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Underoath interview

Underoath just got off a European tour and is currently working on a new album. Time for a short update courtesy of Chris Dudley...

PRT: You just got back from a European tour with Architects. How has it been?
Chris: That tour was really good. Went to a ton of places that we've never been like Russia and Rome. It was awesome. Plus we got to befriend The Architects who are the best dudes ever.

PRT: What made you decide to come to Europe now rather than wait two more months and get to play all the summer festivals? Do you prefer club shows?
Chris: We didn't have enough linking summer fest shows to pay for the expenses of us flying over to do a whole tour, so the club tour just worked out. We love club tours though, so it was fine by us!

PRT: You also played two shows in Russia... are the crowds there any different from the rest of Europe?
Chris: Honestly the crowds in Russia were intense. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that we've been a band for about 11 years and have never been there, so there was a lot of built up excitement on both our parts. It made for an amazing time.

PRT: How do you manage to get along with each other whilst being on the road for such a long time?
Chris: We settle disputes via arm wrestling. If you win, you’re right. if you lose, you’re a ninny.

PRT: Are there any specific habits of band mates that tend to get on your nerves after a while?
Chris: Spencer doesn't wash his hair. Its gross. But i leave all my things all over the bus all the time, so it's a give and take... Haha.

PRT: Are you a band that tends to write new material on tour or at home?
Chris: We are constantly writing. All the time.

PRT: What's up next for you guys? More touring or working on a new album?
Chris: We are working like mad men on our new record right now. Super excited about that. We are also doing a tour this summer with As i lay dying, between the buried and me, architects, cancer bats and a few other bands, so that should be awesome.

PRT: You've already achieved a lot over the years going from lots of touring all over the world to Grammy nominations, is there anything left you'd like to achieve?
Chris: Honestly, where we are at is we would just love to be able to continue doing what we are doing. Any "aspirations" we ever had for this band were met LONG ago, so right now we are just so stoked and blessed to be here, and we just want to keep going!

PRT: One of the more unique but probably unasked for characteristics of the band is that since April 6th, none of Underoath's founding members is still in the band. Doesn't that feel kinda weird?
Chris: Not really. I mean, it's different for sure. I mean, ive been in the band for about 11 years, and Aaron was in for about a year before me, and Tim joined a year or 2 after me, so it doesn't seem weird to us at all. It is weird losing someone you have played with for a decade straight, but people change and times change. Aaron and us are just really stoked to see what happens in the future for both of us!

Jesse Malin – Love It To Life

Ted Hutt (Flogging Molly, The Gaslight Anthem, Bouncing Souls) once again works his magic on Jesse Malin’s latest album, “Love It To Life”. Malin’s previous claim to fame was his 2007 single “Broken Radio” on which Springsteen contributed guest vocals. It came from the album “Glitter In The Gutter” that was pretty solid in its own right. After that though things got kinda quiet around Mr. Malin. Up until now that is. He’s back back in a big way with both Side One Dummy and his band The St. Marks Social backing him up.

Opener “Burning The Bowery” immediately demands your attention with a great guitar lick and Malin’s worn vocals before exploding in a bigass chorus. After that this album is just one big love letter to the power of rock ‘n roll. Most of the songs sound like The Gaslight Anthem, others breathe Springsteen (“St. Mark’s Sunset”) and with “All The Way From Moscow” Malin shows he hasn’t yet forgotten his punkrock past. And with both “Burning The Bowery” and “Burning The Bridge” there is evident proof that there is still a lot of fire hidden inside Malin.

It might not be all that original and sure, not all of the songs are worth listening to on repeat but I’ll be damned if this isn’t a fine rock ‘n roll album.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

The Whigs – In The Dark

While The Whigs were already a more than decent band on their first two albums, you would’ve been hard-pressed to sing one of their songs a couple of hours later. As if their shows with Kings Of Leon showed them the way, “In The Dark” shows these guys with a more open and direct sound.

“Kill Me Carolyne” is an upbeat track with a nice chorus, “Someone’s Daughter” shows the band’s nastier side and “Automatic” is a fine song about the brokenhearted. It’s all done pretty good and the album offers plenty of variety. Like I said, they already were more than a decent band. And while “In The Dark” is a step forward, it’s still lacking that something that makes a band remarkable. If you’re into power trios, you might want to check these guys out… just don’t expect too much of it.
Score: 6 out of 10

The Flatliners – Cavalcade

I feel like a kid in the candy story with new albums by The Menzingers, Young Livers and now The Flatliners! Canada’s punkrockers are back with the follow-up to 2007’s “The Great Awake” and I’ve been lapping this one up.

