aside from—or even, in addition to—From The Screen to Your Stereo I-III, New Found Glory have additionally, shared spirited covers of everyone from Arrested Development's "Tennessee" for Pop Goes Crunk (2008) to The Ramones across 2013's MANIA EP. For From The Screen to Your Stereo 3, NFG have chosen to cover movie themes and silver screen-featured songs, including Anna Kendrick's "Cups (When I'm Gone)" from Pitch Perfect, "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman, as performed by Keala Settle & "The Masked Singer," T-Pain, Huey Lewis & The News' "The Power of Love" from Back to The Future, Idina Menzel's "Let It Go" from Frozen, Counting Crows' "Accidentally In Love" from Shrek 2, "A Thousand Years" from Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, and Survivor's "Eye of The Tiger" from Rocky III. Since early July, New Found Glory have been trekking across the country as part of their From The Screen to Your Stereo to Your Town Tour, along with Real Friends, The Early November & Doll Skin. Prior to hitting the road for said tour, NFG joined forces with film-maker Natalie Simmons to produce a string of heart-felt D.I.Y. video homages for every song from their EP—six have been released online, so far and "Accidentally In Love" is... coming soon! 🐺


"The videos were inspired by the Michel Gondry-directed movie, Be Kind Rewind. It starred Jack Black & Mos Def, who ran a video store and accidentally erased all the video cassette tapes, so they re-shot the films themselves very low-budget. So, we took the songs that we were covering and filmed a 3 1/2-minute movie for each one in our style," NFG guitarist Chad "What's Eating" Gilbert recently explained within a recent AVVAY interview. Below, you'll find the music videos for "A Thousand Years," "Cups," "This Is Me," "The Power of Love," "Let It Go," "Accidentally In Love," and "Eye of The Tiger" with frontman Jordan Pundik & New Found Glory sporting the appropriate garb for each selected film. New Found Glory additionally announced Leg 2 of their From The Screen to Your Stereo to Your Town Tour kicking off on November 2, 2019, this time, with Hawthorne Heights, Free Throw & Jetty Bones. From The Screen to Your Stereo 3 EP CD, LP, and movie-themed bundles are still available to purchase either directly from New Found Glory or their current label, Hopeless Records. 🍿