News

July 19th, 2009

Sights & Sounds Interview With Exclaim TV

Exclaim TV take Adrian and Andrew out into the rainy streets for an interview. Go to: ExclaimTV

Category: Sights and Sounds

July 17th, 2009

Propagandhi Interview with WayTooLoud.com

Ruben says this is a great interview with Jord. Rube knows. Go to WayTooLoud.com

Category: Propagandhi

July 17th, 2009

Propagandhi Interview with Critcal-hit.org

A recent interview with Propagandhi at Slim’s in San Francisco, CA.

Full Interview available here:
Critical-hit.org

or here:

We recently had the chance to sit down with Canadian rockers and activists Propagandhi for a face to face interview at Slim’s SF. In collaboration with The Liberty Movement Magazine and Critical-Hit Records, we caught up with the affable vegans Chris Hannah and Todd Kowalski for a humbling conversation discussing their latest release Supporting Caste, auto-tuned farts, and technology among other things. Check out Supporting Caste off of Smallman Records, out now.

Interviewed by

Andrew Lopez

Chris Hopkins

Alex Flory

Liberty Movement: So what’s a half-head?

Chris: A half-head, (points to Todd’s head) take a look more at our drummer. That’s when your hair like…if you look at someone when their hair has actually receded right to about a half way point. Jord has a more pronounced one. Then there is a transparent head, and the toilet seat.

LM: On “Supporting Caste” there is this very distinct metal influence, aggression, and over all feel, including the production. What is the writing process like for you guys?

How does a song come to be?

Chris: It’s a case by case thing. Every one of them is a struggle. To get anything, amongst anything you ever played on your guitar, to get it even down to your basement to play in front of the other guys is a struggle. It wasn’t too bad this last time, (on “Supporting Caste”) but there were a few nightmares.

Todd: For me the lyrics are the hard part, to get your real ideas down in a way that doesn’t sound cheesy.

Chris: I don’t think any of it comes naturally to us at all; we have to work at it.

LM: Do you guys write the lyrics first and then put them to music?

Chris: Sometimes you change the music to fit the lyrics and sometimes you change the lyrics to fit the music, or a huge combination of both. If we had a formula we would be home free, but every song is a different struggle.

LM: Popular music is basically auto-tuned farts now of days; there isn’t any content. It is kind of insulting to the collective intelligence of people that listen to it. Do you feel your music could have a greater impact if it adhered more to the templates of popular music?

Chris: Not for us. Our prime directive is to make sure that we are stoked. On the Last record Bill and Jason were doing the first mixes and I was really hyper-paranoid of hearing auto-tune. We tried it on some songs and I said “Get rid of that!” It sounds like a computer, and once your ear knows what auto-tune is, you never want to hear it again. There is nothing you could do strategically to get us to the next level. It has to be what it is. People have to accept it or hate it.

LM: Where and how do you draw the line on your self-fulfilling desire to “rock,” and your desire to propagate a message and try to create some change?

Todd: If we weren’t writing about what we were, I don’t know what we would write about…I was actually writing about stabbing kids, just stupid. If that’s what people want we could give it to them.

Chris: The struggle of writing the lyrics isn’t for lack of wonder about the world. We have plenty of over load for wondering about the world, throwing it down in to lyrics is the struggle part of it. I don’t think that if our lyrics are a reflection of our core values, they aren’t really selfless. It is a self preservation thing to care about other people too. If other people are getting fucked over, you are going to get fucked over. What goes around comes around.

LM: What aspect of your music pleases you guys the most? What is your favorite song to jam on or play?

Todd: Right now my favorite song to play is “Supporting Caste.”

Chris: We don’t play it right now because Todd’s vocals aren’t happening. But “Night Letters” is one, when we play it in the basement and get close to what it sounds like on the record, it is satisfying. It is a really difficult song and it’s in a strange tuning.

Todd: What satisfies me the most actually are Chris’ vocals…

Chris: (interrupting) Todd’s vocals are my favorite!

Todd: I’m not a real singer or anything, so when I work with Chris I enjoy his singing.

LM: Do you find technology as an ultimately oppressive or liberating force, especially modern technology like internet, ipods, computers and such?

Chris: You could talk about it on specific technologies and contexts, but generally it is a case by case basis. It is the same with language. Is language good or bad? It depends on how you use it.

Todd: I find it interesting that people in other countries who would never be listening can do so because of technology. I mean the music I like in terms of technology comes out of amps.

Chris: Also, the same industries that produce weapons technology that can destroy the planet are the same industries that produce things that help further the human sense of wonder. They help in figuring out, not why we are here, but how we are here and where we are. To me those questions are very interesting. I would rather live now knowing some things about the universe rather than in the 1400’s.

