Under the Gun Review http://www.underthegunreview.net Entertainment news for today's generation Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:12:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3 http://static.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/cropped-icon1-32x32.jpg Under the Gun Review http://www.underthegunreview.net 32 32 Baroness Announce New Album, ‘Purple’ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/baroness-announce-new-album-purple/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/baroness-announce-new-album-purple/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:45:27 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154998 Savannah, Georgia’s Baroness have unveiled plans to release a new full-length album, Purple, on December 18 through their own label, Abraxan Hymns. The Yellow & Green follow-up will feature ten brand new tracks, all of which were produced by Dave Fridmann (Sleater-Kinney, Tame Impala). Additionally, this will also be the outfit’s first release to feature Nick Jost on bass and Sebastian Thomson on drums. Comment below and let us know if you’re excited.

“After releasing a lengthy and investigative record like Yellow & Green, we all felt that we needed to make something much more direct and …

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Savannah, Georgia’s Baroness have unveiled plans to release a new full-length album, Purple, on December 18 through their own label, Abraxan Hymns. The Yellow & Green follow-up will feature ten brand new tracks, all of which were produced by Dave Fridmann (Sleater-Kinney, Tame Impala). Additionally, this will also be the outfit’s first release to feature Nick Jost on bass and Sebastian Thomson on drums. Comment below and let us know if you’re excited.

“After releasing a lengthy and investigative record like Yellow & Green, we all felt that we needed to make something much more direct and immediate,” explained vocalist John Baizley. “As a result, the music came out in an intense, heavy, and sonically captivating in a new way, which is important, loathe, as we are to fall into any kind of complacency pitfall or formulaic songwriting routine.”

Pre-order Purple here, and stream the record’s lead single, “Chlorine & Wine,” below.

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Hawthorne Heights Embrace Nostalgia on New Single, “The Darkest Times” http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/hawthorne-heights-embrace-nostalgia-on-new-single-the-darkest-times/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/hawthorne-heights-embrace-nostalgia-on-new-single-the-darkest-times/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:37:11 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154990 Ohio screamo veterans Hawthorne Heights have released the first single off their impending EP, Hurt, which is set to arrive on September 18.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up with HH since I was an angsty teen, but nonetheless, I can say with a good deal of confidence that the band’s latest, “The Darkest Times,” is a lot of fun. Catchy, caustic, and concise, it will surely garner fond memories of outfit’s adored debut, The Silence In Black And White, and no doubt leave longtime fans excited for the future. Give it a …

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Ohio screamo veterans Hawthorne Heights have released the first single off their impending EP, Hurt, which is set to arrive on September 18.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up with HH since I was an angsty teen, but nonetheless, I can say with a good deal of confidence that the band’s latest, “The Darkest Times,” is a lot of fun. Catchy, caustic, and concise, it will surely garner fond memories of outfit’s adored debut, The Silence In Black And White, and no doubt leave longtime fans excited for the future. Give it a listen after the break, and let us know what you think in the replies.

Pre-orders for Hurt are ongoing.

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UTG @ MIXTAPE FEST: Microwave Discuss Writing Process Behind ‘Stovall,’ Hint At New Material http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/utg-mixtape-fest-microwave-discuss-writing-process-behind-stovall-hint-at-new-material/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/utg-mixtape-fest-microwave-discuss-writing-process-behind-stovall-hint-at-new-material/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:30:16 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154970 Alternative rock outfit Microwave recently wrapped up a quick run with You Blew It! and Sorority Noise. The band played three consecutive shows in New York, one of which was a stop at Long Island’s Mixtape Festival, where they played alongside bands like Incendiary, Crime In Stereo, The Movielife, and more.

Under The Gun had the pleasure of catching up with the Georgia, Atlanta four-piece after they played a killer set during Mixtape Fest. The band discussed the recording process behind their well-recieved debut full-length album, Stovall. They also talked about their recent signing to …

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Alternative rock outfit Microwave recently wrapped up a quick run with You Blew It! and Sorority Noise. The band played three consecutive shows in New York, one of which was a stop at Long Island’s Mixtape Festival, where they played alongside bands like Incendiary, Crime In Stereo, The Movielife, and more.

Under The Gun had the pleasure of catching up with the Georgia, Atlanta four-piece after they played a killer set during Mixtape Fest. The band discussed the recording process behind their well-recieved debut full-length album, Stovall. They also talked about their recent signing to SideOneDummy and their plans for the near future. Check out the full interview below.

Nathan Hardy (vocals/guitar): This is a cool little room. They went all out with the comfy couches.

Tyler Hill (bass/band Mom/packs lunch for everyone): Apparently this is where they do hip-hop shows.

NH: …this room?

Wesley Swanson (guitar/backup vocals): [laughs] No, the venue.

NH: Oh. [laughs] Yeah, there’s not a huge hip-hop scene in this room.

Under The Gun: DMX was actually supposed to play here a couple weeks ago but he got sent to prison.

TH: He would. That silly knucklehead.

Tito Pittard (percussion): There’s this really hilarious video of him screaming during a slingshot amusement park ride. He was cussing and yelling the whole time. It’s great.

UTG (to Tito): You’re the guy who’s always popping up and being quoted on Twitter.

TP: Yeah, apparently!

NH: Titto’s a high-profile guy. The face of the band, for sure.

WS: He’s actually on one of our shirts.

TH: When one of our Audiotree sessions got posted, the comments were like, “Walter White on the drums!” So we made a Breaking Bad shirt with his face on it.

UTG: How was your first NYC show?

TH: It was awesome! That was our first ever New York show. Pretty insane.

NH: It sold out. It was really hot and sweaty, but it was great.

WS: That was probably the rowdiest crowd of the tour, too.

UTG: I want to go into a little bit of the band’s history. How were you guys formed and when did you decide that this band was something you wanted to do?

NH: We formed in late 2012, around the mutual love for Tito.

UTG: You guys are fairly new. I’m not sure how often you’ve already gotten this, but where did “Microwave” come from?

TH: Out of the blue, really. We used to practice at this storage area and our name at that time was “Blue Shake” but they didn’t really like that. So we started throwing around names and someone at a party threw out the “Microwave.” We were like, “fuck it.”

UTG: I was telling one of my friends that I was listening to a band called Microwave and she goes, “That’s so Brooklyn.”

NH: Is it? How come?

UTG: I guess people find that it’s a really hipster name.

TP: Is it?! Is it cool? [laughs] We always get shit for it!

WS: We get so much shit for it. But that’s cool that it’s cool.

UTG: Also searching it up on Google is a bit hard.

TH: Exactly. It’s hard because you type it up and all this scientific shit pops up. It was always a placeholder until I could find something better, but it kind of clicked.

UTG: You guys mentioned Blue Shake earlier, but did you have other musical endeavors prior to this band?

TP: Me and Wesley were in a band called Iron Wolves. It was sort of death metal… That didn’t go well. [laughs]

WS: Tyler used to be in this band called We Are Only Fiction.

TP: What was your band called, Nathan?

NH: I don’t wanna talk about it.

Everyone: [laughs]

NH: Tito was also in Have You Seen My Ghost. They were huge on MySpace.

UTG: You’re all from Georgia, correct?

NH: Yup. All of us are from North Georgia, I’d say.

UTG: What is the music scene like down there?

TH: Atlanta has so many awesome bands. Some are really active and some are just nonchalantly doing their thing. There is definitely no shortage of sick bands. We’re fortunate enough to be friends with a lot of them.

WS: Everybody thinks it’s mostly hip-hop over there, but there are a bunch in our scene. It’s really diverse and there’s always a lot going on.

UTG: [Nathan] actually talked about this at the Brooklyn show last night, and I was going to bring it up today: In terms of Stovall, which is a great record, by the way, you mentioned that the a lot of the lyrical context was about your childhood.

NH: Yup, it was.

UTG: Specifically, “Mansions In The Sky” was really interesting. Was that the younger version of you speaking their mind?

NH: Yeah. It was actually supposed to be very sarcastic. When I was younger, I was very involved in a bunch of stuff. Had to go to church every morning before school, stuff like that.

UTG: Do you do majority of the songwriting?

NH: As far as the lyrical and vocal stuff goes, I write as a guy with an acoustic guitar, but we sort of tailor it together for the full band.

TP: He creates the skeleton and we flesh it out together.

UTG: When you guys were starting out, did you know that [Stovall] was what you wanted Microwave to sound like?

WS: Nope. We all have really different influences. The fact that everyone has a say in what’s going on affects the sound.

NH: It’s definitely evolved so much since we started writing.

TP: Everyone is kind of feeding off of each other’s creativity, which is nice.

UTG: When you guys were writing, was there a particular song you wrote one way that turned out a lot differently than you intended?

WS: I would say “Trash Stains” turned out infinitely better than I thought. We had that particular riff for a while. We had the basic structure, but the final version came together unexpectedly.

NH: It was really last-minute.

