Beastmaker Bring Their Cult Horror Doom Metal To SoCal


BEASTMAKER play The Wayfarer Mar. 10 and Soda Bar Mar. 11; photo Ester Segarra

Three band members rose from the ashes of the “doom” metal era of the likes of Black Sabbath to re-invent the eerie, cult horror film soundtrack that is Beastmaker. Comprised of Trevor William Church (guitar / vocals), Andres Alejandro Saldate (Juan Bonham) (drums), and John Tucker (bass), the group began in 2014 as a self-promoted, any-gig band, and has now been taken under the wing of Rise Above Records. Currently on tour alongside Mothership, Thunder Gut and Slow Season, they will be stopping at The Wayfarer Mar. 10. and returning to Soda Bar Mar. 11.

“We definitely do slow… that’s the whole essence of the whole ‘doom’ type, especially old doom metal, which we’re more influenced by,” Church said. “For me, I write all the music and lyrics, and I’m into like old new wave of British heavy metal bands like Witchfinder General, they have really slow songs for a heavy metal band.”

“What me a Lee Dorrian (Napalm Death) were talking about, because he really likes ‘Tombs of the Ligeia’ a lot too, is the whole movie itself. The Knights Templar just move really slowly and eerie and that’s what we’re trying to achieve with that, trying to get some cinematic theatrics to what we do so it’s not just the same.”

The theme of the band, although dark and melancholic, is anything but depressing during a live performance. The band keeps energy high with light shows, fog and, of course, the inevitable whiplash-causing headbanging.

Even with their songs being heavily influenced by older music, older movie culture and more, Church recognized the importance of a diverse source for inspiration, finding it even in unexpected places.

“If you’re just stuck on one thing, you haven’t broadened your horizons. How are you going to know what inspires you?” Church said. “I never thought Supernatural (TV show) would spark a song ever, but I was just sitting in bed and next thing I know I was in my studio writing down lyrics and I recorded an entire song in 30 minutes.”

Their album Lusus Naturae, as a first full-length, captures the diversity of the band’s talent, displaying the low growl of early 70’s metal, while softening it with clean tones. They are an old soul band that utilize the growth of modern instruments and blend their inspirations without allowing one to overpower the other. It’s the voice of a young Ozzy, mixed with the guitar of Electric Wizard.

Beastmaker has been years in the making, the band members playing their hand at other genres and groups of people.

“I was playing with this indie band and we were in Texas and this was during my drinking days, I don’t drink anymore, we played with this band and they had this Guns n’ Roses look and I was like, ‘Holy shit, these guys are killer…’ and I was kind of fucked up and I thought they said their band name was Beastmaker but it was Peacemakers, but I was just too fucked up and I was like, ‘Beastmaker? That’s the best fuckin’ band name!’ and when they told me it wasn’t, I got online the next morning and was like, ‘there’s my band name.'” Church laughed.

“That was a really long time ago. I couldn’t find anyone that wanted to play that music, and it really wasn’t until I decided I didn’t want to drink anymore that things really started happening. At that point I started getting really serious in it, and my best friend Andy who plays drums in the band decided he wasn’t going to drink anymore either and we tried having a few bands and they failed, then finally one day our bass player John, his band was breaking up, and I just thought it was an opportune time to be like, ‘Okay, here’s the guy.’ John, he has really good hair for one, and he’s really a great musician.”

Beastmaker is the next generation of doom metal that was lost in the mix of heavy metal and power metal and is now ready to come back and thrive — apparently with great hair, too.

Taking Back Sunday Takes Over SoCal With Three


TAKING BACK SUNDAY play Observatory North Park Oct. 19, Fonda Theatre Oct. 20, Observatory Santa Ana Oct. 21; photo Ryan Russell

Taking Back Sunday, matching a powerful revival with an even more powerful album Tidal Wave, is set to play at The Observatory North Park Oct. 19 and The Observatory Santa Ana Oct. 21 with a stop in between at the Fonda Theatre Oct. 20.

