Fear Factory

Review: Fear Factory’s The Industrialist

Fear Factory: The Industrialist (Candlelight, 6/5/12)


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Fear Factory’s eighth full-length studio album, The Industrialist, is the next chapter in the band’s sci-fi narrative that has spanned the past two decades. The futuristic storyline, however, is a mere backdrop for the blistering noise of its soundtrack.

Sweet Lights

Video Premiere: Sweet Lights’ “Are We Gonna Work It Out”

Sweet LightsSweet Lights: Sweet Lights, Sweet Lights (Highline Records / Red Eye, 9/18/12)

Following a handful of solo records and a wealth of material as leader of The Capitol Years, singer-songwriter Shai Halperin took up a brand-new identity as Sweet Lights in 2010. (Some may also recognize his name as part of the original line-up of The War on Drugs alongside underground icon Kurt Vile.) Halperin’s most recent solo effort, born out of an amassed collection of material and not enough musicians around to play it, retains the atmosphere of previous acts with foggy vocals and sugary melodies.

Active Child

Photos: Active Child @ Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL)

Harpist, singer, and electronic musician Pat Grossi released his first full-length album as Active Child in 2011 to critical acclaim. On May 16 at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, Active Child played with Superhumanoids and Balam Acab as part of a US tour. In advance of a European tour that kicks off in Norway in late June, here are shots of Grossi in Chicago with his band, his trusty harp, and the right amount of mood lighting. Photos courtesy of Drew Reynolds.

A Place to Bury Strangers

Video: A Place to Bury Strangers’ “You Are the One”

New York-based noise-rock trio A Place to Bury Strangers is releasing its third full-length album, Worship, via Dead Oceans on June 26. Together since 2003, the band is characterized by wailing guitar and fuzz, causing it to be called on more than one occasion “the loudest band in New York.”

“You Are The One” certainly is loud, but its atmospheric qualities set the mood for its grindhouse-inspired video. Filming on 16mm helps complete the ’70s B-movie vibe, while particularly dark Blue Velvet-esque moments assure that it’s NSFW.

Tim Fite

Video: Tim Fite’s “Bully”

Tim Fite is a particularly unique artist, one whose indefinable catalog has ranged from alt-country to hip hop. Notorious for his ironic lyrics, graphic artistry, and atypical fashion sense, he remains an authentic voice in independent music with a bevy of solo albums.


Video: Spindrift’s “Theme from Ghost Patrol” (colorized)

Psychedelic-rock band Spindrift formed in 1992, but only after the passing of numerous years and considerable line-up changes did the group become successfully settled in the stylized western sound that it possesses today. Having been inspired by, as well as a part of, numerous film scores, its newest album, Classic Soundtracks, Vol. 1 (Xemu), reflects the group’s preoccupation with surrealism and classic cinema.

Sleigh Bells

Video: Sleigh Bells’ “Demons”

The high-intensity pop-rock duo Sleigh Bells emerged in 2009 with power-packed guitar riffs that were coupled by sweet female vocals. The video for “Demons,” off of January’s metal-infused Reign of Terror, makes a strong argument for why this is one band you should see live.

Mucca Pazza

Video: Mucca Pazza’s “Boss Taurus”

The Chicago 30-piece Mucca Pazza is an ensemble of fun-loving band geeks that includes guitarists, trombonists, sax players, percussionists, and — let’s not forget — cheerleaders. Though they look and behave like perhaps the world’s coolest marching band, their sound is far more suitable for summer festivals than pep rallies.

Eli Keszler: Cold Pin

Mechanized music marks Eli Keszler’s “L-Carrier” installation

The ambitious 28-year-old musician, composer, and visual artist Eli Keszler has an exciting month and road ahead of him. On June 5, he is releasing a two-CD compilation via Berlin-based PAN entitled Catching Net, and on June 7 he will perform alongside his newest installation piece, “L-Carrier,” at Eyebeam Art & Technology Center in New York City. The live event will be streaming at http://turbulence.org/works/l-carrier, and the installation will remain at Eyebeam through June 23.

Catching Net assembles selected old and new compositions that also can serve as stand-alone installations. It’s mostly centered around “Cold Pin,” which uses motorized arms to pluck, tap, and scrape against piano wires of varying lengths to produce percussive noise that is abrasive yet musically resonant.

Jherek Bischoff

Video: Jherek Bischoff’s “Young and Lovely” f. Zac Pennington & Soko

Get ready to hear the name Jherek Bischoff a lot more often. The multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and ex-Parenthetical Girls member has crafted an epic orch-pop debut called Composed, which is coming via Brassland on June 5.

And if you need a few familiar names to get you interested, the album features David Byrne, Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), Craig Wedren (Shudder to Think), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls), Soko, Carla Bozulich, Dawn McCarthy (Faun Fables), and even more notables.


Photos: Spindrift & The Asteroid #4 at Psych Fest (Austin, TX)

For the past five years, Austin’s Psych Fest has collected a number of distinguished and up-and-coming acts from across the country to celebrate the city’s vivid (read: hallucinatory) music history. This year, the three-day festival was assembled in a makeshift passageway connecting Emo’s East and the Beauty Ballroom, and it included psych-crossover outfits Spindrift and The Asteroid #4 (among many, many others). Photos by Maxxx Von Willmann.

B. Dolan

Video: B. Dolan’s “2Bad” f. Sage Francis

Bearded MC B. Dolan is releasing the second installment of his House of Bees mixtape on June 12 via Sage Francis’ label, Strange Famous Records. Mixed by Buddy Peace, its old-school form returns Dolan to his roots as an emcee, while singles “Still Here” and “2Bad” take his rapper/activist persona to the next uncompromising level.