WS: Yeah, we had everything set, but we needed one more song. It ended up being one of our favorites on the album.

TP: Yeah, Nathan works really well under pressure.

UTG: Did you have a sense that the first track, “Stovall,” was gonna be the “crowd favorite”?

NH: Not really. We have a wide range of what people tell us they like most. A lot of it is upbeat and pop-punk. We didn’t know who was going to latch on to which.

TH: We didn’t think anybody was gonna like “Something Right.” So many people liked it and we didn’t even think we were ever gonna play it live.

UTG: Is there a particular song you thought was gonna set you apart from everyone? One that you could point to and consider really special?

TH: I think we can all agree on “Work It Out.” People like that song. Also, I do have a memory of when we were putting everything together. My brother mixed the record and I used to live with him. I came home one night and he was working on mixes really late. He was working on “Trash Stains” and I walk in, he was fucking jamming out, like “this song rules!” It was really exciting.

UTG: You guys recently signed to SideOneDummy. Congratulations! What can we expect from that? Is there any new material soon?

TP: Yes. But that’s about all we can say. Nothing’s really been announced yet.

NH: We’re also recording two songs for a split that hasn’t been announced yet, but it’ll be out this fall. We’re working on a full-length that we’re recording in the winter, so it’ll probably be out next summer. It’ll be our first major release with S1D.

WS: Also, just a little plug, we’re going out with Have Mercy and Somos in October. It’s gonna be awesome.

UTG: Are you looking to change anything when you put out the new record? Either in terms of your sound, or the writing process, or other stuff?

TP: A lot of breakdowns. [laughs]

NH: I’ve always wanted to do each record slightly differently. One of my favorite bands is As Cities Burn, and I always loved how they have a really heavy screamo record, and then they have one that’s a blend of indie and then alternative. Like Radiohead and Mew, too. Ours is more jazzy almost. A lot of lo-fi, jazzy elements.

WS: It’s obviously going to change a bunch overtime. As of now, though, it’s not gonna be as fast and as upbeat, but there are songs that are. We’re not straying too far away, but it’ll be a variety.

UTG: Lastly, individually, if you guys could have anyone listen to Stovall, who would it be?

TH: When I was a kid, I was really into Elvis Presley. I used to dance around my dresser with a fake microphone. I think I’d like to show him.

WS: I’d wanna show it to Obama. I imagine him being like, [imitating Obama’s voice] “Yup, that’s pretty good.”

UTG: It’ll be like that meme, except Obama would actually be holding your record.

Obama Microwave meme2

TP: For me, I think I’d say Kevin Bacon.

NH: It’d be pretty cool to bring Kurt Cobain back from the dead and ask him if he thought we were posers.

You can catch Microwave on tour this fall. Dates for those can be found here.

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Drop “Downtown” http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/macklemore-ryan-lewis-drop-downtown/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/macklemore-ryan-lewis-drop-downtown/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:25:57 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154980 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have reunited to grace the masses with an outstanding new single destined for radio greatness.

Titled “Downtown,” the eclectic, sample-heavy track found its way online yesterday along with some outrageously wonderful visuals that pit the Seattle hip-hop duo against none other than Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam. There are over-the-top West Side Story dance battles, majestic slow-motion chariot montages, and an excess of random wackiness that you’re better off experiencing for yourself. Check it out below.

When I first spun this track this morning, it didn’t do a lot for me, but the more I …

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have reunited to grace the masses with an outstanding new single destined for radio greatness.

Titled “Downtown,” the eclectic, sample-heavy track found its way online yesterday along with some outrageously wonderful visuals that pit the Seattle hip-hop duo against none other than Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam. There are over-the-top West Side Story dance battles, majestic slow-motion chariot montages, and an excess of random wackiness that you’re better off experiencing for yourself. Check it out below.

When I first spun this track this morning, it didn’t do a lot for me, but the more I watch this video, the more I’m convinced that this is probably one of the best things to happen in music this week. Get in on the action now, because it won’t be long before “Downtown” is inescapable.

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UTG PHOTOS: Pop Evil CD Release Show in Grand Rapids, MI (8/21/15) http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/utg-photos-pop-evil-cd-release-show-in-grand-rapids-mi-82115/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/utg-photos-pop-evil-cd-release-show-in-grand-rapids-mi-82115/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:00:09 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154681 ­­On August 21, in one of the wildest release shows in Grand Rapids history, superstars Pop Evil returned to The Intersection with an entourage of media coverage to support the release of their new album Up, available now through eOne Music.

Mayor George Hartwell declared it ‘Pop Evil Day’ for the city and a handful of lucky WGRD winners were selected for a secret acoustic set and autograph session at The Stache prior to the live performance.

There’s always a tangible energy in the air when a band like Pop Evil returns to Michigan, but there was …

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­­On August 21, in one of the wildest release shows in Grand Rapids history, superstars Pop Evil returned to The Intersection with an entourage of media coverage to support the release of their new album Up, available now through eOne Music.

Mayor George Hartwell declared it ‘Pop Evil Day’ for the city and a handful of lucky WGRD winners were selected for a secret acoustic set and autograph session at The Stache prior to the live performance.

There’s always a tangible energy in the air when a band like Pop Evil returns to Michigan, but there was something special about walking into this show. Unlike most I’ve attended at The Intersection, this took place outside in the parking lot on a professionally built and lit stage. There were local and national video crews running all over the place. Yahoo! Live was set to do a live broadcast of the whole performance. The sun was painfully bright and setting right behind the stage. It was a beautiful madness.

Torrid - 6

First up was Torrid, a local rock group with great energy and all the potential needed to get the crowd off their feet right away. The sun was glaring from behind the stage as we stretched into the hottest part of the day, but nobody seemed to care. It wasn’t anything some cold beer and good music couldn’t cure. They closed with a cover of “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against The Machine and headed over to the merch tables for some meet and greets.

Red Sun Rising - 12

Red Sun Rising took the stage next. Having caught them at the sold-out Pop Evil show last December at The Intersection, I was excited to see them on them card as support once again. With a slew of material from their new album Polyester Zeal, they stormed the stage and set the bar high for the rest of the show. Finally, the sun was starting to set, people were loosening up, and all of the media crews were starting to get their footing.

Aranda - 9

By the time Aranda took the stage, everyone was thoroughly intoxicated and ready to party. Empty beer cans were starting to pile up everywhere and the crowd swarmed in hoping to lock down their spot for Pop Evil. Aranda kept the show moving with some new material from their album Not The Same which is available now through Windup Records. As we waved goodbye to the sun, the roar of the crowd intensified and the stage lights took over. Aranda walked off stage, the lights went dark, and then everything changed.

Pop Evil - 13

The crowd started to smash in, testing the barricades to the sound of the house music playing over the PA. Conversations of who knew who in Pop Evil from the old days began stirring in the crowd. This wasn’t just a band walking on stage, but an extension of the thousands of lives that they’ve impacted on their way to the top. These were the roots of one of the most powerful trees that Michigan has ever grown and now it was time to watch it bear fruit.

Pop Evil appeared on stage in an explosion of light, and the roar of the crowd was enough to chill me to the bone. Playing a heavy mix of new and old material, the band and crowd were competing for intensity. Women began to lose their minds. A photographer and security guard were both mauled and nearly pulled into the crowd during the first song. Men were torn between fists of beer, fists in the sky, or fists on fellow man. The show had taken the feel of a typical Michigan house party and turned it into a rave. The crowd spilled all the way out of the venue and into the streets. People could hear Pop Evil from all over Grand Rapids and were swarming to see what all the hype was about. The party lasted late into the night and well past the show. It was the craziest release show that I’ve ever attended, and I couldn’t think of a more deserving group of guys to enjoy it with.

TORRID

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RED SUN RISING

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ARANDA

Aranda - 9 Aranda - 7 Aranda - 8 Aranda - 6 Aranda - 5 Aranda - 4 Aranda - 3 Aranda - 2 Aranda - 1


POP EVIL

Pop Evil - 12 Pop Evil - 9 Pop Evil - 8 Pop Evil - 7 Pop Evil - 6 Pop Evil - 5 Pop Evil - 4 Pop Evil - 3 Pop Evil - 2 Pop Evil - 14 Pop Evil - 13 Pop Evil - 11 Pop Evil - 10 Pop Evil - 1

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UTG @ MIXTAPE FEST: Giants At Large Discuss Musical Influences, ‘The American Dream Is Dead’ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/utg-mixtape-fest-giants-at-large-discuss-musical-influences-the-american-dream-is-dead/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/utg-mixtape-fest-giants-at-large-discuss-musical-influences-the-american-dream-is-dead/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:30:19 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154843 One of the most charismatic bands out there today goes by the name of Giants At Large. The Long Island pop-punk four-piece radiates a lot of young passion, both on stage and off.

The band recently played the first day of Today’s Mixtape Festival in Patchogue, NY alongisde bands like Iron Chic, Kill Your Idols, The Movielife, and many more. Under the Gun had the pleasure of speaking with them about their new record, their plans for the rest of the year, Criss Angel, and several other hot topics. Check it out below.