Tidal Wave is the band’s third release since the return of vocalist Adam Lazzara, guitarist/vocalist John Nolan, guitarist Eddie Reyes, bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Mark O’Connell. Following is the Concert Guide Live interview with Nolan following the release of their previous album Happiness Is.

“I think that the lyrics are less cryptic than a lot of Taking Back Sunday’s lyrics have been,” Nolan said. “A lot more of what is being said is direct and still very personal. When you’re saying something that is very personal and you don’t have that mysterious sort of phrasing behind it, you don’t really have anywhere to hide, so I think that’s the biggest way it’s more vulnerable.”

While writing this album, the song that truly stood as a new style for the band was “We Were Younger Then”. This song captured the band’s experiences while touring throughout the Middle East army bases.

“The song called, “We Were Younger Then”, has been one of my consistent favorites. It’s pretty different sounding for a Taking Back Sunday song,” Nolan said. “It’s pretty interesting subject matter and interesting stylistically, so it’s definitely been one of my favorites.”

During their tour through the Middle East, the band played shows in a variety of places, from Kuwait to Djibouti. Not only did they experience different places, but different stages as well.

“We actually landed on an aircraft carrier in a plane and stayed overnight and played a show in the morning,” he said. “It was just really surreal. There was also just going out into Kuwait, just driving miles out into the desert and there’s just this army base out there and we’d set up on the base and play a show and meet the people. It was really unlike anything else I’ve experienced in my life. It was definitely one of the harder tours we’ve done, but it was the most unique and interesting. ”

Although their 2011 self-titled album truly captured the band’s rekindling and helped create their new, but memorable sound, it was also their first step back into the music world together. They were reconnecting and found the turning point through the song, “El Paso”.

“I think just growing up and having some life experience on the road and in the music business really helped,” Nolan said. “When we came back together we were a lot more ready to work with each other and support each other through all the difficult things we have to deal with.”

While touring, the band not only has the opportunity to relive their classic line-up, but also to play in their hometown of Long Island, New York.

“It’s a little bit of a different energy [in Long Island],” Nolan said. “There’s a connection that people feel there with the band that people might not feel in other places. You have people in the audience on this tour that have seen the band in like 2000 at a bar with like 20 people there. When the roots of the band and the fans go that far back, it makes for a different feeling.”

Unpredictable Senses Fail Headline Observatory

Senses Fail

SENSES FAIL play the Observatory Jul 15 and Taste Of Chaos Jul 16; promo photo

Senses Fail, the “make emo great again” band, will be headlining a show at the Observatory July 15 before heading to festival grounds in San Bernardino July 16.

With a year having passed since the release of their album
Pull the Thorns From Your Heart, Senses Fail has been working on new music to release with former members of the band, who are yet to be named, according to original vocalist James “Buddy” Nielsen.

“I kind of wanted to steer back toward something that was more melodic and I started talking to some of the old members and they were just kind of like, ‘Wanna write some songs?'” Nielsen explained. “Seeing what it would be like to write an original Senses Fail record that sounds like 2016. It doesn’t sound exactly like old Senses Fail, but it’s dark and it’s more melodic than what the last record was, but there will be some heavy stuff.”

The upcoming album is a chance to bring back the nostalgia-fueled memories of the pop-punk days for long-time fans while creating a darker sound still fit for new fans.

“It’s not like a normal band where people leave and the doors are closed. It’s hard to explain,” Nielsen said. “It’s like we got a lot of really awesome people who have come through the band and it’s always changed the sound of the band in some respect and I think it’s way more exciting to not know what the next Senses Fail record will sound like rather than being very predictable.”

With such a dynamic sound and an ever growing taste for change, Senses Fail isn’t stopping with one new album, but they are also working on the release of their first acoustic album.

“I thought it’d be a cool way to play next to the last record that was really heavy,” Nielsen said. “An acoustic record would be the opposite of that, and we could show people that we’re still capable and interested in playing different kinds of music.”

