No more I love you’s (Annie Lennox) (by Zardozlitchinstein)
You’re all welcome.
No more I love you’s (Annie Lennox) (by Zardozlitchinstein)
You’re all welcome.
EFF IT. I’LL JUST POST IT.
Thanks, URCHICAGO, for making your (my) old content impossible to access…
volcano!: Active Once Again
Lying dormant for nearly three years, experimental rock trio volcano! (note the lowercase “v”) has recently released their second LP, Paperwork. Their much-acclaimed debut album Beautiful Seizure, released by UK label Leaf, was met in late 2005 with enthusiastic acclaim here and abroad (scoring them an early appearence on oft-imitated music performance site La Blogotheque). The debut album shook; not just the pavement, but the pervading stigma that “art rock” bands can only be one thing or the other – art or rock. volcano!’s sound rectifies this disparity—simultaneously heady and accessible, intricate and forceful, ethereal and dynamic.
volcano!’s fluid creations can shift from jagged guitar squall to delicate instrumentals backed by the atmospherics of multi-instrumentalist Mark Cartwright, their song’s pop structures can quickly devolve into poly-rhythmic improvisation care of percussionist Sam Scranton. Meanwhile, vocalist/guitarist Aaron With always seems to have a trick up his sleeve, with a lyrical range that wheels from mischievous wordplay, to urgent exclamation to staccato abstraction—often in the same track.
Paperwork is its own little bundle of surprises, as the hilariously titled “Africa Just Wants to Have Fun,” bounces and jabs at celebrity-turned-philanthropists with a nod to guitar-led Afropop—both of which seem all the rage these days. The album has a bunch more surprises and creative twists, with Scranton mentioning a load of diverse influences from track-to-track, including the otherworldly psych-pop of Animal Collective to the shameless R&B come-ons of R. Kelly.
volcano! returned this August to do their first live show in two years, a CD release party for their new full-length. The Chicago-based band will be playing again thisThursday, 9/25, at The Empty Bottle. Sam was nice enough to share his time for a quick Q&A earlier this month:
MP3: volcano! - “Africa Just Wants to Have Fun” (site)(myspace)(facebook)
Brian Battle (UR Chicago): It’s been a while since the Beautiful Seizure came out… what have you been up to? At what point did the three of you come back together and start crafting the new album?
Sam Scranton (volcano!): In 2006 Mark went back to school for a year to get a masters in music technology. For most of that year we didn’t do anything volcano! related. Aaron and I worked independently and came up with chord progressions or melodies that later turned into compositions. Occasionally, we got together to share ideas, but the bulk of the work began in August of ‘07. It took us about six months to complete all of the songs. We were still finalizing some compositional details two days before we recorded. Had we not had that deadline, I think we could still be working on those songs now. It’s nice to force completion sometimes.
B: What should we expect from the new album? What’s changed? Any surprises? Any new influences you’ve soaked up in the past few years?
S: The songs on the last album would often collapse in the middle, and out of the decay, build and transform into something now. Performing this kind of stuff got tedious, so this album features way less amorphous build-ups. Transitional sections on this album are cleaner, more pivot points than gradual shifts. There is almost always forward momentum, where the last album had a lot of stalls and hesitations. In some ways this album is more straight forward, but it is still difficult—both albums are restless, they don’t settle down, they are a little schizophrenic, but in different ways.
This album’s identity is never settled. The first song suggests Django Reinhart, the second song goes from mysterious electronics to Cindy Lauper to Timbaland. The third one has some Radiohead or Animal Collective in it. You can hear some Banda, cowboy, Stevie Wonder, and R. Kelly. Basically everything finds a place on this album, though filtered through volcano!’s distinctive energy and attitude.
B: It seems that improvisation is an integral part of volcano!, how do you rectify that jazz/adlibbing/experimenting in a sterile (and costly) space like a recording studio?