Under The Gun:

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One of the most charismatic bands out there today goes by the name of Giants At Large. The Long Island pop-punk four-piece radiates a lot of young passion, both on stage and off.

The band recently played the first day of Today’s Mixtape Festival in Patchogue, NY alongisde bands like Iron Chic, Kill Your Idols, The Movielife, and many more. Under the Gun had the pleasure of speaking with them about their new record, their plans for the rest of the year, Criss Angel, and several other hot topics. Check it out below.

Under The Gun: Hey, guys! It’s nice to meet you. Can you tell me your names and what you do for the band?

CJ Kostaras: I’m CJ. I play drums.

Andrew Bilder: I’m Bilder. I play bass.

Matt Lagatutta: I’m Matt. I do sing and play guitar. Our other guitar player is in Ireland. Our friend Dom is filling in today.

UTG: Awesome. So how long has the band been around?

CK: We’ve been around for about five years now.

ML: We have previous bands that we played in together, but we all started releasing music under Giants At Large in 2010.

UTG: How did you all get started? Did you grow up with musical backgrounds?

AB: We actually all took lessons at the same music school. Matt and I knew each other from when we were really young. CJ, too, actually. And Dom, our fill-in guitarist, who’s also on our latest record’s artwork.

CK: We all took lessons at the same time, but we weren’t aware that we were taking it with one another. I’m sure we probably sat next to each other at one point and didn’t say a word. Fun fact from where we all took lessons, actually: the owner of the place was the brother of Criss Angel.

UTG: That’s sick!

ML: Yeah! So Criss Angel would just hang out where we were and he’d be like, “Hey, guys! Wanna see a magic trick?” And I’m like, “Piss off, Criss Angel. I wanna get to my guitar lesson. Leave me alone.”

CK: We used to tell Criss Angel to leave us alone. It was hilarious. He’d walk up to us and be like, “Hey. Wanna see me levitate?” And I’ll be like, “Not really…. I just wanna get to my drum lesson and leave….” [laughs] And then he’ll freaking levitate in front of me! He was some weird, goth guy.

UTG: How did you come together as a band?

ML: CJ and I played in another band together. When that broke up, we decided we wanted to keep playing. We’ve had people go in and out over the past few years, but CJ and I have been around since the first day. We then brought Bilder along.

UTG: Tell me about your back catalog. How many EPs and full-lengths have you guys had so far?

ML: We have one EP, one split, and now two full-lengths.

UTG: What’s your newest full-length record called?

ML: It’s called The American Dream Is Dead and we put it out in March.

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UTG: Tell me about the writing and recording process for that.

ML: We started writing in August of 2012 and we wrote until probably about September 2013. We started recording in October of 2013. We sat on it for a while, and then we just put it out this year.

UTG: What made you guys decide to put it out this year as opposed to last year?

ML: I guess we were just waiting for the right time. It took a while for the record to get back to us. Our producer’s father passed away, and a lot of other things happened that led to pushing it back a bit.

UTG: Who were some of the bands you guys looked up to when you were younger that could have made an impact on The American Dream Is Dead?

ML: I think everyone can agree that blink-182 is that band that got us listening to music. Over time, we got into other things. I personally got into Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World. I think that shows a lot in this one.

AB: I’m going to say The Movielife. Not just because they’re playing tonight. I discovered them when I was younger and they’ve been one of my favorite bands ever since. They broke up and now they’re back together so I’m really excited. I got to see their reunion shows in New York City, and now I’m playing the same show as they are. It’s sick. I feel lucky.

CK: I can also say that we were all influenced by the original Tony Hawk soundtrack and American Pie 1, 2, and [American Wedding]. As I was growing up, I veered towards the metal scene–which has absolutely nothing to do with them–but I was very cool with going back to that type of music.

UTG: What have you guys been doing in support of the record?

ML: We did a couple East Coast tours in the Spring, and then a Midwest run earlier this Summer. Right now we’re all home. We’ve started writing again and we’re focusing on writing new songs.

UTG: Can we expect new material next year?

ML: Yeah, potentially!

CK: Maybe a few songs here and there eventually. Right now, we’re just focusing on writing as much as we can.

ML: I think we have the best version of the band right now. Everyone here can write songs, and this is the first time everyone’s really tugging and pulling and trying to get things out there. We’re coming up with some really great stuff and it’s making me excited.

CK: Also, I write really good Christmas songs. Just putting that out there. I’m a big fan of Christmas.

UTG: You guys should put out a Christmas EP! Have a twenty-track Christmas EP. Like twenty different versions of “Joy To The World.”

ML: Don’t give him ideas. [laughs]

CK: Oh, I am all about that.

UTG: So what would you say so far is your favorite thing about being in this band?

ML: We’re all really good friends who hang out. We’re not just people who play music together. I’ll probably see these guys tomorrow just to chill.

CK: It’s an awesome feeling, on and off the stage. It’s not just playing a set and doing your own thing afterwards. It’s playing the set and then being together right after. I’ve known these guys for a really long time. They’re still cool with hanging out with me. I’m surprised[laughs]. We can call each other and not think about the band… Horseplay. I just wanted to say that. Horseplay.

AB: I’ve been in a handful of bands and I can say that this is the first time where I can sit around with any of them and play, and none of them have to stop and show me what they’re doing. Everybody kind of just picks things up. Even during a show, I’ll look over at CJ and improvise.

CK: That’s the best.

AB: We’re all very in-sync with one another. There’s no specific learning curve.

CK: It’s so crazy how you can look at someone and know what they’re trying to get at without saying a word.

ML: You give a nod and everyone knows what you’re talking about.

UTG: What is something you would tell bands that are just starting out?

CK: Quit right now [laughs].

ML: I’d say just write music you like. There are so many bands out there that feel like they have to write songs just so they could get signed. Just do what you like. If it happens, then it does. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. Just play music. Don’t worry about the other stuff.

UTG: Lastly, if you guys could head out on the road right now and tour with any musician. What would the bill look like?

AB: We’d be direct support to Beethoven, and then Bach would open [laughs]. But seriously, maybe Taking Back Sunday. I have a weird connection to Long Island bands.

CK: Dead or alive? Oh, my god. I would do an All Killer No Filler Sum 41 tour. I would love that. I loved Sum 41 as a kid. I used to listen to rap. Serious Notorious BIG shit. Then my cousin got me into Sum 41. Maybe add Weezer. I also bleed Weezer, by the way.

ML: I would say I want to tour with bands you’d mesh with musically, but I also want to tour with someone fun. I’ll say Jimmy Eat World.

‘The American Dream Is Dead’ is now available for digital purchase here.
Feature photo credit: Michael Leighton Stollard

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REVIEW: Eden The Cat – Live In A Basement Apartment http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/review-eden-the-cat-live-ep/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/28/review-eden-the-cat-live-ep/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:44:50 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154974 Artist: Eden The Cat
Album: Live In A Basement Apartment
Genre: Folk, Acoustic

The best music hits you like a drug. It rolls over your body with a sensation that can only be compared to the first drag on a much needed cigarette or the first sip of that whiskey you’ve been thinking about since lunch. You get high off great music. A high, I might add, that no amount of liquor, weed, smoke, or pills is ever going to replace. Great music puts you in a state of intoxication so entirely satisfying you don’t need anything else to be …

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Artist: Eden The Cat
Album: Live In A Basement Apartment
Genre: Folk, Acoustic

The best music hits you like a drug. It rolls over your body with a sensation that can only be compared to the first drag on a much needed cigarette or the first sip of that whiskey you’ve been thinking about since lunch. You get high off great music. A high, I might add, that no amount of liquor, weed, smoke, or pills is ever going to replace. Great music puts you in a state of intoxication so entirely satisfying you don’t need anything else to be content with life, and that is the way you will feel when experiencing Eden The Cat’s latest EP.

Live In A Basement Apartment is the result of Eden The Cat finding herself with a few too many songs for her upcoming full-length, Funny Women. The songs were recorded in Eden’s Saskatchewan based apartment, partially while the singer-songwriter broadcast herself on Periscope. The resulting product is a little rough around the edges, with the vocals sometimes toeing the line of over-modulation, but the combination of Eden’s entrancing croon with her gift for melody makes every track spring to life. Whether she’s talking about the feeling of new love (“Teens”), or lamenting the fact drunk sex has lost its zeal (“Shithead”), there is something inherently infectious in every bar Eden shares.

