Nothing’s Worth Seeing

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’

 

To hear and check for more updates on NOTHING visit Facebook / Bandcamp / Tumblr.

By: Psychic Hearts

 

EP Superblast! An Interview With Nick Benton Of Carousels

 (Carousels; Nick Benton, Lucy Wilson, Angela Won-Yin Mak, Danny Power, and Ed Kirwan)

CAROUSELS are a noise pop quintet from Cambridge, England, who last Fall issued their second EP, ‘POP’ via Deadly People Recordings. Never one to warp records or over-scratch CDs from constant rotation, POP is no short-lived affair. Each song bleeds into the other, leaving you slightly rattled with delight. Kind of like when you heard “Sueisfine” by My Bloody Valentine for the first time, and I mean really heard it— head spinning, pure joy and what have you.

Indeed, it’s tempting to compare the new incarnation of CAROUSELS to Isn’t Anything era My Bloody Valentine. Actually listening to POP, though, yields a superblast of highly textured noise with swirling, dissonant guitars that have a sort of brash, motorik quality that’s neither over-bearing or severe, rather concurrent with Nick Benton’s (lead singer) gentle pop melodies and biting lyrics.

 

 
Carousels – ‘Over Me’


 
We got the awesome chance to catch up with Nick earlier this month to see what CAROUSELS were up to and their future plans for this year: Pretty much everyone I know LOVES the POP EP. Like seriously, instantaneously, digs it. Do you feel a lot pressure now from just one EP?

Nick: Not really. I felt a lot of pressure when we put up our first demos a couple of years ago. I never expected those songs to get as much attention as they did and there was this instant pressure to follow them up with loads of gigs and more recordings, but we were just totally unprepared. I’ve kinda learnt from that now. That being said, the live aspect has been difficult. The EP sounds so massive and is mixed in such a particular way that it’s been quite hard to get the live show to match it. We weren’t happy for ages after the EP was released. We’ve had a lot of changes in our live setup since then. It has been hard but we’re getting there now.
 
Carousels – ‘All I Could Do’


 
Are you currently working on an LP? Any plans for a tour?

Nick: It would be cool to do another tour soon, but it’s difficult because we all have to work. Lucy is 6 months pregnant as well, so I think as of May we’re going to stop gigging for a bit and do some more writing and recording, not for an LP but definitely a single or something… Musically it’s going to be completely different to the POP EP, I’m not sure I’m in the right mood to write another batch of pop songs, I get bored too easily. It should be cool, we’ll see.

How did you and everyone else get into shoegaze / noise pop? Was it just a natural progression, so to speak?

Nick: I can’t speak for everyone else but I got massively into stuff like that when I was about 14 years old. Weirdly it was after watching a live version of Creep on TV and seeing Jonny Greenwood punch his telecaster throughout every chorus. I’d never seen anything like that before and it all went from there really. Everyone else at school was listening to The Strokes and what-not, and I got a kick out of being that weird kid that played people Psycho Candy at full volume.
 
Carousels – ‘Sweet Honey’


 
Curious, what is the scene like in London? Do you hope to stay there as a band in the future?

Nick: I tend to hide away in Cambridge and only get to go to London to rehearse and play gigs so I don’t know much about the current scene really. I’ve been lucky enough to have played with a lot of cool bands in a lot of cool venues over the past few years, and from what I can tell everyone seems genuinely excited and there doesn’t seem to be too much negativity about anything… There’s an abundance of venues and nights that cater for all types of music, so I can’t imagine people find it tough to get gigs… Could be wrong though maybe I’m just not paying enough attention.

Be sure to get your limited-time only free download of “Sweet Honey” @ CAROUSELS POP and for more news, music, & updates @ iTunes @ Soundcloud @ Facebook @ Tumblr.

PSYCHIC HEARTS is a CA/NY-based writer of sorts who loves obese cats and used records. You can read more reviews, features, and commentary right here!

Introducing Kigo…

Earlier in the month Brisbane’s Kigo posted ‘Guilt‘ online and we immediately lapped it up. At that stage the EP wasn’t available but now it is – download here. These bold and colourful shoegazing sounds were recorded over the past few weeks, by one man at home. With plans for an album and expanding into a live show, there’s plenty to look forward to. This is one of the more exciting new acts to grace my ears in recent times. To find out more, I put some questions to Kigo…

 
Kigo – ‘Now You Know’


 
How did the EP come together?

I am really happy with how quickly it came together. I recorded the songs myself at home. I don’t own much, or if any recording gear, so I basically recorded it straight into my laptop. Three of the songs were recorded in the last week.

What’s your favourite piece of kit?

My favourite piece of gear I own would have to be my MicroVerb III. It has the reverse reverb effect on it (which I love), and along with my old Boss DS1 (replaced with a new pedal I got from a friend – Thanks Chris), is the only piece of gear that I use regularly.

What are your influences, what are you listening to?

