It’s been said the most real state is the state of nothing; a dead end, the Zen path to ultimate reality, emptiness incarnate. Nothing is just about the weirdest thing ever. It’s logic and beauty invokes a sort of dread, and more often than not, confusion. While I doubt Philadelphia’s NOTHING are on any serious existential mission to reify ‘nothingness,’ they are just as enigmatic. Steeped in ghostly guitars, deafening noise, and grisly metaphors – NOTHING diverges from the familiar (i.e., your typical “dreamy/astral/ethereal” shoegaze act) and instead delivers an immanent sound and vision to get completely lost in.
Nothing – ‘Downward Years to Come’
After collaborating across genres with Wes Eisold of Cold Cave on their last EP ‘Sunns and Lovers’ and going on tour with Night Sins (highly recommended post-punk/darkwave from Philadelphia via Avant! Records), NOTHING is heading on tour again and playing SXSW in support of their second EP, ‘Downward Years to Come’ (via AC390 Recordings) with Whirr (Tee Pee Records, Oakland, CA).
Nothing – ‘The Dives (Lazarus in Ashes)’
We got a chance to catch up with Domenic Palermo and Brandon Setta of NOTHING to answer a few questions before the start of their epic U.S tour (scroll down for dates).
People are kind of losing their shit over this upcoming tour w/ WHIRR (including SXSW). How stoked are you to be playing SXSW this year? Do you prefer to be on the road or would you rather be at home writing and recording?
Domenic: I’m really excited to get to see Whirr play finally, and there probably isn’t another band that meshes better with us for a tour. I’m not the biggest SXSW fan, but huge Austin fan. Just thinking about all of those people gives me anxiety. Touring in general has always been a kind of a love/hate relationship thing with us. We’re always so excited to get out of this miserable city, but the thought of living out of vans for weeks on end while drunk driving our vehicles with blindfolds on, creates another series of problems that follows over our heads like black clouds. We enjoy recording and writing more than anything but I don’t think I could ever stick with this all without playing live. What do you know… I’m torn.
Brandon: I’ve been a fan of Whirr since ‘Distressor’ came out, so I’m excited to be watching them play live every night for a month. My only SXSW experience is a bit of a haze but I’m pretty sure it included getting jumped by some college jocks and eating delicious breakfast tacos, most importantly it’s an escape from home in a warm and friendly city, so I’m excited to play this year. I also have a love/hate relationship with both touring and recording, but I’d rather have the van explode before I see the Philly skyline again.
Whirr – ‘Junebouvier’
‘Downward Years to Come’ has a very sensual, mind-altering, languid feel to it, despite its initial intensity. What’s NOTHING’S attitude toward drugs?
Domenic: I think all drugs are good for opening new doors in the creative category, especially in the arts. I only use them for self- destructive purposes though.
Brandon: Where can I find some?
Last year you toured with NIGHT SINS and worked with Wes Eisold (Cold Cave) on the B-side to your first EP, ‘Sunns and Lovers:’ can you tell us more about your relationship with both acts? Are any of you big fans of industrial/synthwave music?
Domenic: I’ve known Wes for quite some time now. We’ve worked on a couple different projects, but it’s always an honor whenever I get to create anything musically with him. The Night Sins guys are more recent friends. They are really amazing people and we love hanging with them.
As far as the music goes I am a huge fan of both bands and do appreciate the genres but it has much more to do with me being in love with my friends and having the opportunity to create things with them. You’ll never see me do anything in music with someone I don’t care for, no matter who it is.
Brandon: I’ve always been a fan of Cold Cave, so working with Wes was a pretty crazy experience for me, more so because of my obsession with American Nightmare since I was super young. Night Sins had a simple and grim sound and were great to watch live, I like them a lot as a band and as people. I’m into alot of other bands in the genre as well, like Former Ghosts and Blank Dogs.
A lot of your band flyers, symbols, and art use rather grisly tropes— sacrifice, injury, illness. Where does NOTHING’S visual inspiration come from?
Domenic: Life in general. Things I see everyday, everywhere. Things that people enjoy usually make me nauseous. I can’t figure out if I’m fucked [up] or everyone else is.
Brandon: Anything we find fitting with the music. I suppose when you see a depressing phrase or bleak picture on a t-shirt or record cover, you get a feel of what we are going to sound like, and it’s not going to make you happy.
Does it ever bother you how writers and the press lump you with other shoegaze acts?
Domenic: I don’t care what we get lumped into. I don’t even know where that is. That’s your guys’ job.
Brandon: People generally compare us to bands that I’m greatly influenced by and listen to every day, so that’s fine with me. Most of them don’t know what they’re talking about anyway.