If Amateur was meant to introduce us to Eden as a solo artist who isn’t afraid to get a little dirty if it means being able to tell her truth, and if Orphan Mothers‘ first LP was intended to showcase her diverse songwriting abilities, then Live In A Basement Apartment is proof Eden The Cat has all the potential to be someone the world recognizes as an artist with something meaningful to say. Most of the EP is comprised of stories that feel as if they were lifted from Eden’s own diary, with details big and small painting vivid images from life in a part of Canada far too few have experienced. That said, there is also something so incredibly universal about what Eden has to say. Her views on love, life, sex, and the crossroads between the three are often as brutally honest as any you could hope to come across, and you believe them because you can hear the conviction in her voice. She may be entertaining you with her art, but it’s clear it was created as a release for her. She needs the music as much as you want it, and that’s what makes it so great.

These day it seems like most singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen. Simply having a few good hooks and a moderate understanding of how your instrument works is no longer enough to win over coffee shop crowds, let alone the world at large. Standing out in this forever overcrowded genre requires that intangible ‘it’ factor, and I don’t know that we have encountered anyone in the last few years who embodies that indescribable quality better than Eden The Cat. With three releases in the last year alone, this Canadian is making a damn good argument for everyone to give her a bit of their time, and so far she has delivered nothing but quality work. Live In A Basement Apartment is yet another step forward in what is quickly becoming a career to watch, and I cannot wait to hear what she has in store for us when Funny Women arrives later this year.

SCORE: 9.5/10

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My God, It’s Full Of Stars (ex-Mae) Sign With Spartan Records, To Release New EP This Fall http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/my-god-its-full-of-stars-ex-mae-sign-with-spartan-records-to-release-new-ep-this-fall/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/my-god-its-full-of-stars-ex-mae-sign-with-spartan-records-to-release-new-ep-this-fall/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:54:05 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154942 After choosing to focus on home life and parting ways with Mae in 2008, Rob Sweitzer has announced a new solo project under the name of My God, It’s Full Of Stars.

The singer-songwriter is set to put out his debut EP, M29, this coming Fall. The EP was co-produced with Dave Elkins and was recorded at 4115 Studios in Nashville, TN. Sweitzer successfully funded the Kickstarter campaign for this project in November.

“I’m enthused to be working with Spartan Records. I’ve seen this label grow steadily with the addition of a solid caliber of artists they believe …

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After choosing to focus on home life and parting ways with Mae in 2008, Rob Sweitzer has announced a new solo project under the name of My God, It’s Full Of Stars.

The singer-songwriter is set to put out his debut EP, M29, this coming Fall. The EP was co-produced with Dave Elkins and was recorded at 4115 Studios in Nashville, TN. Sweitzer successfully funded the Kickstarter campaign for this project in November.

“I’m enthused to be working with Spartan Records. I’ve seen this label grow steadily with the addition of a solid caliber of artists they believe in and it shows in Spartan’s work ethic as it relates to the presentation of each artist’s blood, sweat and tears to the world. I can now say I’m happy that my project My God, It’s Full Of Stars is a part of the family. Thank you, John and Spartan for believing in me,” Sweitzer shares.

You can check out M29‘s album artwork below, as well as a demo for his new song, entitled “Lightness Of Being.”

unnamed-2

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Foxing Announce Sophomore Full-Length, Stream Lead Single http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/foxing-announce-sophomore-full-length-stream-lead-single/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/foxing-announce-sophomore-full-length-stream-lead-single/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:51:00 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154946 St. Louis indie/emo band Foxing have just announced that they will be releasing their sophomore record this coming Fall via Triple Crown.

Entitled Dealer, the eleven-track album will serve as the direct follow-up to the band’s stellar debut record from 2013, called The Albatross.

“I was raised in Catholic school [which] imposed a very difficult stance on the freedom of sexuality,” frontman Conor Murphy tells NPR. “When I lost my virginity, I felt like it was less about love and more about sin. I have really never let go of or dealt with that guilt, which made …

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St. Louis indie/emo band Foxing have just announced that they will be releasing their sophomore record this coming Fall via Triple Crown.

Entitled Dealer, the eleven-track album will serve as the direct follow-up to the band’s stellar debut record from 2013, called The Albatross.

“I was raised in Catholic school [which] imposed a very difficult stance on the freedom of sexuality,” frontman Conor Murphy tells NPR. “When I lost my virginity, I felt like it was less about love and more about sin. I have really never let go of or dealt with that guilt, which made it dark to write about. I think of ‘The Magdalene’ as a retrospective diary entry after losing my virginity.”

Dealer is officially due out on October 30. You can now listen to its first single, “The Magdalene,” below, along with its album artwork and track listing. Pre-orders are available here.

In case you missed it, Foxing are scheduled to head out on tour this Fall alongside The World Is A Beautiful Place, Ttng, and Brightside.

11959987_885679408135923_2638874728401495756_n
Dealer track list:
1. Weave
2. The Magdalene
3. Night Channels
4. Laundered
5. Indica
6. Winding Cloth
7. Redwoods
8. Glass Coughs
9. Eiffel
10. Coda
11. Three On A Match

Tour Dates:
11/02 – Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder *
11/04 – Newport, KY – The Southgate House Revival^
11/05 – Columbus, OH – The Basement^
11/06 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Pyramid Scheme^
11/07 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean^
11/08 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry^
11/10 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater^
11/11 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court^
11/12 – Reno, NV – The Holland Project^
11/13 – Portland, OR – Analog Theater^
11/14 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret^
11/15 – Seattle, WA – The Vera Project^
11/17 – San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Shop^
11/18 – Los Angeles, CA – Roxy Theatre^
11/20 – Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge^
11/21 – El Paso, TX – Mesa Music Hall^
11/23 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar N Grill^
11/24 – Austin, TX – Sidewinder^
11/25 – Houston, TX – Walters^
11/27 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade^
11/28 – Nashville, TN – The End^
11/30 – Richmond, VA – The Camel^
12/01 – Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant St^
12/02 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar^
12/03 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg^
12/04 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer^
12/05 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt *
12/06 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair *

^ = Foxing, The World Is a Beautiful Place, TTNG
* = Foxing, The World Is a Beautiful Place, Brightside

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UTG PREMIERE: Raggy Monster – “Crying Shame” (Music Video) http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/utg-video-premiere-raggy-monster-crying-shame/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/utg-video-premiere-raggy-monster-crying-shame/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:01:56 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154926 Another day, another killer exclusive from a promising, up-and-coming artist.

Raggy Monster may not be a band on your radar just yet, but they should be. Hailing from West Palm Beach, FL, this five-piece have been making a name for themselves since 2011 with an irresistible take on modern indie rock that you won’t soon forget. We believe the band is destined for great things, and today we have the honor of sharing their latest music video with the world at large.

“Crying Shame” is a single that has a special meaning to the members of Raggy Monster. The track …

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Another day, another killer exclusive from a promising, up-and-coming artist.

Raggy Monster may not be a band on your radar just yet, but they should be. Hailing from West Palm Beach, FL, this five-piece have been making a name for themselves since 2011 with an irresistible take on modern indie rock that you won’t soon forget. We believe the band is destined for great things, and today we have the honor of sharing their latest music video with the world at large.

“Crying Shame” is a single that has a special meaning to the members of Raggy Monster. The track was inspired by keyboardist Billy Schmidt’s great uncle, who suffered from multiple strokes and lost control of most of his body. When Billy told fellow member Rachel DuVall the story of how his uncle’s condition weighed on him, she put the story to lyrics as a tribute to the family. The results are both beautiful and haunting, just like the rest of the band’s wonderfully compelling catalog.

We asked Schmidt if he would tell us a bit more about the song, and this is what he sent us:

“‘Crying Shame’ was inspired by my great uncle, John Franzeese. When I was very young he had multiple strokes that left him confined to a wheelchair with almost no physical control of his body. It wasn’t until years later that we discovered he retained most of his mental capacity, and was essentially stuck in a body that wouldn’t work, with a brain that still did. This always weighed heavily on my heart, and when I told Rachel the story she put it to lyrics beautifully and we combined them with an instrumental composition I wrote years before called ‘Crying Shame.’

Lines like ‘push the plastic to its place, stare into a desperate face’ refer to the times we communicated with him with a plastic sheet with the alphabet and other common phrases printed on it. It would take him 10 minutes to complete a sentence sometimes, but it was incredibly clear how conscious he was of everything around him. The most heartbreaking moments were when his brain seemed to be rapidly switching emotions from joy to sadness, usually resulting from interactions with children. It was truly a crying shame, and remains a distinct memory of my early childhood. We can only hope that he enjoys this song now and knows how much he influenced everyone around him.”

You can view the video for “Crying Shame” below. For more on Raggy Monster, make sure you follow the band on Facebook.

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Trivium Release “Until The World Goes Cold” Video http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/trivium-release-until-the-world-goes-cold-video/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/trivium-release-until-the-world-goes-cold-video/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:30:45 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154924 We still have over a month until Trivium drop their new studio album, but that isn’t stopping the metal titans from sharing another single from the highly-anticipated release.