LM: Do you guys get death threats still, even after being voted the second worst Canadians?

Todd: That’s Canada though, they don’t count.

Chris: Yeah, we haven’t gotten serious death threats for years.

Todd: Canada should apologize to us for not being a better country! (laughs)

LM: Got any tattoos?

Todd: Nah, we are real rockers.

Chris: The Beaver has an ear piercing from when he was like 13.

LM: How did he get the nickname “Beaver” anyway?

Chris: There was this comic book that he read when he was a kid called “Space Beaver,” and I guess he looked a lot like the character.

Todd: Strangely enough I read the same comic book when I was a kid.

LM: Still pass around the puck and play hockey?

Chris: Jord played in a beer league this last season, he plays for a team every year. We play some pick up games and a lot of street hockey.

LM: Any companies you might recommend that offer fair trade textiles for reasonable prices?

Chris: On our resource page on the website there is a section for ethical consuming, there are some listed on there. For T-shirts the company I try to get behind is “No Sweat Apparel” out of Boston or New York, mainly because the transparency of the company. They actually show you where their sources are. They don’t do an industry self certification, where as in the fashion industry they say “We are certified, by ourselves.” They take pictures of the factory and show and tell when things aren’t perfect. Makes you feel like they actually care.

LM: We noticed that “Supporting Caste” was released on Small Man Records. Is there any future for G7 Welcoming Committee?

Chris: I think if there are any more records released on G7 it will just be Propagandhi records. Derrick is the other guy from G7 and he just isn’t interested in putting out music by other bands anymore.

LM: Given the chance, would you open for Rush?

Chris: Fuck Yeah…He loves Rush so much (points to Todd).

LM: How do you pick your supporting acts?

Chris: Well “Bridge and Tunnel” we played with in Brooklyn, and they were just on a list of bands that were interested. The promoter usually picks the other opening band.

LM: According to the internet, your most popular song is “Ska Sucks.” Does that suck?

Chris: It’s kind of funny. I mean it’s a terrible song, but when all is said and done, its funny that that is what most people will remember us by.

Category: Propagandhi

July 16th, 2009

Carpenter Enters the World Of Black Ops…

Sneaky devils. Two new US shows posted today. Go to the tour page to find out if it’s in your area.

Category: Carpenter

July 16th, 2009

Propagandhi’s Tertium Non Datur Live

Punk Empire recently recorded a Propagandhi set in Montreal, QC in HD. Go to Tertium Non Datur LIVE!

Category: Propagandhi

July 16th, 2009

PureGrainAudio.com Interview with Sights & Sounds

Interview with Adrian available herePureGrainAudio.com

Full Interview Below:

Canadian Rock band Sights & Sounds have completed work on their latest release Monolith which was out in stores on May 26th. The band will also be touring extensively this summer as part of the Weight Of The World Tour that is crisscrossing the country. I recently caught up with guitarist Adrian Mottram who answered a few questions about the band and the recording process for the CD, Monolith.

Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Adrian: We have all grown up from different backgrounds so as a whole we have record collections that go in every direction. To sum it up currently, Dinosaur JR, Greg Dulli, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Mew would be a short list. We are always digging up new bands, searching out old records and exchanging collections every chance we get.

The name of the band Sights & Sounds is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Adrian: Sights & Sounds was a name that best describes the band with not only our musical approach but our ideas for eventually incorporating projections and images behind us. When we first met, we were hanging out in Matt’s apartment just talking about music and the aspirations we have as musicians, writers and performers. The conversations snowballed and still continues to take off in directions about where we would like to take styles and textures musically and visually, with backgrounds and moving projections. Eventually, when we have more time to set up and play longer sets we will be bringing all of our ideas out, but for the shorter sets like on this tour we have our own small light set up that I control with foot switches.

Your brand new CD titled Monolith was released on May 26th. Now that it is complete, how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Adrian: Yes! Satisfied may be an understatement. In some respects, we have been writing and refining all of the work on this record since the insemination of this band. Even the last touches came at the right time to tie it all together. It is very inspiring watching the music grow at the same time as the dynamic of all of us as friends (or brothers). I’m looking forward to the next one.

What was the writing process like for Monolith? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Adrian: Being so spread apart it would seem difficult to be a band but I think it is quite the opposite. We are really lucky that everyone writes on their own. When we come together we have tons of music to jam and arrange as well. Our time is so focused we end up accomplishing what we seek out when we are together. Monolith came together in hotel rooms, studio space in Toronto, apartments on the side of a mountain and over the telephone singing melodies and drumbeats. Even in the van driving across the country, we were able to arrange a song. I find once you meet other musicians who can enter the same mind space musically you don’t need your guitars.