“Cavalcade” opens with some sample about the four horsemen before kicking the door in with “The Calming Collection”, a song title that will not in the least prepare you for what’s coming. The song itself though is a perfect example of things to come… fast-paced drums and raging guitars that don’t exactly make it easy to figure out whether this could best be described as punkrock or hardcore. By the time they reach the chorus though, you realize you don’t really give a shit and simply pound along with your fist high in the air. They keep it up from there with rallying cries and singalongs in every song, only occasionally making room for a ska-infused cut (“He Was A Jazzman”) or cranking out a track that sounds like The Gaslight Anthem with a hangover (“Count Your Bruises”) and I mean that in a good way.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why these guys are on Fat Wreck so if you’re a fan of the label and the bands on it, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “Cavalcade”!
Score: 8 out of 10

Young Livers – Of Misery And Toil

My my, what a difference two years and a better production make! Not that the Young Livers debut “The New Drop” was a shit album! But if the two ever got in a brawl then “Of Misery And Toil” would definitely be kicking the other’s ass! And a lot of other album’s asses as well. Hypothetical asses of course.

Young Livers is a perfect fit on the No Idea roster with their gruff vocals and beards (I’m willing to bet that least one of them has a beard), they are also not that typical by including guitar licks that wouldn’t look out of place on a seventies rock album. Yet it’s the band’s intensity and urgency along with a couple of earshredding screams that firmly place them in the punkrock side of things. Ah yes, I need order in my universe or I get confused. The Young Livers not so much… they just like to fuck shit up and play loud music.
Score: 8 out of 10

The Lions Rampant – It’s Fun To Do Bad Things

Damn, I really want to like this Kentucky-based outfit. “It’s Fun To Do Bad Things” is not only the name of their debut full-length, it also seems to be the band motto. Listening to an album’s worth of bluesy 60s rock should be a treat, especially if – like me – you are a fan of The Hives, The White Stripes, The Kinks and every other The band that likes to rock.

So what exactly is wrong with this? Because it all sounds pretty good so far…. Well, listen to the first song and it’s already there. “Give Me” starts off as a great track but then quickly turns into the line ‘give me someone to love’ being sung over and over again. It’s simply dragged out too long. If they cut out all the repetitious shouting of lyrics and kept the songs to a maximum of two minutes, this album would score a lot better.
Score: 6 out of 10

Rocky Votolato – True Devotion

On album number six Rocky Votolato tells the stripped down and acoustic story of his battle with depression. Opening song “Lucky Clover Coin” not only comes with the man’s amazing voice and a sweet string section, it also tells of his seclusion and the anxiety he has felt during the last couple of years. From here on Votolato takes us on a trip that ends on a more hopeful note with the last song, “Where We Started”.

It is a mesmerizing trip during which this singer/songwriter treats us to a fine collection of songs that once again prove that you don’t need a philharmonic orchestra or a wall of amplifiers to touch people where it matters. The spirit of Elliott Smith is strong in this one.
Score: 8 out of 10

Vultures United – Savages

Following up “Dirt Hearts” with their first full-length, SoCal’s Vultures United seem to have no problem whatsoever keeping things as intense throughout all of “Savages” as on their EP. With their short hardcore jabs that either go for the throat or the gut, they will take you down no matter what.

I’ve already heard these guys being described as ‘the scariest live band around’. While I can’t be the judge of that seeing as I’ve only heard their records so far, I can however tell you that fans of Black Flag, The Bronx, Nerve Agents and other vicious hardcore punk acts with names consisting of two words should rejoice and pick up a copy of “Savages”. Or pick up a copy of “Savages” and then rejoice. The same goes for fans of one-word named bands like Gallows.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Various Artists – Untitled 21 : A Juvenile Tribute To The Swingin’ Utters

For over 20 years San Francisco’s Swingin’ Utters have been contributing awesome songs to the punk community without getting the same amount of recognition for it as other punkrock outfits out of California. Thanks to Red Scare, there is now a tribute that fits them… a whopping 31 bands paying hommage on one album!

Going from Fucked Up and Dropkick Murphys to Teen Idols and Cobra Skulls, they’re all on here along with a bunch of young upstarts. And while most of these bands all stay fairly true to the original versions, this album is a pleasure to listen to. If I had to pick two favorites, it would have to be Useless ID’s version of “Unpopular Again” and Off With Their Heads’ take on “Next In Line”. Do yourself a favor, check out this tribute and then pick up a couple of Swingin’ Utters albums while you’re at it.
Score: 7 out of 10

Broken Bells – Broken Bells

After having met at a festival a couple of years ago The Shins’ James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse (better known to his mother as Brian Burton) decided it would be a good idea to do something together. That something is now called Broken Bells who just dropped a self-titled full-length filled with the kind of sixties psychedelic pop sounds on it that I could wax poetically about for a couple of hours.

