BRAIN TENTACLES Shares New Music Video For “Fruitcake” Via Clrvynt

BRAIN TENTACLES Shares New Music Video For “Fruitcake” Via Clrvynt
[photo by D. Randall Blythe]
Rising avant-garde trio BRAIN TENTACLES has just shared a new music video for their new single “Fruitcake,” taken from the band’s forthcoming self-titled debut. The clip is currently playing at Clrvynt observing of the band overall, “This collaboration between Bruce Lamont, Dave Witte, and Aaron Dallison makes music that veers from sinewy and crushingly loud to surreal and carnival-esque and back again at breathtaking speeds. Given its members’ musical reach, though, the expansive sound heard on their self-titled debut comes as no surprise.”
Comments Dallison of the visual accompaniment to “Fruitcake,” “We are super stoked at the visual splendor that Don Tyler brought to the table in the creation of this video! We hope everyone else enjoys as well.”
View the “delightfully ludicrous” “Fruitcake” video alongside an in-depth interview with Lamont and Witte who talk “great beer, great bars, and the range of music they’ve played” at THIS LOCATION.
The first new song from the album, “The Sadist,” recently premiered via Decibel Magazine and can be heard at THIS LOCATION. You can also stream the album trackKingda Ka” (which was previously released on a split with labelmates Ringworm) HERE.
Brain Tentacles will be released September 30th on CD, LP, and digitally via Relapse Records. Physical and digital preorders are available at THIS LOCATION.
The self-titled debut album from mind-melting metallic jazz trio BRAIN TENTACLES is a journey in improvised and structured experimental sound from three venerable scene veterans. Featuring Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest, Corrections House etc.) on horns, voice, electric piano, and synth, Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste, Deny The Cross etc.) on drums, and Aaron Dallison (Keelhaul) on bass, voice, and synth, Brain Tentacles sees the three-piece weaving their way through twisted, seizure-inducing compositions that call to mind the insanity of John Zorn’s storied project Naked City and Mike Patton’s most erratic experiments. The BRAIN TENTACLES collective are masters of tension with the album moving unpredictably from mathy chaos to ponderous, juddering grooves that warp time in their wake, darting from one extreme to the other via insane rhythms and truly progressive, expansive songwriting. Occasional vocals (including a guest appearance from Oxbow’s Eugene Robinson) lend an even sharper edge to the album, which is sure to blow away fans of instrumental and vocal-driven music alike. The record was produced by Sanford Parker (Minsk, Yob, etc.) and features artwork by Jef Whitehead of Leviathan!
BRAIN TENTACLES will be supporting dissonant death metal legends Gorguts and stoner/prog heavyweights Intronaut on a month-long tour of North America this coming October. The tour will kick off in Boston on October 3rd and run through October 30th. Check out a full itinerary below.
BRAIN TENTACLES w/ Gorguts, Intronaut:
10/03/2016 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
10/04/2016 Les Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC
10/05/2016 Maverick’s – Ottawa, ON
10/06/2016 Hard Luck – Toronto, ON
10/07/2016 Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
10/08/2016 Subterranean – Chicago, IL
10/09/2016 Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN
10/10/2016 The Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
10/11/2016 The Exchange – Regina, SK
10/12/2016 The Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB
10/14/2016 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC
10/15/2016 Studio 7 – Seattle, WA
10/16/2016 Panic Room – Portland, OR
10/19/2016 DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
10/20/2016 The Roxy – Los Angeles, CA
10/21/2016 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
10/22/2016 Club Club Red – Mesa, AZ
10/24/2016 Rail Club – Fort Worth, TX
10/25/2016 Dirty Dog Bar –  Austin, TX
10/27/2016 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
10/28/2016 Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD
10/29/2016 Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA
10/30/2016 Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY

The Body Beyond Redemption

There is a way to make something beautiful and noteworthy out of something unexpected and unorthodox. Noise is a tough element in music to use well, but there are some ambitious artists who can shove distortion to the front lines and actually make something wonderful. The same mantra can be applied to grindcore, death metal or any other metal subgenre that really on roughness, heaviness and a lack of melody; there are ways to make them appealing. It’s not easy, but it’s possible and it’s always nice to see something once classified as cacophony pioneer music into something valuable and culturally essential.

The Body’s Christs, Redeemers doesn’t do that. It doesn’t do anything good. Nothing at all. You can call them “avant-garde” till the cows come home, but that makes no difference when their music is this drained of personality, creativity or any trace of likability.

While the fundamentals of doom metal are slow, lurching rhythms and downtuned melodic instruments, The Body bring this concept into criminal excess in “An Altar or a Grave” and “Failure to Desire to Communicate.” These two songs sluggishly drag their feet for eight minutes with no change in tempo or sampling. They are the same smashing cymbals, super-low riffs and heavily distorted vocals for the entire two tracks. It cannot be overstated how grating this becomes; two minutes into “An Altar…” and you’re already sick of it, but it continues in the exact same pattern. Right when the songs end and you get the okay interlude of “Night of Blood in a World Without End”, it goes right back to the same pattern. It’s disgustingly repetitive to the point of not even being listenable.

Every now and then you’ll hear a new vocal style or the occasionally refined use of metal noise, but these moments are brief, so brief that you might not even recognize them at all. “Prayers Unanswered” features a muffled spoken-word segment while the opener “I, the Mourner of Perished Days” actually can sound majestic, but they’re just not enjoyable. These moments aren’t good for what they truly are; their value simply comes from taking a break from every other pathetic musical notion the album throws at you. They are noteworthy only because they’re not like the rest of the record, not because they themselves are good.