Give us some insight into Monolith and the meaning behind its title?
Adrian: Monolith is an ideal word to use when describing the formation and culmination of this band and the music that we create. It is towering and vast and the word represents our first full length well. Having that statue as the cover… it just had to be called “Monolith”. I also watched 2001 Space Odyssey about seven times while we were recording it.

You worked with Devin Townsend, (Darkest Hour, Misery Signals, Bleeding Through) a well-known, well-respected producer. How did you get in touch with him and what was it like working with him?
Adrian: When Misery Signals were recording their latest record, Controller, I was invited to the studio in Vancouver to hangout and spend a day watching them work. I knew within minutes that he was the right producer. Devin adds so much to all of his productions it was such an honor to work with him.

The band keeps things interesting thematically. Can you talk about some of the subjects you tackle on this record?
Adrian: There are a lot of personal situations on this record from disaster and loss to awakenings and new light. As well as pulling back as the observers and watching the world turn even about this experience we are in as this band. It’s a reflection of what we have seen and done.

What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of Monolith?
Adrian: It’s equally loud and intense as it is melodic and introspective. It is a true Rock and Roll record. Ideal for any situation and it goes well with a road trip.

The band is about to embark on The Weight Of The World Tour. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
Adrian: Well some of us like to bring our chin up bar and free weights. Some of us make sure they have lots of smokes and enough guitar strings. We rehearse for a few days before the tour starts and work out the set with the samples and lights.

What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
Adrian: Never plug your bass amp into the light switcher. We have blown up several stages in the process of refining our live show.  [ END ]

Category: Sights and Sounds

July 16th, 2009

Another 4.5 out of 5 for Monolith

The Punksite.com gives a fantastic review of the new Sights & Sounds album

ThePunkSite.com Review of Monolith
4.5 out of 5
Reviewed by Cole Faulkner
ThePunkSite.com

The word “epic” gets tossed around a lot these days.  From daily colloquial slang (i.e. “dude, that shirt is epic!”) to insightful message board commentary (i.e. “dude, those riffs are epic!”), it has become one of those fashionable buzzwords that people casually spout out.  Consequently, I try avoiding the word at all costs since, for me, “epic” has nearly become devoid of all meaning.  That being said, in the rare occasions where I feel my application does justice to the word, I usually find myself applying it to albums in the fantasy-metal genre when a band succeeds in capturing larger than life moments - often in concept albums about mystical being threatening the very fabric of humanity.  By extension, I typically avoid using “epic” as a descriptor for anything under the alternative/punk because by comparison, songs about politics and break-ups are rather low key.  However, for Canada’s Sights & Sounds’ full length debut, Monolith, I feel the need to make an exception.

Despite being comprised of members of popular Canadian hardcore act Comeback Kid and power-pop quintet Sick City, Sights & Sounds have a larger than life post-rock sound completely their own.  When Sights & Sounds are at their finest, they achieve a truly “epic” feel.  I often found myself feeling as though I was standing at the centre of a great cathedral, staring up at one of humanities’ greatest achievements.  It’s the type of music that makes you feel like an insignificant spec on the face of the earth.  Am I being overly dramatic?  Maybe.  But when I use the word epic, I’m not referring to a band t-shirt featuring a fancy font.  No, this is the real deal.
 
Sights & Sounds succeed on such a grand scale because of their meticulous attention to detail.  At the onset of the opening track, “Sorrows,” a close listen reveals the echo of an undefined astral object hurling across the night sky.  The band seamlessly incorporates the sound of the sizzling object into the song, acting as a precursor to some larger, looming event.  It’s the perfect set-up, priming the listener for the intense soundscape ahead.  Songs like “Shudder, St. Kilda” and “Borderlines” open with the lone thumping of a tribal-inspired drum beat, from which they slowly layer on vocals, lingering guitars, and the commanding chant of expansive backing vocals.  The result is a sense of sustained escalation that draws the listener into oblivion.  Impressively, the album maintains this sense of scale and cohesiveness without exhausting a single influence.  For example, the “Un-named” hidden track finds the band drawing upon Eastern instrumentation style and delivery to close out the album.  The global influences succeed because of their subtly - they are not imitations, but rather adaptations.  Too often bands input stock “cultural” sounds that come across disingenuous and forced.  Admirably, Sights & Sounds energetically channel their influences without insulting their integrity.