Not that I am going to but trust me when I say that when you combine half of Gnarls Barkley with the voice behind The Shins, you get ten sun-filled gems filled to the rim with warm string arrangements, trumpets, organs, backing vocals and mellow beats. Okay, so “Your Head Is On Fire” with its Brian Eno-like vibe isn’t all that. But opening track “The High Road”, “The Ghost Inside” and a handful of other songs make this an album I would love to hear a sequel to!
Score: 7.5 out of 10

The Unwinding Hours – The Unwinding Hours

Aerogramma hardly finished playing their last song or Craig B. was already working with Iain Cook again under the name The Unwinding Hours. While the songs on their self-titled album don’t sound exactly like Aerogramme (it’s only half the band… what did you expect?), there are definitely more than a couple of similarities.

Opener “Knut” is a beautiful post-rock song that grows from something small into something huge. It’s not the only time The Unwinding Hours jumpstart a sonic hurricane. “There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone” is another fine example. But then there are songs like “Solstice”, just an acoustic guitar with some vocals but equally good.

Though it may be too loud and at other times too quiet for the mainstream, this is definitely an album worth checking out if you’re into good music.
Score: 7 out of 10


Tomorrow is Record Store Day!!!

You youngsters will probably not remember this, but once upon a time there were these stores we would go to in order to discover new music. Sometimes hours on end would be spent shuffling through the racks and racks of CDs. Artwork would be judged as if it were a recently discovered work of Van Gogh that had to be authenticated. Budgets were made, then dispelled. Trips home would be made with anxiety taking over until we reached home, popped in those new discs or LPs (do you remember those?) and finally got to discover new music.

To make sure this tradition is not completely lost on the young ones, there is now Record Store Day with countless independent record stores from all over the world welcoming artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases are made exclusively for the day by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Against Me, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Mastodon among others and hundreds of artists play in-store shows.

Check out the site by clicking on the banner below and find out what's going on in your community tomorrow!

Phantogram – Eyelid Movies

Take a whole battery of lush synth sounds and dito female vocals and sprinkle it with a flair for making the strange sound attractive. That’s what Sarah Barthel brings to Phantogram. The other half of this twosome is called Josh Carter and he brings the minimal beats and guitar sounds to rehearsal every single time. Oh, and he sings as well on a couple of songs.

Together they recorded an album called “Eyelid Movies” which has a single on it called “Running From The Cops”. It sounds like something DJ Shadow could throw together and I like it... if that’s a reference. Other standouts are “Mouthful Of Diamonds” and “As Far As I Can See”. Not every song on here is a stunner though and after a while things start to blend together a bit. It’s a shame but keep in mind that this is a debut after all.

Not sure what to do with this one... “Eyelid Movies” is a very unusual album that for me is best suited as the soundtrack to a quiet night at the house.
Score: 6.5 out of 10

Portugal. The Man – American Ghetto

Easily one of the most productive bands around, Portugal. The Man is back already with yet another full-length. If I’m right “American Ghetto” is already album number five in just four years. And that’s not even taking their EPs into account.

“American Ghetto” picks up where the band left off with last year’s “The Satanic Satanist”. These guys still like to dabble in somewhat weird yet mellow indie poprock. It’s a wonderfully eclectic mix with bluesy, funky and folky touches all over the place. Of course, they keep on evolving every single time, this time adding some more electronic touches to their sound.

Other than that these Alaska natives still do what they do best: writing great songs. Whether it’s the dark and restrained “The Dead Dog” or “All My People” which thrives on a hiphop beat, “American Ghetto” is proof that it’s possible to write and adventurous and experimental album without forgetting to write actual songs. Eat that, Mars Volta!
Score: 8 out of 10

One For The Team – Ghosts

On album number three these Minneapolis natives sing about coming out of a bad relationship and becoming friends with a ghost instead. I guess it could help but it can’t really replace everything, can it? I mean... if a ghost can walk through a wall, wouldn’t you poke right through it with something else as well?

Musically “Ghosts” sees One For The Team taking things to a darker level, both lyrically and musically. The album still has its poppy melodies, male/female vocals and quirky synth sounds but those are now balanced out by the kind of loud fuzzed up guitars that were omnipresent in the sound of nineties collegerock bands.