But is The Body a brutal band? They sure do pitch themselves as such, but no, they’re not. Christs, Redeemers isn’t heavy or threatening in the least; the guitars are mindlessly distorted, the rhythms simplistic to the point of basic metronomic pacing, and the cinematic qualities absolutely buried. The most successful doom metal bands make something elegant out of something lurching and brooding; the task of metamorphosis is the genre’s most crucial feature. The Body don’t make any effort to do any of that.

Christs, Redeemers doesn’t sound like music. While you can argue that there are bands that do similar things, but this is experimentalism in its most putrid and abused form. The Body offer compositions on the lowest common denominator possible; they use their walls of noise in very random and unintegrated ways, all while using the same tactics throughout the entire album. Christs, Redeemers sounds like one huge song stretched across ten tracks, but not in any way a good song. It’s monotonous. It’s noisy. It’s unorganized. It’s one thing to challenge the status quo of music and try to be experimental, but it’s another to cite something boring and poorly designed as experimental. Artists use the excuse of experimentalism to justify their work as something viable and creative when it’s not (the “you just don’t get it” or Lulu paradigm). Whether or not The Body are implying this idea may be up in the air, but rest assured that Christs, Redeemers is so devoid of any sense of quality that you’re better off eating your money instead of spending it on this. Do not, I repeat, do NOT listen to this album.

REVIEW: Xiu Xiu’s compelling tribute album NINA provides new perspective on a jazz legend

So what can be said of a group, led by the ever prolific Jamie Stewart, named Xiu Xiu doing a cover album of one of the most influential, stand out female jazz vocalist of all time, namely Nina Simone? Let me tell you, while a dark, experimental avant-pop group like Xiu Xiu (pronounced shoo-shoo, or more accurately something more akin to shiow shiow in Mandarin) is definitely NOT everybody’s cup of tea, a great deal most certainly can be said for the courage and vision it took for this group to completely re-imagine these songs while still paying sincere homage to the late jazz legend Simone. And remarkably, even though jazz purists might be put off by an album of this nature, Xiu Xiu (who are in no way a jazz standards band) were able to pull off using this group of jazz songs to make what can only be described as a Xiu Xiu album. And if this means nothing to you, let me explain.

To start, the album is sonically constructed of mostly traditional instruments, highlighting horns, guitar and keys. Many times the arrangements sound fairly close to a traditional jazz sound, but there is a definitive twinge of the avant-garde that builds to unstructured eruptions throughout a number of the pieces. Think Ornette Coleman doing backup for Tom Waits. The percussion is sparse and minimal, at times being little more than an occasional click or steady chop. And then there are the vocals. Being a tribute to a jazz vocalist, the spotlight and driving force of this album is the vocal delivery. Objectively, the sound of the vocals can be described as deep and breathy, whispered and quivering, as if sung by someone on the edge, lovesick and broken. But it gets deeper. It sounds as if Stewart has conjured the dark brooding essence of the powerful sacred feminine that is present on the perimeter of all of Nina Simone’s works. At times he sounds as if he is not just channeling this energy into these songs but even casting a wicked spell, damning the ones who have betrayed and degraded women throughout time. This is a musical journey into a dark and foreign land, riddled with many strange and unexpected sights.

While it can be off-putting and quite challenging for the uninitiated, there is much reward for opening up to this music. Stewart and long-time collaborator Ches Smith — “the only person I know who could understand this in his heart and also handle the technical side of fearlessly reorienting such wonderful music” — bring Simone into focus through their own avant-dark lens. “The idea came being back stage in Austin TX, opening for Swans and feeling like I did not play well,” Stewart explains. The night before, he and Swans’ Michael Gira had discussed Simone, their love both for her talent as a musician and her fearlessness as a civil rights activist, and how Simone inspired them to make better work. Feeling down on himself, yet inspired both by the memory of Simone and the “epic and beautiful persistence” of Gira and Swans, Stewart decided to honor Simone and challenge himself in making NINA.

To that end, NINA was recorded in just one day, all in first or second takes. In doing so, Stewart captured the immediacy of the feelings that inspired the record, but it was also a practical decision. Stewart is a busy man. In the next year alone he has a new full-length Xiu Xiu record coming out, along with other planned releases, and an event with conceptual artist Danh Vo at Milwaukee’s Walker Arts Center in October. Last month, he wrapped up another performance, “Dark Materials,” with visual artist Monika Grzymala and choreographer Jeremy Wade at Hamburg’s Internationales Sommerfestival and he’s also been busy touring with Swans and working with Eugene Robinson from Oxbow on their side project, Sal Mineo.

So is this album worth a listen? Well, let me put it to you this way: is conceptual visual art worth looking at or trying to understand? While it is not mainstream or accessible in the way that say a work by Van Gogh or Picasso might be, if viewed through the right lens or personal perspective it can potentially be deeply impacting and meaningful. In fact, much of what is considered “mainstream” in art today and can be seen on everything from coffee mugs to postcards and calendars, was at one time considered cutting edge and quite avant-garde. The same applies with this album and style of music as a whole. It can be difficult and challenging, but ultimately very unpredictable and rewarding if given a chance.

NINA will be released on December 3, 2013 on Graveface Records

CREDITS:

JAMIE STEWART: VOCALS
CHES SMITH: DRUMS, ARRANGEMENTS
TIM BERNE: ALTO SAX, BARI SAX
TONY MALABY: TENOR SAX
MARY HALVORSON: GUITAR
ANDREA PARKINS: ACCORDION, PIANO, MOOG, ELECTRONICS