album perspective

occasionally I’m struck by brendon urie’s sheer vocal range and im filled with a mixture of jealousy, fear, and awe


we are living proof of a world gone mad
but this is all we have, we spin in cycles
we drift in the dark, our world falling apart
chance made us brothers, loyal to the last breath i take
our legacy won’t be wasted on me

our legacy, while she sleeps

Image: Detail from the opening page of Solid State by Matt Fraction and Albert Monteys, from a concept (album) by Jonathan Coulton. (Image Comics)

In April, musician Jonathan Coulton released Solid State, a sci-fi concept album that represented a significant departure — both from Coulton’s wry, bright, tuneful back catalog and from any conventional understanding of what a sci-fi concept album sounds like.

The album features multiple perspectives and timelines, but its soundscape is allusive and impressionistic, resisting strict narrative. For that, Coulton turned to writer Matt Fraction and artist Albert Monteys, who with Coulton’s input have taken some of the album’s words, images and thematic preoccupations and crafted a graphic novel set largely in a future that will seem familiar to any reader of science fiction: a corporate-owned dystopia where humans have become dutiful, unthinking, unfeeling worker bees attending to menial tasks amid a culture engineered to keep them unthinking and unfeeling.

The result, according to NPR’s Glen Weldon, is intriguing, but untidy.

‘Solid State’: Jonathan Coulton’s Sci-Fi Concept Album Becomes A Graphic Novel

Panic! at the disco demos/unreleased tracks/bonus tracks
  • All The Boys x
  • Bittersweet x
  • Behind the sea x
  • Northern downpour x
  • Come on x
  • Cant fight against the youth x
  • Do you know what I’m seeing x
  • I Wanna Be Free
  • It’s Almost Halloween x
  • It’s True Love x 
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes x
  • Lullaby x
  • Mercenary x
  • Oh Glory x
  • Stall Me x
  • She had the world x
  • Turn Off the Lights x
  • The piano knows something i don’t know x
  • New Perspective x
  • cabin album snippets x
  • Boys will be Boys x
  • Time to Dance x
  • Camisido x
  • Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks x
  • Nearly Witches x
  • Bad Apple/Miss Jackson x
  • Feel free to add any that i missed!!

anonymous asked:

The thing with those methaphors is that not everyone is gonna get them. The general public and casual fans will only listen to his album, and they're gonna see Harry Styles™ reflected all over it. There's just a smaller group of people who will watch and listen to his interviews and pay attention to his actions and will see the other side of him, the real one. I don't think Harry and his team are bothered by that, but I understand why some of us are wary about some lines of his songs.

I agree that Harry relied too heavily on stereotypes of women to serve his metaphors. I think part of that may be that he’s was digging so deeply into rock and roll history that he was only seeing those stereotypical images of women and that’s what he was drawing from. It may be that because the women in the songs were metaphorical to him, they didn’t quite register as the “same” as the real women he talks about when discussing equality and rights. I think he’s a 23 year old man, and while he’s more aware of these issues than many young men his age, that doesn’t mean that he is fully educated in all the aspects of how certain stereotypes of women perpetuate misogyny as harshly as outright inequality does. I also think that he thinks of himself as an artist, with a bit of a distance from everyone else. And so maybe doesn’t see how he’s contributing to things with his use of certain stereotypes in his metaphors. I think he separates art from reality sometimes in a way that is idealistic. I see all of this as a flaw, of course, but not one that is so damning that I can’t get past it and hope that he’ll learn. (It would help for him to have some women involved in the writing of these songs, though. I appreciate that he found a small group he was comfortable with, but some diversity of thought would open up a future album to more perspectives.) And, no, lots of people won’t get it. They’ll take things literally. I think they realize that and maybe this girl from Carolina is an attempt to distract those people while those who get it can focus on the depths of the music. 