As well as new music in the works and a headlining show coming up, Senses Fail is also getting ready to play Rockstar Energy’s festival Taste of Chaos alongside bands such as Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional. The band isn’t only reaching back to their roots with original members, but also finding themselves back on the festival line-up, a festival they appeared at during it’s creation in 2005.

“Festivals are fun because you’re really going to be playing for the most amount of people you’ll ever play for,” Nielsen said. “It’s also really difficult to walk into a festival and be prepared, unless you’re playing Warped Tour, you walk in and you don’t know where anything is and you’re sort of confused, then you walk on stage, then it’s over.”

We Are Scientists Aim To Appeal To SoCal Masses


WE ARE SCIENTISTS play The Constellation Room Jul 14, HOB/San Diego Jul 15, El Rey Theatre Jul 16; photo Shervin Lainez

We Are Scientists’ Keith Murray (vocals / guitar) and Chris Cain (bass / backing vocals) are the bromance of the ages (along with their drummer of the week). The pop-punk, electronic band is fueled by eclectic albums, mind-altering music videos (that can resurrect bees), and, of course, sangria.

With the release of their videos, which truly capture the essence of the original Mystery Science Theater 3000 (with Joel Hodgson and not Mike Nelson, of course) for the songs “Buckle,” “Too Late,” and “Classic Love,” as well as a new album, fans have much to look forward to on their upcoming tour, that stops at the Constellation Room Jul 14, House of Blues/San Diego Jul 15 and El Rey Theatre Jul 16.

The band will also return to one of Murray’s favorite performance spots of the past, Spain. The place with the best beaches and best sangria… and the venue is great too.

“We have a show in Spain, which we’ve played in a couple of times, but haven’t been back to since maybe 2008 or 9, and it’s sort of hard to beat a Spanish island,” Murray said. “They tend to rise to the top of the favorite list. It’s pretty fun to play a show in Berlin where there’s a really great party and stuff, but there’s something really nice about finishing your show then drinking some sangria on the beach.”

Drinks aside, Helter Seltzer is an upbeat, yet soothing continuation of the band’s talent. The collection of songs can get stuck in your head, but in an enjoyable way that will have you humming the tune instead of bashing your head in.

“I tend to sort of spend the initial stages of writing just trying to create an incredibly blank slate and not go into it with any pre-existing notions,” Murray said. “Usually what happens is after writing 40 or 50 kind of marginally formed songs where just the seed is there, you kind of find out where your interests are lying.

“On our last record, TV en Français, I started the writing process really wanting to make a Lemonhead style college rock record, just kind of like jangly four-chord, three-dudes, pop-rock and it really didn’t turn out like that. I feel like that’s the only time I’ve gone with an inspiration.

“On this record (Helter Seltzer) it’s kind of a shotgun approach where you just lay everything out and sift through it and see A) Which songs are your favorite? and B) Which songs are going to fit together on a record?”

Even with no set intentions, Murray does find that sometimes having a backing idea is hard to avoid, such as the memory of an industrial metal band’s first album.

“I really got fixated on Pretty Hate Machine, which was the first Nine Inch Nails record,” Murray recalled. “I was like, the whole record should just have really fake-sounding drums, but we had live drums, so…(laughs). I guess this is like the evil twin of Pretty Hate Machine, although I guess Pretty Hate Machine would be the evil twin to our much more beautiful and polite record.”

With new work out that may or may not resemble Pretty Hate Machine (spoiler, it doesn’t, but it’s great), the band has more to choose from when creating their setlists. But even with a new album, We Are Scientists focuses on their work as a whole rather than sticking to the entirety of the new.

“I recognize that it is entirely up to us (setlist) but we do have the sort of nagging sense of responsibility to make the show as much fun for everyone,” Murray said. “We go supremely democratic and utilitarian, we’ll play our bets as safely as possible and try to appeal to the greatest sample of population.

“I think there’s a difference between doing what gratifies you and doing what you believe. I don’t necessarily know if playing all of Helter Seltzer in its entirety and then a few random songs that I happen to like, lends itself to the greatest show.