S: The first album featured a fair amount of improvisation, but it was always well contained. We set rules for ourselves and had already chosen a set vocabulary to draw from so that the results would be fairly predictable. This album contains almost no improvisation. The beginning of “78 Oil Crisis” is kind of free form, as is most of “Kitchen Dance” but both of them have strict structures to pull us through.
B: A few years ago I ran into you while I was recovering from mono. You told me you thought you were coming down with it too because you were feeling really tired all the time … turns out you had been up for three days straight working and then recording on the graveyard shift. Was recording this album a similar experience?
S: Recording this album was exhausting but not in the same way. We were staying up all night to mix the last album because we could get a cheap over-night rate at a studio with really nice equipment. We did it in three nights and then took it to get mastered. This time we decided to mix it mostly ourselves in Mark’s apartment. It took us about three months working three to four nights a week to finish. In terms of sleep loss this album was less stressful, but in terms of crazy amounts of work, this album was way, way harder.
B: volcano! received a really warm welcoming on their first European tour (even making an early apperence on Le Blagotheque and then for some reason, an oddly cool reception at a U.S. west coast show within the same few months. What’s the difference between Western and European audiences? What gives?
S: I don’t really know the reason. But it seems that in Europe people are more receptive to weird, difficult music. Of course people love noise music here, but in some ways noise music isn’t weird or difficult. There is a ready-made audience for that stuff—it comes from a long tradition—it is not avant-garde at all.
Maybe the way that people listen to music is different. I think lots of people here put on an album to create a mood or a type of feeling—our albums don’t really provide a mood, they change to frequently. You can’t put them on in the background. Maybe here coolness or hype are important things—music is tied into style or identity and since our identity is hard to pin down, it’s hard to know if its cool or not. I don’t know, but maybe coolness or identity isn’t linked to music appreciation in other places… but again this is just wild speculation.
-Brian Howe Battle
vocano! is back. Their album, Piñata, is out today! They perform Monday June 18 at the Empty Bottle in Chicago.(via Sweet, but willing to experiment: volcano!)
‘Course… I had a nice interview with them a few years prior, and I still think it’s pretty swell #humblebrag.
And her first video just came out around the song that has suddenly thrust her into the zeitgeist, and I love it most ly for the actual song, but also partially because she’s wearing a Yeastie Girlz t-shirt.
Pretty terrible video. Pretty tight song. ”Stacking All My Cheese” by younguns’ Miss Mulatto and Yungsta Da Wiz.
Cam’ron - What Means The World To You (by CamRonVEVO)
this music video is really Important because:
a. women reclaiming public space/space where harassment occurs
b. reappropriation of physical harassment thru the use of handprint imagery
c. reappropriation of masculine object (baseball bat) for self-defense by women
d. men shown performing physical labor as work/women shown performing physical labor for pleasure
e. deconstruction of ageism thru the inclusion of young & elderly women being complete badasses
f. centering around performance by women of color, which is refreshing when we as a culture just had to deal with the fucking white girl mafia
g. doooooope. beat. not going to pretend i don’t love this song (or rye rye in general)
Filmed back in November when I spent a few days away from Kalamazoo in Chicago, this is one of my favorite sessions so far. I discovered Cains & Abels two Mittenfest’s ago, booked them at last years Keweenawesomefest, and have loved most everything they’ve put out over that time – so much that I made it a point to get a session in with them during my Chicago vacation.
They just released their album My Life is Easy, which I’ve been waiting for since last years Kfest. The album is less than $5 over here at emusic.com. Dig on these session vids, and keep an eye out for part 2 that will accompany our album review of My Life is Easy.
Steff Bomb has an emergency cat medical bill, and is giving a discount on Etsy orders via PayPal so she doesn’t have to deal with Credit Cards. Help Her! (via Steff Bomb by SteffBomb on Etsy)
Why aren’t there more songs like this?
The Weeknd - The Morning (by xoxxxoooxo)