Thoughts on Lemonade and Osetura

I don’t usually post my writing, however being where I am in the world  and at the suggestion of a friend I wanted to express my thoughts on Beyonce’s Visual album “Lemonade” and my perspective on the poignant references to Yoruba, religion and philosophy encoded within it. This perspective is my own and I do not claim to be an expert or intend dismiss or devalue other perspectives, I am simply drawn to comment due to the nature of my work and the fact that I have been living in Nigeria (Yorubaland to be more specific) for the last seven months.  I want to start off by saying that Beyonce is not the first artist to incorporate these themes sonically and visually into their work.  Angelique Kidjo, Ibeyi ,Oshun NYC and Azaelia Banks are but a few others who have delved into this realm, Beyonce is simply the latest and arguably most well known, (within the realm of pop music) to do so. Throughout the video there are numerous references to the many facets of Oshun, one of the most prominent Orishas in the Yoruba Pantheon.  Oshun like the other female Orishas is representative of Yoruba concepts of womanhood and the feminine powers of the universe, She is the embodiment of fertility, love, coolness, patience and wealth. She is the spirit of the Oshun river and the sacred mother Of Osogbo a town built  along its banks.  As recorded in Osetura one of  the 256 Odu of the Ifa literary corpus (the sacred corpus of Yoruba poetry used in divination to reveal one’s destiny) , she was among the first Orisha (Irunmole) to descend from Orun (Sky, Heaven, abode of Olorun the creator and sustainer of all things)  into the universe to create the physical realm and the only female among them. It is in this Ese (poem within the Odu) that both the creative and destructive powers of Oshun are demonstrated. When the Orisha attempted to form the world they excluded her, devaluing the awesome and essential power that she contained. Their heads fell into chaos, and life on earth failed to prosper. When they returned to Olorun they asked why they had failed and Olorun (who is far beyond gender) responded by asking “ What of Oshun? What of the Woman that I sent with you? They responded by saying that she was but a woman. Olorun then told them that they are knowing what that did not know before. The other Orishas returned to her and begged her forgiveness and only then could creation resume unabated, the male and female forces were then in equilibrium. It is said by some Babalawo/Iyanifa (ifa priests and priestesses) That the failure of the first attempt at creation was due to Oshun forming the Iyami (the witches or more accurately our powerful mothers) The Iyami (Iya=mother Mi=my) are the powerful unseen feminine forces that can work both for and against mankind. They demand recognition, inclusion and respect and wreak havoc on societies, families and individuals that ignore their relevance, their importance and their essential function of balancing creation. The Iyami are addressed and respected each time a babalawo/Iyanifa casts the divination chain and in the numerous prayers and blessings associated with Ifa.  The Orisha all possess contradictory aspects to their nature, Oshun is love, beauty, fertility, coolness and abundance, but when pushed to extremes, when ignored, when disrespected, she can be wrathful, her anger and  her sadness can bring  chaos and destruction. In Yoruba lore the Orisha are the manifestation of nature, art, creative and destructive forces as well as the deified ancestors who came to embody these forces on earth. They are the manifestation of the Yoruba perception of the visible  and unseen energies personified in human forms, Black forms. Throughout Lemonade there are numerous references to not only Oshun but the Iyami.  In the visual album Beyonce emerges in a rush of water dressed in Yellow (Oshun’s color representative of the sweetness of honey and the glimmer and luxury of brass) smiling as she smashes windows, pipes and signs. She has been betrayed, excluded, devalued and disrespected by her husband. The family and by extension the world reams in the chaos that ensues.  The film also included Sybrina Fulton, Gwen Carr and Lezley McSpadden, the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Mike Brown, three women, Three mothers, who have faced unimaginable loss, pain and sadness. Their pain, their narrative as well as the narratives of the countless other Black mothers, our mothers, have been ignored, disregarded and dismissed. They have been told through the injustices of our legal system that the lives of their children as well as their pain as mothers don’t matter.  Such is the dilemma of the Black woman. As stated by Malcolm X whose famous quote is used in the film, there is no one in America today as disrespected as the Black woman. This is an unfortunate reality faced by Black women in the Americas, both within and outside of the Black community. Their beauty, strength, intelligence and essential value to our society is constantly disregarded. They face continuous disrespect not only from society as a whole, but even from some Black men who unabashedly spit some of the most vile and hateful vitriol at women, who are our own sisters and our own mothers. Oshun as well as Oya, Yemoja, Obba, Iya Mapo and the countless other female Orisha represent the power of the feminine forces of the universe as embodied in women, as embodied in Black women. To me this is a visual ode to the Black Woman, Her power, her pain and society’s need to respect and to include her. It is about about the chaos that ensues when she has been denigrated and the prosperity that comes only from her inclusion, reconciliation and healing. I am not a Beyonce fanatic, however I can appreciate the symbolism artfully used in this work. She is not the first artist  to explore these issues of Blackness and womanhood, by any means. However I hope at this very crucial time history we begin the question and explore this issues of identity, history and social activism, giving attention to all artists using them creatively, while pondering these issues ourselves.

