No fear just imaginative provocation: an interview with Dale Crover of Melvins

melvins

Any real rock fan knows that the legendary Melvins never shy away from invention, exploration, and mischief within their continually impressive creativity and releases. Three decades have seen the Washington band ignite the senses and imagination as well as music itself with their one of a kind ingenuity, and the release of Everybody Loves Sausages presented yet another album to lift the emotions and provoke the senses. Consisting of cover songs from bands which the members of Melvins have a passion for themselves and featuring an array of guest vocalists the album is one of the biggest sparks to strike 2013. Intriguing to find out more about the album and its creation we had the pleasure of asking drummer Dale Crover about the release, particular songs, and some of those additional friends helping bring the album to life.

Hi Dale and many thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

You have just released your excellent album Everybody Loves Sausages, a collection of cover tracks. Did the fact that the songs were not yours originally bring a different emotion and feeling compared to your previous releases as it’s unveiling to the world loomed?

We started recording cover song with the idea of releasing them as singles. It wasn’t until we had a bunch of songs done that we realized we had a decent albums worth of material. We didn’t treat this record any differently than any other release.

Did its recording also offer up a different type of fun just because they were songs which you had no involvement in the writing of?

We’ve always done cover songs since day one and we’ve always liked playing covers. Almost every record we’ve ever done has a cover song on it. If we’re going to do a cover, we try to own it like we wrote it. We either try to improve it or at least do it justice.

The time and attention given to each track and your interpretation suggests the songs and bands were ones which had a strong impact upon yourselves, is that the case and the reason for their choosing?

Well yeah, these are all songs by bands that we really dig!

Was there an extended debate within the band over chooses or the songs were relatively unanimously agreed on from the start?

No! We’re all in agreement here. We have pretty much the same musical tastes. I don’t know if Coady and Jared knew much about The Fugs, but they seemed like they were into it. That’s a band that has a pretty big influence on us. Listen to that song, and then our song Black Bock and maybe you’ll hear it.

In the choice of tracks was there any element of mischief, making choices to catch people off guard maybe?16315_10151432583720939_1671142432_n

We thought going from Venom’s War Head into Queen’s Best Friend would throw people for a loop. From totally aggro to I love you! It works perfectly! We weren’t trying to be ironic doing either of those songs though. We really do love the Queen song! It’s a great tune!

You are no strangers to doing cover songs as you said but how big a step did it feel making a full length album of them and did it offer experience or problems which your own compositions do not inspire?

In case you haven’t noticed by now, there’s nothing we’re afraid of doing. I’ve read reviewers say that we did a covers record because we have nothing left to say. Obviously these people haven’t been paying attention to what we’ve been doing. In a space of a year we put three releases by three different versions of the band, toured across Canada, did a record setting tour of the US, released a series of split 12″, toured Europe twice and now put this record out. I’m sure I’m probably forgetting about something as well.

The album also sees a wealth of your friends vocally adding their individual touch to many of the tracks, was it a concentrated decision before the start who you would bring in for what or did the tracks almost invite obvious choices for you?

Some of them we’re well planned. Mark Arm from Mudhoney doing Scientists for example, or Jello Biafra doing Roxy Music. I think we had a few different ideas for Jim Thirwell. He chose Bowie.

Did you give them precise directions to approach the songs especially vocally or let them run with the idea and ball? I ask as our favourite track on the album In Every Dream Home A Heartache, which sees Jello Biafra transforming the Bryan Ferry bred shadows in an organic almost improv like evolution before the ear.

We worked with these different people because we like what they do. We wouldn’t dare tell anyone what to do, or how to sing. I did however tell Clem Burke from Blondie that he was going to do a drum solo. He asked what type of solo to play. My only instructions were to “freak out”!

How long did the album take to make and was it all recorded in one studio or across varied stages with all the guests involved?

We did most of the tracking the winter before last, mostly at Sound Of Sirens studio. A few things were recorded elsewhere.

Is there any particular song or moment which lit your personal fires a little more intensely on the album than most?

Hmm, that’s hard to say. I like hearing the songs when they start to gel. Usually that happens in the overdub process, after I’m done with the basic structure of a song. That’s when I start to get ideas or hear parts in my head. That’s the moment for me where I feel the most creative and exited.

I have to ask about The Jam track Art School which features Tom Hazelmeyer on vocals with a great tongue in cheek cockney accent to song and the following skit end. Was it coincidental that his closing fun felt like a mischievous pop at the middle class background of the great band riding the supposed anarchy of the punk movement in their early days?

Less coincidental and more whiskey fuelled. The English are an easy to target to poke fun of.

180178_496925000938_3202216_nIs the album something you would look at doing again, have already ideas of songs to cover prompted thoughts in that direction?

