Label Q&A: Deathwish Inc.

The self-owned hardcore label discusses its start, its distinct visual style, and the less-than-glamorous side of running a business.


Q&A: Zozobra’s sludgecore for the short attention span

Zozobra: Savage MastersZozobra: Savage Masters (Brutal Panda, 4/2/13)

“Venom Hell”

Zozobra: “Venom Hell”

There was a time when having a short attention span was seen as a character flaw. But for musicians operating in the modern world, being able to compartmentalize, to jump from one thing to the next with nary a blink of hesitation, might be an evolutionary next level.

If so, Caleb Scofield is a good candidate for king of the over-caffeinated, hyper-intense land of tomorrow. The bass player, enlisting the help of Cave In band-mates Adam McGrath and JR Conners, crammed writing for the new Zozobra record, Savage Masters, into a few warm months last year with an intense but focused plan of attack: write fast, keep it short, and don’t over-think. The result is the most blistering six songs that Zozobra has yet produced, all in the span of about 15 minutes. Scofield’s blitz went off so well he almost didn’t have time to write lyrics.


Interview: Ambient-rock super-group Jodis on embracing life

Jodis: Black CurtainJodis: Black Curtain (Hydra Head, 10/2/13)

“Silent Temple”

Jodis: “Silent Temple”

With its second album of dense and melodic noise-scapes, Jodis — the long-distance collaboration between Isis’s Aaron Turner (vocals, effects) and Khanate’s James Plotkin (guitar, effects) and Tim Wyskida (drums) — drives home the idea that what you don’t hear is just as important as what you do.

Nearly devoid of traditional percussion and song structure, Jodis is as “normal” as it gets for Plotkin, whose myriad musical endeavors also have included the sonically similar Lotus Eaters (with Turner) and the pioneering art doom of Khanate. For Turner, however, Black Curtain and its sibling Secret House represent a distinct turn away from what fans of Isis might expect.

“We wanted to take a minimal approach to all the instrumentation,” Turner says. “Space, breath, and atmosphere were always the focal points.”

Nathan Bell

Nathan Bell: Post-Punk Banjoist Pursues Color Through Sound

Nathan Bell: ColorsNathan Bell: Colors (Lancashire and Somerset, 4/1/11)

Nathan Bell: “Pilgrim…”

Banjo impresario and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Bell’s interest in color isn’t a typical one. He’s not a painter or a designer searching for the perfect palette to represent something physical or tangible. Instead, his attraction to color is based on its relationship to sound.

Bell has undertaken a unique and daunting project, one with no external inspiration and no guide for how to draw conclusions, wherein he and friends Peter Townsend (drums), Kate Porter (cello), and Liz Merideth (viola and violin) wrote songs based on a series of colors. The resultant album is the aptly named Colors, released in 2011 by the British label Lancashire and Somerset.

Bell says that the concept of color as sound isn’t as abstract and unnatural as it seems. Music naturally evokes images in the mind of the listener, so colors aren’t much of a stretch. Different sounds naturally fit with certain colors, while others are combinations that may shake the listener’s perspective and emotions.

“Color is sound as sound is color,” Bell says from his new home-away-from-home in Brazil, where he has been playing and recording with one of his bands, Brassa Bell. “And as one color is made from many colors, each song reserves its place on the palette. The imagery of color in combination of sound provokes a three-dimensional perspective on the album.

Nathan Bell: Post-Punk Banjo

It’s a pretty safe bet that whoever coined the phrase “post-punk” didn’t envision Nathan Bell‘s music. Likewise, it’s unlikely that the average banjo picker ever envisioned the instrument being manipulated to produce the array of sounds that Bell wrings from his instrument.