all green day albums, from the perspective of billie joe armstrong

39/smooth: i love weed and hate people

kerplunk!: why does this new drummer keep hitting me with his drumsticks

dookie: ayy lads lets make a whole album about masturbation

insomniac: ok mike we get it ur good at the bass

nimrod: i dont even like punk music

warning: ayy lads i bought an acoustic guitar wanna see

international superhits: ok,, warning,, mistake,, but look we’re still a good band

shenanigans: our career is dying send help

american idiot: fuk the police

21st century breakdown: ayy lads i bought a piano wanna see

¡UNO!: ok listen,, we’re still punk

¡DOS!: i love sex

¡TRÉ!: ayy lads theres this think called pop punk

demolicious: 3 albums was not enough  

Use of Leitmotifs in Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

Hi everyone. I thought I might write a few words about what goes into the process of making a Gloryhammer album, from my perspective as arranger/orchestrator, and also point out a few of the little details that might have passed you by when listening casually. This is just an introduction but if you find it interesting, then maybe I’ll write a few more little posts about it. If you don’t find it interesting, I probably will anyway.

Anyway, one of the many fun aspects of having a narrative underlying Gloryhammer’s music is the opportunity to use musical themes to link the lyrical subject matter with the rest of the composition. When I came to the band, ‘Tales from the Kingdom of Fife’ was half written already, and although I ended up contributing most of the orchestral arrangements, a second album gave me a chance to explore the idea further since we already had some thematic material to work with.

The only proper attempt at using leitmotifs I had made on ‘Tales…’ was in  ‘The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder’, which made sense as it was the climax of the story so far and also contained references to previous songs:

Swiftly across the sapphire sky
The magic dragon flies

As Tom sings ‘magic dragon’, the first few notes of the chorus melody are heard - ‘ma-gic dra-gon’

Angus McFife is atop his back
Hear the battlecry!

‘is atop his back’ is accompanied by the melody from ‘of the land of Fife’ from ‘Angus McFife’

Down below, the Knights of Crail
Have rallied to the cause

The mention of the Knights of Crail is immediately followed by parallel fifths going down a tone and back again, just as it is at the end of the chorus of ‘Hail to Crail’

The hammer of glory is their guide
A great majestic force

Finally, in the second half of this phrase, the melody that would be sung ‘for the Hammer of Glory’ from the chorus of ‘Quest for the Hammer of Glory’ is heard in the background.

The orchestral parts aren’t as clear on the first album as on Space 1992, but you may be able to make a few of these out.
The other obvious thematic reference is the very end of the song, where the melody of Angus McFife is heard on acoustic guitar as the track fades.

That was more or less as far as it went on the first album. The idea of having orchestral arrangements was a last-minute addition, so there wasn’t much time to put that kind of thought into it, or much material to draw on. When the time came to write the follow-up, I was determined to incorporate more of this idea to create a more immersive experience…my feeling is that even if people don’t consciously notice, it will register on some level. Even if not, it’s another level of detail to reward the attentive listener, and I can have some fun pretending I’m a real composer.

Infernus Ad Astra’ features a lot of themes from the first album, as well as introducing new ones that will appear later on. I thought an intro track was a good place to explore this concept to the fullest, and one aspect of this was how it works in a live context. I had found that ‘Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy’ had a structure that worked very well in a live setting…after a mysterious opening few bars, followed by the big loud part to get everyone’s attention, the section where the pace picks up was divided into groups of eight bars, with a key change at the beginning of each one. This meant that if a band member walked onstage at the beginning of each 8-bar segment, everyone would be onstage by the time ‘The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee’ started. It felt like a little announcement for each character’s arrival, and this soon settled into a regular order - Jim, Paul, Chris, and Tom at the end.