“If a ruler said, ‘The way that I think I would enjoy lording over this society is to outlaw any food other than ice cream because that’s what I want,’ everybody would eventually die and that reign would be over. So in some senses that ice cream-loving lord has to say for the good of the population and the length of my time in this position, let’s do what’s best for the masses.”

And appealing to the masses they do. We Are Scientists has no intention of slowing down, with Murray immediately going from one song to the next. Following the completion of Helter Seltzer, the band began work on new songs, although no set release dates have been made.

George Clinton Getting Funky In Anaheim


GEORGE CLINTON plays the Grove of Anaheim Jun 25; press photo

In 1955, a Plainfield, NJ barbershop was filled with people looking for a good hairstyle, some stereotypical barbershop gossip, and, hidden in the back, the Godfather of Funk. George Clinton started as a simple, hard-working man, who later became revolutionary in fighting the legal system, knocking out hits, such as 1967’s “(I Wanna) Testify,” and landing Parliament Funkadelic’s mothership on stage during unforgettable performances. George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic land at the Grove of Anaheim Jun. 25.

“It’s gonna be a hell of a show; you’re gonna be in outer space for sure!” Clinton laughs. “The mothership is in the Smithsonian as of September of this year. All of the samples, all the different eras of music… it feels good for the mothership to be there.”

Even with the mothership no longer present on stage, the band is keeping true to their intergalactic roots and their promise to keep funk alive.

“I came up with the mothership in the 70’s,” Clinton said. “It started with the funk coming from the planet Sirius, which is the Dog Star, and the mothership bringing the funk back to the planet. It’s our own funk opera. Gotta save the planet because they’re losing their funk!”

While continuing to be the Godfather of Funk, Clinton also manages to keep true to modern tastes and lyrics, combining his doo-wop and Motown beginnings with a modern twist of R&B and rap. During his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar and Ice Cube on “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?” the lyrics perfectly capture the epitome of Clinton’s life with, “I was hard when I started / I’ll be hard when I get through,” while enticing a new generation with what is currently the modern funk.

“Coming out of doo-wop into Motown was a big change for me, going from Motown to rock-n-roll was a change,” Clinton said. “My grandkids, they let me know what stuff is going on, like the Fetty Wap’s, the Drake’s, the Lamar’s. Stuff I might not really like, I know it’s the next stuff, so I learn to like it real quick. I’m a songwriter, first of all, so I have to write for all styles of music. So I got used to learning to appreciate a lot of different styles.”

With the tour underway, Clinton is set and getting ready for another new album release, Medicine Broad Dog, which is due to come out sometime by the end of the year. The album focuses on the drug industry’s take over in today’s world, the social aspects, rehabilitation, side effects, pill mills (the prescribing of narcotics with no legitimate necessity), etc.

“It’s called Medicine Broad Dog, but it’s about One Nation Under Sedation,” Clinton explains. “You can’t get away from it. I just quit doing drugs five or six years ago, and when I quit, I look around and I see everybody else on drugs, but legally. It’s going to be the next serious criminal situation.”

Even with 50+ years in the industry, Clinton continues to fight the legal system and discuss the concerns not only in the music industry, but society as a whole. His memoir titled, “Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?'” tells the story of how he has spread the funk gospel and the hindrances he’s faced while spreading it.

“I’m from the 60’s, so I’m used to fighting for some kind of right. They’ve just ignited me. The fact that they’re trying to keep me silent, that gave me a mission to write new stuff. The mothership is in the Smithsonian now, I’ve got to fight for it.”

Jacob Whitesides Gets Lovesick In California


JACOB WHITESIDES plays the Troubadour Jun. 18; press photo

Singer-songwriter Jacob Whitesides has evolved from a YouTube phenomenon, to the live performance you don’t want to miss. Selling out shows in the U.S. and Europe, he will be at the Troubadour June 18 and House of Blues San Diego on June 21.

As an up-and-coming artist, he didn’t reach for the first deal thrown his way, but rather began to build his own empire, becoming the CEO of Double U Records (in partnership with BMG). This not only gave him a different perspective in the music industry, but also gave him the confidence to build his own style instead of blending into the ideals of another record label.