We recorded way more than what’s on the record. For the vinyl we’re going to release each song as a single with unreleased B sides.

Melvins is an iconic band who has inspired so many bands across your influential years, what inspires your creativity most potently?

Everything that surrounds us.

Will you be taking the album or tracks on tour and if so will your friends on Everybody Loves Sausages be lured to make their part too?

I doubt it, but I would like to play some of those songs live.

What is next on your horizons as a band and individually?

We’re doing our 30 year anniversary tour of the US this summer. After that I’m not sure. Probably more of the same. Hopefully I’ll get to produce more records. Our engineer Toshi Kasai and myself produce bands under the name Deaf Nephews. We recently worked with the bands Qui and Federation X. Toshi has a studio now and we’re for hire to produce and perform on projects.

Once more a big thank you for sparing time for us, any last thoughts or temptations for the readers?

Yes, I know what the real meaning of life is, and its…

Read the review of Everybody Loves Sausages @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/melvins-everybody-loves-sausages/

http://themelvins.net/

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2013

 

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Defeat – [Seek Help]

Defeat pic

Our first introduction to UK electro/industrial duo Defeat came with their impressive Outbursts! EP, a release which marked the band as having the promise to be a prominent part not only national but the European industrial scene. Since that the release anticipation for their debut album has been keen to say the least but even that hunger fell short in expectation when finally feeling the might of [Seek Help]. The eleven track album is immense, a sinister and sizzling beast which whilst thrilling and igniting thoughts and passion still provides evidence that there is plenty more still to be discovered within the band.

Taking inspiration in the sound and area of music stalked by the likes of Nitzer Ebb, 242, Depeche Mode, and NIN, the pair of Anthony Matthews (Vocals) and Gary Walker (Synthetics) firmly gripped the imagination with their sounds and debut release, the album though shows the band has since taken a major leap forward not only in sound and composition but confidence and stature. Two school friends who from meeting were writing songs together, Walker and Matthews have realised the brewing strength and flavoursome imagination first indicated on Outbursts!, with [Seek Help], the album title incidentally the name of their first venture together, confronting the ear with enterprise and compelling provocative mastery. Seek Help the project, existed from 1992 to 95 with the duo playing several gigs before it came to an end, with Defeat  emerging from its ashes with a new intent and flavour to the already existing and subsequently reworked songs. The EP, released as the album through Static Distortion Records, thrust Defeat to wide attention but the suspicion is that their album will see them on the fullest lips of attention.

The Hertfordshire based pair draw the listener into the album with In Vestri Genua Descendamus, a brief piece of dawning epicAlbum Sleeve Final toned ambience and grandeur heralding vocal harmonies offering religious whispers upon air of cavernous magnificence whilst a seductive falsehood deviously leads right into the hungry jaws of Fear. The track flexes its muscles with a slowly opening swagger, melodic caresses firmly igniting the senses whilst the shadowed more rapacious spine of the introduction intimidates and seduces with equal voracity. Settling into an even pace with the wonderfully raw vocals of Matthews stalking the ear and prowling the lyrical venom, the track ignites emotive connections and flames of passion especially with its sonic eruptions around the chorus and the returning breath of church bred provocation. It is a stunning  track which sets up the rest of the album perfectly though also puts the following songs under pressure such its early benchmark.

Not that Ripcord and Defeat struggle in that respect, both songs offering individual stances with full unity in their contagion. The first of the two initially sizes up the listener with predatory concentration, the pulsating dark shards of electro probing testing the waters before opening up its grip for the emotive ambience and shadowed breeze of the song to envelope ear and thought. With Matthews gently pressing forward the menace of the narrative within the evocative sounds of Walker, thoughts of Fad Gadget easily invade, the conjuring of dark beauty here as impacting and irresistible as in the hands of Frank Tovey. The track soon announces it is one which will not settle in one corner and explodes with a fiery caustic rub to further the danger and malevolence brewing within the shadows, whilst the Tubeway Army sonic teasing which breaks out also only enhances the adventure and pleasure. The following track raps on the ear with thumping sinews whilst a scintillating abrasion threatens to break free, its taunts and grazes within the coarse groove at play challenging the nerve whilst similarly grained vocals leave no atom untested. It is an uncompromising mix of beauty and beast like sonics, a ferocity lurking with rabid intensity just waiting its chance to feed but held in check by the potent melodic toxin pervading the track.