With this in mind, I decided to use a similar structure for the new intro, but actively work relevant themes into each section, using relevant material from both albums to herald the arrival of each character.

Section 1: Ralathor & Setting the Scene

 0.00 - The track opens with Ralathor’s theme, since I am first onstage.
First heard in Beneath Cowdenbeath (beginning at 1.03) I never actually intended as a theme when I first wrote it. Since Ralathor is the Mysterious Hermit of Cowdenbeath, and he helps the heroes find their way through the dwarven tunnels, I thought it made sense to associate his character with this simple 5-note motif.
In this intro, since we’re in space, it appears in the style of the opening of the Star Trek theme, followed by a nod to the famous timpani part from Richard Strauss’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’, as heard in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Section 2: Main Theme

0.18 - the main body of the track begins in earnest, with the theme that later reappears in the introduction to ‘Apocalypse 1992. The rhythmic ostinato that forms the basis of this section was inspired in part by the famous battle music from Final Fantasy VII, and also partly by Bal Sagoth’s ‘The Awakening of the Stars’ both of which use a similar repeating dotted rhythm as a starting point.
At 0.30 a reference to the chorus melody from ‘Heroes (Of Dundee)’ is played by woodwinds and solo horn.

Section 3: The Hootsman

0.40 - The Hootsman section begins with the melody from the National Anthem of Unst played by the horns and trombones, immediately followed at 0.45 by trumpets and xylophone playing a fragment from the Hollywood Hootsman. The section culminates in a reference to the character’s introduction in ‘The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder’ at 0.48.

Section 4: Ser Proletius

0.51 - The chorus melody from ‘Victorious Eagle Warfare’ heralds the arrival of Ser Proletius. The brash brass-heavy melody of the previous section is replaced with strings and flutes here, to highlight the nobler character of Ser Proletius and to maintain the momentum with contrasting textures. The end of the chorus from ‘Hail To Crail’ concludes the section at 0.56.

Section 5: Zargothrax & Angus McFife

1.02 - The melody returns to the brass to announce the arrival of Zargothrax with a reference to the main theme from ‘Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy’, which is also the Zargothrax motif and is actually an evil version of the melody from ‘Wood’ by Splen. Sort of. The second repeat is slightly less chromatic which I imagined as representing Zargothrax’s triumph at being resurrected (and also hinting at the success of his plan later), which leads into a tentative, broken-up statement of the Angus McFife theme at 1.12. Angus McFife doesn’t get a proper fanfare for the simple reason that Tom often runs onstage right at the end as the song starts, so I wanted to hint at his approach rather than announce his arrival. Then finally there’s a little bridging section into Rise of the Chaos Wizards.

So as you can see, I attempted to encode quite a lot of information in the music about the forthcoming narrative in the intro alone, almost a bit like an overture.

Hope someone finds this interesting, if I can be bothered I’ll write some more about the rest of the album in the future! Have a nice day!

Interview: Grimes
on 17/11/2015 by Glamcult

By Pinar&Viola
Edit by Leendert Sonnevelt
Photography: Michael Avedon

It’s hard to believe more than three years have passed since we met Claire Boucher for the first time. Now a full-blown superstar, Grimes graces covers around the world and is set to release her long-awaited fourth album. Glamcult reps Pinar&Viola caught up with the outspoken producer in a Parisian hotel to talk music, politics, aliens, veganism, fashion and spaghetti.

We just listened to your new album—talking about it actually makes us blush. It feels like you’re reborn, you’re glowing. Tell us about the process behind that.
As a professional artist, the more you create, the more it starts to feel normal. When you start out, you don’t want people to hear your voice, you’re doubt- ing whether it’s good or not—especially while performing. I’m a lot more confident now. I’m no longer scared of making music in the way that I used to be. I can do more voices, I’m not whispering anymore.

So you’re literally opening your mouth.
Yeah! Especially on tour, you have to be yelling all the time. You get used to that and it’s quite freeing, not feeling inhibited by your own voice.

How do you feed your inspiration? We currently watch a lot of History Channel shows and listen to BBC podcasts.
I discovered those yesterday! My brother has been playing them, they’re amazing. I think history is one of my biggest influences. Obviously there’s musical inspiration too, but I like to look outside of music because it’s more interesting. I’m really into rococo architecture at the moment.