It makes for One For The Team’s best album so far. One that definitely belongs on your “I don’t own it but should” list.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

The Nipples – Live In Mary Jane

Next to being the head honcho over at Basement Records, Chuck Dietrich is the driving force behind Bullet Treatment. As if that isn’t a fulltime job already, he also helped out playing the guitar in The Nipples when their regular guy wasn't available. You know how there are these bands that you immediately like based solely on their name? Well, this is one of them.

On “Live In Mary Jane” (another great name) The Nipples along with Dietrich race through eight fast-as-fuck punkrock songs that come with both a sense of humor and a snotty ‘fuck you’ attitude. Two things that go together like your nipples and my mouth.

Their vocalist may sound like he just got off of a mean helium binge but he does a great job with the remotely poppy songs that somewhat remind me of acts like The Descendents and The Queers.
Score: 7 out of 10


The Smashup – The Sea And The Serpents Beneath

Not entirely sure what Eulogy saw in these guys as they sound like every other mallcore band out there with their pop-infused sound and Incubus-wannabe clean vocals intermixed with screams.

Apparently their sound is so crazy and way out there that one can simply not grasp it all by listening to just one song. They’re right about that. It took me two songs. But in my defense I would like to point out that “The Sea And The Serpents Beneath” starts out with an intro that has a bunch of keyboards frollicking around.

Oh, I almost forgot… this album comes with a nautical theme. Not sure why or how but the song titles do have a lot to do with water and ships.
Score: 3 out of 10

Paper The Operator – Goodbye God

Whereas most acts like to start their album off with a bang to get your interest level soaring, North Carolina’s Jon Sebastian aka Paper The Operator kicks things off at his most restrained with “Please Proceed”. Basically it’s just him and his electric guitar but it piqued my interest nonetheless.

This song is quickly followed by “I Get Around”, one of the finest powerpop songs I’ve heard this year. On “Days Of Thunder” Sebastian shows off more of his quirky side with keyboard melodies that remind me of the Get Up Kids. It’s an influence that comes back a couple more times but I heard a little Jimmy Eat World/Nada Surf (“Lefty Lucy”) and Weezer (“Laundrolux”) just as well.

While all this might not seem entirely original, Sebastian did manage to write and record a fun and highly contagious album all on his own that powerpop fans should be able to appreciate!
Score: 7 out of 10

Brad Senne - Aerial Views

by Sharon

A former hardcore singer, Brad decided to make a 180 and go for acoustic folk pop. And this is what he came up with: a very mellow, soft meandering brook of background music. Nice voice, nothing irritating or anything, has a guitar. Can obviously play it... Sounds a bit like David Gray meets Paul Simon. I could book him in a bar and it wouldn't bother anybody. Afraid it wouldn't stop any conversations either.

Overall: not bad if you live in an elevator.
Score: 5 out of 10

Bigbang - Edendale

by Sharon

Bigbang is a Norwegian melodic rockpopcrapshitfart producing band, has been going at it since 1995. Have been nominated for several awards, never managed to actually get one though. This is their 10th(!) album, so they must be doing something right...

I hated it, my mother hated it, cats have gone neurotic. I get depressed just having to visit their website. Then again, the album went platinum in Norway, so who am I to say it's crap. Well: I'm Sharon, nearly 34 years old, and have the time, nor the will to listen to this ever again.
Score: 3 out of 10


John Butler Trio - April Uprising

John Butler is one of those names I’ve already heard float around a lot but never really knew where to place. Thanks to his new album “April Uprising” I finally got a chance to get to know the man’s music. With two thirds of Butler’s trio replaced, it’s logical that things sound different this time around. This might be a negative for longtime fans due to what has been referred to as ‘a more commercial sound’, but it didn’t bother me.

“April Uprising” starts off with “Revolution”, a brooding song that goes into a catchy chorus with lyrics about fire and flames and hatred. Next up is “One Way Road” which is a little more bouncy. By now the man’s voice has reminded me more than once of Dave Matthews but seeing as that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I keep on going.

“I’d Do Anything” on the other hand sounds like John Frusciante had a guitar riff to spare with Incubus’ Brandon Boyd singing over it. Not a bad song, it’s just that I’ve already heard it about ten years ago. Bongos and banjos are brought into play at the beginning of “Ragged Mile”, one of the album’s best songs. Other than that Butler switches from funk to rock and blues with the same ease that he trades in upbeat tracks to mellow songs.