    [Seek Help] does nothing but further impress as the likes of the toxic, lyrically and musically, Revenge, the brooding Tear Me Apart, and the insidious Wish You Dead, unleash their imaginative magnetic poison emotionally and excellence sonically. Though the latter pair do not quite rise to the heights set in place before them there is only the fullest satisfaction and hunger bred from their offerings whilst the outstanding Pedestal soon has the album touching the highest bar again. An industrial scourge honed into an immersive restraint of melodic and electro temptation, the track plays with passions and limbs like a satanic puppeteer, its control and insatiable fascination impossible to resist or not devour greedily.

Both Coffin and Cry At Your Funeral lay an appetising and inflammatory impression deep within inciting and stimulating thoughts and emotions before leaving closing song, the smouldering Scar,  to waltz off with the last ounce of passion yet to be submitted towards the release. Released June 22nd, [Seek Help] is an album which sets the previous thought that Defeat ‘will become a major player in their genre’ in stone making it now a towering undeniable declaration.

www.defeatmusic.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 16/05/2013

 

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The Inner Road – Ascension

Ascension promo

Taking the listener on a compelling and expansive journey through soundscapes which evoke and provoke thought and imagination, Ascension the new album from The Inner Road, is a vibrant and classy adventure which incites personal invention and interpretation to its narrative whilst equally creatively directing thoughts into a proposed direction. It is an enveloping kaleidoscope of instrumental progressive rock with each movement and moment drenched in a full blaze of sonic colour and inspirational craft from its creators for the deepest pleasure.

The Inner Road is a project founded by keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist/ songwriter/producer Steve Gresswell as an outlet for

Steve Gresswell

Steve Gresswell

his more symphonic style of  instrumental progressive rock, sounds and ideas which do not find a place within the creativity of his other band Coalition. The Inner Road also finds Gresswell collaborating with other musicians who bring something special to fit the need of the music. 2011 saw the release of debut album Visions, a record made with renowned guitarist Phil Braithwaite which was met with strong acclaim, and here for Ascension the musician has teamed up with one of the UK’s finest guitarists and rock songwriters to emerge in recent years, Jay Parmar. Fresh from the release of his own stunning album Circle of Fire via Steve Vai’s Digital Nations label, Parmar brings a style to the new album which sets tracks on fire with passion and evocative invention, his striking style drawing out the same hunger as inspired by his previous solo work for this album As well as his own releases and Ascension, the guitarist is also recording the new album from Exorcism featuring Csaba Zvekan and Joop De Rooij (both also in Ravenlord) as well as again joining up with Zvekan in new band D.O. Messiah, showing the appeal and impressive reputation Parmar has earned over recent years, which will only grow further when, after being invited by Gresswell, he joins Coalition who record their new album later this year.

Ascension wastes no second of its inventive presence to light up the senses and thoughts with full and extensive atmospheres, their embrace consistently fuelled by the sonic skill and grace of Parmar’s melodic incisions and alchemy; sounds and imagination which comes more often than not with a breath and caress of eastern influences and suggestion within an almost exhausting creative temptation. Set alongside the equally captivating and warmly invasive keyboard enterprise and ingenuity of Gresswell  the union makes for a release which leaves visual and emotional alchemy in its enthralling wake.

Jay Parmar

Jay Parmar

The title track opens up the adventure, a piano aiding a sun of melodic enticing to introduce the first steps on the departure into the vast realms of the album. Its company comes from crunchy riffs slowly bringing their voice to the brewing unveiling of this beckoning expansive landscape. With the sounds of both musicians coming together to sculpt the view there is a sense of depth and long passage ahead in the exploration of the immediately majestic world. The song appears as a travelogue of textures and sonic exhilaration instantly in league with the wonderful orchestral seduction at work , and their unity finding itself in tandem with the melodic weaves and wash already igniting the passions. As in all songs the music is like a ‘travel guide’, a provocateur to beauteous scenery and imagination whether visual or reflectively emotive, an investigation which is enjoyed physically and imaginatively.

From the immense opener the album takes flight through The Steel Sky; sinewy almost cold riffs from guitar and bass guiding the listener through shadowed clouds and imposing structures to find the sonic rays of light and melodic coating of sun brought from the keys and the stunning persuasive guitar commentary. It is then followed by the equally powerful Two Worlds Two Tomorrows, the track seemingly the sister to its predecessor as deeper in to the heart of the emotive terrain we go. Every song within the album feels connected to what came before and follows, for a fulfilling and ear widening melodic peregrination.