You must be very happy here.
Oh yeah, Paris… Yesterday we were driving somewhere and all we did was scream because the buildings are so nice. The driver was like, ‘Is everyone okay?

’Have you ever been to Istanbul? There’s an old Ottoman palace, and we’re sure you’d lose your mind there.
No, but I really want to! I sometimes travel there on Google Images. [Laughs]

Is it possible to turn these inspirations into sound?
I think so, but it’s very abstract and hard to describe. In my office I have paintings and pictures everywhere. I keep The Godfather on my computer so I can watch it once in a while. It reminds me of Caravaggio, the dark colours and images.

Your Tumblr is like that too. We’re happy you’re so transparent about your drives and ideals.Is there something you’re hoping for? A cultural revolution?

I wish the kids cared more about politics. My generation is a bit apathetic sometimes, and that scares me. Why don’t people care more about the environment? Human rights? The refugee crisis?

We feel like art could change this.
I agree. Some of the songs on the new album are kind of political. They’re all abstract enough to not hear it, but if you look at them through a political lens… I don’t want to blame people or make them feel bad. But I still get a lot of shit sometimes.

‘How can you eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream if you’re a vegan?’
Exactly! You know what was hard about that ice cream issue… I was like, if you love ice cream, eat ice cream. If I want to eat ice cream just once a year, let me. I don’t give a fuck.

Can you give an example of how you morph a political message into a song?
There’s a song on the album written from the perspective of a butterfly that’s looking at an airplane and seeing a giant dead bird. I tried to show what’s going on from the animal’s perspective. It doesn’t understand why its habitat changes and life is being destroyed. I like to think about things like that.

How would you define success?
I think success is when you’re happy.

Bingo! But you get a lot of negativity as well. How do you not let it pollute you?
It sounds kind of silly, but there’s no one who’s worked on my albums be- sides some guest vocalists and myself. Even if everyone hates it, it’s my thing. That’s very satisfying. Everyone asks, ‘Why do you not work with producers?’ I don’t know if I could take the barrage of negativity that comes with that. When something is Grimes, it’s actually mine. People can take away everything but I have that, and it gives me confidence. When people criticize me as a person, it usually comes from a misunderstanding. It’s important to ignore that. For my last video I just disabled the comments, which was great.

If you’re sure of creating something positive, it’s like a light that you bear. You just let it shine.
Yeah, I feel like that’s how art used to be before comment sections! [Laughs]

A broad question: can we talk about aliens?
Sure! Have you heard of the Drake equation? It looks at how many planets there are, how far they are from the sun, and takes into consideration every single factor needed for carbon-based life. It calculates that there are probably 10,000 intelligent civilizations in the universe. I studied astrobiology in university, and one of my professors actually discovered ALH 8400, a meteorite found in Antarctica with potential for life on it.

What do you imagine them to look like? Bacteria sound a bit boring.
Well, not if you consider that we evolved from bacteria. There’s a bacterium that eats plutonium. You know how we exhale CO2? It exhales oxygen. Imagine if that bacterium was able to evolve through millions of years, that’d be crazy.

We feel like they were there before our civilization. Just look at ancient art.
I feel like that’s a possibility. Or someone is watching us, and we’re in a Petri dish.

They would like your music.
Maybe… I hope so!

Let’s go to a lighter topic. You were at the latest Louis Vuitton show. Did Nicolas Ghesquière’s collection look familiar to you?
Yeah, I hang out with them! [Laughs] I think it was a bit Grimes-y. They say that too, actually. The Louis Vuitton team is very supportive; I’m in Paris because they flew me out here. It’s a good relationship. I don’t know if my style is always good, but I appreciate the effort.

We noticed that you mention Tarot sometimes. How do you use it?
I don’t use it very much because it’s stressful. The last time I did, we were driving out to the middle of nowhere and the guy in front of us hit a deer. It was very gruesome and sad; the deer was dying on the road. When we got to our destination, my step mom read my Tarot. There was a deer, a stag, and in the middle was a road. My Tarot is always a bit creepy.

What’s your favourite card?
The Devil.

Do you use it on a regular basis?
No, I don’t want to play with fire too much…

How’s life in LA?
I hate driving in LA. And the food isn’t very good.

