Song Of The Day: Torche – Admission

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Over time, the genre lines between shoegaze and metal have become a bit blurred and more and more cross-pollination has occurred as bands like Deafheaven and Alcest have incorporated shoegaze elements into their sound. And really, when you get right down to it, it’s hard to argue against the fact that OG shoegazers My Bloody Valentine, while definitely not a metal band, are absolutely heavy in their own way (as anyone who’s seen their live show could attest) so it’s hardly a surprise that bands on the heavier end of the spectrum have taken influence from shoegaze.

And now sludge metallers Torche have joined in on that tradition, with the band going full shoegaze on the title track off their recently released fifth album, Admission. Check out the video for “Admission” below:

Concert Review: Bad Religion, July 25, The Phoenix

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It takes a certain kind of confidence (or cluelessness? Maybe a mix of both?) to ask a band currently onstage and in the midst of a concert to stop the show and autograph your hat, yet some guy in the crowd during Bad Religion‘s show at The Phoenix on Thursday night tried it twice.

The first time, bassist Jay Bentley made the very good point that he’s at work now and he generally doesn’t carry a pen around with him at work, though he did make the concession of wearing the fan’s hat for one song when it was thrown on stage. The guy tried it again later in the set, with singer Greg Graffin repeating the same very good point that bands generally don’t keep pens on them while performing, although really, Graffin seems like the kind of guy who does always have a pen on him. He still signed it for him eventually once another fan produced a pen. I guess it just goes to show that persistence does pay off.

And while asking a band for an autograph mid-set is not recommended, it does demonstrate the level of devotion Bad Religion fans have for the band. By the time the band went on stage, The Phoenix was packed full, with many of the fans up front enthusiastically moshing during their set. Graffin commended them while noting that he gave up the pit long ago, although glancing at that pit, I saw a few in there who looked perhaps a bit too old for moshing. But hey, as Sloan once sang, if it feels good, do it.

With 17 albums released over the course of their nearly 40 year career, the band’s got a large repertoire to work with and they chose well, with the setlist mixing selections off their latest, the aptly titled Age Of Unreason, with classics such as “Suffer”, “Generator”, “Stranger Than Fiction” and “American Jesus” and even stretching back to their very first album for “Fuck Armageddon … This Is Hell.”

Overall, the band put on a satisfying set and everyone went home happy, especially the guy with the signed hat.

Song Of The Day: Jonah Ray – Amish Paradise

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Long before I became obsessive about music, I was obsessed with comedy. I still am, but as a kid, comedy was pretty much my rock n’ roll and of course, the songs of “Weird Al” Yankovic were a big part of all that.

It seems Weird Al had a big influence on Jonah Ray as well, with the comedian set to release You Can’t Call Me Al, a 5 song tribute to the master of pop parodies wherein he takes Yankovic’s lyrics and sets them to new pop-punk style arrangements that take them in a much different direction than the original recordings.

You Can’t Call Me Al is out on August 16 on Asian Man Records. Check out the video for “Amish Paradise” below:

Roskilde Festival Review: Whores., Converge, Petrol Girls, July 6

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At one point relatively early on in the band’s set, Whores singer-guitarist Christian Lembach announced to the crowd that it would all be coming to an end soon. Seeing as how the band was barely even 20 minutes into their set, he clearly wasn’t talking about their show. No, he meant it was ALL coming to an end, as in the world and everything in it.

“Don’t you know the apocalypse is coming?” he asked the crowd before adding, “Thanks for coming out. If we’re all gonna die we may as well all party.” That may seem a little grim for a Saturday afternoon, but hey, you don’t really go to see noise rock bands for uplifting messages. Nevertheless, he’s got a point – you might as well party and there was something of a party atmosphere at their show with a small group enthusiastically moshing near the front of the stage. “Look at you animals all mixing it up,” said Lembach as he looked upon the pit approvingly. The band’s aggressive noise rock (I caught hints of Helmet, Unsane, Jesus Lizard and Melvins in their sound) definitely struck the right note for me on a day that got off to a mellow start, pushing me in the direction of many of the heavier acts on the bill for much of the rest of the day.

Hardcore veterans Converge put on one of the heaviest, most intense shows of the day during their set later that night on the Avalon Stage. I don’t think I’ve seen the band live since the early 2000s (possibly even since the Jane Doe tour … I am old) and was impressed to see the band (especially vocalist Jacob Bannon) hasn’t really lost any of the energy from those days.

As much as I was enjoying Converge’s set, I had to cut out early and make my way across to the other end of the festival grounds to check out London’s Petrol Girls, who also put on an intense show with a strong political edge. The band has a strong feminist message in their music and covers several other issues within their lyrics. Though they were playing a festival show, the band made it feel like a gig in some tiny punk club, building up an inclusive atmosphere and a safe space.

A powerful performance from a band that I hope to hear a lot more from in the future.