Showcasing a mid-tempo side from Silence In The Snow, “Until The World Goes Cold” is as close to a power ballad as Trivium will ever release. That isn’t to say it’s a love song, but it does swing a big emotional hammer with driving guitars and Matt Heafy’s powerful vocals. I dare say this is the best he has sounded when singing, and it makes me excited to hear what …

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We still have over a month until Trivium drop their new studio album, but that isn’t stopping the metal titans from sharing another single from the highly-anticipated release.

Showcasing a mid-tempo side from Silence In The Snow, “Until The World Goes Cold” is as close to a power ballad as Trivium will ever release. That isn’t to say it’s a love song, but it does swing a big emotional hammer with driving guitars and Matt Heafy’s powerful vocals. I dare say this is the best he has sounded when singing, and it makes me excited to hear what else he has in store for us on Snow.

The video for “Until The World Goes Cold” finds the band performing in a small space while a masked figure wanders city streets in the dead of night. The mask is taken from the cover of Silence In The Snow, and its stark white appearance offers a haunting contrast to the silent world it exists within. You can view the clip below.

Silence In The Snow arrives October 2. Get ready.

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New Music Seminar: Three Acts That Impressed At This Year’s Event http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/new-music-seminar-three-acts-that-impressed-at-this-years-event/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/new-music-seminar-three-acts-that-impressed-at-this-years-event/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:45:27 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154771 The New Music Seminar is a gathering of the musical brains of sorts. It’s a three-day jaunt where aspiring musicians and figures from the music world come together to talk about innovations and to see some up-and-coming acts; an Avengers-esque class of 2015 if you will.

While I was there, there were three acts in particular that caught my eye as I tried to run all over Ludlow and Delancy street so you didn’t have to.

1) Fictionist: This rock/indie band hails from Provo, Utah which happens to be a hometown shared with tour-mates Neon Trees. It’s quite possible …

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The New Music Seminar is a gathering of the musical brains of sorts. It’s a three-day jaunt where aspiring musicians and figures from the music world come together to talk about innovations and to see some up-and-coming acts; an Avengers-esque class of 2015 if you will.

While I was there, there were three acts in particular that caught my eye as I tried to run all over Ludlow and Delancy street so you didn’t have to.

1) Fictionist: This rock/indie band hails from Provo, Utah which happens to be a hometown shared with tour-mates Neon Trees. It’s quite possible that you have heard a Fictionist song without even realizing it, considering the infectious stylings of indie rock muzak which can easily get stuck in your head. The band’s recent single, “Free Spirit,” has been making the rounds as of late and they impressed with their showcase in the studio at Webster Hall. I can definitely see Fictionist making big impressions with their unique twist on the indie/rock genre for months to come.

Fictionist feature


2) Grace Weber: Anytime I listen to soulful music, it’s all about the voice to me and how you contort it to convey the emotions in your songs. That’s just as important as the composition and structure of your music. If I can’t feel what you’re saying, I’ll never be able to connect with your music. When I saw singer-songwriter Grace Weber, it was the first time in a while that I connected with soul music in a live capacity. Songs like “Oil & Gold” and “Till I Hurt You” show off Weber’s penchant for introspective lyrics to match her impressive octaves. I would definitely give her 2014 album, The Refinery, a listen. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Grace Weber


3) SPZRKT: I made a venture to DROM over on 85 Avenue A in search of somewhere a little more low-key. It seemed like everybody was concentrated over at the Pianos and Cake Shop shows to the point where it got packed like the 2 train on the subway at rush hour. At DROM, however, the opening act of the night was pop/R&B artist SPZRKT (Xavier Adams). There were many friends and family wishing him well as he played through his roughly 45-minute set. “Hours Spent Loving You” should be on every romatic person’s playlist. The reason I actually ventured to this in the first place was the story he told mid-set. Adams pointed to his DJ who was an old friend and stated that he was touring with him just to help him out on his journey. When you’re trying to make a name for yourself, you don’t have access to the spoils of bigger artists – but therein lies the beauty of the grind. The constant travel on your own dime to make impressions on a number of people to fulfill your dream.

SPZRKT

I think for a while there, we got caught up in the glitz of reality TV shows where everything seemed as easy as a vote or a top-dollar vocal coach. It’s really the bedrooms, the small, consolidated venues and the ups and downs that makes a strong artist. Each of these artists were able to convey their own stories and hopefully will experience some semblance of success because they deserve it.

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘No Escape’ Offers Surprisingly Few Thrills http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/movie-review-no-escape-2015/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/27/movie-review-no-escape-2015/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:38:04 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154916 Film: No Escape
Starring: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell
Directed By: John Erick Dowdle

Films like No Escape may be the most frustrating of all forms of mediocre cinema, if only because you know it could be something great. Maybe it’s the script, or maybe it’s the cast, or maybe it’s a combination of both along with a director who clearly has no idea how to handle what is essentially a survival-horror film, but something about No Escape simply does not work.

Owen Wilson stars as Jack Dwyer, an ex-pat who recently uprooted his entire family and moved them from Austin, …

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Film: No Escape
Starring: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell
Directed By: John Erick Dowdle

Films like No Escape may be the most frustrating of all forms of mediocre cinema, if only because you know it could be something great. Maybe it’s the script, or maybe it’s the cast, or maybe it’s a combination of both along with a director who clearly has no idea how to handle what is essentially a survival-horror film, but something about No Escape simply does not work.

Owen Wilson stars as Jack Dwyer, an ex-pat who recently uprooted his entire family and moved them from Austin, TX to some undisclosed part of Asia for a new career after his own business crumbled. His wife, played by Lake Bell, has done her best to be supportive, but she can’t shake the feeling moving halfway around the world was perhaps not the best decision. She believes it may be too big of a change for them, not to mention their two daughters, to handle. There is not much explanation given for this reasoning, but then again, poor explanation for events and actions is a running theme in this film. It’s a story for people who don’t care who is shooting who, why they are shooting, or what they hope to gain from said violence as long as the onscreen chaos provides sufficient thrills. Unfortunately, No Escape cannot even do that.

On the day we meet the Dwyers they have just arrived in their new home, and it quickly becomes clear that they are no longer in America. The hotel they live in, which was provided by the mysteriously silent corporation that hired Jack, lacks basic amenities despite being hailed as a dream destination. The cable is out, the phones are dead, and everything has that cheap look that makes you feel as if you’ve just walked on to the set of a bad sitcom. The family tries to make the best of things, but it’s of little use. The only saving grace is a complete stranger, Hammond (Pierce Brosnan), who serves as something of a drunken guide for the family. His presence lacks sufficient explanation for a very long time, but the performance Brosnan delivers is one of his best in years, so you learn to roll with it.

Feeling the stress of knowing just how miserable he has made his family, Jack takes to the city streets in search of a newspaper written in English. He finds a three-day old USA Today, but before he has a chance to read it the streets around him go silent. Jack looks to his left to find a group of rebels with sticks and torches in hand, then turns to his right to find a battalion of police in full riot gear. It’s the kind of calm before the storm moment that sends chills down your spine, but as soon as the chaos breaks out No Escape begins to fall apart.

Jack makes his way back to his family, but not before learning that the angry mob is on the hunt for Americans. They want blood, and they will stop at nothing to get it, even if that means killing their own people. Anyone who is not actively hunting Americans is an enemy of the cause and therefore disposable, which makes the quickly growing mob increasingly dangerous. Police cannot stop them. The hotel security and staff cannot stop them. Nothing can stop them. It’s as if the carnage found in World War Z took place in third world Asia with angry people replacing the zombie hordes, only it’s executed in a way far too wrought with shaky cam and endless abuse of slow-motion to ever find a rhythm that works.

As the Dwyers move from their hotel to the city streets, No Escape leans heavily on the innocence of the family’s two daughters to fill sequences of exposition with faux emotional drama. One daughter must pee her pants in order to ensure the family is caught while hiding amidst the rubble of a recently bombed building. The other daughter, in another sequence, asks for food through tears shortly after surviving a shootout. It’s all done with the hope of making the events on screen a bit more visceral, but it comes across a little too heavy-handed to be believed. Wilson and Bell do their best to keep things grounded, but the shtick of realizing their romantic troubles are not really troubles at all in the big scheme of things because they’re currently fighting for their lives in a foreign place feels dated and underwhelming long before the credits roll.

It’s really Pierce Brosnan who saves No Escape from tumbling into the abyss of movies that come and go without a single memorable moment. Hammond is real from the first moment we meet him, with flaws and quirks to spare. You want to know everything about him and, even though you’re unsure if he can be trusted, you kind of wish he would at some point become the film’s protagonist. That never happens, but he does have a meaningful role in the film’s second half that keeps things moving swiftly in spite of the melodrama weighing down the narrative. Brosnan deserves bigger roles than this, but he makes due with what he’s given and essentially steals the film.