You’re the first person to say that!
No one uses oil, and no one uses salt. LA doesn’t have very good food, especially compared to Paris.

What do you eat here?
Spaghetti, that’s my favourite food. You guys use olive oil.

The French are also very good with French fries. But it’s hard to be vegan in Paris.
Yes, that’s true. But you can always have spaghetti!


Santigold on Her New Album, ‘99¢,’ and its Shrink-Wrapped Artwork

To see more of Santigold’s vision, check out @santivision on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Before we begin, Santigold (@santivision) needs to get something off her chest. Her name is pronounced SAHN-tee-gold. Easy, right? Not SON-tee-gold. Not Son-TA-gold. And certainly not SAN-tee (rhymes with “panty”) gold.

“I’m realizing that it’s almost universal now: the people who said it right have now shifted to saying it wrong,” the 39-year-old singer and producer ruefully admits to @music. “So I just decided today, you know what? From now on every tour announcement is going to have in parentheses ‘How to pronounce Santigold.’”

It’s a good time to set the record straight. SAHN-tee-gold is currently knee-deep in the promotional rounds for her upcoming record, 99¢, a beguiling tongue-and-cheek collection of pop and alternative tunes that explore the cross section between consumerism, corporate branding and art. Her main point: selling records in 2016 kind of sucks, so artists have to find new ways to make a living. Sometimes that means focusing on your image and not the art, or teaming up with a recognizable brand to help pay for costs.

“This whole project was about not being subtle about it, and about making that reality the art,” she says, referring to both the record’s concept and its accompanying set of infomercials (i.e. the Santigold Pez dispenser). “99 cents is a f—ing ridiculous price for all my art and hard work. It’s totally devalued. The fact is, you can really get the entire record for way less than 99 cents.”

Hammering this point home is the cover, featuring a shrink-wrapped Santigold with an assortment of her personal possessions. The artwork came to fruition after she realized how much her lyrics spoke to the idea of an artist existing in a climate of “hyperconsumption and narcissism.” To bring that message to light visually, she linked up with her creative director, Mark Jacobs (not that Marc Jacobs), who put together a mood board of sorts called the “Santibible”: a thick packet of everything and anything that fit the album’s theme. There were crazy hairstyles, images from the movie Idiocracy and a picture from Haruhiko Kawaguchi, aka “Photographer Hal.”

“It’s this Japanese photographer who had been shrink wrapping people, mostly couples,” she says. “I just kept seeing that image when I was thinking about a record cover.”

Mark and Santigold asked Hal to shoot the photo, then began gathering items that could work inside the shrink-wrap: baby toys, a novelty remote control, gold Crocs, a drone, gloves, shoes and anything else lying around the house. From there, Santigold jumped inside Hal’s human-sized plastic bag with all of her possessions, posed for the camera, then held her breath.

“[Hal] was like, ‘All right, this is how it’s going to work. You climb into the bag. I count to 10. By 10 there is air back in the bag,’” recalls Santigold. “Because, literally, he was shrink-wrapping me in the bag. You’re on the floor, you’re lying in the position, you get it right, and then you suck the air out and he takes a shot, and then you’re out.”

The new album comes almost four years after Santigold’s last record, Master of My Make-Believe. In between, she had a baby, released her own makeup line and made cameo appearances on shows like The Office. (Little-known fact: Santigold started acting when she was a kid. “I would like to mix my music with the acting,” she says. “Secretly, I’ve already written a movie. It’s a music movie.”)

We live in an era where fans now expect artists to come out with new music on a consistent basis, but the time Santigold spent in between albums helped give her perspective, allowing her to return refreshed and ready to work on new material. “If you’re really trying to grow as an artist, you do something else for a second,” she says. Part of that fan thirst is attributed to how we now consume music, via streaming services. “I think streaming is great. I think the system is flawed,” she says. “When you are not letting artists have the means to actually focus on making music, and instead scrambling to make themselves a living, then the music suffers.”

And that is the entire point of 99¢: throwing the consistent consumerism of the music industry in people’s faces, then seeing how they react. The songs and lyrics may sound tongue-and-cheek, but the message behind them is literal.