The smouldering and sizzling sonic traverse of Altered Reality and the provocative Troubled Memories step forward next to raise the temperature further. The first has fire to its intensity and creative sonic discharge whilst ensuring a continually evolving surprise in its presence with a compelling regal mid-section with potent and sirenesque strings, their orchestral embrace stepping in to temper the heated insistence of Parmar and set celestial cascades of melodic glory falling upon the ear, whilst the second is a dazzling candescent of melodic and harmonic craft leaving again only rising emotion towards its enthrallment

The biggest highlights of the thrilling album come with the final three tracks starting with A Fleeting Dream, a piece which triggers an unbridled flood of thoughts and ideas with furnace bright melodies and descriptive paint box rich sonic colouring. Parmar wrings out every emotive drop of incitement with his playing whilst the keys of Gresswell especially when he flows through a stunning sea of floral melodic expression which reminds of Dave Greenfield at his best, inciting the fullest ardour for what is the best track on the album. The outstanding and riveting The Awakening has its say on the final choice of top dog though with its initial colonial call moving aside for another poetic and provocative voyage of shifting gait and imagination whilst the closing Flight through Eternity simply lures the last of any passion still sheltering out with its strongest Eastern sultriness and inflamed closing sunset.

Ascension is an excellent and continually giving album, a release which just gets better and more potent with each travel of its ambient hot pilgrimage. The Inner Road has produced a release which is not only progressive/ instrumental rock at its best but melodic enterprise of any description.

http://www.inner-road.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Gresswell/442768909088975

https://www.facebook.com/jayparmar

9/10

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Blankfile – Self Titled EP

Photo by Bojan Stevanovic

Photo by Bojan Stevanovic

The new self-titled EP from Serbian band Blankfile is a release which can be persuasively encouraging, intent to ask very firmly, or eagerly willing to brawl with the listener just to get its way and get your submission it will whatever your defence with its quartet of stirring and incendiary track punk infused hardcore tracks.  An EP continuing the shift and evolution in sound and songwriting which has emerged over past releases from the band,  it is a forceful and contagious slab of unbridled ferocity and passionately crafted enterprise.

The seeds of the Belgrade quintet goes back to 2002, though it was with a big change of line-up and new intent with their sound in 2008 that the band began finding more recognition and awareness towards them.  From their Fast Foreword EP in that year of evolution to second album Turning the Season two years later, the Blankfile sound has found a darker and more mature presence which has stoked up firm responses and appetite. A band which typifies DIY attitude, Blankfile has alongside building their reputation and musical strength through releases, gigs, and festival appearances in their homeland and further afield, also helped others, the joining up with a concert promotion group Means to Amend Promotion giving them the opportunities to organize gigs for local and foreign underground bands in Serbia. The release in 2012 of new song Roadkill with its excellent accompanying video suggested an even stronger move within their creativity which this new EP confirms and builds upon.

The EP rips a chunk out of the ear immediately with I Alone, thumping rhythms and searing sonic bred riffs scoring a deep a3658265133_2invitation into the awaiting senses. It is a riotous start brought with skilled control and compelling aggression, but an assault honed with a sculpted melodic and abrasive enterprise which brings creative flames forward with clarity and furious energy. The vocals of Stefan Ciric and guitarist Petar Novakovic swing between squalling and relatively clean declarations for an excellent mix, their anthemic unity a raucous beckoning to the heart of the provocation whilst the beats of drummer Filip Stojanovic and growling licks of bassist Dusan Jovanovic impressively frame the fire. It is an impressive start which is enhanced by the guitars of Novakovic and especially Nenad Filipovic carving the air with accomplished sonic invention, to complete the trigger for a full and heightened greed for EP.

The following Separate The Oceans From The Skies approaches with a melodic vocal persuasion holding full engagement with the ear whilst the guitars and percussion shape the presence of the track with sonic thought and atmospheric expression. As it opens up its arms for a full sunrise of pop punk like embraces the song suddenly leaps upon the ear with energised and elevated urgent heat, the breath of the song now caustic yet wholly welcoming. The songwriting really shines here as the band and song unveils an evocative unpredictability to its invention and creative tempest. It extends the excellent start to the release whilst also showing an elevated diversity within the imagination and craft of the band.

The persistently barracking anthem honed Far From Your Eyes and Close To Our Hearts complete the EP, the first another storm of attitude, heart, and explosive intensity twisted within a frame of predatory rhythms, acid dripping riffs, and rapier cutting sonic enterprise which again serves  up directions and intriguing endeavours which ignite full excitement and satisfaction. The closing track starts with a sound similar to its predecessor but soon develops its own distinct and contagious stance as ear carving thrust of magnetic riffs and melodic toxin run forcibly through the veins of the carnivorous passion driving the excellent song.

The EP is a thrilling encounter which inspires rich gratification for its coarse and irresistible charms whilst still suggesting Blankfile have more to discover and ignite within their maturing ability and invention. One of the best melodic hardcore releases this year so far.

http://blankfile.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/blankfileband

8/10

RingMaster 16/05/2013

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