Having listened to “April Uprising” a couple of times now, I’m still not entirely convinced. It’s a solid album and I like listening to it and all… but it breezes by a little too lightly in orde for it to be truly convincing.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

PJ Bond interview

PJ Bond has previously spent time in outfits such as Outsmarting Simon and Marigold before going solo. He recently released his second album "You Didn't Know I Was Alphabetical" (a highly entertaining collection of songs), spent a year touring on his own and is now getting ready to start writing a book about his life on the road. But before doing that, Bond took some time out to talk to us.

PRT: Hey! Thanks for taking some time out to answer these questions. I'm so sorry I missed your Belgian show tomorrow!
PJ: First off, thank you so much for the support, kind words, and taking the time to get in touch. No worries about the Belgium show but it's a bummer I haven't had web access as it turns out I picked up some extra shows close by. Oh well, maybe next time. On with the questions!

PRT: And now, the questions… you’re in the middle of your European tour… how’s that working out for you?
PJ: This is my first European tour and to be honest it's been mostly amazing, but at times a little rough. I traveled the entire uk and part of Europe with a backpack and my guitar, and in having to run for trains, walk a while to venues and carry all my merch, I've injured my knees pretty bad. I guess I should have seen this coming and seeing as I don't have health insurance I'm a little worried about how bad the damage is. Maybe I'll try to see if a friendly doctor over here will take a look.

That's the bad part. Well, that and some of the trip got a little lonely, but that's all better now. Somehow I had the great fortune of hooking up with an awesome band from the uk called caves and traveled with them for a few days which was not only incredibly fun but the perfect way to fill days off. I even got to play shows, eat good food, meet super nice promoters and sell a few things. Those all helped to lighten the load on my heart and knees. After leaving them I played some really great shows in leuven, Belgium, hengelo, Netherlands and my favorite, hillentrup, Germany. I'm still constantly amazed that some silly kid from new jersey got to find himself in small German villages and places nobody I know from my home town has ever heard of, let alone visited. But I can say Ive been and have loads of friends there now. That's a pretty incredible feeling, in every sense of the word.

Overall though, while it's not exactly what I pictured, Europe had been incredibly good to me and the people here are beyond wonderful. I definitely have had a good experience.

PRT: Before going solo, you’ve played in several bands … what exactly made you decide to go at it on your own?
PJ: This is a much longer story than probably most people want to hear, but what it boils down to is that I spent a lot of time thinking i was working towards what I wanted, which was to play music I loved and believed in, only to realize I was just mucking about. I spent so long thinking I was on a path that would eventually make me happy, but decided that's crap. I believe now, more than ever, that you have to make yourself happy. You ne ed to do the things you love and believe in. Sometimes you make mistakes, but as the old idea goes, you need to learn from them. So I guess the easiest answer to your question is that I finally decided to completely trust my heart and gut and not let fear keep me at bay. It was definitely worth it.

PRT: Can you tell me how different is it not having to think about anyone else both when it comes to writing and performing onstage? Is it liberating or a bit scary?
PJ: It's funny, when I was in my first bands I knew I had, for lack of a better word, a vision, be it overall or song by song or part by part. However, because I loved and respected my friends in the band so much I had to compromise certain things, because that's what you do in a relationship. The next band I was in gave me much more control and it actually scared me at first. I was so used to democratic songwriting that it'd been years since i set out to write full songs alone. However, by asking me and by having faith in me, the guys in marigold gave me one of the best gifts I've ever gotten; they showed me how to have faith in myself, as a songwriter and a band leader. I love them dearly for this. After marigold I played as I hired musician in some bands and this taught me greatly what I liked and didn't like in a band leader. I guess in a way this also fills in some details with the last question.

Anyway, at this point I sat down with the intent to write songs about things that mattered to me, and to write songs I loved. Since it's just me, I have the ability to be brutually honest and personal without it affecting someone I'm playing with. This is the big difference. Before I was representing four guys with one or two voices. Now it's one to one. The tough part is not having those other ears to tell you when a part is crap or needs work. This requires a much more critical ear on my part though I owe a huge debt to people like my brother and Kieth from communipaw, Brian from the waltz and a variety of other friends. They've become my band members, whether they know it or not.

On stage I've found my love. Well, off stage to be mostly honest. Whenever possible, I play fully acoustic on the floor with the people. For those 25 minutes I'm alive and loving it. If the crowd likes what I'm doing, then I soar. If not, I try hard not to crash. Regardless, it's on me. I can't blame anyone else for problems, but when it goes well it's overwhelming how positive people can be and sometimes it's weird and rough getting all the attention as opposed to sharing it. Of course it feels amazing, but to be honest, I'm often partially incredulous.

