Interview: Salem metalcore vets Converge send home the guests for an explosive new album

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Converge: All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph, 10/9/12)

“Sadness Comes Home”

Converge: “Sadness Comes Home”

Being one of the most consistently devastating and innovative hardcore bands on the planet doesn’t come easy. In fact, it requires countless hours of hard work, a highly disciplined work ethic, and a level of stamina that even the youngest punks in the game can’t always muster.

For nearly 20 years, Salem, Massachusetts-based metalcore titan Converge has continually pushed its intense sound to new and progressively head-spinning extremes, hammering out 90-second explosions of speed and energy on one track, while delving into a gut-wrenching mixture of emotion and melody the next. Though expectations are best left wide open when approaching a new album from the group, two things remain constant: it’ll never be half-assed, and it most certainly won’t be boring.

Interview: Swans crafts “total experience” on double album The Seer

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Swans: The SeerSwans: The Seer (Young God, 8/28/12)

“The Apostate” (edit)

Swans: “The Apostate” (edit)

The Seer, the new double album that follows Swans’ productive 2010 reunion and studio return, is a space in which to wander in furious mediation — as songwriter Michael Gira puts it, a “total experience.” Dense without losing immediacy, the album stretches over two hours of constantly shifting aural landscapes. This is a work to be enjoyed second by second, losing your mind to its deceptive repetitions.

Interview: Dinosaur Jr.’s chemistry, formula, and pursuit of perfection intact on I Bet on Sky

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Dinosaur Jr.: I Bet On Sky (Jagjaguwar, 9/18/12)

“Watch the Corners”

Dinosaur Jr.: “Watch the Corners”

When punk hit in the 1970s, it was popular to call the prog rockers and stadium-filling FM-radio vets “dinosaurs” for their size and presumed extinction. That only made it more fun for J. Mascis and his pals to dub their thunderously loud Amherst, Massachusetts, trio Dinosaur in the mid-’80s (it added the Jr. on its second album) to confuse things a bit more.

The band dealt in volume and aggression learned in hardcore act Deep Wound, but guitarist Mascis’s laconic and numb musings and bassist Lou Barlow’s emotional wail were another planet removed from typical punk spit and anger, and Mascis’s graceful, dense guitar solos showed more than a passing knowledge of classic-rock chops. The band has always been a unique balance of aggression and cuddle — snot and bedroom blues — and few of today’s indie rockers ever think to combine both.

Interview: Animal Collective on the “alien rock-‘n’-roll” sounds of Centipede Hz

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Animal Collective: Centipede HzAnimal Collective: Centipede Hz (Domino, 9/4/12)

“Today’s Supernatural”


What would it sound like if a band from another planet somehow heard early ’50s and ’60s rock and roll and covered it? This half-serious anecdote is how Animal Collective keyboardist Brian Weitz, better known as his stage name Geologist, frames his band’s ninth studio album, Centipede Hz. For as amusing as it is to imagine extraterrestrials clattering to The Hollies, Weitz’s rhetorical scenario points to the band’s creative motors at work, and how they manage to obscure influences beyond recognition.

Windy City Rollers all-star Sargentina talks tunes, thigh circumference, and hangover scrimmages

This interview appears in ALARM #40. Subscribe here to get your copy!

If you think of dudes and disco music when you think of roller skates, think again. Tough chicks are sweeping the nation with roller derby, a contact sport on skates that is more gladiator than glamorous — and they like it that way. We caught up with Chicago’s Alisa “Sargentina” DePedro, Windy City Rollers all-star. The hard-hitter took off her helmet and pads for ALARM to talk about hangover scrimmages and thigh circumference.

Kurt Braunohler

Funny Shit: Kurt Braunohler on his anti-game show, Bunk

This interview appears in ALARM #40. Subscribe here to get your copy!

Editor’s note: Since this interview was conducted, IFC canceled Bunk.