Nothing – ‘If Only’
NOTHING & WHIRR SPRING 2013 U.S TOUR DATES & SXSW:
All ages except where noted and all dates are supporting WHIRR (except where noted with **):
MARCH 3rd DENVER, CO ** at 7th Circle Music Collective
MARCH 5th Las Vegas, NV at The Bunkhouse (21+)
MARCH 6th Phoenix, AZ at the Trunk Space
MARCH 7th Tucson, AZ at Brewd Coffee House
MARCH 10th Memphis, TN at Crosstown Arts
MARCH 11th Nashville, TN at The End
MARCH 12th New Orleans, LA at Fair Grinds Coffee House
MARCH 13th Houston, TX at Walter’s
SXSW MARCH 14th AUSTIN, TX ** SXSWPHILLY showcase at The Annex 1808
SXSW MARCH 15th AUSTIN, TX SXSW MARCH MADNESS at The Annex 1808
SXSW MARCH 16th AUSTIN, TX SXSW GRAVEFACE RECORDS SHOWCASE (set at 11pm) at The Velveeta Room
MARCH 18th Albuquerque, NM at Gasworks
MARCH 19th Murreita, CA at The Dial
MARCH 20th San Diego, CA at TBA
MARCH 21st FRESNO, CA at CYC
MARCH 22nd Los Angeles, CA at Eagle Rock Center for the arts
MARCH 23rd San Francisco, CA at Sub misson Art Space
By: Psychic Hearts
Cool Serbia released their debut, self-titled EP this week, the noise pop trio describe themselves as being “like a collision of The Zombies and The Jesus and Mary Chain”. The Brooklyn (by way of Austin) band have been working together since 2010 (formerly known as Boy’s Life). ‘Kill Someone‘ shows off Cool Serbia’s ability for noise and strong melodies, its also one of their earliest songs.
Cool Serbia – ‘Kill Someone’
Aww… this is a cute lil’ ditty! ‘Pink Balloon’ is taken from Star Horse‘s new EP ‘Lust’ - available now. The Stockholm shoegazers have been busy, releasing their last EP ‘Crush‘ less than six months ago! Guitarist and singer Maja Thunberg has once again produced the artwork.
Star Horse – ‘Pink Balloon’
Visit Star Horse @ Bandcamp @ Soundcloud @ Facebook.
Julian Pearce aka j. francis, has released a nine track collection called ‘Almost‘ featuring the opener ‘Breathe Tonight’. The Brisbane-native produces bedroom dream pop, full of vocal harmonies, drum machines and layer upon layer of guitars. On a side note, what’s going on with Brisbane lately – so much great new music!?
J. Francis – ‘Breathe Tonight’
Gold Coast rock act Cassette Cathedral have been drip feeding some promising tunes via Soundcloud over the past few months. Take a listen to ‘So Slow’, a moderately paced, introverted tune with some casual vocal melodies that suck you in.
Cassette Cathedral – ‘So Slow’
Visit Cassette Cathedral @ Soundcloud @ Facebook.
Last week Moonbeams posted a number of cuts on Bandcamp from their LP ‘Radio San Francisco’ including the trippy track ‘Kathleen’. The noise rock outfit (headed by San Diego’s Ryan Lescure) have been steadily self-releasing material online for years now (influenced by Flying Saucer Attack, The Lilies and MBV). Like many bands, they have a tendency to use girls names as song titles (always a winner)! First grabbing my attention with ‘Oh Anna’ from the ‘The Daisy Chain’ LP back in 2011.
Moonbeams – ‘Kathleen’
Really impressive single from Brissy newcomers Archdukes! The Queenslanders (and self-confessed ‘dreamgazers’) are lovers of Slowdive, The Go-Betweens, Ride, JMC, Sonic Youth etc… it shines through on their latest track ‘Soft Focus’. The four piece have been picked up by Triple J and RRR, look forward to their next step!
Archdukes – ‘Soft Focus’
A well placed Jimi Hendrix sample at the top of ‘I Can Be Patient’ kicks off Yon Yonson‘s latest release ‘Antipodes’. A nine track collection with “some nice songs about travel, car bombs, loneliness, cancer and jesus’s eyeballs”. The Sydney-based duo last turned heads with their ‘Ashton Kutcher‘ EP in early 2012. If you’re after something a little bit different, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what’s coming next – look no further!
Yon Yonson – ‘I Can Be Patient’
San Francisco’s The Bilinda Butchers release their new single ‘The Lovers’ Suicide’ tomorrow (March 5) – shop @ Beko [vinyl] @ Zoom Lens [cd]. The duo are sounding very lo-fi on this new wave tune! Inspired by Lafcadio Hearn’s short story ‘A Street Singer’ which admittedly I’ve never read… or heard of. *heads to library in shame*
The Bilinda Butchers – ‘The Lovers’ Suicide’
Visit The Bilinda Butchers @ Tumblr @ Soundcloud @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.
Glasgow act Life Model return with ‘Glazed’, a 90s leaning, reverb-drenched rocker! Last month we featured the five piece’s debut single ‘Take It Slowly‘, take a listen here if you missed it or visit Life Model @ Soundcloud for more.
Life Model – ‘Glazed’