“It’s really given me time to find my sound,” Whitesides explained. “That was really scary because I know a lot of us YouTubers that are doing covers sign a deal automatically without finding their sound first, and then they get kind of crafted into something they don’t want to be.”

With such a massive following on YouTube that later grew on social media, Whitesides saw the different offers and opportunities available, but stayed motivated in finding his own way in the industry.

“It’s very hard in this day and age with social media,” Whitesides said. “Early on even when I didn’t have a massive following, when I started getting some of a following online, I had deals presented to me that looked really glamorous and just seeing what other people were doing and just thinking, ‘I have to be a part of that’. But thankfully I had people who kept me patient.”

Aside from being able to mold his own musical aspirations, being CEO has given him the ability to be the decision maker in most situations where an artist often has no voice.

“Those big decisions have always been so important to me and I knew early on, even when I didn’t know much about the music industry in general, I just knew I wanted to be able to have control over those kind of things, and it’s been highly beneficial in my life,” Whitesides said. “Whether it’s how much tickets are, when we go on sale, or how many meet and greets we do, it’s those small little things that most artists don’t get to decide.”

In addition to playing on YouTube, Whitesides has released 3 EPs. 2014’s 3 Am features all cover songs, while A Piece of Me and Faces on Film features original material. His debut album Lovesick is due later this year.

With the release of the single “Lovesick” from the upcoming album, it’s easy to see that Whitesides is transitioning from his cover song days to building his own sound as an acoustic, indie musician, but as a more Maroon 5-style pop rock artist.

“My early stuff was very acoustic based,” Whitesides noted. “I grew up listening to a lot of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, James Taylor, so definitely more of the bluesy/folky singer-songwriter stuff. This new record was really taking the bones of that stuff I grew up with and adding some pop influence.”

Considering Whitesides has only been recording for about a year-and-a-half, the writing and recording for this new album contains lyrics about his recent tour experiences, as well as his relationships and how they’ve developed.

“This is the first time I’ve had a good chunk of time,” Whitesides said. “With the first two EPs I only had a couple weeks to write them, and they turned out great. But with this one (Lovesick) there was a lot more time and I’d experienced a lot more. Most of the inspiration with this new record was just the relationship I was in, being far from home all the time, and kind of the feelings directly related to that.”

Whitesides has been playing new songs from Lovesick during his live performances, giving fans a taste of what to expect, but his favorite song on the new album has yet to be played live.

“There’s a song on the record called ‘You Told Me So’ that I haven’t played live yet,” Whitesides said. “It’s really self-reflective. I was in Europe for a while and I spent a lot of time alone there and kind of just did a lot of self-reflecting on me as a person, and me in a relationship, and me in everyday life and wrote a song about it. It was really emotional.”

Although being far away and traveling seriously for the first time, Whitesides was ecstatic to share his music with fans he hadn’t been able to reach outside of the computer screen.

“Being able to go over there and with the language barrier, having them sing the songs word-for-word was just phenomenal for me,” Whitesides said. “That’s like the first time I’ve ever really traveled, you know? Before, I had barely left Tennessee much. Then going on the U.S. tour, then traveling to Europe into all these different cultures, it was really insane. Being able to meet those fans that have been really supportive for so long, I really got a taste of how difficult it is to be a fan over there with the distance and the time difference, and they’re still there every day tweeting me.”

Whitesides, being labeled as the “next Bieber” by many because of his start, is proving to become his own icon, building a fanbase of Whitesiders across the globe.

Valient Thorr Return To Earth For Two SoCal Shows


VALIENT THORR play Soda Bar Jun 15 and Complex LA Jun 16; press photo

Valient Thorr, taking the concept of “out-of-this-world” to a new level, is coming to SoCal to celebrate their “15 years on Earth” at the Soda Bar in San Diego on June 15 and Complex LA on June 16.