Kurt Braunohler looks like the enthusiastic dad next door teetering on the edge of sanity. And it’s all intentional — he wants to creep you out. His is the deranged humor reminiscent of long-time comedy partner Kristen Schaal, and in a blink, normalcy segues to unhinged comic surprises.

This summer, Braunohler launched an anti-game show on IFC called Bunk, where fellow comedians compete in inane challenges to win…nothing, essentially. But with categories such as “Shame That Puppy,” “Lie to a Child,” “Dong Swap,” and “Who Can Slap Gabe the Hardest?” you’ll wish that you could compete for an alien probing too.

Queens of Rock: Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes

This interview appears in ALARM #40. Subscribe here to get your copy!

Le Butcherettes: Sin Sin SinLe Butcherettes: Sin Sin Sin (Sargent House, 5/10/11)

“Henry Don’t Got Love”

Le Butcherettes: “Henry Don’t Got Love”

Born and raised in Denver by Mexican and Spanish parents, Teresa Suaréz (known professionally as Teri Gender Bender) has, like many, a bicultural identity. Her garage-punk band Le Butcherettes — which began in Guadalajara, Mexico — is a product of that identity, particularly the differences in gender expectations that she has witnessed between the North American neighbors.

Fang Island

Interview: Fang Island on laughter, positivity, and touring Japan

This interview appears in ALARM #40. Subscribe here to get your copy!

Fang Island: MajorFang Island: Major (Sargent House, 7/24/12)

“Seek It Out”

Fang Island: “Seek it Out”

Fang Island is laughing. Fang Island is constantly laughing. Jason Bartell and Chris Georges, the two primary songwriters for the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Rhode Island outfit, are sitting in the Greenpoint bar where they played their first show in New York. They sip Brooklyn Lagers on a muggy evening while wearing nearly identical jean jackets. The duo is discussing whether drummer Marc St. Sauveur would don the “Denim Daddy” attire on stage, ultimately deciding that he would refuse. Bartell and Georges giggle at the thought.

Britny Jo

Living the Thugxwife with tattooed Tumblr ceweb Britny Jo

“It began with my mantra: I’m a weed-smoking white girl, and I really fucking like being naked.”

Clearly, photo blogger Britny Jo knows the recipe for success. The 26-year-old Canadian turned LA transplant has amassed more than 100,000 Tumblr and Instagram followers in only four months, due in no small part to the second half of that mantra.

Bloc Party

Interview: Bloc Party on new frontiers, life after hiatus, and a return to Bloc rocking

This interview appears in ALARM #40. Subscribe here to get your copy!

Bloc Party: Four (Frenchkiss, 8/20/12)


Bloc Party: “Octopus”

Rumors of Bloc Party’s demise circulated after it concluded touring on Intimacy in 2009. Front-man Kele Okereke released an electronic solo album in 2010 and hinted in interviews that he might have been replaced in the band. So it’s all the more surprising that the band returned in 2012 with Four, a rawer, more aggressive, rock-based take on the band’s energetic Brit-rock sound that also features a more confident, crooning Okereke. We caught up with the singer/guitarist to talk about new frontiers, making Four, and dropping fiction into interviews.

ALARM Magazine: Nov/Dec 2012

Free iPad download of ALARM #40 w/ Soundgarden, Refused, Converge

ALARM is back in print, and being the shameless self-promoters that we are, we’d love if you bought a print subscription. But let’s say that you have one of these newfangled “iPads.” Let’s also say that you like free things, particularly those that pertain to awesome music and cultural stuff. In that event, might we direct you to download ALARM #40 (Nov/Dec 2012) for free?

Go here to read about and see what’s inside #40, which includes interviews with and stories on Soundgarden, Refused, Converge, Melvins, Dirty Projectors, Bloc Party, P.O.S, Squarepusher, Fang Island, and more.

Then go to and click on “view in iTunes” to download that bad boy for $0.00. Mom might not love loud music, but she digs thriftiness. Make mom proud.