PRT: Da new album was dubbed “You Didn’t Know I Was Alphabetical”, partially because nobody noticed that the songs on your first solo album were listed in alphabetical order. Is there anything you’d like to say to the people who missed that?
PJ: The title was meant partially tongue in cheek, but also has a much bigger idea of basically saying nobody really knows I exist. The thing is, it's not an insult or negative, it's fine people don't know me, and it's not surprising. But I've been actively making music I'm proud of with people I love for going on 10 years, it's sometimes funny to think how anonymous I am. This also is about the things I've hidden in albums and songs that even my friends and people who love the music haven't picked up on. I think that's interesting and definitely fun to think about.

As for saying something to the people who don't know me, hi, I'm pj bond. I write songs and sing them. You should come to a show and we'll hang out.

PRT: Exactly what’s with all the picture frames in the artwork? It made me kind of philosophical… do you buy into the theory that all we remember from life is a series of snapshots?
PJ: I'm not exactly sure when or how the art concept came together but usually my ideas cloud around and then suddenly become clear. I had this image of me holding a big ornate picture frame and then realized there needed to be more so the hanging frames on the front came in. The ones on the back are a foil for the cover and we meant to take a picture of me in the woods from behind and hang it on the back wall. The art ended up getting rushed which is a shame but I love it and think jiddy moore and Brian Carley did an amazing job on it.

I'm not sure I agree with that theory. For me, life is more stories, gut feelings, smells, etc. Snapshots don't really contain enough information for me. But in a way, I guess the frames contain both of these things, maybe emotional snapshots.

PRT: Family, friends, a permanent residence… you’ve left it all behind to go on a year-long tour that has been chronicled on If I’m not mistaken that year is coming to an end now… how do you look back on it now?
PJ: It is coming to a close and that's mind blowing to me. When I started this the whole thing seemed near impossible and I was not fully sure I would be able to finish it. Now I'm having trouble seeing myself do much else. Maybe a super future version of me, but immediate future me is already planning the next step.

I do know that I look back on the year with awe and wonder. I encountered some really tough times this year, but as a whole it has definitely been the best year of my life. In one short year I've met more amazing friends, seen more crazy beautiful and cool places and had more fun than any other time in my life. Sure, I miss a lot of people and hope to someday tour with a band of my own, but man, this has been an incredible trip. So many great memories and I can't wait to start piecing them all together when I start writing the book about the year. That'll be a trip on it's own.

PRT: Gotta ask you this… what are you going to do next?
PJ: First off, I need to write the boon about the year. That was part of the plan from the beginning, and in a lot of ways, the hard work has yet to begin. It's a bit daunting to tell the truth.

Otherwise, I have a new scheme brewing that will take me back to all the great places and people from this year, but in a new, semi permanent way. If all goes well I'll be making returns to the uk and Europe as well as setting up temporary homes all over the us. I'll keep you updated.

PRT: How hard do you imagine it will be to go back home and pick things up again?
PJ: This is actually scaring me quite a bit. I'm not really sure if I'll be able to handle being in one place for a long time, but I think certain comforts will be really nice. The idea of getting a job
frightens and appals me (yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but a year of living how I want to has been great) but then again as soon as I tie up some financial issues I plan on quitting and heading back out in the newer, less frantic version.

Emotionally, I have a lot of processing to do and already know I owe a huge debt to loads of people. I've been fairly selfish this year, more so than usual, and if it's possible to repay some of these things or fix some offenses I will do my absolute best to do so. I know there are some relationships I've burned in the process, and this makes me sad and feel guilty, but I can't change what I've done or who I've been, just what I do and who I become. Hopefully those are all good things.

PRT: In your honor, I listed all these questions alphabetically. I just had some problems with the D!
PJ: The D threw me at first but when I realized I was thoroughly impressed. Thank you and well done! Don't worry about J, to be honest I pretty much only care about A to G, that's all the musical alphabet cares about. Well, H, if you want to harken back to medieval music (Bb, if memory serves, for anyone whose as nerdy enough as me to care).

The Cute Lepers – Smart Accessories

The Cute Lepers come at you armed with smart accessories such as the power of pop, the attitude of punk, the pinache of mod and a shitload of sweet melodies, girls doing back up vocals and an overall high likeability factor playing in their favor.

These former members of The Briefs are pretty damn good at what they do and give it to you in small doses of three-minute songs that never bore. They will rather still have you smiling long after you’ve come home, taken off your skinny tie and called it a day.
Score: 7. 5 out of 10

Leatherface – The Stormy Petrel

It would undoubtedly piss off more than a few bands to see acts who are heavily influenced by the sound you helped pioneer, go on to become more known than you are. Yet I somehow doubt Frankie Stubbs and the rest of the guys that make up Leatherface really care. They simply keep on doing what they love and have been doing for what seems like forever. Sure, they might have calmed down a bit compared to their early years but in terms of honesty, integrity and overall greatness this is one band that still shows heart.