There is a moment in the opening scenes of No Escape when the film almost begins to feel like a disaster movie. There is a thick tension in the air that you can feel in your seat, but as soon as the chaos begins filmmaker John Erick Dowdle, who wrote the script along with this brother Drew, loses control. The tension dissipates before the Dwyers even leave their hotel, and by the time they meet up with Pierce Brosnan for the second time, the story is turning to the cheapest of scare tactics to hold your attention. It’s not a terrible film by any means, but aside from one or two performances it’s not all that great either. It’s just forgettable, and given its potential that is a major disappointment.

GRADE: C-

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Mend’ Is Life, Warts And All http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/movie-review-the-mend-is-life-warts-and-all/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/movie-review-the-mend-is-life-warts-and-all/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:35:30 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154895 Film: The Mend
Starring: Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, Mickey Sumner
Directed By: John Magary

“You got a hairball, bro!” Mat (Josh Lucas), the hedonistic drifter brother of Alan (Stephen Plunkett), screams at his sibling in the heat of a physical quarrel. They’ve had just about enough of each other. The binge they’ve been on subsides and the ugliness of their reality comes to the surface. The Mend is a grouchy, unpredictable and emotionally explosive story about becoming the misanthropic person you always try to bury down deep inside. It’s about so many other things too, but hold up–I need to …

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Film: The Mend
Starring: Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, Mickey Sumner
Directed By: John Magary

“You got a hairball, bro!” Mat (Josh Lucas), the hedonistic drifter brother of Alan (Stephen Plunkett), screams at his sibling in the heat of a physical quarrel. They’ve had just about enough of each other. The binge they’ve been on subsides and the ugliness of their reality comes to the surface. The Mend is a grouchy, unpredictable and emotionally explosive story about becoming the misanthropic person you always try to bury down deep inside. It’s about so many other things too, but hold up–I need to finish this beer I’m on before shouting out all of the praise that John Magary deserves for his first feature.

To save from spoiling most of the film, I’ll tell you that Mat shows up unannounced during a party held for Stephen’s fiancée’s (Farrah, played by Mickey Sumner) dance troupe in their Harlem apartment. He spreads himself like a bawdy contagion, quipping at every comment made by the guests before hooking up with a girl “who hates her body” in the guest room. The thirty-minute party scene lives in the present like Mat, refusing to give up some tired old morsels of character development in favor of watching these people clash, collide and sometimes be pricks to each other.

Farrah and Stephen wake up late the next morning and rush out the door for a flight to some romantic hiking getaway without realizing Mat’s sleeping in the guest room. Stephen comes back unannounced a day or so later. By that time, Mat already has his off-and-on hook-up and single mother, Andrea (Lucy Owen), staying at the apartment with her kid. Okay, sorry, I’m over-explaining the plot. Let’s just say that Mat and Stephen’s lives get upended by a boozy dose of brotherly love.

The biggest selling point for The Mend comes in the form of Josh Lucas’ spitfire performance as Mat. Lucas, years ago, was kind of shoved into roles made for good-looking and charismatic actors like action hero (Poseidon) or romantic counterpart (Sweet Home Alabama). He always seemed too shady to be playing these popular Hollywood tropes. Now he’s decked out in a scraggly beard with a bit of a gut as Mat, smoking and yelling out profanities at whomever his character feels like verbally dethroning. There’s a deep hurt within him, covered in layers of narcissism, and it’s so incredibly thrilling to watch him burn the world around him. I’m not letting all of the praise go to Lucas, though. Plunkett is the perfect fit for Alan, the brother who can barely hide his anger underneath a buttoned-up façade. It’s almost a movie within a movie watching Alan’s psyche implode.

Magary’s craft is partially what makes The Mend one of, if not the best, movies of the year. Yeah, even up against some movie called Fury Road. A bunch of iris shots keep opening up scenes, like the viewer is being shaken awake into a nightmare. Its undertones are almost dystopian or post-apocalyptic. A helicopter drones overhead and the electricity goes out in the apartment. Things are getting out of control. Mat points and says “so we gonna bomb this bridge or what?” as Stephen cries on Amy. The story purports that even at the lowest point, things can be redeemable. A glum and glib observation by a movie dedicated to tearing down people like they’re posters on a college dorm room wall.

Never has nihilism been this funny, thrilling and touching. The Mend is the movie you should point to when discussing how misanthropy can be so beautiful. That’s the highest praise I have. Now excuse me, I have to go to the nearest theater to see this again.

The Mend is rolling out to select theaters nationwide and then hits Digital HD and On Demand on September 22.

GRADE: A

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MOVIE REVIEW: Avoid The ‘Blood Moon’ At All Costs http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/movie-review-blood-moon/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/movie-review-blood-moon/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:34:48 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154426 Film: Blood Moon
Starring: George Blagden, Tom Cotcher
Directed By: Jeremy Wooding

Poor direction and lackluster cinematography unravel any potential for fun or scares in Jeremy Wooding’s Blood Moon.

Werewolves are tough. The idea of people who transform into beasts and back again seems like the kind of fodder that would provide material for dozens of great films, but the track record for such creature features is far from something to celebrate. Aside from maybe five films released over the last hundred years, the market for good werewolf horror has essentially been a wasteland of half-cooked ideas and low …

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Film: Blood Moon
Starring: George Blagden, Tom Cotcher
Directed By: Jeremy Wooding

Poor direction and lackluster cinematography unravel any potential for fun or scares in Jeremy Wooding’s Blood Moon.

Werewolves are tough. The idea of people who transform into beasts and back again seems like the kind of fodder that would provide material for dozens of great films, but the track record for such creature features is far from something to celebrate. Aside from maybe five films released over the last hundred years, the market for good werewolf horror has essentially been a wasteland of half-cooked ideas and low production values. Blood Moon, to its credit, offers both.

Set in rural Colorado during the glory days of the American west, Blood Moon tells the story of a gunslinger and a stage coach full of strangers who find themselves pitted against a group of ‘Skinwalkers’ in an abandoned mining town. At least, that is what the film promotes itself as being about. The truth is–like far too many direct to DVD horror titles–Blood Moon has a loose plot about werewolves wrapped around a very non-scary, non-entertaining tale of mismatched strangers in the ‘Wild West’ who cannot seem to get along. The film begins and ends with monster action, and there are admittedly a number of attacks littered throughout the film, but the bulk of Blood Moon is a melodramatic snooze-fest that never gives the viewer a single reason to care for anyone or any event on screen.

Blood Moon deserves credit for trying to incorporate the rich world of Native American folklore into the realm of indie horror. The mythos of the mysterious creatures, who are represented on screen through laughable practical effects, is actually handled quite well. It’s rare that any film makes an effort to explain belief or folk tale beyond the information needed to justify a killer’s existence and/or motivation. Blood Moon tries to show the beliefs of the native people in this film through a grounded lens. It doesn’t necessarily work as well as one might hope, but the effort to do something unique is undeniably present.

It’s not all the plot’s fault, or at least I don’t believe it to be. Blood Moon also suffers from a wide array of presentation problems. The look and feel of the sets are hollow, just like the dialogue that falls from each actor’s mouth, and the quality of lighting never rises above what you might expect from a small town high school play. It’s as if someone tasked a production team from a recently cancelled soap opera to dress, build, and produce a horror-western with specific instruction to not make anything appear too spooky or grim. The resulting look is simply drab, with everything looking far too bright and whitewashed to illicit the slightest hint of tension or terror.

There are usually one or two great things to be found in every bad movie, but Blood Moon makes finding anything to praise incredibly difficult. I will commend the cast for making the most of the material they were given. No one’s performance is completely terrible, but then again no one is all that great either. Everyone seems stiff and uncomfortable, which is saying something for a cast who appear almost as if they’re being forced to work on the film against their will. I’m sure that isn’t the case, but their lack of concern for believability is palpable in every sequence.

Though many low budget films have contended for the right to be considered the biggest waste of my time this year, Blood Moon takes the cake. There is not a frame of this film worth witnessing. It may have sounded like a good idea to create the second Western ever made in the UK and base it around a pack of werewolves in disguise at the beginning of production, but anything worthy of note was lost somewhere in the process of bringing this stupefying bore to life. It’s lazy, ugly, and absolutely pointless. If you never hear, see, or read about it again it will be too soon. Just forget this film exists and move on with your life.

GRADE: F

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GUEST BLOG: “Punk’s Dead, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Killed It” http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/guest-blog-punks-dead-and-cuba-gooding-jr-killed-it/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/guest-blog-punks-dead-and-cuba-gooding-jr-killed-it/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:30:26 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154853 The following is a guest blog written by Blacklist Royals drummer Rob Rufus. He, alongside his bandmates, appeared in the role of a punk rock band on the ABC show Forever. Here is his first-hand account of the eye-opening experience:

The room was filled with punk rockers.

Punks clad in leather. Punks draped in plaid. Punks covered in chains and crossbones, torn fishnets and streaked eyeliner. A few of them idly twisted their hair, sharpening the points of their liberty spikes. One guy sat near the door alone, opening and closing a switchblade.