Normally, Valient Thorr is on a mission to fit in with the general human population, as they are originally from Venus. On the day of our interview, however, singer Valient Himself (as he is named) was on a different venture: “I’m on a wedding mission…”

Among the erratic schedule of the wedding for Nitewolf, T-Shirt designs were being made by Valient Himself in correspondence with the upcoming release of their newest album with Napalm Records.

“In 2013, two weeks before our sixth record came out, Volcom Entertainment decided they weren’t going to be a record label anymore, so they kind of bailed on us and decided to make shoes instead of records,” Valient Himself said.

Having taken a break, an unheard of thing in their musical history of touring constantly while releasing album after album, Valient Thorr is back in the game with their very hushed seventh album.

“Truly a lot of it (writing new music) was due to Eidan Thorr, our guitar player, who has a new studio in Wilmington, North Carolina, and we just made it happen and it’s incredible,” Valient Thorr said.

“We’ve kinda been ‘mum’ about it, I mean we posted a bunch of pictures when we were recording it, but we haven’t said much about it since then except we announced our U.S./Canada tour.

“It’s gonna blow the announcement, but the record will come out Aug. 27, I believe, which is the first day of the European tour and then we’ll come back around the U.S.”

Now we have the date, but what about the music? Well, if it’s anything like their past albums, #album7 (as it is known only on social media) should be a punk rock meets metal political-type statement.

“A lot of people are going to ask what it’s about, and it’s always about a million things,” Valient Himself explained.

“The trick is if you want people to talk about it and argue, you have to put something outlandish in it where you don’t go for the cheap, easy gimmick, and then you just layer it with lots and lots of stuff so people will either argue about it or they get confused about it or it seems like it’s about more than one thing.”

One thing that Valient Himself assures fans is that the album will follow their trend of lyrics filled with “old man knowledge,” something only someone from Venus can obtain at the band’s still young age.

“I can say there are a lot of themes of looking back and looking forward and pretending that we’re already forward and looking back on now, and confusing shit like that,” Valient Thorr laughs.

“There’s a lot of old man wisdom even though we’re not as old as we think we are, yet, but we will be there soon because time flies.”

While trying to bring a message of their wisdom to all ages and genders, Valient Thorr plays to the tune of all genres, mixing a blend of metal, punk, bluegrass and “what Lemmy (Motorhead) used to call plain ‘rock-n-roll.'”

“Once we came to Earth, being from Venus and being stuck on Earth as the narrative goes, we became humans and if we’re not humans, we’re humanitarians, in that we care about all things,” Valient Thorr said.

“Dividing is something that’s always happened. Divide and conquer. Well, you don’t have to divide, you can unite and make a stronger case for yourself. So we’re just trying to unite people’s’ musical tastes. Or actually, not their musical tastes, their catalogue. If you want to get something that ties the collection together, buy our new album!”

Their diverse crowd is sure to rekindle, even after the slight hiatus, and continue the journey of the Thorriors, as they are called.

“We did slow down, but hopefully the Thorriors will unite again!”

Rulebreakers Primal Fear Play Grove


PRIMAL FEAR play Grove of Anaheim May 12

Power metal is reviving from the depths of the European metal era and reaching out to U.S. crowds with an aggressive vibe that poses as a hit of nostalgia with an injection of industrial metal-fueled guitar solos. German power metal band, Primal Fear is coming to the Grove of Anaheim on May 12 for their co-headlining show with Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody.

During this tour, Primal Fear will be playing five songs off of their newest album, Rulebreaker, along with many classics.

“Each set ends with “Metal is Forever” (Devil’s Ground), it’s kind of a tradition, and we’re starting the set with “Final Embrace” (Jaws of Death). This is a kind of Primal Fear trademark, in between we change songs, though,” Mat Sinner (bass / vocals / producer) said.

Although the band formed in late 1997, they are becoming a newly-beloved metal band in the U.S., hitting the charts with their 2016 album Rulebreaker. The album was No. 11 for “Current Hard Music Albums,” No. 38 for “Top Current Rock Albums,” No. 159 for “Top 200 Current Albums” and No. 8 for “Top New Artist Albums.”