Which is how come six years after “Dog Disco”, one of the UK’s most underappreciated bands ever return for another round. The album is called “The Stormy Petrel” and while it will never topple cult favorite“Mush” in terms of popularity, it is a very solid album in its own right. Stubbs is still spewing forth little nuggets of wisdom with those trademark ‘gravelly as fuck’ vocals while the rest of the band is doing an equally amazing job with some sick melodies. Yes, these guys still sound like Hot Water Music and Dillinger Four but only because HWM and D4 are the bands from that first paragraph who were heavily influenced by these genre originators.

Have a listen to “Never Say Goodbye” or “Diego Garcia” and find out for yourself. But I can tell you now that if you want to hear some really honest, passionate and intelligent punkrock, then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “The Stormy Petrel”.
Score: 8.5 out of 10

Brothers Of End – The End

The only reason I ever liked The Cardigans was because they had an incredibly cute singer. And to top it all off, she had an even sexier voice. But the band’s music was basically not so good and way too cheesy pop music. So why would I want to listen to Brothers Of End, a band with two former Cardigans among its ranks none of them being called Nina? Because Brothers Of End’s sound has nothing in common with their former outfit.

The songs on “The End” are the kind of songs you want to play while burning candles, drinking wine and feeling sorry for yourself. With the curtains drawn close. Preferably a storm brewing outside, or at the very least some heavy rain. “Believe” and “Misbehavind” are good examples of what these guys are about… slow songs that gently trickle along with good melodies. The absolute highlight however is “FC Vs Dynasty”, one of the songs the Beatles simply never got round to writing.

They could use a shot or two of energy every now and then. Other than that Brothers Of End managed to write a fine pop album that will eventually make you forget your self-pity. And possibly The Cardigans.
Score: 7 out of 10
Konjaga Records

The Kissaway Trail – Sleep Mountain

Since the release of their debut, this Danish outfit has toured with the likes of Editors. Maybe that has helped them with “Sleep Mountain”. It still sounds big and anthemic but more thought through and cohesive, two qualities that could not be attributed to their debut album. Or is it the influence of producer Peter Katis - who has helped shape the sound of bands such as Interpol and The National – that makes “Sleep Mountain” the album it is? And do I really care? Not when you get an album that can easily compete with The Arcade Fire’s best work!

I’ve already used some pretty big names in this review and The Kissaway Trail wouldn’t look out of place next to any of them. Take opener and single “SDP” for example… for six minutes these guys take you on a ride with the pace being set by a muscled rhythm section with great melodies to boot. The same goes for “New Year” and well, pretty much for the entire album.

So while The Kissaway Trail hasn’t exactly come up with an original sound, they are perfectly capable of capturing your attention and keeping it
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Blood Red Shoes – Fire Like This

A man, a woman, a guitar, a set of drums and a couple of melodies. Blood Red Shoes proved in 2008 it’s all you need to make a solid album. “Box Of Secrets” was filled with the kind of short, sharp blasts of noise that you normally associate with hardcore music. It proved to be a succesful formula and one they are new repeating on “Fire Like This”.

That this is not necessarily a bad thing is aptly demonstrated by Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell as they burst out of the gates with “Don’t Ask” which is immediately followed by “Light Up”, a song that will undoubtedly become a live favorite. From there on this duo keeps their feet firmly on the gas pedal all the way up to closer “Colours Fade”, only stopping for snacks once with “When We Wake”.

With “Fire Like This” Blood Red Shoes show everyone again just that it is possible to write melodic and danceable songs that pack enough punch to floor all the Jonas Brothers and Tokyo Hotels of the world.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

Midlake – The Courage Of Others

I don’t anyone can give a good excuse for that hideous artwork but the songs on Midlake’s new album are once again worth hearing.

Gone are the seventies Fleetwood Mac influences from “The Trials of Van Occupanther”. They have been kindly asked to fuck off and were then replaced by folk. That means less keyboards and more guitars. ‘Gee, folk in 2010… how original’ I hear you mutter ironically. But it’s not the ‘new’ folk that so many American bands are doing so well these days. No, the guys in Midlake go back to the likes of Fairport Convention.