However, in spite of my overwhelming praise, Monolith contains a few tracks that sound slightly out of place.  “Night Train” and “Reconcile” almost adhere to a modern pop-punk/emo formula reminiscent of Moneen, and if it wasn’t for the coarse guiding edge of Andrew Neufeld’s vocals, the album might have lost its tightly bound sense of continuity.  But thankfully, despite stunting the album’s atmospheric build-up, these tracks somehow still loosely fit, which is probably a testament to the album’s expansive and inclusive nature.

At this point it should be no secret that I love Monolith.  Better still, Sights & Sounds have given me an excuse to describe something as “epic” without reserve.  The band has a rare talent for building something huge by focusing on the details.  From the sound of a comet hurling towards the earth, to the carefully planned chanting of backing vocals, Monolith’s ever growing vision will engulf you.

Category: Sights and Sounds

July 14th, 2009

“Monolith is one for 2009’s Top Ten List”

PunkRockTheory.com gives a 9 out of 10 to Sights & Sounds’ Monolith

While Sights & Sounds may have been known up ‘til now as ‘that other band that features Comeback Kid’s Andrew Neufeld’, that’s all about to change with the release of “Monolith”. A lot of other bands out there can only dream of dropping an album of this magnitude at the peak of their career, Sights & Sounds simply do it with their debut.
Review By Thomas @ PunkRockTheory
View review at PunkRockTheory.com

With “Monolith” Sights & Sounds succeed immediately in creating a face of their own, something not given to many side-projects. Take “Clutters” for example… a song that Jimmy Eat World would love to have written. It starts off quiet enough with Neufeld singing (holy shit, the guy can actually sing just as well as he can yell!) before building up in the middle and then fading out with a lot of feedback before completely exploding in the end. It’s 7 minutes long but it flies by like it’s nothing.

When not playing with all the power they can muster, the mellow soundscapes they whip out are easily just as intense. It’s not all about intensity though. The catchy hooks and soaring melodies these guys throw all over the place are just as much of a treat as everything else on this album. It sounds like Jimmy Eat World one minute, Explosions In The Sky the next and I think Sigur Ros is on the band’s playlist as well.

The artwork isn’t all that appealing but other than that, everything on here is breathtakingly good (including the Devin Townsend production) and as far as I’m concerned “Monolith” is one for 2009’s Top 10.
Score: 9 out of 10

Category: Sights and Sounds

July 13th, 2009

Sights & Sounds 5 out of 5 Review

Regina Leader Post raves about Monolith.

Full review available at: Regina Leader Post.

MONOLITH
Sights & Sounds (Smallman)
Rating 5 (out of five)
Reviewed by Chris Tessmer

Featuring a who’s who of the Winnipeg punk community, Sights & Sounds has been raising eyebrows and building an ardent following since their self-title debut EP in late 2007. Now with the release of their long-awaited full length, aptly titled Monolith, the four members comprising the group are making the world the aware that they’re ready for their moment in the proverbial sun.

Comprising members of Comeback Kid, Figure Four, and Sick City, the individual members all temporarily shelved their regular genres to create this super group of sorts. The results are excellent, as the group runs through post-rock and shoegazer rock like they’ve been playing it all their lives.

On the track “The Clutter” the group channels indie-rock luminaries like Hum and Jawbox in a manner that’s as achingly beautiful as those bands in their heyday. “Pedal Against the Wind” displays vocalist Andrew Neufeld’s range. Neufeld, vocalist for hardcore punk group Comeback Kid, and formerly of the hardcore outfit Figure Four, leaves the screaming behind, demonstrating that the years of screaming have not prevented him from having a good, if not great, singing voice.

While Monolith may not be a big enough release to garner major attention, and in it’s first month of release it hasn’t, it’s well deserving of it.

Neufeld undoubtedly earns a heftier paycheque through his gig in Comeback Kid, but if Sights & Sounds continue to write songs this good, the attention will come, and hopefully lead to more permanence for the band.

Category: Sights and Sounds

July 10th, 2009

New Grave Maker Song Posted.

Sever Thy Head now available for stream at Grave Maker’s Myspace

This is the first song from their upcoming 7 inch entitled “Home is Where The Heartache Is which will be released in the fall through Smallman and Grave Maker. The other two tracks are When We Were Young and Vlad The Impaler.

Category: Grave Maker

July 7th, 2009

Vote for Passenger Action, Sylvie and Carpenter

The Verge on XM Satellite Radio has started accepting votes for the Verge Music Awards.

Go to The Verge Awards from now until the end of July to vote for Carpenter (Artist of the Year) as well as Sylvie and Passenger Action (both are nominated for Artist of the Year PLUS Album of The Year). The bands are in some high company, so make your vote count!

Category: General

July 2nd, 2009

Sights & Sounds Interview with PureGrainAudio.com

Check it out at PureGrainAudio.com

Category: Sights and Sounds