Monday, September 23, 2013

Travis Stands Strong Again




Things had been pretty quiet for the English band Travis after the release of their 2008 album, “Ode to J. Smith” and fans were starting to wonder about the future of the band. With frontman Fran Healy releasing a solo album back in 2010, and a couple sporadic festival dates in 2012, something big was needed from the band and quickly.

So, it was needless to say that fans of the band jumped all over the news that the band was finally releasing new material. Holing up this past winter in studios in Norway and Germany, the band released “Where You Stand” back in April. The album, which is the second album on their own Red Telephone Box imprint, features the brit-pop that listeners have come to love over the years on tracks like “Mother” and the title track. With Healy’s vocals and strong musicianship from the rest of the guys in the band, it’s easy to see that the band picks up like they didn’t miss a beat. It is vindication for the band, after the “Ode” record was not as well received as the band and their fans would have liked.

Travis finally gets back over to the States as whole for the first time in several years as they have just started a fall tour that takes them through an October 6th finale in San Diego, before heading off to Mexico and Europe. Detroit has always been a sizeable market for the band, and Travis makes sure to keep Detroit on the tour itinerary as they head to the Royal Oak Theatre on Thursday, September 26th. So, dust off the old Travis CD’s or track down the MP3’s you have of them to get you prepared for the return of Travis.

Travis play at the Royal Oak Theater on Thursday, September 26th. Tickets are $29.50 and are available at tickets.axs.com. Additional tour dates and band info can be found at www.travisonline.com.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bile Is Born To Kill


Going against the norms of the genre and the music industry is something that has been commonplace for the New York based industrial band Bile. Formed in the early 90’s during the height of the industrial era, the band have been pumping out albums and staying active in the process through the height and the genre’s move back underground.

Lead by Krztoff, who also is a part of industrial favorites Pigface, the guys in Bile deliver a sound that fits within the industrial realm, but has aspects of smatterings of different music thrown in for it’s edge. After taking a bit of a break from all things Bile, the band released their new album, “Built to F---, Born To Kill” this past year digitally- with the physical release due out sometime before the end of the year. When listening to the material, their against the grain tone can be best heard on cuts like “Remove the Head” and “The Guilt When You Are Done” gives the music a haunting, moody sonic space that harkens an golden era of music that some of us wishes were back in style.


Hitting the road is not an everyday thing for the band, with the band’s upcoming tour being their first in 10 years, with Toronto band The Rabid Whole providing some crushing support for Bile. The Rabid Whole is supporting their 2012 album “Refuge”.  The tour behind the new album, with the first part of a 3 part tour beginning on September 20th in Cleveland. The band hits the Detroit area the next night when they take over the Token Lounge in Westland for an evening of long endearing industrial metal.

Bile plays at the Token Lounge on Saturday, September 21st. Tickets are $10 and are available at ticketweb.com. Additional tour dates and band info can be found at www.bile-style.com.

Flux Pavillion's "Forever" Stop


If you’ve been to an EDM show in the past couple of years, Flux Pavilion’s music has been fairly unavoidable. With his huge single “I Can’t Stop” seemingly everywhere, and his track with Major Lazer (“Jah No Partial”) is all over the place.  For the British DJ born Joshua Steele, it’s been a few crazy years inside the meteoric rise to stardom in the electronic world.

Since the release of his “Boom EP” back in 2009, Pavilion has been on a torrid pace. Just as “I Can’t Stop” lit up the EDM world, his single “Bass Cannon” hit the upper part of the UK dance chart and kept fans moving. Pavilion has kept busy since then, releasing a ton of singles with artists like Chiddy Bang and M.I.A.. But Pavilion has made his biggest output yet, with the January release of “Blow The Roof”. “Roof” is an eight song tutorial in moombah (think reggae and EDM mixed together) and dubstep on cuts like “Double Edge” (which will be featured in the next “Need For Speed” video game) and “Starlight”. For fans of the massive “I Can’t Stop”, he’s got a sequel with “I Still Can’t Stop”- which hits just as hard as the original.

Flux Pavilion has a busy fall on tap, with tour dates that will last through a November 16th finale in Puerto Rico. But his Detroit area stop will be a big one, as he is part of the Forever Festival- which will take place at Freedom Hill on Friday, September 27th. Along with Pavilion will be EDM hit-maker Calvin Harris, Beats Antique, Morgan Page and others. But it’ll be a day of hard hitting sound as Flux Pavilion heads to Freedom Hill to give the outside shed one of the last thorough nights of unbashed fun at the venue for the year.

Flux Pavilion plays as part of the Forever Festival at Freedom Hill Amphitheater on Friday, September 27th. Tickets are $34.50 and are available at clubtix.com. Additional tour dates and info can be found at www.facebook.com/fluxpavilion.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Zed's Dead Gets Spicy in Pontiac



If you’re a fan of quality 90’s cinema (and not something like “Biodome”), you obviously get there the term “Zed’s Dead” is from. Without explaining the graphic scene, it comes from the mid 90’s classic “Pulp Fiction” and the Toronto duo that took the same name for their drum and bass outfit- they certainly aren’t disappointing.