This makes for some very good songs like opener “Acts Of Man” and “Rulers, Ruling All Things” with “Children Of The Grounds” possibly being one of the best songs these guys have written so far. But it’s all too much of the same and I find myself unable to sit through all that “The Courage Of Others” has to offer. Not bad at all but you’re better off consuming this one in small doses.
Score: 7 out of 10

108 interview

108 is back... and how! Fuck, their new album "18:61" is one big hardcore explosion with some of the heaviest and most mellow parts these guys have ever written. Want to know where the songs get their intensity from? Just read this email interview we did with Vic DiCara...

PRT: Probably the question everyone wants to know more about… on your Wikipedia page it says ‘On March 23, 2010, before the release of 18.61, it was announced that Rob Fish had quit the band which led to the demise of the group’. What’s up with that?
Vic: Jesus fuck. It's on the god damned WIKIPEDIA page? What wikipedia page (anyway)? Yo. We have not broken up. Click here to read the scoop!

PRT: When you dropped “A New Beat From A Dead Heart” in 2007 you already said that it was more of a continuation of 108 rather than a reunion. Were there already plans back then for more albums?
Vic: yeah. no. we don't plan. we act. you can tell that we don't think things out - for better or for worse. we are making new music NOW.

PRT: We’re three years later and you’re back with a new album called “18.61”. What inspired all the activity these last years after a decade of silence?
Vic: It took a decade of silence to hold us back. Well, actually it took a decade of silence for things to MAKE SENSE. I'm not sure if people really understand what a mind trip it is to actually try to become enlightened and liberated from material existence. It is a huge, huge, huge thing. It took us a decade of silence to let the rubble fall into place and the dust to settle so we could see things clearly again and once again make progress in a way that the external world could see.

PRT: You guys live spread out all over the place. How hard is it to write an album that way and then to get together and record the whole thing in a single weekend?
Vic: It's not. It's fun. Most bands that live on the same block just noodle around all day long or whatever. Blah, boring. When we get together we explode and the big bang happens. It is more fun that way.

PRT: Not only did you record it in just two days, you did it in a studio with analog sound. I think it gives the band a more organic sound than ever before. Was this a way of capturing your live sound on tape?
Vic: Analog was important. Not so much because of the sonic quality of tape vs. digitial but because of the implications of tape - you record live takes, you don't go back and punch in on a dime. It makes things less artificial, more sincere. More honest.
By the way, thanks for the compliment on the new record!

PRT: The new album is named after the 61st couplet of the 18th section of Bhagavad Gita. You’ve always been a band that carries out their beliefs in their music. It always makes me wonder… does it ever bother you if people listen to you just because they like the music without taking anything else from it?
Vic: No. That is fine. In fact that is what people should do. People should be sincere. I don't, personally sit there and try to plan out the spiritual meaning of a 108 song. I just let it happen however it wants to happen.
If a person is ready to evolve to the next level and start elevating their consciousness, then their mind and ears will open up to that level (whatever their level is) of listening to 108 (or any sound, actually). Everyone experiences things according to their own subjective level of consciousness. That is WHY this world is the world of ILLUSIONS. Because we are all just stuck in our own subjectivity.
Eventually 108 will open chakras, even of moshaholics. And in their next life they will encounter some similar band or whatever, and they will light up on it and blossom.

PRT: With “Crescent Moon” and “Early Funeral” you recorded some of the heaviest and most mellow songs in the history of 108. I think it makes this your most intense album so far… did you set out to make this one more adventurous with an ‘anything goes’ kind of attitude?
Vic: The next record might be even more extreme in this regard. Not sure yet, of course, since we haven't recorded it yet. But, no. We never "set out" really to do anything. There is no need to set out. Krishna is the artist of artists. We are in touch with Krishna, so whatever - we just need to open chakras and move fingers and pens and things happen. By the GRACE OF GOD as they say. No need for strategy or planning. We sit down to create, and we create. Krishna makes it happen or not happen, and both results are perfect for us.

PRT: Probably the dumbest question ever… my only excuse is that I really don’t know a lot about Hare Krishna. To me it seems to be a very peaceful philosophy. How did you come up with the idea to combine it with some of the most violent music around?
Vic: Ironically this is probably the best question to my taste. Violent? OK. Maybe. I see what you are saying. Meditating with your legs crossed wearing tights with a candle burning... that shit is "peaceful." That's for people who need to chill out. That is NOT all there is to yoga - that's just the side that is popular today with people in the West, who basically have no clue about these things anyway except for the exceptions.
Yoga is about connecting YOUR CORE to the CORE of EVERYTHING. That is as peaceful as it is violent. As happy as it is depressing. As brilliant as it is dark. It is EVERYTHING. It is the big bang. It is the source of every single experience.
It is very intense.
108 is intense.
I don't think it is "violent" per say, just "intense" as fuck.