Following a disappointing run that had lasted nearly a decade, Marilyn Manson made a fairly compelling (if not completely convincing) comeback with 2015’s The Pale Emperor. This not-quite-return-to-form also seemed to coincided with a stabilisation and cleaning up of the troubled shock rocker’s personal life, and it caused a stir among those who had all but written off the former "antichrist superstar," leaving many wondering whether that album would prove to be a one-off glimpse of his former greatness or if he was capable of pulling-off a similar feat in the future. Although hopes remained high, alarm bells began to ring when it was announced that the follow-up to that record would be titled "Say10" and was slated for release on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, that potentially embarrassing set of circumstances never came to fruition. The release was pulled with little fanfare or explanation—eventually emerging eight months later under the considerably less sophomoric title Heaven Upside Down, on the nondescript date of October 6 (although the first single being released on September 11 seems hardly coincidental). It eventually emerged that Manson was unhappy with the release in it’s earlier form and three extra tracks—it’s beginning, central and ending numbers—were added in the interim before its eventual release. The one-time “god of fuck” appears to have made the right call because, while Heaven Upside Down remains a far cry from the output of his glory period, it also provides further evidence that there’s still more than a little bit of Satanic gas left in his proverbial tank. Unfortunately, it also proves to be a release underpinned by a number of regrettable circumstances and uncomfortable revelations.
Clichés exist for a reason; usually, they represent a grain of truth that gets buried underneath public scrutiny. The more that people observe or muse on that single grain, the more it gets reused and worn. In the process, a certain derision becomes attached to it but that does nothing to take away from the actual grain present there. Clichés, when used right, still have the potential for truth and incisive perspective. Steven Wilson has, for all intents and purposes, worked long enough in the business to become his own cliché, a musician whose style is so important that it is an arch-type when one approaches music in a large number of sub-genres. As Wilson continues to progress down his career, what is left to him? It seems as if every peak has been conquered. What keeps him going? If To The Bone, his upcoming release, is any indication, it is probably a mix of love of music, dedication to the craft and the constant need to tweak his own style.
Foo Fighters aren’t the type of band you associate with breaking boundaries, but their career has seen them unleash eight studio albums that most of us will agree are pretty solid, with a couple that ascends to levels of greatness. Also, as far as modern rock acts go, they don’t come much bigger. Their prolific career has seen them rise to meteoric heights through the release of popular singles, hilarious music videos and a reputation for being some of the nicest dudes in the biz. We don’t just want to support these guys because they know how to appeal to our stadium-sized sensibilities with almighty, but easily digestible, melodic rock, but they’re genuinely likable and good poster boys for music in general. It’s also a testament to their talent that they were able to break out of the shadow of Nirvana and establish themselves as a huge deal in their own right, and at this point in time, you could argue that their legacy is just as magnificent.
Back when I first started my Penn State career I knew just about nobody (one whole semester ago). I felt kind of awkward at a lot of the DIY shows, was uncomfortable with the idea that nobody was really moshing, and just generally wasn't vibing with the overwhelming number of acoustic acts I was seeing. But still I kept going to all the shows, slowly meeting more people, but still failing to find that one local that really blew me away from a musical and performance perspective. That was, of course, until I saw Dimmer (that show actually helped me find my other favorite local, Palmlines, too, but that's gonna be it's own post) in a cramped ass living room. It was hot, uncomfortable, and I barely had room to stand. Ultimately I was extremely (again) uncomfortable and unhappy at that show, but Dimmer played with such an immense amount of energy that I pretty much forgot my underwear were riding up in an uncomfortable sweat wedgie.
Junius have always beguiled listeners with their straddling of the border between light and dark. Such light-play features prominently in their lyrics and artwork as well, so imagining it to be some sort of coincidence is an ill advised move. Indeed, very little of the band's decisions seem to be accident; all of their records, LPs and EPs included, give off an air of contained power, meticulously planned theories which, nonetheless, explode with instinctive and primal energy when performed.
In 2015 we told you that Chaos Divine had the goods, and today we're lucky enough to speak with them. Starting off as something of a melodic death metal band, Chaos Divine have gradually evolved into the progressive/alternative rock sound which Australia has become famed for. We speak with them about their fantastic 2015 release Colliding Skies, their experiences with crowd funding, the Australian scene, what it's like being a band from the isolated west coast of the country and, of course, eggs.
Today we're joined by none other than Michael Gagen, guitarist extraordinaire at bands you may have heard of, like hazards of swimming naked and (ex-) Arcane, and bands you've probably never heard of, like Echo... Read More...
Crumb play in the soft static waves of dreampop, gliding through wistful, airy melodies as if nothing bad has ever happened. They’ve only released a single self-titled three song EP thus far, but you’d never guess it. Despite their youth, Crumb already have the secure sense of musical identity that veteran bands spend years achieving. Their instruments mesh into a sound that is more than the sum of its parts. The percussion and bass keep the music active and bouncy, while frontwoman Lila Ramani lazily daydreams melodies with her effect-laden guitar and enchantress voice in the vein of Lana Del Rey.