“It was a nice step ahead for us in a difficult time, and overall it’s positive progress for Primal Fear. We really showed we are willing to tour more in the U.S. than ever and I think with the new album it worked out,” Sinner noted.

From the first fist-pounding guitar riffs of “Angels of Mercy” (recorded over some ass-slapping found in only the most classic metal music videos) to the final notes of “Don’t Say You’ve Never Been Warned,” Primal Fear continues their year-after-year pattern to success.

The newest album, features Ralf Scheepers (vocals), Magnus Karlsson (guitars), Mat Sinner (bass / vocals), Alex Beyrodt (guitars), newcomer Francesco Jovino (drums) and the return of Tom Naumann (guitars). Even with a seemingly over-filled studio, Primal Fear uses the multiple guitarists to their advantage, giving Rulebreaker a depth that past albums haven’t been able to reach. During their 2016 tour, Naumann will be on stage as Karlsson is currently not performing.

This tour is reaching all over the world, from the U.S. to Europe to South America and more, and not stopping until November, making it Primal Fear’s longest tour to date.

“If the audience is nice, I think it makes it really fun to play all over the world,” Sinner observed.

“I think, for example, on this U.S. tour, the people in New York or in Cleveland were really, really into it, they gave us a great time. So it doesn’t matter if you’re in New York, or Sao Paulo in Brazil, or Tokyo, it really depends on the reaction and the feeling of the audience,” Sinner said.

Since their self-titled debut release in 1998, the band has continuously released new material no more than two years apart. Unlike most bands that slow once they reach popularity, Primal Fear shows no signs of halting as they continuously release albums, DVDs and music videos through Frontier Records.

“If you are happy with your life and doing this with passion and you really like your job, you can do this. I see that I really like what I’m doing and I’m really blessed and I work really hard to be in this position,” Sinner said.

Even with a hefty tour ahead, along with constant new releases, Primal Fear isn’t taking time off. During this tour they are recording a live album that is to be released sometime March or April of 2017.

Once you introduce Primal Fear to your music collection, “You [get] the taste of blood / You just can’t get enough / And now it’s time to call the beast / You can’t control your lust.”

Moving Panoramas To Play It Loud!


MOVING PANORAMAS play KCRW School Night May 16 photo: Shelley Hiam

Moving Panoramas isn’t your typical newly-formed indie band, they are an all-female psychedelic pop movement of dreamy music that started as a side project, but excelled quickly into full-blown touring mode. Moving Panoramas will be at KCRW School Night! in Los Angeles on May 16.

Moving Panoramas creates a haunting sound of what they describe as “dream pop gaze,” the only truly accurate description. Their album One is the first for the newly formed group that sprouted from former bands and the School of Rock in Austin, Texas.

Leslie Sisson (guitar / vocals) has played in multiple bands, including The Wooden Birds with Andrew Kenny of American Analog Set. While playing in other bands, Sisson was involved in a group called Black Forest Fire where she met Karen Skloss (drums). Not only was Sisson playing in bands but she was also a teacher at the School of Rock in Austin, TX, which is where she connected with Rozie Castoe (bass / vocals) who transitioned from student to bandmate.

“We started playing together right when I was leaving the school, so I didn’t feel like she was a student anymore. She’s much more skilled than a lot of people I’ve played with who weren’t my students,” Sisson said.

“I thought she was never going to get what she needed at School of Rock to learn how to make her own band.

“It’s a great place and it teaches them so much and it’s a positive after school thing, but they only teach kids cover songs and I thought she could really use some guidance on how to write songs. It’s not like I sat her down and was like, ‘This is how you write a song.’ The way I learned as a teenager was being in bands and watching people writing songs, I just learned by association and watched how they did things.”

With a first tour together under their belts, the band went from what was supposed to be an EP, to an LP, to an album of unexpected success. Since Sisson had plenty of touring experience, cheap hotels and all, Moving Panoramas had a much easier first tour experience than most up-and-coming bands. That said there are still the difficulties of an on-the-road life.