I have a really limited set of bands I listen to, and it’s become a joke among my friends that the only bands I like are The Beach Boys, and MBV. I have always liked music where the main song writer/band has a story. I’m not sure why, but I think it makes the band more enjoyable in some way. I have been listening to the new albums by Converge, and Swans, along with old favourites like Pet Sounds, Ariel Pink, and Two Hunters by Wolves in the Throne Room. I also love Bored Nothing, j. francis, and Epithets; all Australian bands that I listen to often.

Any future plans for an album or live shows?

I’m talking to some friends about forming a band. This is the first time I have ever really played music on my own, so I’m not really sure how to go about anything yet, I am proud of my work, and I really want to get out and play live, so I’ll try my hardest to get a band together as soon as possible. I’ll be working hard to get the songs/the band/album ready over the next few months. Hope to have another EP out by mid year, and an album out by the end of this year, the start of the next. Can’t wait to get started.

Visit Kigo @ Soundcloud @ Bandcamp @ Facebook.

 

Los Encantados Interview

Wrap your ears around Brooklyn’s Los Encantados, a six piece indie rock act on the verge of releasing their debut LP in 2013. Meanwhile ‘ZZZZ’ comes from the third chapter of their EP series ‘The Same Damned Soul’. Its a vintage lullaby that throws a mild tantrum before getting its way. If only my high school dance played this tune in the hall rather than ‘Ice Ice Baby’, I may have had a chance. A Marty McFly moment. Alas, best not to paint Los Encantados with one brush. While ‘ZZZZ’ may be sweet, there’s also rough edges rock n’ roll to be had, take a listen to more here.

 

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What’s the Los Encantados creation story? Where did it all begin? 

I moved to New York in the summer of ’07 from Florida. Nothing was inspiring me then, so I just DJ’d around for the first couple of years here. A friend of mine (and also member of Los Encantados) Kevin needed a guitar player in his band, The Dunnie Bobos, so that got me back playing rock music again. Then I met a girl and recorded a New Order-y inspired cover of Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’ one night for her. Then we had a great thing and I started writing songs about it and recording them in my apartment. Initially, it was just a personal thing, bedroom demos passed between us. Eventually, I showed a couple of friends the tracks and a few months later at a party we decided to form a band around these songs.

The initial idea was to play this collection, The Same Damned Soul, once – make a little production out of it for our friends and then pack it in. We played the show – in our Encantado disguises (which included masks and mustaches to hide our identities – at Union Hall and had a great time and set. Heather D, who books there and Bell House, enjoyed it and was finalizing the line up to that year’s Beard and Mustache Bash at Bell House. She asked us to play, we thought about it and decided to keep playing and here we are two years later. We recorded the whole thing with Sammy Gallo (www.sammygallo.com) and released the tracks as three EPs. So, we were created from love and are sustained by love. It’s really great.

What inspired ‘ZZZZ’?

The EPs follow the arc of a relationship and ZZZZ is towards the endpoint. If there are two people and one has a ticket for a departing flight, ZZZZ is the ride to the airport.

If the band were a cartoon character would it be? Why?

Oblio from The Point. He’s a really great positive & optimistic character. When he gets thrown out of town and exiled to the Pointless Forest, he takes it on the chin and just searches for meaning while exploring his surroundings. He’s open to all of the information that comes his way and soaks it all up like a sponge – always focusing on the positive. When he’s ready, he comes back to his people and takes all the knowledge from his travels, filters it through his own point of view and succeeds in opening their minds to new thoughts and experiences. That’s basically the goal of life in general I think, beyond just songs and records.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Literally, ‘Kid Charlemagne’ by Steely Dan. In general, I’ve been listening to a ton of Harry Nilsson – mostly his work in the 70s. The soundtrack to ‘The Point’ is my favorite thing to start and end my days. After that, ‘Duit On Mon Dei’ is a favorite. His lyrics are excellent, so witty. Superb vocal range as well. As far as newer stuff – I think that Solange’s record is going to be really great, I love Dev Hynes’ production work and the lead single ‘Losing You’ is such a beautiful track.

If you could assemble a fantasy band, what would the line-up be?

For me, The Spiders From Mars on the later dates of the Ziggy tour, when Bowie added Mike Garson on keys to join Trevor Bolder on bass, Mike Woodmansy on drums and Mick Ronson on guitar, is the greatest rock line-up. I’d have loved to have seen them play on that tour.

When can we get our ears on the album?

Tim Wagner (33hz & Dither Down Records co-founder) is producing and we’ve done some tracking at Strangeweather (DIIV, Friends) with Dan. It’s going to be an exciting process. Much of the music is written for our upcoming debut full length. I’m still trying to conceptualize it lyrically and tie everything together at the moment – so you’ll have to stay tuned until next 2013.

Any upcoming shows?

We’re playing a couple with Luke Rathborne, an excellent musician and great guy based in NYC, too. First one that is all set in stone at Glasslands on November 14th. To keep up to date, hit our website www.losencantados.com and join in our sharing of jokes and lewd images over at facebook.com/losencantadosmusic.

Visit Los Encantados online or connect @ Facebook.