“This record is a mirror,” she says. “It’s like, ‘This is where we are, guys. Take a look.’ It’s playful, it’s fun, but it’s actually really talking about real stuff that I think needs to be looked at.”

—Instagram @music


Weird Nights and Artistic Adventures with @badsuns Frontman @christobowman

To see more Bad Suns’ photos from the road, check out @badsuns and @christobowman on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.

Though they’re barely into their 20s, the four members of Los Angeles’ Bad Suns (@badsuns) – singer/guitarist Christo Bowman (@christobowman), guitarist Ray Libby, bassist Gavin Bennett and drummer Miles Morris – are wise beyond their years. Since forming in 2012, they’ve released an acclaimed album – last year’s Language & Perspective – drawn comparisons to Imagine Dragons and The 1975, played Coachella and Firefly and completed two headlining tours in 2015 alone. As Christo tells it, the success stems from calculated risks and years of watching musician friends run into roadblocks.

“Gavin and I were always trying to hang out with the older kids,” he says from his Southern California home. “We also kind of had a chip on our shoulder because we were younger and felt like maybe we had something to prove in order to be able to run in those circles. Just because we’re younger doesn’t mean that we’re idiots or that we don’t know how to make music. We wanted to be very smart because we didn’t want to make those mistakes we learned about from the older kids, the people who signed a bad record deal and nothing happened.”

Bad Suns was courted by a number of major record labels, and ended up signing with independent Vagrant Records because, as Christo explains, “no one there is going to lie to your face.” Rather than put all their eggs into one full-length basket, they took their time and introduced themselves to the world with the 2014 four-song Transpose EP, which included the standout tracks “Cardiac Arrest” and “Salt.” Three of those cuts ended up on Language & Perspective, released just five months later and featuring a slew of danceable, melodic alt-rock tunes.

Though he prefers being home in L.A., enjoying time at the beach and working on new tracks in the studio, Christo is still riding high after the headlining tours. In addition to sold out shows, highlights included a visit to St. Louis’ City Museum, which he describes as “a choose-your-own adventure” experience of exhibits. Aside from watching TV and movies, the band – the name of which is taken from a song by The Bravery, but doesn’t have any specific meaning to the members – tries to broaden its horizons. “We get introspective and have conversations about music,” Christo says. He also just enjoys seeing and snapping pictures of interesting sights along the way. “Sounds and vision go hand in hand, obviously. Photography is a great way to inspire and be inspired.”

That’s not to say they don’t indulge in some youthful antics. After Coachella, a cross-country, stir-crazy bus ride led to their photographer and merch guy playing a game of “nut ball,” where they threw shoes at each other’s crotches. Another photo shows their tour manager holding a gun over a pile of cash, with Christo’s caption reading “Weird Night.” A friend of their merch guy came on board the bus to tattoo some of the band members and took the gun out of his pants for comfort. Their tour manager happened to drop the band’s cash pouch, and, as Christo explains, “all the money was just on the ground. Someone threw the gun in there and took the picture and we thought it was hilarious. The only way to sum that up was ‘weird night.’”

For now, Christo is mostly enjoying some downtime in L.A., visiting his girlfriend at UCLA and working on the band’s sophomore album in between one-off gigs. “I think it’s going to be our saving grace that I was intentionally vague on our first album,” he says of the lyrics on the new LP, which is in pre-production. “I wasn’t in the place to give myself away. We wanted people to hear that album and say, ‘Man, I wonder what they’re going to do next’ as opposed to, ‘Well, I hope they don’t ever make another album again. This is all I need to hear.’ This next record is going to be a lot more personal. There’s a bit more depth to it. We’ll see.”

After all, he has a great reason to be unsure about where the new album is going: “I haven’t even heard it yet!”

– Dan Reilly for Instagram @music

Bad Suns - We Move Like The Ocean

Sit me down
I know I haven’t been by your side
I’m dragging my feet, lost my stride
I’ve been painting pictures in my head and falling short
Losing my direction, turn me around
I’ve been just coasting
My mind put to motion
We move like the ocean
But I can’t swim anymore
Wake me up
I fell in love in a dream, but I can’t remember your face
Take me for a test drive
Chew me up, spit me out
I don’t need your pat on the back
I’ve been just coasting
My mind put to motion
We move like the ocean
But I can’t swim anymore

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