“We just went on our first tour together and it was exactly how I expected it, but it’s hard being on the road, there’s things about being on the road that you can’t teach somebody, they just have to do it,” she said.

“A week after the tour, you get brain fried because you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not eating well, you’re driving the whole time.”

Even with the kinks in the road (metaphorically speaking), Sisson reflects on what makes the show worth it, and that, as you would expect, is the performance itself.

“You spend 23 hours a day in a really rough place, but it’s that one hour that you’re playing, or 45 minutes or half an hour, that makes it all worthwhile… whether it’s ten people or if it’s 100 people or more, because at the end of the day it’s a creative and therapeutic outlet. I guess anything that beats that is just when people come and see us and talk to us and tell us what our music means to them, that’s always a thing that brightens my day.”

That first tour started a tradition of ending with the song, “Harmony” that Sisson wrote about her late mother. While writing lyrics, her mom had been an inspiration, working a sense of pain and passion that lingered into each song.

“My mom passed away a few years ago and it kind of started a lot of these songs, or kind of started the process of writing these songs and that one was directly about her,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a relief to play it because if we had a bad show I know always ending on the song makes me feel better, but sometimes I get emotional for sure.”

During a stop at a Chicago venue that was apparently haunted, Sisson noticed everything kept going wrong during the show until the ending with “Harmony.”

“I don’t believe in ghosts really, but there were just a lot of things that went wrong at that show, but when we played that song it kind of just came together.

“I started doing things different on my guitar after that show, playing it differently… I’m not a very spiritual person, but if there was ever a spiritual song, it’s definitely that one. I feel that when I play it.”

Having not been a very loud band, this show pulled out the rock-n-roll roots of the group, capturing a new essence of what they would become and how they would perform together from here on out.

“We play with three amps and we came in and they said, ‘That’s too many amps for this venue, you can play through one.’ And I just said, ‘No, I play through three different amps because it’s three different sounds, don’t worry we’re not this super loud band.’ So at the end of the set I just turned it way up!” Sisson laughed.

“Suck it, we’re going to play loud, we’re a rock band. The vibe of the venue was not our favorite at first, but by the end it redeemed itself and the promoter was like ‘Fuck yeah!’ We ended on a high (and loud) note!”

Louisahhh!!! Bromance Records Cali Spring Tour


LOUISAHHH!!! plays Union Nightclub Apr. 29, Observatory Apr 30, Quartyard May 1 photo: Eric Traore

NYC native Louisahhh!!!, performing as part of the Bromance Records tour, will hit Union Nightclub in LA Apr. 29, The Observatory in Santa Ana Apr. 30 and Quartyard in San Diego on May 1. She will be performing along with headliner Brodinski, and label mates Gener8ion, and Virgil Abloh.

Louisahhh!!! intially became known through her guest vocals with other techno gurus. Her dark deep vocal style, touched by her feminine lightness, captured the attention of Bromance Records. Louisahhh!!! Is currently the sole female artist on the label, adding a whole new social, emotional and psychological view to their releases.

Louisahhh!!!’s newest 6-song EP Shadow Work is nothing short of a trance, beating-through-your-body masterpiece. Every song introduces a fresh idea of the electronic sound, whether it’s a simple tap of the snare or the anticipation of another beat “ch-ch-ch-change”.

From the moment the first track “Ready” begins, out comes her unmistakable sultry voice, backed by the minimalistic beats that hold the listener in an enraptured silence. While the highlight of the EP may be “Want,” a self-empowering, slam poem-style song that begins with a repetitive: “it’s good to want / it’s not enough / don’t ever stop.”

Initially building a following as one of the “must-know” female DJs (according to Billboard), Lousiahhh!!! collaborated with Maelstrom to launch new techno/punk label RAAR. The label set out to avoid the digital-only music release and bring vinyl back into the picture.

Following her U.S. and European tours, Louisahhh!!! will be working on new tracks that are sure to be just as unpredictable as her first solo EP Transcend.