The duo of DC and Hooks are all over the map when it comes to their blend of EDM. Nothing is sacred: take a little drum ‘n bass, a little dubstep and a slew of other sub-genres to creating a unrelenting sound that is on full display on their new EP, “Hot Sauce”. The group’s first EP on Diplo’s Mad Decent label, “Hot Sauce” delivers thumping tracks like “Demons” and “Trouble”, which will satisfy just about any EDM fans palette. Like many artists in the genre and given the times in the music industry, Zed’s Dead has stuck to the low risk EP route- which allows artists to just piece mail songs out and not overload fans with a full album’s worth of material right away. And for Zed’s Dead, the quick strikes are always more than appreciated. “Hot Sauce” follows their two 2012 EP’s, “Adrenaline” and “The Living Dead”.

Zed’s Dead brings their sound on a full North American tour, with dates lasting through Halloween, and hitting just about every major market there is in the U.S. and Canada- with dubstep fave Paper Diamond opening up. The tour rolls through the Detroit area when they play Clutch Cargo’s coming up this Saturday, September 21st. Not bad for a couple of guys that were playing basement parties a few years back. But make sure to check out Zed’s Dead on the big stage as they head to your hacienda.

Zed’s Dead play at Clutch Cargo’s on Saturday, September 21st. Tickets are $27.50 and are available at ticketmaster.com. Additional tour dates and info can be found at www.whoszed.com.

Plenty of Peace for Vista Chino



Since the members of the seminal stoner rock band Kyuss reformed under the Kyuss Lives moniker back in 2010, there have been some obstacles to get to the point where they’re at now. Shortly after they started touring again, former Kyuss member (and current Queens of the Stone Age frontman) Josh Homme & Scott Reeder slapped a lawsuit on the other members to stop performing under the Kyuss name.
The lawsuit was settled last year, with the Kyuss Lives members changing their name to Vista Chino, while the band was working on their first album under the new name. The band’s latest offering, “Peace”, was released on September 3rd and sees the desert stoner rock originators at their finest.

With the lawsuit behind them, and the new album and tons of touring- Vista Chino is primed for an exciting future. Right before the band released “Peace” and got on the road in support of it, I got a chance to chat with drummer Brant Bjork about the long road back to recording with Vista Chino and how nearly 20 years changes bandmates and attitudes.
Here’s my interview with Brant:

AM: With “Peace” now here, where is the band’s mood at the moment?
BB: We’re very excited. We were excited 3 years ago when we started doing this again, and still very excited. It was all part of our masterplan to get fresh music out there, along with the classics. It was all at a price, but it’s all good now.

AM: When Kyuss Lives first started touring again (before the name change), was the main goal of reforming always to put out a new album?
BB: When John (Garcia- lead singer) asked me to reform the band back in 2010, I wasn’t expecting it at all. But I was like “f--- yeah, let’s do it”. But going into the writing the album, the biggest question was the guitar. Josh (Homme) and I were the guys that did much of the music back them, and we had to find someone to fill that gap. I met Bruno, and was impressed with his ability, but I had no idea if he could pull his own weight. But I quickly realized that he was a monster of a guitar player and a super cool human being. Bruno and I developed our writing, which was just like Josh and I used to have. It’s all about collaborating and enjoying the creative process.

AM: When the band was back in the studio- were there any major gaps to overcome to complete the album?
BB: There was no real gap to fill, maybe with the exception of the lawsuit. But the writing and recording process has been amazing. We have the three dudes now that were always on the same page, that are able to tap into the passion of the band.

AM: Mike Dean (C.O.C.) played bass for the band at the Orion Festival in Detroit earlier this summer- what is the bassist status for the upcoming touring?
BB: Nick Oliveri (bassist) was working on the album, but when it came down to the recording of the album and the lawsuit- Nick split. We ended up recording a portion of the bass parts, and when Nick came back, we started to communicate. Nick got into some weird s--- and for some reason, he couldn’t go to Australia for some of the big tours we had planned there- it was an 11th hour type of thing. Mike Dean is one of my favorite bass players and a cool dude- so I shot for the moon and asked Mike to play. The Orion show was his first show with us, and he’s committed to the band through the beginning of next year. Musically, we’re on fire with Mike and he’s been great.

AM: With the band last putting out their last album in the mid-90’s, how do you view the current state of the music industry?
BB: It’s definitely different, but it’s always been a beast. I always tell people that “I’m in the music business, not the business of music”. Music is the factor why we do what we do in the way we execute our writing, recording and our art. I think as long as we put our faith and trust and trust and faith, as well as our focus in music- that’s all we worry about. I tend to look at things as the big picture guy, so sometimes, it can be a pleasure and challenge at the same time.

AM: Outside of the Vista Chino world, is there a solo project that stands out as your favorite?
BB: I don’t think there’s one in particular. I’ve been blessed as a musician and for me, music is a journey. I cherish my solo work the most, just because it is the most rewarding for me. I love playing in bands, but for me- the solo work brings me the most joy. But I was also in a place where I wanted to get back to the full band experience.

AM: How does 15 years away from playing with a certain group of people change your mindset?
BB: A lot happens in 15 or 20 years. Something that people forget is that we wrote and record a lot of that material when we were 18 and 19 years old, John is a year older than us. I quit the band before I was of legal drinking age. Back in the day, it was rock in it’s purest form: you consumed everything, booze, drugs, whatever it may be- which is not a recipe for longevity (laughs).  But we’re 40 years old now, with wives and kids- we’re way more focused on the musical end of it now than we’ve ever been.

Vista Chino play at the Crofoot Ballroom on Friday, September 20th. Tickets are $20 and are available at ticketweb.com. Additional tour dates and band info can be found at www.vistachinomusic.com.