But mostly they just drank coffee, …

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The following is a guest blog written by Blacklist Royals drummer Rob Rufus. He, alongside his bandmates, appeared in the role of a punk rock band on the ABC show Forever. Here is his first-hand account of the eye-opening experience:

The room was filled with punk rockers.

Punks clad in leather. Punks draped in plaid. Punks covered in chains and crossbones, torn fishnets and streaked eyeliner. A few of them idly twisted their hair, sharpening the points of their liberty spikes. One guy sat near the door alone, opening and closing a switchblade.

But mostly they just drank coffee, and ate the bagels hospitality provided. A line of normals stood in the back of the room, waiting patiently for their turn on the punk rock assembly line – first wardrobe, then hair, then makeup.

It was only nine a.m., and it was already one of the weirdest fucking days of my life.

Our manager, Ryan, called us two days before.

“ABC is looking for a Ramones-style band to play on one of their primetime shows.”

“What show?” I asked.

Forever.”

“I’ve never seen it…”

So what? I haven’t either — I’m pretty sure it’s like CSI meets Quantum Leap. Who cares? Five million people watch! It’s the break we’ve been waiting for! It shoots in two days – you guys need to get to New York. You can’t say ‘no.’”

It was a surreal call to receive. I mean, I’d been dreaming of playing on TV my entire life! The Tonight Show, Conan, The Late Show, The Late Late Show…but, Jesus, a supernatural crime drama? Seriously?

It seemed idiotic — cheap, even. But five million people — I couldn’t argue with those numbers. Every kid who’d seen Blacklist Royals combined wouldn’t even come close to that sort of exposure.

We had no information besides the name of the show, the city, and the day. It was ridiculous…but Ryan was right, we needed a break — we couldn’t say ‘no.’

Nine hundred miles and fourteen hours later I was standing on the set of Forever, watching the nonsensical weirdness of showbiz swirl around me.

The makeup artist put fake tattoos on the actors. The assistant producer covered up our real tattoos. Actors joked about their punk wardrobe, practicing their Tim Armstrong scowls and snotty British accents.

I felt like I was participating in a parody of my own life.

Then, an assistant producer escorted us to Trash Bar — the venue where our pretend-concert would be filmed.

The irony is, our first actual NYC concert was at Trash Bar. I’d been there many times over the years…hell, I’d even puked on their sidewalk once…but I’d never seen it as crowded as it was that day.

All the fake-punks were crammed in the bathroom, which served as a holding cell for the extras. The camera and lighting guys were setting up shots, while Union workers sat around in sweatshirts drinking coffee.

Unsure of what I was supposed to do, I reverted back to my natural state and just waited against the bar. I watched a prop girl fill beer bottles with ginger ale. Vials of fake cocaine rolled around on the counter.

On stage, the director was working with a fake punk band. All the actors up there had been dressed up to look like Sid Vicious.

“Should I strum my bass with the switchblade?” The guy acting as the lead singer asked, “or should I just, like, hold it in my teeth at some point?”

“No, no, that’s great!” The director said, “Use the knife! It’s anarchy, man!”

Nigel, our organist, cringed.

Nat, our singer, spotted a copy of the script in the corner. The title of the episode: “Punk IS Dead.”

In that moment, it was hard to disagree.

The hours passed, but still no one told us what we were actually supposed to do on the show. Then, all of a sudden, they called us to the stage. The union crew began setting up prop instruments.

“Okay,” the director said, “what I need you guys to do is play your song — except play without playing. I’m talking not strumming the strings, not hitting the drums, nothing…you got me?”

We nodded like morons.

“So you guys ‘play’ the song while we shoot from the crowd. Then, on my cue, you trash the stage! I mean break everything up here! Bass player- yeah, you — when I tell you, smash the neck of that bass into your amp. It’s rigged to blow up. After you blow the amp, I want you to stab the bass into the wall behind the stage, where the X is, okay?”

“Okay…,” Devin said, nervously.

“But don’t actually hit the wall, Kevin — that’s where they find the body. We’ll shoot that scene afterwards.”

Find the body?

We asked him to explain the plot.

The scene was supposed to take place at Trash Bar’s final show — we were playing the farewell party. An evil real estate developer, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr., was going to bulldoze the beloved punk landmark to the ground to build a swanky hotel.

Only, during our set, the dead body of an ’80s punk rocker is uncovered in the wall behind us. The developer’s girlfriend, a supermodel/cop, then investigates, and the plot supposedly thickens…

Yeah, I know, I know — this seems idiotic.

But it was awesome, in the most surreal way.

I sat behind the drums as they herded in the extras. Before long, the room was packed tight. I tried to pretend that this was just another crowd, another gig…

Then one of our songs began blasting from unseen speakers.

“Action!”

The cameras were rolling! The crowd did their best to get into it, jumping and moshing, and throwing their hands up. A guy dealt coke in the corner. A chick threw her drink at the stage.

It felt like just another show — except people were being paid to pretend they liked our band.

It ruled! I mean, what a great idea! I wished we could afford to buy all of our crowds. Plus, we got to trash the stage.

Destroying a stage is a dream that every musician has, but few can afford to do. And let me tell you, breaking thousands of dollars of instruments is just as fun as I’d imagined it would be. Smashing guitars against the wall is epic, even if they’re Squires.

“Cut!”

I leaned on the wall to catch my breath. Beside me, the prop guy applied dust to the corpse of the girl in the wall. I looked down at the pile of musical rubble with pride.

Cuba stood up front, flirting with some extras. The lead actress was side stage, arguing with the director.

“Why would my character ever come to this place? It smells like piss! I mean, what the fuck is a CBGB, anyway? I don’t even know what I’m saying…”

With that comment, the curtain was pulled open — this was all a joke. The thought was about as sobering as an acid trip.

Our television career ended as abruptly as it began. We did one more take, and then were ushered off set and into the street. There was no wrap party, celebrity hangouts, or any of that shit — we ended up down at The Charleston drinking cheap liquor and scarfing down their free pizza.

I realized that being on a TV show is just as fleeting as playing music. It was all hype, all pillow-talk bullshit – this TV gig wasn’t going to change my life, or make my career, or pay my bills. It was just like a concert — and incredible moment, and then the moment is gone.

— Rob Rufus, Blacklist Royals.

Blacklist Royals released a prolific LP, Die Young With Me, last year. Follow the band on Twitter to stay up-to-date with all things Blacklist Royals. Check out the band’s new music video for a cover of The Cure’s “Plainsong” via AllMusic now.

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UTG @ MIXTAPE FEST: A Loss For Words Look Back On Their Journey As They Bid Their Fans Goodbye http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/utg-mixtape-fest-a-loss-for-words-look-back-on-their-journey-as-they-bid-their-fans-goodbye/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/utg-mixtape-fest-a-loss-for-words-look-back-on-their-journey-as-they-bid-their-fans-goodbye/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:00:50 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154748 The energy level in any room is heightened and amplified with the presence of Matty Arsenault, A Loss For Words’ lead vocalist. He quickly jumped right to conversation, describing the interesting night they’ve just had as we got to sit down with him before their set at Today’s Mixtape Festival in Patchogue, NY.

Below, Arsenault talks about the band’s fifteen-year journey and its upcoming bittersweet end.

The band, despite being accustomed to the inner workings of a musician’s life at a very young age, never saw the whole ride as a business. “We were literally little kids with skateboards …

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The energy level in any room is heightened and amplified with the presence of Matty Arsenault, A Loss For Words’ lead vocalist. He quickly jumped right to conversation, describing the interesting night they’ve just had as we got to sit down with him before their set at Today’s Mixtape Festival in Patchogue, NY.

Below, Arsenault talks about the band’s fifteen-year journey and its upcoming bittersweet end.

The band, despite being accustomed to the inner workings of a musician’s life at a very young age, never saw the whole ride as a business. “We were literally little kids with skateboards who wanted to play music,” Arsenault shared as he recalled all the way back to 1999.

tumblr_n7ahjyEPTy1rdua9no1_500

(Photo by Amber James)

“Around the time we put out The Kids Can’t Lose, we took out a $15,000 loan and did the record ourselves. We booked a tour on our own and tried to get our stuff out there. I remember getting a million plays on MySpace at one point. That’s when our family and friends started recognizing that this was actually going to be a real thing.”

Selling out shows in their hometown of Boston, MA signaled the beginning of a new era for the band, who then were all in their early twenties around this time. A Loss For Words has played alongside established musicians in the industry, including Streetlight Manifesto, The Wonder Years, The Ghost Inside, Dance Gavin Dance, and many more, as well as numerous runs on the Vans Warped Tour.

When asked what they expected to come of their career, Arsenault points out that all they had from the very beginning was a huge passion for making music with good company. He mentioned walking around with Mike Adams (bassist), handing out CDs to kids at school, never really expecting much out of it. “We just enjoyed spreading the word around about our music.”

Having hit the road extensively over the past few years, Arsenault was bound to have a favorite city. “We sold out a venue in Tokyo in 2009. It was our first time there. That was fucking insane to us,” he shares. The band is scheduled to head back one last time next month.

In the summer of 2014, ALFW announced that they are parting ways by the end of 2015. “There wasn’t really any particular event that set off the decision, it was kind of just the natural progression of things.” Arsenault, now 31, explains that majority of their decisions have been based around the fact that they are all growing older and their personal lives–as opposed to the music–have started to become their primary focus. “People are getting married, starting new lives. That’s how these things go.” Arsenault has also been managing musicians; PVRIS being one of his clients. “They’re my babies. Well, not really babies anymore. They’ve grown up on me so quickly.”

al4w pvris

(Lynn Gunn of PVRIS with A Loss For Words on their last day of Warped Tour)

When asked what one of his favorite things about being in the band was, he shares, “I’ve got so much love for the punk/hardcore scene. I don’t think I’ll ever lose the feeling of seeing bands like H20, The Movielife, American Nightmare, etc. I always feel the same way I felt when I was fifteen. You can’t get that feeling anywhere else.” He also adds, “A lot of the kids who made fun of me in high school would tell me how cool it is that I’ve been all around the world playing music.”

The band has a few songs they plan to release before they wrap it up in December. They will also be hitting more cities one last time. We asked him what he would tell kids who look up to them today. “Well, first of all, don’t look up to us,” he jokes. “But honestly, you just have to enjoy it. Screw the money. If you’re not having fun playing music, it’s not even worth it. Regardless of if you’re playing to two people or a thousand people, you should be giving it your all. Respect and appreciate the community, too. Everyone makes the community what it is.”

“Show love to every single piece of the puzzle.” That’s what it’s all about.

You can catch A Loss For Words one last time this Fall/Winter. Tour dates can be found here.

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UTG INTERVIEW: Slayer’s Paul Bostaph Talks ‘Repentless,’ Mayhem Fest http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/utg-interview-slayers-paul-bostaph-talks-repentless-mayhem-fest/ http://www.underthegunreview.net/2015/08/26/utg-interview-slayers-paul-bostaph-talks-repentless-mayhem-fest/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 14:20:08 +0000 http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1154860 On July 26, Under The Gun Review sent me to Mayhem Festival at Nikon Jones Beach Theater in Long Island, NY. With only two stages for the whole festival this year, the average crowd size for each band I saw was a bit worrisome; for the better part of the day, it seemed like no one was interested in some of the festival’s most impressive acts.

However, that all changed when headliners Slayer–the undisputed kings of thrash and one of the most legendary metal bands in history–took the stage. The band commands a crowd with incredible ease, and their …

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On July 26, Under The Gun Review sent me to Mayhem Festival at Nikon Jones Beach Theater in Long Island, NY. With only two stages for the whole festival this year, the average crowd size for each band I saw was a bit worrisome; for the better part of the day, it seemed like no one was interested in some of the festival’s most impressive acts.

However, that all changed when headliners Slayer–the undisputed kings of thrash and one of the most legendary metal bands in history–took the stage. The band commands a crowd with incredible ease, and their pyrotechnic-heavy live performance left a lasting impression on every attendee.

I had the chance to sit down with Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph about the band’s new record, Repentless, as well as their run on Mayhem Festival and Paul’s inclusion in a pivotal incarnation of Slayer. Check it out below.

UTG: Slayer has a new record called Repentless out on September 11, produced by the legendary Terry Date, with returning drummer Paul Bostaph. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some of the tracks from the new record, and it’s classic Slayer — fast, to the point, expertly executed thrash. In relation to your career with Slayer, what does this record mean to you?

Paul Bostaph: Well, it means a lot. It’s the first record that the band has done without Jeff Hanneman, so that’s a big deal. You know, with Jeff not only did we lose a friend, but we lost a talented songwriter, so there’s a lot that went into it. A lot of people thought that we should give up, and I think that us getting this record done and being proud of it stands for this band’s resilience.

There’s a story that goes around that says when you first tried out for Slayer in the 90s, the band doubted if you’d be a good fit because they had heard your more “melodic” stuff in Forbidden, and you had to step up the hand in foot strength in order to emulate [previous Slayer drummer] Dave Lombardo’s style. How have you accommodated to the role after replacing Lombardo again in 2013? Do you have a similar mindset this time, or do you feel more focused on allowing your personal style to shine through?

You know, now I’m kind of doing it my own way, but in the beginning I was never really a part of the band. i had to come in and learn what this band was all about. It took me years of working with them and writing with them to learn how to make it become first nature — how to make it my style. Now when I play, it’s just music. I just know what it is.

Slayer Kerry King [Sinestra]

So you’re saying it’s different now because Slayer isn’t a new thing to you anymore?

Well, unless it’s a song I haven’t played before [laughs].

Very true. The Repentless lineup of Slayer has only worked on this record together. However, you and Gary Holt have both played in Exodus together for the Shovel Headed Kill Machine record, which released in October of 2005. What’s it like to work with Gary again on another high-profile metal record 10 years later?

You’re actually the first person I’ve heard that’s pointed that out, that it’s actually been almost 10 years to the day.

[Gary Holt, Slayer guitarist, enters the room]

Hey Gary, did you know that it’s been almost ten years since Shovel Headed Kill Machine? [laughs]

Gary: Has it been that long?

Paul: In a few more months it’ll be ten years, yeah.

Gary: Wow, we were ten years younger back then? [laughs]

Paul: But yeah, working with Gary has been great. I have a lot of respect for Gary; he’s a great guitar player and artist, he’s a great songwriter. I also really like Gary as a person and as a friend. So it’s not like I rejoined Slayer and it was just Tom [Araya, Slayer bassist/vocalist, myself, Kerry [King, Slayer guitarist], and some other guy I didn’t know. When I stepped back in, I was familiar with everybody, and it made it a lot easier for us to jell quickly.

I was surprised to learn that Slayer has never worked with Terry Date before. What’s the extent of your relationship with Date and what did he bring to Slayer’s table?

Well, this is the first time I ever met Terry. We worked on 2 songs, Implode, with Terry before we recorded Repentless. As far as I’m concerned, I consider Terry a friend, other than the fact that I respect his body of work, and all of the stuff he’s done with [bands like] Soundgarden, Pantera, Rob Zombie. All of those records are amazing. Terry brings respectability with him. He wasn’t some new guy I hadn’t worked with before, I didn’t have to learn that he got it, he just got it. I was really looking forward to what he would bring sonically to this style.

Slayer Tom Sinestra
Last year, we saw Avenged Sevenfold and Korn headline the Mayhem Fest, and the tour seems to skew toward younger metal fans with the occasional veteran metal band every year or two. The last time Slayer played was 2012 with Slipknot. This year, with two older metal bands headlining in Slayer and King Diamond, have you had an older, more typical Slayer crowd, or have you noticed younger kids that might not be familiar with the band?

It’s hard to say, because by the time I get to see the crowd, I’m on the drums. I’ve seen older people and younger people out there. It is more of a legendary lineup this year, but there are a lot of younger bands out on the second stage. The one thing I can say about this is it’s a true metal festival at the moment. There’s not any quote-unquote radio bands, it’s all bands that are just playing metal.

What’s it like to play for a festival crowd versus a typical Slayer headlining show?

Festivals are always way different because we’re not the only bands. On this bill, there are four bands on the main stage alone, then there are a bunch of bands on the second stage, so it’s a totally different thing. There are so many more people involved in the touring entourage. You’re not always playing in front of all your own fans, which is pretty cool because after all these years, we’re still getting exposed to people who have never heard us before.

Slayer Gary Sinestra

Repentless is Slayer’s first record with Nuclear Blast. How’s it been working with an indie label at this point in Slayer’s career?

Our experience with Nuclear Blast so far has been great. I’ve been in other Nuclear Blast bands like Exodus and Testament, so the Nuclear Blast crew is nothing new to me. They’re all metal fans and they get it. The funny thing about those guys is you can say that they’re an independent label, but they’re pretty big now. But they know and love metal — they’re all fans. So they’re not just some bigwig who think they can make a buck, they’re excited about working with metal bands.

I like to end interviews with a music recommendation. What music have you been digging this year?

Wow, I’ll be honest with you, recently all I’ve been listening to is Slayer [laughs]. The last two years before we recorded this record, Kerry and I were just hammering out songs, and when I work on a new record, I’m usually so focused on that that I don’t really listen to anything new. But I will say I have been listening to a lot of gangster rap. My fiancee is really into gangster rap, and I’ve been getting into that. It took me a while because I never listened to that, but I’ve been getting into that. I don’t know if that’s anything new, but now I’ll hear some of those songs and think “Yeah, I enjoy that.”

That’s very interesting. There’s a lot of shared aggression there with metal.

Exactly. So, yeah, gangster rap [laughs].


Interview conducted by John Bazley. Follow him on Twitter.
Article photos by Derek Soto, courtesy of Sinestra Studios.
Feature photo courtesy of Gene Ambo.

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